I’m going to level with you here: when most recipes call for rice, I have absolutely no shame in grabbing a box of Minute Rice. Like most, I just don’t have the time to put into making a perfectly cooked batch of rice and I don’t own a rice cooker.
For years and years, food recipes and chefs have told us that anything instant, frozen or canned is a huge no-no when cooking things from scratch. But the reality of the situation is when we’re trying to balance between our busy day-to-day lives and eating a hearty home-cooked meal, sometimes it’s unavoidable to purchase items that fall into those categories.
So when I got an invite to a cooking demonstration by Minute Rice lead by Chef John Higgins, Director of the George Brown Chef School and judge on Chopped Canada, I had to be there! One of the biggest thing that I learned from the demonstration was Minute Rice isn’t so bad.
It’s true! There are lots of different ways to transform your grain from boring side dish to marvellous main or delicious dessert. It’s simple! Chef John gave us some deadly easy and quick tips that you can make Minute Rice pop for your everyday meals:
- Try boiling your rice in different stocks (chicken or beef broth)
- Try boiling your rice in coconut milk to give it more of an aromatic flavour
- Sweeten up your rice dish with either fresh fruit or sautéed fruits, like oranges, cranberries, apples or pears.
- Add lemon or orange zest to your rice water while it’s boiling to give it a mild citrus flavour
- Try steeping your rice in tea
These are just a few of the ways to change how you can cook with Minute Rice, but the possibilities are endless! With those tips and tricks in mind, it was time to put our money where our mouth is and see just how easy it was. Answer: so easy.
Alongside Chef John Higgins, we made the Pear and Cranberry Rice Pudding with Chocolate Crunchies and watched how to make the the Veggie Rice Lasagna Loaf. The rice lasagna was full of great flavours, super quick and easy to make (15 minute prep time, 20 minutes cooking – recipe below). This dish would be great as an easy weekday impressive dinner with the rice simply replaces the lasagna noodles. Whereas the rice pudding was quick, simple and delicious. Pack those up into mason jars (for cute presentation and easy clean-up) and you’ve got a great snack.
Veggie Rice Lasagna Loaf
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
“Contrary to common misconceptions, instant rice is as nutritious as long cook rice,” said Norma D’Onofrio, Senior Brand Manager, Minute Rice, explaining that instant rice is long grain rice that is simply pre-cooked, and then dried, in order to significantly cut down on the cooking time required by consumers. Minute Rice takes only five minutes to prepare for white rice and 10 minutes for brown rice.
So I think we all know, Minute Rice is super convenient and quick and it’s not really difficult to screw up. When you have one less thing to worry about in the kitchen, it gives you more time to experience other things in life – like more food – or even just spending more time doing rad things!
But if you want to try some of these Minute Rice tip and tricks for yourself, not to fret. We have a contest for you to win a case of 12 boxes of Minute Rice 100% Natural Instant Rice, valued at $60, opened to Canadian resident only.
The contest runs from Monday May 18 until Sunday May 24 at 5PM EST. Winners will be notified of their win 24 hours after contest close via social media.
How to enter:
Like Fat Girl Food Squad on Facebook
Like Minute Rice Canada on Facebook
Tweet the following to @fatgrlfoodsquad: This will only take a minute but I want those 12 boxes of #MinuteRice, @FatGrlFoodSquad! Hook me up! #MinuteRicexFGFS
Good luck!Tags: contest, dinner, easy cooking, food hacks, grains, home cooking, homecook, Lasagna, Meal Tips, minute rice, Recipes, Rice Pudding, tips and tricks