I had never even eaten Rice-a-Roni until 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 really have an interest to cook. But I made that chicken and rice dinner many times after that thinking I was really cooking.
Anyway, fast forward many many years and I love to cook and do so mostly from scratch. I haven’t eaten Rice-a-Roni in awhile, but I made this Mediterranean Orzo Pilaf and it reminded me of the Rice-a-Roni, except this dish is made with fresh tomatoes and spinach, feta and Kalamata olives. I love anything that has Kalamata olives. They are a treat for me. I won’t buy canned olives anymore. I can’t do it. They just don’t compare to the real thing.
Mediterranean Orzo Pilaf
adapted from San Giorgio
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 oz. uncooked orzo – (my box was 16 oz, so one box will make two batches)
2-1/4 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
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
Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat, add orzo. Cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 3 minutes.
Stir in stock and seasonings; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered 10 minutes. Stir in tomato and spinach; cover. Cook 5 minutes or until almost all liquid is absorbed, STIRRING OCCASIONALLY to prevent sticking. Stir in olives and feta cheese.