Rice-a-roni made without the box


ricearoniLast night, I begun working on a monstrous, impossible, ridiculous project (that I can’t wait to share with you guys) and the fiancee decided to dedicate about maybe 20 minutes of his time, before he decided that it was a crazy project and decided he wanted absolutely nothing to do with it.  Once he threw the towel in, he decided he was hungry and that he wanted some of that “cheesy rice stuff.”  Well, we didn’t have any of that “cheesy rice stuff” (because the brand name Rice-a-roni is so hard to remember :P) so I made some homemade, copy-cat Rice-a-roni.  Which, in all actuality is just Rice pilaf.  Funny fact, when I was younger, I was absolutely crazy over Rice-a-roni – my friends would get me boxes of Rice-a-roni and Mountain Dew for my birthday…weird, I know.  I’m glad I’ve come to appreciate much more than just Rice-a-roni and Mountain Dew since then.  This is the most simple version of Rice pilaf that I make, and in the future I’ll post some different recipes of different Rice pilaf – but, lets start with the most simple of simple recipes.

Easy Rice Pilaf (Copycat Rice-a-roni)

Ingredients

1/4 cup orzoRice-a-roni Copycat
1 cup rice (not instant rice)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chicken broth (or 2 cups water with bouillon cube)
EVOO
Nature’s Seasoning (or just some salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder)

1. Heat EVOO over low heat.  Add in the minced garlic, and stir constantly for 30 seconds (to make sure it doesn’t burn).
2. Add in the orzo, and saute for another 30 seconds.
3. Combine the rest of the ingredients (rice, chicken broth, and seasoning) into the pan and turn heat to high, and bring to a boil.
4. Once the mixture has come to a boil, turn the heat down to low and cover with a pan.
5. Allow to cook for about 20 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed the liquid and the rice is tender.  If you find that the rice isn’t tender, and there is no longer any juice, add in some more water or broth and allow to cook some more!

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I’m gonna shish your kebab


I remember when I was a kid, my mom would always turn phrases into a threat.  If I would say “hey mom, I want some Subway,” she would say “I’m going to Sub your Way.”  Does anyone else have a mom that does that?  Or is mine just completely weird (just kidding, love you ma).  Monday night I gave in and snipped back my herbs, (which was very hard for me to do) and used them in my first recipe!  My mom told me that I need to begin to snip them back to make sure that they have strong roots.  A herb that has really tall growth at first will be top heavy and have less sturdy roots.  Therefore, I did as I was advised and plucked them back!  I used some oregano and parsley in this recipe, and put some cilantro in the fridge.  You can see in this picture that my basil is really starting to sprout up!  I think I’m getting really lucky with those.

Herb Update

Shish Kebabs with Spanakopita orzo

(courtesy of Rachael Ray’s Look+Cook)

Ingredients

1/2 pound orzo
1 tablespoon fresh oregano (or dried)
5 tablespoons EVOO
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 pounds New York strip (or another thick steak), cubed
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup stock
3 cups spinach
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
Fresh parsley, finely chopped

Directions

1.  Preheat the grill to a medium-high heat.  Soak wooden skewers in a bowl of water for 20 minutes (or use metal skewers).

2.  Bring large pot of water to boil over high heat and add in the orzo.

3.  Combine oregano, 3 tablespoons EVOO, onion powder, garlic powder, and some salt and pepper.  Toss the beef cubes in the mixture to coat.

4.  Thread the beef cubes on skewers and grill them 2 to 3 minutes per side.

5.  While the beef is cooking, place a large skillet over medium heat and add in the remaining EVOO.  Once heated, add in the onions, garlic, and parsley.  Cook 5 minutes.

6.  Add stock and 2 cups spinach to a food processor and process until smooth.

7.  Add the spinach puree to the onion mixture and warm for about 30 seconds.

8.  Add the onion/puree mixture into the orzo and serve shish kebabs on top of the orzo.

This was one of those meals where you definitely wanted a bite of both the meat and starch.  The mixture of the tastes were so amazing!  I hope everyone else enjoys it!