Cranberry-Almond Brown Rice Pilaf

Because it's the start of a new year, I know a lot of people have resolutions to eat better. I know that everyones definition of a healthy diet differs dramatically, which is why I do post nutritional information for my recipes calculated to the best of my knowledge in order to let you make healthy decisions on your own. Along with that, I think it would be great to start reporting any interesting facts about weight loss and health. One really interesting fact I learned today was from Ellie Krieger, a Food Network chef and dietitian. She was on Live with Regis and Kelly, and was showing the top 10 "don't's" if you want to lose weight in 2010. The fact that I found most helpful was this: if you count Friday as a weekend day, then one-quarter of your life is the weekend. Therefore, if you "fall off the wagon" over the course of the weekend, you aren't following a healthy lifestyle 75% of the time! It makes me want to make better goals for diet and exercise over the weekend for sure, and not make Monday a "start over" day.

Here's a quick side dish I made the other night to go with my Golden Lemon Roasted Chicken. It's a rice pilaf, but I made it special by adding cranberry chutney, which is both savory and sweet. This recipe is versatile because you could add any flavor of chutney to match whatever dried fruit you have: mango chutney with chopped dried mango, peach chutney with chopped dried peaches, etc...

Cranberry-Almond Brown Rice Pilaf

1/2 cup slivered almonds
2 scallions, sliced
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 3/4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 tbsp cranberry chutney
2 cups instant brown rice
1/2 cup dried cranberries
non-stick cooking spray
salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the almonds and allow them to toast, stirring constantly. Remove the toasted almonds to the side.
2. Spray the same saucepan with non-stick cooking spray. Add the onion and celery and saute them until they are translucent and tender.
3. Add the broth and chutney and season the liquid to taste with salt and pepper. Raise the heat to high and bring it to a boil. Add the rice, toss in the dried cranberries, cover the saucepan and lower the heat to low. Let it cook for 5 minutes, and then take it off the burner for 5 more minutes to continue to steep.
4. Toss the rice with a fork, adding the almonds back in.

Servings per recipe: 6
Per serving:
Calories: 313
Fat: 6 g
Saturated fat: 0.8 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 230 mg
Carbohydrates: 57 g
Fiber: 3.8 g
Sugar: 4.6 g
Protein: 8 g

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