Rice Pilaf

This rice pilaf recipe is super quick and easy. It whips up in 10 minutes on a busy weeknight, which I love, AND it’s packed with flavor.

My mom used to make a similar recipe when we were kids and I adapted it to include mushrooms. I know that not everybody loves mushrooms, but you could swap them for carrots if you wanted to. Her original recipe also included 1 Tbsp. of parsley, but I never have that, so I never use it.

Meal prep tips

If you want to prep ahead for this recipe, you can chop all of the veggies a day or two before you need to make this. Using instant Minute Rice is really what brings the cooking time down to next to nothing, so if you’re going to use regular rice, remember to adjust the liquid and cooking time according to the type of rice you buy.

Rice pilaf pairs well with…

I usually make this as a side dish with chicken or pork. The rosemary garlic marinade and the lemon herb marinade are our go-tos when pairing chicken or pork with this rice.

Kid-friendly?

I want to say that this recipe is kid-friendly, but only two of my four kids like it. If your kids aren’t fans of cooked vegetables, foods that are mixed together, or “green things” (thyme) in their food, this recipe might not be for them. But here’s the good news: My new e-book Feeding Picky Eaters is now on the Shop page. It has over 20 strategies to help you engage your picky eaters at mealtime, as well as printable templates and actionable steps that you can implement immediately.

Enjoy this one and tag me on Instagram @toobusylivin204 if you make it!

Rice Pilaf

Course rice, Side Dish
Keyword celery, mushrooms, pilaf, rice
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup diced mushrooms
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 2 cups chicken broth (I use vegetable broth + 2 tsp. chicken bouillon concentrate)
  • 2 cups Minute Rice If not using instant rice, cook time will be longer.

Instructions

  1. Melt butter and sauté mushrooms, celery, shallot and garlic until softened.

  2. Add thyme, then chicken broth.

  3. Bring to a boil. Add rice, stir and remove from heat.

  4. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Recipe Notes

If using regular rice (not instant), add it to the pan before the broth and stir it into the vegetables before adding the broth. 

You may have to adjust the amount of broth you need, based on the ratio of water you need for the type of rice you choose to use. 

Pork and Vegetable Wontons

fried wontons plated with a soy dipping sauce garnished with cilantro and sesame seeds

Prepping the wontons

These pork wontons are a quick weeknight meal, once prepped. The assembly takes a little bit of time, so you might want to make these when you have time to prep. Mixing the ingredients for these wontons doesn’t take too long, but you might want to make an assembly line to fill and fold them to make it go faster.

Jump to Recipe
ingredients for pork wontons set out on the counter

Simple ingredients

The addition of red pepper adds a touch of sweetness and the water chestnuts add a nice crunch. You can substitute the ground ginger for fresh, and garlic powder for fresh garlic as well, so use whatever you have. I enjoy the flavor of the ground pork, but if that’s not for you, you can also make these with chicken or turkey.

unassembled wontons laid out in an assembly line

How to serve pork wontons

I love the crispy yet chewy texture of these wontons when they’re pan-fried and steamed. They make a great appetizer or lunch this way and can also be served alongside a rice or noodle dish for a full meal. You can also drop them into some hot broth with veggies for soup, another great option for lunch or dinner.

Dipping sauces for pork wontons

I combined a drop of sesame oil with soy sauce, a few red chili flakes, and sesame seeds to enjoy these. You can also use a combination of sweet chili sauce with soy sauce for a sweet and salty combo. The dressing from this Asian Grilled Chicken Salad would also make an excellent dipping sauce.

Meal prep strategies

There are a few meal prep strategies that you can apply to this recipe such as:

  • Prepping ahead of time
  • Making a double batch and freezing them

When I made these, I bought a 6 lb sleeve of ground pork and prepared it a few other ways so that I have some meal components ready for quick meals. I made some burgers, which you can season any way you like. This recipe for lemon basil chicken burgers has some great tips on how to make a great burger. I also cooked some unseasoned in a pan and froze it in 2-cup portions, so that I can use it in other meals, like tacos, lettuce wraps or burrito bowls.

Check out my Instagram page for a reel on how to make these pork wontons. Enjoy!

Pork and Vegetable Wontons

Delicate wontons that can be fried crispy or served in a soup.

Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword pork, pork wonton, wonton
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 30 wontons

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. lean ground pork
  • 1 can sliced water chestnuts
  • 1 red pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce *extra sauce for dipping
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • sweet chili sauce for dipping
  • 1 egg, beaten with one tsp water
  • 1 pkg. wonton wrappers

Instructions

  1. Finely dice water chestnuts and red pepper.

  2. Mince garlic.

  3. Combine pork, water chestnuts, red pepper, garlic, ginger, soy sauce and sesame oil until there is no liquid in the bowl.

