Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mexican Rice

I had some extra Ranchero Sauce from this recipe:
...and I didn't want it to go to waste.

So, when thinking about a side dish for the Whole Wheat Butternut Squash and Chorizo Quesadillas I was making for Cinco de Mayo, I just thought I would throw that into my Mexican rice recipe. No big deal, no big fuss. Just BIG BIG FLAVOR!!! Oh my word was this yummy. I was even excited for the extra I could have left over! Happy Hubby was happy with the results and said it was better than boxed. Well that's nice.

This is most definitely a keeper! Must write it down before I forget!

Mexican Rice
Ranchero Sauce adapted from A Spicy Perspective

Ranchero Sauce
1 Tb. oil
1 shallot, peeled and chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced

1 garlic clove, chopped
1 jar of roasted red peppers, chopped
2 Tb. apple cider vinegar
1 Tb. brown sugar
4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 cup stock, any variety
1/4 cup heavy cream

For the Ranchero Sauce:
1. Add the oil to a sauce pan and place it over medium heat. Saute the onion, jalapeno, and garlic until soft–3-5 minutes.
2. Add the red peppers, vinegar, sugar, cumin, stock and 1/4 tsp salt. Simmer for 10 minutes on low.
3. Remove from heat and carefully pour into a blender. Add the cream and place the lid on the blender–sightly jarred so it can vent. Puree the sauce until smooth, then set aside. You will have about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of this sauce. The rice only calls for one cup. You can either double the rice recipe or save the extra to put on something else. It would be extra yummy added to a Capri sandwich or on a pizza!

Mexican Rice
1 cup long grain white rice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup Ranchero Sauce
1/2 onion
, finely chopped
1 tomato
, seeded and chopped
1 cube chicken bouillon
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced

In a medium sauce pan, cook rice in oil over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Pour in chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Stir in onion, Ranchero Sauce, and diced tomato. Season with bouillon cube, salt and pepper, cumin, cilantro, and garlic. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes.               

Stove Top Roasted Pork with Sweet Peppers

Still a little occupied with the job search. Sorry for the lack of posts. I do have a very exciting interview this coming Friday but that is a secret until I know if I did or didn't get it. Trust me, you will all know when I do.

I made this dish a couple weeks back and I believe it is my first venture with pork loin! It was very tasty and I very much look forward to making it again. I am also a big fan of anything that includes egg noodles. Very comfort foody.

Stove Top Roasted Pork with Sweet Peppers
from Katie's Cucina, who adapted it from Rachael Ray 

3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 boneless pork loin
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups sweet mini bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
4 leaves fresh sage
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth

1. In a 5 quart pan with lid, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Season the pork with salt and pepper and brown on all sides (about 10 minutes). Transfer the pork loin to a plate, and pour off the fat if needed.

2. Add the bell peppers, onion, garlic, sage and remaining 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened about 8-10 minutes. Add the chopped tomato and broth to the pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
3. Add the pork back to the pan with the sweet pepper mixture, cover and cook over low heat, turning the meat once (cooking time should take about 40 minutes). Using an instant-read thermometer (insert it into the center of the pork it should read at the very minimum 145 degrees although just last year the standard was 165 and that’s what I still go by.).
4. Remove the pan from the stove top. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice into 1/4-inch-think pieces and transfer to a platter. Meanwhile, place the vegetables and juices back on the heat and bring to a simmer reducing the sauce. Top the pork with vegetable mixture.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

White Bean Gratin

Hello Friends!

Sorry it has been a while. Every time I start to think about blogging, I come up with seven more places I can apply to. That's right, no job yet. I still have a job until the end of the month and then another month before I am desperate for work. I am not too worried but I would like that security back. I am more concerned that I haven't even heard from the places I have applied to. I had two interviews with one place but they opted for someone with more experience. Other than that, no call backs.

Well, the weather is warming and I am up to running for 28 minutes without stopping. That is huge! Especially since when Hubby and I started running 8 weeks ago, 30 second runs made me a sad weakling couch potato that I may or may not be. If anyone wants to start running and reeeeeeeeeeeally hates cardio like me, you should try the Couch to 5K (C25K) program. If you are lucky enough to have a smart phone, there are a good number of apps that will tell you when to run and walk in the designated intervals. Happy Hubby and I use the Bluefin Software app called Ease Into 5K which is available for both iOS and Android.

It looks like this:
...seriously, best $4 I have spent. Totally worth it!

My face gets super red when running. Look! I took a picture!

Bahahahaha! It totally looks like me!!

With these warm spring and summer months coming, my favorite season is upon us! BBQ Season!!! This dish would be a great side for a fun gathering of friends and/or family. Definitely a twist on traditional baked beans you would normally find at a BBQ. It is originally from this book...

...which you are more than welcome to buy for me for Christmas or for next Thursday (which celebrates the 17th of May, duh).

Jessica altered it and I went off her adaption but I would like to try it with dry beans that you soak overnight with yummy spices. Either way, it is delicious! I think I will be making this for our family reunion in August!

White Bean Gratin

3 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2/3 cup panko bread crumbs
3/4 cup freshly grated gruyere cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated fontina cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2. In a bowl, combine cheeses with panko bread crumbs, then set aside.

3. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add shallot with a sprinkle of salt and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add in 2 of the minced garlic cloves and cook for 30 seconds, then add in white beans and stir. Let beans heat for 3-4 minutes.

4. Remove 2 cups of beans and place them in a blender. Add in stock, milk, 1 tablespoon olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, blending until totally smooth. Pour contents back into the skillet and stir to combine.

5. Spray a baking dish [mine was 6x10, but any dish you want is fine - round, square, etc] with nonstick spray. Scoop bean mixture into the dish and spread with a spatula to even out the top. Lay cheese and bread crumb mixture over top. Drizzle with remaining olive oil. Bake for 23-25 minutes, until top is golden and bubbly. Serve immediately.