Homework #3 The Whole Grains

 This exercise involved using whole grains in three dishes including one for breakfast.  I selected brown basmati rice for my whole grain.  The three recipes that I chose for my homework assignment are:

  1. Chicken-Rice-and-Kale-Skillet
  2. Cheese and Tomato Omelette Bake
  3. Cilantro Lime Basmati Brown Rice

Overall, this assignment gave me a good appreciation for how tasty whole grains can be and the wide variety of delicious dishes that can be made with them.   A great learning experience.




1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed

1/2 tsp (2 mL) each salt and pepper

6 cups (1.5 L) chopped kale (ribs and stems removed)

2 tbsp (30 mL) fresh chopped thyme

2 tbsp (30 mL) fresh chopped tarragon

1 pkg (1 L) Imagine Low-Sodium Free Range Chicken Broth

2 tbsp (30 mL) Dijon mustard

2 pkg (500 g) Tilda Ready to Heat Brown Basmati & Quinoa

1/4 cup (60 mL) grated Parmesan cheese

Brown Rice or Brown Basmati rice


  1. Heat oil in large skillet set over medium heat; sauté onion and garlic for about 4 minutes or until softened and fragrant. Season chicken with salt and pepper.
  2. Add chicken to pan; sauté for about 4 minutes or until browned on all sides.
  3. Add kale, thyme and tarragon; sauté for about 3 minutes or until kale is wilted.
  4. Add chicken broth, scraping up any brown bits; stir in mustard.
  5. Cook for 18 to 20 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened and chicken is cooked through. Stir in brown rice and quinoa; heat through. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.


The chicken and kale skillet dish with basmati rice is at the top. The Tunisian-style grilled vegetables (Mechouia) are paired at the bottom of the plate.


Comments: My dish seemed to have far too much moisture in it. Thus, I cooked it down longer to reduce the water content.  In the end, it had the right consistency that I thought was intended. This was a decent tasting dish, but not all that exciting.  Perhaps it needed a bit more salt for taste.  I would give this a 3.5 on the 5 point scale.  I would tend not to make this again.

Cheese and Tomato Omelette Bake


250g pack Tilda Pure Basmati rice
150g cherry tomatoes
2 tsp vegetable oil
100g peas, defrosted
4 medium eggs, separated
100g Mature Cheddar, grated

Pure Basmati Rice


  1. Preheat the oven to 200C, gas mark 6 and base line a non-stick 21cm round tin with baking parchment.
  2. Roast the tomatoes in the oil for 15 minutes.
  3. Cook the rice according to the instructions on the pack.
  4. Then mix the cooked rice with the tomatoes, peas, egg yolks and half the cheese.
  5. Season to taste.
  6. Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks and stir into the rice mixture. Pour into the baking tin and sprinkle over the remaining cheese. Reduce the oven to 180oC, gas mark 4 and bake for 15 minutes until golden.


Since just my wife and I are now in the house, I decided to make mini cheese tomato omelette bake dishes.


Comments:  This was my breakfast entry into the whole grains assignment.  I like the richness of the brown basmati rice and it pairs well in this dish. Grilling the tomatoes was a great feature of this dish. If one wanted to spice it up a bit, tabasco sauce could be added.  I would give this a 3 on a 5 scale.  Good dish but not sensational.

Cilantro Lime Basmati Brown Rice

By Monica              Servings: makes 8 cups


  • 2-1/2 cups (1 pound) uncooked basmati brown rice
  • 4 cups (1 quart) vegetable broth (low sodium preferred)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or more, to taste, if using low-sodium broth)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano (Mexican preferred)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1-1/4 cups fresh cilantro, chopped


Add rice and vegetable broth to 3 quart pan; bring to boil over high heat, give it a quick stir, cover and lower heat to lowest simmer setting. Continue to simmer on low for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand covered for 5 minutes, or until any remaining liquid in bottom of pan is absorbed. Fluff with fork.

While rice cooks, whisk together  the garlic, lime juice, olive oil, salt, oregano, cumin, and pepper. Pour over cooked rice, add the cilantro, and lightly toss with fork until combined. Taste and add salt, if desired.

Freezes and reheats well. Rice and broth may be cooked in a rice cooker instead of on stove top. Recipe may be doubled.


The cilantro-lime basmati brown rice dish.


Comments: I really like the flavor combination provided by lime juice, spices and cilantro.  The richness of the basmati brown rice melds well with these ingredients. I think this dish would pair well with chicken.  I would give this dish a 4 on the 5 point rating scale.

