Some of you may remember last Lenten season when I committed to making one fish recipe per week? Mhm.
And maybe you remember how,by the end of Lent, I was done making fish?
I know I remember it. I’m so glad that’s over.
Welp, the other day I was asking a member of my focus group if I should re-visit the Lent series and her comment was something along the lines of “Uh. You hate fish.”
Well, there is that, but I’d really like to offer some lent . . . er what?
Oh, what’s that you say? You’re wondering how I ended up with a focus group that doesn’t include the people who live in my house? Well, I guess I don’t technically have a focus group, but I have something very close.
I lucked into having this great group of online friends who are more than happy to tell me what they want; whether it’s a new weekly veggie dish, or whether it is making easy pot-luck dishes. And, when I have an idea I bounce it off of them.
Personally I think the best part is that they’re pretty light on the criticism, which is good, since I hate criticism (I always tell people if they don’t like it I don’t care – which isn’t exactly true – if I didn’t care I wouldn’t mind the criticism, but that’s beside the point.)
Don’t worry though, it’s easy to tell if a recipe is a dud because when my friends fall silent I know that they’re probably thinking something like
“I think I’ll skip the pork stuffed turnips, thanks anyway Angie Pangie.”
“I think any recipe named meat nests is probably a bad idea.”
Yeah, looking back, that was definitely not one of my brighter cooking moments.
So anyhow, getting back to my story, my focus group/friend/non-critical critic reminded me how sick I was of making fish last year and she suggested that “It might not be bad to intersperse it with vegetarian dishes, if you have any on hand.”
Isn’t she brilliant? I think so, too.
So. That’s exactly what I’m going to do! I know I can’t be the ONLY person in the world who just can’t stand the thought of fish every Friday for the next 30-some days.
First up? A creamy Spanish rice dish with beans. Personally, I’m not big on food that “looks-a-mess”. This means it’s likely I’m not going to eat casseroles or jambalaya (at least, not without closing my eyes). This dish definitely does fit into the looks-a-mess category, but if you can get past that I think you’ll be happy you did. This is superb served with tortilla chips, or even rolled into a soft tortilla.
Creamy Spanish Rice Bake
1 1/2 Cups long grain white rice
1 can cream of mushroom soup (or cream of chicken if you aren’t going for a vegetarian dish)
4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 cups salsa
2 oz of chopped green chiles (this is half a small can, drained)
1 1/2 cups frozen whole kernel corn or an 11oz can, drained
1 cup water
1 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 to 2 cups prepared pinto or black beans, rinsed and drained (canned is fine)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (Mexican blend is good, too)
In a large bowl mix together the first 8 ingredients (rice, soup, cream cheese, salsa, chiles, corn, water and chili powder) until smooth. I used pinto beans in this picture, but black beans give this dish a wonderful flavor. If you’re feeling really adventurous feel free to use half pinto and half black beans. Now that would really be something!
I warned you that it wasn’t terribly appetizing looking – did you think I was joking?
If you have older rice, or if you have problems with “crunchy” rice no matter what you do, then feel free to soak the rice in hot water before you start for about 15 minutes. Just be sure to drain it well before you start mixing things together.
Now, my Hubby isn’t crazy about cream cheese, but I personally think it’s about as wonderful as sunny days in March. Therefore, I would add 8 oz if it were just me eating it. Yum. Oh, and whatever heat of salsa you use will affect the heat of the dish, so you can pick your salsa based on your own preferences.
Add the beans and mix. Don’t mash the beans, be gentle!
Pour the mixture into a 2 quart baking dish (try using this Le Creuset Round French Oven) and cover tightly (use foil if you don’t have a lid). Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes at 375 degrees.
Remove from the oven and stir, return to the oven uncovered for 15-20 minutes, or until no longer soupy. This dish will set up a bit out of the oven, especially after you give it a good stir.
Sprinkle the top with cheese and serve.
Once again, no pictures.
In a large bowl mix together the first 8 ingredients (rice, soup, cream cheese, salsa, chiles, corn, water and chili powder) until smooth.
Add the beans and mix gently.
Pour the mixture into a 2 quart baking dish and cover tightly. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes at 375 degrees.
Remove from the oven and stir, return to the oven uncovered for 15-20 minutes, or until no longer soupy. This will set up a bit out of the oven, especially after you give it a good stir.
Sprinkle the top with cheese and serve.
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