|Pear and Cranberry Rice Pudding with Chocolate Crunchies|
|Photo courtesy of Minute Rice|
During the demonstration, Chef John Higgins prepared a delicious Veggie Rice Lasagna Loaf. We got to taste some at the end of the session and it was delicious. I really wanted to see what my boys would think of it so I brought mine home and had them try it. They both loved it! It's a dish you can assemble ahead of time and bake later on.
|Veggie Rice Lasagna Loaf (Photo courtesy of Minute Rice)|
Minute Rice® 100% Natural Instant Rice is available in Premium Long Grain White Rice and Premium Whole Grain Brown Rice. They are both very quick to cook making them perfect for busy weeknights.
|Photo courtesy of Minute Rice|
This was my first time working with Minute Rice®. We usually eat basmati rice which takes about 20 minutes to cook. With Minute Rice®, you boil the water, add the rice and cover, turn off the heat and in 5 minutes (10 minutes if you are using brown rice) you have wonderful cooked rice! Great for times when you realize last minute you need some rice.
In the Chef School, we prepared the Pear and Cranberry Rice Pudding. I loved the orange flavour in the rice pudding. The pudding thickens up as it sits so Chef Higgins suggested to use more milk than in the recipe below. My husband and I preferred not to top with the Chocolate Crunchies as we found it took away from the fresh flavour of the Pear and Cranberry Rice Pudding. But it is definitely something I would make again.
Besides the two recipes I am sharing with you today, there are so many ways to change up rice. The following are some great tips Chef Higgins shared for cooking rice.
Top 10 Rice Cooking Tips from Chef John Higgins, Director, George Brown Chef School
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. Low-sodium broths add a punch of flavour without the 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 your seasoning until the end. Introduce the flavours of your dish early on. For maximum flavour, add the herbs or spices your recipe calls for into the rice’s cooking water.
Add veggies: Enhance your rice dish by adding frozen vegetables. Rather than cooking the vegetables separately, though, condense your cooking time by adding them to boiling water before you begin cooking the rice. Using pre-cut, frozen vegetables is more convenient than cutting fresh vegetables (while still being nutritious), especially when you are pressed for time.
Sweeten with fruit: Add dried fruit – such as craisins, raisins, dried blueberries and currents – to your cooking water to draw out the sweet fruit flavours which will infuse your rice with a savoury taste the whole family will enjoy.
Try rice for breakfast: Instant rice in particular is quick and easy, making it a convenient and nutritious family option. Add almond or soy milk, or your kids’ favourite flavoured 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 fragrant, subtle gourmet taste. Steep a pot of tea and use the liquid to cook your rice instead of using plain water. For those less adventurous, start with a more simple flavour such as Earl Grey, English Breakfast or Chamomile tea. For an economical option, use the tea bag left over from your morning cup of tea.
Add zing with zest: For a zesty citrus spin on your rice dish, grate lemon, lime or orange zest into the rice’s cooking water as it’s boiling. Be sure to thoroughly wash your fruit with warm, soapy water before grating the zest into the water. For a more gourmet taste sensation, try a combination of citrus fruits in one rice dish.
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.
To get started on the recipes below, you can get a coupon for a box of Minute Rice HERE.
Pear and Cranberry Rice Pudding with Chocolate Crunchies
Recipe courtesy of Minute Rice®
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. 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).
2. Dice pear into even pieces.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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):
Veggie Rice Lasagna Loaf
Recipe courtesy of Minute Rice®
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 20 min
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
1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Prepare rice according to package directions. Stir in the parmesan cheese and reserve.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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
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