MEXICAN RICE

This here is my absolute favorite Mexican Rice recipe, it turns out perfect every time and I always make extra to freeze for later meals. The rice smells amazing while its being cooked but at the end when you throw in the fresh cilantro and jalapenos and a squeeze of lime juice, the flavor goes over the top! A must try! I’m sure you will also add this recipe to your regular rotation!

I usually make this rice with black beans, pico de gallo, guacamole and carne asada!

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INGREDIENTS

  •  12 ozs tomatoes, very ripe and cored
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 3 medium jalapenos
  • 2 cups long grain white rice (I used brown)
  • 1cup canola oil
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (may omit if using canned tomatoes)
  • 1 tsp tomato and chicken bouillon (optional)
  • 1 1teaspoons salt
  • 1cup fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1 lime
 DIRECTIONS
  1. Adjust rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350.
  2. Process tomato and onion in processor or blender until pureed and thoroughly smooth. Transfer mixture to measuring cup and reserve exactly 2 cups. Discard excess.11255535_10155538307265431_2976728615470210383_o
  3. Remove ribs and seeds from 2 jalapenos and discard. Mince flesh and set aside. Mince remaining jalapeno. Set aside.
  4. Place rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water until water runs clear- about 1 1/2 minutes.Shake rice vigorously to remove excess water.This step removes the starch from the rice so it will not stick. IF YOU OMIT THIS STEP YOUR RICE WILL NOT BE DRY AND FLUFFY.
  5. Heat oil in heavy bottomed ovensafe 12 inch straight sided sautee pan or Dutch oven with tight-fitting lid over low-medium heat about 2 minutes.( I just used a regular frying pan and transferred to a glass dish covered tightly with foil). Drop a few rice grains in and if they sizzle then it is ready. Add rice and fry stirring until rice is light golden and translucent, about 6-8 minutes. Be careful that the oil doesn’t get too hot too fast or the oil will splatter.10845871_10155095921315431_5041143329489425294_o
  6. Reduce heat to medium, add garlic and 2 minced jalapenos and cook , stirring constantly until fragrant, about 1 1/2 minutes.
  7. Stir in broth, pureed mixture,tomato paste, and salt. Increase heat to medium high, and bring to a boil.
  8. Cover pan and transfer pan to oven to bake until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, 30-35 minutes.Stir well after 15 minutes. ( I didn’t have an oven safe pan so i transferred rice mixture to a baking dish tightly covered in foil)1269366_10155538307680431_3718644683125039388_o
  9. Stir in cilantro, minced jalapeno to taste, and pass lime wedges separately.
  10. Edited 8-15-08: Leftovers are just as delicious the next day so this is a perfect dish to make ahead time for potlucks. This rice also freezes well. For Freezing Ahead: Cool, portion and freeze in a ziploc bag. To reheat from frozen: Place in a pyrex dish and warm in the microwave, stirring every 2-3 minutes until heated through

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CHOCOLATE RICE KRISPY TREATS

I’ve realised that inviting people over and telling me 20 minutes before they arrive is a genetic trait of my husband and it’s now presenting itself in my son *slaps forehead* *mutters curses*

Yesterday I had to come up with a very quick dinner and a treat for his little friends. Baking a cake or cookies would take too long, jello takes forever to set and pie takes even longer than forever. As I stood there staring into my pantry I noticed a box of rice krispies in the corner! EUREKA! Rice krispy treats! Quick, easy and done in less than 10 minutes, perfect!

I fancied it up a little with some left over Reese’s Pieces from Easter * Ok ok I keep a secret stash in my underwear draw because that’s the only place none of my kids or the hubs would look in 😀 You can try adding sprinkles, m&m’s, or whatever you have on hand….well….maybe not sardines.

Here’s my quick recipe!

