Michelle Smiles

Teaching my children to question authority, except mine.

Uncle Ben’s Brown Rice


I miss the early and mid-90’s when everything was good for you if it was fat free. It was a carb lover’s dream. Pasta, rice, bread – all fabulous as long as you didn’t put butter on them. Somewhere along the way, we realized that wasn’t the healthiest way to eat and I had to grudgingly give up eating rice, pasta, and bread as often. Everything in moderation. But we’ve also learned that whole grains are good. Brown rice started appearing on the shelves of the grocery stores. Uncle Ben’s Rice has gotten in the game.

Brown rice is a whole grain because the bran layer isn’t stripped (for white rice, they strip the bran layer). Leaving the bran layer intact means leaving a lot of fiber intact and a few other nutrients and minerals (e.g. magnesium, selenium, and zinc) that are lost when processing it into white rice.

We, like many families, are trying to incorporate more whole grains into our meals. I have stopped buying white rice except where it exists in a some mixes I buy (e.g. Zatarain’s Jambalaya mix) because switching to brown rice is such an easy change to make. When the Uncle Ben’s Brown Rice campaign came along, I was happy to sign up. We had tried the Ready Whole Grain Medleys that came out last year. (BTW Love, love, love those! The Santa Fe has brown rice, red and white wheat, and black beans. The Roasted Garlic has brown rice and red and black quinoa. You pop them in the microwave for 90 seconds and you have a whole grain side dish. Yum!) But I hadn’t noticed the varieties of brown rice they were offering.

My box arrived packed with Natural Whole Grain Brown Rice, Boil in Bag Whole Grain Brown Rice, and Fast & Natural Whole Grain Instant Brown Rice. I was especially excited to see the boil in bag variety because I often don’t decide what is for dinner in time to cook traditional rice. Boil in bag is ready in 10 minutes! We’ve had both the natural/regular and the boil in bag since my box of rice arrived. Both tasted great and were no more work than white rice to prepare. I haven’t made the instant yet because I’m not a fan of instant rice to eat as a side dish but it works great in things like stuffed peppers or sloppy joes so it will definitely get used. I also so some boxes to give away but because of shipping costs, I will gift it to local folks to try (sorry blog friends).

Last week, Publix has Uncle Ben’s on sale BOGO and with coupons I was able to pick up a couple boxes of the brown boil in bag rice for less than $.50 so we are stocked up for awhile.

Uncle Ben’s sent some recipes to try. I, sadly, haven’t tried any of them but I will definitely be trying the chicken and brown rice sloppy joes soon. I included photos of 2 of the ways I’ve used the rice. First was shredded chicken, peas, and a korma curry sauce over Traditional Natural Whole Grain Brown Rice. The second photo is a quick side dish I threw together to go with grilled chicken and a green salad. I used the Boil In Bag Whole Grain Brown Rice, a can of black beans rinsed, a box of frozen corn, and about a 1/2 cup of fresh salsa – threw it all together and YUM! I also used some brown rice in a soup but I didn’t get a photo.

I’ll leave you with a couple of ideas Uncle Ben’s sent for incorporating more whole grain brown rice into everyday meals:

* add cooked whole grain brown rice and blueberries to your whole grain pancake mix

* make your own veggie burgers with cooked whole grain brown rice, chopped veggies, cooked black beans, an egg, and chopped nuts

* use cooked whole grain brown rice in seafood cakes with tuna, salmon, or crab – makes a gluten free alternative to breadcrumbs or crackers

* try a high fiber risotto with by using whole grain brown rice instead of white rice – add veggies to increase nutritional value

Have you made the switch to brown rice? How do you try to incorporate whole grains into your families meals?

I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Uncle Bens and received samples to facilitate my candid review. Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate. Opinions are my own.

posted under food
4 Comments to

“Uncle Ben’s Brown Rice”

  1. On June 27th, 2010 at 12:00 pm Kim Says:

    Since I’ve started on Weight Watchers, I’ve switched to brown rice. I also didn’t think I’d like it. I have actually just used the regular brown rice (in my steamer) and it didn’t turn out. (but I think that’s because we didn’t realize our steamer was slowly coming to it’s demise) I bought one of the Uncle Ben’s variety (can’t remember which one it was) and I really like it. I’m not missing the white rice at all. (although, white and brown rice doesn’t have that much a difference when it comes to WW points – but I figure it’s better for me)

  2. On June 28th, 2010 at 12:15 pm Shannon Says:

    One of my favorite rice dishes…Brown rice cooked up with chicken broth (not plain boring water) While it’s cooking, saute veggies in olive oil. I like onions, carrots, red peppers, mushrooms, yellow squash and zuccini, but whatever you have on hand is fine. just chop them up into bite size pieces (it’s good for left overs) When rice is done, mix in sauted veggies, add Italian seasoning and a couple of big spoonfuls of tomato paste. (you could probably use spaghetti sauce too) Mix up and season up some more to taste. It’s DELISH. You can then eat this as is, or stuff it into the zuccini shells (like boats) or green peppers or whatever. We like it just plain. Even my 3 year old likes this, and it’s a good way to eat some veggies! 🙂

  3. On July 10th, 2010 at 9:17 am Sharie Orr Says:

    I’ve been cooking brown rice for ages, but about 7 or 8 yrs ago, I learned a real trick to fluffy, separated delicious brown (Basmati all the way!) rice.

    In a little olive oil and/or butter heat the rice kernels in a shallow pan (I always use my well-seasoned cast iron-is there any thing else?! lol) for just a few minutes, 5 +/-, while almost constantly turning over the mass of rice. Use med low heat.
    I sometimes heat a teaspoon of fennel seeds first, an Indian (Near East Indian) thing, which adds a little sweetness and aids digestion. Totally optional.

    After the above, have the water you need, plus an extra cup or so, depending on how much rice you’re making (I usually make 3 cups rice at a time so I’ll have a little left over for breakfast “rice pudding”) ready and pour a good 2 cups into the pan, letting it quickly boil for a few minutes. This can reduce the overall cook time. I then transfer this to a sauce pan with the remaining needed water already hot, just-under-boiling which has salt added (Real Salt brand is my fave-and many chefs as well) and (optional, but not to me) gelatin, just a Tbls.
    Bring the whole thing to a low boil, then turn down to simmer for the remaining time.

    Voila! Delicious, sweet, nutty brown Basmati rice. Some batches come out so good that it tastes more like white Basmati.

    Hope this is helpful. We love it.


  4. On July 10th, 2010 at 9:21 am Sharie Orr Says:

    Oops! Forgot one of the most important things–and I’ve already had coffee this morning!
    NOT all water–DUH! A ratio of 1/2 and 1/2 or 1/3 to 2/3 water and chicken broth. Homemade is great, but if not, a good organic one or Kitchen Made brand.