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Kitchen Mailbox Countdown to Dinner Dining
Fried rice a nifty box recipe

Thursday, May 11, 2000

By Rebecca Sodergren, Post-Gazette Staff Writer


Lesson from today's Countdown to Dinner feature: Don't throw out the food boxes until you've checked out the recipes on them.

Joe and Janice Huwe of Gibsonia found their Beef Fried Rice recipe on the side of a Food Club-brand beef-flavored rice mix box several years ago. The dish became a staple back when both were working and meals needed to be quick.

Now, though, Janice stays home with the couple's three children -- Joey, 8; John, 5; and Elise, 2 -- while Joe works as a pediatrician. Both are Ross natives who met while carpooling to classes at the University of Pittsburgh.

Their recipe originally called for a fresh tomato, which meant they could make the dish only in summer when good tomatoes were available. But one winter day when Joe was on cooking duty, he devised the idea of using canned tomatoes -- and the family liked the result better than the original.

Although this is a Food Club recipe, any brand of beef-flavored rice mix will do. We used Rice-a-Roni and found the result flavorful but a bit gummy the first night. Given a chance to dry out a bit in the refrigerator, the reheated leftovers were even better the second night. -- Tested by Rebecca Sodergren

Beef Fried Rice

1/2 pound ground beef
1 package beef-flavored rice mix
1/2 to 3/4 cup diced celery
1/2 to 3/4 cup sliced onion
2 tablespoons margarine
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, partially drained
2 1/2 cups water

Brown beef, drain, set aside. Saute rice mix, celery and onion in margarine until lightly browned.

Stir in beef, tomatoes, seasoning packet from rice mix and water.

Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Makes 4 to 5 servings.

Do you have an entree, salad or vegetable side dish recipe (no desserts, please!) that can be made in 30 minutes or less from six ingredients or fewer (not counting water, salt and pepper)? Share it with Countdown to Dinner.

The PG tests all recipes and if we select your recipe for publication, you'll receive a free selection from our cookbook grab bag of current releases.

Send your recipe to Countdown to Dinner, Post-Gazette Food, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, or fax to 412-263-1313. Please include your name, neighborhood and daytime phone number. Or e-mail to: nanderson@post-gazette.com. Questions? Call 412-263-1760.

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