SOURCE: Uncle Ben's Rice

March 29, 2010 08:00 ET

Easter Entertaining With Whole Grain Recipes

Heart-Healthy Ideas the Whole Family Will Enjoy

MISSION, KS--(Marketwire - March 29, 2010) -  (Family Features) There's nothing quite like a delicious Easter dinner with the family -- except maybe one that's heart-healthy and full of whole grain benefits.

"It's great to gather around the dinner table and spend quality time with your family, but there's no need to break the bank on calories or raise cholesterol levels," said Michele Powers, R.D. and chef, on behalf of Uncle Ben's. "These recipes allow you to celebrate and not feel guilty the next day because each is heart-healthy and packed with tasty vegetables or fruit."

For more recipe ideas, visit

Other easy ideas to get whole grains on the dinner table
--Substitute: Instead of pasta, add whole grain rice to soup and chili, or when making casserole dishes.
--Salad Spin: Use whole grain rice in marinated grain salads.
--Stuff Your Vegetables: Use whole grain rice as a base for stuffed vegetables such as bell peppers, zucchini, portobello mushrooms, eggplant, tomatoes and artichokes.
--Combine Food Groups: Add whole grain rice to homemade meatballs to add flavor and fiber.
--Lower the Fat: To make a lower fat quiche, use brown rice for the crust instead of using a regular pie crust.
--Create a Pilaf: Cook brown rice in low-sodium broth and add toasted nuts and dried fruit.
--Mix and Match: Mix brown and white rice together to introduce whole grains to kids.
--Whole Grain Dessert: Make creamy rice pudding with whole grain rice for a tasty dessert.

Wild Rice Primavera
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 6

1 box (6 ounces) Uncle Ben's Long
    Grain & Wild Rice Original
3 1/2 cups fat-free, reduced sodium
    chicken broth, divided
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 cup baby carrots, cut into small
1 cup zucchini, cut into half moons
1 cup yellow squash, cut into half
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup asparagus, diced
  1. Empty the contents (rice and seasoning packet) of rice box into a saucepan along with 2 1/2 cups chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a separate skillet, heat the remaining cup of chicken broth over medium heat. Add garlic and Italian seasoning. Once steam begins to rise from the broth, add carrots, zucchini, squash and tomatoes and reduce heat slightly to medium-low, cover and heat for 5 minutes.
  3. Carefully remove the lid and add asparagus. Cover with lid and steam for another 2 minutes. Remove the lid and turn off the heat.
  4. Once the rice has cooked for 20 minutes, pour the rice into the skillet with the vegetables and toss to combine.

Tip: Serve this heart-healthy recipe with ham for a special family meal.

Mediterranean Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
Serves: 6 to 8, depending on the size of the mushrooms

1 cup Uncle Ben's Natural Whole
    Grain Brown Rice
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup green peppers, diced
2 cups low-fat, reduced sodium
    chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 can (2.25 ounces) sliced black olives,
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes cut into small
1 cup reduced fat feta cheese
1/4 cup parsley
6 to 8 portobello mushrooms
  1. In a saucepan, add oil over medium heat. Add onions and green peppers and brown slightly for about 3 minutes.
  2. Add brown rice and dried oregano along with 2 cups of low-fat chicken stock to pan and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lay 6 to 8 mushrooms on a baking sheet, top down. Remove the stems (if they have them) with a spoon.
  4. Continue to prepare the filling by stirring in black olives, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese and parsley into the cooked rice.
  5. Spoon equal portions of rice mixture onto the middle of each of the portobello mushrooms and bake for 12 to 15 minutes.
  6. Remove mushrooms with a spatula and serve.

Tip: Makes a delicious heart-healthy meal that everyone will enjoy. Great for entertaining!

Long Grain & Wild Rice, Lentil and Pomegranate Pilaf
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 8

1 box Uncle Ben's Long Grain & Wild
    Rice Herb Roasted Chicken
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 cup lentils, rinsed and picked over
3 cups water
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped
    dried cherries or fresh
    pomegranate seeds* from
    1 pomegranate
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts**
  1. Heat olive oil in a saucepan. Add onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic, spices, and lentils, stirring to evenly coat lentils. Add rice, seasoning packet and water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 25 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
  2. Fluff with a fork, stir in parsley, 1/2 cup dried cherries or pomegranate seeds and pine nuts. Garnish with remaining 2 tablespoons of dried cherries or pomegranate seeds. Serve hot.

*To de-seed a pomegranate, cut off the crown, about 1 inch. Score the pomegranate by cutting into the skin from bottom to top to make six sections. Soak the pomegranate in water for 5 minutes. Once soaked, break the fruit apart, letting the seeds sink to the bottom of the bowl. The skin and membrane will float to the top, discard. Strain seeds from the water.

**To toast pine nuts, preheat oven to 325°F. Spread nuts on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant.

Recipe created by Preston Bailey, event designer, for Uncle Ben's®.