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Every night it's the same what to make along your chicken and broccoli broccoli (brŏk`əlē) [Ital.,=sprouts], variety of cabbage grown for the edible immature flower panicles. It is the same variety (Brassica oleracea botrytis) as the cauliflower and is similarly cultivated. ? If your entire side-dish repertoire consists of white rice, noodles noo·dle 1  
A narrow, ribbonlike strip of dried dough, usually made of flour, eggs, and water.

[German Nudel.
, and potatoes, you may be pushing your cart through the rice-and-grains aisle too quickly. Uncle Ben and Rice-A-Roni now share shelf space with a whole new world of mixes.

And what a world--healthy ingredients like black beans black bean

see castanospermum australe, erythrophleumchlorostachys.
 and lentils, bulgur bul·gur also bul·ghur  
Cracked wheat grains, often used in Middle Eastern dishes. Also called bulgur wheat.

[Ottoman Turkish bul
 and brown rice, dressed up to supply authentic flavors from Texas and Louisiana to the Caribbean and India. Most cook up in less than 30 minutes and don't even need the tablespoon ta·ble·spoon
Abbr. T, tbsp. A measure of about 3 teaspoons or 15 milliliters.


a household unit of volume or capacity; equivalent to three teaspoons or approximately 15 milliliters; in metric
 or so of oil, margarine, or butter that the box may ask for.

But exotic flavors (not to mention everyday ones) can come with a price. If you're not careful, that cup of Knorr's Mushroom Italian Rices Noun 1. Italian rice - rice cooked with broth and sprinkled with grated cheese

dish - a particular item of prepared food; "she prepared a special dish for dinner"
 Risotto ri·sot·to  
n. pl. ri·sot·tos
A dish of rice cooked in broth, usually with saffron, and served with grated cheese.

[Italian, from riso, rice, from Old Italian; see rice.
, Rice-A-Roni Fried Rice, or Whatever can use up half your day's sodium quota.

Solution 1. Cook your grains from scratch. It'll save you a bundle and you can load up on vegetables and cut the salt. (For recipes, see p. 12.)

Solution 2. Take this little guide to the store with you. We've checked out every brand from Arrowhead arrowhead, any plant of the genus Sagittaria, widely distributed marsh or aquatic herbs of the primitive family Alismataceae (water-plantain family). The name derives from the arrowhead-shaped leaves of many species.  Mills to Zatarain's. Our goal: to find the mixes with the most flavor and fiber and the least sodium.

Our Best Bites manage to squeeze at least four grams of fiber into every cup while keeping the sodium down to 480 milligrams or less. That much fiber means whole grains or rice plus beans or lentils. And that means extra vitamins and minerals and phytochemicals that may cut the risk of cancer and heart disease.

We gave Honorable Mentions to mixes with less than four grams of fiber, as long as they kept the sodium to no more than 480 mg. In a category dominated for generations by salty salt·y  
adj. salt·i·er, salt·i·est
1. Of, containing, or seasoned with salt.

2. Suggestive of the sea or sailing life.

3. Witty; pungent; earthy: salty humor.
 Rice-A-Roni, that's some feat.

Best of the Best

Fantastic (formerly Fantastic Foods) lives up to its name with its sweet and spicy Jamaican Rice and Beans Rice and beans, "arroz y habas" or "arroz con habichuelas" "arroz con frijoles" or similar in Spanish, "arroz e feijão" or "feijão com arroz", in Brazilian Portuguese, "du riz a pois/haricots" in French, and "diri ak pwa . Plumped up chunks of dehydrated de·hy·drate  
v. de·hy·drat·ed, de·hy·drat·ing, de·hy·drates
1. To remove water from; make anhydrous.

2. To preserve by removing water from (vegetables, for example).
 pineapple and tamarind tamarind (tăm`ərĭnd), tropical ornamental evergreen tree (Tamarindus indica) of the family Leguminosae (pulse family), native to Africa and probably to Asia, but now widely grown in the tropics.  add a tangy sweetness to the brown rice and black beans. And thanks to the blend of onions, garlic, and jalapeno peppers, you won't miss the sodium.

