Spanish Rice

img_3461Spanish Rice


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1-1/2 cups uncooked long-grain rice
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cups water or chicken broth
  • 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce


Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium low heat. Add the rice and saute until golden brown. Add the onion, garlic, and seasonings and continue to saute for a couple more minutes. Add the water/broth and the tomato sauce. Stir and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 25-30 minutes, until rice is cooked. Remove from heat and let stand for 15 minutes, still covered, then fluff rice with a fork. Serve.


For some reason, since moving back to Texas in 2011, I have had major Spanish rice problems. I made it fine for years in California but could not get it to work here. Most of the time, it came out undercooked and on the rare occasions when I didn’t, it was a big pan of soft mush.

But recently, through a lot of trial and error, weighing my ingredients, deleting another ingredient, and paying close attention to the browning process, I finally – FINALLY – have a Spanish rice recipe that works consistently again. I seriously cannot express how happy this makes me. A years-long kitchen fail and I conquered it. Yeah baby.


Creamy Salsa Chicken

Creamy Salsa Chicken
adapted from Dinners, Dishes & Desserts


  • 1-1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups salsa
  • 1 cup stock or water
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish


In a large skillet over medium high heat, brown chicken for 4-5 minutes until no longer pink. Add onion and saute for another 2-3 minutes until onion is soft and chicken is cooked through. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add seasonings, salsa, water, and corn to the pan and stir to combine. Turn heat down to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in the sour cream and lime juice. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro.


My kind of meal: one pan, 20 minutes, simple, totally delicious. I served it over Spanish rice with a warmed, rolled up corn tortilla on the side. This one is definitely going on repeat!

Albondigas (Mexican Meatball) Soup



Albondigas (Mexican Meatball) Soup
adapted from Use Real Butter



  • 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ancho chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon New Mexican chile powder
  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  • 1 14.5-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 canned chipotle chile, minced, plus 1-2 teaspoons adobo sauce
  • 2 carrots, sliced into coins
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup uncooked rice


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 lb bulk Mexican chorizo (I use my homemade version)
  • 1 cup bread crumbs (preferably fresh)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced (plus more, chopped, for garnish)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large stock pot over medium heat and sauté the onion until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds. Add the spices, broth, tomatoes, chipotle, carrots, zucchini, and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer (medium-low heat) for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine all of the meatball ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Pinch off about 1.5 tablespoons of filling and roll it into a ball about 1 inch in diameter. Repeat until you have made about 30 meatballs. Place the meatballs on a baking sheet lined with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until cooked through and sizzling.

Add the cooked meatballs and rice to the soup and simmer for another 15-18 minutes, until rice is tender. Serve hot and garnish with chopped fresh cilantro.


Albondigas Soup is one of those random things that has been on my back burner for about four years now. Fellow longtime cooks, you know this scenario: it was one of those dishes I heard about, envisioned a certain way, failed at on my first attempt, then subsequently filed away for far too long until I figured out how I was going to approach it differently. Well, now my cooking skills have caught up with my imagination, and this recipe is the result.

AND HOLY @*&# THIS WAS GOOD. Like… top ten recipes of all time good. Like, cook to impress guests good. Like total shock, I could never have imagined it would turn out this amazing, CRAZYFREAKINGGOOD.

If you don’t have homemade chorizo, no problem, use the store stuff. If you don’t have Ancho or New Mexican chile powder, no problem, just use a teaspoon of whatever ya got. But don’t let anything stop you from making this if it strikes your fancy. I promise you will not regret the effort.

Chicken Enchilada Quinoa Stew

Chicken Enchilada Quinoa Stew


1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
1 small sweet or yellow onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, any color, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons oregano (I use Mexican)
2 teaspoons chile powder (I use Ancho and New Mexican)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup dry quinoa
1 14.5-oz. can petite diced tomatoes
1 7-oz. can diced green chiles, drained
1 10-oz. can mild or medium enchilada sauce
2 cups water
1 cup frozen corn
1 14.5-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup (2 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese

Optional, for serving: chopped cilantro, scallions, tortilla chips, salsa, etc.


Heat 1 teaspoon oil in large pot over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink, about 5-6 minutes. Add onion and bell pepper and cook until just soft, another 3-4 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, oregano, chile powder, and salt and stir through for another 30 seconds.

Reduce heat to medium low and add quinoa, tomatoes, diced chiles, enchilada sauce, and water. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure quinoa is not sticking.

Add corn, black beans, and cheese, and stir to combine. Serve with desired accompaniments.


This has a similar flavor profile and ingredients as my chicken tortilla soup, but the addition of enchilada sauce and quinoa turns this into something entirely different – and outstanding. Definitely keeping this in rotation for a while!

