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~Oh My Long Grain & Wild Rice-a-Roni Turkey Dinner~

IMG_2205As a creature of habit, Sunday is my day to roast something -- sometimes it's a long and lean eye-of-round beef roast, others times it's one or two plump roasting chickens or the biggest whole turkey breast I can find.  Oddly, this "roast du jour" is rarely our Sunday dinner.  I do it to have on hand to round-out a quick-to-make weeknight dinner or two, or to slice and eat in place of deli-meat in weekday sandwiches.  Today I'm talkin' winner-winner flash-in-the-pan turkey dinner.

Let's talk winner-winner flash-in-the-pan turkey dinner.

IMG_2223A box or three of Uncle Ben's long-grain & wild rice mix was a staple in my mom's pantry and I've carried on the tradition with Rice-a-Roni's version.  It and its seasoning packet combine to make a quick side-dish that generically (without additions) pairs well with almost anything (beef, poultry or pork).  By adding a vegetable or two to the mix during the last few minutes of the cooking process, it can be turned into a deliciously-easy one-skillet meal -- in less than 30 minutes.

6a0120a8551282970b0240a5229337200bIn the case of this long-grain & wild Rice-a-Roni turkey dinner dinner recipe, I'm not posting one of my copycat recipes for Rice-a-Roni, meaning,  I'm using the boxed mix and seasoning packet just as they are.  By simply adding several on-hand kitchen-, pantry- and freezer-staple vegetable additions. It's these additions that turn this boxed mix into an absolutely-delightful super-easy-to-make one-skillet dinner: one cup each of diced celery, onion and apple, a can of sliced mushrooms, and a bag of frozen sweet potatoes.

IMG_2131Oven-Braising a Whole Turkey Breast couldn't be easier. Oven-braising is a cooking method that combines moist and dry heat.  The process starts on the stovetop (in a Dutch oven), where it is seared in fat or oil, to seal in the juices (in the case of an oven-braised turkey breast, there is no need for this cumbersome task). The vessel of food is then placed, tightly covered, at a high, low, or combination of high and low heat, to braise in the moist heat created inside the vessel.

Long grain & wild rice + apples, celery, onion, mushrooms & sweet potatoes -- what a sweet and savory combination. 

IMG_2168For the Long-Grain & Rice-a-Roni Turkey dinner:

3  tablespoons salted butter

2  4.3-ounce boxes Long Grain & Wild Rice-a-Roni Rice + seasoning packets

1 1/2  cups peeled and diced apple

1  cup diced onion

1  cup diced celery

3 1/3  cups water, which includes 1/2 cup liquid from 1, 4-ounce can sliced mushrooms (from below), 3 1/2 total cups liquid

1  teaspoon coarse-grind black pepper

1/2  teaspoon poultry seasoning

1  4-ounce can sliced mushrooms, well-drained

1  9-ounce bag brown-sugar-seasoned steam-in-bag sweet potatoes, steamed according to package directions

1  oven-braised turkey breast, sliced

homemade or store-bought turkey gravy, your favorite brand, warmed, for dipping or drizzling, for accompaniment

applesauce sauce, for accompaniment

IMG_2173 IMG_2173 IMG_2173 IMG_2173~Step 1. Over low heat, melt the butter in bottom of pan.  Prepare the long-grain and wild Rice-a-Roni according to package directions, starting by stirring the long-grain and white rice into the melted butter, while stirring constantly for about 1 minute until mixture is foamy.  Stir in the diced apple, celery and onions and cook about 1 more minute, again, stirring constantly.

IMG_2185 IMG_2185 IMG_2185Step 2. Slowly add the water to pan --  steam will billow up, so, be careful. Add the seasonings (the packet from the box, plus the 1 teaspoon coarse-grind black pepper and 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning).  Give the mixture a thorough stir and wait for it to return to a simmer, 1-2 minutes.  Adjust heat to a simmer gently.

IMG_2191 IMG_2191 IMG_2191 IMG_2191~Step 3. Cover pan and adjust heat to gently simmer until rices are cooked through and have absorbed almost all liquid, 25-30 minutes.  Do not uncover pan during this time.  Add sweet potatoes and mushrooms.  Cover and let residual heat to heat sweet potatoes and mushrooms, about 5 minutes.  Uncover and gently stir potatoes and mushrooms into rice mixture.

Good enough to put on anyone's table for dinner:

IMG_2209Oh My Long Grain & Wild Rice-a-Roni Turkey Dinner:  Recipe yields 6 hearty servings.

Special Equipment List: cutting board; chef's knife; 3 1/2-quart chef's pan w/straight, deep sides & lid; large spoon; 2-cup measuring container

6a0120a8551282970b0240a500475e200d 6a0120a8551282970b01b7c92e1f14970bCook's Note: Everyone and anyone who cooks has an opinion on roasting chicken, and, mine is quite basic.  Two chickens, two hours. Read all about:  This Woman's Way to Roast the Perfect Chicken. For a variation on the same Rice-a-Roni theme, try my recipe for ~ Homestyle Chicken and Vegetable Rice-a-Roni Pilaf ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2020)


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