Chef Mark Miller of the Coyote Cafe in Santa Fe Santa Fe, city, Argentina
Santa Fe, city (1991 pop. 341,000), capital of Santa Fe prov., NE Argentina, a river port near the Paraná, with which it is connected by canal.
 uses an interesting mix of chilies and cilantro to perk up perk 1  
v. perked, perk·ing, perks

1. To stick up or jut out: dogs' ears that perk.

2. To carry oneself in a lively and jaunty manner.
 the Texmati rice and black beans in Rice Select Chef's Originals Smokey Cowboy Beans Cowboy beans is a bean dish popular in the United States. The dish consists of beans and ground beef in a sweet and tangy sauce. The flavor is similar to baked beans but with a southwestern twist.  and Rice. (You can safely disregard the "Hot" symbol on the package. We felt only a simmer.)

Lipton surprised us with its flavorful flavorful - flavour  Cajun Style with Beans, Rice & Sauce. Though we followed the "less fat" directions (translation: no margarine), we still ended up with a wonderful mildly spicy dish.

On the lentil lentil, leguminous Old World annual plant (Lens culinaris) with whitish or pale blue flowers. Its pods contain two greenish-brown or dark-colored seeds, also called lentils, which when fully ripe are ground into meal or used in soups and stews.  front, Lundberg's three One-Step Brown Rice and Lentil mixes (Chili (language) CHILI - D.L. Abt. A language for systems programming, based on ALGOL 60 with extensions for structures and type declarations.

["CHILI, An Algorithmic Language for Systems Programming", CHI-1014, Chi Corp, Sep 1975]
, Curry, and Garlic Basil) take nearly an hour to cook, but they're worth the wait. Each combines brown rice and fiber-packed lentils with a rich-tasting spice blend. The Curry is mild and a little on the sweet side, the Garlic Basil is Basil I (Basil the Macedonian) (băz`əl, bā`zəl), c.813–886, Byzantine emperor (867–86). His ancestors probably were Armenians or Slavs who settled in Macedonia. He became (c.856) the favorite of Emperor Michael III.  reminiscent of pesto sauce, and the Chili might be perfect for those who like just a hint of the hot stuff.

Gourmet Guru's Indian Lentil Pilaf was a bit bland, as was Casbah's Wheat Pilaf (the only Best Bite made of bulgur), but both might work well with a spicy stir-fry.

We didn't try Arrowhead Mills Wild Rice & Herbs and Vegetable Herb Quick Brown Rice.

MYOB "Mind your own business." See digispeak.

(chat) MYOB - mind your own business.

Ten Best Bites aren't many, especially when some mean a trip to the health food store. What to do? Turn to saltier mixes that have at least four grams of fiber in each cup. As long as the entire box has no more than 960 mg of sodium and the seasoning comes in a separate pouch--Goya, Zatarain's, Lipton Rice & Sauce, and a handful of other mixes don't--you can MYOB (Make Your Own Best Bite) by using only half the spices.

Most of the MYOBs we tried tasted plenty flavorful with half their seasoning, especially Near East's Creative Grains line, which includes delightful combinations of barley, brown rice, bulgur, and pearled pearled

a method of processing grain feeds to increase digestibility; the grain is hulled and broken into small, smooth, pearl-like pieces. A process more suited to human nutrition where the appearance of the grain is more important.
 (refined) wheat. The Roasted Pecan pecan: see hickory.

Nut and tree (Carya illinoinensis) of the walnut family, native to temperate North America. Occasionally reaching a height of about 160 ft (50 m), the tree has deeply furrowed bark and feather-shaped leaves.
 & Garlic, the Roasted Garlic, and the Chicken & Herbs didn't miss a beat when we cut the spice packet in half (using three-quarters of the packet would still have made a Best Bite out Verb 1. bite out - utter; "She bit out a curse"
let loose, let out, utter, emit - express audibly; utter sounds (not necessarily words); "She let out a big heavy sigh"; "He uttered strange sounds that nobody could understand"
 of either of the Garlic flavors).

