A couple years ago when we were really struggling financially and getting food from a food bank, we happened upon a box of Parmesan cheese flavored rice mix. There was a "recipe" on the back of the box for Beef and Rice Romano. Basically one was to combine a pound of browned ground beef with the rice mix. At the time, it seemed like an inexpensive way to make a decent dinner for my family. The 8 year old sucked it down like there was no tomorrow and kept telling me to keep the recipe forever.
However, pre-packaged rice mixes are loaded with sodium and preservatives and they aren't very cost effective either. So I set about trying to figure out how to make something similar from scratch. What I ended up coming up with is so close, the 8 year old doesn't even know the difference.
First I started by looking at homemade rice mixes. I combined a few ideas, adding my own touches to get the flavors of what I was trying to mimic right. Then I had to figure out how to cook the homemade mix with the ground beef to create the skillet dish. This is such an easy weeknight meal or fast meal if I have to punt one night.
Beefy Rice Romano
1 pound ground beef
1 cup jasmine rice
2 tablespoons dry milk
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
Brown ground beef in large skillet over medium heat. Drain.
In a small bowl combine rice, dry milk, onion powder, garlic, powder, and parsley. Add mixture to ground beef and pour in milk and water. Bring to a boil. Turn down heat to low and let simmer 10-15 minutes or until rice is cooked through. Salt and pepper to taste.
Add Parmesan cheese and stir to until cheese is melted.
If you just want the rice mix, combine rice, milk, onion powder, garlic powder, and dried parsley in a airtight container. When ready to cook, pour into large saucepan with 1 cup milk and 1 cup water. Bring to boil for 5 minutes or until the water just skims the top of the rice. Turn off burner (for gas burners, turn to low), and let simmer 10-15 minutes or until rice is cooked through. Add Parmesan cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. Salt to taste.