Friday, November 9, 2012

38 Power Foods, Week 22 -- Brown Rice -- Chili and Brown Rice with Spinach Salad

BTW, those are still cherry tomatoes from our garden on November 8.

While chili is a quintessential American fall meal, it is often eaten as is.  Just a bowl.  Just a spoon.  Just you and your chili.  

Fall in our 'hood--tiny, dried crabapples against a St. Paul blue sky.

The chili mostly stands alone, I guess.

Or at least just with chips, cheese, onions, sour cream....or on hot dogs or fries.  Ha.

(Election Day Turkey-Lentil Crock-pot Chili--my last post--is one of Michelle Obama's favorite meals... well--Turkey Chili is, at any rate.)

 But I like chili in all kinds of ways and with lots of different things.  I grew up with chili poured over a burger at the Dog 'n Suds where I car hopped.  My Mom's "Irish Chili" was full of the quarts of tomatoes she canned each summer.  It was a whole lot of tomatoes.  College at Western Illinois University brought Chili Frito over at the cafeteria for Washington and Lincoln Halls.  I loved it!  Why hadn't I thought of it?  As years went on, my chili changed repeatedly.  After all, I lived in Europe where they didn't know from chili.  I lived in San Antonio where if you knew beans about chili, you knew there were no beans in chili.  (I mentioned that to some Minnesotans once.  In concert, they all went, "WHAT???")  I lived with The Silver Palate Cookbook and made their "Chili for a Crowd" forever...well, actually I still it make with variations. Later I moved on to Ina's Chicken Chili--one of my favorites.  In other words,  these days I make several different kinds of chili (mostly my own--whatever happens to go in the pot), but one of my favorite chili meals originated one day when there wasn't quite enough vegan chili to go around...

So I made some brown rice and a little salad.  For grins, I put it all in the bowl together.  Now I do it all the time.  Gives your mouth a break from the heat and provides more whole grains and greens.  It also lowers the cholesterol and calories of a chili meal so I can have it more often with less guilt.

Here's the base for my vegan chili.

So here's how I made this chili with brown rice today...using the leftover Election Day Crock-Pot chili and some brown rice I let cook this morning while  I walked the dogs.

"Come on, Gab.  Get the leash and let's go, huh?"

alyce's brown rice and chili with spinach salad

For each serving:

1 cup fresh spinach
1 shallot, sliced
Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
Drizzle of Olive oil
Cherry Tomatoes 

1/2 cup lightly salted and peppered cooked brown rice mixed with 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

1 cup chili (I like the chili I just blogged--full of hot Italian sausage and lentils as well as beans, but use any chili you've got or buy some Wendy's chili to take home if you're stuck.)

To assemble:

1.  In a large shallow bowl (a pasta bowl is fine), add spinach to one corner.  Top with half of the sliced shallots and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Squeeze lemon over the greens and drizzle with oil.  Add cherry tomatoes at side.

 2. Add rice to one side of the bowl and chili to the other.  Garnish with rest of shallots and a few tortilla chips.


brown rice-- tips and info..........
Brown rice takes about 45 minutes to cook at sea level, but quicker versions are available.  Some markets even sell frozen cooked brown rice.  You can also make brown rice in your crock-pot and freeze small portions for future use.  And, yes, you can make brown rice in your microwave.  You don't save a lot of time, but a few minutes.  The directions are on the rice bag.

Rice field
  As our Power Foods group moves through the 38 Power Foods (click to order book), you'll gather we're up to brown rice this week.  The main food for over two-thirds of the world's population, rice is sacred to many people.  Rice is a complex carbohydrate high in protein.  Did you know Arkansas is the largest rice-producing state in the U.S.?  If you were raised by southerners in the United States, you grew up eating a lot of rice.  Rice and gravy (or butter), rather than potatoes and gravy, were the standard at my family table.  My sister-in-law, who's Korean, keeps a rice pot hot pretty much 24-7.  If her children are hungry between meals, they know where to go without bothering her.

