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I’m not sure what stars had to align in my life to make me love cooking as much as I now do, but I started taking a major interest in getting creative in the kitchen right after my toddler was born almost a year and a half ago. I’m always flipping to the cooking channels when I get a chance to see what my favorite chefs are up to, and I find myself dragging out all of my old cookbooks from over the years a lot more frequently now.
I’d say it’s just because I love to eat, but truthfully I think it has something to do with the experience. The same satisfaction you may get after you’ve assembled a challenging puzzle or craft project happens for me after I put together a nice and delicious meal for my family. But now that school has started back and my schedule has gotten busier, I find it harder to put together meals on the fly that leave myself and my family feeling satisfied. I long for those recipes I can throw together quickly that will still leave me feeling like a champ in the kitchen.
And because I feel this way after preparing a meal for my family, I’m always looking for ways that my family members can get involved in the process, too. I think it’s important for children to get acquainted with different cooking techniques and practices because it’s a life tool that will serve them very well once they fly the nest!
I recently learned about Ben’s Beginners™ -an initiative put on by Uncle Ben’s Rice that encourages families with kids to get together in the kitchen and to turn cooking time into quality family time. There’s lots of recipes to choose from on their website, plus new skills and lessons that kids can pick up (with adult supervision, of course!) I knew right away that this would be something I could totally get behind, so I started brainstorming about how to get one very special kiddo in my life in the kitchen with me to help me prepare something great!
I reached out to my baby cousin (who all of a sudden turned into a spunky pre-teen in the blink of an eye) to see if she’d like to have a weekend cooking date with me. She’s a cheerleader at her school, so she stays super busy with all of her after school practices. Luckily for me, all of that jumping and stunting leaves her with a big appetite! I always cherish our time together. I came into her life when she was just 3 years old, and my life has been so much sweeter ever since!
One dish that I know she loves is nachos. She’s been a chips and cheese girl for her entire life! She loves to get the nachos from the school concession stand on game days, so I thought I’d show her how to make a similar version (but WAY more delicious and healthier) that she can make with her family at home. I headed out to my local Walmart to gather the items I’d need for the occasion.
I wanted to look for ingredients that would really pack in the flavor, but that would be easy to assemble and not time consuming. My first stop was by the rice section where I found a huge variety of Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice packets. I picked out the Spanish Style because I knew it’d bring the best flavor to my nacho dish. I love to buy these because they’re SO easy – just pop in the microwave and you’re good to go! I knew that’d be something that my little cousin would appreciate, too.
I then zipped around the store and picked out a few yummy ingredients for toppings that would really make the dish perfect for us.
The first thing we did when she came over was get out the Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice and read over the instructions. She was surprised to find that all you had to do was slightly tear open the bag and microwave it! In just 90 seconds the rice was perfectly cooked – and BOY did it smell amazing! It was so tempting to just eat it all by itself, but I refrained. 😉
We then shredded some fresh cheese right off the block. We went for monterey jack, but I think just about any flavor of cheese would work great! She had never used a cheese grater before, so this was a whole new learning experience for her. We both agreed that it tastes way better than the pre-shredded kind!
I got out my old trusty iron skillet and preheated the oven to 350 F. She helped me spread a bunch of tortilla chips in the bottom of it, followed immediately by the Uncle Ben’s Spanish Style Ready Rice. We followed that by adding some shredded rotisserie chicken and a few handfuls of shredded cheese. We popped it into the oven for a few minutes to let the cheese melt.
Once the cheese was hot, we pulled it out of the oven and added all of our favorite toppings. We included shredded lettuce, black olives, homemade salsa, jalapenos, sour cream, extra shredded cheese, and some fresh squeezed lime juice. We were in hog heaven, y’all!
It was such a treat to share this moment in the kitchen with her. I’m sure I’ll blink one more time and she’ll be headed off to college. Kids just don’t stay kids for very long! Now she knows how quick and easy it is to make a delicious meal out of nachos, and that Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice can be ready to eat in your bowl in less than 2 minutes! That’ll really come in handy for her when she comes home from cheer practice and is hungry!
Here’s a free printable version of my recipe if you’d like to give it a try! One of my favorite things about making nachos is that there’s really no right or wrong way to do it! You can get as creative or go as basic as you’d like!
- 1 Package Uncle Ben's Ready Rice - Spanish variety
- 1 lb cooked chicken or beef (optional)
- ½ cup shredded cheese + extra for topping - your favorite variety
- ½ cup salsa
- Tortilla chips
- Additional nacho toppings: black olives, jalapenos, green onions, corn, shredded leatuce, cheese sauce, cilantro, sour cream, lime etc.
- Preheat oven to 350 F
- In an oven safe skillet, scatter a handful of tortilla chips in the bottom - enough to cover entire pan
- Cook Uncle Ben's Rice according to package instructions
- Pour rice over tortilla chips
- If you're including meat in your nachos, go ahead and add it on top of the rice. We used a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken and shredded it over our nachos. You can also used canned chicken if you're in a hurry!
- Top with shredded cheese and place in oven for about 8-10 minutes - or until cheese is completely melted
- Remove from oven and add your favorite nacho toppings
These easy 10 minute nachos are really the perfect dish to prepare with kids – especially when you’re crunched for time. Just toss it in the skillet and let all of the delicious Spanish flavors meld together. Voila! Easy peasy and oh so cheesy! 😉
Get Cooking with Uncle Ben’s:
For more delicious recipes using Uncle Ben’s rice and other ideas to get kids in the kitchen and excited about cooking, visit Cooking with Uncle Ben! I’m seriously drooling over all of the beautiful recipes featured there. They’re quick, easy and fun for the whole family to get involved with!
Grab a Coupon!:
Are you using the Ibotta app on your phone? If so, you could really be saving big on lots of your favorite items at the grocery store! Right now you can save BIG on select Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice Products at Walmart so you can make these delicious nachos for you and your family! Here’s a link to help get you started: $0.75 off Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice Products at Walmart
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Do you have children or other young family members that like to get cooking in the kitchen with you? What are some of the things they love to be hands on with the most? Do you have your own unique recipe idea using Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice? I’d love to hear all about it! Leave a comment below and let’s chat. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway while you’re at it! 😉