You don’t have to give up childhood favorites when making the switch to real food. I think this Homemade Chicken Rice-A-Roni is even better than the box! And it’s just as easy. This homemade hamburger helper is a big hit too.
Choosing a side dish is often something I struggle with, especially since I don’t like to rely on packaged mixes like mac-n-cheese or rice-a-roni. I used to use them, but my family’s nutrition has become more important than the convenience. This dish is super easy, tasty, totally frugal, and tastes great. There are lots of options to vary the flavors, too.
This recipe will be entered in this week’s October Fest Carnival of Super Foods, Broth/Stock Edition. I love to help people find recipes that use homemade bone broth beyond the typical soups. (I could also enter it in the carnival in two weeks, Un-Processed foods, for things you could buy at the store but make at home instead. I’ll share my Mexican version for that theme!) Last week’s carnival of beans had over 60 amazing entries. I guess this recipe could hook up with that, too! We are a bean-y family, after all, and I love sneaking beans into a side dish where you wouldn’t normally get them in a meal.
Bloggers, come on back on Thursday to link up YOUR broth/stock recipes!Print
- 1 c. brown rice
- 2 c. chicken broth (1 can plus a little water makes 2 cups)
- 1 chopped onion
- 1–2 stalks chopped celery
- can of black, kidney or other beans (or 1 1/2 cups cooked dry beans)
- pepper to taste and
- Saute onion and celery in a little water, oil or butter 5 minutes until limp.
- Add chicken broth and rice, salt and pepper; bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes until rice is cooked and liquid is absorbed.
- Drain and rinse beans.
- Add and heat through.
Freezes fine in single serving sizes.
Timesaver: If you have chopped celery and onion in your freezer, this is just as quick as the boxed stuff!
Cost: $1 with homemade chicken stock; $1.50-2 if using canned (but it makes a MUCH bigger batch than the little boxes of Rice-a-Roni, and the nutrition is far superior because you’re using brown rice and healthy fats, plus no MSGs.)
Super foods: 1 + 2 honorable mentions
*Props are due to Martha, our local Pampered Chef guru, for the recipe idea!
Soak brown rice in one cup water plus 1 Tbs. whey or lemon juice for 7-12 hours or overnight. Add 1 1/2 cups chicken broth when it’s time to cook. (Why soak grains? A very short explanation here.)
You can use just about any bean in this recipe, switch out the celery for sweet peppers, and add spices or spicy peppers to zoop it up a little!
I tried garbanzo beans (chickpeas) and subbed fresh yellow peppers for the celery. I think I liked it better than the original!
In this photo, I used garbanzo beans (chickpeas) and subbed fresh yellow peppers for the celery. I think I liked it better than the original!
Homemade chicken rice-a-roni is a great recipe for letting kids practice their cooking skills: stove top safety, chopping, sauteing and more!
RELATED: How to cook rice in an Instant Pot.
Your kids can learn to cook, even if you don’t know where to start
My 4 kids and I created the online Kids Cook Real Food lessons to help bring real food and independence to families all over. Over 10,000 kids have joined us and we’d love to invite you along for the adventure!
I’m so pleased to offer a little gift from our family to yours, a knife skills lesson as a free preview of the full cooking eCourse!