We Love Near East Rice Pilaf

A grin lightens her face and her eyes open wide with excitement when I ask her about her meal planning skills. The one thing you will soon learn when you are around Brittany, who has worked in the co-op’s grocery department for two years, is that she is always bubbly and enthusiastic.  What’s great is that her effervescent personality is infectious and you will find yourself smiling and laughing more when talking to her. Brittany’s wonderful sense of humor bleeds into how she talks about meal planning, proclaiming that she has almost no ability to cook. This inability has made her gravitate toward easy-to-make meal products at Valley Natural Foods.

One of her absolute favorites is Near East rice pilaf, of which select varieties are on sale December 2-15 and select varieties of Near East couscous are 3 for $5 during that same period. She says that with the sale, it is a good time to stock-up, especially when the roads are bad because the mixes do not require many extra ingredients to make. What Brittany likes about Near East rice pilaf mixes is that they do not contain artificial ingredients or MSG. Valley Natural Foods sells the original, the whole grain blend chicken and herb, and the whole grain blend garlic and herb rice pilaf mixes. In addition, the co-op also has the original, the whole grain blend wheat, and roasted garlic and olive oil couscous mixes.

“It is really neat because they only take 20 to 25 minutes to make,” Brittany adds. “All you need is butter or olive oil; which is good for me because when I get to more complex recipes, I’m definitely missing something that I need and I have to run and get it last minute.”

Brittany admits that you can always count on rice pilaf being a reliable, tasty, comfort food even if you have no ability to cook! To make rice pilaf into a quick meal, Brittany may pick up a bag of frozen Natural Sea breaded multigrain or Orca Bay cod fillets found in Valley Natural Foods’ meat department. When she can put a tasty, hot, filling meal together like this by herself, she calls it a dinner win! However, she does say that if you have someone around that has more cooking skills, making salmon is another option. Her boyfriend is a chef so she says his skills are helpful when she wants to put together something fancy.

Yet when I asked her whether he teaches her new skills, she says she definitely asks him to and sometimes he does, as she has recently learned how to make some awesome sunny-side up eggs. With her sunny disposition and enthusiasm, I imagine that Brittany will be learning other new cooking skills soon. Despite her claims, I think she has developed quite the ability to cook already. One can conclude that easy-to-make meal products do help build cooking confidence!

If you are feeling even more adventurous in the kitchen, click here to view Near East’s recipes using their products.   

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