The third recipe that can be attributed to the current pantry challenge is aptly named Simple Spanish Rice. So simple, yet so good, and if it weren’t for Mr. Crumbs wanting fajitas last week, it never would have been created!
His choice of meal actually fit well with our mission to eat what’s in the pantry. We had everything needed except for one onion and tortillas. I could have made homemade tortillas, but given that I had just spent over 3 hours driving to and from an all-day conference, and it takes a minimum of 30 minutes to make tortillas (and that’s ONLY tortillas, not anything else for the meal), I sincerely was not in the mood to battle with my tortilla press.
When we go out to eat at a Mexican restaurant, Mr. Crumbs and I usually share a single order of fajitas. After gorging on chips and salsa (we share the same weakness), there simply isn’t much room left for an entire plate of food. The single serving of fajitas is enough food to satisfy our hunger and nothing ends up uneaten and wasted. It works our perfectly for us because we each prefer different elements of the meal. The sour cream and guacamole go to me and he takes the cheese. I scoop up the beans (which may be passed over if we go out for Mexican anytime soon) and the rice is left completely for his taking…
And then it dawned on me as I was chopping the peppers and onions that I didn’t have any rice!
Ordinarily, no big deal. But on fajita night? Disastrous!
My go-to recipe, which is absolutely delicious and fail-proof, is an all-out affair and a no-go for the night. It calls for bacon and we didn’t have any. It calls for diced green bell pepper and the only peppers I had were yellow and getting happy with the onions in my frying pan. The “all out” rice takes about 40 minutes to make and I needed rice that would be ready in 10.
In a bind, I started with a very basic recipe from Good Cheap Eats and doctored it up to create my own super-simple Spanish rice that can be made with basic pantry staples.
The family liked it so much that the “all out” version may get the bench until a special occasion arises.
Simple Spanish Rice
1 cup rice (I used Jasmine)
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
2 tablespoons oil
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
¼ teaspoon pepper, plus more to taste
In a pan with a lid, combine rice, garlic and oil and cook over medium-low heat until the rice is golden brown and turning white. Add the entire can of tomatoes – carefully as it may splatter. Stir in chicken broth and seasonings; cover and reduce heat to low. Allow to cook until rice all the liquid is absorbed, about 5-10 minutes.
If you have beans in your pantry (or are willing to take some off my hands), create easy rice and bean burritos for dinner. Add some fresh chips and salsa, sour cream, guacamole, cheese and lettuce for a hearty vegetarian meal that is definitely light on the pocketbook!