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 16 oz mini marshmellows
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 6 cups rice krispies ( rice cereal)
  • chocolate chips
  • reese’s pieces or m&m’s or chocolate chips for toppings

DIRECTIONS

  1. Melt butter over medium heat.
  2. Add marshmellows and stir frequently until melted.11157480_10155462625375431_3922704741067483146_o11201009_10155462625360431_6835278920603296914_o
  3. Add vanilla and stir.
  4. Pour in rice krispies and a handful of chocolate chips and stir well.11181220_10155462626335431_1979718894280703942_o11121884_10155462626060431_8963093986027091071_o
  5. Remove from heat and pour into a pan and let cool a little.11201000_10155462626510431_1233270786509801748_o
  6. Spray hands with cooking spray or a little oil (this keeps it from sticking to your skin) and press until flat and smooth.11163111_10155462627320431_3282940358116024881_o
  7. Add more toppings on top and press in! Easy peasy!11145124_10155462628365431_9081881690324473289_o

 I’m bringing this treat to fiesta Friday with the dynamite duo of J & J! That’s Justine @ Eclectic odds n sods andJhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook

JAMAICAN RICE AND PEAS

Let me start off by confusing you! This dish isn’t actually made with peas, it’s made with beans, red beans, also called kidney beans! Are you still there? *crickets chirping* PERFECT! I love Jamaican rice and peas, with jerk pork or jerk chicken or escovitched fish and fried plantains with a side of festivals *a sweet fried dough*.

I’ve had a lot of exposure to Jamaican foods. I worked at JAMWEST Caribbean foods for a while and the best part was getting to eat all the delicious food everyday and listening to Jamaican Patois that I could barely understand, and listening to stories from Chef Patrick while he cooked corn meal porridge :). It was truly amazing watching the giant pots of rice and barrels of jerked meats being cooked, and that rum cake from Miss Verona was so divine. Oh and how could I forget about the patties, and fresh juices and hiding in the walk in fridge to ‘sample’ dishes and getting locked inside hehehehe. Good times!

Here’s a much smaller recipe for rice and peas
  • 8 ounces small dried red beans or 8 ounces red kidney beans
  • 1 quart water
  • 16 ounces chicken broth or 16 ounces chicken stock or 16 ounces water
  • 1cup coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1cup white onion, chopped
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/2  teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper (left whole) or you can slice it if you want lots of heat!
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 1cups uncooked long grain rice

DIRECTIONS

  1. Rinse and sort beans and place in a stockpot.
  2. Cover with several inches of water and soak overnight,-or- bring to a boil, boil gently for 3 minutes, then remove from heat, cover, and allow to sit undisturbed for 1 hour.
  3. Drain and rinse beans.
  4. Bring to a boil with chicken stock, water, and coconut milk.
  5. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 1 1/2-2 hours or until beans are tender and creamy.
  6. Add the thyme, allspice, scallion, onion, garlic, scotch bonnet, brown sugar, uncooked rice, salt and pepper.
  7. Check the level of liquid over the rice and make sure there is at least one inch of liquid (if not, you may add water or broth to cover).
  8. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until rice is tender.
  9. Serve hot as a side dish.
  10. For vegetarian,use water not the chicken broth or stock.

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I served the rice and peas, along side jerk pork, which is cooked pretty much the same way as jerk chicken and a tropical salsa! Put some calypso music on in the background and I felt like I was back at home 🙂11064670_10155442019540431_2611953002881183454_o

TROPICAL SALSA

I love love love salsa and this tropical spin is so fresh and perfect on grilled meats! I’m making this to go along with Jamaican jerk pork. My tummy is going to be happy tonight!

  • 2 cups fresh pineapple, chopped
  • 1 semi-ripe mango, chopped
  • 1 kiwi, chopped
  • 1cup purple onion, chopped
  • 1cup fresh cilantro, chopped (or to taste)
  • 1/2  tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped fine (or to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon rum (or to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon jalapenos (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Put all ingredients in a bowl, mix it up, and let it sit for a little bit to allow the flavors to mingle.

So easy!

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My family had this salsa, with jerk pork and Jamaican rice and peas!

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I’m bringing this dish to Fiesta Friday because every fiesta needs salsa!   The party is hosted at blogFiestaFriday.net.Thanks to the new co-host Anna @Anna International! For having us!

EGG CUSTARD

I grew up in a small village in south Trinidad. Most people in that area are really close-knit but my immediate neighbors are like my family. It feels like I spent as much time in their house as I did in mine!

Aaron *my neighbor closest in age* and I have been buddies forever! He loves my mom’s sweetbread and cakes and I love his mom’s pholourie and egg custard.

