Rice & Pasta

None of my recipes use “instant rice,” which doesn’t have a fraction of the flavor as rice cooked from scratch.  And substituting instant rice in the following recipes will NOT work.

To rinse or not to rinse/wash rice?  Most Asian cooks would not dream of not washing rice before cooking it. The general rule is to rinse imported rice and not to rinse domestic rices, which are well cleaned before packaging. Imported rice still has plenty of starch sticking to it and cooking it without rinsing it causes rice to be downright gooey. Also do NOT wash Arborio or other Italian style rices or you will wash away the starch which makes Risotto creamy.

How to wash/rinse rice?  Place measured rice in a bowl of cold tap water and swish around with your hand til water becomes cloudy–will sometimes be foamy at edges.  Tilt bowl and pour off water – or pour thru fine strainer. Rinse and return to bowl. Repeat til water stays clear. Most rice needs 2 washings.

RICE COOKERS: I didn’t discover rice cookers until about 5 years ago.  They are a WONDERFUL invention.  A rice cooker to an Asian cook is like a toaster to an American cook…an essential.  The wonderful thing about them is you don’t have to worry about your rice scorching!  Any kind of rice can be cooked in the rice cooker, along with meat and veggies!

RICE COOKBOOK:  I highly recommend this cookbook for rice:  The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann.  It contains everything you need to know about rice and how to cook it and then some.

Cooked Rice keeps well in the fridge for several days, so you can make extra ahead to serve later.
TO REHEAT leftover rice:
   Put in colander in sink and pour boiling water over it.
FREEZE COOKED RICE:  freezes very well.

SERVING SIZE:  One-half cup of uncooked rice per person.


Two times as much water as rice  (1:2 ratio)(2 c water for 1 c rice)
1/2 t salt for each cup of rice.
1 T butter or oil (optional)

Use saucepan with a lid. 2 qt size is good.  Rice expands.
Bring water, salt, butter to boil in saucepan.
Add rice, stir once. Bring back to a gentle simmer.
Cover with lid and turn the heat down to low.
Don’t take off the lid while the rice is cooking — this lets the steam out and affects the cooking time.
Cook 14 minutes (or 10-15 min) It’s done when water is  evaporated.
Be careful!  When water evaporates, it begins to scorch!
Fluff rice with fork and let it sit for a few moments to “dry out” and lose that wet, just-steamed texture.

(Boil your rice like spaghetti)

To make 3 cups white, fluffy rice, perfectly cooked:

1 cup uncooked medium or long grain rice.
2 cups cold water
½ to 1 t salt

Stir together water, rice and salt in a 2-qt. saucepan that has a tight-fitting lid.
Bring water and salt to vigorous boil.
Add rice, stir well and turn heat to medium.

***Cherie’s Favorite!***
My very favorite dish is macaroni & cheese.  This is my Mom’s recipe that I was raised on, and it’s pretty unique–I’ve never been served macaroni like this recipe.  It’s very similar to a quiche without the crust.

2 cups macaroni noodles, cooked & drained
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese – sharp is good.
2 cups whole milk (more or less)
4 eggs, beaten
1 t salt (separated into 1/2 t each)
1/4 t pepper

Cook noodles with 1/2 t salt.  Drain.
Place cooked noodles in ___ qt microwaveable dish.
Stir together (by hand) milk, eggs and 1/2 t salt.
Pour over noodles.  Add cheese and stir well.
Liquid should almost cover the top of the noodles.
Depending on the depth of the dish you use, you may need to add more milk or use less.
Microwave at 50% power for 10 min or til liquid doesn’t shake.
Toast croutons separately and sprinkle on top.

OR bake in oven at 350° for 20-30 min. til macaroni is set and liquid doesn’t shake.  Sprinkle with croutons before baking.

Sprinkle these croutons on top of mac&chs.
2-3 Slices of white bread, crust removed, cut into 1″ cubes
Margarine or butter

Melt butter in skillet.
Add cubes of white bread.  Stir til well coated.
Remove and toast–either in toaster oven or reg. oven til crisp.


4 T oleo (1/2 stick)
½ c vermicelli, broken into pieces ½ inches long (4 oz)
1 c long grain white rice
2 c chicken broth or water
½ t salt
1/8 t garlic powder
1 T dried parsley flakes
fresh mushrooms, sliced
½ to ¾ c toasted, slivered almonds

Heat oleo in large saucepan.
Add vermicelli and cook stirring til golden.
Add rice and stir for 2-3 min.
Add broth with rest of ingredients.
Cover and simmer until liquid has been absorbed.
Garnish with almonds when serving.


