Brown Rice Pilaf

Brown Rice Pilaf

Brown Rice Pilaf

In my attempts to add more fibre and whole grains to our diet, I’ve turned to brown rice.  Brown rice is unpolished rice, with only the husk removed.  Up until fairly recent I did not cook brown rice because it seemed to take a long while to cook.   Now, however, there are several ways to get this wholesome grain into your diet without the time involved in cooking it.  It is available in a package as pre-cooked and only involves heating it up in the microwave (such as Uncle Ben’s).  This same company also makes a boil-in-the-bag brown rice that only takes 10 minutes to cook.  With this kind of convenience, there is no reason to avoid brown rice any longer.

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This recipe for rice pilaf using brown rice included two additional ingredients that I particularly love:  mushrooms and leeks.  Nuts may also be added such as almonds or pecans, providing a little additional crunch.  Rice pilaf is a great go-with served with just about any kind of meat or fish, or as a side dish in a meatless meal.  Using the rice as a base you can add whatever additional ingredients suit your fancy and turn out a dish that is nutritious and enjoyable all rolled into one.

BROWN RICE PILAF WITH ALMONDS

Yield:   Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8.8 oz.) package pre-cooked whole-grain brown rice, or a bag of boil-in-the-bag brown rice
  • 2 tsp. olive oilIMG_0142
  • 1 medium size leek, sliced white and light green parts
  • 2 cups shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 Tbsp. sliced almonds
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper

Directions:

Cook the brown rice according to package directions.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the olive oil to the pan and swirl to coat.  Add the thinly sliced leek and the mushrooms and sauté for 4 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.

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Add 1/4 cup water, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.  Stir in the almonds, salt and pepper.

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Stir in the cooked rice, and stir to blend.

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Transfer to serving dish.

Brown Rice Pilaf with Almonds

Brown Rice Pilaf with Almonds

SOURCE:   Cooking Light

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Stuffed is a Good Thing

What does it mean to be “stuffed”?  Is it good or bad?  Actually, it’s both.

Stuff is a word that has ancient origins, originally pertaining to cloth, but its meaning has changed over time with some interesting applications.  Take the following phrases for instance:

stuff it—expresses rejection

and stuff—additional things, i.e. she had lots of furniture and other stuff

be stuffed up—nasal congestion as with a cold

fill out the skin of a dead animal–stuffed parrot

to over eat–to stuff yourself  (as in Thanksgiving)

to fill a receptacle or cavity–a stuffed toy or the turkey

Since the year 2000 the word stuff  has had an increase in usage usually connected to other words like cool stuff, new stuff, great stuff,  etc.

Well, today’s recipe is about filling a cavity with some really cool stuff.  I’m sure you will like it so well that you will stuff yourself after which time if someone were to offer you another serving you would tell them to go “stuff it”.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Stuffed Acorn Squash

STUFFED ACORN SQUASH

Yield:   Serves 4

Ingredients:

I used a package of convience rice, precooked.

I used a package of convience rice, precooked.

  • 2 Acorn squash, halved lengthwise, seeds removed
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. dried rubbed sage
  • coarse salt and pepper
  • 1 box (6-oz.) wild rice blend (seasoning packet discarded)
  • 1/2 cup cried cherries or cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, chopped ( I used sliced almonds)

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 450*F.  On a rimmed baking sheet, arrange squash halves cut side down.  Cover tightly with foil.  Roast till tender when pierced, about 40 minutes.

2.  Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat butter over medium heat.  Add shallot, garlic, and sage.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, till tender, 3 – 5 minutes.  Add rice and 1 3/4 cup water;  Bring to boil, cover, and reduce heat to low.  Cook until tender without stirring, about 25 minutes.**

3.  Remove rice from heat and stir in cherries and pecans.  Season with salt and pepper.  Season the inside of each squash half with salt and pepper.

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Mound stuffing into cavities of squash, dividing evenly and serve while hot.

Squash half, filled with rice stuffing.

Squash half, filled with rice stuffing.

**Instead of using wild rice, I used a package of precooked rice, intended for the microwave, but cut it  open and heated it in the skillet with the shallot and garlic, plus a little chicken broth to moisten it.  I’ve recently discovered these packages of rice by Uncle Ben’s.   They are the perfect amount for two people, and saves lengthy cooking time for long-grain rice.

SOURCE:  Martha Stewart.com