A Festive, Fruity Holiday Rice Dish

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - December 12, 2007
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Robert and Roland Cazimero
Robert and Roland Cazimero

You can almost walk past Robert Cazimero these days and not recognize him - even after spending three weeks recently in South America, he remains a svelte shadow of his former self.

Eating healthy and walking are two of his secrets for weight loss and maintenance - and “eating dessert once after saying ‘no thanks’ five or six times earlier in the week,” says Robert with a big smile.

One of this year’s holiday traditions continues Dec. 21-22 when Robert and his less vocal but equally talented brother Roland are the headliners for “A Cazimero Christmas” at the historic Hawaii Theatre.

Says Robert, “I have two favorite things in the whole world: Disneyland and our Christmas concert. It’s a fantasy come true. We’ll have a delightful feeling to the show - all warm and fuzzy - very family-oriented and showing how much we are grateful for the holidays.”

Make plans to see “A Cazimero Christmas,” and also be on the lookout for the yet untitled album on the Mountain Apple label the Brothers will be releasing in January.

And remember to eat healthy as Robert does to keep your figure during the holidays.

If you are entertaining at home for the holidays, it’s time to start menu planning.

This dish is an alternative to potatoes and has a tangy, yet sweet flavor from the onions and fruit combination. It’s easy to prepare, but tastes like you took hours cooking over a hot stove, and always gets raves. Toasted almonds add crunch appeal and texture, as well as added fiber. If you prefer, toast a medley of nuts such as walnuts, pecans and almonds for variation, or add Granny Smith apples for a tart flavor.

I like to grate fresh orange peel, but dried orange peel works fine too.

Serve this side dish with turkey or ham for your holiday table, and add some steamed

fresh green beans and a big bowl of applesauce laced with cinnamon and some home-baked crusty rolls to complete the meal.

Large crowd for dinner? Not to worry. Just double the recipe and enjoy!


* 10 cups cooked long grain rice (keep warm)
* 3 large Maui onions, sliced thin
* 3 tablespoons Smart Balance light margarine
* 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
* 11/2 cups dried cranberries
* 3 large Delicious apples, diced
* 2/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted (to toast almonds, place on ungreased baking sheet and toast in preheated oven or toaster oven for about 5 minutes, or until lightly browned)
* 1 teaspoon orange peel
* salt and pepper, to taste

In large skillet, melt margarine and add onions. Sprinkle brown sugar over onions and saut until onions are soft. Reduce heat and cook for another 15 minutes until onions are caramelized.

Stir in cranberries and apples. Cover and cook about 12 minutes, or until cranberries start to plump. Stir in almonds and orange peel until combined.

Put hot rice in large serving bowl and fold the fruit-onion mixture into the rice.

Makes 10 servings.

Approximate nutrition information per serving:

Calories: 247
Fat: 4.9 grams
Sodium: 300 milligrams (depending on how much salt you add to the rice)
Cholesterol: 2 milligrams

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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