Sadly, my childhood was bereft of culinary delights - unless you call tater tots, "cream of ..." soups, and canned vegetables delightful (I do not).
But there was something served in the school cafeteria I liked, and I spent years trying to recapture it - and this comes the closest!
This goes great with beans and other Mexican dishes to stretch the food dollar for a crowd.
*oil or butter
*1# bag of white rice
*garlic cloves, chopped
*cold water (1 1/2 times the amount of rice)
*can of diced tomatoes with chilies (generic Ro-Tel)
*small can of tomato sauce
*1 T ground cumin
*2 bouillon cubes (or just use broth instead of water)
*salt, to taste
(a little kick would be good - a jalapeno or two, or some cayenne)
Heat the oil/butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the rice and stir it as it browns (don't have to stir a lot at first, but keep an eye on after it starts to brown). Add in the garlic & onion to saute them a little.
Then add in everything else, stir it up well, and then cover it with a lid. When it starts to boil, turn it to low, and let cook undisturbed for 20 minutes.
This makes quite a bit - probably 10 good servings depending on what else you're serving.