It’s funny how we would always know to show up when food was ready! With as much as we ate I’m surprised we don’t weigh 2000lbs! Miss Nelly makes lots of yummy things but her egg custard is the best! It’s so easy to make and you just need a few ingredients. The texture is smooth and light and not too sweet.

I’ve been homesick recently so I decided to make this to ease the heartache a little 💜

Ingredients

  • 5 eggs
  • 2 cans evaporated milk
  • 1 can condensed milk (add a little more if you like a little more sweetness)
  • 1 1/2 tsp finely grated ginger (you can use more or less)
  • 1-2 tsps lemon or lime zest
  • A pinch of nutmeg

Beat all the ingredients together until combined, bake at 375 F for about 45 mins or until the center sets. ( If you used the whole peel like I did, remove it before baking)

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I’ve also just started a facebook page! check me out at www.facebook.com/youngsunshinescooking

I’m bringing this dish to FiestaFriday.net @ Fiesta Friday #62 ! Let’s party with Jess @Cooking Is My Sport! And Prudy @Butter, Basil and Breadcrumbs! 🍻🍻🎉

CHEESY BACON JALAPENO BISCUITS

There will be no conversation, just go to your kitchen and make this. NOW!!!! Thank me later!

Ingredients

  • 2 cans of crescent rolls (you can use biscuits too)
  • Cheese (Whatever type you like, I used velveeta)
  • 12oz or 16oz package of bacon, cooked
  • flour for dusting (optional)
  • jar of jalapenos

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray or line your baking tray with parchment paper. Lightly flour your work surface if you don’t want any crescent roll stickage.
  2. Unroll one can of crescent rolls (or 1/2 can of biscuits) on your work surface. Using your hands or a rolling pin, press the seams together and lightly press & stretch a little into a nice rectangle. Add a layer of cheese (I like a pretty thick layer, & I use Velveeta because I love how it melts) & then add your layer of bacon and jalapenos. Unroll the remaining can of crescent rolls on top & press all the seems together both on top and all around.
  3. Using a pizza cutter or a knife (I prefer a pizza cutter) slice into squares. Place the entire thing on your baking sheet using a large spatula, working in batches if you need to. Lay all the squares right beside each other, just as they were before you sliced it. You want all the cut seams to be touching so that your cheese doesn’t leak out.
  4. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the top of the crescent rolls are lightly browned. Remove from the oven & cool on a wire rack for 3-5 minutes before digging in. The crescent squares will pull right apart. Serve & enjoy!

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I’m bringing this appetizer to the Fiesta Friday #64, hosted by the Amazing A because they are so so so delicious! I know they’ll go fast! Thank you to the wonderful hosts!! ,Ginger & Bread and Safari Of The Mind

HOW TO COOK THE PERFECT BACON

OK! Firstly, there is no such thing as imperfect bacon! Bacon is a divine fruit of the universe! I love bacon in any form… plain bacon, peppered bacon, brown sugar and cinnamon bacon, Canadian bacon *we’ll just let that one slide one time*, candied bacon, burnt bacon and I could go on!.. And I will! …Hot bacon, cold bacon, fell on the floor but I’ll eat it anyway bacon 😂😂😂😂 OK I’ll stop now…

I’m sure you’ve probably seen the new craze on the internet about boiling your bacon *gasp!* I was so on the fence about that, but I said to myself ” SELF, if this method produces bacon as an end result, then it could never be wrong!”

So I’ve given it a try andddd its fabulous! The fat renders beautifully *you better save it for some fried chicken!! High five!!!*… the bacon crisps up perfectly and the color is even! If you’re a floppy bacon lover, this might not be for you, but who are we kidding, it’s BACON!

Here’s how to make it, make a single layer of bacon in your pan, don’t overcrowd those precious babies! Put in just enough water to cover them, *you know, a little bird bath action, don’t pretend you have no idea what that is! I’ve got my eye on you!*

Put the pan over a high heat until it starts to boil, then lower to a medium heat. When the water starts drying up go to a low heat and then flip until you get that beautiful color! Easy peasy!

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FIFTY SHADES OF CHEESECAKE

OK..so maybe it’s not really 50 shades of cheesecakes but I’m making 50 cheesecakes today in two scrumptious flavors!

As usual my lovely husband came in the door yesterday saying “Ummm honey can you make a couple cheesecakes for my lovely friend who is NOT paying for them!? Thanks you’re the best!!”

