Roni Spanish rice

When I was a kid, Rice-a-Roni had just made its way to the market shelves and my mom went and bought a box to try. She made it for us and it was a huge hit. This recipe is pretty much an exact copycat result of the brand that comes in a box, only better, in my opinion. This is one of my favorites. When my son was in college, he came home for a spring break, and one of his friends came over and ended up sacking out on our couch overnight. Next day, I made this for them with some Italian rope sausage. The two of them ate ALL of it themselves. The entire pan of “Rice-a-Roni” AND the sausage!

1 package RICE-A-RONIĀ® Spanish Rice
1 pound ground beef or turkey
2 tablespoons margarine
2 cups water
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup chopped onion (optional)
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper (optional)

Directions :
Preparation Steps
In large skillet, cook 1 lb. ground beef or turkey until no longer pink; drain.
Stir in rice-vermicelli mix, 2 Tbsp. margarine, 2 cups water, Special Seasonings and 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes; bring to a boil.
Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 15-20 min. or until rice is tender.
Tips and Variations
Add 1/2 cup each chopped green bell pepper and onion during the last 5 min. of simmering.