The first time I had Rice-a-Roni was in college when my roommate made it for me. I thought she was a gourmet cook when she added chicken to the rice while it cooked and voila...chicken and rice dinner. Wow, I was so impressed. I didn't know a thing about cooking back then and I didn't have an interest to cook either. But I made that chicken and rice dinner many times after that thinking I was really cooking.
Fast forward many, many years and I love to cook and most of the time it is from scratch. I haven't eaten Rice-a-Roni in many years, but when I made this Mediterranean Orzo Pilaf, it reminded me of the Rice-a-Roni. Although, this dish is made with fresh tomatoes and spinach, feta and Kalamata olives, not dried powder.
Mediterranean Orzo Pilaf
adapted from San Giorgio
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 8 oz. uncooked orzo - (my box was 16 oz, so one box will make two batches)
- 2-1/4 cups homemade chicken stock or store bought
- 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1 cup chopped fresh tomato
- 1 cup fresh spinach, cut into thin strips
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped Kalamata olives
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat, add garlic and orzo. Cook, stirring frequently, until orzo turns golden brown, about 3 minutes.
2. Stir in stock and seasoning and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
3. Stir in tomato and spinach. Cover to wilt spinach. Cook 5 minutes or until almost all liquid is absorbed. Continue to stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
4. Remove from heat and add olives and feta. Stir to combine.
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