Today is a special edition of The Heritage Cook. I belong to a wonderful group called the Secret Recipe Club. From its beginnings with a handful of adventuresome bloggers to over 300 members today with four reveal days a month, we have grown into a remarkable family. On the first Monday of every month I host the Group A reveals, but today Group D needed a little help.
Nicole, the delightful author of Colie’s Kitchen has a blog that everyone will love. Full of enthusiasm and passion for life, Nicole brings a bright light to anyone lucky enough to read her posts. She offers truly inspired Menu Plan Mondays that will help us all avoid preparing the same recipes over and over. I look forward to breaking out of the proverbial rut with her help!
Also, make sure you check out her Giveaway tab. She seems to always have something wonderful being offer, the current one is a $25 gift card for Kroger! I could create some great meals with that – how about you?
When I heard that her SRC buddy had troubles posting a recipe for Monday’s reveal, I gladly volunteered to make something. The biggest issue was figuring out which of her many wonderful recipes to make! As a matter of fact, The Artist is going to be having dinner with his sister soon and I am going to be making something she has on her plan for this week, Cheesy Chicken Tater Tot Casserole – it is exactly what I’ve been craving and not something The Artist appreciates. I grew up with good old-fashioned comfort foods, but his parents usually served freshly made Italian foods. That’s OK, that means there will be more for me LOL!
But for today I chose a side dish to go with the chicken soup I was serving for dinner. Nicole put a fun and distinctively Texan spin on the classic Spanish/Mexican rice, one of my all time favorites. She made hers with chili sauce that gave it a slight barbecue flavor I loved. I made a few minor changes, but this is one terrific recipe.
To enhance the southwestern flavors I added a little ground cumin and some oregano. I had sweet Italian peppers from my father-in-law’s garden that gave a nice touch to the dish. Nicole includes a little brown sugar, but I didn’t need to add it because I was using sweet Vidalia onions. When you are looking for a quick, healthy and delicious side dish, especially with grilled meats, this is the one for you.
Nicole made hers with bacon sprinkled on top and used a little of the fat to saute the onions and peppers. If you wanted to make this vegetarian or vegan, you could easily use olive oil instead. But folks, is there anything in this world that isn’t better with bacon? Honestly, I wanted to grab a cowboy hat and give a rebel yell when I tasted my first bite! I can’t wait for the leftovers that will be tomorrow’s lunch.
Thank you Nicole for a fabulous recipe. It was a pleasure “meeting” you and I look forward to following your blog.
Have a wonderful week my friends!!
Spanish Rice with a Texas Swing
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
8 slices uncooked bacon *
1 cup chopped onion
1/4 bell pepper, diced
3/4 cup raw long grain rice
1 (16 oz) can diced tomatoes with their liquid
1-1/2 cups of water
1/2 cup prepared chili sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin, optional
1/4 tsp garlic powder, optional
1/2 tsp oregano, optional
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Dash of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup frozen peas, optional
Minced green onions or chives, for garnish
In a 10-inch skillet with a lid, over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy. Using tongs, transfer cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Discard half of the fat in the pan. Return skillet to the heat and cook the onions and bell peppers in the remaining fat until tender but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add the rice to the skillet and cook for 1 minute, tossing to coat each grain of rice with the oil in the pan.
In a bowl, combine the tomatoes (with their juices), the water, salt, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and pepper. Stir to blend. Pour over the rice. Make sure all ingredients are evenly distributed in the skillet. Cover the skillet, reduce the heat to low, and simmer 40 to 50 minutes, or according to package directions. Stir in the peas.
Remove from the heat, leave the pan covered and let sit undisturbed for 5 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed, the peas are heated through, and the rice is tender. Fluff rice with a fork to break up any clumps.
Transfer to a serving dish, crumble cooked bacon on top, sprinkle on the green onions and serve hot.
* If you want to make a vegetarian version of this rice, substitute 3 tbsp of organic olive oil in place of the bacon. Add 1 tsp smoked paprika to get the smoky flavor and increase the salt by 1/2 tsp.
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