Last Friday, a few other bloggers and I were invited to the Milestone Culinary Arts Center in uptown Dallas, Texas for the unique and fun experience of learning ways to sneak vegetables into our children's meals from Missy Chase Lapine, The Sneaky Chef, using Uncle Ben's Whole Grain White Rice.
This my friends is where Amy of Living Locurto and I Heart Faces, Holly of BurbMom, Laurie of Tip Junkie, one other chica (I feel like a dimwit for not remembering her name), and I teamed up and made Pizza Rice Balls, using sweet potatoes and carrots as the secret vegetable ingredients.
Amy and Laurie played with each other's balls (Amy's were bigger than Laurie's) while I exclaimed on Twitter: I knew pizza had bones (the crust), but I never realized pizza had balls too!
And Mom Central called us Mom Influencers. Bet they wish they could take that back now!
The most important thing about these pizza rice balls came when we popped them out of the oven--how did they taste? They looked scrumptious, but dude I worked in a health food store in Idaho while I went to college and let me tell you this: Just because it looks good, doesn't mean it tastes good. Usually the better health food looks, the worse it tastes. Think my whole wheat bread that probably could be used as landscaping bricks.
The Pizza Rice Balls a la The Sneaky Chef Verdict--Delicious! And only 100 calories per serving (but who's counting calories, right?) Just for you, I'm adding the recipe to the bottom of this post.
We also tried out several other recipes by The Sneaky Chef using Uncle Ben's Whole Grain White Rice--a tuna cheese casserole, a pizza with rice crust, and Chocolate Rice Pudding.
Here's me, I mean The Sneaky Chef, stirring the pudding. What can I say? I'm a slacker.
I had a great time and it was fun meeting new people and learning new healthful recipes. Plus, I liked joking with the real chefs and complaining because there was no Dr Pepper in the house.
Now for the one thing besides how healthful and great tasting Uncle Ben's Whole Grain White Rice is that they want you to remember: Uncle Ben's Rice is the new black.
I probably couldn't have come up with a better slogan.
The Sneaky Chef's Pizza Rice Balls
2 cups UNCLE BEN'S® Whole Grain White Rice Sweet Tomato
1 whole medium sweet potato or yam, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 whole medium carrots, peeled and sliced into thick chunks
2 Tbsp. water
1 large egg
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 tsp dried oregano and/or basil
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/4 cup wheat germ or oat bran, divided
Marinara sauce, for serving, optional
1. Prepare the UNCLE BEN’S® Whole Grain White Rice Sweet Tomato as instructed on the box.
2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and generously spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
3. To make the Sneaky Chef Orange Puree, drain the carrots and sweet potatoes and put them in a food processor with two tablespoons of water. Puree on high until smooth – no pieces of vegetables showing. Stop occasionally to push the contents to the bottom. If necessary, use another tablespoon of water to smooth out the puree, but the less water, the better.
4. Whisk together the egg, 1⁄4 cup of the Parmesan cheese, the spices, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons Orange Puree, and 2 tablespoons of the oat bran or wheat germ.
5. Add cooked rice and mix well.
6. Pour remaining Parmesan and oat bran/wheat germ onto a plate and set aside.
7. Using damp hands, pinch off about 1 tablespoon of the rice mixture and shape into small balls. Roll each ball in the oat bran or wheat germ and Parmesan mixture, coating fully.
8. Gently place the rice balls on the prepared sheet; generously spray the tops of the balls with more cooking spray, and bake for 5 minutes.
9. Using a spatula to loosen, turn the rice balls over, and then return them to the oven for another 5 minutes to brown on the other side.
10.Serve with salt and pepper as a handheld side dish or dip in marinara sauce (with additional added White or Orange Puree, of course!).
Disclosure: Uncle Ben's gave me three boxes of their Whole Grain White Rice to take home with me, along with a cool little doodad, aka USB flash drive, in the shape of an Uncle Ben's rice box. I thought at first it was a Zippo, but I guess I was just having flashbacks to my teen years. Except my teen years included a lot of Hamburger Helper so I'm not sure where the rice box plays a part except that it is food in a box. We won't go into the lighter part. Well at least not today (ask me tomorrow). Oh, they gave me an apron too.
Also MomCentral asked me to include this verbiage: "I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Triscuit 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."