Combos and sauces for freezable homemade grain bowls?
February 5, 2018 10:11 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking to do weekly preparations of grain bowl lunches that can be frozen then microwaved. What are good, relatively simple combinations that will freeze well and what are sauces that will tie things together?

I'm hoping to keep them around 500 - 600 calories, so like
3/4 - 1 cup grain (150-200 calories)
1/2 - 3/4 cup protein (200ish calories)
Cooked vegetables plus some kind of sauce or dressing to tie things together (100-200 calories)

Can't eat:
Shrimp, onions, most raw vegetables, especially raw leafy greens.
[Raw cucumbers, tomatoes, and carrots are fine, as are cooked vegetables].

Dill, sweet sauces (teriyaki, most bbq, balsamic vinegar).

Not crazy about:
Mustard, sausage, beets, squash (but will eat the latter 2 for nutritional value)

Pretty much everything else. Particularly like beans. Also Korean, Burmese, Vietnamese, Middle Eastern, and Caribbean foods.
posted by mrmurbles to Food & Drink (5 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
Ooh, I did this for a while! It was largely dictated by leftovers, though, so not really proper cuisine. I feel that chopped up chicken thighs or slow-roasted pork shoulder are superior meat choices. My favorite vegetables are carrots, cauliflower, chickpeas, and broccoli. Add some nuts for texture too! It may sound weird, but it's really good. Any grains were fine. I particularly like kasha.

My favorite sauce for this is Good Seasons Garlic and Herb salad dressing with some sriracha mixed in.
posted by heatvision at 4:06 AM on February 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

The best grain bowls ever are at Life Alive in Cambridge; here is a recipe that recreates their Ginger Shoyu sauce.

I heard they'd put a bunch of their recipes online, but I can't find them anywhere, so maybe I'm wrong about that. Still, this one is pretty delicious.
posted by gideonfrog at 4:54 AM on February 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

Pesto-like sauces (basically: herbs and flavorings suspended in oil) freeze wonderfully. Some tasty options:
- Regular pesto
- Sundried tomato pesto
- Mint pesto
- Chimichurri
- Chermoula
- Romesco sauce
- Olive tapenade and mushroom duxelles are not exactly pesto-like, but they also freeze well and pack a ton of flavor.

You could make a big batch and freeze single servings by scooping out spoonfuls into ice cube trays or onto a parchment-paper covered baking sheet, or you could mix the sauce directly into your grain bowl before freezing.
posted by ourobouros at 9:09 AM on February 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

Buy some Zip Lock, or other screw top containers, they are about 16 oz containers. Buy one corning heat up soup cup with handle and plastic cover, for heating your food at work, so you don't heat up food in plastic.

Dish 1: Take 1 can each, corn, black beans, organic diced tomatoes. Heat in a sauce pan, add chopped, precooked chicken, or start with sauteing chopped chicken, or chopped pork, season as you like then add the corn, beans and tomatoes. Cumin is a nice spice to add to this. Pack thes up in the serving size you want, put the servings in the freezer.

Dish 2. Cook some whole grain rice, one cup of grain goes a long ways, or two cups. Chop up 1.5 pounds of chicken, three breasts, or a breast and a couple of thighs, or cook these until they are easy to bone. Bake them with lemon, pepper and salt, or roll them in a coating and bake them, and put them on top of your bowls. In a pan, saute chopped mushrooms, celery, basil and yellow squash, add the cooked chicken and either 3/4 chicken broth, or 1/2 cup white wine with 2 tablespoons soy sauce. When this is bubbling, add 1/2 teaspoon of corn starch to thicken the sauce slightly so it clings to the chicken and vegetables. Put 3/4 cup rice in the bottom of 4-5 containers, then add enough of the chicken and vegetables to make the size of meal you will enjoy. Freeze and save.

Ultimately you can make about 4 different things to keep in the freezer, and once a week add another dish to the mix, then you have a variety to enjoy. You can make a large fried rice dish, and then add just a piece of frozen meat on top of you container, to thaw at work to eat with the fried rice.
posted by Oyéah at 9:50 AM on February 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

I like quinoa with chopped cucumber and red pepper mixed with two tablespoons of a really delicious humus (I add chopped kale or chard to mine but that probably wouldn't work for you).
posted by WalkerWestridge at 11:48 AM on February 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

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