Thyme, thyme, thyme is on my side…
The side dish. ah yes. It’s not ordinarily the star of the meal, but, it shouldn’t be forgettable either. A fine line, no doubt. I’m always looking for something different that can be made easily and quickly, yet still be a great second banana. I found that very thing in a not so likely source.
Enter The Giant $7 A Meal Cookbook. Billed as “701 inexpensive meals the whole family will love”. Chef Susan Irby, aka The Bikini Chef, has assembled a collection of recipes that she says will feed a family of four for less than seven dollars. In today’s economy that’s a big deal.
Since I don’t have a family of four, I was more interested in how these recipes stacked up from the standpoint of taste, rather than using thriftiness as a measuring stick. I mean after all, it’s fantastic that you could serve your family a meal that only costs $1.75 per person, but, if they can’t choke it down, then what’s the point?
I was going to grill some fish for dinner. So, I was looking for something to partner with it. Rice is always a perfect choice. How about some Long-Grain Rice with Fresh Thyme. That sounds like it has the potential to be a great accompaniment to the seafood.
You’re going to need some fresh thyme.
This is an easy dish to make. So, no matter how complicated your main course is, preparing it won’t make your life miserable. We’ve all been through this drill. You see a dish. It looks easy enough in print. You start cooking. And then wham! You’re in over your head and there’s nothing you can do about it. Insert your own four letter words here. Thankfully, this rice dish doesn’t fall into that category. No surprises.
Choose any type of long grain rice that suits your taste. I chose Basmati.
All you need is a little celery, onion and garlic and you pretty much have it. Not a ton of ingredients or steps.
Here’s How To Do It
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, leaves chopped (stems removed)
1 bay leaf
2½ cups water
1 cup long grain rice, uncooked
In a large saucepan heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add in the onions, celery, garlic and thyme. Sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the bay leaf and the water. Bring the contents of the pan to a boil. Once boiling, add the rice. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer about 20 minutes or until all of the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. Take out the bay leaf and serve.
Recipe adapted from Long-Grain Rice with Fresh Thyme, Susan Irby, The Giant $7 a Meal Cookbook, Adams Media
Making this dish is an ideal fit for grilled fish. That final twenty minute cooking time buddies up nicely to the time it takes to grill your fish. One of the potential downsides of preparing some side dishes is that you may need some assistance. Someone to help stir, flip or drain. With this easy dish you can go it alone.
The Bottom Line:
The Giant $7 A Meal Cookbook has tons of recipes that are relatively easy for any home cook to pull off without much trouble. There are not a lot of complicated dishes that leave you wondering if you can actually do this or not. There’s lots of variety and most of the recipes have a reasonable cooking and prep time. That means if you’re a busy working family and someone has to come home from a long day and still cook dinner, you won’t be eating at midnight. This is also the ideal book for that “what can I make with what I’ve got in the fridge” night.
Author: Susan Irby
Paperback: 512 pages
Publisher: Adams Media (November 18, 2010)