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Posts tagged ‘rice’

A little mid week Chinese chicken

Back in the day……

There was nothing I loved more than a great Chinese Buffet!

I had this one particular friend, who she and I would dawn our most spacious sun dresses and steal away to the buffet and eat till we could barely walk!

But times of have changed.

Now I try to eat healthy and then since I developed that pesky shell fish allergy, going buffets where I don’t know exactly what’s in everything, is simply just high risk behaviour!

But every now and again, I get a strong craving for some Chinese style chicken!

So last night I googled “Sweet and Sour Chicken” and so this recipe is loosely based on the first three or four that I looked at.

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Start by cutting and appropriate amount of  fresh chicken ( I used boneless breast) into nice manageable strips or bite size chunks.

Place the chicken in a bowl with one egg white,  2 tsp of cornstarch and 1/4 tsp of salt.   Mix throughly till the chicken bits are well coated, then set aside.

Meanwhile chop up a bunch of your favorite Asian style veg into nice strips.

I used:

  • red pepper
  • yellow pepper
  • red cabbage
  • broccoli

But any nice firm veg will do.

And some finely chopped fresh ginger, about 1″ knob or at least 1 tbsp.

 

Chinese chicken002

Oh yes…..and you will probably want to be cooking some rice or noodles or something on the side to go with it……or not.

Okay, now you are ready to go.

Get out your wok, or in my case big skillet and get it pretty smokin hot!

Then add about 1 tbsp of high smoking temp oil.  Do NOT use olive oil!!  I used coconut, it has a nice neutral flavour and can get nice and hot before burning.

 

Chinese chicken006

Once the oil is nice and hot, dump your chicken in the pan and quickly spread it out to a single layer.  But then DON’T touch it!!  And yes it will immediately stick!

But then after a minute or two of cooking, with a good strong spatula, flip it over and let it go another minute or two.

Then remove it to a CLEAN bowl or plate.  Don’t worry if it still looks a little pinkish, it will cook some more soon.

Then add a little more oil to the pan, let it heat, then toss in all of your veg, including the ginger and give them a good toss.

 

Chinese chicken005

 

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NOTE:   now in all the “Sweet and Sour” recipes I looked at, they were using pineapple as the “Sweet”.   I didn’t have any so I substituted in the sauce (coming next) but if you WERE to use pineapple chucks, this is where you would toss them in, with the veg and then use the juice in the sauce.

 

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Sauce:   So as mentioned, the real recipes called for canned pineapple and then the juice in the sauce.   But the closest thing I had was oranges.

  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 white or rice vinegar
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • and in hind sight, I would have used a pinch of chili flakes

Mix that up well.

Once the veg have cooked for a minute or two, pour in the sauce, mix well and turn up the heat until the sauce starts to bubble.

Then add the chicken back in to the pan.   Stir it all up, put the lid on and let simmer for a couple of minutes until everything is well cooked.

Serve with your favorite side dish!

Easy chicken!  And the best part is……you know EXACTLY what’s in it!!

 

Chinese chicken008

Chicken Biryani

For the longest time I have wanted to make Chicken Biryani.

I’ve seen it on menus at Indian restaurants, but always end up ordering the Butter Chicken…..cause that’s the kind of girl I am.

And then in Canada we have a food product line called “President’s Choice” which is associated with a chain of grocery stores and so The President……who’s choice I’m assuming these products are……who seems like a fun enough guy, is always doing these funny commercials for his stuff.  And lately he’s been flogging the President’s Choice frozen Chicken Biryani.   So I’ve REALLY wanted to eat some!

Then I went on-line to just “look up” a recipe!  Easy enough!  Only it seemed that every recipe I seemed to find was a long drawn out ordeal that I just couldn’t be bothered with!!

Then along came my blog friend at Frugal Feeding with a lickedy split recipe for Chicken Biryani that will knock your socks off!

Well, let’s just say, you’ll really like it!

