Can you guess who the star was in tonight's dinner? Nope, not the pork that cooked all day in the crockpot, then baked in the oven to 'goo-ify' the bbq sauce. No... not the applesauce (yes Kristin, Granny's recipe ;o). That's right, it was the brown rice!
That just doesn't sound right, now does it? But it's true. When preparing the meal, I didn't know what to make to go along with the pork and apples. Plain brown rice just didn't have much appeal. I love brown rice, but normally I make it with curry, or jalapeno mango sausage, or with stir fried vegies. But tonight, I just wasn't prepared. I grew up eating similar meals to this, but with processed applesauce, and even worse, processed rice mixes. Farmhouse Herb & Butter was the family favorite for many years. It wasn't until I was married and cooking that they stopped making it (or at least I couldn't find it in the stores) so we switched to a cheddar broccoli mix. Jeff loved it, and I loved the convenience of simply throwing it in the microwave.
But those mixes are history for us now as many of you know I don't tolerate all the chemicals so well these days. We've moved on to the much healthier option of brown rice. But sometimes brown rice just seems bland.
That's why I was so excited tonight at how well this meal turned out. Earlier in the day I had cut into a mango that just wasn't juicy enough for my smoothie, so I had saved it thinking I'd just eat it later as a snack. (Yes, I realize I have a mango addiction....)
It ended up being the perfect addition to the rice! I also added some fresh garlic, chives and a mini pepper, both fresh from the garden. My bland brown rice that I had cooked was suddenly bursting with delicious, non packaged, flavors!
I am loving how much easier it is becoming to eat REAL foods. I hadn't ever realized just how many processed foods we had eaten, and the adjustment has definitely taken time. But I have learned that it really doesn't have to be that much more work, and we might even be saving some cash in the process. Keeping fresh food in the house is the key, and it really is rewarding when something turns out so much better than expected.... like the star tonight.... Mango Brown Rice. Yum!
What are some of your favorite brown rice recipes?