Last updated on October 3rd, 2021
What to make for dinner when you are pressed for time? Well, you could do what Mr. Fox’s mother did in the 1950s (and what my own mother did in the 1960s), and make yourself a Minute Rice Casserole! Here’s the recipe, along with the answer to your burning question: “What the heck is Minute Rice?”
What’s Minute Rice?
Minute Rice is simply cooked rice that has been dehydrated. The rice perfectly rehydrates itself in about one minute in boiling water. There’s no need to pre-cook the rice before adding it to the casserole described below.
Minute Rice History
Instant or “Minute” rice was invented by Ataullah K. Ozai-Durrani. Originally from Afghanistan (and a cousin to the King of Afghanistan), Durrani came to the United States in 1923 to study bio-chemistry. In 1939, Durrani discovered that rice could be cooked, dehydrated, packaged, and rehydrated.
According to the General Foods Corporation, in 1941 Durrani walked into the New York City office of a company executive, set up a portable stove and quickly cooked a batch of his rice. General Foods was so impressed that they immediately purchased Durrani’s invention, and soon thereafter began to mass-produce the product.
Minute Rice was introduced to the market that same year in 1941. It was requisitioned by the U.S. Army for use as a GI ration for WWII troops.
In 1949, General Foods launched a national television advertising campaign for Minute Rice. The product could be found in almost every American home in the 1950s. Minute Rice is still available today, in 2021.
The printable recipe below is for the Minute Rice Casserole that I made on my YouTube cooking show (click here to watch the episode). The recipe is adapted from one that appeared on boxes of Minute Rice in the 1950s. My only contribution to the recipe is sliced black olives. If you despise black olives, or if black olives despise you, then just leave them out. The casserole is no trouble to make. It is mixed and baked in just one dish!
1950s Minute Rice Casserole
- 1 lb. lean, raw ground meat (beef, chicken, turkey; even vegan "Beyond Meat" will work here)
- 1 large bell pepper, any color
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 ounces sliced black olives
- 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
- Grinds of black pepper
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 cup Minute Rice
- 1 cup water
- Center the oven rack; preheat the oven to 350°F
- Add all ingredients to a 1 1/2 to 2 quart baking dish. Mix thoroughly by hand.
- Bake in the preheated oven until the meat is cooked through, and the casserole has lightly browned on top -- about 40 minutes.
- Cool the casserole on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes before serving.
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