Archive for the ‘Rice’ Category

This casserole came about as an “oh crap I forgot to plan dinner tonight let’s see what I have in the pantry” meal. I’ve made similar dishes before, but this turned out to be my favorite by far. It’s simple, cheap, delicious, and really not bad for you. You could make it even healthier by using turkey sausage and low-fat cheese… but I didn’t.

Mexican Rice Casserole with Smoked Sausage & Black Beans

  • 1 cup white rice, uncooked
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp chicken boullion granules
  • 1 pkg smoked sausage, sliced (I also halve mine)
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained insomuch as possible
  • 1-2 cups cheddar cheese (just eyeball it)

Preheat oven to 350 degree and lightly grease a 9×13 (or similar size) dish.

Prepare rice as you would normally cook rice, but add chili powder, cumin, and chicken boullion to the water.

Dump sausage, beans, and tomatoes in a large mixing bowl. Add cooked rice and mix well. Spread into casserole dish and top with cheese.

Bake for 20-30 minutes or until cheese is melted, it smells delicious, and it looks like something you want to eat RIGHT NOW.


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This was a healthy and easy dish. I thought it could have used a bit more flavor, but sprinkling some soy sauce on our individual portions was just fine. The original recipe called for asparagus, but I used frozen green beans – you could substitute any number of things. I do wish the sauce had thickened a little bit, but that may have been a result of my green beans being frozen and adding some liquid as they thawed.

Sesame Beef Stir-Fry (Recipe found here)

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 10 oz top sirloin, thinly sliced across grain
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup onion, sliced
  • A couple handfuls green beans, or other preferred vegetable
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
Spread sesame seeds on a large plate. Sprinkle beef slices with salt and pepper and then coat with sesame seeds.
Heat vegetable oil in heavy large skillet over high heat. Add onion and stir-fry 1 minute. Add green beans, stir-fry until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Add beef and stir-fry until brown, about 2 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium. Add water and hoisin sauce. Cook until sauce is bubbling and coats beef and vegetables, tossing often, about 2 minutes. Stir in sesame oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve over hot rice.

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Do you see these? These are Pioneer Woman’s Pinto Beans. Simple and delicious, easy to make and good for you. They start with dry beans, but no overnight soaking required – just rinse and boil. Add some bacon (can’t go wrong there) and whatever spices you like. Voila! Dinner 🙂

Note: These cooked a little faster for me than the 2 hours PW allowed. Just be aware of how your stove cooks (mine runs hot) and taste along the way.

Pioneer Woman’s Pinto Beans (Original recipe here)

  • 4 cups Pinto Beans
  • 4 slices Thick Bacon
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 teaspoons Ground Black Pepper

Rinse beans in cool water; pour into a pot, cover with water by 2 to 3 inches. Slice bacon into 1-inch pieces and add to pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover. Simmer 2 hours, or until beans are tender. Add water to pot as needed. Beans should have a thick broth. Toward end of cooking time, add salt and pepper and season to taste. Don’t over-salt. For a variety try adding chili powder, garlic or Tabasco, or pinto bean seasoning. Serve with cornbread or rice. Can serve with small bowls of grated cheese, chopped onions, chopped fresh jalapenos, sour cream, and/or cilantro.

Now P-Dub serves her beans with cornbread, and I for one LOVE me some good cornbread, but poor JW is sadly not a huge fan. I know, I know… he is missing out on cornbread awesomeness. So instead, we decided to have our beans with Mexican Rice. I’ve had a recipe I’ve been meaning to try for ages and this finally gave me the chance to make it.

[See the white striped shirt in the background? That is JW saying “Hurry up, woman, put the stupid camera away so I can eat”]

I’ve made several Mexican/Spanish Rice recipes in the past, and they’ve all been a little “blah” – something is missing, not sure what it is. But THIS recipe on the other hand, well… it’s just amazing.

I’m not kidding. You have to try this rice.

As you’ll see, the recipe calls for 2 cups of uncooked rice, which is twice the amount I usually use if I’m making rice for myself and JW. I considered halving the recipe, but decided against it and went ahead and made the full recipe.

It was gone the next day. The whole entire freakin bowl. We just couldn’t stop eating it! It was so good. And it really went well with the beans.

I’m thinking I might have to make it again very very soon.

