Friday, July 27, 2012

Food Friday: Mexican Rice

Michael and I make tacos for dinner fairly often and our usual meal includes tacos, black beans, and a packaged Mexican Rice mix.  When we cook at home we try to make healthier food choices.  We only use ground turkey or chicken instead of beef, we have switched to brown rice instead of white, and eat whole wheat bread and whole wheat pasta. 

Our taco meal is pretty healthy as it is but we have been trying to get away from using packaged foods.  They are really high in sodium and just not really good for you.  I searched for a good Mexican rice recipe online and found several (Paula Deen's, the Pioneer Woman's, and a few from that I combined to make rice to go along with our taco dinner this week.  I will have to say it turned out really well although there may be a few little things that I will change the next time I make it. 

First I rinsed 1 cup of long grain brown rice (this supposedly makes the rice fluffy and not sticky)
Next, I chopped 1/2 cup of onion
I melted 2 tablespoons of butter *Next time I'm going to use olive oil
Add rice, onion, and 1 teaspoon of minced garlic or 1 clove to melted butter
Cook on medium high heat until rice starts to get toasted slightly and onions are soft
Add 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of chili powder, 2 cups of water *Next time I am going to try 2 cups of chicken broth instead of water, one can of diced tomatoes with garlic, basil, and oregano *Next time I'm going to try either diced tomatoes with mild green chilies or Rotel with green chilies (there is also Rotel with lime and cilantro but I prefer to use fresh)
Bring to a boil and then reduce heat, cover, and simmer until rice is done *Several other recipes included cumin, I might add some next time
Sprinkle 1 cup of cheddar cheese over the top (the cheese probably didn't add to my healthy goal but it was still better for us than packaged rice and seasonings)

Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into your rice and chop cilantro to add before serving

Pretty good meal if I do say so myself!  See, we DO eat at home sometimes! :)
One more healthy substitution:  Use plain unflavored yogurt in place of sour cream.  I swear I cannot tell the difference.  I put it on tacos, baked potatoes, and I even used it in a chicken casserole recipe.  So much better for you!  This is one substitution I haven't sold Michael on...he still needs his sour cream.  Try it and let me know what you think!

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