Spanish Rice

spanish rice 3I haven’t posted in over a week, which isn’t like me! But, as you hopefully read a little while back, our new little venture, Hanky Planky, has been keeping us super busy. And that’s a good thing. But between that, my daily transcription job, a three week cold that turned into bronchitis, my three kids and one of them starting softball (I’m team mom, again!), I’ve been a tad bit occupied. Aside from that though, here’s a good one for you.

You all know my love for Mexican food runs deep. It’s a craving that can never truly be satisfied because I could literally eat Mexican food every day. And with this rice recipe, your international meal will be complete!

My mom has made this recipe for as far back as I can remember. She’s always called it Spanish Rice, but since it’s always served with Mexican food, maybe it’s actually Mexican rice? Whatever it is, it’s so, so good! But, and I haven’t told her this yet (Hi Mom!), I changed her recipe. Just slightly though! And it was out of convenience that turned into a blessing in disguise. That change is the carrots. Our favorite Mexican restaurant serves their rice with carrots in it, and they’ve got some pretty good rice. So since the original recipe called for tomatoes and I didn’t have any, I opted to add in carrots in their place instead. And yep, this is the way I’ll make it from now on. Try it Mom!!!

Spanish Rice

  • 1 tbsp. bacon drippings or canola/vegetable oil
  • 1 c. white rice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 c. water
  • 1/4 c. tomato sauce
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1/4 c. carrots, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. each cumin & ground black pepper

In a small to medium pot, heat on medium low. Add the bacon drippings or oil. Once melted, add in the white rice. Stir to coat the rice with the oil. Continue to stir the rice occasionally to keep it from burning. Make sure to keep heat on low, and do this for about 5 minutes.

Add in the garlic and salt. Stir together. Then add in the rest of the ingredients. Stir and turn heat up to medium/medium-high. Once it comes to a boil, put a lid on it and reduce heat to low (simmer). Cook for 22 minutes. Stir and serve.

spanish ricespanish rice 2Now that you have this recipe and my refried bean one too, what’s stopping you from making an authentic Mexican meal at home? Nothing, so get in that kitchen!

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Refried Beans

refried beansSomething that used to intimidate me? Dried beans. Yes, dried beans. As silly as it sounds! I’ve always been a canned bean kind of girl and it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I decided to give dried beans a go.

I knew they were time consuming (soaking them and cook time). But what I didn’t was that they are actually incredibly easy to make. And so much better tasting than their canned counterparts. And even though you’re supposed to soak them, it’s not a requirement.

Truth be told, I’ve had quite the trials with my refried beans. There have been many a time where I’ve added way too much salt and they were basically inedible. Or I didn’t let them cook long enough, and they really weren’t as tender as they needed to be. But lo and behold, here’s a recipe that works.

These “refried” beans taste pretty authentic. I use quotes because they are not traditional (no lard involved) however, if you can get that authentic taste at home, I consider it a win. I’ll say it before and I’ll say it again, getting authentic international flavor at home is hard to accomplish. I think that’s why so many people go out to eat, because you can’t get that same flavor at home. But here you go. Make this and you’ll feel like you’re at a Mexican restaurant. That’s in your very own kitchen.

Refried Beans

  • 2-2 1/2 cups dried pinto beans
  • 1 smoked ham hock
  • 1/2 white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. bacon grease

Rinse the beans. Add to a large pot (I use my Dutch oven) and fill with water to just about 1″ above the beans. Let soak. If you don’t have the time or you just simply don’t remember this, that’s okay. I think the longest I’ve ever let my beans soak is about 4 hours.

Add the ham hock to the pot. Heat the pot on high until it comes to a boil. Cover with a lid, and reduce to a simmer for 3 hours if beans were soaked, about 4 hours if beans were not soaked. Make sure to check on these a couple times throughout the cooking time to make sure the water hasn’t evaporated. If you feel the water level is too low, you can add a little more water to the pot.

Remove lid and stir in the rest of the ingredients, except the bacon grease. Cover with a lid and let simmer for an additional hour.

