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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Easy Pilaf Fixings to Brighten Up Your Rice


I get bored with just plain rice when I am serving up a meal. Unless there is lots of sauce with the entree the rice really needs to have its own flavors to be palatable. As a discrete part of the meal I believe it should be visually attractive and that attractiveness should also have the goal of adding taste and dimension to the rice, regardless of what type of rice you are preparing. What you add to your rice does need to add a lot of calories. It is easy to use grated fruit rinds and spices without adding any big calories. Here is an example:

Orange Rice:
Cook Rice for 4 (preferably brown rice)
Add to the rice: 1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger.
Calories: 108 per 1/2 cup serving

Crunchy and Bright Rice:
Cook Rice for 4 (preferably brown rice)
Add to the rice: 2 tablespoons minced celery, 1/2 teaspoon lemon rind, and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon lavender
Calories: 108 per 1/2 cup serving

Confetti Rice:
Cook Rice for 4 (preferably brown rice)
Add to the rice: 1 tablespoon chopped red pepper, 1 tablespoon chopped yellow pepper, 1 tablespoon chopped orange pepper
Calories: 110 per 1/2 cup serving

Fresh Herb Rice:
Cook Rice for 4 (preferably brown rice)
Add to the rice: 1 garlic glove minced (this can be cooked with the rice), 2 tablespoons green onions thinly sliced, 2 tablespoons fresh basil minced, 1 teaspoon fresh thyme minced,
Calories: 110 per 1/2 cup serving

Fresh Herb & Cheese Rice:
Cook Rice for 4 (preferably brown rice)
Add to the rice: 1 garlic glove minced (this can be cooked with the rice), 2 tablespoons green onions thinly sliced, 2 tablespoons fresh basil minced, 1 teaspoon fresh thyme minced, 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Calories: 115 per 1/2 cup serving

Tomato flavored Rice:
Cook Rice for 4 (preferably brown rice)
Add to the rice: 1 1/2 tablespoon julienned dried totmatoes, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley and 1/2 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning
Calories:  115 per 1/2 cup serving

Curried Rice:
Cook Rice for 4 (preferably brown rice)
Add to the rice: 1/2 teaspoon curry powder, 2 tablespoons raisins, 2 chopped green onions
Calories:124 calories per 1/2 cup serving

Saffron Rice:
Cook Rice for 4 (preferably brown rice)
Add to the rice: 1/2 teaspoon saffron, 2 tablespoons raisins, 2 chopped green onions
Calories:124 calories per 1/2 cup serving

Nutty Rice:
Cook Rice for 4 (preferably brown rice)
Add to the rice: 2 tablespoons roasted pecans chopped, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Calories: 142 per 1/2 cup serving

Fruit & Nutty Rice:
Cook Rice for 4 (preferably brown rice)
Add to the rice: 1 tablespoons roasted pecans chopped, 1 tablespoon raisins, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Calories: 142 per 1/2 cup serving

As you can see, it is easy and fun to create pilafs. For no additional calories but a lot of visual and flavor "pop" you can add fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, mint or basil or any number of dried herbs. Fruit rind is also an easy and colorful addition with no calorie consequence. For a few additional calories you can add dried fruits and nuts to enhance any number of meals.

Have fun and discover some of your own fun pilafs that are healthy and enhance the meals you prepare.