Today’s recipe is brought to you by my friends at Uncle Ben’s and their new #BensBeginners movement. As always opinions are my own.
Do you cook with your kids? I try to get my kids involved in the kitchen, especially my little one. She is a bit of a picky eater, unlike her brother who literally eats everything. She’s also 6 and still loves “hanging with mom” (also unlike her brother). Anyway, when my friends at Uncle Ben’s and #Foodiechats told me about #BensBeginnings and getting kids and parents into the kitchen together I JUMPED on board. I know (like Uncle Ben’s) that when kids get involved in the kitchen, they tend to make healthier choices when eating. Not to mention learning how to cook is a life skill everyone needs. I long for the days when someone starts cooking me a meal 🙂
As soon as I knew I was going to be sharing in this movement, I couldn’t wait to get in the kitchen with my girl and teach her how to make a family favorite, rice balls. Rice balls are a family tradition in our house and they also happen to be one of those dishes I loved making with my Mother as a kid. Although I could have headed over to the Ben’s Beginners Digital Hub for a family friendly meal with interactive step by step instructions, I really wanted to pass on this familial legacy to my daughter.
As I mentioned, my daughter is probably the pickiest eater I know. She definitely doesn’t like certain textures and even smells in certain foods can be an issue. Many times food can be a sensory overload for her, but when we come together in the kitchen and she helps me cook, she can’t wait to give it a try. Not to mention we got to spend some quality time together and have fun!
As hard as it was for me, I really tried to let her do a lot of the prep work. To make sure that this little one could really get cooking the good folks at Uncle Ben’s sent to us this complimentary gift box filled with aprons, chef hats, Ben’s Beginners Measuring cups, and a 6 piece Fruit and Veggie Prep Kit by Curious Chef.
With a little help from me and these great utensils, Gia chopped, stirred and rolled her way into making the most perfectly delicious rice balls ever. To encourage healthier choices we made these rice balls with Uncle Ben’s Whole Grain Ready Rice. I preferred this option because it made preparations go a bit quicker and if you know 6 year olds, it is very easy to lose their interest so this worked out great.
To start we (I mean she) chopped up a small shallot, added it to a pan with olive oil and I took that over to the stove to saute with some chopped ground round and tomato sauce. It was great teamwork. She also shredded all the cheese, mixed all the ingredients, and even cracked the eggs. I’m not bragging BUT just look below she’s like an iron chef.
The next task (which was a few hours later), was scooping the rice, adding the meat, dipping and then packing it all into neat round balls of rice. I told her it was just like making snow ball and she love that. Then each rice ball was placed inside of a greased cupcake pan. Baking the rice balls instead of frying them was another step that made the meal more healthy and kid friendly. Once all the rice balls were done, I took the tray and placed into a preheated oven for about 35-40 minutes.
When the rice balls came out of the oven they looked more like cupcakes than balls and so voila, we made Rice Ball Cupcakes. As picky of an eater she is, she could not wait to give her creation a try. Especially now that it resembled her favorite dessert!
I want to thank Uncle Ben’s and my friends at #Foodiechats for giving my daughter and I this fun opportunity to cook and create something fun in the kitchen. If you would like to learn more about Ben’s Beginners and their digital recipe hub please visit their WEBSITE. While you are there check out their new contest giveaway for a chance to win 15k dollars for your family and 30K dollars for a school cafeteria makeover.
Now let’s get these kids cooking, it will be a fun experience for all!
Rice Ball Cupcakes with #BensBeginners
- 2 8 oz bags Uncle Ben's Whole Grain ReadyRice (or white)
- 1 Cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1 small shallot diced
- 1 Cup basic tomato sauce
- 1/4 Cup olive oil
- 2 Cups breadcrumbs seasoned
- 1/4 lb Ground Round
- 1/4 lb Ground Pork
- Extra Virgin Oil Coating Cupcake Pan
- Prepare rice according to directions. While still warm add the cheeses and combine thoroughly. Refrigerate for a few hours (preferably overnight).
- Heat olive oil in a pan and add diced shallots. Cook until lightly browned. Add the chopped beef and pork and cook through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the tomato sauce and continue to cook on medium/low heat for an additional 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Preheat oven to 375/400 degrees F. When ready to prepare the rice balls remove from the refrigerator and let stand for a few minutes at room temperature. Crack and lightly scramble one egg and add to the rice mixture. Combine well.
- Place a scoop of rice into the palm of your hand. Press down on the center to create an indentation and then add meat mixture. Place another scoop of rice on top and begin to seal the edges with your hands by creating a ball. Repeat this step until you have 6 (even) balls of rice in total. Prepare an assembly of two deep dishes and a platter Deep dish 1: crack remaining egg and mix well Deep Dish 2: bread crumbs Gently roll each ball of rice into the egg and then breadcrumbs until fully coated. Repeat until all are done.
- Lightly grease a cupcake pan. Pour a small amount of Olive oil into your hands and coat each ball of rice with the olive oil. Then place into the cupcake pan. Repeat these steps with all the rice balls. Place the pan in the oven for aprox. 30 minutes or until the rice ball cupcakes are done.
- Remove from the oven when done. Serve warm with extra sauce.