I followed his recipe to the “T”  (except for the Bay leaves, which I never seem to have and find tedious)  which, if you are a regular visitor to this blog, you know I sometime can find sticking to recipes a bit challenging!  But this one was great!

The Chef and I ate this…..till we could eat no more!!

Chicken Biryani

The Joy of the Blog

So what’s the best part of being in the blog world?   Getting to read all the wonderful stuff out there.

It’s fine to sit and write about stuff yourself, but I think it is WAY more fun to read about and try other people’s stuff!

But how do you FIND other stuff?  Well, I didn’t get it at first, but then I caught on.  When people read YOUR stuff……and goodness only knows how they came upon it………but then they hit the “LIKE” button or better yet, they leave a comment, then you see them there.

And then you get curious as to just WHO is reading your stuff…..so you hit the link to them and get to their blog…..then you check out their stuff.  

And around and around it goes!   It’s fascinating really!  It’s  like having friends all over the world who share your interests or turn you on to stuff you never knew about!

So it happened the other day that someone from the blog                         

HEALTHY MODERATION  said that she liked one of my posts, so of course I went to visit her!

And she is a girl after my own heart who enjoys the Lebanese food and has posted some lovely recipes. 

I found one that I had never heard of called Mjadara that I just HAD to try!

Most Lebanese food that I am familiar with has big strong flavours from spices or garlic and lemon but this dish is very gentle and mild, very comforting and hearty.

Actually it reminds me of a Lebanese version of an Ayurvedic ( ancient  Hindu system of traditional medicine) dish called Khichdi, an East Indian rice and lentil comfort food dish.  But it is also used in healing.  People with maladies would eat nothing but this, or be on a “khichdi fast” because it is so gentle it helps to restore health.

But then she paired the Mjadara with Cabbage Salad with Mint and Garlic which added such a  fresh and wonderful balance to the dish.   Truly delightful!

And the best part is, I stumped The Chef!  He had never had either of these dishes before and found himself quite pleased by them.

So may I suggest that next time you are reading a blog, even this blog, to go to the bottom and see who “Liked” it or made a comment and go and visit their blog.   You will be AMAZED where you can find yourself!

At the very least you could find yourself with a great idea for dinner tonight!!

Mjadara and cabbage salad

Meat on a stick.

Roxanne, a friend of mine from Baltimore,  is a big fan of meat on a stick, so this one is for her!

One of my blogger friends from Tiny Kitchen Stories recently posted a recipe for Kofta which is a Middle Eastern version of meat on a stick.

I have always been a fan of this sort of thing, but was skeptical when I saw this one was made with turkey.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy turkey, but mostly in the “Thanks Giving Dinner” format.   Otherwise I find it rather bland and boring.

But these certainly changed my opinion!

Check out the recipe for the original ingredients:    Kofta

I’ll admit that I was too lazy to toast and grind the cumin and coriander seed so I just used the plain old powdered version and also added about 1/2 tsp of cinnamon which is not on the list.

And I  did the whole she-bang in the food processor instead of doing it lovingly in different stages, so mine came out much squishier looking than hers but it still held together just fine.

I also really liked that there wasn’t any flour or bread crumbs or any of that business in it.

And I chilled them for about 1/2 and hour before baking them just so they would keep their shape.  I think this would be even more useful it you were going to do them on the grill.

We don’t have a bar b que so I just did them in the oven.   Baked them for half the time and turned them over for the second half.   But when I took them out at half time they looked a little dry so I gave them a quick brush of olive oil before I put them back in and it seemed to do the trick!

Mine were also a lot bigger and thicker than hers ( I could only find three skewers in the drawer ) so instead of plating them whole, I cut them up into more “brochette” looking chunks  so there would be no fighting over who got more and then served them on rice with salad and home-made Tzatziki Sauce.

Was very pleasing indeed.

And just before serving, I gave the whole thing a quick hit of fresh lemon juice.  That always brightens things up!

