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A Side Dish for Many Meals – Mexican Rice

it has been a long day after a long weekend and I have been going non-stop since 5:30 Am here with work, plumbing problems, the dog barking at the plumber for hours and all kinds of other fun stuff. I was pretty sure I would never be able to get to blogging today but I calmed down, got all my work done, got the plumber done and the dog asleep so I actually have time to do a short post. it is actually perfect that I have this really easy side dish recipe to offer up today. Mexican rice goes well with not just Mexican style meals but with nearly any type of meal you could make and I made some last week when I made chicken tostadas for dinner and we have used the leftovers for other meals since then. This particular recipe comes from The New York Times and uses ingredients you are likely to have around your home so you can put it together easily.

Mexican Rice

1 clove garlic, roughly chopped

2 cups canned tomatoes(or use fresh tomatoes)

1/2 cup bell pepper (green, yellow, red or orange), roughly chopped

1 onion, roughly chopped

1/2 jalapeno, seeds and veins removed

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chicken broth or water

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 heaping cup long-grain white rice, rinsed

Blend the garlic, tomatoes, bell pepper, onion and jalapeno, salt and chicken broth or water together in a blender until the mixture is a mostly smooth puree. There will be a few small pieces of onion and pepper throughout, which is fine. In a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid, heat the vegetable oil. Add the white rice and toast the rice until it absorbs most of the oil and begins to smell nutty. Add the blended ingredients to the rice and stir gently with a wooden spoon to prevent breaking up the rice too much and bring it to a light boil. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to the lowest setting possible and cook the rice undisturbed for 17 minutes. Let the rice sit for another 10 minutes before serving.

I used fresh tomatoes instead of canned because I had some fresh ones on hand and I liked the fresh taste they provided to the rice. The jalapeno added a nice little touch of heat to the rice but the simplicity of the dish is what makes it perfect to do as a side dish with some quick Mexican meals during the week like tacos, quesadillas, tostadas or burritos. I think the rice would go nicely with a steak, pork chops or some chicken as well because it is so easy and versatile. it’s a nice recipe to be able to pull out when you want an easy side dish to make for nearly any type of meal so you can just use some simple ingredients and put it all together.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your meal!

mexicanrice

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2015 in Cooking, Dinner, Rice, Side Dishes

 

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Start of the Week With Some Quick Chicken Chimichangas

I had actually intended to make enchiladas this weekend, but Michelle thought she might like to have chimichangas instead. In reality, I was going to take as many shortcuts as possible whatever I was cooking because I had bought a rotisserie chicken to use for something, even if it was just rotisserie chicken for dinner. I got this recipe from Food Network, though I did alter it slightly to fit our family wants from the meal. Since I don’t eat cheese, I eliminated the cheese from the ones I made for myself. Also, Michelle and Sean would not go for the green chile sauce in the recipe, so though I included it in this recipe, I didn’t actually make it myself.

Chicken Chimichangas

2 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, diced (you can take the seeds out if you want less heat)

1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Kosher salt

1 tomato, chopped, plus more for topping

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

2 1/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken

1/4 cup sour cream

1 15-ounce can refried beans

4 10-inch flour tortillas

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, plus more for topping

Shredded lettuce, for topping

Mexican rice, for serving

Green chile sauce, for topping (see recipe)

Green Chile Sauce:

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Pinch chili powder

Pinch cumin

Pinch granulated sugar

Pinch Kosher salt

2 4-ounce cans chopped green chiles, drained and rinsed

1 cup chicken broth

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Melt the butter with 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a skillet; transfer the butter mixture to a bowl. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in the skillet. Add the onion, garlic and jalapeno and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt.; toast the spices for about 30 seconds. Add the tomato and cilantro and cook until slightly dry, about 2 minutes. Stir in the rotisserie chicken and sour cream and warm through. Remove the skillet from the heat.

