I promise Becoming Peculiar is not becoming a food blog. I love food blogs, but that’s not what I started blogging to do.
However! Food is a really huge part of my life (and spirituality) and I really do love passing along a good recipe or two.
And as I mentioned in a recent post, summer just isn’t conducive to long, meditative posts for me. I’m too anxious to be out in the world living and doing and making. So for now, it’ll mostly be quick, simple, and fun posts. Meditative posts will return when it’s cold and boring outside.
And speaking of quick.
I have gotten myself in the habit of always only cooking elaborate dinners every night. I typically spend 2-3 hours working on dinner every night, with cleanup and everything. That’s way too much time in the kitchen every day when I have so many other projects I’d like to be working on. I do find it fun and satisfying, and our food is pretty fantastic (if I do say so myself) as a result; but sometimes, I’d like to give myself a break. Without resorting to junk food.
Part of the reason I spend so much time in the kitchen is my desire to make everything from scratch. That takes longer than opening up a can of this and mixing it with a box of that. USUALLY.
But real food can be quick, too. I just have to remind myself of this fact every once in a while.
Lately, I’m interested in building up a repertoire of super-quick and easy (but still wholesome) dinners for hectic days when I don’t have time for elaborate ones. I don’t have a lot of these types of recipes, to be honest.
But this recipe for Mexican Skillet fits the bill perfectly and has been a staple my whole life. Honest. I’ve been making it since I was ten years old.
Back then, we used minute rice and bouillon cubes for flavour. (In fact, the recipe originates from the back of an Uncle Ben’s Minute Rice box, circa 1992). We topped it with chopped iceberg lettuce and orange Kraft cheddar (Cheese should not be orange, you guys. It’s made out of milk. When did you last see orange milk.) Over the years I’ve adapted it for a more real foods diet, but it’s still simple, quick, and delicious. Better lettuce, better cheese, no powdered flavours, and real rice make this a winner.
The next time you have to whip together a quick dinner in less than half an hour, try this one out. You don’t even have to have the beef defrosted ahead of time — just throw the meat right in your skillet, frozen, with a bit of water; put on the lid and let it simmer until it’s ready to brown. It’ll only add another 10 minutes to your total cooking time. I did this the other day and still had time to tidy the kitchen before calling the family in to eat.
Mexican Skillet and Rice
- 1 cup uncooked rice (I like basmati)
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 quart jar canned tomatoes, diced or whole (I use home-canned)
- 1 tsp salt, plus more to taste
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- chopped romaine lettuce (or other favourite. We’ve used arugula and spinach in a pinch)
- grated cheddar cheese (preferably raw organic)
To start, get the rice cooking. I usually use basmati because it cooks up so quickly (20 minutes or less), but you can use your favourite long-grain rice (including brown) — just adjust water and cooking time as needed. For basmati, add rice and 1 1/2 cups water to a small pot over high heat. Cook until it starts to bubble; then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until tender.
Meanwhile, brown ground beef with chopped onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes, salt and chili powder. Simmer until slightly thickened, about 5-10 minutes. Add cooked rice. Taste and adjust flavouring.
You’re done! Serve with lettuce and cheddar.