Cilantro Lime Rice

Cilantro Lime Rice

Guess who’s back?  Back again?  Rookie’s back…tell a friend!  Guess who’s back, guess who’s back, guess who’s back…

Ok, that was a total college flashback, but, I’M BACK!!  Wow, life has been CRAZY in The Rookie Baker household, most of which has been the good kind of crazy, but crazy nonetheless.  Shortly after I wrote my last post (8 months ago…), we made the crazy decision to sell our house and buy my in-law’s house in a town 20 minutes away.  What we didn’t expect was for that house to sell in less than 3 weeks, during the husband’s busy travel season.  We survived it, and in early June we finally moved to our new home!  It is much smaller and the kitchen leaves much to be desired (sooooo hoping to do a kitchen renovation in the semi-near future), but we love it here!  My in-laws live 5 minutes away (a good thing for sure!) and our boys have already made friends in our new town.

Speaking of those boys, both of them have had birthdays since my last post!  I am the proud mom of a 5 year old and a 2 year old.  Crazy.  Our oldest started kindergarten in September and is enjoying a swim class four nights a week.  That alone keeps me busy, but then add in the tiny one’s therapy sessions, doctor’s appointments, library story hours, weekly mommy and me swim class, volunteering for the PTA, and the husband’s hectic travel schedule, and I swear all I do is run around like a crazy person!  Cooking has certainly taken a back burner over the last, well, 8 months, but I’m slowly getting back in the kitchen!  Because our schedule is chaotic most weeks, I’ll likely be posting a good number of weeknight friendly recipes that are kid (and adult) tested and approved.

Enough about me, let’s talk about this recipe for Cilantro Lime Rice.  We are HUGE Chipotle fans, and were thrilled when one opened in our old town just five minutes from our house.  Let’s just say we may have singlehandedly kept them in business as we navigated the chaos of selling our house.  I love their burrito bowls and was on the hunt for a recipe I could make at home so I could recreate this family favorite.  Skinny Taste to the rescue!  This rice tastes exactly like the rice at Chipotle, and dare I say it, perhaps even better.  I make this at least once a week as the base for burrito bowls.  Stay tuned for a few great slow cooker recipes that pair perfectly with this rice!  On its own or as the base of a burrito bowl, this rice is truly a family favorite!

Cilantro Lime Rice

1 cup extra long grain rice or basmati rice
1/2 lime, juiced
2 cups water
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
3 tsp vegetable oil

In a small heavy pot, add rice, water, 1 tsp oil and salt. Boil on high until most of the water evaporates. When the water just skims the top of the rice, reduce to low and cover about 15 minutes. Shut off flame and keep covered an additional 5 minute.

In a medium bowl, combine chopped cilantro, lime juice, rice and remaining oil and toss until completely mixed.

Source:  Skinny Taste

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Skillet Pork Chops with Rice and Parsley Butter

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With our schedules as hectic as they’ve been lately, I’ve not done a great job of getting dinner on the table.  We’ve certainly kept the local restaurants in business as of late.  You know it’s bad when my tiny man, who is normally a big fan of Chinese takeout, politely requests a ham and cheese sandwich over chicken with broccoli.  Or, when the husband comes upstairs after work and doesn’t ask what’s for dinner, but where we’re ordering from tonight.  So, in an effort to minimize complaining and save our budget and waistlines, I’ve been on a quest to find quick weeknight meals that are healthy and delicious.

One thing I always have on hand in the freezer is pork chops.  I always stock up when the local grocery store has the buy one get one free sales.  When I saw this recipe, I was intrigued.  On the table in 30 minutes AND the side dish is included?  Count me in!  This was such a simple dinner to make, and, much to my surprise, full of flavor and delicious!  Everyone enjoyed it, even baby boy who, up until two months ago, wouldn’t eat anything other than baby food and yogurt.  That’s a win in my book!

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and divided
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
1 cup long-grain white rice
4 (6- to 8-oz) boneless pork chops, 3/4 to 1 inch thick
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

In a small bowl, stir 2 tablespoons of the butter together with the parsley. Set aside.

In a large microwave safe bowl, combine 1 cup of the chicken broth and the rice. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and microwave for 6-7 minutes, or until the liquid has been completely absorbed (note: all microwaves vary, so keep an eye and maybe check yours early just in case). Be very careful when you remove the plastic wrap from the bowl, the steam is super hot!

While the rice is cooking, pat the pork chops dry with paper towels. Cut two slits, about 2 inches apart, in the fat cap around the outside edge of each pork chop (this will prevent them from curling up as they cook). Season both sides of the pork with salt and pepper. Set a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the butter. When it’s melted and the pan is hot, add the chops. Brown on both sides, about 6-8 minutes total. Remove the pork chops to a plate and tent with foil.