Thanks Tiny Kitchen!

Stuffed Peppers three ways

The Chef is a fan of three ways.

You know, when it comes to preparing dishes.    He really likes taking one ingredient and preparing three different versions of the same item.

The other night he made three different coloured peppers stuffed with three different stuffings!

Let’s break down the fillings.

Filling # one:

  • corn
  • black beans
  • cooked rice

Filling # two:

  • cooked green lentils
  • green olives
  • chopped cilantro
  • chopped parsley
  • 1 clove minced garlic

Filling # three:

  • cooked red lentils
  • crushed tomato ( or tomato sauce)
  • sun dried tomatoes

Feel free to add anything extra that you might like, but these are the basic ingredients.

So make up all these different fillings separately.

I know all that  seems like a lot of work, but just keep the left overs because they make great “salad” accompaniments for your lunch for the rest of the week!!

Cut the peppers in half removing the insides.  Sprinkle with a little olive oil and bake at 350 for about 12 minutes till they are a bit wilted.

Then stuff each pepper with one of the fillings, try to make the colour contrasts interesting.  Or not.

These particular versions are all Vegan, but if you wanted to add some cheese on top to melt in, that would be very tasty too.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until they are heated through.

Stuffed peppers three ways

Enjoy with side salad or other veg.

Chicken and Broccoli bake

I had a roommate long ago who used to make something like this.  It was very comforting and I often try to recreate it, but haven’t quite figured it out.

This version does the trick though.

I started with some frozen chicken breasts.   But don’t fret, we can use that to our advantage!

I popped them into a sauce pan with about 4 cups of water, give or take, with a shot of olive oil and about a table-spoon of “poultry seasoning” and a pinch of salt and then put them on to boil.

Meanwhile, I chopped up a nice size onion and browned it up in a bit of oil in a large skillet with a clove or two of chopped garlic.

When they were brown enough, I poured them into a good size casserole dish and spread them evenly on the bottom.

Then I fished the chicken breasts out of the boiling water ( which is now very much like chicken broth!) and popped them into the skillet with the onion flavours still lingering!

Brown the chicken breasts to give them a little colour and a lot more flavour.

While those are browning, wash and chop up a head of broccoli, in hind sight, I would have chopped it smaller than I did, but if you like bigger bits of brocoli feel free to chop them to  the size you like.  Spread them into the casserole over the onion.

I then added a few handfuls of fresh chopped parsley to help give it some colour.

Meanwhile back at the chicken……

As they browned up, I fished them out of the skillet one by one and sliced them into 2-3 bite size morsels then tossed them back in the skillet and repeated till all were cut.  Then I added about 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce to zing it up a bit.

Meanwhile, add two cups of short grain brown rice to the casserole dish and toss everything together making sure everything, especially rice, is coated with any juices or flavours going on in there.

Then arrange  the chicken bits in the casserole in some sort of evenly distributed pattern.

Then get about four cups of the left over “chicken water”  ( thought we were just gonna waste it didn’t you??) and pour it all over everything, making sure that most of the stuff, at least all the rice anyway, is submerged.

I think my roommate used to use a can of “cream of something” type soup in hers and that’s what made it so much more creamy or saucyer than mine.  Feel free to experiment, but just make sure you have double the liquid to whatever the rice amount is.

Then cover tightly with tin foil and place into a 375 oven for at least 45 minutes.

After that time take it out and test the rice to see if it’s done.   If it is, sprinkle the top of everything with a good few handfuls of your favorite grated cheese.   I used smokey cheddar and then replace in the over UNCOVERED under the broiler and turn it up to 500 degrees and watch it closely.   It should only take about 5 minutes or less to melt and brown the cheese.

Your done!

Serve at will!

What’s good about this stuff is, it works well the next day as a work lunch, either re-heated ( but I don’t use micro waves) or at room temperature  it is just as good!