Other MYOB stars included Lundberg's entire line of organic Quick Brown Rice. Three of the four flavors deliver five grams of fiber, and all are ready in under 20 minutes--warp speed for brown rice. And while Near East's Barley Pilaf, Lentil Pilaf, and Wheat Pilaf also lacked oomph, any of them would make an excellent partner for a spicy curry dish.

Even Uncle Ben made a respectable showing with two flavors from his Chef's Recipe line. His Traditional Red Beans Red bean can mean:
  • Azuki bean (Vigna angularis), most common in East Asia.
  • Rice bean (Vigna umbellata)
  • Any of various red varieties of the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris
 & Rice won raves with its pleasantly smoky flavor. A plus: the beans were firm and plentiful. And though his Caribbean Black Beans & Rice tasted fine, we couldn't find anything "Caribbean" in it.

Fantastic's New Orleans New Orleans (ôr`lēənz –lənz, ôrlēnz`), city (2006 pop. 187,525), coextensive with Orleans parish, SE La., between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain, 107 mi (172 km) by water from the river mouth; founded  Rice and Beans didn't register many "oohs" and "aahs" either, though it did have an intensely smoky taste.

We didn't try Near East Mediterranean Black (or Red) Beans & Rice Pilaf, Success Red Beans and Rice Red beans and rice is an emblematic dish of Louisiana Creole cuisine (not originally of Cajun cuisine), traditionally made on Mondays with red beans, vegetables (onion and celery), spices (thyme, cayenne pepper, and bay leaf), and pork bones left over from Sunday dinner, cooked , or Uncle Ben's
This article is not to be confused with Benjamin Parker, or Uncle Ben.

Uncle Ben’s is a brand name for parboiled (“converted”) rice and related food products. Owned by Mars, Inc. in the U.S.
 Chef's Recipe Spicy Cajun Beans & Rice.

BYOV BYOV Bring Your Own Venue
BYOV Bring Your Own Vibrator
BYOV Bring You Own Vegetable

No matter how delicious your "rice-and" mix is, dinner-in-a-box it's not. Take Chicken& Broccoli Rice-A-Roni. If the "Now Even More Broccoli" emblazoned on the package is true, we'd hate to see what it looked like before. There was barely a tablespoon of dehydrated broccoli in the whole box, despite the beautiful florets pictured on the front.

And the lovely drawings on the box of Lundberg's Wild & Mushroom Quick Brown Rice must be what natural mushroom flavor looks like, because that's as close as the ingredient list gets to mushrooms.

What to do? BYOV (Bring Your Own Vegetables). Cut up some fresh vegetables and toss them in your pilaf, or steam or saute sau·té  
tr.v. sau·téed, sau·té·ing, sau·tés
To fry lightly in fat in a shallow open pan.

A dish of food so prepared.
 some asparagus asparagus, perennial garden vegetable (Asparagus officinalis) of the family Liliaceae (lily family), native to the E Mediterranean area and now naturalized over much of the world. , broccoli, snap peas snap pea
A variety of snow pea cultivated for its plump crisp edible pod.

Noun 1. snap pea - variety of pea plant producing peas having crisp rounded edible pods
sugar snap pea
, spinach, or whatever to go alongside. That's the only way you'll end up with a meaningful amount of vegetables in your mix.


