Let me start of by talking about my marriage. Rob and I have so much in common, but we’ve got our differences too. For example, Rob didn’t like Mexican food, which has been one of my favorites for as long as I can remember.
I don’t know if it was the two years we spent in a country without anything resembling Mexican food except in looks, but when we returned to Missouri, Rob surprised me by craving Mexican food. I didn’t hesitate and ask, “Why, all of a sudden, do you like Mexican food?” I just hopped in the car and directed him to my favorite place, Cielito Lindo.
Since that day, we’ve been trying every Mexican restaurant we can find in Springfield (our favorite is El Sombrero by the Super Dillons at Kansas Expy. and Battlefield), but we love making our own food at home. Here’s what we had for dinner tonight.
Appetizers: Southwest Salsa Rice Bites; Chips and salsa with queso
Main: Tacos with home-made flour tortilla
Southwest Salsa Rice Bites
Source: recipe kiosk at Bistro Market
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
3 c. cooked brown rice, cooled
1 c. shredded Pepper Jack cheese
1 can (16 oz) chunky salsa*
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
3/4 c. crushed corn tortilla chips
additional salsa and sour cream for garnish (optional)
* We made the salsa ourselves too, with tomatoes from our own garden!
Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine rice and cheese in large bowl; set aside. In medium bowl, beat eggs until well blended. Stir in salsa, sour cream, salt, and pepper. Add salsa mixture to rice and cheese; mix well. Spray miniature muffin pans with vegetable cooking spray. Spoon approximately 1 1/2 Tbsp. rice mixture into each cup, filing to just below the rim. Sprinkle crushed chips over filling, pressing slightly with back of spoon. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Serve warm with additional salsa and sour cream, if desired. Serve as an appetizer or along with chicken fajitas for a complete meal.
Source: Betty Crocker’s New Cookbook*
Makes: 3 1/2 cups
Prep time: 20 minutes
3 lg. tomatoes, seeded and chopped (3 cups)
1 sm. green bell pepper, chopped (1/2 cup)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 c. sliced green onions (5 medium)
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp. finely chopped jalapeno chilies
2 to 3 Tbsp. lime juice
1/2 tsp. salt
Mix all ingredients in glass or plastic bowl. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Serve with tortilla chips, crackers, vegetables, fish, chicken.
A word on tortilla chips. As we’ve been trying Mexican restaurants, we always evaluate three important elements: chips, salsa, and queso. Our favorite chips by far were at our least favorite restaurant, so we were happy to discover chips at Price Cutter that are exactly like those thin, crispy, light tortilla chips. They are in a brown paper bag and called Xochitl (so’ cheel), They’ re nearly $5 for 16 ounces, but they are pure, only four ingredients–stone ground corn, water, lime, and oil–plus have no preservatives, trans fats, or gluten. They might not be your favorites, but they’re definitely ours!
Queso Blanco Mexican White Cheese Dip
Because of copyright issues, please click the link above to see the recipe. We followed the directions exactly, except that we kept the pan on low and stirred often, instead of using a double boiler. We used asadero cheese.
Homemade Flour Tortillas
Source: Rockin Robin’s Cooking Mexican Recipes
Because of copyright issues, please click the link above to see the recipe. Be sure to start these at least an hour in advance. The dough has to rest and you’ll need to roll out the tortillas.
* Elizabeth told me about this cookbook a long time ago, and it is still my absolute favorite and the cookbook I turn to first whenever I have any question about cooking or need a good recipe. I’m going to be reviewing it soon, but in the meantime, here is the version I have, and I think this is the new version, although I’m not sure.