What’s for Dinner Tonight?

The Meal I Invented by Mistake

November 13, 2020 3 of 8

Way back when dinosaurs walked the Earth, Rice-a-Roni had a recipe on the beef Rice-a-Roni package for a kind of Spanish rice recipe. It involved basically making the Rice-a-Roni according to package directions then adding canned tomatoes (or was it stewed tomatoes? I can never remember and it’s really immaterial right now). My mom always browned pork chops, then browned the rice/vermicelli mixture then put the pork chops into the pot with the Rice-a-Roni and tomatoes too cook the rest of the way through. It’s really good and was one of our staple dinners from my childhood.

In late 1991 or early 1992, I was a newlywed and had these chicken breasts that I’d bought basically on a whim. I was on the phone with my mom and my inability to come up with anything interesting to do with these chicken breasts came up in the conversation.

My mom suggested that I make them with Rice-a-Roni rice pilaf, so I basically did the pork chops and Spanish rice meal with chicken breasts and rice pilaf. Well, without the tomatoes, ’cause that would be weird.

It was awesome. Thomas and I both loved it and I made it pretty frequently.

Fast forward to autumn of either 1999 (when my mom came to help with Alex after he was born) or 2001 (when my mom came to help while I had my chemo). Actually, it was probably 2001, because I don’t remember my dad being there.

I made this dish for my mom and she said that it was delicious and asked me where I got the recipe.

Thomas and I both looked at her and I said, “I got it from you.”

She assured me that she’d never heard of this meal and she certainly would’ve made it herself if she had.

So I told her about the phone conversation where (I thought) she suggested it.

Turns out she didn’t mean to do it this way, she was thinking more of using the Rice-a-Roni as a side dish. And she went on to say that she wished she’d thought of it because it really was good.

I’ve had a taste for chicken and rice pilaf lately but Alex has not, so I made it for myself tonight. I even have leftovers for maybe tomorrow night, or Sunday, or something. Maybe I’ll freeze them and have them next week. The sky’s the limit.

My Gratuitous Amazon Link this time is the *fourth* book in the Streetlights Like Fireworks series. I posted the second book and now the fourth. It looks like I somehow missed putting read dates down for the first and third. So I guess those are now going to be in my reading queue. Anyway, here it is: This Gem in My Hand, by David Pandolfe.

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