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Friday, August 2, 2013

Mexicali Yum Casserole

It's 5:00, (probably more like 6-6:30!) and you haven't started dinner yet and want something good and also need to cover your nutrient bases, what do you do? 

Start opening cans, baby.

This casserole is based on my dear friend, Renae's, Mexican Rice dish.  Renae has become a wizz at throwing things together, a skill no-doubt born out of necessity from her busy schedule.  I've changed it slightly from the original she sent me and you could do the same....as it is very easily adaptable.

I put on a large pot of brown rice (short-grain is my favorite).  I don't fuss about my rice cooking.  Water in pot, throw in rice, bring to a boil, turn down heat for a few minutes and cover and turn heat off.  I'll check to see if it needs more water and add as needed.

I chop a large onion or two and put them in a large skillet with just a little bit of water.  Stir occasionally and let the pan go mostly dry, then stir, stir, stir, to carmelize.




just starting to brown


getting there....


For this version, I lightly sauteed some leeks and shallots that I had fresh from my garden.  It was a nice treat.




While the rice and onion are cooking I start opening cans/packages.  My newest thing is cooked lentils from Trader Joe's.  Normally I am a bit of a snob about buying things pre-cooked, but I tried these and now am hooked.  YUM!  I layer these in the bottom of a large casserole dish.


When the rice is done, it will go on top of the lentils, but there are no rules to Mexicali!  Layer/dump as you see fit.

I open various cans of beans, my favorites for this dish being black beans and pinto beans.  Usually I will open about 3 or 4 cans, and pull the frozen corn out of the freezer.




Open canned tomatoes, usually one or two cans (omit if using fresh from the garden), and a can of Rotel tomatoes with chilies.

Open a bottle of salsa; I love Trader Joe's black bean and corn salsa.
but this is good too...


Start dumping everything into the casserole dish.  I usually go rice and lentils on bottom, then onion, then beans and corn;  I add tomatoes (fresh from the garden if you have) and salsa last.  Everything is cooked at this point so no reason to put it in the oven, but you can heat if you want.  We usually just warm up a portion, but I also like this cold with avocado slices on the top and Lindsay Nixon's sour cream recipe (from Happy Herbivore) as a topping.  My husband likes to spoon it into small corn tortillas and eat it soft taco style.  I've added Lindsay's queso with this too and that is also quite good.  This casserole is great as a topping on baked sweet potatoes and I've even spooned it on top of greens for a quick salad.



Definite yum!


(Note:  I've been having a side of greens, usually kale/collards with a sprinkling of raw sunflower seeds with most meals, even breakfast, for about a month now.  I've noticed an increase in energy and think it is providing some added calcium and vit A (per Dr. Michael Klaper we need a bit of healthy fat with the greens to help utilize vitamin A in our bodies). 


Sue, comer bien, in Ohio


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