I always find it fascinating that mixes like Rice A Roni sell so well. When you think about it, it’s a tiny amount of rice, pasta, maybe a few dried vegetables, and heavily salted “flavor mix”. That’s it. Well….maybe not just “it”. From a box of Chicken Flavor:
RICE, WHEAT FLOUR, DURUM WHEAT SEMOLINA, SALT, SUGAR, AUTOLYZED YEAST EXTRACT*, HYDROLYZED SOY PROTEIN, ONIONS*, MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE, NATURAL FLAVOR, PARSLEY*, GARLIC*, CHICKEN BROTH*, CHICKEN FAT, TURMERIC SPICE WHICH IMPARTS COLOR, HYDROLYZED CORN GLUTEN, NIACIN*, DISODIUM GUANYLATE, DISODIUM INOSINATE, FERRIC ORTHOPHOSPHATE, FERROUS SULFATE, THIAMIN MONONITRATE, TURMERIC EXTRACT, FOLIC ACID, RIBOFLAVIN.
CONTAINS WHEAT AND SOY INGREDIENTS.”
A box of mix makes 3 servings, 1 cup each. The sodium per serving is 1060 mg! That is simply too high. While they make one that is ‘33% lower sodium’, you can do so much better at home, making your own – and I might add, make batches that will actually fill a family up. 1 cup isn’t going to fill anyone up but a child. And that for me is the big part: I can make the pantry staples the way I like and need them, without questionable ingredients, and as well, lower in sodium – and allergy safe for our youngest child. (Choose your broth wisely for lower sodium options!)
DIY Rice A Roni Mix
- 1 cup uncooked spaghetti, broken into pieces or Fideo pasta
- 1½ cups long grain white rice
- ½ cup dried vegetables
Pour rice into a quart mason jar (using a canning funnel), then add pasta on top. Package dried vegetables in a small zip top bag, fit on top.
Mark “4½ cups broth & ¼ cup butter or olive oil”
For long-term storage, consider using a FoodVac mason jar sealer.
Heat a large deep skillet over medium high, add in butter or oil, and the rice/spaghetti mixture. Stir till golden brown. Add in the dried vegetables and broth, bring to a boil. Turn to medium-low, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes. Take off heat and stir.
With the broth, add in drained and flakes tuna (1-2 cans), canned or pouched chicken, or 1 can rinsed and drained beans. Once cooked, sprinkle on Parmesan cheese and stir in gently.
If you use broth powder, add in with the rice before storing. You can use gluten-free pasta as well. For long-term storage, consider adding in olive oil packets. You would need 4.
Serves 4 to 6 as a main dish, with protein added.