Nutrients in
Brown Rice
1.00 cup (195.00 grams)
Nutrient%Daily Value





Calories (216)12%

chart courtesy whole foods
       Brown Rice is Healthy!  As only the hull is removed off brown rice, we have a much healthier grain to eat that actually works against cholesterol in our bodies with its larger component of fiber.  You can read all about it here, but you'll see with just a little bit of research that eating foods like brown rice works toward protecting us against heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, muscle spasms,  migraines, and many other things.  Tryptophan?  But of course.  Eat turkey and brown rice and you're much more likely to sleep well!  And best of all, if you've ever been on Weight Watchers, you know a cup of brown rice is four points and white is five.  Who wouldn't take the brown?  With a few exceptions, I use brown rice instead of white rice for nearly everything.  I draw the line (usually) at fried rice, but that's a VERY occasional meal and I sometimes even use brown rice for that. 
(rice field photo courtesy producer's rice mill)

       Leftover brown rice?  Make extra.  Always.   Rice is good food!  Then you can....  Add milk and a little sugar for breakfast.  Stir into some scrambled eggs with cheese and green onions. Add to a burrito.  Stir up a stir fry for a topping. Warm well and add a teensy bit of butter and lots of pepper to eat with cooked squash.  Make a patty, fry it up and make a hole in the middle.  Crack an egg into the hole. Cover and cook 2-3 minutes.  Add to soup or stew.  Cook up Thai curry.  In fact, there are so many ways to use brown rice that I know several people who just cook up a great batch every weekend and eat off it all week with whatever. The simplicity, cost,  and health benefits of brown rice appeal greatly to those who don't cook much and to those who cook often.

       One of the favorite posts on my other blog (Dinner Place--Cooking for One) is "Help!  I've Got Leftover Take-out Rice and Don't Know What to Do With It."  Click and check out the recipe; it works just as well with brown rice.

Brown Rice for Breakfast in Colorado Springs:

Smiley's...on Tejon in Colorado Springs

       There is absolutely the very best breakfast to be had in Colorado Springs at a tiny place downtown on Tejon called SMILEY'S.  Now funky, spunky Smiley's has all kinds of breakfasts and lunches (as well as incredible baked goods--pie and homemade whole wheat bread for their toast, for instance), but each day they have specials.  We're not talking eggs and bacon.  We're talking lovingly designed, gorgeous breakfasts.  One favorite in the fall is a halved acorn squash filled with a mixture of brown rice, cumin, cheese, and scrambled eggs.  I'm going to try and fix it for breakfast this morning without a recipe.  If I turns out, I'll add the picture here.  (I'm also working on a brown rice dessert for the soup cookbook.  Be patient.)  photo courtesy smiley's


Join our blogging group!

 I blog with a great group of writers every Friday where we cook our way through the list of foods from Whole Living Magazine's Power Foods:  150 Delicious Recipes with the 38 Healthiest Ingredients:    Read more about tasty papaya this week at these sites: 

Ansh –  
Minnie Gupta from
Sarah - Everything in the Kitchen Sink
The sun shining on my brown rice.
 please help

Hurricane Sandy Relief:  Donate to Food Bank for NYC

Sing a new song,

all photos copyright Alyce Morgan, 2012 (except where noted)~please ask for permission to use~i'm likely to give it, but like to know where my pics go


  1. What an informative post, Alyce. I'd love to be able to drop in to Smiley's for that stuffed acorn squash breakfast. Your brown rice with chili looks delish too! Hope your husband is feeling better.

  2. @Thanks, Martha. Go to Smiley's!! It's worth the trip. Husband's on the mend...Thanks, God.

  3. Wow!! such an informative post. Wishing your husband a speedy recovery.

  4. @Ansh Thanks! Got a little carried away, I think!! He's doing well; I appreciate your thinking of him.

  5. Alyce,
    I also enjoy making rice salad with leftover rice, like tabour but with rice. I'm glad to hear you husband is on the mend! Nice tip about weight watchers brown rice being one less than white.


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