Me “Ummm really!? REALLY”

WHY DO MEN ALWAYS DO THIS!!! GRRRR!!

*OK happy thoughts, happy thoughts, breathe ooooosaahhhhh*

So now I’m up at 8 am *not a morning person* prepping my pans and ingredients. I decided to do a classic cherry and a spicy chocolate cheesecake with raspberries. I love making mini cheesecakes, because it keeps us * meaning my husband* from eating too big of a slice! Portion control is key around here, as we say in Trinidad, his eyes are bigger than his belly, and that means he tries to eat too much! 😀

What’s your favorite cheesecake flavor? Below I put the basic recipe I use, play with the flavors, try different extracts and crusts, you can make so many variations!

  • 1 1⁄2 cups graham cracker crumbs(your preference) or 1 1⁄2 cups chocolate wafer crumbs (your preference) or 1 1⁄2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs (your preference)
  • 1⁄4 cup sugar
  • 1⁄4 cup butter, melted
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (14 ounce) condensed milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Line cupcake tin with cupcake papers (24).
  3. Combine crumbs, sugar and butter; press equal portions onto bottom of cupcake papers.
  4. In large mixing bowl beat cheese until fluffy.
  5. Gradually beat in condensed milk until smooth.
  6. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well.
  7. Spoon equal amounts into prepared cups (about 3 tbl per cup).
  8. Bake 20 minutes or until cakes spring back when touched lightly.
  9. Cool and chill.
  10. Garnish with fresh berries or sliced fruits; chocolate shavings; toasted coconut; or cake sprinkles for a festive look.

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I am bringing these little beauties to Fiesta Friday! I am feeling better and ready to party with all the guests and the co-hosts this week are Effie @Food Daydreaming and Jhuls @The Not So Creative Cook

WHAT’S FOR LUNCH?

I’ve been trying to eat a little healthier, and lose a little weight, shooting for 25 lbs. So far I’ve lost 15lbs *yay me* but now the weight loss has slowed… or maybe it was that burger and animal fries and milkshake that I had at In n Out 😀 *shhhhh*

My friend and I are trying to cut out carbs, flour and rice, which makes meals a little difficult, since I am a bread fiend *sigh*. But I pulled out my trusty spiralizer and I was determined to make something healthy and delicious. I came up with Roasted lemon, garlic and herb chicken and a mushroom and veggie noodle stir fry.

It’s so much easier to eat veggies when they’re so bright and colorful and it feels like you’re eating pasta 😀 *and who doesn’t love guilt free veggie ‘pasta’*

What are you having for lunch today?

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BAKED ZITI

OK… so maybe I have a little thing going on for Italian food! I swear it’s my best friend’s fault and her name is Katherine Pagaaaannnnoooo * I just tried to pronounce it in her voice, not the same, I miss her and Italy and her cooking is so far away*… anyways, I digress! I decided to try this recipe because the seasonings looked about right! Am I the only one who chooses recipes based on what the seasonings look like? Show of hands!? *bunch of weirdos* 😀

This recipe turned out delicious and my small family of four devoured a meal made for 8! Well I guess if I didn’t starve them half to death while I took pics, I might have had some left overs for lunch! Here’s the recipe, have at  it! Bon Apetite or whatever! *insert weird hand gestures*

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb hot Italian sausage, removed from casings
  • 1 (14.5-oz) can fire roasted diced tomatoes with garlic
  • 1 (8-oz) can tomato sauce
  • ½ (6-oz) can tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 16 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 4 oz fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 lb dried pasta (ziti or penne are best)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 (8-oz) package shredded Italian cheese blend ( I used half and it was plenty cheesy)
  • basil, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large skillet over high heat, brown sausage, about 10 minutes. (I drain the oil to cut down on the fat)
  2. Add tomatoes, sauce, paste, Italian seasoning, dried pasta, and water. Stir to combine, cover and bring to a boil. Boil until pasta is al dente.
  3. Meanwhile; combine ricotta, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Stir until well incorporated.
  4. Stir ricotta mixture into pasta. Preheat oven to broil. Top skillet with shredded cheese and place in oven. Broil until cheese is bubbly and golden brown. Keep a close eye on it or you will have crispy cheese pretty quick.
  5. Garnish with basil and serve. Easy peasy!

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