Brush a rimmed baking sheet with some of the reserved butter-oil mixture. Spread 2 tablespoons of refried beans down the center of each flour tortilla, leaving a 2-inch border on both ends. Top the beans with 1 cup of the chicken mixture and 1/4 cup of cheese. Fold in the ends and roll up the tortilla.

Put the chimichangas seam-side down on the baking sheet; brush the chimichangas with the butter-oil mixture. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes per side, brushing the chimichangas again after you flip them. Top with the green sauce, more cheese, lettuce and tomato. Serve with the Mexican rice and any leftover refried beans.

For the Green Chile Sauce: Saute the onions and chopped garlic cloves in a skillet with the vegetable oil. Add a pinch of chili powder, cumin, sugar and kosher salt; cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the two cans of drained, rinsed and chopped green chiles; cook for 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth and simmer until the sauce thickens, then puree the sauce in a blender or with a stick blender. Stir in the chopped cilantro and serve over the chimichangas.

Not only was this recipe very easy to make at the very last minute (made easier by the rotisserie chicken), it tasted great. The blend of spices with the chicken really was very nice. Personally, I think it would have been even better with the green chile sauce and plan to make it next time around. Of course, you could easily make your own chicken by simply sauteing a couple of boneless chicken breasts or baking them in the oven and use the chicken meat that way.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for some more recipes. I made a couple of homemade snacks yesterday that I will post recipes for and am planning on a nice vegetable chowder for dinner tonight that I will post this week as well. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on September 16, 2013 in Cooking, Dinner, Poultry, Rice, Sauce

 

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Sizzling Steak Fajitas

I had picked up a skirt steak this week and wanted an easy dinner for tonight, and you can’t get much easier than this fajita recipe. We love fajitas in our house and make them with all kinds of filling, like chicken (most often) shrimp, an occasionally beef. This recipe, from America’s Test Kitchen, is perfect for a weeknight meal since it only takes about 30 minutes to prepare and cook everything and you can use ingredients that a lot of people already have in the house.

Steak Fajitas

1 1 1/2 pound flank steak

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 peppers (red, yellow or green, your choice) stemmed, seeded and sliced very thin

1 onion, sliced very thin

2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon hot sauce

1/2 teaspoon cumin

Flour tortillas

Pat the steak dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown the steak on the first side, about 5 minutes.

Flip the steak over and continue to cook to the desired doneness, 3 to 6 minutes. Transfer the steak to a large plate and drizzle with the lime juice. Tent the steak with foil and let it rest for about 10 minutes.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet and return it to medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the peppers, onion, water, chili powder, hot sauce, cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook, scraping up any browned bits, until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer everything to a serving bowl.

Stack the tortillas on a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Heat the tortillas in a microwave until soft and hot, about 2 minutes (You can also heat the tortillas individually in a hot skillet, flipping each one after about 20 seconds to heat the second side).

Slice the steak very thinly across the grain. Arrange the beef on a platter and serve with the warm tortillas, vegetables and any sides you like and let everyone make their own fajitas as they like.

I usually serve fajitas with some diced tomato or homemade salsa, guacamole, sour cream, shredded cheese and shredded lettuce. This way, everyone can add what they like best onto their own fajitas. Sometimes I also serve this with Mexican rice or rice and beans.

That’s dinner for tonight. I have a whole chicken to make tomorrow but I am not quite sure what recipe I want to use yet. I think it really depends on the weather and if it’s too humid to use the oven. I may opt to use the grill tomorrow night instead. We’ll have to see how it goes. Until then, enjoy your evening and enjoy your meal!

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2012 in Beef, Cooking, Dinner

 

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A Mexican Dinner Monday

Time really got a hold of me today and I ended having more work than I thought to do, so today’s post is actually after I have already cooked dinner. Like the meals we have cooked over the last couple of weeks, this one is quick, easy and has a fast clean-up. Sean chose today’s dinner as it is one of his favorites. Today was Chicken Fajitas, Mexican Rice and Guacamole. None of them take long to make, and it’s easily a dinner you can do at the last minute and tastes great.

