Mexican Rice

Serves 4 – 8

Mexican Rice is a staple in Mexican cuisine that it’s served as a side with many main dishes.  This version can be personalized with the vegetables of your choice.  I’m using corn and tomatoes to achieve an authentic Mexican taste, but you can also add fresh or frozen carrots, peas, peppers and mushrooms to serve as a complete meal.   The turmeric and tomato sauce combined add a great, rich colour, which is a visual treat that will whet the appetite.  This makes a great addition to tacos and burritos or even rolled up in a taquito alongside cooked chicken.  This Mexican Rice isn’t just for accompanying Mexican dishes, but can be used to jazz up basic baked chicken and steamed broccoli or an already flavourful roast!  Let’s get started.

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Mexican Rice – Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup kernel corn (canned is fine, thoroughly rinse in cold water prior to cooking)
  • 1 1/2 cups basmati rice, rinsed in cold water a few times to remove starch
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • 6 – 8 slices of pickled jalapeno, drained and chopped (optional)
  • 2 cups chicken broth, hot (substitute 2 cups water, hot, and 1 bouillon cube or 1 tsp. chicken broth powder)
  • ½ tsp. ground dry red chili
  • ¼ tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 pinch turmeric
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 green onion, green part sliced thin
  • 1 Tbsp. coriander, chopped fine

Instructions

  1. Heat butter in a large, heavy bottom, non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion and sauté until onions are soft, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Stir in rice and sauté until toasted, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add corn, pickled jalapenos, ground dry red chili, ground cumin and turmeric.
  4. Add tomato sauce and chicken broth (or water and 1 bouillon cube or 1 tsp. chicken broth powder).
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste, stir until well combined, and cook covered over medium heat for 15 -20 minutes or until liquids are evaporated and rice is fluffy. Turn off stove.
  6. Add tomato and green onion, stir through, and let rice rest for about 5 minutes prior to serving.

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Serve garnished with finely chopped coriander.  This Mexican Rice can be served as a side or even as a main dish for the family.  It’s so flavorful and delicious that they won’t miss the meat.

Chicken Nachos

Serves 2

This restaurant favourite is definitely delicious and caters to all my comfort food craving taste buds.  There’s only one trick to making nachos at home:  keeping the chips crispy!  The best way to achieve this is to not add anything liquid or comprising a high water content while baking the nachos.  Those can be added fresh prior to serving.  Let’s get started.

Chicken NachosChicken Nachos Chicken Nachos

Ingredients

  • 1 bag of good quality, thick corn chips
  • ¼ red onion, diced
  • ½ cup kernel corn, cooked (or use equivalent amount from the can)
  • 1/3 cup pickled jalapenos, drained (if you want it really spicy use fresh sliced jalapenos)
  • 1 cup cooked shredded or diced chicken breast
  • 2 – 2 ½ cups of Tex-Mex cheese, shredded
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 2 green onions, sliced thin

To serve:

  • Sour cream (optional)
  • Salsa (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a large baking tray with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
  2. Arrange the chips on the baking tray in a single layer.  Top with onions, corn, pickled or fresh sliced jalapenos and chicken.
  3. Sprinkle the cheese on top evenly until well covered.  Bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until cheese starts to bubble.
  4. Turn off oven, remove the nachos and sprinkle with the tomatoes and green onions.

Chicken Nachos Chicken Nachos Chicken Nachos Chicken Nachos

Serve right away with a side of sour cream or salsa if desired.  You can serve right off the baking tray or if you want you can carefully remove the nachos to a serving plate prior to serving.  For a complete Mexican meal, try the White Chicken Enchiladas.

Mexican White Chicken Enchiladas with Chili Lime Corn-Off-The-Cobb

Serves 4

I admit that this calorie rich casserole is my favourite Mexican dish.  Enchiladas are tortillas (Mexican flat breads) filled with meat or vegetables and usually cheese and baked in a large dish topped with sauce.  In this case we will use chicken as a filling and top with a white sauce.  All that chicken, sour cream and grated Tex-Mex cheese make for one indulgently delicious, comforting meal.  This is actually a simpler, faster (ready in 45 minutes from start to finish, including baking time) and – believe it or not – a lower calorie version of the Pioneer Woman’s White Chicken Enchiladas.  While the original dish was tasty, It definitely didn’t need all that heavy cream or that much cheese and the addition of burrito seasoning gave this version that extra oomph and kick the original version was lacking.

I found that these enchiladas needed a side dish that perfectly balanced their ooey, gooey, soft, cheesiness with fresh, crispy, spicy, tangy goodness.  That’s when I came up with a dish inspired by the falvours of Mexico:  chili lime corn-off-the cob.  This dish is absolutely yummy and amazingly versatile and very easy to make and goes so well with the white chicken enchiladas that it must be tasted to be believed.  Let’s get started.

