Cilantro Lime Rice

Cilantro Lime Rice is one of my requirements for a burrito or burrito bowl.  If you like your meat spicy like me, then this is required to cut some of the heat.

There are probably thousands, if not more, recipes for cilantro lime rice floating around on the internet.  But all of them seem to have the same ingredients, rice, citrus juice and cilantro.  If you have read this blog from the beginning you probably already know that I cilantro is NOT one of my favorite foods or flavors!

I can eat cilantro in small, VERY SMALL doses.  Since I make this recipe for myself generally, I do not use much cilantro.  If you are a cilantro lover, then feel free to add more cilantro.  I would just suggest that you taste your rice before adding more citrus juice or cilantro.

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Slushsicles

Jack Frost and Cranberry Daiquiri Slushsicles are a fun adult addition to adult theme parties.  They would also be delicious served on a hot summer day.  Change up the juice in either recipe to change up the flavor.  These do not freeze as solid as kid’s popsicles and that is because of the freezing point of alcohol.  The more juice you add, the more solid they become, it reduces the amount of alcohol in the slushsicle.

You can freeze just about any mixed drink you like, provided it has a high sugar content.  For whatever reason, sugar is required to make slushies freeze.  I have tried making copycat Mister Misty with less sugar and all I can say is it turned into a blender full of thin ice sheets.  Layers and layers of sheets.

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Beef Barbacoa

Is there anyone who doesn’t like Mexican food?

With Mexican restaurants being more abundant that any other international restaurants in any given town, you would guess that everyone likes it.  Well, guess again.  I have one in the household that doesn’t like Mexican food, at least the kind you get at a restaurant.

He will eat tacos and fajitas that I make at home, but they are not something I would consider remotely authentic.  Taco meat made with a packet of seasoning or chicken marinated in a different packet of seasoning are not my idea of Mexican cuisine.  But alas, I will make them just because both are easy and both will get eaten.  Midwest Quesadillas are considered Mexican to this person who shall remain nameless, delicious and addictive, but certainly not Mexican.

Now my idea of a Mexican dish look more like this Beef Barbacoa piled up in a burrito or burrito bowl.


I don’t know if this is authentic or not.  (I don’t know if Chipotle’s is authentic either, but it doesn’t stop me from eating there.)

It doesn’t actually matter to me, I just know that I really like it.  I make a large batch every now and again.  I freeze what I can;t use within a few days.  The first day I use it for burritos and then the next few days I turn it into burrito bowls that I can take to work with me for lunch, or 2 a.m. snack depending on which shift I’m on.

When I make a burrito bowl, I layer my cilantro-lime rice on the bottom, add a layer of black beans, and finish with some meat on the top.  I can microwave the entire thing and add my toppings that I have packed separately into smaller bowls.

My favorite toppings are pico de gallo, corn and roasted pablano salsa, guacamole, and Queso Fresco cheese.  Yes, I know Queso Fresco cheese is not intended for this purpose, but it is my burrito bowl and I will make it with ingredients I like.  I encourage you to do the same.  Put whatever it is you like in your burritos and burrito bowls! Like a famous chef used to say “There are no food police.”

 

Beef Barbacoa
3 to 5 pound chuck roast, cut into large pieces
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 large onion, cut into large dice
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 cup chicken broth or water
Juice from 1 large, or 2 small, limes
4 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 tablespoon adobo sauce from canned peppers
1 teaspoon sugar
3 bay leaves

Place oil in a skillet and heat over medium high heat until hot. Add beef pieces and cook until all sides are browned. Turn often and move beef pieces around pan to ensure even browning.

Remove beef from skillet and place into a crock pot.

Add apple cider vinegar, onion, garlic, black pepper, salt, cumin, cloves, allspice, broth or water, lime juice, chipotle peppers, and adobo sauce in a food processor or blender. Process until smooth.

Pour sauce over browned beef in a slow cooker or Dutch oven.

Sprinkle 1 teaspoon white sugar over sauce and add bay leaves.

Cook in slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours or high for 3 to 4 hours. If using a Dutch oven cook in a 325 Degree F oven for 3 hours or until meat is tender.

When meat is tender removed from slow cooker or Dutch oven, reserve broth and discard bay leaves. Allow to cool slightly.

When cool, shred beef and put back into slow cooker or Dutch oven. Add enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten the beef.