Mexican Rice (Original recipe here)

  • 2 cups rice (uncooked)
  • 4 cups water
  • 2-3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 onion (small dice)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 tbsp. powdered chicken bullion
  • 1/2 teas. salt
  • 1 teas. pepper
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 6oz. (3/4 cup) red enchilada sauce (mild)

Preheat a 3-5 quart sauce pan on medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the rice and saute for 8 to 10 minutes to slightly brown the rice – stir often or it will burn.

Carefully add the water as it will steam when it hits the pan and can burn you.

Add all other ingredients and give it a good stir to blend. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer covered for about 20 minutes, until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat.

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JW has started a workout regime with a coworker of his who used to manage an LA Fitness. So lately he’s been asking for some healthier meals. I usually cook on the healthy side anyway, but I’ve tried to find some new things that are low in fat, sodium, and calories. This Mexican dish from Elly Says Opa (who adapted it from Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless) fell perfectly into that category. It incorporates a lot of chili powder, which gives it a great flavor boost.

I highly recommend this recipe if you’re looking for something good, filling, healthy, and flavorful. It has a few steps, but is really very simple. You can eat it on its own, but we chose to make a stack-up taco salad of sorts, with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and guacamole.

Red Chile Chicken and Rice with Black Beans

  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (1.25-1.5 lbs. total)
  • 2.5 Tbsp. ancho chili powder, divided
  • 1 medium onion, large dice
  • 1 cup rice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions, roots and wilted outer leaves removed before chopping (OR 1/3 cup cilantro OR 2-3 Tbsp. epazote or hoja santa)

Heat the oil in a medium-large heavy pot (with a lid) over medium-high heat. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken breast with salt and 1 Tbsp. of the ancho chili powder. Place the chicken in the hot oil and brown on each side, 2-3 minutes. Remove to a plate, leaving behind as much oil as possible.

Add the onion and rice to the pot. Stir for several minutes, until the rice turns from translucent to opaque. Add the garlic and the remaining 1.5 Tbsp. ancho chili powder. Cook one minute, and then add the broth and salt to taste. Stir well. When the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover, and cook for 10 minutes.

Cut the chicken breast into 1″ pieces.  Add them to the pot along with the beans. Re-cover and cook 12 minutes longer.

Sprinkle the green onions and test a kernel of rice.  It should  have no more than a hint of chalkiness at in the center, in which case you place the cover back on, remove it from the heat and let it stand 5-10 minutes.  If it’s not cooked, cook for another 5 minutes or so.

Fluff the mixture with a fork and serve with salsa for each person to spoon on al gusto.

In other news, Blade went back to the kennel and we picked up some foster puppies that we have named Melbourne and Diesel. They are about 8 weeks old now and once we’re through treating them for one or two things, they’ll be ready for adoption. The tentative bring-back date is Wednesday, but I’m skeptical that they’ll be ready by then. This is our first time puppy fostering, and although it’s a different kind of experience, it’s really not been too difficult – and not nearly as messy as I expected! Wood laminate floors help a ton 🙂

Plus these boys are super-cuddlers so they really steal your heart away. That helps a ton too.

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Well it’s finally happened. We’re in the new house, we’ve unpacked, and we’re starting to finally feel like we belong there 🙂 Here are a few of some before-and-after pictures of the rooms we re-did:

Living room – Before


Living room (another view) – Before:


Dining room – Before:


And look at this fantastic kitchen! (we didn’t change anything here)

LOVE all that workspace, and love having the stove/oven in the middle of the kitchen. I am looking forward to lots of great recipes taking place here! This is also my first time cooking with gas, so I’m sure I’ll be learning a lot along the way.

The cats were initially less than thrilled with the move, with Pirate spending the entire first day curled up IN the litterbox (gross), but now they love the place. They especially like sliding around on the laminate floors, which provides quite a bit of entertainment for us!

On to more delicious things, unfortunately I don’t have a picture of this, but I highly recommend you try it. I’ve made some rice and bean dishes in the past, but I’ve usually just thrown them together, and they’ve been okay. But this time I followed a recipe and it turned out fantastic. JW said these were the best beans I’ve ever made, and that I should make them more often. So we have another vegetarian meal to add to our repertoire!

Classic Black Beans and Rice (Original recipe here)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans (undrained)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chicken boullion
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt (or a little less – to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon cooking wine or cider vinegar
  • 2 cups cooked white rice

Heat oil in a medium sauce pan, and sauté onion,green pepper, and garlic until tender, approx. 8-10 minutes.