Best Bites (##) have at least four grams of fiber and no more than 480 mg of sodium in a one-cup serving. That's about 60 grams of most mixes, before cooking. (For mixes that list a serving size smaller than 45 grams, we increased the serving to 60 grams.) Make Your Own Best Bites (*) have at least four grams of fiber, a separate spice packet, and no more than 960 mg of sodium (that way, they'll have no more than 480 mg if you use half the packet). Honorable Mentions (#) have no fiber minimum, as long as they have no more than 480 mg of sodium. All the numbers in the chart are for the mixes prepared with no added margarine, oil, or butter, even if the instructions call for them. Mixes are ranked from most to least fiber, then least to most sodium.
Grain Mix (1 cup, cooked)
                                               Fiber     Sodium
     4 or more grams of fiber       Calories   (grams)    (mg)

 (*) Fantastic New Orleans Rice
      and Beans                       200         9         510
     Zatarain's Red Beans & Rice      210         9       1,050
(##) Fantastic Jamaican Rice
      and Beans                       210         8         450
 (*) Success Red Beans & Rice         240         8         920
(##) Lipton Cajun Style with
      Beans, Rice & Sauce             260         7         460
 (*) Near East Chicken & Herbs
      Creative Grains                 240         6         760
     Mahatma Red Beans & Rice         190         6         790
 (*) Near East Mediterranean
      Black Bean & Rice Pilaf         260         6         820
(##) Gourmet Guru Indian Lentil
      Pilaf                           170         5         220
(##) Arrowhead Mills Vegetable
     Herb Quick Brown Rice            230         5         240
(##) Arrowhead Mills Wild Rice
      & Herbs Quick Brown Rice        220         5         350
(##) Lundberg One-Step Curry
      Brown Rice and Lentils          160         5         400
(##) Lundberg One-Step Chili
      Brown Rice and Lentils          180         5         420
(##) Lundberg One-Step Garlic
      Basil Brown Rice and
      Lentils                         160         5         480
 (*) Near East Roasted Garlic
      Creative Grains                 190         5         560
 (*) Near East Barley Pilaf           180         5         580
 (*) Near East Lentil Pilaf           170         5         610
 (*) Near East Wheat Pilaf            180         5         650
 (*) Lundberg Picante Spanish
      Fiesta Quick Brown Rice         260         5         670
 (*) Near East Red Beans & Rice
      Pilaf                           220         5         710
 (*) Lundberg Roasted Garlic
      Pesto Quick Brown Rice          260         5         830
 (*) Lundberg Savory Vegetarian
      Chicken Quick Brown Rice        260         5         910
     Mahatma Black Beans & Rice       200         5         930
     Uncle Ben's Chef's Recipe
      Zesty Southwestern Pinto
      Beans & Rice                    220         5         990
     Rice-A-Roni Red Beans & Rice     240         5       1,120
(##) Rice Select Chef's Originals
      Smokey Cowboy Beans and
      Rice                            180         4         340
(##) Casbah Wheat Pilaf               240         4         460
 (*) Near East Roasted Pecan &
      Garlic Creative Grains          210         4         530
     Fantastic Polenta                260         4         550
 (*) Uncle Ben's Chef's Recipe
      Traditional Red Beans &
      Rice                            210         4         740
 (*) Lundberg Exotic Wild &
      Mushroom Quick Brown Rice       260         4         800
     Goya Rice & Blackeye Peas        170         4         860
 (*) Uncle Ben's Chef's Recipe
      Caribbean Black Beans &
      Rice                            210         4         880
 (*) Uncle Ben's Chef's Recipe
      Spicy Cajun Beans & Rice        210         4         890
     Zatarain's Black Beans &
      Rice                            200         4       1,040

