This rice has been a favorite in our house for a couple of years now. I got it from my good friend Stephanie, who is a California native, and a wonderful cook. It comes together in under a half an hour, allowing you that time to make whatever main dish you may be making. It goes with anything Mexican of course, but we’ve also had it as a side with grilled chicken. Absolutely love it inside a burrito.

I struggled with rice on the stove top for quite some time when I started cooking. It was always mushy, and clumpy. I hate to admit it here – but, for years my preferred method of rice cookery was the microwave. Finally I picked up the tip to sauté the rice in a bit of butter or oil before adding the water. After that, morale improved considerably. I haven’t tried it with brown rice yet, so if you do…please let me know. I’d like to start incorporating more of it into our diet, and I think it would be a relatively easy swap out. I hope you enjoy it as much as our family does. It’s a great side dish to have in your recipe box!

I confess, I used to be a boxed macaroni and cheese person. As a teenager, I worked front desk at a local hotel. An older lady there made the best baked macaroni and cheese. While at the time I diddn’t have my heart set on re-creating the dish, it managed to stick with me for a decade. My mom always made homemade macaroni and cheese, but it wasn’t a cheese sauce. It was elbows, butter, and lots of cheddar cheese layered and baked. Still delicious, but there’s something about a gooey, cheesy sauce that really captured my heart.

Fast forward 10 years, I decided to try to find a recipe that I would consider “a keeper” for baked macaroni and cheese. I tried several recipes I’d found on the internet that looked good, but none really resonated with me. Then, I decided to give the recipe off the side of the elbow macaroni box a shot. Low and behold, I fell in love. I’ve changed it some over the years, but I’m glad I gave that “side of the box” recipe a shot. You never know! Feel free to top with a seasoned breadcrumb if you like, but I think that’s more of a “Yankee” thing, and just not the way I was raised. I like my macaroni and cheese soft and creamy. But, I have done it that way before…and it was delicious. Enjoy!