Who says you need serious chef skills to enjoy quick, easy and delicious meals at home? With a variety of ingredients in your pantry, refrigerator or freezer, anyone can create tasty dishes in their kitchen in no time at all. Want to learn how?
The key is learning to mix-and-match ingredients by using different stir-ins with your preferred grain base. With just a few simple components and your favorite variety of cooked Minute® Instant Rice or Ready to Serve products, you can have a tasty, hassle-free meal in minutes!
Start Off With A Grain Base
Like we’ve said, creating hearty meals at home is as simple as tossing together a few key ingredients that you likely already have in your kitchen, or that you can easily pick up at your local grocery store salad bar.
To start your meal off, prepare your choice of Minute® Instant Rice or Rice & Quinoa in just 5-10 minutes! To save even more time and help with meal prep, we suggest making a larger batch of grains and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Get creative and simply combine the ingredients on hand to constantly keep your taste buds interested with new flavors and ingredients using the same rice you love. But, if you’re really short on time, you can always use our Ready to Serve cups that heat in 90 seconds or less!
When your grain base is ready, choose some mix-ins like veggies, beans, corn or a protein such as chicken or tuna, and finish with a sauce or salsa that compliments your ingredients. This is a perfect opportunity to use up those leftovers you have stored in your fridge or reinvent last night’s dinner to please even the pickiest of eaters.
From Stir-Ins to a Full Meal
The beauty of these stir-ins is that you can top on as little or as much as you like of the ingredients you want, the choice is yours to enjoy a delicious meal without letting your food go to waste, it’s a win-win!
Not sure where to start? We’ve put together a few savory suggestions to combine ingredients like a pro and make you feel like a chef!
1. Italian Flavors are Always a Good Idea
If you’re anything like us, you’re a fan of tasty Italian flavors like herbs, sausage, rich and creamy tomato/cheese sauces, and so many different cheeses… Yum! Well, guess what? These are all perfect stir-in ingredients!
Start whipping up some Minute® Instant White or Jasmine Rice as your base, and go pizza style. Add some pepperoni slices or a bit of pre-cooked Italian sausage, some diced black olives, and mix it all up with store-bought marinara sauce and you’ve got yourself a delicious and satisfying meal in no time at all. We won’t tell anyone if you toss on a few extra helpings of your favorite cheese or meat.
Why add rice? Because the hearty grains contain nutrients and minerals and not to mention, are exceptional for combining all of the different flavors/ingredients you’re adding. So, you really can’t go wrong!
Try out a few Italian flavors and mix and match to create your own customized dish:
- Pesto sauce
- Alfredo sauce
- Shredded Parmesan or Mozzarella cheese
- Basil or Italian seasoning mix
- Green olives
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Ricotta cheese
Are you a lover of Italian flavor? Another helpful hint for stir-ins is to take inspiration from your favorite recipes like this Italian classic — Chicken Piccata. Start with a base of cooked chicken, your rice of choice, lemon juice, capers and some herbs and build from there!
2. It’s All Greek Flavor to Me
Step outside of your comfort zone and try a bit of Greek Mediterranean flavors for a simple lunch or dinner. Start by cooking your grain base in water that has been seasoned with a bit of olive oil, thyme and rosemary or even just a hint of lemon juice to give your rice base a zesty flavor.
Let the flavors of southern Europe transport you and your family to a sunny Greek Island no matter what time of year it is. Serve your rice and mix-ins in a bowl, on a plate or wrapped in lettuce leaf or pita bread.
If you’re craving Greek stir-ins, select a few of these ingredients and add to your grains, we’ll let you choose how much you want to add on:
- Olives (black, green or Kalamata)
- Feta cheese
- Veggies: zucchini, cucumber, tomatoes, caramelized onions
- Grilled chicken, store-bought gyro meat or ground beef
- Store-bought Tzatziki sauce or sour cream with Greek seasoning
- Hummus or cooked garbanzo beans
Not sure how to combine these stir-ins? This Mediterranean Tabbouleh Salad is a great starting point for learning how to mix and match Greek-style vegetables and flavors so you can decide which you want more or less of with a zesty lemon dressing on top or not!
