Saturday, March 22, 2014

From the Kitchen - The Empty Nest

Mexican Rice Bowl
My freezer died last week. It was my extra freezer where I kept a variety of meat.
So, until I get my replacement, I had to rely on whatever I could find in the refrigerator freezer.
Let's see, there was a piece of freezer burnt cod, chicken drumsticks, chicken thighs, chicken breasts, sandwich meat, and some pathetic looking shrimp that have been residing there since I'm not sure when.
I wanted something that is tasty, and includes protein.
This dish has it all. I have the recipe in my Empty Nest Cookbook, but I've since tweaked it, as I will point out as I go along.

I'll start with the ingredients: chicken soup base, instant brown rice, salsa, and for protein, black beans.
I like mild salsa, but any heat level will work.

I rise the beans, and let them drip while I'm mixin' and stirrin'.

I combine the water and soup base,  beans and corn,along with the rice. Here's the first change to the original recipe. Originally I prepared the rice ahead of time, then added the remaining ingredients, heated it all together and served it. Now I bake it first, then:

after most of the water is absorbed, I add the salsa, and return it to the oven.
I increased the black bean ratio, and reduced the corn, in order to have more protein. Cubed prepared chicken works great here also.
The original recipe called for equal parts of prepared rice, salsa, beans, and corn. This recipe is an easy one to increase, decrease, add, subtract. It's the cook's call.

Serve it up with a dollop of fat-free sour cream, and a sprinkle of reduced-fat shredded cheddar, and it's good to go. It can be a meal in itself, or served as a side dish.
Leftovers are great as well.
Is it ever good.
Happy Saturday

Mexican Rice Bowl

1/2 C instant brown rice
1/2 C water
1-1/2 Tsp chicken broth and soup base powder
1/2 C black beans
1/2 C frozen corn, thawed
1/2 C salsa
Fat-free sour cream and reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese, optional*

Preheat oven to 325°. In 3 cup casserole, combine the rice, water, soup base, black beans and corn. Bake 25-30 minutes, until water is absorbed. Stir in salsa and heat additional 5-10 minutes, until heated through. Serve with sour cream or shredded cheddar cheese, if desired. 2 servings

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