Chicken and Broccoli Bake

Citrus Chicken

As I have mentioned many a time before, I am allergic to shell-fish and for that reason I avoid most Asian style restaurants because the abundance of shell-fish is just too high risk.

But this doesn’t mean to say that I don’t LOVE some of the foods one might get there.  Before “the trouble” ( because I wasn’t always allergic) I used to frequent many a Chinese buffet!

One thing I particularly miss is Lemon Chicken.

So today I thought I’d try my own version, only without the crispy batter of course.

Here is what you will need:

  • boneless skinless chicken breast cut in bite size cubes
  • 2-3 cloves minced garlic
  • aprox 1 inch minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 orange pepper in thin slices
  • juice of half a fresh orange
  • juice of 1 fresh lemon
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar ( or sweetener of your choice)
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes ( more if you like)
  • 1/4 water or stock

In a hot skillet, add about 1 tbsp of oil and then brown the chicken.   Then add the garlic and ginger, toss well and cook till they are well sweated.

Then add all of the other ingredients, mix well and bring up to a boil, then simmer for about 10 minutes.

At this point, it can be ready but the sauce will be thin.   OR you can do like real Chinese food and add some cornstarch to thicken it up and give it that glossy look.

Put 1 tbsp of cornstarch in about 3 tbsp of water and mix into a thin paste, then add to the chicken dish and mix in well.  It should take a short time for it to thicken up.

Then it is ready to serve.  Top with some green onion and maybe some toasted cashews?

Citrus Chicken

Vegan Vegan Vegan!

Okay, after yesterday’s Pot Roast, I just wanted to prove that I can be open-minded and versatile and am just as comfortable eating the “non-meat” meals as any respectable Vegan!

I don’t think I have ever had as many vegetables in one meal at one time as we had last night!

Please indulge me as I try to recall the list:

  1. Arugula
  2. Asparagus
  3. Beets ( red and golden)
  4. Brussels sprouts
  5. Carrot
  6. Chives
  7. Garlic
  8. Leeks
  9. Lettuce
  10. Mushrooms
  11. Onions ( red and white)
  12. Peppers ( red and yellow)
  13. Squash
  14. Tomato

Add to this, three kinds of lentils, two kinds of nuts, couscous and rice!

The meal started with a salad trio:

Salad one:

Roasted beet, thinly sliced red onion, walnuts on a bed of mixed lettuce

Salad two:

Arugula bundles, tied with chives, topped with pine nuts and a lemon & oil dressing

Salad three:

Shredded brussel sprouts with thinly sliced red and yellow peppers.

Salad Trio

The next course consisted of:

Mushrooms stuffed with couscous, carrot,  mushroom stem, carmelized onion and roasted garlic

Roasted asparagus topped with carmelized onions and sliced red and yellow peppers.

Roasted asparagus and stuffed mushrooms

The main course was:  stuffed cannelloni and spaghetti and “meat balls”

Stuffed cannelloni

cannelloni “shells” of  rounds of steamed leek stuffed with black, red and green lentils with carmelized onions and couscous.   Baked and then topped with organic tomato sauce.

Leek “cannelloni” shells

Three kinds of lentils

Lentil stuffed leek “cannelloni”

 Spaghetti and “meat balls”

Roasted spaghetti squash topped with “meat balls” made of black Thai “forbidden rice” , carmelized onion, roasted garlic and rice flour to bind.

cannelloni with spaghetti and meat balls

See, TOTALLY Vegan and not a DROP of tofu in sight!!!Veggies do not have to be boring!

Butter Chicken Wrap

The BEST thing about making a really good dinner…….is having left overs to use for your lunch the next day!! 

( See yesterday’s post if you are just joining us)

I am one of those people who, due to my schooling and my own research,  can NOT knowingly eat microwaved food!  There, I said it.  But obviously you will need to be the judge of that for yourself.

So I am always looking for something interesting to take to work for lunch that doesn’t need heating.  And unfortunately left over dinner items usually fall into that category.

