Healthy family meals on a budget!
New Zealand's Easiest Family Recipes
Serving healthy food to your family is challenging, especially when you are on a low budget. We have low cost meals for people on a budget with cost saving ideas and budget recipes. They are all healthy eating ideas and are cheap to prepare. Change the recipes to suit your family's tastes and the ingredients you have. Cutting costs on food doesn't mean you have to cut on quality. It's still possible to prepare meals that not only taste great, but are also good for you.
RICE - how to cook rice!
Every country in the continent has its own unique perspective on Asian cooking. Though the customs from different regions can seem quite different, their commonality is unmistakable. Those who would like to add some of this exquisite experience to their own dining can start by incorporating some of the most important ingredients from Asian cooking into their own kitchen.

Many Kiwi's shy away from rice due to a fear of cooking it. While exactly how rice cooks changes from variety to variety, getting consistently good results is not impossible. In fact, the method that works best is practically the same as the one on the back of the box. But what the back of the box neglects to mention is the importance of letting the rice rest before serving it.
Whether you soak rice depends on time and tradition.
Apart from habit, the reasons for soaking rice are to shorten the cooking time and to allow for maximum expansion of long-grain rice, particularly basmati. A soak also makes the grains a little less brittle so they're less likely to break during cooking. If I'm using older basmati, which needs to be treated carefully if it's not to break, I soak it first. (Recipes vary in suggested soaking times, with 30 minutes most common.) But for most everyday meals, I skip this step and still get good results. If you do soak your rice, be sure to drain it thoroughly or you'll be using more water in cooking than you intended.

Cooking rice by the absorption method is simple and reliable
In this process, the rice is cooked in a measured amount of water so that by the time the rice is cooked, all the water has been absorbed. As the water level drops, trapped steam finishes the cooking.

For every cup of rice, use 1-1/2 to 2 cups of water (less if the rice is washed first). You'll need to experiment a little to find the amount you like best, but in general, use the larger amount for long-grain rice, the lesser for medium and short. Keep in mind that more water gives you softer, stickier rice—great for stir-fries. Less water will keep the grains more separate and result in firmer rice, a good style for rice salads.

Use a sturdy pot with a tight-fitting lid

You want a pot with a heavy base for the most even cooking, and one that's big enough to provide plenty of room above the rice for steam. A tight lid keeps the steam in. If your lid fits loosely, put a clean kitchen cloth between the lid and the pot. (Be sure to fold it over onto the pot so it doesn't burn.) The cloth also absorbs the water that would normally condense on the inside of the lid and fall back down into the rice, so this is also a good trick to get drier, fluffier rice. A bit of butter or olive oil will also help keep the grains from sticking together, while a little salt adds flavor.

Once all the ingredients are combined, cover the rice and let it simmer. On an electric stove, use two burners: bring the rice to a boil on a hot burner and then immediately slide it to a burner set on low to continue cooking at a slow simmer. After about 12 minutes, the liquid should be absorbed, and the rice still al dente. If you served the rice now, you'd find the top layer drier and fluffier than the bottom, which can be very moist and fragile. Here's where you need patience. Let the rice sit off the heat, undisturbed with the lid on, for at least 5 minutes and for as long as 30. This results in a uniform texture, with the bottom layers as fluffy as the top. That a pot of rice actually improves with a rest also gives you more flexibility for cooking the rest of the meal.

What about rice cookers?
Whenever I travel in rice-eating regions, I ask about the favorite local method or vessel for cooking rice. Invariably, the answer is "Why, a rice cooker, of course." Rice cookers may be worthwhile if you cook a lot of rice. But, like cooking rice on the stovetop, it takes experience to find the amount of water that works best for your favorite rice.
Healthy family meals on a budget!