Homemade Rice Pilaf – better than the box

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Skip the boxed mix and make Homemade Rice Pilaf at home. With some simple pantry ingredients, the sky, and your imagination, is the limit with all the ways you can customize this simple recipe.Skip the boxed mix and make Homemade Rice Pilaf at home. With some simple pantry ingredients, the sky, and your imagination, is the limit with all the ways you can customize this simple recipe. #ComfortFood #OurFamilyTable #ricepilaf #betterthanboxedrice #homemaderice #ricesidedish #HomeCooked #RicePilafLove

 

September is National Rice Month. I don’t know about you, but I love rice. Seriously. I could eat it rice every day and never get tired of it. It doesn’t have to be a fancy rice recipe. Just some butter, salt, and pepper is perfect for me. Some would call that plain and not very appetizing, but I like the flavor of rice.

 

When I was growing up, I can’t remember having boxed convenience foods like rice pilaf and macaroni and cheese. And hamburger helper? Didn’t have it until I met the hubs. At least that I can remember. We made things like that from scratch. And that includes rice pilaf.

 

Skip the boxed mix and make Homemade Rice Pilaf at home. With some simple pantry ingredients, the sky, and your imagination, is the limit with all the ways you can customize this simple recipe. #ComfortFood #OurFamilyTable #ricepilaf #betterthanboxedrice #homemaderice #ricesidedish #HomeCooked #RicePilafLove

 

Start with a solid and simple rice pilaf recipe!

 

I wanted to make a delicious side dish for an Alice Springs Chicken Recipe (Outback Copycat).  For this recipe, it starts with rice and orzo. Some chop up thin spaghetti but for me, I prefer the size and shape of orzo. Which is basically rice shaped pasta. So, to me, it’s a no brainer that it goes into rice pilaf. But use whatever pasta you want for your rice pilaf. That’s step one of the customizable nature of this recipe. 

 

Start by rinsing the rice until the water is clear-ish. I don’t go overboard on this. A couple of rinses removes extra starch you don’t want in your rice pilaf. Then you sauté the rice and orzo. No. You don’t soak the rice like you do with this Shrimp Biryani

 

Toasting the rice and orzo adds a nice nutty flavor to this pilaf. The butter and oil coats them which helps prevent sticking. There’s nothing more unappealing than a sticky rice pilaf. Unless you were doing that on purpose using sticky rice. And that’s another way you could customize this recipe. Sticky rice pilaf. I might have to play with that idea. 

 

Skip the boxed mix and make Homemade Rice Pilaf at home. With some simple pantry ingredients, the sky, and your imagination, is the limit with all the ways you can customize this simple recipe. #ComfortFood #OurFamilyTable #ricepilaf #betterthanboxedrice #homemaderice #ricesidedish #HomeCooked #RicePilafLove

 

No, you don’t start with the aromatics like you do with this Caribbean Rice Recipe. This shows you another way you can customize this base recipe. Besides, if I start with onions and garlic I inevitably burn the garlic and that’s never very fun. That’s why I add them right after the rice and orzo are lightly browned. By the time the onions and garlic are translucent, the rice and orzo are perfectly golden and ready for the next step. 

 

What flavors are in this homemade rice pilaf?

 

In goes the rest of the aromatics. That’s the minced onion, Italian seasoning, dried parsley, and chicken bouillon. I like to sauté the dried seasonings to release some of their flavor before the liquid goes into the pan. I don’t know if it really releases that much more flavor into the pilaf, but it doesn’t hurt anything.

 

Skip the boxed mix and make Homemade Rice Pilaf at home. With some simple pantry ingredients, the sky, and your imagination, is the limit with all the ways you can customize this simple recipe. #ComfortFood #OurFamilyTable #ricepilaf #betterthanboxedrice #homemaderice #ricesidedish #HomeCooked #RicePilafLove

 

Yes. I said chicken bouillon. For me, to get that chicken flavor you’re looking for in a copycat boxed rice pilaf recipe you need to use chicken bouillon. I bought a bottle of Maggi chicken flavored granulated bouillon. And I’m really glad that I did. I’ve purchased chicken broth and stock, bone broth, better than broth, cubes, powders, pastes. I think I’ve tried almost every chicken broth or granulated bouillon and none of them have that chicken flavor like the Maggi chicken flavored granules. 

 

The spices are toasted for a minute or so and then the broth goes into the pan. Make sure to stir while you’re adding it so nothing sticks, and you scrape up any bits that might have stuck to the bottom of the pan. Now, the way we used to make it growing up is a way you can customize this recipe. Before I put in the broth, I add in 1/2 cup of white wine. It adds another layer of flavor in the homemade rice pilaf. I even do this with boxed rice pilaf, too. It’s a way to elevate the flavor of a rice pilaf. The alcohol cooks off, so there’s no raw wine flavor in there. Just the depth of flavor the wine adds to the pilaf. 

 

Skip the boxed mix and make Homemade Rice Pilaf at home. With some simple pantry ingredients, the sky, and your imagination, is the limit with all the ways you can customize this simple recipe. #ComfortFood #OurFamilyTable #ricepilaf #betterthanboxedrice #homemaderice #ricesidedish #HomeCooked #RicePilafLove

 

When the broth comes to a boil, I cover the skillet, turn the heat to medium, and let it cook for about 15 minutes. I stir and check the rice. If it’s getting close to being done, I turn the heat off and let the pan sit for another 10 minutes. That allows the rice to steam making it fluffy and delicious. If not, I keep cooking it until it’s just shy of al dente.

