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(BPT) — Busy families face the dinnertime challenge every day. Not only do they need to find a nutritious meal the entire family will enjoy, but they need to do so in a limited amount of time. With a few tricks, it's easy to get out of the dinner rut and score big with tasty, wholesome meals that use pantry staples in creative ways.
Rice is a pantry staple that has unlimited possibilities, if you think outside the box. Explore new ways you can add flavor and depth to Minute ® Rice and create satisfying, wholesome dishes in just a few minutes.
Why choose rice? Not only is it a healthy and gluten-free complex carbohydrate, it's versatile, too. Traditional Minute ® White Rice is precooked, dried and ready in just five minutes and family members of all ages enjoy it. Minute ® Whole Grain Brown Rice is another option if you want to kick up the fiber quotient of your meal.While most people view rice as a simple side dish, if you take a more inventive approach, you’ll find it is a great way to enhance almost any recipe. Try adding it to soups, side dishes, main dishes, appetizers and even desserts. It’s even a great way to start the day off right. Here are a few creative ideas you can try at home:
• Enhance chili: Not only can you add rice to your favorite broth-based soups, try adding some to your chili recipe. Not sure about adding it directly to the chili? Cook separately and place a serving in a bowl, then top with chili.
• Wrap it up: Chop your favorite veggies and meat, and cook in a pan. Add cooked rice and then wrap all ingredients in a tortilla for a quick and filling dinner. Have leftovers? Chilled wraps are great for brown-bag lunches.
• Chop it up: Rice is a great addition to dips and salsas. Try mixing cooked rice, fresh tomatoes, onions and your choice of peppers in a blender or food processor. Enjoy the fresh flavors with crackers or chips, or add to make a breakfast omelet in the morning. Rice can be used in any meal or snack throughout the day.
• Jazz it up: Rice is a great base that can be spiced to your exact taste preferences. Try adding some chili seasoning for heat, or sweeten it with some chopped dried fruit and a touch of honey. Try cooking rice in broth, fruit juice or stock for additional flavor. Visit www.love-every-minute.com for more recipe ideas.
Rice is far from boring or bland. At just pennies a serving, it’s fun and affordable to experiment and find new meals for your family.
Classic Minute® Rice Pudding
Makes 4 Servings
3 cups milk
1 cup Minute ® White Rice, uncooked
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
ground cinnamon, optional
1. Combine milk, rice, sugar, raisins and salt in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Beat eggs and vanilla lightly in a small bowl. Stir small amount (about 1/2 cup) of hot mixture into eggs. Stirring constantly, slowly pour egg mixture back into hot mixture. Stirring constantly, cook on low heat 1 minute until thickened. Do not boil.
3. Remove from heat. Let stand 30 minutes. If desired, sprinkle with cinnamon. Serve warm. Store any remaining pudding in refrigerator.
4. Create flavorful new varieties of rice puddings by trying different types of dried fruits, such as dried cherries, chopped dried apricots, chopped dried pineapple or dried, sweetened cranberries.
Go nuts and celebrate
your health with a handful
(BPT) — Good things really do come in small packages. And when it comes to your health, pistachios pack a powerful punch: They help you manage your weight, may help reduce blood pressure, and a study published in the “International Journal of Impotence Research” shows they may even help with erectile function. Here are three big reasons why you should unshell and celebrate your health with a handful.
The power of pistachios
Pistachios are a great snack chock-full of vitamins and nutrients including antioxidants, beta carotene, fiber, glutamine, potassium, phytosterols, zeaxanthin and B6. “You really can’t go wrong with pistachios,” says director of sports nutrition at the University of Southern California, Becci Twombley. “With six grams of protein in every 160-calorie serving, pistachios are a protein front-runner compared to 160 calories of other common snacks.” In addition, pistachios have more nuts per serving (49) than any other tree nut.
Performance food for athletes
Whether you’re an elite athlete in training or a casual fitness buff, what you eat will affect your performance.
“As an athlete, your body needs the right carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals and fluids,” says Twombley. Pistachios are a great pre-and-post-workout snack because they contain a good source of lean protein, the right type of fat and electrolytes such as potassium.
“Pistachios also appeal to those with a sweet tooth,” says Judy Hirigoyen, director of Global Marketing at American Pistachio Growers. “Whether it’s ice cream, cake or tarts, pistachio-inspired desserts will win over anyone you prepare them for.”
Saffron and Vanilla Pistachios
by Chef Grant MacPherson
1 pound American pistachios, in-shell
1.5 ounces Spanish saffron, steeped in cold water
2 vanilla beans, scraped
2 tablespoons canola oil
Sea salt to taste
Warm canola oil in roasting pan or wok on your stove top, add pistachios and lightly toast. Add saffron, with some liquid to coat the pistachios. Add the vanilla bean scrapings and stir to incorporate; season with sea salt to taste. Remove from heat and serve warm in the dish of your choice.