Sunday, March 7, 2010

Mexican Night Tonight!!!

We love mexican food. We would eat it every day if we could. We've had sonora style (stacked)enchiladas, baked enchiladas, tacos, burritos, quesadillas. . . We love it all. Usually, Joey is the one who cooks, but tonight I'm cooking so I'm trying something new.

Last night, I soaked 6 1/2 cups of dry beans in 6 cups of water with 7 TBSP of whey. It started soaking at about 11 pm last night. This morning, around 9 am, I rinsed them and stuck them in the crock pot with some salt and 6 cups of fresh water. Its important not to put whey in the cooking water and to rinse the beans before cooking as whey will prevent the beans from cooking all the way. I cooked them on low for 5-6 hours and they've been on warm ever since. I've already sampled the beans and they are delicious. I have never had better beans. And they have the nice thick dark reddish brown broth that I love my beans to have. I thought the only way I could get it was by cooking the beans in the same water I soaked it with, so I was really happy to find out I was wrong about that. I let the girls try them, too. Addy and Evie sucked them down and Izzy threw them all over the floor, so they were a big hit.

I'm also making spanish rice to go with them for dinner. I found the recipe on Kelly the Kitchen Kop's blog and I'm very excited to try it.

Here's what I did (I mostly followed the directions this time LOL):
Chopped 6 stalks of celery (recipe called for 1 cup, which was 5 stalks, but I had already cut off the 6th stalk so I chopped it, too)
Chopped 1 medium onion (it called for a large one and I used the largest I had, but I think it was only a medium one)
Chopped 2/3 of a bell pepper (recipe called for a whole bell pepper, but I wanted to reserve a little bit for the chili and I forgot I was using it for 2 recipes, so I only bought 1)
Melt 2 tbsp butter w/ 2 tbsp olive oil
Saute celery, onion, and bell pepper in olive oil and melted butter

I was supposed to add the rice here and stir for one minute, but I didn't read the whole recipe until now (oops) so I added 2 cups chicken broth, 1 can tomato paste, 1 - 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes (undrained). At this point, my saute pan was full, so I poured everything into my 2 quart dish that I had sprayed with olive oil spray then I added 1 cup of long grain brown rice and I put it in the oven on 350. I set the timer for 1 hour to check it and see if its done. Then I set it for 30 minutes. Then 10. When I tested it again, with rice still crunchy, I was fed up. I put it in a skillet that has a glass top, added some water and simmered it just like you would cook boxed spanish rices. Next time, I'm just going to saute the veggies in my glass topped skillet then cook the dish in it. I think it'll cut down on a lot of clean up and a lot of cook time.

A couple tips for making this dish. First, use a dish or skillet that has a capacity greater than 2 quarts. Second, add salt while it cooks. Third, 1 cup of rice IS enough. After an hour of cooking, it didn't look ricey enough to me, so I went ahead and cooked another cup of rice on the stovetop. By the time I gave up cooking the rice in the oven, I no longer thought it needed more rice. But that's ok. I'll just let Addy have rice and milk for breakfast and she'll be thrilled about that!

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