By Cheryl Radkiewicz
All you need is a box or bag of rice and “Voila!”, you’re on your way to create any part of a meal. From appetizers to side dishes to main meals to dessert…it’s rice to the rescue!
The USA Rice Council lauds rice as being not only economical and versatile, but also free of cholesterol, fat and sodium.
So this month, we’re looking at a variety of uses to perk up your menus for each part of your day.
Fruit Rice Cakes:
6 rice cakes
1/4 cup light cream cheese, softened
1 can (11 oz) mandarin oranges, drained
1/2 cup fresh sliced strawberries
Top rice cake with cream cheese, then with fresh fruit. Serves 6.
Bleu Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms:
20 large fresh mushrooms
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup finely chopped red pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup crumbled bleu cheese
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
1 Tbsp. minced fresh basil
1/8 tsp. ground white pepper
Clean mushrooms with damp paper towel. Remove stems, finely chop stems and set aside. Saute’ mushroom caps in butter in skillet. Add cream; bring to boil. Reduce heat and add cheese; cook until melted.
Stir in rice, basil and pepper; cook until thoroughly heated. spoon rice mixture into mushroom caps. Place mushroom caps in greased shallow baking pan. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain on paper towels. Makes 20 appetizers.
Fajita Rice Salad:
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 lb. beef skirt steak, top round or flank steak
2 cups cooked rice, cooled to room temperature
3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1- 2 1/4 oz. can sliced ripe olives, drained
1/4 cup sliced green onions
4 flour tortillas, cut into wedges and fried until crisp
1/2 head lettuce, shredded
3/4 cup picante sauce
1/2 cup sour cream
Combine lime juice, oil, garlic, onion powder, cumin, salt and pepper in shallow baking dish; add beef. Cover and marinate in refrigerator, stirring occasionally, 4 hours or overnight. Remove beef from marinade; grill or broil beef as desired, basting with remaining marinade, 10-12 minutes or to desired doneness. Slice meat diagonally into bite-size pieces or strips.
Combine rice, tomatoes, cheese, olives, and onions in large bowl. Arrange mixture on shredded lettuce. Place beef on top. Serve with crisp tortilla wedges, picante sauce and sour cream. Serves 4.
Chicken with Rice:
4 Tbsp. olive oil
1-3 lb. frying chicken, cut into 8 pieces and skin removed
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, and chopped
2 Tbsp. capers
1/4 cup small pimiento-stuffed olives
1 cup prepared tomato sauce
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups rice, uncooked
4 1/2 cups chicken broth
In stockpot or Dutch oven large enough to hold all ingredients, heat oil and brown chicken on all sides. Cover, lower heat, and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add onion and green pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Add capers, olives, tomato sauce, oregano, pepper flakes and garlic and cook for another 5 minutes.
Add the 3 cups of rice and stir mixture well. Add chicken broth and stir. Cover pot, reduce heat, and simmer for approximately 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Serves 6.
Walnut Risotto with Roasted Asparagus:
5 cups low-salt chicken broth
3 tsp. olive oil, divided
1/3 cup onions, chopped
1 1/4 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 lb. asparagus, tough ends trimmed
1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup toasted walnuts, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bring broth to simmer in medium saucepan. Cover and remove from heat. Heat 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add onion and saute’ until light golden, about 4 minutes. Add rice and stir 1 minute. Add wine and stir until wine evaporates, about 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup hot broth and cook until liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently. Continue adding more broth, 1/2 cupful at a time, until rice is tender and creamy, stirring frequently and allowing most of broth to be absorbed before adding more, about 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, place asparagus and garlic in shallow baking dish and drizzle with remaining 1 1/2 tsp. oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast until tender, turning occasionally, about 15 minutes.
Mix walnuts and grated Parmesan into risotto. Season again with salt and pepper. Arrange roasted asparagus on plate and top with risotto. Serves 4.
2 cups cooked rice
1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup whipping cream, whipped
1 prepared (6 oz.) chocolate crumb crust
1/4 cup fudge sauce
Combine rice, marshmallows, and milk in 2-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat until thick and creamy, 6-8 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla; cool. Fold in whipped cream. Spoon into crust. Chill at least 3 hours. Drizzle with warm fudge sauce before serving. Serves 6.
Creamy Rice Pudding:
1/2 cup raw rice (River white rice)
1 qt. milk
1 cup sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
Soak rice in a little water until water is absorbed. Add milk, egg, sugar and salt; cook on low flame, stirring constantly until mixture becomes fairly thick and creamy and rice is cooked. Remove from heat. Add vanilla. Stir. Sprinkle with cinnamon. It will thicken as it cools in refrigerator.