Monday, December 31, 2012

Mexican Rice

When I set out to make a recipe, I try to make it restaurant quality. I strive to make something you would pay to eat. To coin a phrase from Guy Fieri, "This Mexican Rice is money!" It is better than what you would find at your local Mexican eatery.

I start by browning vermicelli in a little olive oil. You may have the urge to brown the vermicelli in butter, DON'T DO IT! Stick with olive oil, butter can burn! If you don't have vermicelli, well go out and buy some! Just kidding. You can substitute spaghetti. Just break it into small pieces. Make sure you keep an eye on this. The vermicelli can burn quickly! If that happens you will need to start over. So there, I warned you.
Next, stir in the rice. Let the rice get coated in the olive oil for a minute or so.
* I am picky about which rice I use for this recipe. Stick with Uncle Ben's long grain converted rice. I don't care what anyone else tells you, Uncle Ben's is where it's at in this recipe. I use other types of rice for various dishes, but not in this recipe.
Next up are the flavor boosters. I stir in butter, butter flakes and chicken bouillon cubes. All great Mexican Rice recipes have chicken bouillon.The brand of chicken bouillon I prefer is Tone's. It has more flavor than any other out there. Back to butter flakes for a second. What are they, you ask? Imitation butter, found in the spice aisle. It is one of my favorite ingredients. It helps me to cut down on the amount of butter used in any given dish, while satisfying the palate for a buttery taste. Brands I use are Molly McButter and Butter Buds.
Besides chicken bouillon, tomato is the next important seasoning for Mexican Rice. Here I take a great tasting shortcut and use Pace Picante Sauce. It has the tomato base, with vegetables blended in, making it perfect for this dish.
Everything is brought to a boil.
Covered with a tight fitting lid.
And the heat reduced to medium low.
Simmer for 20 minutes. It is important not to stir the rice after you've put the lid on. The rice will turn sticky! To check for doneness, tilt the pan toward you, and hold several seconds. If there is no water pooling, it is done. If there is water, cover and continue cooking, checking every few minutes.

1 Tablespoon olive oil
¼ Cup vermicelli, broken
1 Cup Uncle Ben’s converted rice
3 Tone’s chicken bouillon cubes, crushed
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons Molly McButter, butter sprinkles
1 ½ Cups water
½ Cup Pace picante sauce

You will need a medium sized sauce pan with a tight fitting lid to cook the rice. To begin: heat oil in the sauce pan. Add vermicelli and brown, keeping a close eye, as not to burn! Add rice, coating with the olive oil and vermicelli. Let cook for 1 minute. Stir in bouillon cubes, butter and butter sprinkles. Add water and picante sauce; stirring to combine. Bring rice to a boil. Once the rice has started a rapid boil, cover with a tight fitting lid. Reduce heat to medium low. Cook for 20 minutes. Do not stir during the cooking process. The rice will turn sticky. Rice is done when pan tilted towards you yields no water. If water forms, continue cooking, checking every few minutes.


Sunday, December 30, 2012


Chile Verde Base
Mexican Rice
Pork Chile Verde
Pork Chile Verde Burrito
Refried Beans

Refried Beans

For as much as I love Mexican food, I never got around to making refried beans. It was on my "to make" list, but always got pushed aside for something else. Well this month it all changed! I met a lady, who at one time owned 5 Mexican restaurants. She said the secret to frying the beans is to use lard and sprinkle with flour. I took note of that and set out on making refried beans. Including tonight's batch, I've cooked up 5 pounds of pinto beans in the past 20 days! I think I've got this down!

Start by sorting out the rocks and debris from the dried beans. I like to work on a light colored surface, so I can see clearly. Then scoop the beans into a container.

This is what I found in a 1 pound batch of pinto beans out of the bulk bin. I won't be buying my beans from the bulk bin again! It may be a good idea to sort through your beans 2 or 3 times.

Rinse the beans, then put in a crock pot with 6 cups of water. You can soak your beans overnight, but I don't. I didn't want to bother with the extra step.

Cover the crock pot and cook on high for 6 hours, stirring occasionally.

The beans are done when they form a thick sauce and are easy to mash.

Stir in the spices. I keep it simple, using salt, pepper and granulated garlic.

Once the spices are in, mash the beans. You don't have to get them creamy, like mashed potatoes. Just a simple mash will do. If you are eating healthy, you can stop now and not fry your beans. They will be just fine. But since we are making Refried Beans I find it appropriate to fry them!

(A side note here. I really am not much of a teflon fan. The exception is my crock pots, which I use all the time. They are pricey at around $50. That being the case, I take care not to scratch them. I highly recommend Pampered Chef teflon masher, and scrapers.)

I fry a small batch at a time. Just what we are going to eat. There really is no measuring at this point. Just add a tablespoon, or two, of lard into a pan. If your pan is small, use 1 tablespoon. If the pan is large use 2 tablespoons. Heat the lard over medium high heat.

Spoon the beans, in an even layer. Sprinkle with a tablespoon, or two, of all purpose flour. Same measurement as above. Small pan, 1 tablespoon. Large pan, 2 tablespoons.

