Beef Oriental

Rice-A-Roni is one of those foods I remember with apathy from childhood.  The chicken flavor frequently appeared on the dinner table in my mom’s kitchen.  It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either.  It was just kind of there.  So Rice-A-Roni is not a product I typically buy.  Somehow I wound up with a couple of boxes in the pantry.  Probably my mom sent some extras home after she got a super duper deal on them.  In any event they’ve been languishing in there for a while, rediscovered only after I bothered cleaning out all the pantries, fridge, and freezer over the weekend.  So okay then, what could I do with Rice-A-Roni?  Since I had beef flavor and I accidentally thawed out an extra pound of ground beef when I was making a Cowboy Casserole this weekend, I decided to use that as a base.  I did some additional freezer diving and threw in some stir fry veggies and a few other characteristically oriental flavors.  The end result was surprisingly tasty.  It works out to 3 servings at 573 calories and 12 grams of fat.  Definitely a full meal in a bowl.


  • 1 box beef flavored Rice-A-Roni
  • 2 Tbsp Smart Balance light
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 12 oz. package of frozen stir fry veggies
  • 1 cup frozen peas and carrots
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce


  1. Brown the ground beef over medium high heat, allowing to get good and caramelized.
  2. Meanwhile, following package directions, melt the 2 Tbsp Smart Balance over medium heat in a separate large skillet, and toast the Rice-A-Roni (approximately 5 minutes).
  3. Add 2.5 cups of water to the Rice-A-Roni and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cover, setting a timer for 15 minutes.
  4. Drain the beef, reserving about a tablespoon of grease.
  5. Rinse the beef thoroughly and add to the Rice-A-Roni.  Re-cover.
  6. Meanwhile, toss your garlic and ginger into the remaining grease and crank the heat up to just under high.
  7. Allow garlic and ginger to cook for 15-30 seconds (don’t burn!) before adding in your stir fry veggies and the peas and carrots.  Add the soy sauce.
  8. Stir fry these until tender crisp, then add to the Rice-A-Roni.  Stir.  Re-cover.
  9. Cook until liquid is absorbed.

Printable version.

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