Continue to cook beef for another hour.

Notes

Notes: Chipotle peppers can be reduced if you do not like your food super spicy. Start with two, taste the sauce and add more until desired heat is achieved.

Skip the sugar to make this recipe paleo friendly.

http://peartreekitchen.com/beef-barbacoa/

Some of Our Other Mexican Inspired Recipes

Corn and Roasted Poblano Salsa

This recipe for Corn and Roasted Poblano Salsa is perfect for topping burritos, tacos, or anything that needs a bit of sweet and spicy.

Roasting your poblanos before adding them to any Mexican inspired dish gives the dish a smoky flavor.  It’s very easy to do.  I no longer have a gas stove, I use induction.  Induction cooks like gas in most instances, but when it comes to roasting things over an open flame I am forced to fire up the grill.

You can do this over a grill, just use a medium to low heat and grill the peppers on all sides until they are charred and have black blistered skin.  You can also do this over a gas flame in the kitchen, or use a grill pan.

 

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Sopapilla Cheesecake Squares

Sopapilla Cheesecake Squares are like the perfect potluck dessert.  Delicious, easy, AND portable!

These are quick to make, and made even quicker if you are lucky enough to find crescent roll dough sheets.  It is hit and miss for me, one day there are what seems like millions of cans in the refrigerated section, but half the time there are none.  It only takes a few seconds to press the cut sheets back together, so either one works.

If you like your topping a little less thick, just reduce the butter by a couple of tablespoons.  Just make sure you cover it completely with sugar and cinnamon.  Either way, just keep sprinkling the sugar and cinnamon over the top until there are no more puddles of butter.  Basically, you want to make sure that your butter has absorbed as much sugar as possible.

While these can be eaten warm, I don’t find the flavor is at its best during this time.  Besides, it will be far too messy to eat with your hands.

I store mine at room temperature, I have never gotten sick nor have I had reports of people getting sick after eating these.  In my mind, these are no different than any coffeecake I have purchased with a cream cheese filling……….. I buy those at room temperature, except I have zero idea how long they have been sitting at room temperature.

I have never had Sopapilla Cheesecake Squares in my possession longer than 48 hours, so I have to imagine that is no longer than the above mentioned coffeecakes.  If you feel the need to store these in the refrigerator, feel free to do so.  I have done it, I just think they taste better at room temperature.

This recipe has been adapted from the recipe found online at Pillsbury.

Sopapilla Cheesecake Squares
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups white granulated sugar, divided
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tubes refrigerated crescent rolls
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray 9 X 13 pan with baking spray.

Unroll one package of crescent rolls into prepared pan.

Press seams together, if not using uncut crescent sheets, evenly press dough out to edges of pan.

With a mixer, cream together cream cheese, 1 cup of sugar, and vanilla. Reserve remaining sugar for topping.

Pour cream cheese mixture over the crescent dough in the pan.

Spread evenly over dough.

Unroll second container of crescent roll dough and place on top of cream cheese mixture.

Carefully stretch dough out evenly.

Spread butter over top layer of dough.

Mix remaining cup of sugar with cinnamon.

Sprinkle evenly over melted butter.

Place in preheated oven and cooking until top is bubbling and browned, about 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting into bars.

http://peartreekitchen.com/sopapilla-cheesecake-squares/

Other Mexican Inspired Recipes

 

Sopapilla Cheesecake Squares - Easy but delicious recipe for cream cheese filled, cinnamon sugar treat.

Pecan Coconut Cream Candies

Pecan Coconut Cream Candies, aka Martha Washington’s, are one of the very first candy recipes I ever made way back when I was a teenagers.  Perfect for beginners and those who are searching for some nostalgia from their early years.

There are many variations of pecan coconut cream candies around the world.  Some are soft and gooey, some are more solid, like mine.

You can change up the amount of powdered sugar to suit your preference.  If you like yours softer, start with half of the powdered sugar called for.  Add more sugar a few tablespoons at a time and taste the filling.

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Bulgur Chickpea Salad

Bulgur Chickpea Salad saved the day for me.  Thanks to Jenn Segal over at Once Upon a Chef for the inspiration and base recipe to start with!

I needed a recipe that could easily serve quite a few people.  Normally, I have a difficult time deciding which recipe to make, since I have so many.  But this situation left me at a loss for what I could make.

