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Simple Sides: Tangerine Rice

Image of Tangerine Rice
By Dennis Linden

Competing schedules in the day-to-day lives of a busy modern family make it difficult to share a home-cooked meal together, but not impossible. In fact, with a little planning, cooking together can become a fun family event and learning opportunity. This feature will focus on providing a child or a group of children, working together under the supervision of an adult, with one uncomplicated, healthy and delicious side dish recipe. The dishes will be centered on seasonal fresh produce items; the recipes will always contain tasks will allow even the youngest kitchen helper to contribute to the family meal. Parents should always read through each recipe carefully to judge the division of labor based on age and ability as well as to identify where adult attention might be especially needed.
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Many of the recipes presented here will seem very basic -- this is by design. It is hoped that these simple preparations will provide the culinary foundation and confidence to inspire kids to try more challenging recipes as their experience in the kitchen develops. Melissa’s encourages parents to find the time to gather as a family unit at least once a week for a dinner that everyone pitches in to prepare. It’s a wonderful way to teach children some basic cooking skills and, more importantly, cooking with your children will build memories in all of your hearts forever.
Image of Satsuma Tangerines
Here’s a great introductory recipe for the beginner cook in the family. By using the microwave and instant rice, your young sous chef is guaranteed a rewarding first experience to the culinary arts. There is no hot stove or oven to deal with and very minimal knife work. The quick prep and even quicker cooking time required for this dish will hold the short attention span of the youngest or most fidgety of helpers. This one is all about quick, easy, delicious, while taking advantage of the winter crop of luscious tangerines that are plentiful in the marketplace right now. Pick your favorite variety; the seedless Satsuma is suited perfectly for this dish as it’s easy to peel and one of the sweetest mandarins available right now.

Even the youngest of culinary assistants can be put to work peeling, cleaning and separating the tangerine segments. Taking the time to insist that your kitchen help remove the vein-like white pulp on the citrus segments is a culinary lesson in presentation. A dish needs to look appetizing as well as taste good; taking the time to remove this pith as much as possible underscores this point. The pith add nothing to the flavor and is a little astringent – it needs to be removed as much as possible.

Only you can judge whether your child is old enough to handle the little bit of cutting involved in preparing this dish. If so, here is the perfect starter recipe as both the green onions and the tangerine segments require the same type of cut – a simple cross-slice. Of course, you can always perform these tasks for a chef too young to handle a blade yet.

Most of the prep for this recipe involves measuring and combining the ingredients in the right order. The tasks in this recipe are quite basic, designed for a child’s first time in the kitchen. It is hoped that just being a part of preparing this simple dish that ends up on the family dinner table with instill a little culinary confidence and perk an interest in helping in the kitchen more often.

This is a great side dish to serve with roasted chicken and maybe steamed broccoli. Double the recipe to insure having leftovers of everything. The next day simply shred that roasted chicken right into the rice, along with any broccoli, add a little soy sauce and stir fry for a delicious hot lunch! Better yet, teach your recently-inspired kitchen helper how to do that shredding as well as how to transform the rice into a new dish!

Tangerine Rice
Serves 4

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1 cup Reduced-Sodium Chicken Broth
½ cup Satsuma Tangerine Juice (about 2 tangerines)
2 teaspoons Reduced-Sodium Soy Sauce
1½ cups Minute® Brown Rice, uncooked
¼ cup Green Onions, sliced
4 Tablespoons Sliced Almond
2 Satsuma Tangerines, segments separated, deveined, slice in half

What the kids can do:

Measure out broth, soy sauce, rice and almonds.

Juice tangerines, slice and measure onions, segment remaining tangerines, remove white pulp from segments, slice segments in half.
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In a microwaveable bowl, combine chicken broth, juice and soy sauce.
Stir in Minute Rice and cover.
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Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.
Fluff the rice with a fork; gently mix in the onions, mandarin halves and almonds.
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What a supervising adult should do:
If your kitchen help is too young, prepare these two yourself. Everything else in the instructions can be done by hand; of course the adult in the room needs to oversee things as those little hands measure out and combine the ingredients in the right order. No stovetop to worry about, but if the bowl for the microwave is covered with plastic wrap then you should handle the removal of the wrap from the hot, steamy bowl. Serve family style or individually.
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