4 T butter
2 T minced onion
1 t minced garlic
2 c raw rice
4 bay leaves
2 t thyme
1 t basil
2 t marjoram
4 c chicken broth
salt & pepper-to taste

Saute onions and garlic in butter without browning.
Add rice and seasonings.  Cook til transparent.
Add broth and bring to a boil.  Add rice.
Cover and simmer 30 min or til tender.
Remove bay leaves before serving.


2 cups of short grain rice
1 t salt

Rinse 2-3 times
Put rice and salt in pot
Add water to first joint on thumb pressed to bottom of pan
Let sit for 1 hour.
Then turn on “Cook”

JASMINE RICE in the rice cooker
NOTE: Jasmine rice doesn’t require near as much water as regular.

2 cups jasmine rice  (Thai jasmine rice)
2 1/2 c water
¼ t salt

Wash rice and strain twice.
Place rice in rice cooker bowl, add water, rice and swirl.
Start the cooker.
If rice seems dry, add 2-3 T water and leave on Keep Warm cycle.

NOTE:  Jasmati is NOT a blend of Jasmine and Basmati rice!!


The pan: Don’t need a wok; a cast-iron skillet or large nonstick skillet work fine. A 10-inch skillet makes 2 servings; a 12-inch skillet for 3-4.

Oil or Pam will keep the rice from sticking to the pan. If you encounter sticking during the cooking, add a few drops of oil. For a nonstick pan, use 1-2 t oil per serving. For other pans, use 2 T or more.

The rice: COLD cooked rice works best because the grains remain separated. You can use any kind of leftover variety of cooked rice. Cold, hard rice straight from the refrigerator is less likely to stick together than fresh cooked rice. One of the secrets to good fried rice is the rice itself: the colder the rice, the better. Use it directly out of the refrigerator or thaw for an hour.

Some freeze cooked rice just to make friend rice!  Break up any rice clumps as you add it to the skillet.

Additional Ingredients:  Sliced green onion. Some saute it at the beginning of cooking; some sprinkle it on at the end.  Garlic – be careful not to burn it.  Mushrooms, celery, zucchini, green peas—can use straight from the freezer, shredded carrot, bean sprouts. Cook to tender crisp stage for veggies such as broccoli or carrots. Fried rice can be very good with just a few veggies.

Eggs: Scrambled eggs are a very common addition to fried rice. Some people scramble them, remove them from the pan so they don’t overcook, and add them back later. Others just clear a space on one side of the pan or in the center by pushing away any ingredients that are in the way, pour in the eggs, let them sit till they are about half-set, then toss or scoop the rice on top, scrambling the eggs to break them up and mix them with the rice. No more than one egg per person.

Meat and fish: Raw or cooked, many kinds of meat, poultry, fish, and shellfish can be tossed into your fried rice. Bacon, sausage or ham. Use up leftovers.

Finishing touches: Finish off your fried rice with nothing more than a dash of sauce and pepper.

Black bean sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, chile paste—these will change the character of fried rice. One type of sauce plus soy sauce and pepper is enough! Add final touches while the rice is still on the stove so the seasonings warm up.


8 oz small elbow macaroni noodles, cooked and drained
½ cup milk
1 egg, beaten
½ t salt
14 oz. jar pasta sauce—any flavor
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Toppings – your choice – see list on back

Blend milk, egg, salt in bowl.  Mix in cooked macaroni.
Spread evenly in greased 14” round pizza pan (or 9 x 13 pan).
Spoon sauce evenly over macaroni.
Add desired TOPPINGS (see list on back).
Bake at 350 for about 30 min, til macaroni is set.
Top with cheese and leave in oven just til cheese melts.
Let stand 5 minutes before cutting.

Meats – Choose ONE
½ lb browned ground beef,
3 oz sliced pepperoni
½ lb sliced smoked sausage
8-10 oz cooked, crumbled bacon

Vegetables – any combination
4 oz cooked mushrooms
1 small tomato diced
Red or green bell pepper
Onion, sliced or chopped
Black olives – ½ c sliced

WILD RICE & BARLEY – Great for Thanksgiving

1 med onion shopped finely
1 c med pearl barley (not quick-cooking)
1 box Uncle Ben’s Long Grain & Wild Rice-Roasted Garlic
1/2 c oleo
1/2 c chopped fresh parsley
1/4 c thinly sliced green onions
1 c celery, chopped small
8-10 fresh mushrooms, sliced

1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1/4 t garlic powder
2 can beef broth
2 c water
2 T soy sauce
1/4 lb HOT ground sausage, browned-opt
1/2 c slivered almonds, toasted*

Saute in oleo onion and barley till barley is browned.
Add green onions, parsley, celery and mushrooms, salt & pepper and saute 3-4 min longer.
Transfer to greased 4 qt baking dish.
Stir in cooked sausage, wild rice, soy sauce, water, broth, contents of rice seasoning packet.
Bake covered at 350 for 45 min; remove cover, sprinkle almonds on top.
Bake 30 more min., til barley is tender and liquid is absorbed.
*Toast almonds by placing on paper plate, drizzling melted oleo over them, and micro for 4 min., stirring after each minute.

