CAULIFLOWER “RICE” AND MAGIC RICE

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White Bread wasn’t the only bad-ex-boyfriend I had to get over when I began to lose weight.

I also missed the sensations of other white carbs I loved, like rice.

Then I discovered a true miracle!

By using a food processor with a grating disc to turn raw cauliflower into “rice,” and cooking it in the microwave, I can enjoy the sensation of white rice, but with only 20 calories a cup instead of 200!  And there’s no nasty pot to wash!

When I was losing 2 pounds a week, I was pretty dedicated to eating the pure cauliflower version.

But now that I’m just maintaining my weight (and hiding vegetables from the kids), I mix cauliflower rice with an equal amount of cooked brown rice or wild rice to make Magic Rice!

At just a 100 calories a cup, Magic Rice allows me to have rice dishes whenever I like, without any guilt.  And, since the strong flavor and texture of brown and wild rice mask the taste of the cauliflower, my kids have no clue they’re eating a vegetable… and that, my friends, is magic!

When making dishes like the amazingly delicious Green Curry Magic Fried Rice with Pork, I prefer mixing the cooked cauliflower rice with Idiot Proof Oven Baked Wild Rice to make Magic Wild Rice.

When making Skinny Paella,  Almost-Risotto or Almost-Orzo, where a smoother texture is preferable, I mix the cauliflower rice with brown rice.

But no matter what dish I’m making, I use Magic Rice–whether brown or wild– for all of my recipes that call for rice … including sushi!

And Magic Rice doesn’t just saving me calories, it saves me hours in the kitchen.

Once every couple of weeks, I’ll make a big batch of brown or wild rice.  If in L.A., I use my rice cooker.  When in Maine, where I don’t have as many gadgets,  I’ll use the Idiot Proof Method for making brown or wild rice in the oven. Either way, while the real rice is cooking, I’ll turn 3 or 4 heads of cauliflower into cauliflower rice and cook it in the microwave.

When both “rices” are done, I simply toss the two together in a giant salad bowl and then portion it out into quart sized freezer bags so that I can use it whenever I need to.

I’ll also freeze a few bags of plain cauliflower rice which I can microwave and turn into Cauliflower Mock Mashed Potatoes in minutes.

On busy days, having that frozen inventory is a true life-saver!

CAULIFLOWER “RICE”

1 head of cauliflower
2 t salt

Roughly chop your cauliflower into pieces that are small enough to drop into the food processor’s “feeding tube.”
Put the “grating” disc–not the chopping blade– in the food processor, turn on and drop the chopped pieces into the machine.  (By the way, use your free hand to keep the opening covered as you drop the cauliflower in or it will try and fly out!)

Now that it looks like raw rice, dump it into a Pyrex microwave safe bowl with glass lid and toss with salt.
Do NOT add water.
If you don’t have a Pyrex bowl with a lid, cover with another  bowl–upside down to make a dome.

(When I’m in our house in Maine, I don’t have Pyrex and use a Corning-Ware baking dish covered with a plate which works just as well.)

No matter what you’ve put it in, once you’ve salted it and covered it, microwave it on high for 6 minutes.

Let cool a few minutes before you remove the lid, watching out for steam,  and fluff with a fork. Taste and add more salt if necessary.

MAGIC WILD RICE

Simply mix equal amounts of cooked Idiot Proof Oven Baked Wild Rice with cooked Cauliflower Rice. Or, since Wild Rice has so much texture and flavor, you can get away with using even less wild rice (further cutting calories) by using 70 percent cauliflower rice and 30 percent wild rice. Use that combo to make  Green Curry Stir Fried Rice with Pork.

MAGIC BROWN RICE

Again, simply mix equal amounts of cooked Brown Rice with cooked Cauliflower Rice. (Or, if you’re being really aggressive about weight loss, use more cauliflower rice and less brown rice.) A mix of cauliflower rice and brown rice is what I use to make Almost Orzo, Skinny Paella, Almost Risotto or to put underneath curries and gumbos where you want less texture than wild rice.

ABOUT FREEZING CAULIFLOWER OR EITHER OF THE MAGIC RICE BLENDS

If freezing, use small sandwich or quart size baggies for easy thawing. (Trust me here, I tried using a gallon bag and ended up with mush once it thawed!)

Just take the frozen rice out of the baggie, place it in a microwave safe bowl and nuke it on high, uncovered, for 4-5 minutes for a 3 cup serving.

Stir with a fork halfway through cooking time, or not… It doesn’t seem to care…

Again, this frozen inventory will really help you out on your busy nights… Keep it in stock!

 

About Lisa McRee

After 25 years as a local and network anchor, Lisa was just another American mother struggling, and failing, to lose weight. Finally, she cracked the code, and lost 30 pounds, quickly and for good, by doing what she loves: reporting, cooking and eating! The Skinny is the inside story on how she did it, and how you can, too!
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17 Responses to CAULIFLOWER “RICE” AND MAGIC RICE

  1. Pingback: Whole Family | Healthy Freezer Meals | Whole Family Strong

  2. Amy says:

    Can frozen cauliflower be used to make this? If so, how would preparation differ? (I’m also wondering if frozen cauliflower would work in the cauliflower mashed “potatoes” too.)

    I discovered your blog over the weekend. It’s fantastic and I am already hooked. Thanks for sharing!

    • Lisa McRee says:

      You know, I’ve never tried using frozen cauliflower but I think that for the cauliflower rice it might have too much moisture to fluff up the way fresh cauliflower does…but I think it could work just fine for the mock mashed recipe. I’m traveling for a couple of weeks so if you experiment before I have a chance to, post the results! I’m sure others would love you to share your skinny! xolmc

  3. Vivian Baker says:

    The Magic Rice I made today was fabulous. Hope the frozen portions turn out as good. You are brilliant to have thought of this! Thanks.

