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Pat’s Pantry: Rice

By Pat Mills

Rice has fed more people over a longer period of time than any other crop. And why not – it can be the main course, side dish or dessert. Try some of these tasty dishes for your next meal. – Pat

Spicy Spanish rice

1 cup uncooked long grain rice
1 small onion, chopped
1 can (2¼ oz) sliced ripe olives, drained
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cans (10 oz each) diced tomatoes and green chilies, undrained
1 cup water
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup (4 oz) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro, optional

In a greased 2-qt. baking dish, combine the rice, onion, olives, cumin, tomatoes, water and oil. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Stir in cheese, bake, uncovered, 10-15 minutes longer or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Stir in the cilantro if desired. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Parmesan rice pilaf

1 small onion, chopped
2 tablespoons plus 1½ teaspoons butter
1 cup uncooked instant rice
1 cup water
1 teaspoon beef bouillon granules
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
shaved Parmesan cheese, optional

In a small saucepan, sauté onion in butter until tender. Stir in the rice, water, bouillon, garlic powder and pepper; bring to a boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat; cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese. Garnish with shaved Parmesan cheese if desired. Yield: 2 servings.

Sausage rice casserole

½ pound bulk Italian sausage
¼ cup chopped onion
¼ cup chopped sweet red pepper
½ cup uncooked instant rice
¼ teaspoon dried basil
1 can (10 ¾ oz) condensed tomato soup, undiluted
¼ cup water
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

In a small skillet, cook the sausage, onion and red pepper over medium heat until sausage is no longer pink; drain.  Remove from the heat. Stir in the rice, basil, soup, water and ¼ cup cheese. Transfer to an ungreased 3-cup baking dish. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until rice is tender. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Yield: 2 servings.

Stovetop rice pudding

1½ cup water
¾ cup uncooked long grain rice
½ teaspoon salt
4 cups milk
½ cups sugar
2 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
cinnamon sticks and fresh fruit, optional

In a heavy saucepan, bring water to a boil over medium-high heat; stir in rice and salt. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Stir in milk and sugar. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat for 30-40 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat; stir in butter. Serve warm or chilled. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Garnish with cinnamon sticks and fruit if desired. Yield: 4-6 servings.

FOOD FACTS

• When peeling garlic, try rinsing the garlic in hot water first. The skin will come off easier.
• Use a fresh dishtowel after you clean up from handling meats or poultry, then throw it in the wash and don’t leave it sit out for further use.

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