Add the final tablespoon of butter to the skillet and melt, then add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 6-7 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and thyme, cooking just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add the rice and the remaining 1 1/4 cups of chicken broth to the skillet. Bring the mixture to a boil, the nestle the pork chops and any accumulated juices in the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pan. Cook for 10-14 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the pork is cooked to your desired doneness (it should register at least 145 F on an instant read thermometer). Top the pork with the parsley butter when serving.

Source:  Tracey’s Culinary Adventures, orginially from Cooks Country, August/September 2011

Mexican Rice

This rice was the perfect accompainiment for the Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos we had for Cinco de Mayo.  It comes together in about 25 minutes or so, and only requires a little bit of up front work.  This will definitely be a go-to side dish for our Mexican dinners!

Mexican Rice
Servings: Points+: 5

1 teaspoon canola oil
1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 cups chicken broth

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add rice. Cook, stirring constantly, until puffed and golden. While rice is cooking, sprinkle with salt and cumin.

Stir in onions and cook until tender. Stir in tomato sauce and chicken broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Source: From Allrecipes

Baked Garlic Rice Pilaf

For as long as I’ve been cooking, I have always relied on boxed side dishes to go along with a main dish for dinner.  In our ever growing quest to eat healthier, I am trying to cut out as much processed food as I can, and the boxed side dishes just don’t work with that plan at all.  After making this garlic rice pilaf, I can’t believe I ever used a boxed rice mix.  This was fantastic!  The only downside is the amount of cooking time, so it doesn’t work for us on work nights.  It made enough for dinner tonight and tomorrow night, which is a huge bonus!  I served this along side these Balsamic Pork Chops and a cucumber, tomato and pepper salad.  This will definitely replace the boxed rice mixes I’ve bought for years!  Sorry for the bad picture…definitely check out Annie’s Eats for a much more appetizing picture!

 

Baked Garlic Rice Pilaf
Servings: Points+: 4 per serving (6 servings)

2 tbsp. butter
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 cup long-grain white rice
2½ cups chicken broth, divided
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
Squeeze of lemon juice 

 
Preheat the oven to 375° F.  Have ready a covered casserole dish.  In a saucepan or skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and rice to the pan and cook until both are golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.  Stir in 1 cup of the chicken broth, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.  Pour the mixture into the casserole dish, cover, and bake for 25 minutes.  Stir in the remaining 1½ cups chicken broth and bake, covered, for another 45 minutes.  About 15 minutes before it is finished baking, stir in a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Note: This recipe can be doubled without increasing the baking time.

Source:  From Annie’s Eats, which she adapted from What’s Cooking in the Orange Kitchen?

Red Chile Chicken with Rice and Black Beans

As soon as I saw this recipe in my Google reader, I knew I would be making it very soon.  We absolutely love Mexican food, and anything I can do in one pot in 30 minutes makes me very happy.  This was delicious, and was even better as leftovers the next day.  I will be adding this dish to our dinner rotation for sure.  I’ve also added Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless to the top of my cookbook wish list (as if I need more cookbooks…).

Red Chile Chicken with Rice and Black Beans

2 Tbsp. canola oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (1.25-1.5 lbs. total)
2.5 Tbsp. ancho chili powder, divided
1 medium onion, large dice
1 cup rice
4 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 cups chicken broth
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chopped green onions, roots and wilted outer leaves removed before chopping (OR 1/3 cup cilantro OR 2-3 Tbsp. epazote or hoja santa)
1/2 to 1 cup salsa, such as Smoky Chipotle Salsa, or chipotle hot sauce for serving

Heat the oil in a medium-large heavy pot (with a lid) over medium-high heat. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken breast with salt and 1 Tbsp. of the ancho chili powder. Place the chicken in the hot oil and brown on each side, 2-3 minutes. Remove to a plate, leaving behind as much oil as possible.

Add the onion and rice to the pot. Stir for several minutes, until the rice turns from translucent to opaque. Add the garlic and the remaining 1.5 Tbsp. ancho chili powder. Cook one minute, and then add the broth and salt to taste. Stir well. When the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover, and cook for 10 minutes.

Cut the chicken breast into 1″ pieces.  Add them to the pot along with the beans. Re-cover and cook 12 minutes longer.

Sprinkle the green onions and test a kernel of rice.  It should  have no more than a hint of chalkiness at in the center, in which case you place the cover back on, remove it from the heat and let it stand 5-10 minutes.  If it’s not cooked, cook for another 5 minutes or so.

Fluff the mixture with a fork and serve with salsa for each person to spoon on al gusto.

Source:  From Elly Says Opa, who adapted from Everyday Mexican by Rick Bayless