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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Adventures in the Kitchen: Rice and Beans

Sometimes when I get home from work, I stand in front of the refrigerator or pantry and try to think of what to make for dinner (sometimes I plan ahead, but most of the time I don't)...the other night I had an idea of what I wanted, but I didn't have all the ingredients - so I improvised.
My inspiration came from this girl

Side note: Maried was my roommate freshman, junior, and senior year of college and I have been blessed by her every day since we first met! For the past 5 years we have been living far apart, but she is still one of my best friends - AND she is getting married in March and I can hardly wait! But that is a story for another post. This wonderful girl taught me how real Puerto Ricans cook. We used to cook feasts on Sunday nights, and one thing that was always on the menu was rice and beans.
I slightly modified the real Puerto Rican rice and beans recipe to the ingredients we had on hand. So this is...

Veronica Style Rice and Beans
1 1/4 c rice
1 1/2 c water
1 can red kidney beans
1 can crushed tomatoes
2 hands full of chopped spinach
steak cut into chunks (you could really use any kind of meat - or leave the meat out)
chopped garlic
olive oil
green stuff (keep reading, I will explain)
1/4 t sea salt

Step 1: Get your rice started - if you cook it on the stove top or in a rice cooker, it is the thing that will take the longest, so start it first. I make rice by boiling 1 1/2 c water with a dash of salt and canola oil in a medium sauce pan. Add 1 1/4 c rice and bring to a boil again until the top of the water is even with the top of the rice in the pot. Then cover the pot and turn the heat down to low. Let cook for 20 min longer - DON'T PEEK! Once 20 min has passed, turn off heat and fluff rice. It will look like this:

Here is the 'green stuff'. It has a spanish name, but I can't remember it. Here is what you need: 1 sweet onion, 1 green pepper, and lots of cilantro. Mix together in food processor and freeze. 
For this recipe I used 2 ice cube sized chunks about 3 T. 
You could just chop a little onion, a little green pepper and a little cilantro to get the same taste without making a large batch. So step 1)A would be to make some green stuff!

Step 2: Slice and tenderize your meat. 
I used beef but you could easily substitute chicken or pork.
This is our tenderizer. Can you tell yet that we love kitchen gadgets? :)
Step 3: Cook meat with garlic and some olive oil. 
Step 4: Wash and chop the spinach. 
Step 5: Once the meat is cooked, add the green stuff, tomatoes, and spinach. Cook for about 10 min until the spinach begins to wilt and tomatoes are boiling. Add beans and cook for 5 min more until the beans are warmed. 
Step 6: Scoop the meat and bean mixture over a bed of rice.
Step 7: Enjoy! 

I am usually conservative when it comes to salt in my recipes. 
You can always add more, but it is hard to un-salt something :)
This is a gluten free recipe!

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