The Chef suggested that I mix a bit of the rice with the butter chicken and put it in a wrap!

Well, “why not?” I thought.

So while the chicken and rice were still warm I wrapped it up in a big tortilla.  If you do it while it is warm it is easier to work with and makes the tortilla more pliable.

Then put it in the fridge over night and take it with you in the morning.   It will firm up nicely in the fridge and that way won’t squish out when you eat it.

But when you get where you are going, don’t put it back in the fridge.  Keep it out so that it comes up to room temperature by lunch time. 

This will make it much more pleasant, and you are perfectly safe to do that if it is just a few hours.

In fact, that was always one of the original uses of curry powders, to preserve things in places without refrigeration!

Made a yummy yummy lunch!

Butter chicken wrap

Sushi Lessons

My Scotland relatives who now live in California that we were visiting for Christmas are very hard to shop for.   But the one thing we knew they enjoyed was eating.  

And sure we cooked while we were there, which they always enjoy, but why not teach them some cool stuff that they can do on their own once we are gone?

It isn’t every day that you get a professional Chef coming to stay, so why not take full advantage of the situation?   So we decided to give them an “Asian party snack starter kit” and a coupon for a cooking class with the Chef!

It was a basket filled with all the fixins and tools to whip up some sushi, gyoza and assorted other things.

The lesson was well attended and the pupils fast learners!

Then we feasted on the fruit of the labour.  Which was really nice to have a break from freakin turkey!

Sushi lessons

If you’d like to make some sushi of your own,  click here  to check out an old posting of mine where I give you the blow by blow.

Or  click here   for the gyoza lesson.

The gift of food always seems welcome!

Pork loin with veg

This is actually a pretty healthy dish, even if it is pork.

Pork loin is a nice lean cut and you can add so much flavour to it that you don’t really need to eat that much of it at one sitting.

I started by marinating it in:

  • 1 inch fresh ginger finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of fresh garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp soya sauce

Whiz that up in a food processor, mini chopper or by hand and then pour over the pork loin in a non reactive container.

Marinating pork

When you are ready to go, sear off the pork in a large skillet.  Make sure you brown it on all sides and then return to the roast pan.  This will help keep the meat moist.  Then put it into a 350 degree oven.

Meanwhile, put on a pot of rice.   Normally we only eat the brown nice, on account of the high nutritional value, but for this dish, plain long grain white rice looks really nice!

Then chop up some vegetable of your choice.  Tonight I used baby bok choy, kale, onion and red peppers.

Drizzle a little sesame oil into the same pan you used to sear the pork and stir fry the vegetables very quickly till they are only slightly wilted.

Chop and stir fry veg

When the pork is done, let it rest a few minutes and then slice into 1/2 inch thick rounds.

 To assemble, first place a bed of rice on the plate, then a ring of stir fried veg, then a few pieces of pork lion into the centre.
 
Then I used the left over drippings and marinade in the bottom of the pork pan to pour over as a simple little sauce.
 
 
 
Marinated pork loin with rice and veg
 
 
Actually, based on this photo, seems it would make a nice “Christmas Wreath” dinner too!
 
Just a thought.
 
 
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Spanish class

The Chef and I have signed up for Spanish class!

Seems a reasonable thing to do what with winter approaching.  We can speak to people like we are somewhere hot!

And I thought what better than to eat Spanish food before we head to class to get us in the mood?

So this time I made paella!

Now of course I can’t eat shellfish so when I say paella what I really mean is sausage and chicken in rice!  Feel free to look up a real recipe if you’d like actual Spanish paella because I’m just doing the best I can with what I’ve got!

As per usual I just happened to have a selection of sausages in the freezer, so I used a combo of chorizo, farmer’s and a cabassa type sausage.