FINALLY, I have found a technique for making Spanish rice that turns out!  I’ve tried many recipes and never made a one of them again.  The secret is to cook the rice and pour over it a seasoned tomato juice mixture. Works perfectly!  I left out the 2 ingredients I struck out below.

From:  Moreau Fine Foods LLC dba Cajun Blend du Jour

Spanish Rice

Makes six ½ cup servings

3 cups cooked parboiled rice, separated and fluffed with fork
(1) 14 oz can petite diced tomatoes with juice
1 tsp. tomato paste
3 Tbl. water
2 tsp chicken soup base (in paste form) Cherie uses: Better than Boullion
1 tsp. Cajun Blend du Jour Mild Teaser Multi-purpose seasoning
½ tsp (or to taste) Cajun Blend du Jour Hot Flare Multi-purpose seasoning

Simmer together for 10 minutes: tomatoes, water, tomato paste, soup base, Mild Teaser and Hot Flare all-purpose seasonings. Stir well and pour over heated cooked rice. Thoroughly heat rice mixture without overcooking.

Great accompaniment with meat dish.  Cooks up into a scrumptious flavorful butter sauce.

Serves 3-4

2 T butter (1T and 1T)
¼ onion, chopped fine
¾ t salt
1 med clove garlic, minced
1 cup Arborio rice – don’t wash!  (may not work with other kinds of rice)
1/2 c dry white wine – optional (if not using increase chicken broth by 1/2 cup)
2-1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 t lemon juice
1 T chopped fresh parsley
½ cup (1 oz) grated Parmesan cheese

In rice cooker bowl, (1) place 1T butter. Turn rice cooker on. Leave cover open if can. Add chopped onion, salt and garlic, cooking til soft, 4-7 min., stirring occasionally til liquid has evaporated. Stir in rice and cook about 3 min., stirring occasionally. Add wine if using, stirring constantly til fully absorbed and alcohol is burned off, 2-3 min.

Stir in chicken broth and any other ingred. Close cover, turn on regular cycle. Stir twice while cooking to prevent sticking. If risotto is too thick, add ¼ cup more broth. If too soupy, cook longer, checking every 5 min. Turn cooker off or unplug or turn to warm.

Stir in remaining 1 T butter and cheese, lemon juice, parsley, chives. Can add ¼ c more broth to loosen texture. Season with salt/pepper to taste. Serve immediately with Parmesan cheese to sprinkle over it. Keep on warm cycle in rice cooker.

LEMON CAPELLINI   (1/2 recipe)      Rev 1/01/17)

8 ounces angel hair pasta – or small spaghetti
1-1/2 cup grape tomatoes cut in half; OR 2 small or 1 large ripe tomatoes, peeled, diced; remove juice & seeds.
4T capers (no juice) (to taste)
Juice of 1/2 lemon (or more to taste)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large basil leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil(to taste
Pinch of Himalayan or Sea Salt (to taste)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Red peppers flakes, (optional) to taste

Boil water for pasta (follow pkg. instructions).
Place diced tomatoes on paper towels to absorb extra juice.
Place tomatoes and basil a large bowl, set aside.
Whisk olive oil, minced garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice, capers and a pinch of sea salt. Add to tomatoes.
Add pasta to boiling water. When pasta is done, drain and pour over tomato mixture. Toss til combined.
If desired, sprinkle with more Parmesan (optional), sea salt and red pepper flakes.
Serve with fresh ground pepper.


4T butter                Serve with TAJIN!!
4T flour
2 c half & half (2% milk will work too)
½ t garlic salt, pepper & oregano (to taste)
3+T lemon juice (to taste)
1-2 T olive oil
2t garlic, minced
8 oz fresh sliced mushrooms
1 can marinated artichoke hearts, drained
2 Roma or plum tomatoes, chopped
Frozen cooked shrimp, thawed, deveined, detailed
8+ oz Angel hair pasta – book as directed.

In saucepan, melt butter over med. Heat.
Add flour and whisk for 1 min.
Add half & half, and increase heat til sauce is boiling. Reduce to a simmer and whisk to remove all lumps.
Add salt, pepper, oregano and lemon juice.
Adjust seasonings to taste.
In large skillet, sauté garlic and mushrooms til tender. Add artichoke hearts, tomatoes, shrimp and sauce.  Cook til heated through.
Serve over pasta with TAJIN!! (a lemon-lime seasoning).