Changing things up…starting with a question.
If I have a choice between rice and beans, I always choose rice. I subconsciously believe this to be nutrition-related. Authentic refried beans have plentiful amounts of lard in them, making Mexican rice a healthier alternative. I also like a little carb-on-carb action. That is, rice scooped up on a tortilla chip. Heavenly.
When I decided to make Crispy Shrimp Tacos, I decided to out-do myself and make the homemade Mexican rice to go with. Refried beans? Well, those are usually of the canned, fat-free, vegetarian variety…but for this meal we went without and just enjoyed the rice.
To kick things up a nutritional notch, I used a long-grain brown rice. The rice still took on that beautiful orange/amber color and we were able to sneak in some more dietary fiber…always a good thing. If you don’t have corn, peas, or peppers on hand…no problem. But I wouldn’t omit the onion (unless of course you’re one of the few out there who hate the fellers)…it adds so much flavor!
You can prep this meal ahead of time by dicing up your veggies, and it comes together in 30 minutes, max. Definitely a doable feat for those who see the value in homemade versus those 1-minute microwave-in-the-bag deals of rice you can score for $0.50. Not that the price isn’t right, but this is way better. And for some ODD reason, I feel less polluted with preservatives. Go figure. Husband is not so convinced that “polluted” is something you can feel, but he wasn’t complaining. This compares to a bag of the heat-and-serve variety. How flattering.
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1 1/3 cup brown long-grain rice, uncooked
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2/3 cup tomato sauce
2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
1/4 cup peas, frozen or fresh
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and sauté onions, garlic and bell peppers until softened.
Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, until toasted and golden. Add the garlic powder, salt, cumin, and tomato sauce. Stir until all the rice is coated.
Add the chicken broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Uncover and add frozen corn and peas. Fold in and cover for 3 minutes until warmed through. Fluff with a fork before serving. Yield: 7 servings (1/2 cup each).
Nutrition Information (per 1/2 cup): 108 calories; 4.1 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 226 mg. sodium; 15.6 g. carbohydrate; 1.7 g. fiber; 2.1 g. protein
Result: Delicious! I believe this will be my go-to Mexican rice recipe. It is quick and easy and you can easily adapt it to include any veggies you have on hand, or don’t have on hand, for that matter. Love the nutrition stats that include fiber and are lower in sodium than ready-to-serve rice options out there. Enjoy!
And a bit of good news! Back in January (the 27th, to be exact) my business partners and I visited the largest group of nephrologists in the state of Ohio to talk with them about offering medical nutrition therapy (MNT) to their chronic kidney disease (CKD) population (you can read about that here). The meeting went SO well. Us three gals, sporting our best business suits, even went out for celebratory drinks at 2pm that afternoon. It was a Thursday and we had just wow’ed a phenomenal group of physicians. Drinks were in order.
As the weeks passed, we grew discouraged. Why hadn’t they called? And recently, we had moved on. I have even made the decision to take on a larger dialysis clinic to increase my hours at work and to continue teaching this quarter. Yesterday afternoon, an email comes through on my Blackberry. The group of nephrologists wants us! We’re talking out the deets this morning. It’s just amazing how things fall into place sometimes. Whether or not we had landed the gig, we brought our A-game and our best. Ends up, it was enough. We just couldn’t be happier to see Mid Ohio Nutrition Specialists growing! It is so rewarding to have something, like a business, to call your own and to nurture and watch develop. It can be trying, but ultimately so very rewarding. Go after your dreams, folks. Good things will happen with time, passion, and perseverance!
Now, can I buy just a few more hours each week to do all that needs to get done!?
On cloud 9,