3. Southern Cajun Cuisine
If you’re a fan of southern comfort flavors like this Red Beans and Rice recipe for example, you’re in luck. Experience the taste of Louisiana Cajun cooking from your own kitchen. You don’t have to spend hours over the stove to achieve that delicious New Orleans-inspired taste in your meals.
One way to give your dish a flavorful head start is to season the cooking water with a bouillon cube or use half water and half tomato sauce. Then all you need to do is toss in your favorite seasonings or savory ingredients like bacon, sausage or traditional cajun veggies like onions, peppers and celery.
Want more Southern Cajun flavors?
- Creole seasoning
- Chili powder or paprika
- Red beans
- Barbecue sauce
- Smoked Andouille sausage
4. Asian Flavors Coming Your Way
Who doesn’t love some quick Asian takeout? So flavorful and so delicious. And, if quick and easy is the main reason for dialing up your favorite Asian takeout restaurant for fried rice, try making your own dish with rice and stir-ins at home for an even faster meal, all while watching your wallet.
Cook up a large batch of Minute® Instant Jasmine Rice and try out a few other Asian-inspired stir-ins:
- Teriyaki, oyster or hoisin sauce
- Stir-fried, fresh or steamed veggies
- Ginger (ground or fresh)
- Chili sauce such as sriracha or chili garlic sauce
- Sesame oil
Did you know with a few of these stir ins you can even make more seemingly elaborate dishes in just 5 minutes? Take a hint from this Microwave Fried Rice dish and use some of the flavors above to build your own personalized meal in no time at all!
5. Visit Indian Flavors
Indian cuisine is at the top of the list when it comes to exploring flavors from different cultures. If you’ve never tried making a curry before, there’s no time like the present. We’ve made it easier than ever with our Minute® Ready to Serve Jasmine Rice or you could use our Ready to Serve Basmati Rice.
Get your Indian fix by combining your heated rice with a steamed veggie mix, curry or chutney, and some coconut milk. Don’t be surprised by your new found chef skills in the kitchen and how quickly plus easily you can whip up a tasty meal. We told you you didn’t need master chef skills to eat well at home.
Explore other Indian-inspired ingredients to add:
- Red chili powder
- Spices like cardamom, turmeric, saffron, cumin or cilantro
- Tikka masala sauce
- Butter chicken sauce
- Grated coconut
6. Think Mexican
Taco Tuesday is fine but every day is a great day for rice, right? Enjoy your favorite Mexican flavors any day of the week by using (you guessed it!) your favorite Mexican ingredients and rice! One quick and easy combo we suggest is to combine your favorite salsa, black beans, and a bit of shredded cheese with your cooked Minute® Instant Rice and grains. Super quick and full of flavor.
If you are on a time crunch, make sure to have some microwavable rice cups on hand. Simply pop in the microwave, combine with the stir-ins and voilá!
We all know is that there are countless Mexican-inspired ingredients that pair deliciously with rice, so get your grocery list ready and make sure to stock up your pantry with this selection of savory stir-ins:
- Pinto beans
- Black beans
- Green salsa
- Corn (canned, frozen or fresh off the cob)
- Chicken (fajita style suggested)
- Chorizo or spicy sausage
- Pico de Gallo
- Queso fresco, Oaxaca, Cotija Cheese
Take these Mexican stir ins with you, even on the go! Create your own Rice Bowl in just 5 minutes! Get some ideas from this Quick Burrito Bowl and start with our blend of Minute® Ready to Serve Southwest Pinto Beans and Rice or our instant rice Mexican rice as your base to get going on building your own personalized burrito on the go.
No matter what flavor combinations you like and no matter what your skill level, you can create simple and delicious meals just by using Minute® Rice and stirring in your favorite ingredients. Follow one of our stir-in combinations or get creative with what you already have in your kitchen, you can’t go wrong!