Summer Cook ahead Option Number 2!

Here’s another great option for a healthy and satisfying side dish, that will complement any summer meal. It’s my Mom’s Famous Rice Salad!  

My Mom is a wonderful cook and she has been my major inspiration for learning how to be a great home cook. From the time I was very young, I have memories of family and friends constantly complimenting my Mom on her cooking and baking. I knew that when I grew up I wanted to be a great cook just like her because it seemed to make people so happy.  And I wanted my home to be a place where family and friends could come and feel welcome and enjoy great experiences and memories of being together, just like our family home was. Growing up, our house was the center of family gatherings for both sides of our large family. It was so much fun for my siblings and me as kids, and as I reflect as an adult, I now realize it was lots of work for my parents. But I do know that they both enjoyed that their home was a welcoming, happy place to be for their kids, family, and friends.

In the 70’s, a number of my Mom’s brothers and sisters got married within a short time of each other and started their families.  My Mom and Dad hosted all the wedding showers, stags, and baby showers in our house. My Mom made all the food, with some help from one of her sisters.  No consideration was ever given to buying food or getting the event catered because money was tight in those days. As a result, most everything was always homemade.  The food was set up as a buffet table with a combination of hot and cold dishes. Rice salad was always a part of these events. As a kid, I was always happy to see that because I didn’t like potato salad or pasta (macaroni!) salad in those days, which also were standard at those gatherings.

IMG-1233
Mom’s baby shower hosting – 1973

I always wondered why we only seemed to have rice salad at these events.  Years ago when my husband and I started this cook ahead plan, we found it easy to do in the fall and winter because you could do casseroles, soups, stews, roasts…When we got to spring and summer, we wanted lighter food and less use of the oven.  We BBQ’d just about every day, so I came up with the idea that I would make a larger batch of those famous salads from our family events that would last 4 or 5 days and then we’d just throw something different on the BBQ each day. It has made a huge difference for us.  Because making a rice, potato or pasta side dish is usually the longest part of cooking a meal, having it done ahead of time means you can have a balanced meal on the table in no time. With the strategy of making one of these salads every 4 or 5 days, we have delicious, summery meals every night and without much prep and cleaning.  (Read my previous posts for more tips on summer cook ahead dishes).

Mom’s original rice salad recipe used white rice, carrots, celery, green onion, oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and parsley.  I have adapted the recipe slightly over the years by using brown and wild rice instead of white rice and also adding chives, just because I have lots of them in my garden!  I prefer brown rice because it’s more filling, which means you eat less volume and it keeps you satisfied longer than white rice. As I’ve said before, there is no right or wrong with salads, and you definitely don’t need to follow a recipe to make a delicious salad.  Just use whatever you have on hand. One of my other relatives has made this salad using tomatoes, black olives, basil and onion and it was delicious also! So, go ahead and change up the veggies and seasoning here to suit your preferred flavours. And, as always leave me a comment to share the version you created.  Don’t forget to dress the rice when it is still very warm to hot so it will absorb the dressing. (Thanks again to Tim, our caterer friend for that tip!)

A number of my friends and family have asked for this recipe, which is always a compliment to the cook.  But, the greatest compliments I have received were when my Mom said, “This rice salad tastes better than usual.  What did you do?” – and when I heard my Mom tell her friends that I am a very good cook. There’s nothing like getting a compliment from someone you admire so much.

Thanks Mom!  You are my inspiration!

Mom’s Famous Rice Salad

  • Servings: 6 to 8
  • Difficulty: very easy
  • Print

Rice Salad 2018 (2)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • ¼ cup of wild rice (optional)
  • 1 ¾ cup cold water
  • Diced carrots, approx ½ to ⅔ cup
  • Diced celery, approx ½ to ⅔ cup
  • Sliced green onions, 1 or 2
  • Chopped fresh Italian Parsley
  • Olive Oil (2 parts, about 1/4 cup)
  • White Wine Vinegar (1 part, about ⅛ cup)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Put rice and water in a pot  – cover and bring to a boil
  2. Reduce heat and simmer on low until almost all water is absorbed (about 15 minutes), then turn off heat, keep covered, and allow rest of water to absorb into rice – (this prevents rice from sticking to the pot)
  3. While rice is cooking, chop the vegetables and parsley and set aside
  4. While rice is still warm to hot, add approximately 2 parts olive oil to one part white wine vinegar and salt and pepper.
  5. Mix well.  Taste and adjust seasonings as desired
  6. Once rice is cool, add vegetables and parsley
  7. Mix well together and serve

Variations:  Change the vegetables and seasonings as desired (tomatoes, black olives, onion, feta cheese, different herbs, etc.)

Tips:  Adding oil, vinegar, salt and pepper while rice is still warm to hot will allow dressing to absorb into rice and you’ll have no need to re-adjust seasoning before serving

recipe by: everydayhomegourmet.blog/

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