I was so excited last week because I was asked to host a special Minute® Rice Vintage Christmas party with local bloggers! I have worked with Minute Rice a lot over the years just personally in my kitchen but also as a blogger creating recipes for them. You will always find boxes of Minute Rice in my pantry because it is such an easy side dish or addition to soups, casseroles and more. The need for quick and easy has become even more true now that we have a little one at home who is awake and alert around dinner time.
I was also really excited because I don’t know a lot of local bloggers and I love throwing parties! My house had been partially decorated for Christmas since the first weekend of November (yes, I’m one of those people), so I took to adding a bit more holiday cheer. We have a burlap christmas skirt and stockings, which made a vintage holiday theme feel appropriate. I added a burlap table runner and burlap Merry Christmas sign.
We also needed a little bling, and this “Drink Up Darling” glitter sign became my favorite decor piece! It hung over the Horchata Coffee Bar which was delicious and included fun additions like peppermint spoons, cinnamon, nutmeg, and marshmallows. It also included rice of course! In case you are unfamiliar, horchata is a creamy, dairy drink made from rice. I made a batch from scratch – a Coconut Horchata from Baking a Moment.
The party was a tasty rice pot luck, so every blogger brought an incredible rice dish to share with the group. What I loved most about the selection of recipes was the diversity. We had an appetizer recipe, a soup recipe, a couple main dish recipes, a couple side dish recipes, AND a couple dessert recipes. Plus the drink recipe with the horchata! I bet you didn’t think about how versatile rice really can be which is another reason I love Minute Rice!
For the party, I made a Cranberry Pear Spinach Rice Pilaf. I know you think I would say this either way but it was amazing! So good actually that I wrapped up the leftovers and heated it up for our dinner that night with friends. And yes, they also loved it! It has really great light, fruity flavor with the inclusion of pear (including pear juice to cook the rice) and with the dried cranberries. Plus, I added in pecans which gave the dish a nice subtle crunch.
I could have easily used white rice in this Cranberry Pear Spinach Rice Pilaf, but I love to use Minute® Multi-Grain Medley when I can. It is a blend of 4 gluten free grains – brown rice, Thai red rice, wild rice and quinoa. It has a slightly nutty flavor that I think brings a lot of richness to a dish like this. Plus, it cooks in only 10 minutes which is always a win for me! The best part is that you can really enhance the flavor of the rice by substituting the water for a fruit juice or broth. In this case, I cooked the rice with pear juice!
- 2 Bags of Minute Rice Multi-Grain Medley
- 1¾ cups pear juice (substitute for the water exactly)
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 pear, chopped
- 1½ c dried cranberries
- 1 c chopped pecans
- 2 c spinach
- In a large non-stick pot, prepare rice following the instructions and substituting the water for the pear juice
- In a large skillet, melt butter and add chopped onions. Cooked for 2-3 minutes. Add spinach and pecans for another few minutes, stirring often. Add pear in for a couple minutes, stirring often. Then, remove from heat.
- Add rice, cranberries and seasoning - stir well.
- Serve right away or put in oven on low to keep warm until ready!
Lastly, because it’s fun to have a little take away from a party, we hung out eating Christmas treats and making wood chalkboard Christmas Ornaments. It’s a really easy project! Paint a little chalkboard paint onto the middle of wood cut out circles, then use markers or paint to decorate. Either drill a hole for string (or buy wood slices with the hole already) or use hot glue to attach string on the back like we did! It was fun to see what everyone did, especially what words they decided to use since that was the popular choice.