Easy Mexican Rice

Mexican Rice 5

Happy Cinco de Mayo! I never need a special reason to eat or make Mexican food.  Once you see how easy this rice is to make, you will be volunteering to bring the Mexican rice to your family gatherings or potlucks.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 2 1/2 cups uncooked long grain white rice
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • chopped cilantro or green onions for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Add 3 tablespoons oil in a deep skillet and heat over medium high heat. Add the rice and stir constantly until the rice turns golden brown.Mexican Rice 1
  2. Next add the chicken or vegetable stock. The mixture will bubble up and should be followed by the tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper and salt.Mexican Rice 3
  3. Bring to a boil and and stir to dissolve the tomato paste into the stock mixture and rice.
  4. Cover with skillet with a lid and turn down the heat to low and set timer for 20 minutes.
  5. When the rice is done, fluff with a fork.
  6. Garnish with chopped cilantro or green onions.Mexican Rice 4

 

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Pork Carnitas

Carnitas 4

Growing up, my parents made Chinese food at least 90% of the time. So you would think my blog would be mostly Chinese food recipes. Nope. Once I moved out and was left to cook on my own I enjoyed trying all sorts of new food types and trying new recipes. If you ask my kids, they will tell you I can eat Mexican food everyday of the week. It’s true. Pork carnitas is one recipe I love as it is not particularly hard to make. And if you get a large pork shoulder, it makes enough for a crowd or you have leftovers for days. This recipe makes at least 12 servings!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3-4 pounds pork shoulder
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1 bulb garlic, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 8 cups low sodium chicken broth

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Season the pork shoulder with salt, then arrange the pork in the Dutch oven. Cook until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, lime juice, chili powder, oregano, and cumin. Pour in the chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and continue to simmer until pork is very tender, about 2 1/2 hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  4. Transfer the pork shoulder to a large baking sheet, reserving the cooking liquid. Drizzle with a small amount of the reserved cooking liquid.Carnitas 1
  5. Bake the pork in the preheated oven until browned, about 30 minutes. Drizzle more of the cooking liquid on the meat every 10 minutes, and use two forks to shred the meat as it browns. (Keep in mind, the objective of the final step is to get slightly crispy outside with a moist, tender inside.)
  6. Carnitas 2
  7. Serve the carnitas with warm, fresh tortillas and pico de gallo or whatever you like! I like to make mine into tacos. Carnitas 3

Meatballs in Enchilada Sauce

Enchilada Meatballs 5

Ever find yourself making the same foods over and over? I do that all the time. Rotating the same recipes every week. So for a little change of pace I tried making these meatballs in enchilada sauce.  Yes, I needed something different to try, plus I didn’t have any tortillas on hand to make enchiladas. You can serve these meatballs as appetizers. Or make these into a meal and serve with rice and beans or inside a tortilla if you have them on hand.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumim
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 small jalapeno, minced
  • 1 28 ounce can red enchilada sauce
  • 1/2 cup Mexican shredded cheese
  • 1 avocado, sliced for garnish
  • sour cream for garnish(optional)
  • corn tortillas for serving (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a small bowl add crushed tortilla chips and milk. Set aside and let soak  for a few minutes, while you are preparing meatball mix.
  2. In a large bowl combine: ground beef, egg, garlic, cilantro, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, onion, and jalapeno.
  3. Next mix in the crushed tortilla chips soaked in milk. Combine until thoroughly mixed. Enchilada Meatballs 1
  4. Form 1 1/2 -2 inch meatballs by hand or use cookie scoop. I was able to make 21 meatballs with my mix.Enchilada Meatballs 2
  5. In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil. When olive oil begins to ripple, add meatballs carefully into skillet.
  6. Cook meatballs until seared on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Drain excess fat when meatballs are browned. Enchilada Meatballs 3
  7. Add enchilada sauce to skillet with meatballs. Toss the meatballs with the sauce to make sure each meatball gets covered.  (I added leftover corn kernels to my sauce)Enchilada Meatballs 4
  8. Add shredded cheese to the tops of each meatball. Cover skillet. Lower heat to medium. Let cheese melt and meatballs cook through for 10 minutes.
  9. Garnish skillet with more cilantro and avocado slices.
  10. Serve as appetizers with avocado slices or sour cream or put into mini corn tortillas. Enchilada Meatballs 6

Mexican Vegetable Soup

Mexican Vegetable Soup 1

If you took a quick glance at my most recent posts, you might think I’m all about sweets and chicken. While I’m not going to confirm or deny that may be true, I do make other recipes as well. You might even say somewhat healthy ones every once in a while too.  So for my vegetarian friends out there, I have not forsaken you. (Yes, I’m looking at you Sue T.!)