Flip sections of the floured beans over, to cook on the other side. You are gently folding the flour into the beans. Keep in mind, we are frying, not making pudding. Just keep things undisturbed as much as possible.

Sprinkle with cheese, if desired. Let the cheese melt, as you turn off the heat and cover the pan.

This is what you end up with. Delicious, smooth, refried beans that taste just as good as what you would get in your favorite Mexican restaurant. Oh who am I kidding? They're better!



1 Pound dried pinto beans
6 Cups water
1 1/2 Teaspoons salt
1 Teaspoon pepper
1 Teaspoon granulated garlic
Sort beans, removing any rocks and dirt. Rinse well. Place beans and water in a crock pot. Set the crock pot on high heat. Cover. Let beans cook until a thick sauce forms and beans can be mashed easily; about 6 hours. Stir in salt, pepper and garlic. Serve as is, or fry.
Mash beans, adding a little water if necessary, so they are smooth. Heat a frying pan to medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon lard. Spoon in beans, in an even layer. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon flour. Cook until beans are heated through; folding in flour as the beans cook. Cover with shredded cheese, if desired. Turn off heat and cover with a lid.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Pico De Gallo (Fresh Salsa)

One of the best parts of eating at a Mexican restaurant is the fresh salsa and chips. We, easily, plow through a few bowls of chips and salsa, while waiting on our food. That gives us time to rate the best salsas and chips out there. Most Mexican restaurants we go to make their own salsas. But if you happen upon one frying their own chips, now that's something special!

The base for a great tasting Pico De Gallo starts with tomato, onion and cilantro.
Everything gets a dice. Minced garlic, salt and pepper are stirred in. Jalapeno can be added, to give a little heat.
Use as a fresh salsa, served with chips. Blend with mashed avocado for guacamole. Or use as a topping for your favorite Mexican entree.
1 Bunch cilantro, chopped
1 Large tomato, diced
1/2 Large onion, diced
1 JalapeƱo, diced (optional)
1 Clove garlic, minced
1 Lime, juiced
1 Teaspoon kosher salt
1 Teaspoon pepper
Clean and prepare vegetables. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.
* Use as a topping for your favorite Mexican dish  -  blend with mashed avocado for guacamole  -  serve with chips for a fresh salsa. 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Stuffed French Toast with Bananas and Pecans

Was yesterday National French Toast Day? Seems all my friends were having French toast for breakfast. Some went the traditional route, while another made hers using panettone bread. The mention of panettone drew me in. But wait! a few posts later and someone brought up stuffed French toast. That's it! I knew I had to make up a recipe. This is what I came up with.

I used a bolillo bun for the bread. Begin by slicing the bottom and top.

Then slice in half. To make our French toast sandwich uniform, we are going to bring the pieces we just cut to the inside. So, the bottom sliced edge is turned up and the top edge is turned up.

A custard base was mixed in a shallow bowl, for easy dipping.

The filling base was mixed.

Then pecans and bananas were folded in. If you don't like bananas or pecans, this is where you can change to what you like. Maybe walnuts and blueberries, for example.

Just spread the filling. Then form a sandwich. Now let's look at this sandwich for a moment. Notice how it looks uniform in size. That is because the cut ends, I mentioned earlier, are turned in towards the filling. Sometimes it's the little things that give a nice result.

Dip the sandwich in the custard mixture. Make sure to coat thoroughly, sides and all.

Cook on a buttered frying pan, or griddle, until golden brown on each side.

Then bring the sandwich up on it's side, and let the sides cook, too. This also helps make the sandwich uniform in size.

Garnish with banana slices, chopped pecans and powdered sugar. Serve with your favorite pancake syrup. I found butter pecan syrup to compliment this very well.


2 Bolillo buns, top and bottom cut, then sliced in half (to form two equal slices) 


1 Teaspoon cinnamon
1 Teaspoon sugar
1 Teaspoon vanilla
1/2 Cup heavy whipping cream
4 Eggs

4 Ounces cream cheese
1 Tablespoon honey
1/4 Teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
2 Tablespoons pecans, chopped
1/2 Banana, chopped

Banana slices
Chopped pecans
Powdered sugar
To prepare custard: In a medium sized mixing bowl, mix cinnamon and sugar; then beat in vanilla, cream and eggs. To prepare filling: In a medium mixing bowl, blend cream cheese, honey and cinnamon. Fold in pecans and banana. Heat a large frying pan, or griddle, over medium high heat. To prepare Stuffed French Toast: Spread half of the filling on 1 slice of bread, then top with another slice, to form a sandwich. Dip sandwich in custard, coating thoroughly. Melt butter on hot pan. Cook French toast until golden brown on each side, then stand the toast on it's side and cook the sides, evenly. Garnish with banana slices, chopped pecans and powdered sugar. Serve with your favorite pancake syrup. Makes 2 servings.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Righteous Kitchen on Facebook

follow me on facebook at

as I celebrate Mexican American Heritage Month!

will be posting recipes throughout the month.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Make Your Own Spice Mixes

Chili Seasoning Mix
Dry Rub
Fajita Seasoning Mix
Good Season's Italian Dressing Mix
Righteous Seasoning

Fajita Seasoning Mix

I like to make my own seasoning mixes. Making your own seasoning is a money saver. Also, you control what goes into the mix. For instance, if you are allergic to an ingredient, don't use it. If you are restricting your salt intake, omit the salt or replace with a low sodium substitute. Your mixes are customized to your likings and your health guidelines. You can't readily find that in a premixed package at your local grocery store. I generally have all the ingredients needed, to make seasoning, in my spice cabinet. One of my favorite mixes is Fajita Seasoning. It is quick and easy to put together.

