Friday, May 27, 2011

Taco Rice

I don't have any pictures of this meal, but it was amazing, tasty, and cheap.  We are at the end of the month where we don't have any money and the food is starting to need to be creative.  So, I had some hamburger in the fridge that I defrosted, but I had no clue what I was going to do with it.  I took out enough to make meatloaf for tonight, and then for whatever I was going to do with the little package.

My first thought was I was going to make an easy bisquick taco pie with it.  You know, take some hamburger, fry it with taco seasoning, and then mix bisquick, eggs, and milk, pour it over the drained hamburger in a pie dish, sprinkle with cheese, bake, and presto, dinner.  But alas, we had no eggs.

So, I fried the hamburger up with taco seasoning, lots of it, double the normal amount.  Then once it was drained I added a can of tomato paste, just the small can, and a cup of water.  Then I added another half cup of water, and a half cup of sugar.  I like my tomato based things sweet, from my spaghetti sauce to this.  Leave out the sugar, cut it down if you like, it's ok.

So, while I was doing this with the hamburger, I was still thinking.  Ok, this needed a starch to make it work.  I put a big big sauce pan on to boil, you know, they type with two handles, the big ones, filled it with hot water and once it came to a boil I faced another dilemma.  I had no pasta I wanted to make with the sauce I had made.  None.  I had lots of pasta, but nothing that was working for me.  So, I took 2-3 cups of rice, I didn't measure, I just poured it in from my rice container, into the boiling liquid.  And I just let it boil away, full rolling boil, until the rice was cooked.  I loved the texture of this rice, the way it was when it was done.  I liked it better than when I made rice with the two to one ratio and cooked it on a very low simmer.  This rice, I didn't have to worry about it burning to the bottom of the pan, or being underdone, or any of the other things I worry about with rice.  I want a rice cooker, I love rice so much, and I will get one this summer, but for this recipe, this worked.  I drained it once it was done, like I would a pasta, and put it back int he pan.  Then I added the meat and sauce mixture, stirred it all together.  It looked yummy, smelled yummy, but was missing something.  I had a little over a half of a bag of cheese, the two pound bag variety, with 8 cups of cheese, so I put about 4 cups of cheese into this mixture.  This made it cheesy and wonderful, with strings of cheese coming up off of the fork as you made it to your mouth.  I did have to reheat it a bit because the cold cheese coled it down a little too much, but it was wonderful.

I served it in bowls with a dollop of sour cream on the top and the kids and the husband and I all loved it.  My kids had seconds.  I took a bowl to my neighbors house, she ate it right up and her son asked if he could take a bowl to my house and fill it.  I let him.  We had nothing left by the time dinner was over.  I can't wait to make this again.

I think I would work with variations on this next time, if I had the right things in my pantry.  Like adding some beans, that would have done really good things to it, and I wanted to add corn, because I love corn in all things taco and chili like, but my kids don't, and I wanted them to eat it, but next time, I would make it, take out their portions, and then add corn, because it would be awesome.

So, that was a pantry meal I tossed together, and it worked and was awesome.  It was something I am now going to add to my recipes, and not leave it for the days when I can't find anything else to make.

Oh, and thought I complain about my pantry being bare, it's more that it's limited.  I have lots of stuff to make meals, I just don't have as many options as I do at the beginning of the  month.  The night before last we had a pork roast I put in the crock pot all day with a package of onion soup mix and some garlic paste and some water.  It was wonderful, juicy and full of flavor, and we served it with extra wide egg noodles simply boiled and tossed with butter salt and pepper.  Tonight is meatloaf.  I just hate when I have things like no chicken, or less varieties of pasta, no beans, etc.  Now to stop whining, lol.

So, taco rice.  Make it.  You will love it.  You will thank me for it.

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