From the Kitchen: The Best Rice, Beans & Salsa
You know those foods that you love at restaurants or from the grocery store that you just can’t ever seem to replicate back at home? You buy the best ingredients, you follow a recipe, you really…REALLY try hard to recreate that original flavor, and you get close…but somehow it just misses the mark? You know what I’m talking about. Well today, I’m going to tackle three of those. I have never been able to make authentic (or at least “restaurant tasty”) rice and beans, and my salsas always seem to lack flavor or end up too salty or acidic. So I implored the help of my two favorite sidekicks… my best friend and my husband.
In our circle of friends, Melinda is the authority on Mexican Cuisine (well, she’s pretty much a culinary genius on all fronts, but Mexican is definitely her forte) and everything she makes is always so tasty. But above all, her rice and refried beans are my absolute favorite. So, I asked for her secret and she gave me the fool-proof, easy to make version of her famous rice and beans.
Melinda’s Mexican Style Rice
- 2 cups rice (she uses Mahatma)
- 4 cups water (approx.)
- 2 tablespoons Knorr “Caldo de Tomate”
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used canola)
- 2 tablespoons chopped green onion
Heat oil over medium heat in a standard pan.
Add rice and stir until browned, about 3-5 minutes.
Add water (you’ll want to fill the pan almost to the top, leaving room to bring it to a boil)
Stir in the Knorr Bouillon making sure all lumps are dissolved.
Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer.
Cover and let cook for 15-20 minutes, peeking in after about 10 to check on the water level (you may need to add more water if rice doesn’t seem cooked)
Garnish with green onion
Melinda’s Restaurant Refried Beans
- 2 40oz cans of SUN VISTA pinto beans, strain and reserve the liquid.
- 2 jalapeños, cut into quarters lengthwise, veins and seeds removed.
- vegetable oil (I used canola), enough to cover the bottom of a large frying pan.
- grated cheese (cheddar, monterey jack, or cotija)
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and coat the bottom with vegetable oil.
Add jalapeños to hot oil and stir the around to infuse the oil for about 3 minutes. Make sure to not let them burn.
Add strained beans and stir for another 3-5 minutes. Lower heat to a simmer.
Using a potato masher, mash beans. Add reserved liquid as needed to keep the beans moist. As the refried beans cool, they’ll dry up so it’s better to make them a little runnier than you’d serve to start.
Garnish with a little cheese.
Evan is an experimental cook. He often whips up amazing, jaw-on-the-floor deliciousness that I can’t wait to eat again and again….and then other times, he makes…red wine soup. No comment. Let’s just say, when he’s on…HE IS ON! And when he’s off…well, did you not just hear me say red wine soup? Since he is such a fly by the seat of his pants kind of cook, he’ll often write down the winning recipes so that he can come back to them. This fresh salsa is one of them. Hands down, one of the best and easiest salsa’s ever. It’s one of those recipes that you can adjust to your taste so feel free to use it as a guide (although I think it’s perfect just like it is).
Evan’s Amazingly Delicious Fresh Salsa
Makes about 3 cups
- 4 small tomatoes, diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 jalapeño, roasted whole and diced
- 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 lime juiced
- salt and pepper to taste
Roast the jalapeño on the grill for about 15 minutes, turning a few times for even coverage. (This can also be done in an oven)
Meanwhile, prep your tomatoes, onion and cilantro and place in a medium-sized bowl.
Add diced jalapeño (seeds too) and lime juice.
Mix well and add salt and pepper to taste.
Let sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Adjust flavors if needed before serving.