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Archive for the ‘Side Dishes’ Category

Homemade Rice-A-Roni Copycat Recipe

Thursday, September 8, 2011@ 12:10 PM

Do you know what this recipe it going to make?

How about now?

Isn’t it looking very familiar?

Did you read the title and now you’re just humoring me?

I don’t have anything against artificial colors or preservatives, and I definitely didn’t make this recipe because I wanted it to be healthier.  I made it purely because I love Rice-A-Roni.  If I eat Eggo waffles for dinner, I could eat Rice-A-Roni for breakfast… and dinner.  Hmm.  Eggo Waffles with a side of Rice-A-Roni.  Eggo Waffle Sandwich stuffed with Rice-A-Roni  *mmm**drool*  Wonder what Shane would say if I served him that for dinner tonight haha.

So anyways, this recipe was just for my own curiosity.
Does it taste as good as the box?  -  Yeah.
Is it as easy as just ripping open the box?  -  Not even close, but I’m glad I did it anyways.


  • 2 cups white rice
  • 1 cup vermicelli, broken into very small pieces.  (if you can’t find vermicelli, use angel hair pasta)
  • 6 Tbsp chicken bullion powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup parsley flakes
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • When you are ready to cook it, you’ll also need 2 Tbsp butter and 2 1/4 cups of water.


  1. Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl.  Voila.  There’s your rice mix.
  2. To cook:  Melt 2 Tbsp of butter in a skillet.  Add 1 cup of the rice mix and stir to brown it a little.  Add 2 1/4 cups water and bring to a boil.  Reduce to low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.


  • To make more servings, simply add more rice and adjust your water & cooking times accordingly.
  • I ended up not adding all of the parsley, but close to it.  And I’m not a huge fan of thyme, so next time I’m going to try leaving it out.



Recipe adapted from:  Noble Pig

One of my problems in cooking is that my husband is a very picky eater.  The first time I made gnocchi, he wouldn’t even try it.  The name scared him away and he wouldn’t give it a chance.  So this time, I told him I was making a mac n cheese with “little balls of dough”.  That isn’t too far from the truth since gnocchi is basically just like a little potato dumpling.

I think it is fabulous!  Just wait until you see the cheese sauce this baby makes!!  I wanted to dunk a piece of bread straight into the pot!

I sprinkled some parmesan cheese on top of a couple baked chicken tenders.  Yummy!


  • 1 pound gnocchi
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp AP flour
  • 3/4 cup skim milk
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup Gruyere cheese
  • 1/4 cup creamy Havarti cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Prepare gnocchi according to package directions.  Drain and place in a single layer on an 8×8 baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. The cheese comes in a block.  Since I don’t have a shredder, I just sliced the cheese into small (shredded-like) pieces.  It will be melted, so you don’t need to be too exact.  Set aside.
  4. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in garlic powder and cook for about 30 seconds.
  5. Whisk in flour until it thickens and bubbles, then whisk in milk and Dijon.  Continue to whisk mixture for about 3-5 minutes, or until it is slightly thickened.
  6. Add your cheese to the cream mixture by the handful, stirring it until fully melted before you add the next handful.  Season with salt & pepper, to taste.
  7. Pour sauce over the gnocchi and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  8. Bake for about 25 minutes.  The gnocchi will be puffed and the cheese will be a golden brown.
  9. Let it rest for a few minutes before serving.

Herbed Quinoa

Monday, August 9, 2010@ 10:28 AM

Recipe courtesy of my sister, courtesy of Giada… Here.

Herbed Quinoa

Are you wondering what quinoa is?  Or maybe how to say it?
That’s exactly what I was wondering when Katie told me what she was going to make.  But then, when I was at Target buying the Cauliflower Risotto supplies, I looked up and there it was: Quinoa!

Crash Course:  pronounced like KEEN-wah… and although it is like a grain, it’s isn’t officially a grain since it is not a member of the grass family.  The Incas held this as a sacred crop.  12-18% protein.  Called a “complete protein” since it has a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans.


  • 2 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup chipped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

Quinoa Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the chicken stock, lemon juice, and quinoa and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until all the liquid is absorbed (about 12-15 minutes)

Dressing Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, basil, parsley, thyme, and lemon zest.
  2. Season with salt & pepper to taste

Serving Directions:

  1. Pour the dressing over the quinoa and toss until all the ingredients are coated.
  2. Transfer the quinoa to a bowl and season with salt & pepper to taste.
  3. Serve warm.

Herbed Quinoa

It has an absolutely gorgeous color and was so pretty, but it does have a very ‘herby’ taste.  I loved the consistency of it, but when I make it again I will probably tone down the herbs a bit to fit my personal taste.

Cauliflower Risotto

Monday, August 9, 2010@ 9:39 AM

I think I would’ve tricked Shane into trying this one if he hadn’t gone shopping with me & saw me buying the cauliflower…

Cauliflower Risotto

I really wanted to try this one since I found it on One Frugal Foodie.  I’ve always like cauliflower, so maybe I was partial to the recipe to begin with… but it was good and good for you!

While I was processing away, I asked Shane to snap a quick pic of the ingredients for me.  Hopefully he got them all :)

The ingredients


  • About 2 ounces pine nuts (these little goodies are fairly pricey IMO!)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup minced onion (white)
  • 1-2 heads of cauliflower (you will need 6 cups when it’s grated)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth (or vegetarian broth if you want to go that route)
  • 12-20 fresh basil leaves.
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste


  1. Combine the pine nuts and the salt in your food processor.  Pulse it a few times until the nuts grind up and begin to clump.  Set aside for later.
  2. Cut the stems off your cauliflower so you are left with mostly the florets.  Toss them into the food processor so they will be grated.  and will end up looking kinda like rice (you can see a bit of mine in the ingredients picture… piled high on a plate)
  3. *Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and saute for about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the grated cauliflower and continue to saute for another 4 minutes.
  5. *Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute more.
  6. Add the broth, reduce the heat to medium-low, stir, cover, and let it cook for 2-3 minutes. (I didn’t have a lid, so I left it uncovered, added some extra broth, and cooked it until it was my desired texture)
  7. While the risotto is cooking, chiffonade your basil leaves and set aside for the garnish.  (To chiffonade, stack the leaves one on top of the other, tightly roll the basil length-wise, and slice)
  8. Remove the lid, turn off the heat, and stir in the pine nuts.  Continue to stir until the nuts are distributed and everything is nice & creamy.
  9. Stir in the basil and fresh ground pepper to taste.  (I also added some a tidge of extra salt for flavor)
  10. Serve warm.

yields about 6 side servings.

*I added the garlic in step 5.  I like garlic and didn’t think the flavor was too strong.  However, if you prefer your garlic more incorporated, you can always throw it in with the onions in step 3.