Homemade Rice-a-Roni

by Heather on July 8, 2013

Homemade Rice-a-Roni || HeathersDish.com

First of all, thank you so much for all of the wonderful comments and emails concerning yesterday’s post.  I am so blessed by you guys and always reminded of the incredible love of Christ through each of you.  Just thank you, from the bottom of my heart!

Homemade Rice-a-Roni || HeathersDish.com

With that in mind, I always wonder what dinner would look like if were to all gather together and enjoy a meal together.  Part of me would want to tackle some really heavy-hitting recipes (lobster? boning a duck?) to impress you all with my cooking skills, but what I would probably go with are really simple and yummy dishes.  Partly because I would also try to impress you with a clean house and a cute outfit, but you should just know that those things only really exist when company comes over.


But the food?  The food would be classic and comforting and really easy to make because when it comes down to it that’s the kind of food I really love to cook.

Homemade Rice-a-Roni || HeathersDish.com

I would probably do one of two things for the main course: roast a chicken because it’s the second easiest thing on the planet, or have Nate smoke some ribs because having someone else do the cooking is the first easiest thing on the planet.


Not just a hat rack my friends!


We’d probably have a big green salad because I’m obsessed with fresh produce this summer and would top it with some kind of homemade dressing.  And then as another side we’d have this homemade Rice-a-Roni because even though the ingredients list is pretty short, the flavors are big big BIG.  Another plus?  Anyone can make this, AND you can totally mix and match the flavors to go with whatever you want to make.


I love this simple tomato version because I’ve fallen hard for caramelizing tomato paste since reading about it in Bon Appetit a while back and the flavor is incomparable.  I love that it can really go with just about any main course, but holds its own even with bigger and bolder flavors.  The secret to everything is making sure that you brown the onions, tomato paste and rice/pasta before really cooking it all through with chicken stock.  That whole brown foods thing?  Just YES – you want a piece of that!


If you were to come over for dinner the food would be simple and good and I know that we could all sit back and celebrate life together.  You guys mean the world to me!

Homemade Rice-a-Roni || HeathersDish.com


  • 2 cups white rice, rinsed
  • 2 cups broken spaghetti (you really want to use regular spaghetti, not the thin kind, or else the pasta will get mushy)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 whole onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 3-1/2 cups chicken stock

Preheat a large pot over medium heat for about 4-5 minutes.  You want it to get fairly hot so you can caramelize everything well from the beginning!  Add 1 Tbsp of the olive oil and the onion and stir to combine.  Let the onion cook and caramelize over medium heat for about 6-8 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the remaining olive oil and tomato paste and stir everything together, taking the time to caramelize with the onion and stirring constantly.  The process takes about 5-10 minutes.  Add the rice, pasta and garlic and stir everything together and let the rice and pasta brown for about 3-4 minutes.  Add the salt, pepper and chicken stock and stir to combine.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover for 18-20 minutes until the liquid is gone and the rice is done.  Remove from the heat and let sit for about 3-4 minutes before serving!

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