Monday, August 31, 2009

Mexican Rice

I made enchiladas yesterday and was scrounging around for a side dish as usual. We really like Spanish Rice at restaurants but aren't fond of the mixes that are on the market and I hadn't up to this point, figured out a really tasty homemade version. That has all changed!! This rice turned out great! Just enough spice and not too tomatoey. We will definitely be doing this one again.

I actually did 2 batches, one with the separate spices and one with 1/2 homemade salsa. They were both awesome!

Mexican Rice

1 cup rice
2 T oil
2 cups beef broth
1/2 cup chopped onion (really fine)
1 clove garlic minced
1 t. chili powder
1 t. cumin
1/4 cup tomato sauce

  1. Saute onion and garlic in oil briefly in medium saucepan
  2. Add rice and saute lightly until rice is all coated with oil and is fragrant
  3. Stir in broth, chili powder, cumin and tomato sauce. Bring to a rapid boil.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 25-30 min until liquid is absorbed and rice has bloomed.
**If you are in a hurry exchange the onion, garlic, spices and tomato sauce for 1/2 c. salsa. Because it's pretty diluted "medium" will probably work the best.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Cereal Bars

I went to Girl's Camp this week as a cook and for one of the meals we were packing a bag breakfast for an overnight hike. We didn't really feel like granola bars were enough but the cereal bars that are commercially packaged were too expensive for our budget. I took the assignment to figure out something that would be easy to pack and a little bit more filling to replace the commercial cereal bars.

I made several varieties, making my girls taste test them all. This is what we finally decided upon.

Cereal Bars

6 c. Multi Grain Cheerios
1/2 c. toasted almond slivers
1/2 c. toasted coconut
1/2 c. Craisins
1/2 c. broken pretzel sticks
3 T. butter
1 bag mini marshmallows

Spray 9x13 baking dish with non stick spray. I also lined the pan with a piece of parchment paper that was lightly sprayed so that I could pull the whole thing out easily.

Toast the nuts and the coconut in the oven at 350 until they are slightly browned.

Mix the almonds, coconut, Cheerios, Craisins, and pretzels in a large bowl and stir until combined.

Melt the butter in a large pan. When the butter is melted pour in the marshmallows and stir constantly until they are completely melted. Add the dry ingredients and mix well. Pour into baking dish and press down until all the cereal is compacted well. Let cool and cut.

*I didn't cut the bars as I needed them to stay fresh for a few days until we used them. I pulled out the whole thing and packaged with my Food Saver. When it was opened to cut the bars and fill the bags they were as fresh as the first day. So, if you aren't able to eat the whole thing in one day you could easily vacuum seal the rest and it would stay good for a week or so.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

SALSA baby!!

My tomatoes are starting to produce more than I can eat by myself. How did I land in this family of non tomato lovers? They like it on a sandwich or burger but that is about it. is made into salsa.

A few years ago I really got into the canning thing and bottled about 120 pints of salsa. We blew through that in a winter and I kind of got sidetracked with fresh salsa so I haven't bottled any but with the tomatoes I picked the other day I thought I would break out the bottles and do a few.

Sadly, once I start canning I sort of let it consume me. I have bottled pears that my fam won't eat that I am thinking I can make into jam...but that's a post for another day.

This is the recipe that I used for this iteration of salsa. It's always a little different because I am the world's worst measurer but this is a good starting point. Looking at this I think the next time I will add some lime juice...

10 quarts of tomatoes, skinned and chopped
6 c. onions chopped
4 cans (small) diced green chilies
1 large green pepper chopped
1 1/2 c. jalapeno peppers chopped fine (I usually leave most of the ribs and seeds)
1/2 c. vinegar
1/4 c. sugar (you may need more depending on how ripe your tomatoes are)
4 T. salt
4 t. oregano
4 t. cumin
1 large handful cilantro chopped (a couple T if using dried)
5-6 cloves garlic (sometimes I leave this out if I don't have fresh)
1/2 c. oil
12 oz. tomato paste
1 t. crushed red pepper
Tabasco (to fine tune the heat at the end if needed)

Blanch the tomatoes and slip the skins. Seed if desired. I run mine through the blender quickly because my family doesn't do chunks very well. Mix all together and simmer until desired consistency (1 1/2-2 hours). Fill jars and adjust lids. Process in water bath for 45 min or in a pressure cooker on 15 lbs for 10 minutes.

8-29-09 Update:
5 blenders full of tomatoes
6 c. onion
4 cans green chiles
4 small jalepenos-leave 2/3 of ribs and seeds
2 med Anaheim peppers
2 lg green peppers
1/2 c vinegar
1/2 c. sugar
4 T. salt
4 t. oregano
5 t. cumin
4 heaping t. garlic powder
12 oz tomato paste
Has a really good flavor, is more hot than the recipe above. Randy liked it better...

10-2-10 Update
5 1/2  blenders full of tomatoes (1/2 bushel)
6 1/2 c. onion
4 cans green chiles
8 small jalepenos-leave ribs and seeds
2 med Anaheim peppers
4 Serano Peppers w/ribs and seeds
2 lg green peppers
1/2 c vinegar
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. oil
1/2 c. lime juice
4 T. salt
4 t. oregano
5 t. cumin
1 bunch cilantro chopped
 2 t. red pepper flakes
4 heaping t. garlic powder
12 oz tomato paste

Yum. :)