Most everyone likes rice as a side dish but sometimes you might want to jazz it up a little and present a different face than the same-old-same-old. 

There are many variations but this is one I particularly like and I hope you will too.
I use brown rice for the whole grain quality, even though there is a school of thought that believes white rice is better for us. Until it is proven, however, I am sticking to my organic brown rice for my staple. You, however can use any kind of rice you and your family like.  When I am in a big rush to get dinner on the table, I sometimes, cook an organic basmati or jasmine rice. Just follow the package instructions and add the following ingredients for a nice change.

2 cups cooked, fluffed rice, (I usually cook my rice in vegetable or chicken stock for a richer flavor, but lightly salted water is fine.) Just keep the rice hot while you do the other ingredients. Or if you are using a quick-cooking rice, prepare the other ingredients and cook the rice at the end.
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
1 4oz can black olives, sliced and drained
1/2 cup  fresh diced, seeded tomatoes,  Roma are the best for this dish but use what you’ve got, by all means. A mixture of red and yellow tomatoes makes a really beautiful presentation
1/3 cup sundried tomatoes, re-hydrated and chopped well
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 8 0z box, baby bella mushrooms, cleaned, sliced and lightly sautéed in 1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium bell pepper, seeded and chopped into small pieces, then sautéed with the mushrooms
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced, sauteed with the mushrooms and peppers at the last one minute of the sautee. (garlic burns easily, so wait ‘til the end to cook it)
1 bunch fresh basil, rinsed and chopped (Yes! Basil is still producing even this late in the season- and will until frost!)
3/4 teaspoon salt, mixed into the  remaining Tbsp. of olive oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, mixed into the olive oil and salt

Put hot, fluffy rice into a large mixing bowl. add all the remaining ingredients and toss the mixture -very gently- with two large forks or spoons until it is well combined. Served immediately while still hot. Pair this dish with Italian green beans, a grilled meat and a crisp green salad.

Dunham's Sports

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