The phrase “homemade Rice-A-Roni” sounds like a bit of a misnomer, right? Like, obviously you make a box of Rice-A-Roni at home, so theoretically, it’s homemade. But what this means is that there’s no box. You’re making something that is like Rice-A-Roni, yet from scratch. And better yet, with ingredients you likely have on hand. Love that.
When it comes to cooking, I have come a long way since I first started some 20 years ago in my first single-girl apartment. When The Ex and I first got married years later, many of our early dinners came from boxes… Rice-A-Roni, Hamburger Helper, you name it, I went there. But as I slowly learned more and more about cooking, and started feeling more and more comfortable experimenting on my own, I relied on boxes less and less. I like the fact that cooking from scratch, pure homemade, allows you the means to control exactly what goes into your food … the salt, the fat, and so on. These days, the boxes in our pantry are few and far between.
Both kids love rice, and even though I’m trying to keep my own carbs away from the last meal of the day, I’m a fan too. Growing up, white rice with a small piece of butter melting on top hit our dinner table every so often, and to me, it reminds me of my childhood, and it’s a little bit of comfort food in a bowl. These days, the Rice-A-Roni boxes are long gone from our cupboard, so when I found this do-it-your-own version at Chaos in the Kitchen awhile back, I flagged it to give it a try.
I had to make two batches of cupcakes for the kids to take to school tomorrow, their last day before Easter and Spring Break, so I wanted to keep tonight’s dinner easy. Although I toyed with getting take-out (the miserable weather outside didn’t help), I went with ribs and this recipe for Homemade Rice-A-Roni. Not a speck left. Madeline had three helpings, Nick two. You likely have everything you need on hand already (and it’s a great way to get rid of those pasta dregs you have in half-used boxes), and the dish needs little babysitting. It’s flexible enough that once you have the basic blueprint down, you can mix in other things based on your own preference. Winner, winner, homemade Rice-A-Roni dinner.
Project 365, Photo #72
March 30, 2010
Madeline goes through phases with tights. Sometimes it’s all she’ll wear. Other times she doesn’t want to know a thing about them. When she saw the bear on the tush of these Gap tights, she needed no convincing. Seriously though, how can you not look at this picture and smile? Color makes me happy. Happy kids with color on? Even more so.
Homemade Rice-a-Roni or Rice Pilaf
Recipe courtesy of Chaos in the Kitchen
Serves 6, Prep: 5 min, Cook: 15 min
¾ cup long grain white rice
½ cup small pasta shape, like broken fideo, spaghetti, angel hair, etc.
1-3 tbsp butter, depends how much fat you want (I used 1-1/2 tablespoons)
14 oz no fat, low sodium chicken broth
1 tsp low sodium chicken base (I used one chicken bouillon cube)
1 tsp dried parsley flakes
½ tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
Preparation is the same as stated on the box of Rice-a-Roni. Melt the butter in a pan and saute the rice and pasta until lightly browned. Add the chicken broth, base, parsley and garlic. Add any other seasonings if you would like. Bring to a boil and cover, then reduce heat to low. Cook 15 minutes without lifting lid. After 15 minutes check to see if all liquid has been absorbed and fluff rice with a fork. If the rice is tender but it is still a little wet just let it sit on low with the lid off for a few minutes.