When you have a picky eater, the discovery of a healthy food that he not only eats but enjoys is truly magic. Thus, in our house it is no exaggeration to call the dish below “magic rice.” It was one of the first non-cracker foods that Monkey really enjoyed, and we still have it several times a week, as it makes a great main dish or accompaniment to any meal.
This rice is also magic because it contains lentils, but no child would be able to detect them. And since Monkey normally will only eat beans in burritos, we are more than happy to serve him his “magic” rice with lentils. Please note: This recipe will only work with red lentils. Other varieties will not dissolve when cooked.
We often round out the meal with oven potatoes, another easy, healthy dish that we all enjoy. Indeed, the main problem is making sure that Monkey doesn’t eat the whole pan! We started making this when Monkey discovered french fries, since it is a yummy homemade version that you don’t have to feel guilty about giving your kids.
Magic Rice with Lentils
This recipe is adapted from one given to us by Serena of the amazing Pea Pod Play Group.
Rinse brown rice and red lentils and add to your rice cooker. Use approximately 1/4 cup of lentils to 3/4 cup of rice.
Add water, a bit less than what you would normally use to cook your rice.
Add spices to taste. (We typically add salt, garlic powder, and olive oil).
Cook rice as usual, serve warm.
Variation: We sometimes sauté ground beef in the rice cooker with olive oil before cooking the rice. Break the beef into small pieces, and cook until no longer pink. Leave it in the rice cooker and add the remaining ingredients except for oil. Cook as above.
Chop the potatoes into small pieces. (Any type of potato will work, although Russet is the best). I err on the side of smaller pieces so that they cook more quickly, since I am typically pressed for time, but this can be varied according to taste.
In a large bowl, mix potatoes with olive oil and spices to taste. We typically use salt, pepper, and garlic salt.
Cook on a foil-lined sheet at 450 degrees. The amount of time cooking will vary depending on the amount of potatoes, size of the pieces, and your oven. To save energy, I use our toaster oven, which tends to cook more quickly than our regular oven. Two medium potatoes chopped into small pieces typically take 30 minutes cook.
Tip: Try preheating the cooking sheet in the oven. This will give a nice crispy bottom to the potatoes, which is helpful since they break easily if you try to stir them while cooking.
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