Friday, June 4, 2010

Uncle Ben's at The Chopping Block

We're cookin' it up Chicago Style!

Last week, I got the chance to meet some awesome bloggers and participate in an event at Chicago's very own, Chopping Block (courtesy of Mom Central and Uncle Bens.) First of all, can I just say that The Chopping Block is a chef's DREAM?!? Appetizers, drinks, awesome music - it had it all. Not to mention everyone there was extremely friendly and helpful. By the way, if you live in the area, I would totally recommend checking out their cooking classes. They are available seven days a week and geared for every level of chef. ME WANT.

A few weeks back, I attended the Bread Art Project event sponsored by the National Grain's Council...and that got me thinking about how so many children in America are not getting the correct amount of whole grains in their diets. New Uncle Ben's Whole Grain White rice is the first and only whole grain rice that looks and tastes like white rice. The new product provides moms (and dads) with a secret weapon to incorporate whole grains at dinner. Made with natural ingredients and low in fat, Whole Grain White Rice combines the familiar taste, texture and cooking time of white rice with the goodness of whole grains. Just one serving of Uncle Ben's Whole Grain White Rice is a good source of fiber and nearly delivers the recommended daily amount of whole grains.

Ready to eat in just 10 minutes, this rice is the perfect meal-time solution for families that are time-crunched, but want to enjoy a complete, satisfying meal together. And, did you know that it comes in six different varieties: Long Grain White, Broccoli Cheddar, Creamy Chicken, Taco Style, Sweet Tomato and Garden Vegetable. Starting in July, the rice will be available at grocery stores nationwide.

So...if it looks like rice...then your kids won't eat it, right? Well, guess what? During this hands-on event, we made FOUR different recipes - all with "hidden" nutrition from the rice mixes! My favorite one is called "Uncle Ben's Sneaky Chef Chicken Parmesan Casserole." And, I'm going to share the recipe with you!

4 C. Uncle Ben's Whole Grain White Rice Cream Chicken, cooked (2 boxes)
1 med. sweet potato
3 carrots
3 to 4 T water
2 c. cubed, roasted or rotisserie chicken, ideally white meat

2 c. store bought tomato sauce or marinara
3 c. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese

1. Prepare rice as instructed on box.

2. Preheat oven to 375 and spray a 13 x 9 baking dish with non-stick spray.
3. Make Puree: Peel, chop and boil sweet potato and carrots for about 20 minutes until tender. Drain and add to food processor with 3 to 4 tablespoons of water and puree until smooth.
4. Place cooked rice and chicken in the prepared baking dish. Mix tomato sauce and 1 c. orange puree (or baby food carrots) in a bowl.

5. Toss chicken and rice with the sauce mixture and 1 c. of the mozzarella cheese. Top the casserole with a combination of the Parmesan and the remaining 2 cups of mozzarella cheese, sprinkling evenly over the top.
6. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover. Bake another 5 to 10 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and bubbly.
Recipe created by Missy Chase Lapine, author of The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals.

As if the event itself wasn't fantastic enough, they sent each of us home with all of THIS!
Don't worry - I've already shared it with two other families and donated some to the local food pantry. Gotta' pay it forward!

Oh! And while you are waiting for the rice to hit your local grocery store, enjoy THESE Uncle Ben's printable coupons!

Honest Blogger Found Here: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Uncle Bens and received the product necessary to facilitate my candid review. In addition, I received a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate. 100% my opinion.

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