Meg’s Cooking Corner

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Mexican Red Rice

This is a good side dish to go with the carnitas or other mexican dishes. This recipe is from the Food Network. For the canned tomatoes, I use Rotel to spice things up. Rotel also sells mild diced tomatoes and green chilies if your kids (or you) want it milder.

Mexican Red Rice

2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups long-grain white rice
1 tsp smoky paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1 bay leaf
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes (I used Rotel brand)
2 1/2 cups chicken broth (to make gluten-free, use GF broth)
salt and pepper as needed
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over med-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until the onion is soft, about 2 minutes. Add the rice, spices and bay leaf. Cook and stir until the rice is opaque, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and broth, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the rice is tender, about 20-25 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork and serve.

Dinner and a Movie: Carnitas Sweet Pork

Check out Slow Cooking Thursday hosted by Diary of a Stay at-home Mom for more crock-pot recipes!

Napoleon Dynamite is one of those goofy movies that grows on you and you find yourself quoting often. With Craig's mexican heritage, we love the character Pedro. The school audience is told not to vote for Pedro because "who wants to eat chimichangas for lunch every day?" We do! So vote for Pedro and enjoy this fried pork for dinner soon. It is very easy to make in the crock pot. I also love it because the filling can be used in several dishes. Serve in soft tortillas, fry for chimichangas, or serve over shredded lettuce for a great tostada salad. It starts with Del Real Carnitas fried pork, which you can find in Costco's open refrigerated area by the fresh meats. I found it at my Costco by the tamales. I discovered this recipe off the food blog Satisfying My Sweet Tooth. If you can't find it at your Costco, come on over and we'll have a mexican feast and watch Napoleon play tetherball!

Carnitas Sweet Pork

1 pkg Del Real Carnitas fried pork (from Costco)
1-2 cans chicken broth
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/4 cup minced onion (can also use dried onion)
1 tsp cumin

Cook pork as per directions on package. Shred the cooked pork with two forks and put in crock pot. Add all other ingredients and simmer for at least 3-4 hours on low, stirring occasionally. Use 1 can chicken broth when making soft tacos or chimichangas, use 1 1/2 to 2 cans when making salad.

For soft tacos: put filling in tortillas. Serve with shredded cheese, guacamole, sour cream and salsa. Add any toppings you want.

For chimichangas: take tortilla and put 1/2 cup of filling in it. Fold the two sides over and roll, keeping it closed with a toothpick. Fry in about 1 inch of oil. Turn it when the bottom is brown to cook both sides until golden and crisp. Top with all the fixings you want: lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, sour cream, salsa, olives, green onions, etc. Serve with spanish rice and black beans.

For salad: Layer the hot meat filling over lettuce and anything else (see toppings above) including rice and beans if prefer. Can buy tostada shells, cook as per directions on package, and layer everything in tostada!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Peppermint Ice Cream Desserts

Each year I look forward to the Christmas season and all the wonderful peppermint treats. Dreyers peppermint ice cream, mint m&m's, peppermint hot chocolate, and of course the combination of peppermint and chocolate. There are too many tempting choices! Here are two ice cream favorites:
We love this dessert. It's handy to keep in the freezer for those drop-by Christmas guests! It does need approx. 11 hours to freeze, so plan ahead.

Chocolate Peppermint Dessert
1 pkg (1 pound) oreo cookies, crushed (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 gallon peppermint ice cream, softened
12 oz cool-whip, thawed
1/3 cup butter
2 cups prepared hot fudge sauce
1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies or candy canes

Mix crushed cookies and melted butter. Press mixture firmly in bottom of ungreased 13x9 pan. Stir together ice cream and 2 cups of cool whip; spoon evenly onto chocolate cookie crust. Freeze about 3 hours or until firm. Pour hot fudge sauce evenly over ice cream. Sprinkle with crushed candy canes. Freeze at least 8 hours but no longer than 2 weeks. To serve, cut into squares. Serve with extra cool whip and warm hot fudge sauce. 15 servings

These ice cream balls are very easy to make, unless you are making 95, like my 2 friends and I did last week for an adult social. These are great to top with a favorite holiday cookie. We served them in wide mouth cups and dipped the rims in red sprinkles for a festive presentation! This recipe is easy to adjust for large or small groups.

Peppermint Snowballs

1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream, softened slightly
crushed candy canes

Use an ice cream scooper to scoop 12 large scoops of ice cream. Roll the ice cream balls in crushed candy canes. Place in wide mouth cups or dessert bowls and add a cookie or mini candy cane to serve. Serves 12. Enjoy!