Jim’s Home Assignment 3

This week I prepared a mix of whole grains and cooked them in a rice cooker.  I included Brown Basmati Rice, Red Rice, Spelt, Millet and some of Trader Joe’s Super Seed & Ancient Grain Blend. Surprisingly it all cooked up very consistently.

I used it for breakfast once with Greek Yogurt and once with Honey and Nuts – I recommend both!!

I used it again for dinner by mixing it with the Multi-Bean Chili I made for Assignment 1 – yes, I still had some left over.

I used for dinner as a side with pork chops and asparagus.

I found that not only was it easy to prepare Whole Grains, but very easy to incorporate into any meal. Yum!!

Home Assignment #3

This assignment is the whole grain challenge, wherein we make a pot of whole grain and use it in 3 recipes, including a breakfast. 

I made a pot of brown rice according to the book, Thug Kitchen, which is quite hilarious and incredibly profane.  I have not made a pot of brown rice before in this manner.

Main tip is that you toast the brown rice in olive or coconut oil until it smells nutty prior to adding the water. Here’s a look:


“Basic Big Pot of Brown Rice”

Recipe #1: Fried Rice

For the first meal, I decided to take inspiration from our first HW Assignment, and make up a fried rice recipe.  I used core fried rice veggies such as onions, carrots, and frozen peas, then added asparagus & frozen shelled edamame because we had some on hand:


(Yes, the onion was chopped according to Ben’s shared method…)

I read somewhere that to make fried rice, you first stir-fry the veggies in oil to soften & cook, then add the cooked rice, which I did.  Then, you push the rice/veggie mixture to the outside of the wok to make a hole at the base where you can add two eggs to cook & scramble into the mixture.  Worked like a charm!

The results were tasty & surprisingly, I could not tell that this was brown rice:


Recipe #2: Egg & Spinach

Similar to the above, I attempted to reverse-engineer one of my favorite menu items from Cafe Maude, a dearly departed restaurant in SW Minneapolis.  The recipe was called Egg & Spinach, and was made with sauteed spinach, fried egg, Basmati rice, harissa, and garlic mint yogurt sauce.

I wanted to make this with ingredients on hand, and I found I didn’t have either of the sauces (harissa & mint yogurt), so I need to improvise.  Garlic basil sauce to the rescue!


I sauteed the spinach, fried the egg (too long, alas), then served alongside the garlic basil sauce on either side of the yolk.  It doesn’t look quite as pretty as I’d hoped, but you get the overall gist:


This was surprisingly delicious, even though it was a new version of the one I was emulating.  The garlic basil sauce offered the perfect tang to the spinach, egg, and rice combination.  TASTY.

Recipe #3: Breakfast Burrito

Although my goal is to make the recipe, “Brown Rice Bowl with Edamame and Tamari Scallion Sauce” for breakfast from Thug Kitchen, I had neither scallions nor tamari on hand, so I decided to go with Plan B: Breakfast Burrito!

Who knew having a pot of cooked rice can be so handy?  I made a veggie breakfast burrito, with a whole wheat tortilla, rice, cheese, avocado, and pico de gallo.  Yes, a microwave was involved.

I am thankful to this course for encouraging all of us to cook more with what we have in the kitchen, and to be confident in our own creations.  Thank you for a great experience!


Home assignment 3

I chose to try out a true whole grain, wheat berries. According to Wikipedia, the wheat berry is a whole wheat kernel (except for the hull/husk), composed of the bran, germ, and endosperm that if milled will produce whole-wheat flour. I only knew of wheat berries in the form of puffed wheat cereal, which I think is gross. Had I never tried boiled wheat berries, I would have missed out on what has become the newest entry to my list of favorite foods.

I didn’t read the conversion chart before I went shopping. My recipes call for 5 cups of wheat berries so that’s what I bought… dry. Since 1 cup of dry cooks into 3 cups cooked, I will have wheat berries to experiment with for many weeks to come. There was a choice of hard vs. soft wheat berries. At the time, I didn’t know the difference but I made the correct assumption that soft wheat berries would cook faster. For those readers of this blog that don’t know, hard wheat berries have a higher protein and gluten content than soft wheat berries. Hard berries are used for bread flour and soft berries for pastries.

I prepared the following three dishes:

Warm Wheat Berry Breakfast from superhealthykids.com

What worked well: Cooking wheat berries is super easy! Simmer 1 cup of berries in 3 cups of boiling water for a hour and it’s done. I was able to put it on and forget about it. I used plain yogurt mixed with honey that I purchased from a local farm, fresh raspberries, and a cup of wheat berries. This breakfast was simple and unbelievably delicious. I may stop buying boxed cereal.

