The Time-Saving Tip For Cooking Grains In Your Recipes

At the end of a long day, all you want to do is hunker down with a good meal. Yet, something hearty could take up to an hour to prepare, and nobody wants to cap off a tough day with more work. To cut down on dinner time, prepare your grains ahead.

Whether you're partial to rice and quinoa or prefer ancient grains like farro and barley, the ingredients aren't the quickest thing to steam. It can take 20 minutes or more for the grains to be finished cooking; when you tack that time onto preparing other parts of the meal, you may want to skip adding grains entirely. Instead, make a batch of one or two grains to keep in the fridge.

You can store cooked rice in the fridge for up to six days, with other grains having a four-day lifespan. A portion of them can also be kept in the freezer for months, perfect for making a pot of soup towards the end of the week. When the weekend rolls around, choose a grain or two to last you the entire week. Opt for a more general type of grain that pairs well with a variety of dishes. While long-grain white rice may be the best choice for a number of dishes, whole-grain farro contains the most flavor among its counterparts.

Try these recipes based on what grain you're using

With rice, cooking the grain ahead is a benefit for a multitude of recipes. Easy fried rice is much better using rice that's been sitting in the fridge, rather than a freshly cooked version that's too wet to crisp up in the wok. Leftover rice can also be turned into a batch of warm Mexican rice soup. Since the rice would already be cooked, you can add it a few minutes before taking the soup off the fire.

Nutty, hearty farro comes together with asparagus and toasted walnuts to make a delicious spring harvest farro salad. Not much cooking is required for this hearty dish. With the farro being pre-cooked, all you need to do is heat the walnuts and asparagus for a few minutes, then combine them with farro, feta, arugula, mint, cranberries, and parsley. If you're in the mood for a warm dish, reheat the farro before tossing it with sauteed chickpeas, pan-seared chicken breast, olives, tomatoes, feta, and a zesty lemon-yogurt dressing to make a Greek chicken grain bowl.

White quinoa is surprisingly good at blending into foods across cultures. The grain tastes incredible in a Thai quinoa salad, complete with roasted peanuts, chopped basil, purple cabbage, sliced carrots, and a tangy lime and soy sauce dressing. The next day, switch things up with a California avocado grain bowl. With roasted corn and zucchini, creamy avocado, and sliced radishes and tomatoes, this hearty bowl comes together quickly.