You see, there were so many variables and criteria that needed to be met.  It was needed for a barbecue themed potluck that would be served over several hours because people would be getting their meal breaks at different times.  It would also be several hours between arriving at my destination and food service.

Refrigerator space was going to be severely limited, and carrying a crockpot to the destination was not possible.  There were a couple of factors that prevented this, but that really doesn’t matter.  What matters is that I needed a dish to fit this criteria.

The last criteria was a new one for me.  There was going to be an ethical vegan eating at this potluck.  If you are wondering what an ethical vegan was, you aren’t alone.  I have asked many questions about this way of eating and still jut know the basics.

With my very limited understanding of this way of eating, I knew I needed to find something that had absolutely no animal products in the recipe.  No eggs, no dairy, and obviously no meat, but this also excludes honey.  If you have read any of our recipes, you know that there is a good possibility that I have no recipes beyond hummus that would fit that bill.  Hummus was not an option as I was committed to a side dish.

A friend suggested I make tabbouleh, but I really dislike that much parsley in any one dish.  I can’t get past the overwhelming feeling that I am eating lawn clippings.  Don’t get me wrong, I love fresh parsley and grow my own during the summer.  It brings great fresh flavor to my dishes, but I guess tabbouleh is just too much freshness!  I needed an alternative.

This side dish salad was the perfect fit.  Bulgur and chickpeas combined with sturdy vegetables like red peppers, onions, and cucumbers would hold up to the acidity of the lemon juice.  I have left out the dill and the cumin, personal preferences here again.  This recipe kind of reminded me of a Portuguese chickpea salad a friend used to make and it only had parsley in it.  So I stuck with just the parsley, and did not use nearly the amount most tabbouleh recipes call for.

Sweet Chips and Fruit Salsa

Fruit salsa is a favorite dessert at our house.  Although there is not much healthy about the fried chips, it feels healthier than some of the other things we eat for snacks and desserts.

There are a lot of ways to make cinnamon-sugar tortillas listed all over the internet.  While these are tasty, they all seem to be too big, too hard, or do not hold the fruit very well.

For sweet chips I find what works the best are fried wonton wrappers or even eggroll wrappers cut down in size and fried.

The best part about Asian wrappers is that they stay crispy after frying and coating.  They never turn into moon rocks like some baked tortillas can.  They are also way less work than buttering and coating each side prior to baking.

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Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup is one of the few soups that both of us will eat.  It even gets eaten as leftovers, which if you know either one of us, you know that leftovers are rarely served around here.  But hey, that keeps the neighbors happy!

It starts with a chicken broth, so I am good.  It has meatballs which keeps the husband happy.  I also like that it has spinach in it, and this is about the only way I can get him to eat dark greens.  He loves salad, but only if it has no spinach or kale in it. In case you were wondering, I do have to pick those things out of any salad mixes they may be in.

I have read somewhere along the line that the carrots in this soup are for luck.  There are not really enough of them to affect the flavor, so leave them out if you prefer.  I keep them in because it is another way to get vegetable into our diets.

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Butterscotch Meringue Pie

Butterscotch Pie perfection has been an elusive mystery to me.  My grandmother could make them.  If you read the Almost Butterscotch Pie, or Sugar Cream Pie recipes, then you already know Aunt Alice could make them.

Any time I have tried to make one, it has either been runny or grainy, and sometimes both.  For me, I think the problem has something to do with the way I was mixing ingredients.  Generally, it looks curdled to me before I even add eggs.  Almost like the brown sugar curdles the milk, turning it into what looks like tiny pieces of cottage cheese floating in the pan.

The flavor has never been an issue, just the finished texture.  During a recent trip to visit family, my husband returned with an entire folder of recipes from Uncle Bill.  They were not the recipes that he was looking for, but in this folder are some amazing recipes that will be shared as time allows.

The first find that needed to be cooked and adjusted was Butterscotch Pie.  The reason for adjustments is that these recipes are designed for 50 and 100 people.  There are only 2 of us in this household, and unless you are feeding ranch hands or cooking for a family reunion, chances are you also need a smaller serving size to make in your kitchen.

I tested this recipe with my modifications using flour and using cornstarch.  We prefer the texture of the flour version, but the cornstarch version seemed to set up better.  Andy wanted a piece of pie before it was fully cooled, I would have preferred to wait a day, but he smelled it as soon as he opened the refrigerator.

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