 

If you really wanted to steam rice, you can try these hummus and rice steamed dumplings. But that’s the basic homemade rice pilaf recipe that’s a copycat of the famous boxed recipe. Like I said, I even dress up the boxed version so there’s always something I add to elevate the basic recipe. So, how else can you customize this basic copycat homemade rice pilaf recipe?

 

Skip the boxed mix and make Homemade Rice Pilaf at home. With some simple pantry ingredients, the sky, and your imagination, is the limit with all the ways you can customize this simple recipe. #ComfortFood #OurFamilyTable #ricepilaf #betterthanboxedrice #homemaderice #ricesidedish #HomeCooked #RicePilafLove

 

What does this copycat homemade rice pilaf recipe taste like?

 

The boxed version but much better. The flavors are fresher and taste so so much better than the box. I mean, lord knows how long that box sat in a warehouse. Then how long did it sit on the shelf? Who knows! But since you’re making it with your own pantry ingredients, you know how long they’ve been in there. And it’s pennies on the dollar to make this as opposed to a dollar plus for a small box that may feed 3 people.

 

The bouillon makes the difference in this recipe. I’ve tried it with other bullion, and they just don’t’ have the chicken flavor. So, do yourself a favor and get the Maggi chicken bouillon. You will love the chicken flavor that is brings to this pilaf party. And you will use it in other recipes, too. I know I have. It just has a chicken flavor unlike any other.

 

Skip the boxed mix and make Homemade Rice Pilaf at home. With some simple pantry ingredients, the sky, and your imagination, is the limit with all the ways you can customize this simple recipe. #ComfortFood #OurFamilyTable #ricepilaf #betterthanboxedrice #homemaderice #ricesidedish #HomeCooked #RicePilafLove

 

How can I customize this homemade rice pilaf recipe?

 

Add more onions or change it to shallots. Try some carrots and celery or even mushrooms. Go a Latin route with some bell peppers and corn, maybe try a jalapeno or poblano in there. Or even go bold with a chipotle in adobo. Add something different like asparagus or green beans, cut into bite-sized pieces of course. And some of these will be best added at the start of the cooking time and some might benefit from being added halfway or even closer to the end of the cooking time. It just depends on the veg and how long it takes to cook.

 

Add some crunch! This could also be from vegetables. A crisp tender broccoli or Brussels sprout would be a great additional to any rice pilaf recipe. Then there’s the obvious nuts. Toasted almonds, sunflower seeds, pistachios are all great additions depending on the star of the meal. Moroccan spiced chicken? Try jeweled rice with pistachios, dried apricots and cranberries, and some pomegranate seeds. Talk about flavor and texture!

 

Skip the boxed mix and make Homemade Rice Pilaf at home. With some simple pantry ingredients, the sky, and your imagination, is the limit with all the ways you can customize this simple recipe. #ComfortFood #OurFamilyTable #ricepilaf #betterthanboxedrice #homemaderice #ricesidedish #HomeCooked #RicePilafLove

 

Or make it creamy! You can make this easy coconut rice by cooking it in coconut milk.  Or stir in some heavy cream and Parmesan at the end of the cooking time. For my creamed spinach rice, I added both cream, cheese, and spinach to make it a hearty side dish for dinner. Skip the spinach and stir in some mushrooms or even some cooked chicken and turn this side dish into a main dish! 

 

If you have leftovers, you can make this easy black beans and rice. Since I always fail at Mexican inspired rice recipes, I’ll be keeping both my recipe and this one on hand for the next time I want some rice with my enchiladas or tacos.  Or try this Italian basil fried rice

 

So, as you can see, a basic recipe for rice pilaf can be customized to make so many different recipes. From adding in cream and cheese to difference vegetables and texture with nuts and seeds, this homemade rice pilaf copycat recipe can be your new go to side dish for dinner. Including holiday dinners!

This homemade Rice Pilaf is a feast for the taste buds and the soul. #ComfortFood #OurFamilyTable #ricepilaf #betterthanboxedrice #homemaderice #ricesidedish #HomeCooked #RicePilafLove
Yield: 8

Homemade Rice Pilaf

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Skip the boxed mix and make Homemade Rice Pilaf at home. With some simple pantry ingredients, the sky, and your imagination, is the limit with all the ways you can customize this simple recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup orzo pasta
  • 1 cup long-grain rice
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 1 teapsoon garlic powder
  • 1 teapsoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teapsoon dried parsley
  • 3 cups water or chicken broth

Instructions

    1. Heat the butter and olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the rice and orzo and toast until lightly golden brown. Stir in the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion begins to soften, about 3 to 5 minutes.
    2. Stir in the bouillon and the spices. Cook 1 minute before adding the water or chicken broth. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Cover the skillet and reduce the heat to medium.
    3. Simmer 12 to 15 minutes before checking the rice. If it’s almost al dente, put the lid on the skillet, turn the heat off, and let the rice steam for another 8 to 10 minutes or until the rice is cooked through.

Nutrition Information

Yield

8

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 87Total Fat 4gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 2gCholesterol 5mgSodium 312mgCarbohydrates 12gFiber 1gSugar 1gProtein 2g

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