What I might change: nothing about the recipe. It was so good! I would buy a large tub of plain yogurt so I am not using single servings every morning. I would also try different fruits for some flavor variety.

Cherry, Chicken, and Pecan Wheat Berry Salad from cookinglight.com

What worked well: I had no cherries, so I substituted cranberries. I also used mixed green salad instead of arugula. I had a bag of frozen chicken breasts and sautéed two of them in olive oil. I chopped everything up into the same size pieces- no idea why. I got to use my salad spinner, the greatest invention for leafy greens!

What I might change: I want to try cherries next time or double the amount of cranberries. The goat cheese was super sticky but added a great flavor. The directions on this recipe need to be edited- who has cooked chicken laying around and why wouldn’t I cook the chicken with the onions? Also, this dish is expensive to make- fresh cherries, pecans, and goat cheese. Fantastic flavor, not for the budget conscience.

Cashew Chicken Wheat Berry Salad with Peas from myrecipes.com

What worked well: I substituted chicken breast for the chicken thighs. It is very easy to assemble and the hoisin and soy sauce added a really tangy & spicy Asian flavor.

What I might change: Not enough greens in this for me. I might consider adding mixed green salad like the previous recipe. This was basically a side-dish, not a main like they depicted in the photo online. I would bring it to a picnic or have it with eggrolls.

-Christine M. Mounts

Assignment #3 – Quinoa

I have used quinoa before as a kind of rice substitute or as a simple side to a meal. I chose to make a batch of Quinoa with the intention of using it in new ways to see if I could get my kids to also enjoy it. Turns out, I haven’t had the best of luck with cooking quinoa (or rice!) on the stove, so I decided to try and use my rice cooker for the quinoa. Turns out, the rice cooker was a slick and easy way to cook up a whole batch of quinoa – which is great since I’m much more likely to cook it more often when it’s easy!


The first recipe with quinoa I tried was Oatmeal Quinoa Bites – something I hoped the kids would enjoy! I made a couple substitutes to use things we had on hand (instead of apple chunks, I used frozen black berries from our garden, and instead of dipping the bites in chocolate after they had baked, which seemed like too much work for me, I added mini semi-sweet chocolate chips to the mix before baking).

Basically, I simply mixed all the ingredients together, then scooped into a well greased muffin pan, and baked for about 12 minutes. The kids were a little hesitant to try the bites, but once they did, they loved them! They are excited to try a few more fruit substitutes with the recipe and see which one becomes our favorite!


Next, I decided to use quinoa in a casserole. I found a recipe online that called for broccoli, quinoa, cheese, and bread crumbs. I decided to also add black beans, onions, and some red pepper flakes, since I enjoy experimenting 🙂 After combining everything and topping with a little crushed pepper, I baked it for about 30 minutes. Turned out to be quite delicious!


Finally, smoothies have been a go-to option for me to trick the kids into eating stuff they refuse to eat, such as spinach, kale, etc. While one of my kids will eat quinoa, the other doesn’t care for it, so I thought we’d try it in a smoothie!

I usually wing it when it comes to smoothies, so I decided to mix about half a cup of quinoa with some frozen mango, strawberries, black berries, plain greek yogurt, banana and some white grape juice we had on hand. The quinoa blended really well and was undetectable, but the smoothie was lacking a little flavor, so I added some frozen blueberries last minute. It made for a super yummy treat for the kids (which they BOTH enjoyed!) and a nice option to get a little extra protein and grains into their diets without much fuss. 🙂


This class really has inspired me to use grains in more creative ways and to branch out a bit to grains I’m not used to preparing. It has been super helpful for me as we transition to a more plant-based diet to have gained more knowledge and experience with preparing whole grains. I think a major hesitation for me has been a lack of confidence in how to cook grains, so this class has been tremendously helpful! As summer approaches, I really look forward to trying more recipes to combine new grains and the veggies we grown in the garden!




Assignment #3

I love Quinoa.  So I cooked 1 C dry and yielded 3 cups cooked.

I really liked the Quinoa Salad with Roasted Vegetables we made in class….so I made a batch of that that lasted 3 meals – too much in one week!  I should have tried freezing some.  Not sure if the quinoa and veggies would tolerate that well??

For breakfast one morning I put down a bed of quinoa and put my poached egg on top of it.  Probably should have seasoned the quinoa…it’s getting very uninteresting, after eating it for several days in a row.

I still like it but see the need to get more creative with seasonings.