Arroz Classico

Today is my sister, Rita’s, birthday. You may ask what that has to do with rice? Well, I traveled down to Austin this weekend to be present for my sister’s birthday party held at my mom’s house in Sun City in Georgetown, TX. Generally, when one is traveling to relatives and trying to eat healthy, that can be a challenge. However, anyone who knows me, knows that the reason I became a Registered Dietitian was because of my mom’s intense passion for nutrition. When I showed up for orientation at Texas Christian University, they asked me what I wanted my major to be and I replied, “Well, my mom was always talking about nutrients in food and I would like to learn more about that field”. Voila’! I was headed down the path of four years of science based studies, undergraduate co-ordinated internship and a grueling registration exam to become a Registered Dietitian. As such, my goal with this blog is to help people:
1) Dine Smart but Eat Well on the Road
2) Find Fun in Fitness on and off the Road
This is easy to do if your relative happens to be my mom. She actually has her own blog called the Gluten Free Edge that she writes with contributions from my sister. She is a great and nutrition based cook. I digress.
The reason I am writing this blog was that at Rita’s party, we enjoyed an albeit, simple but delicious meal of baked chicken, arroz classico and seven layer salad (my brother, Jorge’s specialty and possibly fodder for another blog post). Mom said it is Ok to share the recipe for the rice on my blog:

Arroz Classico
1/3 cup oil
1 onion sliced
1 1/2 Tblsp minced parsley
2 cups hot chicken broth
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup rice
3/4 cup hot water
garlic (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in skillet. Add onion and cook until wilted. Add the rice and cook until grains are golden yellow in color. Drain excess oil as necessary.

Add the broth, parsley, salt and pepper. Simmer covered for 15-20 minutes, add the cheese and stir well. Return to cooking until all liquid is
absorbed.

As I have stated before, the most recent dietary guidelines encourage people to include more whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat and non-fat dairy foods in their diet along with lean protein sources. This simple meal was a great example of how easy and tasty using those guidelines can be when using wholesome ingredients and simple preparation methods. Substituting brown rice in this recipe can also help people get one of their servings of whole grains each day or possibly serving the meal with a whole grain roll (my preference but remember, my mom is gluten-free). If you don’t happen to be related to my mom, some tips for eating healthy at your relatives could include:
1) Offer to bring a healthy dish or two
2) Help plan the menu
3) Assist with cooking the meal itself and bring healthy recipes
4) You could even bring this recipe for Arroz Classico! Enjoy!!