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Cook 6 Individualized Small-Batch Grains (i.e., How to not eat the same boring leftovers all week)

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Picture of Cook 6 Individualized Small-Batch Grains (i.e., How to not eat the same boring leftovers all week)
The Problem:
In the past I've made a large batch of grains on Sunday and then eaten them all week.  The problem is it makes for a very monotonous week...   However, I don't have the time to cook grains every day - it needs to be a once or twice a week chore.
 

My Solution:
Bake a variety of grains (both types of grains and flavoring) in muffin tins.

I'm also trying to move away from non-stick pans, and towards using more cast iron.  So this was the perfect excuse to try out the Lodge brand muffin tin.

(Note - the Lodge muffin tin makes very tiny muffins.  You maybe can't tell from the image, but they're tiny. However, it was the only cast iron muffin tin I could find.)


 
 
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Step 1: Materials

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Materials
1.  Cast Iron Muffin Tin  (regular muffin tins would probably work fine.  I just didn't happen to use them.)
2.  Measuring spoon (1 Tablespoon)
3.  A variety of grains (I used black rice, brown basmati rice, and quinoa.  I'll update when I try other grains.)
4.  Flavoring  ( I used butter, coconut oil, salt, pepper, and a variety of other spices) (optional)
5.  Oven  ( I used a toaster oven)
6.  Aluminum foil (or something to cover the pan while cooking)

Step 2: Measure and add Herbs/Spices/Oil

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Steps

1.  Oil the muffin tin generously (I'm assuming your cast iron muffin tin is already cured)
2. Add 1 Tablespoon of grain into each portion
3. Add flavoring
This is where you can get creative.  I added butter to a few.  Coconut oil to one (Thai).  Oregano to one (Italian).  Indian spices to another.  Etc....   
 

Step 3: Cover & Cook

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4.  Fill with water to the top of the tin
5.  Place on baking sheet.  Cover with foil.  Since grains cook at different rates and we're cooking them all the same time, it's important to keep as much water from escaping so that your grains don't dry out.
6.  Bake one hour at 350 degrees (farenheit)

Please post your ideas for flavoring!  I'm always looking for new culinary inspiration that is quick and healthy!
Okara8 months ago
I used a muffin tin that makes large muffins, as it's all I have, so I doubled quantities. And used my oven, not trusting my Dad's old beat-up toaster oven. So, 2 quinoa, 2 mixed rice and grains, one pearl barley, and just for fun - small white beans. Turned out just great except the beans could have used another 10 minutes or so. I will do this again. Sorry, no pics this time.
Okara8 months ago
Great idea! *runs to kitchen to try this out*
emilyshore (author)  Okara8 months ago
Awesome - please post pics of your results if you want! I'd love to see them!
Silver_Kate8 months ago
dehydrated : onion, peppers (sweet or hot), dryed fruit like blueberry or blackberries or raspberries. dehydrated veggie powders like mrs dash. (use way less than you think you will need.)

Fresh : chopped onion (this is good grilled or cooked in butter), chives, dill,

Meat (unless vegan vegetarian) : small amounts of chopped cooked meat adjust seasoning to the meat you are putting in.

Cheese or yogurt or flavored butters.

Veggie or Meat stock instead of water. (When you make a batch you can freeze in ice cubes that size should be almost perfect for this.)


I can not wait to try your recepie
emilyshore (author)  Silver_Kate8 months ago
Please let me know how it goes!

Those are fantastic ideas - thank you!

I especially want to try the idea of dehydrated vegetables...... i SO appreciate your comments!
bob30308 months ago
I like your idea of moving away from "non-stick" to cast iron. In my opinion cast iron is easier to cook with and does just as good of job when it comes to not sticking to the pan. There is some health benefits to the iron content of the pan as opposed to the possible health risks associated with the "non-stick" coating on the other pans. Thanks for posting and encouraging us to use your method to add more whole grains to our diet.
emilyshore (author)  bob30308 months ago
Hi Bob,
Thanks for your awesome comments!! I totally agree that cast iron is a safe and healthier option! (And probably cheaper in the long run since they last forever....)

Anyone prone to iron deficient anemia will benefit from the iron. And after seeing my non-stick pans start to flake and realizing I was eating that in small amounts I just can't use them anymore.

Thanks and I'll look forward to following your instructables!
mnmama8 months ago
Great idea Emily, but how much water do your muffin tins accept? If my tin is larger, I would have soggy rice, if smaller, it could be dry. What is the ratio please?
As for flavors, I would have a good time with that! You could use boullion or stock instead of water and add tiny diced veggies; chicken with mushrooms and leeks, curry powder with canned chick peas or lentils, onion flakes and raisins (your coconut oil would be good in that too), kasha/bulger wheat with beef broth, onions and sage, jasmine rice with water chestnuts, dried shrimp, and tamari.
Oh, this is going to be so much fun!! Perfect for the "cooking for one" crowd! They would freeze beautifully too.
emilyshore (author)  mnmama8 months ago
Those are great culinary ideas - thanks mnmama!

Ok, so I just measured and the volume of each of my muffin indentations are 4 Tablespoons. So if I used 1T of grain then I added approximately 3T of liquid.

The thing with cast iron is that, of course, it holds and radiates heat. One thing I didn't think to mention in my tutorial is that I leave my grains in the oven to cool, so while they're cooking for 60 minutes, they're also cooling in a warm environment for another 45-60 minutes; I think this has allowed my measurements to stay "lax" in terms of treating each grain the same (yet a achieving fully-cooked, moist but not drippy end result), when normally they'd require slightly different amounts of liquids. I think I started doing this a few years ago with my rice cooker - I add extra liquid and let the overage evaporate by extending the cook cycle if needed.

Anyways, I guess that's a really long way of saying that my measurements will probably need to be slightly tweaked for various pans and grains.

I hope this helps! I like your idea of using larger muffin tins and adding nuts, rains and legumes - fantastic! Please post a pic of your results!!
soy_bean8 months ago
I recommend cilantro!
emilyshore (author)  soy_bean8 months ago
Oh, that's a fantastic idea! I'll try that. Thx soy-bean!
lindornea8 months ago
This is my favorite EVER!
kazmataz8 months ago
Great idea!
daisies8 months ago
Genius!
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