First the cast of characters:
1 can of beef broth
1 box of Rice A Roni
1 stick of butter (you won't use all of the stick)
2 tsp. Garlic Powder (or 2 cloves crushed fresh)
2 tsp. Onion Powder (or 1 cup of chopped fresh)
Salt and Pepper
That's it, nothing more that you need to get dinner on the table lickity split!
Place your ground meat in a large skillet, into which you have poured 1 T. of olive oil and fry over medium heat until it is browned. Once you see the meat starting to brown, add your seasonings (and if using fresh veggies, those too) and continue to cook until the meat is brown. Remove from your skillet and place on a plate to rest while you get the rice a going.
Let's talk for just a minute about frying meat. There's not much in the world I hate more than wormy meat. When meat is fried unattended and cooks without being broken up, looking wormy. It's just not fun for me. One of my good friends, Ana Marquez, who lives in Fort Worth, TX share a secret that her family uses in their restaurant business, a potato masher! That's right friends, a potato masher.
Using a potato masher allows the meat to be broken up, giving you an even texture and making your meat consistently smooth and no clumpy and wormy. I, for one, like smoothly textures ground meat and not all huge clumps. Maybe you are different, but I can tell you this--use a potato masher up until the "clumpiness" you prefer and you'll want to buy me a Starbucks gift card (worth $100 please email me for the address).
Look at this picture to the left, remember we're cooking turkey so that's why it's not more brown. But you can see that there is even texture, and that there are no clumps or worms. At this point you can add your sauce, taco seasoning, or whatever. Hey freeze the stuff and have it on hand for an even quicker week night meal! I think I'm done...are you convinced that you need to mash your ground beef? I sure hope so.
Ok, back to the show. When we last left our pan, it was lonely having just said goodbye to some perfectly fried ground turkey. Place two tablespoons (use the package directions on the Rice A Roni and go by what they say) of butter in your skillet and melt it. Pour in the rice and vermicelli and brown. You'll want to let this set for 1-2 minutes before stirring because you want to get the vermicelli browned and toasty. It's very important for you to not leave your post because you can burn this quick and then you would have to unwrap your food from paper through a drive-through AND clean up the kitchen to boot. Just stand there for 3-4 minutes and stir the stuff, ok?
My personal preference for "perfect" Rice A Roni" is to have some of the vermicelli browned but not completely browned all the way through. It is probably more of a fear that I will burn it, because I have burned my fair share of Rice A Roni over the years. This picture is of what I would call perfect rice. Now, you are ready to pour in the Beef Broth (instead of the water called for on the box directions.) which I love because it increases the beefiness of this dish 100% especially if you are using ground turkey! After you pour in the beef broth, you'll add the seasoning packet and give it a quick stir, so all the powder is completely mixed in. Add the ground beef, stir, cover, and cook it according to package directions. I think it's like 25 minutes or something, covered on low. How about this shot I took of motion? On a camera phone none the less. I love to read Pioneer Woman's blog and she takes motion pictures all the time and wondered if my phone...i mean camera...would do it--viola! It does.
While this is cooking, you have time to cut up fruit and throw in a bag of Steamfresh veggies to finish off the dinner. I usually put some crescent rolls in the oven because by the time the oven heats up and the bread bakes the rice is ready and the hot fresh bread is ready. You can do salad or whatever you like with this dish.
Here it is all done. If my kids didn't do convulsions at the sight of green stuff, I'd add some fresh parsley, or some mushrooms. It's really versatile and super easy to do. Plus the bonus is one dish, one skillet, that will fit in the dishwasher.You could use Pork Rice A Roni with Sausage, and chicken broth to mix it up. You could do ground chicken, with Chicken Rice A Roni and chicken stock. It's really up to you to decide how far to take this. This dish is one of all my kiddos favorite things to eat because they all love ground beef, rice, and having them together with nothing else to corrupt is just bonus all the way around.
I do want to let you know how awesome these steam fresh bags are. I just love them because the veggies are perfect every time with out any failures at all. We usually dump the veggies into a bowl and season with 1T of butter and Mrs. Dash or whatever we have on hand, but you could just serve these from the bag on to the plates to save time and another dirty dish.
I love this medley because it has crunchy, sweet white corn, yellow corn, carrots, and asparagus. It is really good. There are a ton of varieties and they really, really do work. You can trust me on this. Do make sure you read which side needs to be up--it matters. Also holding it where it says matters, unless you like steam burns.