Unventing Faux Mexican Rice

Admin note: Since I'm only posting sporadically, it doesn't make sense to stick to the 'day of the week' titles, so I hereby decree that I will, from this day forth, use descriptive titles on all my posts. Yippee! Release the pigeons!

Yeah, I'm still here, and yeah, I'm still struggling. I'm still eating flexitarian, mostly ovo-lacto-vegetarian (not much lacto, tho) with occasional meat. And I have gained back just about all the weight I lost last year.

All together now: Heavy sigh.

A big component of my problem is my activity level. There are a few quasi-valid reasons (read: lame excuses) that I won't bore you with, but overall, even though I am eating pretty well, I am simply taking more in than I'm expending. Yeah, I could stand to tweak a few things, food-wise, and from time to time I actually try to do so, but until I increase my activity level I'm pretty much screwed.

One major disappointment: I still can't break my romaine aversion. I don't seem to be able to eat it more than once a week. I am pretty upset about that. It seemed such an elegant solution!

But enough about my most recent failures, let's talk about food.

I have a new recipe for you! To be precise, the dish is not new but I have found a quick and easy way to approximate it. And I can't even say for sure I'm the first person to think of this, although I haven't seen it anywhere else (that I remember). Let's borrow a term from the online knitting community and just say I 'unvented' it. That's shorthand for 'I discovered this recipe/pattern/technique but can't say definitively that no one else has ever come up with it before, so I'll claim credit only for my incarnation of it.'

Recently I fell in love with that pink rice stuff you often see in Mexican restaurants. I think it's technically called Spanish Rice. I learned Spanish Rice recipes call for white rice to be cooked in broth and stock, which -- white rice issue aside -- just wouldn't to work for me on a weeknight. I usually keep pre-cooked brown rice frozen in 2 cup portions since brown rice takes approximately forever to cook. So what could I do?

In reviewing the ingredients list, I realized I had a lot of the things pre-mixed at my fingertips. Cooked tomatoes, onions, spices... sounds like jarred salsa to me! It only took a few trials to get it just the way I like it. It ain't perfect, but it sure is quick.

Faux Mexican Rice

2 cups pre-cooked brown rice, at room temperature
1/2 cup jarred salsa, your preferred level of spice*
Splash of water

Place rice in a microwave-safe container. Add a splash of water if the rice is a little dry. Add salsa, combine. Add more salsa until it's the color you want. It should be a little saucy; remember the juice will get absorbed by the rice.

Cover and microwave for two minutes. Stir. If it's not piping hot throughout, nuke for another minute or so. Stir and check for piping hot-ness. When it's steaming hot, remove from microwave and let sit, covered, for a few minutes.

The goal is to heat the rice to steaming to, uh, loosen up the starch in the rice, then let it cool down to give the rice a chance to absorb the liquid.

* I like the jarred Pace Picante because, well, I'm a Northerner. Also, it has a nice sauciness to it that works well in this application. And it comes in mild, which my son will eat.

Serve and enjoy!

Now that hot weather is a distant memory (heavy sigh again) I'll probably be posting more often, so come back and see me soon, OK?

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