I used to buy those boxed rice mixes all the time. They are tasty and easy to prepare. However, they are often loaded with salt and fat. I learned a great way to make rice by reading Cook's Illustrated, the companion magazine to America's Test Kitchen. I now make rice by using the "pilaf" method. This means cooking the grains in hot oil briefly before adding liquid to impart a toasted, nutty flavor.
This recipe is almost word for word from Cook's Illustrated. I made the addition of the peas and carrots. I like to add them halfway (or more) through the cooking so that they stay crisp and not mushy like vegetables can get.
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced shallot
1 cup long grain white rice
1 ¾ cup reduced-sodium chicken stock
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup shredded carrots (the matchstick kind)
Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add garlic and shallot and cook until fragrant but not browned. Add rice and increase heat to medium. Stir frequently until the rice just begins to become golden brown.
Add stock and bring just to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove lid and add peas and carrots. Return lid to pan and simmer an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until rice is fully cooked.
Fluff with a fork and serve.
Makes 4 servings.