This week I have been experimenting with cooking different peppers and making foods from the west and southwest. One of the recipes that I made was a delicious jalapeño studded rice casserole.
Oozing with flavor, jalapeño rice casserole is filled with fresh jalapeños that have been seeded and finely diced, Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses, tanginess of sour cream, and a little sweetness with a cup of fresh corn. If you put all those delicious flavors together in a casserole then it has to taste good. It takes bland white rice to another level with a slight kick, but not enough heat to make it uncomfortable for the palate.
There are several accompaniments that would be good with the rice. Beef pot roast cooked with tomatoes and chilies, baked chicken cooked with your favorite pre-prepared salsa from the grocery store or ingredients fresh from the garden, or fish baked in Mexican tomatoes, or salsa (see ideas below for fish) among others. The rice would also be good if you wanted to make fried rice balls. Just use a scoop, make a ball between golf ball and walnut size, dip in flour, egg and then breadcrumbs and deep fry.
Another good idea to round out this meal with rice is a shredded lettuce salad with diced fresh tomatoes, and sliced green onion. Make a salad dressing for the shredded lettuce by mixing 1-cup sour cream and ¼ package of taco seasoning mix with a dash of orange juice. That will make about 4 salad dressing servings.
Here you go, dinner is almost ready.
3 cups cooked white rice, slightly cooled
1 ¼ cups sour cream
4 tablespoons freshly diced jalapeños
1 (8-ounce) block Monterey Jack & Cheddar blend, shredded
1 cup fresh sweet corn
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350º. Mix the rice, sour cream, jalapeños, cheeses, corn, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Pour into a 2 quart casserole dish and bake covered for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until hot in the center.
1 fish filet per serving of fresh tilapia, flounder, or catfish
*Enough petite tomatoes with green chilies to cover the filets
Chopped fresh oregano or cilantro over each filet
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350º. Place fish in an oven-proof baking dish. Pour tomatoes and other ingredients over the fish. Bake until fish is flaky. Time will depend on the thickness and number of filets being baked.
*Another alternative would be to use some of the flavored salsas over the fish. I use them quite often with chicken. Just prepare your fish or chicken as above and cover with your favorite salsa. Bake as above.
Every year, I challenge myself as a gardener to grow something I've never grown before and this year was no exception. As a professional garden writer, I was privileged to be given several exciting new varieties to trial. Additionally, in my travels this year, I had the chance to evaluate many more new plants in trial gardens across the country. The following new annuals, which will be new at retail in Spring 2017, received top ratings in my book.
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