Sunday 20 January 2019

Start the New Year well: Healthy fast-prep meal ideas

Are you looking for some fresh inspiration to start the New Year well?

Rice is a great starting point if you are looking for meal ideas that do not take a long time to prepare, but are still really tasty and varied. It’s also great value and nutritionally packs a real punch.

Whether you prefer white, brown, jasmine, basmati or wild rice, there are hundreds of recipe ideas to choose from. You’ll have confidence too, as whole grain brown rice is rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals and is also a natural source of fibre and amino acids. It’s also naturally sodium and gluten free.

All Uncle Ben’s long grain white rice and flavoured rice products are enriched with iron and B vitamins including thiamin, folic acid and niacin and they naturally have minerals like phosphorus, magnesium and potassium.

These three meal ideas are great to prepare for mid-week, they’re delicious and will suit all the family.

Easy One Pot Chicken and Rice

A mid-week meal that's cheap and easy to prepare, the lemon gives the zing that works really well with the fresh thyme. If you rub in smoked paprika, it will give a different flavour to the chicken.


5 chicken thighs

4 thyme sprigs

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon paprika

1 zest of lemon

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cloves of garlic, chopped finely

1 large red onion, diced

130g Uncle Ben's long grain rice

350ml chicken stock

Juice of 1 lemon

Sea salt, to taste

Chopped parsley to finish


1. Preheat the oven to 400˚F/200˚C. In a large bowl, evenly season the chicken thighs with salt, paprika, lemon zest and fresh thyme. On a high heat, add olive oil in a oven-proof pot and place chicken thighs, skin-side down, in the hot oil.

2. Cook 5-6 minutes or until the thighs develop brown crispy skin and flip over. Cook for an additional 5-6 minutes to brown the other side and remove from the pot.

3. Add the garlic and onions to the pot, and cook until the onions are transparent. Pour in the rice, chicken stock and lemon juice to the pot and season with salt and pepper.

4. Stir well, bringing to the boil. Add the chicken thighs back into the pot, skin-side up, on top of the rice. Cover with a lid.

5. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the rice is fully cooked.

Go Italian! Meatballs and Rice


A simple twist to an Italian favourite, this recipe calls for some hands-on family fun and takes only 20 minutes to prepare.


1 cup uncooked Uncle Bens Long Grain Rice

1 finely chopped small onion

1 clove garlic minced

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

1 egg

A quarter cup of water

1lb lean ground sirloin

Half teaspoon each salt and pepper

1 quarter teaspoon allspice

For baked tomato sauce

1 can diced tomatoes with garlic

Half cup water

Half teaspoon cumin

Quarter teaspoon allspice

Quarter teaspoon cinnamon


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees farenheit

2. In a medium bowl, combine onion, garlic, parsley, egg and water. Whisk until combined.

3. Add ground sirloin, uncooked Uncle Bens rice, salt, pepper and allspice into the bowl and mix well. Don’t be afraid to use your hands and let the children help here.

4. Once the meat is mixed well with the spices and herbs, pinch off little bits and shape them into one and a half inch balls (about the size of a golf ball).

5. Arrange the meatballs into a lightly greased 8 x 8 inch baking dish.

6. In a small bowl, combine all the sauce ingredients and mix.

7. Pour the sauce over the meatballs and then cover with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.

Broccoli Rice Pilaf

3. Broccoli rice pilaf.png

What happens when you add broth, chopped walnuts and broccoli to Uncle Bens Ready to Heat Rice? The answer is an amazing rice pilaf! It might just become a new family favourite!


250g Uncle Bens Long Grain, Wholegrain or Basmati Rice.

2 tablespoons chicken or vegetable broth

2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

1 package frozen broccoli


1. In a microwave safe dish, combine broth with broccoli and microwave for 3 minutes.

2. Add rice and cook for 90 seconds more

3. Transfer to a serving bowl and mix in the walnuts.

For more delicious healthy meal ideas that are quick and easy to prepare, go to

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