You will need:

  • Sausage of your choice
  • boneless chicken
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic chopped
  • 1 tablespoon smokie paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 pinch saffron threads
  • 2 cups uncooked rice
  • 1 cup crushed tomato
  • 3 cups water or stock
  • 1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped

Then

  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 bunch chopped fresh parsley
  • handful of raw peas

In a large skillet, add some olive oil and start cooking the sausage and chicken.  When the sausages are mostly cooked or at least firm, remove and slice into bite size pieces and return to the skillet.  Make sure to catch any juice that escapes and put that back in the pan too.  Do the same with the chicken if it isn’t already in small pieces.

Then add onions, garlic and red pepper and stir into the sausage and chicken.  Add spices and stir well.

Then add uncooked rice and make sure it is well distributed and mixed in, let cook for a few minutes.

Then add the liquids ( tomato, stock or water).  Stir well, turn up and bring to a boil.

**********   This would be a good place to add shrimp if you can eat that sort of thing***************

Once it reaches the boil, turn it down to medium low ( I turn down to #2 on my dial) put the lid on securely and let cook until the rice has absorbed all the liquid.

The time will depend on what kind of rice you have used.

When it is ready add lemon juice, zest and parsley.  Stir in.

Top with raw peas or not.

No fish paella

Indian style chicken and red lentils

See now this is a prefect example of how easy it is to be creative in your kitchen and use what you have.

This all started when I was looking at the online flyer from my local grocery store and saw that they have something called “Tandoori red lentil soup” on sale this week their “home meal replacement” department.

I thought to myself ” hmmm…..now that sounds good, bet I could make some of that!”

So I punched that title into our friend Google and a whole bunch of recipes appeared.  I looked at a few and some seemed more complicated than others and so I went through the ingredient lists to see if I could get away with making any of them without having to go to the store!

This is what I came up with.

I started by taking out the trusty dutch oven and over medium heat drizzled in a bit of olive oil.

Then I added:

  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 medium onion finely diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic finely minced
  • about an inch of fresh ginger finely chopped
  • 1 large handful of fresh parsley finely chopped ( cilantro would be MUCH better here but I was without!)
  • about a cup of finely chopped baby spinach  ( it was on it’s last legs in the fridge so in it went!)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

I let those cook a bit and get to know each other.

Then I added :

  • 1/2 cup rinsed red lentils

Stir those in and make sure they are well coated.

Then in a small bowl I combined:

  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seed
  • 1 tsp crushed chili flakes
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • zest of two lemons ( keep lemons for juice later)
  • a few grinds of black pepper

Make a hole in the vegetables at the bottom of the dutch oven to expose the cooking surface and pour in the spice mixture.  Stir it around a little to “toast” it which will release the flavours.

Then mix everything in together.

Then add:

  • 1 tin crushed tomatoes ( feel free to use fresh but I didn’t have any)
  • 1 tin coconut milk
  • 1 small tin tomato paste

Stir well.

Now you could stop here and have a lovely vegan item, just put on some rice and you are in business.

You could also add a tin of say chick peas or the like if you were so inclined.

But I can only feed the Chef vegan items so many times a week so I also added a couple of chunked up raw chicken breasts.   Cooked would be fine too.

Stir it all up, put on the lid and let’er simmer till the chicken and lentils are good and cooked.   Red lentils pretty much just disintegrate into a nice thick sauce so no need for any thickening agents.

Indian style chicken and red lentils

But I know what you are thinking.   “This doesn’t sound like soup!”

You’re right.   I mean, it COULD be soup if you wanted to add a bunch more liquid and thin it out, but we are eating it on rice for more of a “something I found on the Indian buffet” type item.

Add the juice from the two lemons just before you are ready to go to the plate.  It will balance the flavour and give you a shot of vitamin C to boot!

I of course added a little steamed kale on the side, cause I’m crazy that way!

What we had for dinner

And there you have yourself a hearty, tasty, week night, comfort dish!  

And I didn’t even have to go to the store!!

Brown bag or wax paper?

One thing that I really don’t enjoy is thinking of stuff to take to work for lunch!

