One of our favorite meals is also one of the easiest. Any kind of beans makes DH’s little heart go pitty-pat, so I always cook a whole pound at a time. This makes about six cups of beans – and even more if I use some of the cooking juice to mash them up New Orleans style.
Planned over pork chops are simmered really slowly in a mild BBQ mixture, and make the perfect meat to accompany those beans.
This time when I cooked the rice, I put in a couple of glugs of really thick tomato paste in with the water, so the effect is that the rice is kind of pinkish. I’m not sure there is a lot of taste imparted, but it makes it a bit different. I use it as a base for Spanish Rice sometimes, too. It is one of our favorites, and the contrast to the stark white of regular rice is a nice change.
Steamed cabbage is always a favorite with this meat, beans, and rice combination. That’s tomatillo salsa on the pork chops, regular red fresh tomato salsa on the beans, with shredded Cheddar, and chopped scallions to add even more interest. My plate looked like this, too, except I opted for sour cream instead of the scallions.
This plate is usually a sufficient amount for a regular dinner, but if more substance is required, then some of the beans/rice mixture can be spooned onto a tostada for consumption. This provides a bit of crunch, too.
The red salsa is good with regulation tortilla chips, so that’s another way to make more volume for those who wish a bit more volume in a meal. Add a sliced avocado . . . How can you go wrong?
If a smaller meal is needed, then it is easy to switch gears and just put some shredded cheese with the beans and rice in a tortilla, roll it up and give it a zap in the microwave, or slow heat it in a covered non-stick frying pan. If you have some enchilada sauce (it comes in a can in red or green, if you don’t make it yourself), you can heat ’em up with that sauce on top. Add some more cheese to the top, some olives, a side salad, and whatever else floats your boat, and you’ve got yourself a really filling meal with almost no prep or cleanup work, and at an exceedingly low cost.
Adding meat to this is really easy, too. A bit of ground meat (a bit of leftover burger?) with some pasta sauce added and whatever Mexican spices you like will bring this completely into the yum-yum range.
I keep a jar of Penzey’s Fajita Seasoning around and just put that into whatever I am making that I want to have an authentic Mexican flair. I use a lot of Santa Cruz mild chili powder, too. The combination is just right for our mild tastes. A sharper chili pepper may be more to your taste. That’s the beauty of cooking your own food. It’s always just how you want it to be!
If you like the tortilla to stay soft, spray it with a bit of water as it heats, or – if you like to get that tortilla good and crispy, put a bit of oil/butter in the frying pan, but keep a close eye on it. It doesn’t take much to get it too brown.
It’s pretty hard not to love this stuff!