Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The San Francisco Treat!

There are a few things that are really nostalgic flavors to me. One is Moosewood's Mexican Pepper Casserole. It reminds me of childhood on the farm with bountiful pepper harvests and using up what didn't sell at the farmer's market. Another is German Chocolate Cake- my dad's favorite birthday cake that we had every year. But one of my favorite's of all was homemade rice-a-roni. It's easy, tasty, and really stretches a super tight budget with low-cost ingredients. It also lends itself nicely to substitutions to make it vegetarian, vegan, and dairy-free. I still make it for my own family.
   The line-up of ingredients is simple:

  • 2 Tbsp butter(or EVOO)
  • 1 cup uncooked white rice*
  • 3/4 cup uncooked spaghetti noodles, broken into 1-inch long pieces
  • 3 cups chicken stock(or water + appropriate amounts bullion)
*Brown rice can be substituted, but liquid and cooking time will both need to be doubled
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the uncooked rice and spaghetti to the butter and stir frequently until the rice is opaque white and the spaghetti noodles are lightly browned, 5-10 minutes. 
   Add the chicken stock(learn how to make your own for PENNIES here!) and bring the mixture to a busy simmer. Turn the heat down to medium-low heat and cover, stirring occasionally for 15 or so minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed completely and the rice is cooked to your liking. 
   Let it rest for 3-5 minutes before serving. For those of you with small children: this retains its heat VERY well. Might want to let it sit for 10 or more minutes, stirring it every few minutes before serving. My kids love this and dive in spoon-first, always finishing it before anything else I serve with it. Well, so do my husband and I. 
   If you like it a little wetter or rice more well-done, add more liquid and simmer a few minutes longer. Sub EVOO for the butter to make it dairy-free. Sub EVOO and vegetable stock for a vegetarian/vegan side. Use brown rice and whole-grain pasta for a little kick in the healthier direction, just make sure you remember to adjust the liquid and cook times as necessary. And don't forget to humm the jingle while envisioning a trolly rolling through the streets as you cook. 

1 comment:

  1. just thanks for sharing this. I tried it and it was well received by my brood<3