Last week I got to spend time in a professional kitchen with Chef John Higgins, Executive Chef of George Brown College and former personal Chef to the Queen Mother. The topic? Minute Rice. I learned lots of things besides the fact that I look great in a jauntily placed chef’s hat.
Did you know that Minute Rice is:
- As nutritious as long cook rice. It’s just cooked then dehydrated to cut down on the cooking time.
- 100% natural and Non-GMO Project verified
- Eponymously takes minutes to prepare. All you need is 5 for white and 10 for brown. Bam!
Chef Higgins’ shared some other great tips for cooking rice:
Boil in broth: When boiling rice, substitute water for broth to add flavour to the rice itself and your dish. Chicken broth, beef broth or vegetable stock are excellent choices, and low-sodium versions add flavour without added salt.
Try coconut: Cook rice in coconut milk for a mildly sweet flavoured rice which pairs well with curry dishes and other spicy recipes. Coconut flavoured rice with fresh slices of mango or your kids’ favourite fruit can make a fun, healthy dessert option.
Think flavour: Add spices to the rice’s cooking liquid for an aromatic and flavourful base to your dish. Star Anise, cilantro and turmeric are good choices, with bold, robust flavours.
Season early on: Don’t leave seasoning until the end. Introduce the flavours of your dish early on. For maximum flavour, add the herbs or spices into the rice’s cooking water.
Add veggies: Enhance a rice dish by adding frozen vegetables (as nutritious as fresh, but way faster). Speed everything up adding them to boiling water before you begin cooking the rice.
Sweeten with fruit: Add dried fruit – such as craisins, raisins, dried blueberries and currents – to cooking water to unfuse rice with sweet fruit flavours.
Try rice for breakfast: Instant rice is quick and easy, making it a convenient and nutritious option. Add almond or soy milk as well as dried fruits or nuts for a complete, oatmeal-like breakfast dish which can be served hot or cold. Prepare the rice the night before to save time in the morning.
Steep your rice: Infuse the rice with your favourite flavour of tea for a subtle, fragrant taste. Used steeped tea, such as as Earl Grey, English Breakfast or Chamomile as your rice cooking liquid. This is a great way to re-use your morning tea bag, by the way.
Add zing with zest: For a zesty citrus spin on your rice dish, grate lemon, lime or orange zest (or a heady combination thereof) into the rice’s cooking water as it’s boiling.
Cut cooking time: Risotto is a wonderful meal or side dish option enjoyed by all ages, but it takes time to make. Using instant rice in a risotto dish can cut in half the time it takes to make traditional risotto.
Buy from major retailers. Minute Rice® 100% Natural Instant Rice starts from $3.19 for 350g of instant white rice, and from $4.59 for 600g of instant whole grain brown rice.
Get a $1 coupon for Minute Rice® 100% Natural Instant Rice with by clicking here. Act fast! Coupons are limited!
More information and recipes can be found at www.minuterice.ca .
This is one of the recipes that Chef Higgins demonstrated for us. I love lasagne and this one was absolutely delicious. Plus, it’s really good looking. You could serve it to company. Make in a loaf pan or in individual baking dishes.
Veggie Rice Lasagna Loaf (serves 6)
Prep time: 10 minutes; Cook time: 20 minutes
2 cups (500 ml) Minute Rice® Instant Premium Long Grain White Rice
1/4 cup (60 ml) grated Parmesan cheese, good quality, if possible
2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
2 bunches green onions, chopped
1 pkg (10 oz/300 g) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed well to remove liquid
2 cloves (5 g) garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) light ricotta or cottage cheese
1 cup (200 g) zucchini, sliced
1 jar (24 oz/700 ml) prepared marinara or home-made pasta sauce
2 cups (500 ml) shredded low fat Mozzarella cheese
2 (145g) tomatoes, sliced
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Prepare rice according to package directions. Stir in the parmesan cheese and reserve.
- Place 15 ml of the olive oil in a warm pan, then add the chopped green onions, followed by the spinach, and season with garlic. Cook for one minute. Add salt and pepper, then allow to cool. Mix with ricotta cheese until combined.
- Place the rest of the olive oil in a non-stick pan. Add the sliced zucchini. Cook for 10 seconds on each side. Season to taste. Remove from the pan and place on a paper towel to absorb the oil and allow to cool.
- Spoon ¼ cup (60 ml) of the marinara sauce into a greased 8-inch (2L) square baking dish. Gently press half of the rice into the baking dish in an even layer; sprinkle with ½ cup (125 ml) mozzarella cheese. Spread half of the spinach mixture over the cheese.
- Top with half of the tomato and zucchini slices, overlapping as needed. Spoon half of the remaining marinara sauce over the slices. Repeat the layers, ending with the sauce.
- Sprinkle evenly with the remaining cheese and bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top. Let stand for 5 minutes before slicing.
Per serving (1/6 of recipe): 430 calories, 18g fat, 40mg cholesterol, 770mg sodium, 45g carbohydrate, 5g fibre, 9g sugars, 23g protein
We got our hands dirty and made our own rice pudding. Talk about yummy. I brought it home to my family and they devoured. it.
Pear and Cranberry Rice Pudding with Chocolate Crunchies (serves 4)
Prep Time: 10 min; Cook Time: 10 min
3/4 cup (175 ml) uncooked Minute Rice® Instant Premium Long Grain White Rice
2 tbsp (30 ml) dark or milk chocolate, chopped
2 tbsp (30 ml) Rice Chex cereal
2 tsp (10 ml) butter
1 tbsp (15 g) dried cranberries
4 tbsp (60 ml) sugar
1 can (175 ml) coconut milk
1 tbsp orange zest
pinch of salt
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla
1 orange, diced
- Melt chocolate in the microwave, using a ceramic or glass bowl, for 20 seconds. Mix in the Rice Chex cereal and stir to coat with chocolate. Transfer to a tray lined with wax paper, separating pieces to dry and cool down. (Place in refrigerator or freezer to cool quickly).
- Dice pear into even pieces.
- In a hot non-stick pan, cook the butter and diced pear for 5 minutes. Add 1 tbsp of sugar, followed by cranberries. Set aside and allow to cool.
- In a large saucepan, over medium-high heat, combine the coconut milk and rice, then add the 3 tbsp sugar and salt; bring to a boil. Add the orange zest, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring often for 10 minutes.
- In a bowl, beat the egg with the vanilla. Stir some of the hot rice mixture into the egg; then beat the warmed egg mixture back into the remaining rice mixture. Cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
- Place equal amounts of the pear mixture in the bottom of each serving dish, top with rice pudding, and then with mini marshmallows, chocolate-coated cereal, followed with the diced orange.
Tip: For a more gourmet presentation, top with additional pear cut into strips and fresh sprigs of mint.
Per serving (1/4 of recipe): 320 calories, 14g fat, 55mg cholesterol, 120mg sodium, 44g carbohydrate,
3g fibre, 24g sugars, 5g protein
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