Monday, May 23, 2016

Dumb Easy Dinner: Mexican Rice Skillet

Summer is nearly upon us. With it comes the pitter patter of little feet. Or rather the stomp stomp stomp of bigger feet, the sometimes pajama days, the summer reading program, the bike rides, the park visits, the pool visits. And then we must not forget the messes, the muddy shoes, the bitter arguments over which cartoon character you are and why your sister is not allowed to be the cartoon character she wants to be. Oh, yes, and the plaintive cries of "I'm hungry."

Sometimes in summer it's actually easier for me to cook. Things are a little more laid back. We have fewer places we have to be. But sometimes I just want to lounge around like a big pasty-skinned lizard and not spend all afternoon in the kitchen. And other times we get home famished and ready to eat one another. On those days, it's good to have a few dumb easy dinners in the back pocket, preferably ones that won't use a booty load of dishes or heat up the oven for hours. Here you go.

The fantastic, glorious thing about Mexican Rice Skillets is that you just need rice, broth, and tomatoes. After that you can kind of do what you want--add meat or beans or enchilada sauce or heat or cheese. Whatever. It's really a dump and eat kind of meal that can be adapted to whatever on earth happens to be in your fridge. If you already have rice leftover, you can even use that, though it's super flavorful to make the rice with all the seasonings simmering into it.

Mexican Rice Skillet
serves 6
adapted from Butter Yum
prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Cost: $7.50 ( $1.25/per serving)
bacon: .50, onion: .15, pepper: .75, beef: 3.00, rice: .15, canned tomatoes: .65, beef stock (from bullion cube): .15, other stuff: .15

a few strips bacon (optional)
1 bell pepper, chopped; I used red (also kind of optional, but veggies for heaven's sake)
1 medium onion, chopped (or finely grated if you have onion-texture haters among you)
1 clove garlic
1 pound ground beef (or cut this to 1/2 pound or use beans instead; seriously, this is that kind of whatever recipe)
1 C uncooked white rice
6 tomatoes, chopped (or a can of diced tomatoes with juices)
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 1/4 C beef stock (if you used the can of tomatoes, reduce this to 1 Cup)
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp black pepper.

Saute bacon if using. Add ground beef and cook (the original recipe just had the beef going raw into the rice and cooking, but I was afraid, so I cooked it first; you could potentially skip this step and you should know the beef doesn't have to be completely cooked through as it will cook longer).Add onions and peppers. Continue to saute until vegetables start to soften.  Add garlic and cook one more minute.

Add rice and cook for a minute. Then add the remaining ingredients.

Bring mixture to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low or medium low. Cook until all the juices are absorbed and the rice is tender. If you taste it and the rice is still a little too tough, add a bit more water (maybe 1/4 C) and cook until it's absorbed.

That's it, and there's dinner. We served it with some grated cheese and sour cream. Also, avocado would have been amazing.



  1. This looks so yummy! And I'm thinking leftovers would be great little frozen burritos! Thanks for this idea. I can't wait to make it.



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