It only takes a few key ingredients added to rice to maximize flavor and leave a lasting impression. ~ by Diane Boyd, MBA, RD, LDN
Disclosure: By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by USA Rice Federation and I am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.
March is a special month. It’s the month my colleagues and I get a little crazy… no I’m not talking March madness, I’m talking National Nutrition Month. Whoot! Whoot! Our theme this year incorporates food and behavior
Bite into a healthy lifestyle.
Here’s my first suggestion for an improved lifestyle:
Think U.S.- Grown Rice!
Yep, that’s it. No need to make this complicated. Rice is nutritious, sustainable, safe, locally-grown, and GMO-free! ( Look for the “Grown in the USA Rice” label on packaging.) Rice is also gluten free and the least allergenic of all grains, making it a great option for individuals with gluten sensitivity or intolerance. It’s so versatile and pairs well with the foods we all need to be eating more of: fruits, vegetables and lean protein. I’m smitten with the nutty taste of brown rice (especially in my Brown Rice and Pumpkin Risotto). Studies link whole grains, such as brown rice, to a reduced incidence of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and even some cancers. The rest of my family prefers white enriched rice (in dishes like my Copycat Ginger-Seasame Braised Chicken Meatballs). Here’s the good news: brown rice and white enriched rice are a desirable part of a healthy diet! Both are naturally low in sodium, cholesterol free, trans fat free, and contain only a trace of fat.
If I still haven’t convinced you to think U.S.- grown rice, let me ask you this, …. “faster is better, right?” So for a fast, casual meal, use rice as the base and top with lean protein such as: chicken, fish and/or seafood, lean beef, eggs, low fat cheese, or beans (for a high quality plant based protein). Today I’m using jasmine rice (my daughter’s favorite variety) to start the foundation of a meal that takes 30 minutes to prep and cook (not including marinating the chicken). My inspiration for this dish came when I purchased some dried mango on my weekly trip to Trader Joe’s. Here are the ingredients I used to make the coconut and mango jasmine rice my family is still raving about…
Dried mango gives the rice a little sweetness. Peanuts and coconut add a satisfying crunch. Topping it off with chicken satay complements the tastes and results in a meal that’s packed with protein, affordable, flavorful, and worthy of a special occasion. Now that’s a real slam dunk!
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1/3 cup lite coconut milk
- 1/4 cup honey
- 5 tablespoons lime juice (2-3 limes)
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- Supplies: bambo skewers
for the coconut & mango jasmine rice
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked U.S.-Grown Jasmine Rice
- 1/3 cup chopped dried mango
- 1/4 cup chopped salted peanuts
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- 1/4 cup toasted coconut flakes*
1. Soak bambo skewers in water while prepping ingredients.
2. Add ingredients peanut butter through garlic into a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Reserve 3/4 of sauce for serving and use remainder to marinate chicken tenders for about 2 hours.
3. Preheat grill to medium high.
4. Thread chicken onto skewers .
5. When grill is hot, (400 degrees F) place chicken on grill rack and grill 6-8 minutes per side or until chicken is beautifully charred. Garnish chicken with green onion.
for the jasmine rice
1. In a medium saucepan, bring water, olive oil and salt to a boil. Stir in jasmine rice; return to boil, stirring once. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 15 minutes or until water is absorbed and rice is tender.
2. Stir in dried mango, peanuts, and lime zest. Sprinkle with toasted coconut.
Serve chicken over a mound of rice with remaining peanut sauce on the side.
* TO TOAST COCONUT: Spread coconut flakes onto a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 5 to 10 minutes or until golden brown, stirring often.