It seems like everyone I know had a magical experience during their first couple of years at college. Or maybe that’s just a stereotype and I don’t really know what everyone else was experiencing, but I do know that for me, it was hard. Like…worse than middle school (I actually have very happy middle school memories–I don’t know if that makes me freakish!). For those first two years, I felt lost, like I had no idea who I was or who I wanted to be and the expectation was that at that point in my life, I should have known. Heck, I spent the first 18 years of my life thinking that I knew and then suddenly I didn’t anymore. Those years, more than almost any other time in my life, are ones you couldn’t pay me to re-live.
It was during that time thatI really started to cook. In earnest. I had always dabbled here and there in the kitchen, but I reached a point where it kind of became this cathartic therapy for me. The problem was that I didn’t have a ton of recipes and I didn’t always know what I was doing.
My roommate Sara (not Our Best Bites Sara, actually–Sara from rockin’ West Des Moines), on the other hand, came to college well-stocked with family recipes. This is one that she would make all the time and then just eat the leftovers for the rest of the week. It became one of my favorite recipes and one that, these days, I kind of forget about until I remember how much I love it.
It actually reminds me a lot of our Jambalaya; it has rice, bacon, onions, garlic, green peppers, tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder (definitely not in Jambalaya before someone goes and calls the Louisiana State Police on me!).

After you cook the bacon, you saute the onions, garlic, and pepper in a little of the reserved bacon grease and then just add the remaining ingredients to a heavy pot or Dutch oven

cover, and cook for 20-25 minutes (at a low elevation, closer to an hour at high elevations) or until the rice is cooked. Super easy, right? And perfect for fall. And the leftovers are awesome, especially if you have access to a microwave at work where you can re-heat them.

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39comments

  1. 1
    Stephanie says:

    Looks really good!!
    I voted today!

  2. 2
    Carolyn says:

    I have never heard of bacon in spanish rice before. We love homemade spanish rice, and we are going to try this recipe this week!

  3. 3
    Sara says:

    I started reading and thought I should tell you to try it with stewed tomatoes instead of regular — but it looks like you figured that one out, too! We did have some interesting… uh… adventures in the kitchen back in the day, didn't we? :)

  4. 4
    Shanna :) says:

    I have such a random question for this post. What kind of dishes are in that last pic of the finished spanish rice? Which looks so yummy – making me hungry!! Btw – I love love love your blog!!

  5. 5
    Carrie says:

    Any tips on non-sticky rice? I made your jambalaya this week, and it was great but the texture of my rice was awful! I've always been an instant rice user, but I'd love to make the switch. :)

  6. 6
    Tea says:

    I love Spanish rice! Voted!!!

  7. 7
    Kate @ Our Best Bites says:

    Sara–So many. Hahaha. I kind of wish I could go back and do it again knowing what I do now, you know?

    Shanna–I'm totally rocking the Walmart here. :) No, they are actually Better Homes and Gardens at Walmart and I've been ogling them in the seasonal section for the last few weeks until I finally broke down and bought them. They have a whole bunch of super cute colors.

    Carrie–I hear you on the sticky, mushy rice! Here are a few tips:

    –Use long-grain rice (I use Mahatma)

    –Most instructions tell you to use twice as much water as rice, but mine does tend to get mushy that way, so usually take out about 2 tablespoons per cup of water. So…if I'm using 1 cup of rice, I use 2 cups minus 4 tablespoons of water.

    –Try adding a splash of vinegar when you add the water; it helps keep the grains of rice separated.

  8. 8
    Sara says:

    Oh, I forgot to mention: I got the recipe from my mom, who adapted it from a Better Homes & Gardens cookbook! Does that get you any bonus points in the competition (not that you need them!)?

    And yes, there are a lot of things I wish I could redo, but I'm not going to start listing them on a public forum!

  9. 9
    Michelle Osborn says:

    Looks delicious! Do you use this as a main course or as a side? If a side, what do you serve it with?

  10. 10
    ilovecroc says:

    Have you ever made this without the bacon? I am pregnant and for some reason this baby wont let me eat meat…but this looks so yummy I want to make it! Yet I would leave the bacon out..do you think it would taste ok?

  11. 11
    Kate @ Our Best Bites says:

    Sara–I think we should totally get bonus points for that…and for the fact that I'm using the BHG dishes that I totally bought with my own pennies. :)

    Michelle–You could go either way. Really, it's plenty for us to serve as a main dish; I usually just serve it with cornbread.

    ilovecroc–Yep, you can totally make this without bacon (although as soon as you get un-pregnant, you need to try it with bacon because it's SO good!); just use olive oil in place of the bacon drippings.

  12. 12
    Anna says:

    Sooo if I don't have a Dutch oven, what do you recommend? (keep meaning to buy one… :p)

  13. 13
    Kelli says:

    Man, I can totally relate to the difficulties of the first two years at college! Maybe it's because we have happy middle-school memories, but I swear those years were the hardest of my life so far. :)
    I also remember yummy foods that brought solace (as well as plenty of attempts that were utter failures!) Ahh…so nice to be just a little bit older and wiser. :)
    The recipe looks great! Thanks for sharing.

  14. 14
    Kate @ Our Best Bites says:

    Anna–you can use any heavy pot or skillet as long as it has a lid.

    Kelli (and Roommate Sara)–Failed cheese fondue. And Hollandaise sauce. In one night. It was epic. :) I'm glad to know I wasn't the only one!

  15. 15
    fittingbackin says:

    This looks great – added to my list of 'must makes'!

  16. 16
    CrystalsCozyKitchen says:

    This looks delicious and sounds a lot like the Spanish rice my mom makes!