After the hour is up, mash lightly (I use a potato masher) until your desired consistency and stir in the bacon grease until it melts. You can leave the ham hock in and mash around it or remove and discard. My dad loves them so when he’s over, the ham hock is his. But I just use it to flavor the beans. Also, if you feel the beans are too runny, you can let them simmer a little bit longer with the lid off until they thicken further.

This recipe makes a large amount. Enough so that I can usually freeze the other half which in my opinion, is so worth it so we can have beans at the ready for the next time we want Mexican. refried beans 6refried beans 5refried beans 4refried beans 3refried beans 2

Corn Salsa

corn salsa 4I don’t know about you, but texture means something to me when I’m eating. As in, I don’t want to eat a bunch of soft, mushy food. In my opinion, it’s always nice to have that little crunch or something to offset the food and add texture!

So this recipe (if you can call it that) will add just that the next time you have tacos. Especially if you’re going more traditional and having soft tacos. I love the crunch of fried shells but lately, I’ve really been digging warm, soft tortillas when it’s taco time. When I pulled out this corn salsa, my husband kind of turned his nose up at it. He’s not one for trying something different and veering away from what he’s used to but he did give it a try, and he agreed. The crunch was much appreciated and the flavor of the corn salsa added that special something. We enjoyed this on green chili pulled pork tacos but it would be great on beef, chicken or even for veggie tacos.

Corn Salsa

  • 1, 15.25 ounce can of corn, drained
  • 1 large green onion, sliced
  • 1/2 jalapeno, finely chopped
  • Pinch each of salt and ground cumin
  • A squeeze of lemon or lime juice

corn salsa 3Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix well. Refrigerate until ready to serve on your tacos of choice. And it’s also yummy in burritos!

corn salsa 2corn salsa

Chilaquiles

chilaquiles 2What’s your Saturday morning breakfast like? Well in my house, my husband wants something hearty and that typically involves meat. Unfortunately for him, we’ve had a couple of recent weekends that didn’t include breakfast meat. But I promised him I would make a delicious breakfast that would wipe out all longings for bacon or sausage or whatever his carnivore loving heart desired. Enter…….. Chilaquiles! A Mexican breakfast that doesn’t include meat but that is filling, hearty and full of flavor. And I promise this will curb your Saturday morning bacon craving. Impossible you say?!?! Make this recipe and see for yourself!

Chilaquiles

  • 1 c. canola or vegetable oil
  • 8 corn tortillas, cut into strips*
  • 1/2 of a large onion, sliced or 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1, 10 ounce can of diced tomatoes with chilies, drained
  • 1 small can diced green chilies (optional, but I really encourage you to use them)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 c. water

*Tortilla chips can be substituted. If using chips, skip the first step of frying tortillas.

In a large sauté pan, add oil and heat on medium high. When oil is nice and hot, add tortilla strips and fry for about 3 minutes or until crisp (like a chip). With a large slotted spoon, remove fried tortilla strips to a paper towel lined plate to drain.

Next, add the sliced onions into the still hot oil. Fry for approximately 30 seconds. Remove onions with a slotted spoon to drain on a paper towel lined plate. Remove sauté pan from heat.

Crack eggs into a bowl and with a fork or whisk, beat/scramble the eggs. Set aside.

Let oil cool down and then drain off all oil, except 2-3 tbsp. Turn the heat back on to medium. Add eggs and tortilla strips (or chips). Let cook for a minute, stirring. Then add in all of the rest of the ingredients, except for cheese. Cook for a few more minutes or until eggs are set. Turn off heat, stir in cheese and serve immediately.

chilaquiles 4chilaquiles 8chilaquiles 5chilaquiles 7chilaquiles 6chilaquiles 3chilaquilesOK, I have to tell you that my two favorite components to this dish are the fried onions and tortilla strips. The fried onions have a great flavor. I mean, they were fried in oil. And usually anything fried in oil is good. Second, the tortilla strips get a little soggy from all the liquid in the recipe but still retain this unique texture. And I love it!

So I think you can tell that I really liked this breakfast. But what did my husband think? Well of course he loved it or else I wouldn’t be putting it on my blog! So if you’ve got a Saturday morning, carnivore loving spouse like me, give them something new to try. I don’t think they’ll be disappointed.