Sunday, August 29, 2010

Homemade Rice Mix

I am all about convenience foods.  I don't have a lot of time for cooking during the week, so I appreciate being able to fix something quickly.  And the people who blend the seasonings for convenience foods are much better at it than I am.

Some of my favorite convenience foods are the Farmhouse Rice mixes.  I eat a lot of grilled chicken, and these go well with that.  Before I start grilling the chicken, I dump the box of rice, 1 1/2 cups water, the seasoning packet, and a pat of butter into a 1 1/2 qt. casserole dish and microwave it for 18 minutes.  Then I just need to steam some veggies while the chicken is grilling, and dinner is served!  When I don't have fresh food on hand, I make a casserole out of a box of Farmhouse Rice, a can of chicken, and a can of green beans.  Or I go Hawaiian and add a can of pineapple. 

But like all convenience foods, these can be pricey.  And they take up a lot of room in the pantry.  And I'd refer it if it made just a little more rice.  So I've been keeping an eye out for an alternative.  I've been looking for something that would be just as easy to fix, and be cheaper and easier to store.  I believed I've found what I was looking for.

While browsing through the Make-A-Mix book again, I came across a recipe for Chicken Continental Rice Seasoning Mix.  This book has a lot of great recipes in it, and this one does not disappoint.

Chicken Continental Rice Seasoning Mix
2 Tbsp instant chicken bouillon granules
1 Tbsp dried parsley leaves, crushed
2 tsp minced dried onions
1/4 tsp dried basil leaves
1/4 tsp thyme
1/8 tsp white pepper
1/8 tsp garlic powder

As you can see, this recipe is for making individual packets rather than a spice jar full of seasoning that you would measure out (each packet about 1/4 cup).  At first, I wanted to make up a full jar of this mix so I didn't have to make up the mix 10 times for 10 packets.  However, after making it the first time I realized that this really is the best approach.  This mix has fine powders and chunky herb leaves, and it would be difficult to keep the ingredients properly mixed in a spice jar.  The powders would want to fall to the bottom, while the leaves would migrate to the top.  So, individual packets it is!

Making the rice was just as easy as making the Farmhouse rice.  Put 1 cup of long-grain rice, 2 cups of water, 1 packet of the seasoning mix, and a pat of butter (if desired) into a 1 1/2 qt. casserole dish and microwave for 16-18 minutes.  I was worried it might boil over in the 1 1/2 qt. dish, since it's more rice than in the Farmhouse box, but it didn't.  So I was happy about that.

Obviously, the rice didn't taste just like the Farmhouse rice, as it's a different recipe.  But I really like it.  It has a lot of chicken flavor, with the flavor of the herbs in the background.  The night I made it I hadn't thawed out any chicken, so I made a casserole with this rice, a can of chicken, and a can of green beans.  It was very good.  I took the leftovers to work the next day for lunch and one of my coworkers said it smelled like chicken soap.

It's nice that I can make up several packets and use them with rice from my food storage.  This raises the question, though...what is the best way to make the packets.  I could use the snack-sized zip-lock bags.  Or I could experiment with making packets from larger mylar food-storage bags.  You can also buy small heat-seal mylar bags.  But I decided to make my own--I'll make a separate post about that.

So I'm good to go.  I can purchase my rice in bulk and store it in #10 cans (for 3-month storage), keep a few packets of the seasoning mix on hand, and make a quick dinner whenever I want.  All for less money than I was paying for the Farmhouse rice.  Now, I just need to find more seasoning mixes for variety...

No comments:

Post a Comment