For the entire month of September, I’ll be participating in the SNAP Challenge and attempting to eat on $4.50 per day. Read more here.
If there’s one thing I knew right away, it was that I was going to have to bulk out my meals considerably with inexpensive beans and grains to stay under $4.50 per day. Instead of using plain old rice, I made a big batch of seasoned rice the first day, which will be used as a base for multiple meals throughout the week (and maybe the whole month).
I used brown jasmine rice for this recipe for two reasons: jasmine rice has way more flavor than regular white rice and whole grain rice is way more filling. That being said, it can be made with plain white rice if desired. Just adjust the cooking time and water to rice ratio to compensate. This recipe can also be made in a rice maker.
I got my brown jasmine rice from the bulk bins at Whole Foods, which is a luxury that most people who rely on SNAP benefits probably don’t have. There aren’t many Whole Foods Markets around and even though my regular grocery store has bulk bins, their prices are higher and selection is more limited. That being said, you can do the same thing with plain white rice, if needed. My rice was $2.69/lb. and I bought about 3 cups, which came out to be $0.61 per cup of uncooked rice (or about 3 cups cooked rice). This is more expensive than plain white rice, but I was able to work it into my budget, so I did. Stay tuned throughout the week to see how I used the rice in my meals!
- 2 cups brown jasmine rice ($1.21)
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder ($0.05)
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme ($0.05)
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (optional) ($0.02)
- 3/4 tsp salt ($0.03)
- 4 cups water ($0.00)
- Combine the rice, garlic powder, thyme, red pepper, salt, and water in a heavy bottomed pot. Give it a brief stir to evenly distribute the ingredients.
- Place a lid on the pot and place it over high heat. Allow the pot to come up to a full boil. Once it reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, turn the heat off and let it rest with the lid in place for 20 minutes more.
- After 20 minutes without heat, fluff the rice and serve, or refrigerate until ready to eat. Extra rice can also be frozen for quick meals later.
Step by Step Photos
In a heavy bottomed pot, combine 2 cups of rice, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp dried thyme, 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper, 3/4 tsp salt, and 4 cups of water. Stir briefly to evenly distribute the ingredients.
Cover the pot with a lid, then place it over high heat. Allow the pot to come to a full boil, then turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, turn the heat off and allow it to rest and continue to steam in the residual heat for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, fluff the rice and serve.
It may not seem very revolutionary, but when working with a limited budget, it’s important to make sure every meal is as satisfying as possible. I plan to eat pretty much the same thing throughout the week, so I have to make sure it’s damn delicious so that I keep coming back! Ha!
Stay tuned to see the different ways I use this rice throughout the week.