  4. Seperate wonton wrappers and lay out so that you can assemble all of the wontons at once.

  5. Drop 1/2 Tbsp of the wonton filling in the centre of each wrapper.

  6. Brush one corner of the wrapper with egg in an L shape.

  7. Fold the dry corner (the corner that doesn't have the egg on it) to form a triangle, and press to seal.

  8. Fold the bottom corners of the triangle on each other and use more egg to seal them if needed.

  9. At this point you can either cook them fresh, or freeze them.

  10. If freezing, spread out on a sheet pan so none of the wontons are touching. Freeze for 1-2 hours. Store in a silicone or plastic bag.

  11. To cook, heat 2 Tbsp canola oil in a frying pan. Add in wontons, making sure not to crowd the pan.

  12. Fry for 2 minutes until golden, then flip and fry for another two minutes.

  13. Add 1/4 cup water or broth to the hot pan and cover with a lid. Let steam for 5 minutes.

  14. Serve with soy sauce or sweet chili sauce for dipping.

Bake One, Freeze One – Chicken & Ricotta Lasagna Rolls

This post was written in a paid partnership with Manitoba Chicken Producers. As always, all opinions are my own and I only promote products and services that I use and love.

Spring break is just around the corner and that means kids are home from school and will at some point be a) hungry and b) bored. These Chicken Ricotta Lasagna Rolls are a great way to get the kids in the kitchen to keep them busy AND feed them.

a pan of cooked lasagna rolls in white sauce
These Chicken & Ricotta Lasagna Rolls are perfect for Spring Break: An activity for the kids and a meal for the family.

60-Second Recipe

As I mentioned in How to prep Chicken – One Pan Chicken Souvlaki, Manitoba Chicken Producers has 60-Second Recipe videos on manitobachicken.ca to teach you how to make over 50 of their recipes.  There is a video for these Chicken and Ricotta Lasagna Rolls too, so if you have older kids who are independent in the kitchen, you can set them up with the groceries and the link and let them have fun cooking dinner.

ingredients on a cutting board

Bake One, Freeze One

This recipe is a great one to double and freeze for another meal.  You can divide it in portions that are suitable for you. I like to use foil containers to freeze these, so that I don’t have to freeze my everyday baking dishes. 

Versatile & Adaptable

Chicken & Ricotta Lasagna Rolls are adaptable, and you can tweak the flavors based on ingredients you already have on hand. For my take on this recipe, I substituted the swiss chard with sundried tomatoes and the thyme for my Three Herb Pesto. You could also use spinach, shredded zucchini, or mushrooms instead of the swiss chard.  If using zucchini or mushrooms, be sure to sauté them first, to release some of the moisture.

ingredients in a bowl being mixed with a spatula

Since I doubled the recipe, I made half with the cream sauce, as stated in the original recipe, and used marinara sauce for the other half. You can also use different pasta shapes for these Chicken & Ricotta Lasagna Rolls. I tested this recipe using fresh lasagna sheets and oven-ready cannelloni shells. You could also use jumbo shell pasta or regular lasagna noodles (be sure to cook them and cool them before filling).

lasagna rolls in red sauce in a baking dish

Tips for Assembling Chicken & Ricotta Lasagna Rolls

This recipe is so easy to prepare. Younger children can help mix the ingredients and dollop the filling on to the lasagna sheets.  When I was using the oven-ready cannelloni, I used a piping bag to fill the tubes.  This technique might be tricky (but fun!) for tiny hands but will make filling them a breeze for a teen or an adult.

a hand holding a canneloni bring filled with a piping bag

Also, be sure to cover the rolls completely with whichever sauce you choose to use.  I made the mistake of leaving some of the edges uncovered and they got a bit crispy.

cream being poured from a pitcher over lasagna rolls

Tips for Freezing and Storing Chicken & Ricotta Lasagna Rolls

There are two important food safety tips you need to know for making and freezing these lasagna rolls.  First, when you bring the ground chicken home from the store, be sure to use it within two days.  Second, when freezing the lasagna rolls, they will keep in the freezer for up to three months.  Be sure to label your foil pans with the name of the recipe and the date so you know how long they have been in your freezer.

foil pans with cooking instructions written on the top

When thawing the rolls before cooking them, be sure to thaw them in the refrigerator the night before you would like to cook them.

These Chicken & Ricotta Lasagna Rolls are delicious leftover as well.  I thought they were even better the next day! Be sure to consume leftovers within two days. For more chicken-related food safety tips, head to the Cooking School section at manitobachicken.ca and click Cooking, Storing or Handling in the dropdown menu.

How to Serve Chicken & Ricotta Lasagna Rolls

a plate of food beside a baking dish of cooked lasagna rolls

These lasagna rolls pair well with a Caesar salad and garlic or focaccia bread.  Which variation will you make? Head to manitobachicken.ca for the recipe and to watch the 60-Second video.