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Food & Health : Cooking & Packing Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM

Healthy Recipes: Stovetop Stuffing or Pilaf
Dec 16, 2008 - 10:03:57 AM

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“Stuff” Yourself with Hearty Grains

Rice Stuffing or Pilaf

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Traditional stuffing tends to be high in refined carbohydrates (like white bread) and low in health-protective phytochemicals, the natural substances found only in plant foods. This unique stovetop stuffing, which features whole-grain rice and combines an assortment of vegetables with dried fruit, also works well as a pilaf for non-holiday meals. Fennel enlivens this dish with a hint of anise flavor as well as texture and color. Dried cranberries provide a splash of color and a rich source of cancer-fighting flavonoids.

Stovetop Stuffing or Pilaf

2 Tbsp. canola oil
3 medium peeled carrots, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 medium fennel bulbs (cored, with leaves removed), cut in 1/4-inch dice
1 trimmed celery stalk, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 medium onion, diced
3 cups long-grain brown rice
1 can (14.5 oz.) fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 tsp. dried thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In large Dutch oven or other large oven-proof casserole dish, heat oil over medium heat until hot. Add carrots, fennel, celery, bell pepper and onion. Cook, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Adjust heat if necessary to prevent burning.

Stir in rice, chicken broth, cranberries, thyme, salt and pepper. Add 4 1/4 cups water.

Cover and heat to boiling.

Reduce heat to low and cook so that liquid barely simmers. (Stuffing can also be baked in a preheated oven at 325 degrees.) Cook until rice is tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes.

Stir bottom of pot occasionally and check that liquid is barely simmering, adjusting heat if necessary.

Makes 11 cups or 22 servings.

Per serving: 133 calories, 2 g total fat (less than 1 g saturated fat), 26 g carbohydrate,
3 g protein, 3 g dietary fiber, 72 mg sodium

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