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Mexican White Chicken Enchiladas with Chili Lime Corn-Off-The-Cobb – Recipe

For Mexican White Chicken Enchiladas

Ingredients

  • 1 whole small rotisserie chicken, bones removed and shredded (or 2 1/2 cups of cooked, shredded chicken)
  • 3 Tbsp. butter, divided
  • 1 small white onion, diced small
  • 2 cans diced chilies
  • 2 Tbsp. burrito seasoning, divided (or other Mexican seasoning)
  • 2 cups chicken broth, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 6 – 8 large tortillas (white or whole wheat would work)
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cups Tex-Mex cheese, grated (or equal parts Monteray Jack/Pepper Jack and cheddar cheese)
  • Salt, to taste
  • ¼ cup coriander, chopped (for garnish)

Chili Lime Corn-Off-The-Cobb

Ingredients

  • 2 cans of peaches and cream corn, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1/2 cup coriander, chopped and divided
  • 2 tsp. ground dry red chilies (more if you want it really spicy)
  • Salt. to taste
  • 1/2 lime, juiced (more to serve)

Instructions

  1. Heat 1/2 Tbsp. butter in a heavy bottom, non-stick pan on medium and add onions and 1 can of diced chilies and saute until soft and lightly browned.
  2. Add chicken, burrito seasoning sauté for another minute.  Season with salt if necessary.
  3. Add ½ cup of chicken broth, combine, stir in cream and let bubble.  Turn off heat and set aside covered.
  4. Heat large heavy bottom, non-stick pan on medium.  Melt rest of the butter and then whisk in flour to form roux, about 1 minute.
  5. Add rest of the chicken broth and whisk together well and bring to a boil and let thicken.
  6. Reduce heat to low and add sour cream and rest of the burrito seasoning and salt if necessary and cook until well combined and smooth, 1 – 2 minutes.  Set aside covered.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  To assemble, spoon chicken mixture along the centre of each tortilla, top with a spoonful of grated Tex-Mex cheese, roll up each one tight and arrange, seam side down, in a 9×13 baking dish.  Continue until all chicken mixture is used up and baking dish is full.
  8. Spread the other can of diced chilies on top and pour sauce over and bake for 25 minutes.  Set oven to broil, remove dish from oven, top with rest of the grated Tex-Mex cheese and place back in the oven and broil for about 5 minutes until hot and bubbly.  Turn off oven, remove to table and let cool for a few minutes before serving.
  9. While the Mexican White Chicken Enchiladas are in the oven, heat 1/2 Tbsp. of butter over medium-high in a large, heavy bottom pan.
  10. Add corn and saute until warmed through and still crispy, 1 minute.
  11. Add half the coriander, ground dry red chilies and season with salt and mix until combined well.  Squeeze lime juice over and remove to serving dish.

Shred chicken using your stand mixer or using two forks:

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Make the chicken filling:

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  1. Heat 1/2 Tbsp. butter in a heavy bottom, non-stick pan on medium and add onions and 1 can of diced chilies and saute until soft and lightly browned.
  2. Add chicken, burrito seasoning sauté for another minute.  Season with salt if necessary.
  3. Add ½ cup of chicken broth, combine, stir in cream and let bubble.  Turn off heat and set aside covered.

Make the white sauce:

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  1. Heat large heavy bottom, non-stick pan on medium.  Melt rest of the butter and then whisk in flour to form roux, about 1 minute.
  2. Add rest of the chicken broth and whisk together well and bring to a boil and let thicken.
  3. Reduce heat to low and add sour cream and rest of the burrito seasoning and salt if necessary and cook until well combined and smooth, 1 – 2 minutes.  Set aside covered.

Assemble the enchiladas and bake:

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  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  To assemble, spoon chicken mixture along the centre of each tortilla, top with a spoonful of grated Tex-Mex cheese, roll up each one tight and arrange, seam side down, in a 9×13 baking dish.  Continue until all chicken mixture is used up and baking dish is full.
  2. Spread the other can of diced chilies on top and pour sauce over and bake for 25 minutes.  Set oven to broil, remove dish from oven, top with rest of the grated Tex-Mex cheese and place back in the oven and broil for about 5 minutes until hot and bubbly.  Turn off oven, remove to table and let cool for a few minutes before serving.

Make the Chili Lime Corn-Off-The-Cobb:

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  1. While the Mexican White Chicken Enchiladas are in the oven, heat 1/2 Tbsp. of butter over medium-high in a large, heavy bottom pan.
  2. Add corn and saute until warmed through and still crispy, 1 minute.
  3. Add half the coriander, ground dry red chilies and season with salt and mix until combined well.  Squeeze lime juice over and remove to serving dish.

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Garnish both the Mexican White Chicken Enchiladas and the Chili Lime Corn-Off-The-Cobb with chopped coriander and serve with wedges of lime.  Thanks to my cousin Aarani for helping me with the prep for these dishes and for taking pics while I was making them.   You were a big help.

Aztec Hot Chocolate – Happiness in a Glass

Serves 2

Have you ever wondered what joy, contentment and comfort wrapped up in a cozy blanket would taste like? Well, it would taste a lot like this Aztec hot chocolate.  Made with real chocolate and authentic spices, this is sure to become a favourite this holiday season.  Let’s get started.

Aztec Hot Chocolate

Aztec Hot Chocolate – Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon and more to top
  • ¼ tsp. ground dried red chilies
  • ½ tsp. ground dried ginger
  • 4 – 6 cubes of good quality chocolate (use milk chocolate for a sweet version, dark chocolate for an intense flavor or semisweet chocolate for a happy medium)*
  • Handful of white chocolate curls (optional topping)

*The number of cubes of chocolate will depend on how large they are and how intense you want the flavour)

Instructions

  1. Warm a deep, heavy bottom pan over medium-high heat and add milk, cinnamon, ground dried red chilies and ground dried ginger.  Combine until spices are well incorporated into the milk and bring to a boil.
  2. Turn off the heat, move pan to cool surface and whisk in chocolate cubes until completely combined.

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Divide between two glasses – or mugs – top with more cinnamon and white chocolate curls and serve immediately.  Watch the happiness take over!