Unfortunately, ever since I attended nutrition school, I can’t KNOWINGLY use a microwave.  Now I’m not gotta start preaching, you will have to do your own research and decide for yourself, but I simply can’t do it!

So that really limits what you can take.   I used to work somewhere with a toaster oven and you would be amazed at the things you can actually make in those things!  But where I am now only has a conventional toaster….and of course….that “other thing”.   So basically whatever I take has to be enjoyed at room temperature!

Well today, I just happened to have some left over “Man Salad” ( see last  post) so I got the bright idea that I could shove all of that stuff in a wrap!!  Why not?

I also happened to have some left over chicken flavoured rice in the fridge too which makes a great filler and binder for wrap filling.

Wrap fixens

So I took a wrap, a scoop of chicken rice, and then the left over chicken bits, boiled egg, bacon and even some pecans!  Topped that on to the rice and then to add a little extra zing I added a few shots of my old favorite Chipolte Tabasco!  ( click here to find out about that )

Time to wrap the wrap

Then wrap her all up in wax paper or your favorite sandwich cover and you’ve got yourself a tasty little lunch.

I suppose if you wanted to add a little bit of healthy to it, you could actually add some salad greens to it too…..but I find they take up too much room!   Hahahahhh

The wrapped wrap

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Mexican to me

 Happy Cinco de Mayo!!
 
I love Mexican food.  Would have to say it is in my top three of styles of food I like.  But it’s not always available around these parts so sometimes a girl has to improvise and make her own……..or what is “Mexican to me”.
 
Here is a version of what I make from time to time.
 
Let’s start with the rice first.  As I’ve mentioned a bunch of times, I always like to use short grain brown rice.  Not only cause it is chalked full of nutrients, but because I just love the nutty flavour.
 
So make up a pot of your favorite rice ONLY instead  of using water use a can of stewed or diced tomato.  Even better if you can get the ones that have onions and peppers in them, but regular are fine.  And if your tomatoes don’t measure up to enough liquid as you need, just top them up with water.
 
Then turn on your oven to 350 degrees.
 
What you’ll need next is:
  • ground meat (beef, chicken etc) or just omit if you are making the vegetarian version and use rice and beans
  • 1 onion cut in large slices
  • bell pepper of your choice (cut into long slices)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes or hot sauce
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 5.5 oz tin of tomato paste

I know what you are thinking…..sounds VERY similar to my BBQish pork.  You’re right!  And in fact, you could even use that stuff in this dish if you wanted.

So, you know the routine.  Brown up the meat, then add the onions, then peppers, then the spices.  When everything is mixed, brown, and wilted, add the tomato paste and mix well.  Continue cooking till well heated.

Now if you didn’t feel like making this stuff and had some thick left over chili of any kind, it would work real well too.

So now you will need some tortillas of your choice.  Flour or corn or any of those fancy coloured flavour ones.

Lay out a tortilla and grate on some of your favorite cheese.  On this occasion I used a spicy Monterey Jack.

 Then we will add a scoop of our chili mixture.

Then we roll it up burrito style.  You can either tuck in the ends or leave them open depending on your rolling skills.

When they are all nicely rolled, place on a tray, top them with some more cheese and then pop them in the oven.

This won’t take too long because you are just melting the cheese, everything else is already cooked.

So while your burritos are heating, go back to your rice.  It should be almost done by now. At this point you want to add 1/2 to 1 whole drained and rinsed can of black beans.  Or other beans of your liking and stir them into the rice, replacing the lid and let the rice finish, or at least long enough to heat the beans.

While these two other things are going on you can either whip up a quick batch of guacamole or just dice up a ripe avocado and sprinkle with some lemon or lime juice and put it on top of some salad greens.

Take your burritos out of the oven and plate them.  You can pour a few spoonfuls of your favorite salsa over them and or a dollop of sour cream.  Then a scoop of rice and your little salad and there you have it.  My version of Mexican without even to leave the house!

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