Spice up your rice

The other day I wrote about the simple brilliance that is a pan of enchiladas. And since we’re perpetually on a budget, I served that dish on a mound of spicy rice.

Enchiladas over spicy rice.
That’s it, girl. Recycle that media.

I hesitate to call it Spanish rice, because that’s an actual thing and this is another classic Popcorn dump-and-go concoction.

It starts with rice, prepared more or less according to package directions. The divergence happens in that you don’t want to let the rice cook all the way. Instead, pull it up as soon as the top looks dry.

Pot of rice, dry on top.
About 15 minutes on the boil, using regular long-grain white rice

At that point, dump the rice into a skillet over medium-low heat. On this day, I’d just cooked the enchilada filling in this skillet, and I added the rice right in there with the leftover oil and seasonings.

Sure, kid. Everybody needs to see what rice in a skillet looks like.
Because everybody needs to see what rice in a skillet looks like.

The picture doesn’t really tell the story. But if you timed it right, the rice will look a little shiny. If it’s too dry, take it up earlier next time. If there’s standing water, wait a minute longer.

In go the seasonings next.

Mild green tabasco, oregano, enchilada sauce, cilantro, and salsa.
Herdez brand salsa, y’all. Look for it in the international aisle.

I’m guessing about a quarter cup each of the salsa and the enchilada sauce I used in the main dish. Salt, black pepper, oregano, and cilantro to taste. (Maybe a teaspoon each, to start?) Three or four shakes of the Tabasco.

Rice in the skillet with seasonings.
This much.

I always go easy at first, because you can always add more seasoning. But if you overdo it, well, it’ll take¬† you 20 minutes to cook up more rice to even it out.

Mix, taste, and re-season, cutting off the burner as soon as your rice mixture starts to get dry. I ended up adding probably another quarter cup of salsa, and some more oregano.

Optional: I didn’t think of it at the time, but I totally could have used some of this frozen bell pepper and onion blend. (Thaw in the skillet before dumping in the rice.)

Birds Eye brand tri-color pepper and onion blend.
Oh yeah, even more recycled media. Greenest. Post. Ever.

So yeah, nothing to it, right?

We eat enormous amounts of rice around here. There’s not much better for stretching expensive ingredients like meat and fresh veggies. Seasoned like this, I’ve been known to eat it as its own meal!



We Like Easy

Make no mistake. I’m down with my reputation as a good cook. But at risk of blowing it all to hell, I must confess: It’s kind of a lie.

What I mean to say is, the most delicious things that kick out of my kitchen are dead, stupid, easy. For example, do y’all even know what a breeze enchiladas are?

Hint: It's all in the sauce.
Hint: It’s all in the sauce.

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Summer is Coming

I got company coming tomorrow and we’re having a picnic brunch. I warned her, the menu will depend on what I find in my fridge.

This is one of my favorite things to do in the kitchen. I call them At-Home Chopped Challenges. The idea is to create something delicious using whatever happens to be around.

Spinach tomato pasta salad.
Surprising exactly no one, pasta is what happened to be around.

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A Banner Day of Baking

You know, you’d think one day I might submit/admit to just sucking at sweets. Today was not that day.

Attempt #1: Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

To start with, I was stoked for this project. My sister-in-law fixes these for the colonel, and he absolutely loves them. So when I found two different recipes that looked promising, I set out to do a scientific experiment: fix a small batch of each and do a blind taste test. Little did I know…

When I opened my box of oats and found it almost empty, I should have just stopped right there.

Pictured: Not a large bowl

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Sneakin’ in the Veggies

When I first met the Colonel, he had the refined palate of a fussy toddler. If it didn’t involve meat, cheese, bread, or pasta, he’d turn his nose right up. Now I’ll admit, he’s gotten a whole lot better over the years, but I still go to some lengths to get more vegetables down his gullet.

For example, I’ve learned to sneak in extra veggies with these simple Denver scrambled eggs. This dish uses the principles of Denver omelets, without the pressure.

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I am. So dumb.

Quick: What’s wrong with this picture?

Hint: the blue lid

If you peer closely, you’ll see that’s cornstarch. Not baking powder. There’s even a little picture of corn on the label. Of course, that didn’t stop me from using it in Saturday’s attempted biscotti. Even better, I only noticed it today, when I was rooting through the cupboard on a separate mission.

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