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Healthy Eats and Repeat

Highlighting Food, Recipes, and Ideas for a Healthy Lifestyle
chicken fajitas

Little Grains: Brown Rice


While very mild in flavor, rice is one of my favorite grains. It makes a great base for stir-fries, adds bulk to soup, and takes on fun flavors with any seasoning you add. (I sometimes mix peanut butter into cooked rice for a quick side dish.)

Nutrition

A 1/4 cup of dry brown rice (which cooks up to around 3/4 cup) contains around 170 calories, 35g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, 3g protein, and contains other vitamins and minerals, including folate and magnesium. Brown rice contains a small amount of fat and sodium.

  • Buy: Regular, Instant, Parboiled?

Regular brown rice is the grain after the hull or husk has been removed. The rice tends to stick together when cooked.

Instant brown rice is regular brown rice that has been pre-cooked and dried. Thus, it takes little time to reheat, compared to cooking regular brown rice.

You might find parboiled brown rice in some stores. It is made by steaming and drying the rice. Once cooked, the rice is firm and less sticky than regular brown rice, and each grain stays separate from each other.

  • Price: Because makers of instant and parboiled brown rice do some work before it gets to you, the customer, these rices tend to be more expensive than regular brown rice. Buying single-cup or microwavable packets of rice are also high in price for the amount you get. Decide what fits in your budget and your plans for cooking.
  • Store: Store uncooked rice at room temperature in a cool, dark place. Rice can be stored in the refrigerator if desired. Since brown rice does have a small amount of fat, the rice may become rancid if not used after a long time.
  • Prepare: Packages of rice will provide cooking directions. Utah State University Extension has instructions on oven baked brown rice. I like to cook my regular brown rice like pasta, with lots of water. I find the rice is less likely to stick to the pot. Once cooked, refrigerate leftover rice within 2 hours.
  • Eat: Rice is commonly eaten as a side dish with a meal. Try making and refrigerating extra rice for fried rice or rice salads. Share how you like to cook with rice in the comments.

References:

Chicken Fajitas with Rice and Beans (Serves 6)

If you like spicier fajitas, add additional spices such as chili powder, cumin, black peppers, and cayenne pepper.

2 lbs chicken breast, cut into strips
2 large bell peppers (any color), cut into strips
2 medium onions, cut into strips
1 cup jarred salsa, divided
1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup brown rice (regular, instant, or parboiled)

1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook chicken until browned on the outside, stirring frequently. Add bell pepper slices, onion slices, and 3/4 cup of salsa to chicken. Stir to mix vegetables into meat. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally until vegetables are tender, around 10 minutes.
2. In a medium pot, add black beans, remaining 1/4 cup of salsa, and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Mixture will thicken as water evaporates; add more water as needed.
3. In another medium pot, cook rice according to directions.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 370 calories, 5g fat, 590mg sodium, 39g carbohydrate, 8g fiber, 41g protein



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