This soup recipe can be altered to whichever vegetables you have or that are in season. It is called vegetable soup afterall. I used what I had on hand. The flavor of the soup was reminiscent of a chicken tortilla soup without the chicken or tortillas. And be forewarned, this recipe makes a lot of servings (6-8) for you to share on a cold winter’s day.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 bell peppers, diced (I used 1/2  each of an orange, red and yellow bell peppers)
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons  ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups diced roma tomatoes
  • 2 cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen or 1 can of corn)
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can (4 ounce) diced green chile peppers
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1-2 zucchinis,  sliced

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS:

  • avocado slices
  • cilantro
  • lime wedges or lime juice
  • Mexican crema or sour cream
  • shredded cheese
  • tortilla chips

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot.
  2. Add bell peppers, carrots and onions to pot. Cook for 5 minutes or until tender. Stir occasionally.
  3. Add in minced garlic, cumin and cayenne. Stir and cook for a minute.
  4. Add in tomatoes, corn, black beans, diced green chiles and vegetable stock.
  5. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil.
  6. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  7. Add in zucchini.
  8. Re-cover and simmer for another 10 more minutes, or until the zucchini is tender.
  9. Serve immediately with optional toppings. Mexican Vegetable Soup 2

Mexican Cornbread Casserole

Mexican Cornbread Casserole platedHappy Cinco de Mayo! This recipe is like a mash up of my Mexican Casserole and a tamale pie recipe I’ve tried in the past. And for my fellow home cooks who like quick recipes, the 35 minutes baking time is the longest you have to wait.  I love shortcuts, so if you do not have all the required spices in your cupboards you can also use a packet of taco seasoning. Since there is only two of us at home to eat this, I used half the meat and only one box of the Jiffy cornbread mix and an 8×8 baking pan. Otherwise I used the same amount of all the other ingredients. For my vegetarian friends, omit the ground beef and add pinto beans.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 (8.5 ounce) boxes Jiffy cornbread mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Mexican cheese blend; separated into 1/2 cup and 1 cup
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can black beans (15 ounce)
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1 can (2.25 ounces) sliced black olives
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 can (10 ounce) Ro-Tel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles
  • 1 1/2 cup chunky salsa

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Meanwhile in a large bowl, prepare Jiffy cornbread mix by combining mix, eggs and milk. Stir well then add 1/2 cup grated Mexican cheese blend. Set aside. (If you like some extra spice, add a small can of diced green chilies to the cornbread mixture.)
  2. In a skillet add olive oil and cook ground beef over medium high heat until cooked through. Drain any grease. Add onions and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes until onions are tender.
  3. Add remaining ingredients to the meat mixture in skillet. Mix well and remove from heat.
  4. In a 9X13 baking pan, add meat and vegetable mixture. Top with 1 cup grated Mexican blend cheese.
  5. Add prepared cornbread mixture on top of cheese layer. Be sure to spread out evenly.
  6. Bake in oven for 33-35 minutes or until cornbread turns golden.  Enjoy with your favorite beverage.

Mexican Cornbread Casserole

Easy Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas

chichen-fajitas-1Okay. I admit it. I am a picky eater. You will not find green bell peppers or yellow onions in my fajitas. I love every type of bell peppers except green. I will always substitute whenever a recipe calls for green bell peppers. As for red onions, they just happen to be my favorite type of onion. I always have them on hand. Don’t get me wrong, I like yellow onions too. But I ALWAYS have red onions. So feel free to substitute your favorite colors of the rainbow for this dish. You can even omit the chicken and use sliced portabella mushrooms and add other vegetables to make a fantastic vegetarian fajita.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large onion sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper sliced
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts sliced into strips
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons Mexican seasoning (chili powder, crushed red peppers, cumin, garlic powder, oregano and paprika)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • tortillas and your favorite fajita sides for serving
  • lime wedges for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.
  2. Place onions, peppers and chicken in 9×13 baking pan or dish.
  3. Drizzle and coat with olive oil. Sprinkle Mexican seasoning over dish. Top with lime juice. Toss to coat.
  4. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, stirring halfway.
  5. Serve with tortillas and your favorite fajita sides. Add lime wedge to each plate for garnish and extra lime juice if wanted.

Makes 3-4 servings.

chichen-fajitas-2

Frijoles Charros (Mexican Cowboy Beans)

frijoles-charrosI’ve been on a Mexican food kick lately. Whenever I eat something at any restaurant, I always think to myself, “I wonder what they used to make this?” I’ve had these beans numerous times at my favorite Mexican restaurant. And I finally decided to try to recreate their recipe, but of course make it as easy and simple as possible. They turned out delicious! I hope you enjoy these as much as I did. For my vegetarian friends, substitute with seitan bacon or use a few drops of liquid smoke and use vegetable broth instead of beef broth.

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 4-5 slices of bacon, chopped into small strips
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans pinto beans, undrained
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Over medium high heat, add bacon pieces to large saucepan. Stir bacon pieces 2-3 minutes until mostly cooked. Drain excess fat from pan.
  2. Add diced onion, jalapeno, garlic, cilantro and tomatoes to bacon in pan. Stir until combined.
  3. Next add pinto beans and beef broth. Stir well and bring liquid to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour.
  5. Garnish with additional cilantro and serve as either the main course or a side dish.

frijoles-charros-pot