Spanish Rice… And a Call to Stewardship (or cheapness)

I know a lot of you are diligent about menu planning.  And that is a very good thing to do.  It saves money, it saves LOTS of time.  For a very long time, I thought it just meant a long shopping list.  Figure what you were going to cook, and make sure that you have the ingredients on hand.  But there is one more aspect to menu planning that I am finally learning… Waste not, want not, be a steward of the earth, PLAN how to use everything you buy.  Buy fresh, eat healthier, but PLAN how to use everything you buy before it goes bad.

Oh yeah, and be cheap, save money.  Honest, my main concern is saving the planet, has nothing to do with me being cheap, nothing… honest (have you ever been lied to by a man, of course not).  This post is all about being a good steward, eating healthy fresh and planning to not waste.

From bread that you let get moldy because you don’t make a single serve bread pudding, to bananas because you don’t mix a killer Funky Monkey frozen chocolate rum drink (or banana bread if you must, but the funky monkey is a better use for soft bananas… but I digress), to that Pineapple you buy for a garnish for your wife’s Painkiller rum drink recipe… If you buy it, plan how to use it all.  If I clean out my refrigerator and I have to throw away a single produce item, I have failed to be a good steward of the Earth (and I wasted money… one of those two things REALLY bothers me).

Are you paying attention, last week I posted a ROTISSERIE CHICKEN STOCK recipe.  I will use that recipe to clean out my produce drawer once a week… Carrots, celery, onions, fresh herbs, almost anything can be tossed in the pot to help flavor the stock.  A great way to “use up” what would have been thrown away.  I do make that stock once a week.  It does freeze, but I like to keep a bag of it in the fridge for use during the week.  I always end up using the entire bag.  It can be used in so many things.  Think about all the things you cook with water and consider substituting the chicken stock if you were to have some handy.

Like RICE!

And let me interrupt this rice post with scenes from coming attractions… See all the things in the photo above… there is a sea food enchilada made with blackened tilapia, and some fresh made Caribbean Salsa… Come back in the next couple of weeks to see those recipes.  But, since I am being a good steward of the Earth (cheap), using everything I can, I need to show some things that I will explain better next week…

Like this…

I made my rice in the same pan that I made my blackened tilapia, that I used to make my seafood enchiladas.  All that butter and spices that I blacken the fish with worked GREAT to season the rice.  Waste not, want not, eat better, make better tasting food… What a concept.

So, just imagine you have a pan of flotsam from cooking the fish.

Add 1/2 cup of diced onion to the flotsam, and 1/2 cup of diced red bell pepper.  Heat the mixture till you can see the onions start to become clear.  Add some fresh herbs of choice… Cilantro, Herbs de Provance, dill, chives, whatever you have on hand…

Add 2 cups of chicken broth to the pan and get the liquid boiling… Add 1 cup of rice and cook til the liquid is absorbed…

And there you go… Better tasting food, less (no) waste, save money…

And come back next week for an amazing Caribbean Salsa Recipe!

Dave here from MY YEAR ON THE GRILL. It really is just this easy!  


And so can you!


Menu planning was a real challenge for me too, but I recently found this great software that has helped simplify my life a lot! Cook’n Recipe Organizer makes planning my meals easy. I just input my recipe, Put it on a weekly menu, and Cook’n can print out my menu, and even generate a shopping list for me. It has made planning meals extremely easy, and has already helped me save money.


I love Mexican rice and hadn’t thought about it in terms of stewardship but ironically, it’s usually one of those “garbage bowl” dishes for me where I’m trying to use up things before they pass their prime. Good post, Dave!

Martha (MM)

Great job Dave! 🙂

Being frugal and not wasting anything is most definitely the top reason for most menu planners. It’s also very helpful when time is an issue. Most menu planners will have a creative way to use intentional leftovers instead of swinging through for fast food like so many others would do.


I have been trying these last couple of years to be a btter “stweard of the earth”…Learned to compost, try to buy locally and only what I need. Some weeks I am a better steward than others-
I have been making my own chicken stock and it really adds a depth of flavor to dishes that canned stock just cannot do. Yours look great and the Spanish rice dish, well it is a perfect way to use up your leftovers, and still produce a great meal. Love it.


Dave, you are so good! Great post!

I feel the same way about wasting food. My mom was so good about using foods leftover from one dish and making it into another totally new dish. Or she would freeze them making her own TV dinners (wow, I’m dating myself here). My grandma who was feeding a family during the depression was a whiz at using everything, not wasting and making her own breads, jams,pickles, etc…any leftovers that was not good for humans, went to the birds or pets.

This rice idea looks fantastic and so easy to do. Thanks. This week I’ve been cooking from the pantry, spent only $10 on groceries. Can’t wait for the next post!