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I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
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Friday, January 22, 2010

Rice-a-Roni Clone Mix

Food manufactures have so convinced us that home cooking is not possible without a ready-made mix that many of us actually believe that myth. They aren't telling us this because they care about us, they tell us this because they are trying to sell their product. However what they don't tell you is you can make your own homemade convenience mixes for a fraction of the cost, with very little effort that will save you a bit of time on those days you don't want to take the time to measure out ingredients. Once again I looked at another popular convenience product on the grocery shelf and decided to make a homemade version. It has been years since I have purchased Rice-a-Roni® so armed with my digital camera I took pictures of the box and ingredients during one of the few times I am in a grocery store. Then I did an online search for clone recipes and came up with my own version.

rice-a-roni clone ingredientsIngredients

The main ingredients in Rice-a-Roni® are vermicilli, rice, bouillon and parsley so that's what I started with. When I start creating a recipe I start with the end in mind. I wanted a quick, convenient product for my pantry shelves that would pair nicely with my chicken or turkey stock yet mimic the store bought version. I used Arborio rice which is a short grain rice with a bit more starch that will give my homemade version a creamy texture. A regular long grain white rice would work as well. The other ingredients were dried parsley and Aurora instant bouillon mix in chicken flavour. I don't use bouillon on a regular basis because of the high salt content so in my clone version of Rice-a-Roni® I used half the amount of other clone recipes.

Originally I was going to make the mix in 500 ml jars as pictured but decided to use 250 ml jars instead. Additional ingredients used for 2 of the jars were paprica, chili powder, dried sweet peppers, dried minced onion, sugar and garlic/onion seasoning. This type of mix can easily be adjusted to any flavour you want while keeping the rice to pasta ratio at 2 parts rice, 1 part pasta.

Rice-a-Roni Clone Mix

I made the Rica-a-Roni clone mix directly in the jars. The first two jars are plain chicken flavoured. The middle jar is chicken flavoured with onion flakes added. The third jar has additional seasonings to make a Spanish rice mix. A funnel is useful for adding ingredients. The end result was 4 - 250 ml jars of Rice-a-Roni clone mix coming in at a cost per jar of 12¢. Each jar will serve 4. It took me less than 10 minutes to put the jars together so this is an easy to make, low cost clone recipe that anyone can make.

Method: Pour ½ cup rice and ¼ cup vermicilli into each jar. Add ½ tsp dried parsley flakes and 1 tbsp bouillon to each jar. If you will be using water rather than stock to cook your mix then increase the bouillon to 2 tbsp. If you are leaving your mix plain, place lids on the jars, vacuum seal then store in your pantry.

Optional additions:

  • Add 1 tsp dried onion flakes.
  • Add ¼ tsp paprica, ½ tsp chili powder, 1 tsp dried sweet peppers, 1 tsp dried onions, 1 tsp granulated sugar, 1 tsp garlic/onion spice blend, 1 tsp tomato powder
To use:
  • Melt 2 tbsp butter in fry pan. Pour in the contents of 1 jar. Mix well. Let brown slightly. Stir in 2¼ c stock (or water). Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.

14 food lovers commented:

Ted said...

Can you explain how you vacuum seal the bottles? They just seem like regular canning bottles?

Sheila said...

I don't believe we have Rice a Roni in the Uk, nor even use that combination of ingredients. What is it for? Thickening stews?

Jen said...

I assume the cans are not vacuum sealed and wonder how long they can sit before the ingredients go rancid. Doesn't bouillon have a little moisture to it? I love this idea and for 12 cents it is well worth the effort but I tend to go crazy on these kinds of things and make way too much. So if it can't sit for too long I would need to make less.

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Ted and thanks for visiting. The jars were vacuum sealed using the standard lid vacuum attachment for the FoodSaver.

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Jen and thanks for visiting. You are assuming wrong and I should have specified. Yes the jars were vacuum sealed using a FoodSaver.

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Sheila and thanks for visiting. Rice-a-Roni is a convenience mix used as a side dish. Think of it as substitute for a potato side.

Kim said...

can I use extra thin spaghetti in place of the vermechelli? I can't find it here :( and if we don't have a food saver can it just be put in canning jars? I'm sure if I made this it wouldn't last long on the shelves any way......

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Kim, yes you could use thin spaghetti broke into pieces in place of the vermicelli. HTH

Kim said...

You won't believe I walked into a new local Indian (as in India) food store and low and behold they had vermechelli so I bought 2 bags to make mixes up this weekend- along with some great deals on spices just because :) thanks

Anonymous said...

I have a different recipe for this clone.
I measure out on ounces (US)
3 oz vermicelli or spaghetti or orzo pasta
4 oz long grain white rice
3 bullion cubes
a sprinkle of onion powder
a sprinkle of garlic powder
and if you like spicy a bit of dried chili pepper flakes.
prepare in the pan as you directed.

Note: My mother was making it this way YEARS before "Rice-A-Roni" was even in the market shelves.

Garden Gnome said...

You're welcome Kim. I'm glad you were able to find the vermicelli. Sounds like a great deal.

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Anonymous and thanks for visiting. Thanks for sharing your recipe. The beauty with this type of mix is the flexibility so there are many versions of it out there.

Brandy S said...

I have a question - can you vacuum seal the jars with the seasoning it it? As I read it seemed as if this wasn't something to do "if you are leaving the mix plain". If you can't add the seasoning when you seal it, why?

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Brandy, yes the jars are vacuum sealed with the seasonings included.