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Life, Law & Libros

Lazy Meal Prepping: Rice 7 Ways

Most of the time, I am a lazy cook. Every so often I am filled with energy and creativity and I can't wait to experiment and make something new! And hopefully edible! That's rare. Most days, I do not want to spend more than 5 minutes tops making food. I don't want to stare at it on the stove for 2-3 hours or even (here you see the true depths of my laziness) wait 10 minutes for the Instant Pot to cook it.

How do we deal with this laziness and not starve and/or spend ridiculous amounts of money on take-out? Meal prep. (Plus a few quick-fix recipes and stocking up on freezer meals/Easy Mac bowls when they're on great sale, but that's another post.)

Now I know some of you hear meal prep and think, "You mean eating the same dish five days in a row? No thanks, no way, good bye." I hear you. There are only a few foods I can eat every day and not get sick of them. At least for a week. After that, probably need some variety. BUT--big but--I've found that I can deal with the same foods, the same base components of carb+protein+veg, if I change up the flavor. And now I'm sharing my lazy secrets with you. Partly in the hope that it will help someone else having a lazy week, partly in the hope that I will get more lazy cooking secrets in return. :)

So gather up your spices and condiments, and here we go! One week's worth of lazy lunches.

Last weekend, I was feeling particularly tired and lazy and couldn't bring myself to cook more than one thing. So I got out a big pot and cooked 2 cups of plain white rice. And most of that "cooking" is setting a timer and letting the pot simmer, then sit with the lid on for another 10. And if that sounds like too much (sometimes it does), pick up a few bags of frozen rice at the grocery store when they go on sale and hoard them.

Other main ingredients: 1 can chickpeas (drained/rinsed), 1 can diced tomatoes (drained), 1 mini can mushrooms (drained/rinsed), and 1 pack of imitation crab meat I found on sale. Technically there's some lettuce too. Optional.

I stashed the rice in 6 plastic containers with enough room to add other ingredients, dumped the cans into plastic bins and stocked up my fridge like a Subway sandwich bar: all the ingredients separated out and ready to be grabbed.

The results:

Rice + chickpeas + tomatoes + mushrooms + curry powder and some other spices. I threw it all together the night before, threw it in the microwave at work, and shook it up. If you're using canned tomato instead of fresh, it has a really strong flavor, so go a little extra heavy on the spices.

Fried rice + a side salad. Took a small container of cooked rice, threw it in a small fry pan over some oil, threw in an egg, and splashed it with soy sauce (and buffalo sauce at the end because I like spicy). Less than 5 minutes. Done.

Rice + chickpeas + mushrooms + giant pat of butter. Again, threw it in the microwave at work, got a totally different flavor set, and was good to go. I also added a tiny bit of buffalo sauce to balance out the richness of the butter and give it a little more complex flavor. 

Rice + fake crab meat + lettuce. Okay, so I know you can't actually see the rice in this picture, but it's there hiding under the fake crab and lettuce. I gave the rice a little run in the microwave to soften and liven it up, then threw the other cold ingredients on top. The inspiration was a deconstructed California roll, but I didn't have cucumber or avocado, so I substituted lettuce, splashed it with soy sauce, and I happened to have some leftover Japanese spicy mayo from a sushi night with friends, and that was awesome with the crab. The right condiments can make a meal.

Side note: I'm a big fan of deconstructed sushi roll bowls (minus the raw fish because let's leave that to the professionals and not trust me with it). You still gets carbs, protein and veg, but it feels like a lighter meal, and it can be as complicated or as simple as you like. Don't feel like finely chopping cucumbers and avocado? Toss in some lettuce. Easy. And if you don't love crab, I've found smoked salmon for a a pretty good price at Aldi (which is good with cream cheese--the smoked salmon, not the store).

Rice + tomatoes + mushrooms + CHEESE. Remember those chicken/rice/cheese casseroles you ate as a kid? Actually no, because my dad hated casseroles with a passion, but you get the idea. When you want something warm and rich and gooey, put cheese on it and throw it in the microwave. And hot sauce.

Rice + fake crab meat + giant pat of butter + all the garlic. This probably looks like plain rice with a little crab mixed in, right? Wrong. This thing is swimming in flavor because I smelled garlic knots on my way home and had a garlic craving, so I took my rice from the fridge, added butter and a ton of powdered garlic, stuck it in the microwave, and then tore up some cold crab and threw it on top. Boom.

I wound up not using the chickpeas with the rice as much as I planned because of the crab, but no worries. They worked great on salads too, which is often the perfect light meal (with a bit of protein) to end the day because I get home from work kind of late.

And for those wondering where Rice Dish #7 is . . .

Bonus rice dish from the week before:

Rice + chicken nuggets + cheese + lots of buffalo sauce. The magic microwave strikes again.

And there you have it. A little variety with minimal effort. Although at the end of the day, it's still rice, so I'll probably switch it out and do a pasta or lettuce base or sandwiches or something this week. And then switch back to rice in a week or two. Plan complete.

Do you have any lazy meal prepping or lazy cooking tricks? Or is there a food you could eat every day and never get sick of it?


  1. True story, I make tacos and eat them all week. I really am crap at cooking, and also, I hate it. But I think I need some variety in my life, and if this post taught me anything, it's that I now really am needing some crab (or fake crab!) in my life. Stat. Also I like spicy too (and lots of seasoning in general) so these are really good for me, too! Thanks for sharing it!!

    1. Haha, I hear you! I always keep tortillas in the fridge for instant quesadillas (in the microwave when I'm feeling lazy . . . which is most of the time), egg wraps, and just for tearing up and putting on salad when I need it to be a little more filling. I also love finding protein I don't have to cook on sale. Imitation crab, smoked salmon, smoked ham, sometimes deli chicken or a little roast beef. Throw it at bread/tortilla or lettuce and you're done. Although ground chicken is pretty easy and I have this soy sauce/brown sugar sauce that makes it really delicious.

      If you like spicy, it's not the hottest thing on the planet, but I LOVE this bright orange "Chicken Wing Sauce" I get at Dollar Tree. It's almost exactly like the buffalo sauce Wawa uses and it goes well with a bunch of flavors.