Add in remaining ingredients and stir until boiling, reduce heat and simmer until sauce is reduced, approx. 20 minutes.

Serve over white rice.

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Broccoli and I do not get along. We have been on non-speaking terms since I was 2 years old.

JW, on the other hand, is great pals with broccoli. They’re tight.

Broccoli and I don’t loathe each other so much that we refuse to make any contact whatsoever. For example, we can look at each other. And we can even touch each other. But that’s about where it ends. So when I’m not going to be around for dinner and I’m making something so that JW won’t starve, I make broccoli.

That’s how this casserole came to be. JW thought it was incredible, and he ate almost the whole thing (I halved it, but still…). I wouldn’t really know if it was good or not, since (a) I didn’t eat any, and (b) even if I did eat some, I don’t have any experience with broccoli-rice casseroles to make a comparison, and (c) again, I don’t like broccoli – why is this so hard to understand?

While we’re on the topic, the most common response to my telling someone I don’t like broccoli is some variation of “well you haven’t had it [insert preferred method of eating broccoli here].” Examples include “with cheese,” “roasted,” “like my grandmother makes it.” This is not helpful, and frankly it is quite insulting. Essentially you have just told me that I do not know what I’m talking about, and that you are confident that you know more about my taste buds than I do. I’m pretty sure that’s not the case. I don’t like it, period. End of conversation.

So I’m sure this casserole is like others that most of you probably already have made many times. But since JW has had a few broccoli casseroles in his lifetime and he loved this, I thought it would be worth sharing. Plus it’s quick, easy, and uses one dish. Can’t beat that.

Broccoli Rice Casserole (Note: This is the halved version. Double all ingredients if desired. Original recipe here)

  • 1 (10-oz) box frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 4 oz. shredded cheese (1 cup)
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can chicken (the larger size – not sure how many ounces it is)

Mix all ingredients together in an 8×8 baking dish. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 50 min-1 hour.

This dish can be frozen. To cook from frozen state, add 10 min. to cook time.

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No matter how you serve this, whether you use it as a taco/burrito filling, add it to a Mexican casserole, or serve it with rice, chips and guacamole in stack-up style like we did, this salsa verde pork is fantastic.

We made it as originally designed by Joe of Culinary in the Desert – as a “naked burrito” with rice and guacamole, and a side of tortilla chips. We loved it all.

I was intrigued by the rice recipe. Basically you whir a quick fresh salsa together in the food processor with tomatoes, onions, garlic, and salt, and add it to the toasted rice grains along with some chicken or vegetable broth, then finish cooking as you ordinarily would. It turned out good – definitely garlicky, which was probably the most prominent flavor. It complimented the pork nicely.


The pork… I can’t say enough about the pork. Something about the spices, the browned meat, the pinto beans, and the salsa verde coming together just made for an excellent dish. I’d love to try it in real (non-“naked”) burritos, or in other dishes in which we might otherwise use taco meat.

[Note: The original recipe calls for cilantro to be added to the pork at the end. I bought it, I had it, and I forgot it. But it was so good we probably will just leave it out next time too. So if you like cilantro, add it. If not, you won’t miss a thing.]

I also love that everything in this meal is homemade – no “packets of taco seasoning” called for here! But it isn’t difficult either. Just the right amount of effort. We served this all with tortilla chips and homemade guacamole, which I mixed up from one large avocado, a squeeze of half a lemon, a chopped tomato, and a bit of salt and garlic powder. So fresh, and delicious!


Salsa Verde Pork and Salsa Roja Rice (Original recipe here)

For the rice:

  • 2 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 1/3 cups basmati rice (I used jasmine, it’s what I had)
  • pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

For the pork:

  • 16 ounces ground pork
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 15 ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup salsa verde (I used a 7-oz. can, probably not quite a full cup)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

To prepare the rice:

In food processor, add tomatoes, onion and garlic – process until very smooth.

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium. Stir in rice and cook, stirring, until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato mixture and salt – cook, stirring, for 4 minutes. Add broth and bring mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until the liquid has been absorbed, about 13 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

To prepare the pork:

Meanwhile, in large skillet, cook pork over medium-high heat, stirring to crumble, until cooked through. Stir in onion, garlic, cumin, oregano and salt – cook until the onion has softened, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add beans and salsa – bring back to a simmer and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in cilantro (optional).

To serve, spoon pork mixture over rice and top each serving with guacamole.

Makes about 6 servings.

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