Chicken Fajitas

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 red, orange, yellow or green peppers, stemmed, seeded and sliced thin

1 onion, halved and sliced thin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin

2 to 4 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon Tabasco

10 (6-inch) flour tortillas

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then slice it into 1/2-inch wide strips. Season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add the chicken and cook through, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and toss with the lime juice.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet and return to medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the peppers, onion, chili powder,cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons of water. Cook, scraping up any browned bits, until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes (Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of water as needed to prevent the pan from scorching).

Return the chicken with any accumulated juices to the skillet. Stir in the Tabasco and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl.

Stack the tortillas on a microwave-safe plate, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on high for 40 to 60 seconds (or you can warm the tortillas individually in a small skillet, turning after about 15 seconds). Place the chicken mixture, the warm tortillas and any accompaniments on the table and let everyone assemble their own fajitas.

We always have some chopped tomatoes, sour cream, shredded cheese and guacamole to use to add to the fajitas, but you could add whatever you would like to your own. As for the guacamole, I always like to make my own instead of buying the pre-made stuff from the store. It may not last as long (no preservatives) but it tastes much, much better. If you’re planning to make the guacamole the same day you but the avocados, get really soft ones to use. If you are planning your menu a few days ahead, buy harder ones and let them soften on the counter or in a paper bag.

Guacamole

3 Haas avocados, pitted and cut into slices

1 small shallot, minced

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon salt

Mash the avocados to a relatively smooth puree using a fork (I actually use a potato masher) in a medium bowl. Fold the remaining ingredients into the mashed avocados until mixed thoroughly.

The guacamole can be refrigerated, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, for up to 24 hours. Make sure that the plastic wrap is touching the surface of the guacamole (I also put the pits in the guacamole if I am refrigerating it. it does seem to help preserve it). Bring to room temperature and season with additional fresh lime juice and salt before serving. I also sometimes throw a few diced cherry tomatoes into the mix for some extra flavor.

The last piece of today’s meal was actually the most time-consuming part of it. The Mexican rice takes about 40 minutes to prepare and cook, so leave yourself some extra time to do this one. I think it’s worth adding to the dish as it brings a nice flavor. Michelle likes to put some of the rice right on her fajitas when she eats them.

Mexican Rice

2 medium tomatoes, cored and quartered

1 onion, quartered, peeled and trimmed

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 cups long grain rice

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 jalapeno chiles, stemmed, seeded and minced (optional)

2 cups chicken broth

1 tablespoon tomato paste

Salt

1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro

Pepper

Lime Wedges (for serving)

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Puree the tomatoes and onion in the food processor until the smooth (You should have 2 cups of puree). Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the rice and saute, stirring frequently, until light golden, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the garlic, and two-thirds of the minced jalapenos. Cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Stir in the pureed tomato mixture, broth, tomato paste and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Bring to a boil. Cover and bake in the oven until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, 30 to 35 minutes, stirring well after 15 minutes.

Fluff the rice with a fork. Fold in the cilantro and remaining jalapenos. Season with salt and pepper to taste, Serve, passing the lime wedges separately.

It’s not a tough dish at all to make and you’ll likely have some leftovers to use for another meal later in the week. Even the post is late today, it’s still a good menu to try for any weeknight. Have an ice cold beer with it, and you’re all set (or a margarita, if you are so inclined). I will try to post tomorrow’s recipes earlier in the day tomorrow, but it’s a pretty simple one anyway. Tomorrow is also Sean’s choice, and he chose Hamburgers with Fries and a salad. It’s definitely not a tough menu, and even though I won’t be making homemade fries tomorrow (Sean wants tater tots), I will post a recipe for making your own fries if you ever feel like doing it. They taste really good if you have the time to put into them. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email at IguanaFlats@msn.com. Thanks for following along and I’ll see you tomorrow!

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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