Archive | April, 2012

A Ricey Situation

15 Apr

Ever listen to a TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) talk? TED conferences, held annually since their launch in 1984, bring together “the world’s most inspired thinkers” to discuss “ideas worth spreading.” You know: U.S. presidents, Nobel Prize winners, the founders of Google, and other rock stars who likely struggle most at job interviews with the question “What are your worst three traits?” show up to speak at these events.

On Tuesday, I attended a live video casting of TEDMED 2012, which has an emphasis on health and medicine topics. While all of the speakers were riveting to varying degrees, my ears perked up most when plant scientist Howard-Yana Shapiro (who, by the way, has a beard that could give Rip Van Winkle a run for his money!) spoke about global nutrition. In addition to his love of the cacao bean, a love well-attended to via his position as global director of plant science and external research for Mars Inc, Shapiro is interested in enhancing the nutritional value of crops most commonly eaten by people in developing countries. Hes particularly enthusiastic about boosting the nutritional value of corn; he even had amazing close-up visuals of corn kernels to accompany this enthusiasm. Though I’m a bit hazy on the details of how Shapiro plans to bolster corn’s nutrition, I was excited by the possibility. And encouraged to start reading my recently purchased “Principles of Food Engineering” textbook. And, perhaps more important to you, inspired to do a little food engineering myself!

Here’s the back-story. I’ve had a can of Cream of Mushroom Soup sitting in my pantry (and by pantry I mean the top shelf of my closet) for months. I couldn’t figure out what to do with it, how to make it palatable. But finally I came up with, dare I say, a brilliant solution: cook it in rice. So I did just that, and it worked! But after completing my food engineering feat of the week, I couldn’t just stop there. So I made a complete dish, recipe below.


INGREDIENTS (Makes 5 servings):

– 1 can (10 oz.) Cream of Mushroom Soup

– 1 cup uncooked white rice

– 1 lb chicken breasts, thawed

– 3 cups frozen broccoli

– 1/2 onion, diced

– 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

– 1-2 Tbs lemon juice

– 1-2 Tbs. minced garlic

– pinches of salt and pepper


1. Pour contents of Cream of Mushroom Soup into pot. Add water, as directed on soup can, plus an additional 1/4 cup water. Heat to a boil (as told NOT to do on soup can).

2. Add 1 cup rice; reduce heat, cover, and simmer 20 minutes, until rice is cooked.

3. Add cheese and heat until cheese is melted.

4. In a separate pot, combine chicken breasts, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Heat until chicken is cooked.

5. Add onions and broccoli to chicken.

6. Combine rice and chicken mixtures together to form the completed dish.

CALORIES (per serving): 315

You could probably cook the rice in any type of canned soup – tweak it to me, please.