I grew up on Rice-A-Roni. You know. "The San Francisco Treat." The original chicken variety was introduced to the world about three years after I was.
Although I always enjoyed the flavor, in recent years, as I began to analyze packaged and processed foods a little more, I came to the realization that there was some stuff in there that I didn't especially want to include in my diet. MSG, for one. Hydrolyzed soy protein and hydrolyzed corn gluten weren't tops on my list either. And I could definitely live without disodium guanylate, disodium inosinate, and ferric orthophosphate.
So I began to wonder if I could duplicate the recipe, retaining the same flavor but without all the additives and preservatives. The answer was an unqualified "yes." The first time I served my new creation, I waited until my wife was about halfway through her portion before I asked how she liked it. "It's fine," she said. I pressed her about the taste. "It's Rice-A-Roni," she replied. "How is it supposed to taste?"
There is absolutely no difference between my recipe and chicken-flavor Rice-A-Roni -- except for the artificial ingredients and the cost. Mine's much cheaper to make. To avoid aggravating the legal beagles at Golden Grain, let's call mine ... are you ready for this ...
1 tablespoon chicken bouillon
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried celery flakes
1 teaspoon dried minced onions
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
1 cup uncooked rice
1/4 cup vermicelli, broken into small pieces
2 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 cups water
Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the rice and vermicelli. Stir to coat and combine.Saute until the vermicelli begins to brown. Add 2 1/2 cups water. Stir in combined seasonings; bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until rice is tender.
Makes 3 cups
You can dress it up with some cooked, cubed chicken, if desired.
Try it. You'll never buy the boxed stuff again.