Friday, August 5, 2011

The Yin Yang of Tex-Mex

My kids have been at camp for three weeks, and my husband and I have been out and about like nobody's business. I had been pushing for one more dinner out before they return home (TOMORROW!), but we both agreed we'd be better off eating at home tonight. Of course he agreed - I'm doing the cooking. But my most recent dining out experience involved a turkey burger which was not my buddy for the next 48 hours - enough said. Dinner at home actually seemed like a pretty good idea.

Given his druthers, my husband would happily eat at Chipotle at least once a week. Tonight, I decided to make a Chipotle-style dinner at home, featuring Refried Bean Burritos with Green Rice and a Chopped Salad with Cilantro-Lime Dressing.

The yin yang of this meal is twofold. First off, there's the contrast between the creamy, rich and spicy burritos and the crispy salad with a slightly sweet dressing. Then there's the fact that it's the perfect meal for us: Mr. Simply Delicious loves refried beans, and I never want to see meat again. Yin yang Tex-Mex.

Refried Bean Burritos
Makes 4 burritos

The rice:
1 small can Old El Paso chopped green chiles
1 handful fresh cilantro
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup white rice

The rest of it:
1 can Amy's Organic Refried Beans
- as much shredded cheese as you like
- whatever salsa you like
4 nice tortillas (I discovered Chi Chi's Cafe-Style Tortillas, made with Corn Flour, which were excellent)

In a small blender or the cup of an immersion blender, combine the chiles, cilantro and 1/2 cup of broth. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a medium size saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until it starts to soften, about 2 - 4 minutes. Add the garlic and the rice and stir until the rice is coated with the oil and onions. Then add the pureed pepper mixture along with the rest of the broth (this should total 2 cups of liquid; if it doesn't, add more broth or water). Stir well and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot and simmer over very low heat for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn off the heat and leave the rice in the pan for 10 - 15 minutes longer (don't lift the lid at all during all of this). When you do lift the lid, the rice should be cooked and all the liquid absorbed.

Meanwhile, lay the tortillas on a clean work surface. Divide the refried beans evenly over the 4 tortillas. Sprinkle with some cheese. Spread some of the cooked rice over the cheese (you won't use all the rice). Top with a bit of salsa and some more cheese. Roll up and place in a greased baking dish. Cover with foil and heat at 350 degrees for 20 - 30 minutes, or until heated through. Serve with additional salsa and sour cream, if desired. Serve the rest of the rice on the side if you're angry that the recipe made more than you needed (my friend Mary Beth's pet peeve about recipes).

Chopped Salad with Cilantro-Lime Dressing
Serves 4

1 lime, juiced
2 T. canola oil
2 T. olive oil
2 T. honey
2 T. fresh cilantro leaves
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
salt and pepper

- any kind of lettuce you like - chopped
- any vegetables you like, chopped - I used carrots, leftover corn on the cob, celery, cucumber, red bell pepper and tomato. Black beans are great in this salad, but I didn't want to overload us on beans tonight
- mild white cheese - optional - mild feta, goat cheese or cotija would add a creamy element to the salad

Blend all the dressing ingredients until combined. This will be a thin dressing. Toss with the chopped salad ingredients and top with cheese if desired.

No comments: