Learning how to replace processed foods isn’t always easy. It requires us to think ahead and plan, vs. just grabbing whatever is in a box and tossing it in the oven. Here is Kristi from Stone Family Farmstead and her story of how she replaced one popular item in her family.
Homemade Rice a Roni
When I was a young girl my mom was divorced and worked long hours to support my brother and I. We were latch-key kids, learning to take care of ourselves until Mom got home from the bank. Often, Mom was tired after work—too tired to cook from scratch, and as a result ended up using many convenience foods like macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, canned vegetables, and other foods that she could whip up in a short amount of time to feed us hungry kids.
As I grew old enough to use the stove, I began learning how to cook meals using boxed and canned foods. As a teen I often used them to create delicious meals for the family so Mom could relax when she walked in the door each night. I must admit that I didn’t learn until I was a young adult that mashed potatoes could be made from fresh potatoes!
When I grew up, married Todd, and we began to raise our own family, I had learned enough to cook some things from scratch, but it was time consuming to learn all of what I needed to make a complete meal. Often the recipes I tried didn’t come out tasting the way I had intended. Naturally, I turned to the ever-familiar convenience foods to rescue me from hours of ‘slaving’ over the stove. After all, I needed my precious time to care for my babies and my husband, and boxed food pretty much always delivered the flavors and results that we all loved.
My children grew up eating these foods as well, and unfortunately, our family as a whole became hooked: hooked on the convenience, the flavors, and even the brands. As my kids grew older, I began to realize just how expensive it was getting to support our eating habits and the parade of boxes that we were relying on for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Today, these ‘foods’ are not only still expensive, but they create so much garbage and are full of strange ingredients designed to extend the shelf life of these items. The sheer concern over what we are doing to the earth with all this trash–and what we are putting into our bodies–should steer us clear of boxed foods for good, but often we settle for using them because we don’t want to give up the flavor and convenience of our favorites. Thankfully, God gave us ingenuity enough to be able to duplicate our old stand-bys with the ingredients of our choice, thus helping us to reduce trash, put better food on our tables, and best of all put better ingredients into our families’ bodies.
Today, I’d like to share our version of Copycat Chicken Rice-A-Roni, one of our family’s favorites.
2 Tbsp. butter
¼ cup vermicelli or thin spaghetti, broken into ½-1” lengths
¾ cup white long grain rice
2 cups chicken broth
1 ½ Tbsp. chicken bouillon
Salt, to taste (optional)
Pepper, to taste
1. Melt butter in a skillet. Add rice and noodles and sauté until lightly browned.
2. Stir in chicken broth, bouillon, salt (if using ), and pepper. Mix all ingredients thoroughly,
incorporating seasonings throughout the broth, rice and noodles. Bring to a boil.
3. Once boiling, turn the fire down to low and simmer for 20-23 minutes.
4. Serve and enjoy!