    • Lisa McRee says:

      So glad you liked it! Seriously, I make it every week..sometimes with brown rice, sometimes with wild rice…I’ve even used the black Japonica wild rice. When you freeze, just don’t put more than 1 to 2 cups in each bag. A larger portion won’t heat well… When you take out of freezer, just pop it out of the plastic and onto a plate and cook on high, uncovered, for 5 minutes and fluff. It is a true lifesaver for busy people! Thanks for writing! xolmc

  4. Lisa K says:

    Lisa,
    I stumbled on your site when looking for helpful hints on freezing cauliflower rice. I don’t care to use a microwave so I put the riced cauliflower in a large skillet on med-low heat to gently roast until tender. Just thought I would share another easy method. Thanks for all of your wonderful hints and helps!

    • Lisa McRee says:

      That’s a great idea! I also tried it in the oven, covered tightly with foil in a Pyrex baking dish…that works, too. (As long as it’s on top shelf so bottom won’t brown too much.) But I love the idea of doing it on the stove..you could add minced garlic or finely minced scallions…maybe some fresh peas? Hmm….I think we need to play with that! Thanks again for sharing!

  5. Felicity says:

    Have followed you! Thank you for all this: such an inspiration!!

    • Lisa McRee says:

      Thank YOU!!! So happy to have you join us! Remember, one of the fun things about Foodily is you can set up your own page and have your friends follow YOU and the recipes you’re making! Foodily has now partnered with Facebook so you can have your “faves” and what you’ve made show up on your timeline… It’s Food and Friends! Don’t you love it!

  6. Felicity says:

    And just a PS, I wonder if blitzing up some shirataki noodles into rice sized pieces would also make a good addition to bulk out rice (and the noodles are so filling). Unfortunately it is hard to get the tofu shirataki in the UK but the plain yam shirataki are available: the texture isn’t great but I could imagine that food processing them into rice sized pieces would cut down on the texture problem and make a very filling addition to the rice (and cauli-rice)?

  7. Felicity says:

    thank you so much! I froze some last night and had a wonderful miso cod stir fry tonight with it – I will try the magic rice idea (when I can trust myself not to eat a whole bag of rice if it’s in the house …).

    There’s a corner of the United Kingdom cooking up a storm with your recipes!

    • Lisa McRee says:

      So excited to have The Skinny in play in the U.K!! Do try making magic rice…but use the oven baked method…it is SOOOOO easy and turns out great every time! But remember, never white rice, use brown or a mix of brown and wild rice for better texture and flavor. I, by the way pulled out two 2-cup portions from the freezer tonight, microwaved it (uncovered to get rid of any moisture) while I stir fried (no real oil, just cooking spray in a non stick wok) onions, carrots, bok choy, peppers and a cup of slivered pork and a cup of shrimp, doused with tamari (wheat free soy sauce) some fresh grated ginger, then tossed in the thawed rice and a half cup of frozen shelled edamame (for extra protein) and a few chopped green onions for bright color and flavor…
      Fantastic!! And SOOOOO filling and Skinny!!!! I’ll work on ways to use yam shiratake noodles and light tofu as soon as I can for you..
      Meantime, go to FOODILY.COM and follow me… I’m under “Tastemakers” with Laurie David and some other amazing people… Super fun site!! xolmc

  8. Felicity says:

    Just found this – it will be a miracle for me!!

    Do you need to cook the cauliflower before bagging it up to freeze?

    I’m making some of this as I type, to have with some flash fried healthy vegetables.

    • Lisa McRee says:

      Hi, Felicity…Yes, do cook the cauliflower before freezing. I keep plain cauliflower rice as well as Magic Rice (50/50 mix of cauliflower rice and brown or wild rice) in the freezer at all times..such a life saver!! (Freeze in small baggies, no more than 2 cups per bag, or it will get mushy when re-heated..)

  9. CS says:

    I don’t have a microwave, how else do you suggest making ‘cauliflower’ rice and defrosting it?

    Thanks!
    CS

    • Lisa McRee says:

      Dear CS… I have to be honest, I’ve never done it without a microwave! But, since you asked, I’ll figure it out! My first instinct is to run it through the food processor and put it in a Pyrex and roast it, covered, with salt but NO water, until tender. And, after you’ve frozen your stash, using the oven and a covered Pyrex to re-heat. ( I would not try steaming it because the steam makes cauliflower so watery that it loses its rice like texture and turns to mush.) Give me a day or two so I can cook up a few heads in different ways and perfect the timing and method? I’m sure you’re not the only one who lives without a nuking device so this is a great homework assignment for me… And I do want to help you figure it out because the Cauliflower RIce is SO key to making so many dishes that fill you up and fake you out!! I have to tell you, I had 2 huge bowls of the last of Monday’s Insalata di Riso for lunch today and am still full 5 hours later. It really is MAGIC!! I’ll dedicate a post to you by Sunday, I promise! xolmc

      UPDATE FOR YOU, CS…. Grate the cauliflower, add salt, toss in a Pyrex..I used a 15 inch…Cover tight with foil and roast at 375 on the middle rack for no more than 30 minutes. I did Idiot Proof Wild Rice (that takes an hour) in the same oven. Perfect. I’d love to credit you for making me figure this out.. you don’t have to give your name but I’d love to know where you’re from… Good luck and good skinny cooking! xoxolmc

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