How many of you can remember the TV commercial for "Rice-A-Roni – the San Francisco treat"? Did you remember that it used to end with the clanging of a supposed bell on a San Francisco street car? It has been a long time since I've seen that commercial but the red Rice-A-Roni boxes are still available in the supermarket aisle where rice and pasta are usually displayed in a variety of flavors.

One day I stopped to read a Rice-A-Roni box and discovered that many of them have great "Make it a Meal" recipes on the back of the box. I realized that these could be an easy, inexpensive and quick answer to that troublesome question – "What's for dinner?" This was especially true when we were on the road in our RV because all I need for the preparation is my trusty stir-fry skillet, a measuring cup and the ingredients that the recipes call for. Spicer tested the Seasoned Beef & Rice when I was recovering from surgery.

I think that you will enjoy Seasoned Chicken & Rice and Seasoned Beef & Rice from the Rice-A-Roni boxes. If you find these as easy as we did, you can find more recipes at Then I'm including a recipe that I found and adapted from web site so that you can make your own homemade chicken Rice-A-Roni if you want to. You can customize the seasonings to suit your family's taste buds.

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1 (6.9-ounce) box Rice-A-Roni, chicken flavor

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

2 cups water

1 pound uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch pieces

1 cup broccoli florets (if desired)

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (if desired)

1 (8-ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped (if desired)

Open Rice-A-Roni box and set aside the Special Seasonings envelope. In a large skillet sauté dry rice-vermicelli mix with the butter or margarine in a large skillet over medium heat until the vermicelli is golden brown, stirring frequently. Slowly stir in the water, Special Seasonings and the cut up pieces of uncooked chicken. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to LOW and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until rice is tender and water has been absorbed. Remove from heat source and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes before serving. If adding broccoli or water chestnuts (or both) do this during the last 5 minutes of cooking time. If adding cheese, do this just before the 5 minutes when you are letting the rice sit after the cooking time. Serves at least 4.


1 pound lean ground beef

1 (6.8-ounce) box Rice-A-Roni, beef flavor

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

2 1/2 cups water

3/4 cup mild salsa (optional)

Cooked corn kernels, drained (optional)

In a large skillet cook the ground beef until no longer pink. If necessary drain off any grease but return browned beef to the skillet. Open Rice-A-Roni box and set aside the Special Seasonings envelope. Stir dry rice-vermicelli mixture, butter or margarine, water and Special Seasonings packet into the skillet. Bring mixture to a boil. Cover. Reduce heat to LOW and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until rice is tender. If desired, stir salsa and/or cooked corn into this mixture in the last 5 minutes before serving. Serves at least 4.


1/4 pound spaghetti, angel hair or vermicelli pasta

1 cup long grain rice

3 chicken bouillon cubes, crushed or 3 teaspoons chicken stock base

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning herb mix

1/4 teaspoon paprika

4 tablespoons butter or margarine

2 cups water

Break pasta into small pieces. Combine with rice in a small bowl and mix. Set aside. In another small bowl combine chicken granules and seasonings until combined. Set aside. To prepare: melt butter in a large skillet and add pasta/rice mixture. Stir until pasta is golden brown – about five minutes. Slowly stir in the water and seasoning mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to LOW. Cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender – about 15 minutes.