So remember a while ago when I got to go to a cooking presentation by celebrity Chef Lynn Crawford?
Well I was invited to another one this time by celebrity Chef John Higgins. Sadly though this one was virtual.
He was pretty entertaining to watch. His accent had me guessing what he was saying half the time and he would get off track on one topic then stop to cook something and completely forget what he was saying. When he called sriracha sauce “hipster sauce” I just about died laughing.
I learned some good tips from Chef John about cooking with rice. The topic of this cooking demo was Minute Rice.
“Available in two varieties – Premium Long Grain White Rice and Premium Whole Grain Brown Rice – Minute Rice® takes only five minutes to prepare for white rice and 10 minutes for brown rice.”
Of course the question a lot of people have about minute rice is, is it as healthy? The answer is actually yes. To make minute rice they simply cook the rice beforehand and dehydrate it. This reduces the cooking time when we prepare it. You are eating the same rice but paying for the convenience of less cooking time.
Truthfully, I’m not very creative with rice. I usually cook it with just water and eat with soy sauce or in a stirfry. Chef John really taught me that rice can be used in a variety of ways beyond the traditional stirfry.
His top suggestions for flavouring rice:
- Boil in broth
- Cook in coconut milk
- Add seasonings & spices to the cooking water to better flavour your rice rather than adding seasoning at the end
- Add veggies
- Steep with tea – he suggested using steeped tea as your water for cooking rice. His favourites included chamomile, English Breakfast & Earl Grey.
- Add zest of citrus fruits into the cooking water of your rice
He also had some unique recipes to share including this Veggie rice Lasagna Loaf.
- 2 cups Minute Rice® Instant Premium Long Grain White Rice
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, good quality, if possible
- 2 tbsp 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 garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cups light ricotta or cottage cheese
- 1 cup zucchini, sliced
- 1 jar (24 oz/700 ml) prepared marinara or home-made pasta sauce
- 2 cups shredded low fat Mozzarella cheese
- 2 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
Now for the fun part. Minute rice is giving one lucky Canadian winner 12 boxes of minute rice! Contest will run until May 12 at 5pm EST. Winner will be announced May 13.