less than 4 grams of fiber

(#) Casbah Couscous (except
     Couscous Pilaf)(1)               230         3         420
(#) Near East Herbed Chicken
     Couscous                         190         3         440
(#) Near East Broccoli Couscous       190         3         460
(#) Near East Mediterranean
     Curry Couscous                   190         3         460
    Near East Tomato Lentil
     Couscous                         190         3         600
    Uncle Ben's Chef's Recipe
     Chicken & Harvest Vegetable
     Pilaf                            190         3         620
    Near East Creamy Parmesan
     Creative Grains                  240         3         770
    Wolff's Kasha Classics Savory
     Chicken                          260         3         980
(#) Casbah Lentil Pilaf               240         2         400
(#) Near East Toasted Pine Nut
     Couscous                         200         2         450
(#) Fantastic Couscous(1)             200         2         460
(#) Fantastic Rice Pilaf(1)           160         2         480
(#) Near East Roasted Garlic &
     Olive Oil Couscous               200         2         480
    Near East Parmesan Couscous       200         2         510
    Near East Brown Rice Pilaf        190         2         670
    Rice-A-Roni 1/3 Less Salt(1)      240         2         680
    Goya Rice & Pinto Beans           160         2         700
    Near East Long Grain & Wild
     Rice Pilaf                       190         2         770
    Near East Toasted Almond
     Pilaf                            200         2         780
    Lundberg Risotto(1)               190         2         800
    Near East Mediterranean
     Chicken & Wild Rice Pilaf        210         2         860
    Near East Spanish Rice Pilaf      190         2         890
    Rice-A-Roni (except 1/3 Less
     Salt anD Red Beans & Rice        240         2         990
    Beans & Rice)(1)                  210         2       1,000
(#) Marrakesh Express Couscous(1)     190         1         300
(#) Gourmet Guru Pilaf (except
     Indian Lentil Pilaf)(1)          170         1         320
(#) Rice Select Chef's Originals
     (except Smokey Cowboy
     Beans and Rice)(1)               170         1         370
(#) Casbah Rice Pilaf                 200         1         390
(#) Casbah Saffroned Jasmine Rice     200         1         390
(#) Thai Kitchen Pilaf(1)             210         1         390
(#) A Taste of Thai Rice(1)           180         1         400
(#) Goya Rice Primavera               160         1         410
(#) Casbah Spanish Pilaf              200         1         430
(#) Marrakesh Express European
     Wild Mushroom Risotto            210         1         450
(#) Casbah Couscous Pilaf             220         1         480
    Casbah Nutted Pilaf               190         1         500
    Uncle Ben's Chef's Recipe
     Curried Almond Rice              200         1         610
    Near East Curry Rice Pilaf        190         1         620
    Uncle Ben's Long Grain
     & Wild Rice(1)                   190         1         640
    Uncle Ben's Natural Select(1)     200         1         680
    Uncle Ben's (except Chef's
     Recipe, Long Grain & Wild,
     and Natural Select)(1)           200         1         730
    Uncle Ben's Chef's Recipe
     Broccoli Rice au Gratin
     Supreme                          200         1         790
    Lipton Seasoned Rice(1)           220         1         800
    Near East Rice Pilaf              190         1         820
    Lipton Rice & Sauce (except
     Cajun Style with Beans)(1)       220         1         850
    Near East Chicken Rice Pilaf      190         1         900
    Knorr Italian Rices
     Risotto(1)                       280         1       1,140
(#) Goya Mexican Style Rice           160         0         330
(#) Thai Kitchen Green or Red
     Curry Rice(1)                    230         0         350
(#) Marrakesh Express Three
     Cheese Risotto                   200         0         410
(#) Uncle Ben's Chef's Recipe
     Fine Herb Risotto                200         0         470
    Marrakesh Express Milanese
     with Saffron Risotto             220         0         590
    Fantastic Risotto(1)              210         0         630
    Knorr Pilaf Rices(1)              230         0         900
    Zatarain's Dirty Rice             210         0       1,070

(##) Best Bite. (#) Honorable Mention. (*) Make Your Own Best Bite (nutrition information is for mix prepared with the entire spice packet).

(1) Average (doesn't include unseasoned products--i.e., Uncle Ben's plain Converted Rice con·vert·ed rice
A white rice prepared from brown rice that has been soaked, steamed under pressure to force water-soluble nutrients into the starchy endosperm, and then dried and milled.

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Title Annotation:exotic flavors - grain mixes
Publication:Nutrition Action Healthletter
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Sep 1, 1999
Previous Article:Top That Grain.

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