Chipotle Chicken Chili

Chipotle Chicken Chili
(heavily altered, but inspired by this post from Pioneer Woman)


1-1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces (see NOTES)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon Kosher salt (or to taste)
1 small yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 12-ounce bottle beer (I used regular Modelo)
1 cup water
1 15-oz can petite diced tomatoes
2 whole chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced, plus 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
2 14.5-ounce cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, minced (about half a “bunch”)

For serving: sour cream, shredded cheese, cilantro, scallions, limes, corn chips, etc.


Heat large pot over medium high heat, then add the chicken, cumin, oregano and salt. Saute for about 7 or 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until the chicken is cooked through. Add the onion and garlic and stir. Cook for a few minutes more, until onion is soft. Add the beer and cook for 2 minutes to slightly reduce. Add the water, tomatoes, chipotles, beans and ancho chili powder. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a hard simmer. Let cook for 10 to 15 minutes.

Add the lime juice and cilantro. Stir to combine, then remove from heat. Serve with desired accompaniments.


Salty, sweet, smoky, spicy; this was instant love. Intense flavor with so few ingredients and chock full of protein to boot? Our perfect kind of meal.

As always, if you start with chicken breast, you will need a teaspoon or two of oil to get things going. Also, mine is soupier than a traditional chili, I realize, so if you want to make it thicker, you can blend some masa harina with water or more beer (1:1 ratio) or add a third can of beans. Ree did both in the post that inspired this dish. Up to you, but Steve and I loved it so tremendously as is, I think I will leave it for now.

Mexican Chicken and Rice Soup

Mexican Chicken and Rice Soup
inspired by Gimme Some Oven


1.25 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 small white onion, chopped
2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
1 small chayote, diced
1 large red bell pepper, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
4 cups stock or water
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 cup frozen corn
2 chipotles in adobo sauce, roughly chopped + 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
3 cups cooked white rice (yield from 1 cup dry)
1 cup salsa verde (I used a little can of Herdez)
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Garnish: diced avocado, fresh cilantro, tortilla chips, shredded cheese, scallions, lime wedges


Heat a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add chicken, onion, jalapenos, chayote, bell pepper, garlic, salt, cumin and oregano. Saute for about 8 to 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft and the chicken nearly cooked through.

Add stock, tomatoes, corn, chipotles and adobo sauce and stir to combine. Heat until boiling, then reduce heat to medium and let it simmer at a hard bubble for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the rice, salsa verde, lime juice and cilantro.

Serve warm with desired garnishes.


This was nothing short of fabulous. I consider it a worthy successor to my old chicken tortilla soups – heartier, spicier, somehow a little more complex. Absolutely love. I foresee this being a permanent fixture.

Chicken Enchiladas

Chicken Enchiladas


1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Seasoning: ground cumin, dried Mexican oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper
1/2 tablespoon oil
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese, divided in half
1 7-ounce can diced green chiles (or 7 to 8 ounces Hatch chiles if you have them!)
Red enchilada sauce, either one 28-ounce can, or half of my homemade recipe
10 flour tortillas, large taco size
Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place the chicken on a large baking sheet lined with foil. Season the chicken generously with cumin, oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1/2 tablespoon oil over medium low in a small skillet. Add the onions and garlic and saute until just soft, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic to a medium mixing bowl along with the diced green chiles.

Once the chicken has finished baking, remove to a cutting board, let cool slightly, then slice/chop the chicken into small bits and add to the mixing bowl. Make sure the mixture is cool enough to not melt the cheese, then add half the cheddar. Toss well to combine.

Pour the enchilada sauce in a skillet or pie plate. Grab one tortilla and lightly coat it with the sauce, by a combination of dipping it in the sauce, brushing it on with a pastry brush, rubbing it in with your fingers – seriously, don’t be afraid to get dirty while doing this. Put the tortilla down in an empty 9×13 baking dish, spoon about one-tenth (doesn’t need to be an exact science, but don’t over-fill) of the chicken mixture onto the tortilla, then roll it up and place seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat with the other 9 tortillas. You will likely need to place the last one or two perpendicular to the rest.

Pour any remaining sauce over the top of the enchiladas.

Cover with foil (do not forget this or the sauce will dry out!) and bake in the 350-degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove the pan and discard the foil. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar on top of the enchiladas and return to the oven uncovered for another 10 minutes.

Sprinkle cilantro on top, if desired, and serve immediately with Spanish rice, beans, salsa, scallions, etc.


I’ve been meaning to post about enchiladas for a very long time, but I wanted to wait until I had a truly delicious, repeatable recipe. This is it. I can’t stop making these!

Please note that I do make my own sauce (linked above) and I cannot recommend it enough. It really makes the dish something special.