So around our house we are Mexican food fanatics. No really. Every birthday dinner my Goosie girl has had has been celebrated at her favorite local Mexican restaurant since she was…oh about 3.
And the rest of them are just as bad. It’s the one thing our opinionated, loud mouth family of 6 can agree on. We love Mexican food. It’s a no brainer that I would want to recreate some of our fave Mexican dishes at home. With 6 people in our family and me being a stay at home mom, eating out is not a regular occurrence in our home. I mean…we do eat out, don’t get me wrong, just not weekly. I found these amazing recipes while scanning through Pinterest and I am so glad I listened when I said to myself “self, you should make these recipes!!”. I am smart and clever and have really good ideas…when I actually am able am able to finish a thought. And then retain it long enough to make use of it. And the moon is blue. See what I mean? Anyway, enough about my bad memory due to popping out all these kiddos. Let’s get back to Mexican food. Yum. This Spanish rice casserole from http://www.mommyskitchen.net came to together so dang fast it was almost criminal and the refried beans from http://moneysavingmom.com were seriously so easy and the best I have EVA tasted and mama knows her refried beans. I can tell ya’ll this….my two oldest kiddos had science fair projects due and we’re finishing their boards and while the meltdowns and hissy fits (mostly mine) ensued, I was able to get this meal on the table. Yeah…that makes it so tops in my book. If you adore Mexican food and long for that authentic Mexican flavor without having to go out (except to buy ingredients now)…give these two recipes a go.
Homemade Refried Beans (adapted from Money Saving Mom)
stuff you need~
1 bag of dry pinto beans, that have been soaked in water overnight)
3 tablespoons of butter
1 onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced (2 1/2 teaspoons of the jarred stuff)
2 1/2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
what to do with the stuff
Okay, assuming that you have soaked the beans overnight in your crockpot …drain the water you soaked them in and then add fresh water to cover the beans. Cook on low for about 6 hours or so. I used my smaller crockpot for this and this was fine.
Now, after the beans have cooked and are soft….in a heavy bottomed large saucepan, melt the butter. Sauté the onions until translucent and then add garlic towards the end. Next, using a ladle, ladle your cooked beans (about 4 cups) Into the saucepan, along with some of the liquid.
Sprinkle in all of the seasonings so crucial to giving these beans that authentic, straight from your favorite Mexican restaurant flavor. Allow them to simmer for about 20 minutes. Now…I used my immersion blender to get the texture I wanted. At this point you can do the same, just stick that immersion blender in your pot O’ beans or you can put them in the blender or you can use a good ole masher. I like some texture to my refried beans so I did not blend them much. Do your thing and make them the way you want.
You can serve these beans with some warned tortillas on the side and a good green salad or you can go all out (aka full Mexican) and prepare this cheesy Spanish rice casserole…
Cheesy Mexican rice casserole (adapted from Mommy’s kitchen)
stuff you need
1 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 cups of long grain white rice
1 can chili ready diced tomatoes
1/2 cup salsa or picante sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon Mexican oregano (I used regular dried oregano and it was just fine)
1 teaspoon chili powder
4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1 pound ground beef or ground turkey (I used ground turkey…yum!)
1 small onion, diced
1 clove minced garlic
1 8 ounce package shredded Mexican cheese blend
Fresh cilantro for serving (crucial! It made this dish for me!)
What to do with the stuff~
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, heat the canola oil over medium heat. Add in rice and stir constantly as it turns a golden brown color. You want most of the grains of rice to be a toasty brown. This takes about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, salsa, chicken broth and all of those spices. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Cover and allow to simmer for 15- 20 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. It will look just like this…
Meanwhile, while the rice is simmering in those spices and liquid, brown your ground meat and onion and garlic in a large skillet until onions are translucent and meat is fully cooked.
Stir the meat into the rice skillet. Cover with shredded cheese blend and bake until the cheese is all bubbly and yummy looking (you know what I mean right?). Sprinkle with chopped fresh cilantro. So good ya’ll…I mean seriously Mexican restaurant worthy.