I love summer! The sun on my skin and the wind in my hair, driving with the windows down, vinyl records playing with the windows and blinds all the way up to let in the sunshine. It’s amazing how different a sunny day can make you feel. Kind of like comfort food for the skin. You know what they say, we are all just plants with more complicated emotions. While I’ve definitely been kicking up my heels in this beautiful sunshine, I’ve also been doing a lot of cooking, for you guys of course. A few weeks ago I posted one of my favorite recipes ever, my dad’s Nixon Chicken Casserole recipe, and I mentioned that I like to pair it with Rice-A-Roni Wild Rice Mix. I’ve mentioned this recipe a few times it feels like, and it really is my go to side with just about everything, so I figured I would share it with you all.
Growing up in a single parent household, my mom and I were always on a budget. It may not have seemed like it to outsiders, since I had a pony, and we lived in a nice home, however my mom worked her butt off to make sure that I didn’t feel like I was missing anything. Now as an adult, I understand just how expensive groceries are and how comforting a simple staple, like boxed rice blends, can be, as well as how much time they save compared to coming up with other sides for dinner weekly. Life is easy when foods come in a box. On the flip side of that coin, processed foods like rice-a-roni and birds eye frozen pasta mixes have tons of sodium and other preservatives that make them not so good for you. About a year ago now, I got in to a really big “homesteading” kick. By homesteading what I really mean is from scratch, since I live in a tiny, third story apartment with no outdoor space, but I do what I can.
Each month, I take a look at my recycling bin before I throw it out and look for one thing that I can start making from scratch to cut down on my carbon footprint. When I realized that I might as well be purchasing boxed Wild Rice mixes from Boxed or Costco, I decided there had to be away to cut down on those little boxes. Low and behold, there was, and it’s easy, fun, and most importantly delicious. Aside from the ingredients for this mix you will need a few things. I use a tall glass jar to store and mix my rice blend, and a standard mason jar for my spice blend. I don’t like to store them together because inevitably, the smaller spice will sift through to the bottom, and you won’t get the perfectly seasoned feel I’m always going for. I personally prefer glass jars with the rubber seal and clamp lids for aesthetic, as well as practicality. I get mine for cheap at ikea. Also plastics can leech hormones and other chemicals into your foods, and I can never remember which types are bad or good, so I try to avoid them whenever possible.
To make this blend I get parboiled rice, and a wild rice mix. I use Uncle Ben’s parboiled rice because there are no additives, and it was available at my local grocery store. It comes in a variety of sizes. I went with the biggest one, of course. My choice for the wild rice blend is the Lundberg Wild Blend, which is a blend of long grain brown rice, sweet brown rice, wild rice, whole grain Wehani rice, and whole grain black japonica rice. They have a few other blends as well or you can buy the varieties separate and make your own, if you’re feeling up to the challenge. I use a 1.5 to 2 ratio, combining 1 and a 1/2 cups of parboiled rice to 2 cups of wild rice, repeating until my jar is filled. Then you shake. This part is time consuming, and how you go about it depends on your jar and preference. You could put on music and dance around, being sure to move the jar in a variety of ways, but I find the wave motion and then a forward/backwards rotation works best. Or I suppose you could combine the ingredients in a bowl and mix them evenly together BEFORE you put them in the jar, but where is the fun in that?
The seasoning mix is really simple, and can easily be used on tons of other things as well. Just combine a cup of dried parsley, 1/3 cup garlic salt, 2 tablespoons Sugar, and 2 tablespoons kosher salt in a mason jar, and then shake well. You’ll want to shake it up before each use otherwise the smaller spices sink to the bottom and you end up with a spoonful of parsley. Still tasty, but not the same effect. To actually cook the rice, you combine the amount of rice you want, I usually make a cup at a time, twice the amount of water, a tablespoon of butter or oil in a pot with a fitted lid. Bring the contents to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and rice is fluffy.
What do you think of my Wild Rice DIY? Are you a fan of boxed rice mixes, or have you made your own rice mix before? Are there any other copycat recipes you would like for me to come up with? I love hearing from you all, so, if you try the recipe or if you have any questions, please comment below or email me at email@example.com!