  17. 17
    Shelly says:

    I've been searching for a good Spanish Rice dish…Lipton packets just aren't cutting it. Looks different and yummy, can't wait to try it out!

  18. 18
    Allie says:

    K I just made this and the rice wasn't done after the 25 mins. I cooked it for almost an hour and the rice was STILL kind of hard and crunchy! I even added a little more water to see if that would soften it up. What did I do wrong?

  19. 19
    Kate @ Our Best Bites says:

    Allie–I think at my elevation, I need less water than most people. I was actually a little worried that there wasn't enough water in there, so I changed the recipe to add a bit more water and I think that will be better for most people. I'm so sorry it turned out crunchy! That's the worst!

    • 19.1
      Elizabeth says:

      I made this last night with the creamy chicken taquitos WHICH WERE TO DIE FOR, thank you very much! I have just found your site and am dreaming about all the yummy stuff I’m going to be making in the VERY near future.

      Anyhow, I made this last night and mine was also nowhere near done after the 25 minutes…it probably took 40 to soak up all the water and it was also very crunchy. What did I do wrong?

      Also, I have just discovered that I have possibly been using the wrong type of rice all along. I have always used Uncle Ben’s non-instant white rice. I went to a friend’s house and borrowed some rice to make your recipe…it wasn’t Mahatma, it was Hinode, I think…but it was long grain. Can I use Uncle Ben to make your rice recipes? Next on my list to try is the Pineapple Cilantro Lime rice with the teriyaki bacon skewers…but I want to make sure I’m not gonna screw up the rice again. Any pointers?

  20. 20
    Sheralie says:

    I tried this tonight and was the best spanish rice I have ever made. I have tried a few recipes too. Used prosciutto instead of bacon, 1 cup brown rice and had to add an extra cup of water and a bit more cooking time. But delicious, thanks.

  21. 21
    Tea says:

    Voting everyday!

  22. 22
    Lisa says:

    This looks delicious. I could really go for some of that right now.

  23. 23
    Kim says:

    dumb question: would the package actually say long grain rice?

  24. 24
    Kate @ Our Best Bites says:

    Kim–Not dumb at all! :) It will say it right on the package–my favorite is Mahatma.

  25. 25
    Kim says:

    Thanks! I made it, but used brown long grain rice (New Years resolution!). It took way longer to cook because of the type of rice, but it was soo worth the wait!! I added some corn and blackbeans to the leftovers and my daughter just hoovered it up! I'm making it tomorrow too!

  26. 26
    Shane, Liz and all the Crew says:

    worst website to visit when you are on a diet!

  27. 27
    Jen says:

    This sounds delicious! What happens to the bacon? Does it get mixed back in with the rice, or do you just use it for the bacon fat and then use the bacon for something else?

  28. 28
    Kate @ Our Best Bites says:

    Jen–just add it in the step where it tells you to add the remaining ingredients. Hope that helps! :)

  29. 29
    Lisa says:

    Added extra water even though I am not at a high elevation (just cuz of so many people claiming the rice was crunchy) and I let it simmer for an hour and a half and the rice was still crunchy! There was plenty of moisture still in the pan. Here’s to another hour I guess . . . Bummer

    • 29.1
      Erin Martin says:

      I’m at sea level and after 45 minutes, the rice was still crunchy. What would happen if you cook the rice first and then add it to the sauce/bacon/onions/etc? Would it taste the same?

  30. 30
    Crystal says:

    I have a few suggestions for those wondering how keep the rice from being sticky. First off fry your rice until brown with your pepper, onions, etc. Then add your liquids. Also, instead of using water for your rice use chicken broth. I worked in a Mexican restuarant for 5 years back in the day and this is how they would make theirs (and this is what I do when I make mine). I love the idea of bacon in the rice and I must try this real soon! :)

  31. 31
    Heidi says:

    This was fantastic! I didnt have any problem with the rice staying crunchy and i use long grain.

  32. 32
    Jeannine says:

    I made this rice yesterday, but I made a mistake and used chicken stock instead of water. I was thinking about rice pilaf, but let me tell you that was one of the tastiest mess up’s I have ever made. In fact, I am only going to use chicken stock for now on. I hope somebody else tries it with chicken stock so they can see how good it is.

  33. 33
    Annie says:

    I made this this weekend and it was SUPERB! Super easy – I think the trick may be to make sure it fully boils before turning down the heat.. but it was awesome – I cooked it for 25 mins then turned it off and let it sit in the pot with the lid on until I was ready (another 5-10 mins)

  34. 34
    Rebecca says:

    This rice was excellent! I did use a little less chili powder (about 1 t.) and omitted the hot sauce because I was afraid it would be a bit hot for my family. It was just right for all of us! I also added a little shredded cheese to the top of each serving. Wow, I will never buy the box stuff again! As always, thank you Kate and Sara!

  35. 35
    Brenda says:

    Have you ever frozen Spanish Rice after it has been cooked? Will the rice become too mushy? and in this dish would that matter? Also what would be the best way to reheat it after you have frozen it? Thanks for your help!

  36. 36
    Allyson says:

    The directions are a bit confusing regarding the bacon. Do you add it back in with the “remaining ingredients” (although it doesn’t feel like the bacon is “remaining” since it’s already been used), crumble it on top before serving, or leave it out completely and only use the grease?

  37. 37
    Tina says:

    YES! Like someone mentioned, FRY your rice in a little butter first (or maybe just with the onions, etc, that might work too)! Until it browns and smells kinda like popcorn. Then dump the liquids in. The texture of the rice will be SO much better. I accidentally made Spanish rice once just dumping it all together and I thought it was totally ruined. I just fry my rice, then dump in my homemade salsa and water as my liquids. The addition of bacon and other seasonings here sound pretty tasty though!

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