I miss the early and mid-90′s when everything was good for you if it was fat free. It was a carb lover’s dream. Pasta, rice, bread – all fabulous as long as you didn’t put butter on them. Somewhere along the way, we realized that wasn’t the healthiest way to eat and I had to grudgingly give up eating rice, pasta, and bread as often. Everything in moderation. But we’ve also learned that whole grains are good. Brown rice started appearing on the shelves of the grocery stores. Uncle Ben’s Rice has gotten in the game.
Brown rice is a whole grain because the bran layer isn’t stripped (for white rice, they strip the bran layer). Leaving the bran layer intact means leaving a lot of fiber intact and a few other nutrients and minerals (e.g. magnesium, selenium, and zinc) that are lost when processing it into white rice.
We, like many families, are trying to incorporate more whole grains into our meals. I have stopped buying white rice except where it exists in a some mixes I buy (e.g. Zatarain’s Jambalaya mix) because switching to brown rice is such an easy change to make. When the Uncle Ben’s Brown Rice campaign came along, I was happy to sign up. We had tried the Ready Whole Grain Medleys that came out last year. (BTW Love, love, love those! The Santa Fe has brown rice, red and white wheat, and black beans. The Roasted Garlic has brown rice and red and black quinoa. You pop them in the microwave for 90 seconds and you have a whole grain side dish. Yum!) But I hadn’t noticed the varieties of brown rice they were offering.
My box arrived packed with Natural Whole Grain Brown Rice, Boil in Bag Whole Grain Brown Rice, and Fast & Natural Whole Grain Instant Brown Rice. I was especially excited to see the boil in bag variety because I often don’t decide what is for dinner in time to cook traditional rice. Boil in bag is ready in 10 minutes! We’ve had both the natural/regular and the boil in bag since my box of rice arrived. Both tasted great and were no more work than white rice to prepare. I haven’t made the instant yet because I’m not a fan of instant rice to eat as a side dish but it works great in things like stuffed peppers or sloppy joes so it will definitely get used. I also so some boxes to give away but because of shipping costs, I will gift it to local folks to try (sorry blog friends).
Last week, Publix has Uncle Ben’s on sale BOGO and with coupons I was able to pick up a couple boxes of the brown boil in bag rice for less than $.50 so we are stocked up for awhile.
Uncle Ben’s sent some recipes to try. I, sadly, haven’t tried any of them but I will definitely be trying the chicken and brown rice sloppy joes soon. I included photos of 2 of the ways I’ve used the rice. First was shredded chicken, peas, and a korma curry sauce over Traditional Natural Whole Grain Brown Rice. The second photo is a quick side dish I threw together to go with grilled chicken and a green salad. I used the Boil In Bag Whole Grain Brown Rice, a can of black beans rinsed, a box of frozen corn, and about a 1/2 cup of fresh salsa – threw it all together and YUM! I also used some brown rice in a soup but I didn’t get a photo.
I’ll leave you with a couple of ideas Uncle Ben’s sent for incorporating more whole grain brown rice into everyday meals:
* add cooked whole grain brown rice and blueberries to your whole grain pancake mix
* make your own veggie burgers with cooked whole grain brown rice, chopped veggies, cooked black beans, an egg, and chopped nuts
* use cooked whole grain brown rice in seafood cakes with tuna, salmon, or crab – makes a gluten free alternative to breadcrumbs or crackers
* try a high fiber risotto with by using whole grain brown rice instead of white rice – add veggies to increase nutritional value
Have you made the switch to brown rice? How do you try to incorporate whole grains into your families meals?
I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Uncle Ben’s and received samples to facilitate my candid review. Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate. Opinions are my own.