A week of recipes designed for easy cooking, in or out of a burrito. Viva Mexico Week, Day Two.
Nobody likes to cook in my kitchen in the middle of summer. Low ceilings plus a large stove do not equal a cool, comfortable space. The grill on the back porch offers one alternative, though not a particularly chilly one, and my growing collection of slow cookers provides another. This chicken in peanut and chile sauce starts with a bit of blending to make the sauce, and after that, the slow cooker takes over. I always have boneless, skinless chicken breasts in my freezer, so that's what I use; boneless, skinless chicken thighs will yield a more moist dish. Add a couple of hours to the total cooking time if you want the chicken to collapse into shreds. Either way, shreds or chunks, you can roll it up in a tortilla with some beans and rice, and a bit of salsa.
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A week of recipes designed for easy cooking, in or out of a burrito. Viva Mexico Week, Day One.
Except for the little sprigs of cilantro (from my herb garden), every ingredient in this quick and easy rendition of classic black beans and rice came right from the pantry. The quick comes from pre-cooked rice, which could be leftover rice from Chinese takeout or from a big batch you've made in the rice cooker. Canned black beans and store-bought sofrito speed things up, too. Sometimes black beans and rice are served side by side (as in moros y cristianos, "moors and christians"), but I figure it's all going to get tossed together in your tummy, so why not cook everything together from the outset? You can double or triple this recipe, or make a huge batch for a crowd, to serve with grilled chicken or fish, or rolled up in a burrito.
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If you don't already own a rice cooker, promise me that you will buy one. (You can buy a cute model that sings when the rice is done, or one that doesn't sing. It won't matter.) You will make great rice with it, of course, and you'll make the best quinoa ever. I didn't cook quinoa very often before learning the super-easy rice cooker method from Karina, the Gluten-Free Goddess. This salad combines quinoa with avocado, tomato, cucumber, black beans and onion, tossed with a dressing that gets its kick from canned chipotle chiles in adobo. Start with one chipotle, and add a second one if you dare.
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Last week, I read that the Oxford English Dictionary now includes one of the most popular shorthand acronyms in internet slang -- OMG (oh my god) -- and not a moment too soon. How else could I describe the swoon-worthy taste of bacon guacamole? My husband Ted and I lugged a large, three-headed lava rock grinder (molcajete) back from Mexico years ago. We're sure it has magical powers, because it makes the very best guacamole you can imagine. Good as it is, though, our guac tastes even better with some crumbled bacon mixed in at the end. The crunch of crisp bacon contrasts with the creamy avocado and adds a bit of saltiness, too. This isn't an everyday guac, but one to make as an occasional rich treat for the bacon lovers in your life.
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