Today’s post is exciting for me since it’s my first time participating in the Recipe ReDux. I love the Recipe ReDux because it was founded by fellow registered dietitians with a mentality much like my own – that nutritious food can be delicious, too.
I’m pretty much always “reduxing” my recipes but this time it’s a challenge because the theme is chosen by moderators. This month’s theme is The First Shoots of Spring.
I was happy when I found out this was my first theme because I thought it was going to be SOOO easy. Garlic and chives. Done. I was going to redux those buttery garlic biscuits they serve to people, in excess, at the Red Lobster. There’s 150 calories and 8 grams of fat in ONE of those tiny biscuits. And they give you all you can eat, plus a few more to take home.
As it turns out, all that butter and cheese serves a purpose in those biscuits. No matter what I tried, my healthy biscuits came out like dry, ugly pucks. In my defense, I am not a baker. I’m sure someone else could have come up with something much better but after 2 tries at whole wheat, low fat biscuits, I threw in the towel.
And tossed a couple biscuit pucks to the dog.
brief moment of panic I remember another (not-so-healthy) Spring recipe from my repertoire. A long time ago I saw this recipe for Spring Risotto in a magazine. It calls for Minute Rice* and lots of butter and oil. The only reason I even made it was because I had an unopened box of Minute Rice in the cupboard that my husband bought. He doesn’t know any better, it’s not his fault. I never tried altering the recipe before because of the drastic difference in cooking time. Until now.
Why didn’t I ever redux this before?! The end result was even creamier and more flavorful than the original. Even after a drastic reduction in the amount of fat. Goodbye Minute Rice. Of course, this brown rice version is more time consuming so you just need to get started on it earlier. It’s well worth the effort.
*Rice is loaded with water-soluble B vitamins. That means they dissolve into the cooking water. This is why rice should be cooked in a precise amount of water with the lid on to trap the vitamins trying to escape in steam. Minute Rice is parboiled and dried, after which, all that cooking water is gone. Minute Rice (or instant rice) is the least nutritionally sound of all rice. Also, brown rice has more nutrients and fiber than any white rice because it retains the bran and germ – where many of the vitamins and minerals are found.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ½ Vidalia onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup brown rice
- 2 cups chicken broth
- ¼ cup 1% milk
- 1 bunch fresh asparagus, cut into 1-2 inch pieces using only the top ¾ of stalk
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat.
- Add the garlic and onions and cook 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
- Add the rice and toss to coat.
- Slowly, mix in the broth.
- Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 50 minutes.
- Stir in the asparagus and ¼ cup milk and continue to cook for 10 minutes.
- Let sit for a few minutes. Then season with salt, pepper, and mix in the Parmesan cheese.
- Serve with additional cheese for topping if desired.