Just gather up the ingredients.

Measure into a bowl. Since I am taking the time to make the mix, I make a LOT of it! This time I multiplied the recipe times 8.

Blend well. The Magic Bullet blender is great for blending spices.

I like to reuse my old spice containers. Just fill and store with your other spices.

I like to print the recipe on the container. Then, to prevent the label from getting wet, I seal it with clear packaging tape. These spice mixes are great holiday gift ideas!

Fajita Seasoning Mix

1 Tablespoon corn starch
2 Teaspoons chili powder
1 Teaspoon salt
1 Teaspoon paprika
1 Teaspoon sugar
1/2 Chicken bouillon cube
1/2 Teaspoon onion powder
1/4 Teaspoon granulated garlic
1/4 Teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 Teaspoon cumin

Blend all spices in a blender. Store in an airtight container. Use 1 tablespoon per 1 pound of meat. Makes 3 1/2 tablespoons.  

Friday, September 7, 2012

Macaroni Salad

I am a fan of Macaroni Salad. I have been ever since I tried Aunt Connie's Macaroni Salad. She does the unexpected, and adds peas to the salad. The peas give it a nice freshness. She often makes macaroni salad at family gatherings. I really enjoy get-togethers with my aunt. While she is a quiet person, she makes everyone feel welcome. She once told me, "You don't need an invitation, You are welcome anytime!" I've never forgotten that. Although this is not my aunt's recipe, I think of her each time I make it.

Isn't it funny how you associate people, or events, with food? For instance, every time I eat frozen yogurt I am taken back to a family trip to San Francisco. My older brother just had to have some Colombo frozen yogurt, after seeing dad and I enjoying it. Well, guess what? He didn't like it after all! Dad wasn't going to let him waste it. I think he told him something along the lines of, you wanted it, you eat it. My brother, the sly one, pretended to eat it, in the backseat of the car. All the while he was spitting it into a napkin and throwing it out the window!

Sorry to get off track. Let's make macaroni salad.

The recipe starts with cooking ditalini pasta until just done. Salt the water but don't add oil. 

While the pasta is cooking I make a batch of Perfectly Boiled Eggs. You will need 7 hard boiled eggs for this recipe. If you want to garnish the top of the salad, make sure to reserve one. After the eggs have been peeled, cut them in half.

Then scoop the yolk into a large mixing bowl.
Break up the yolks. I just use my hands. I find it much easier than using a fork.
Stir in the egg whites, relish, mayonnaise, salt and pepper.
Mix in the frozen peas and pasta.
Garnish with a sliced egg and sprinkle with paprika.

2 Cups ditalini pasta, cooked and drained
7 Perfectly boiled eggs, reserving 1 for garnish.
3/4 Cup mayonnaise
3 Tablespoons sweet pickle relish, strained of excess juice
1 Teaspoon salt
1/2 Teaspoon pepper
12 Ounces frozen peas
Paprika, to garnish

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well. Set aside. Make perfectly boiled eggs. Cut 6 eggs in half. Scoop yolk from eggs and place in a large mixing bowl. Crumble egg yolks, using hands. Dice egg whites and place in the same mixing bowl. Stir in mayonnaise, pickle relish, salt and pepper. Stir in pasta and peas. Transfer to a serving bowl. Slice remaining hard boiled egg. Place sliced egg on macaroni salad, to garnish. Sprinkle with paprika, if desired. Store in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap until ready to serve.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Perfectly Boiled Eggs

I appreciate a well cooked hard boiled egg. When cooked correctly the egg has a bright yellow yolk. If they are over cooked they will get a grey or green tinged yolk. Which would you rather eat?

I am going to share an easy technique that will result in perfectly boiled eggs.
Choose older eggs, as opposed to fresh. Fresh eggs are hard to peel. Older eggs peel easily. Begin by putting your eggs in a pot. (Choose a pot that has a tight fitting lid). Cover the eggs with water, then bring to a boil.
This is the difficult part: Once the water has come to a boil, turn off the heat, then place the lid on the pot. Set a timer for 15 minutes.
As soon as the timer goes off, run water over the eggs, to cool.
You will find it easier to peel the eggs under water. 
Just drain the water and toss the shells in the trash can, or compost bin. Never grind egg shells in your sink disposal. According to the plumber, the most common sink stoppages are caused by egg shells and coffee grounds.
Now you can make perfectly boiled eggs!