Weeknight Mexican Rice

Do you ever have those days when you just NEED. ALL. THE. CARBS.

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Bread, scones, pasta, cookies…cookie dough. I lump these together with anything else that is super comforting in the moment but I know I will regret the next day with a migraine or itchy skin or just general crabbiness. My husband loves when that happens. I somehow enlisted the poor man to be my “Bread Accountability Partner” since it makes me feel so awful. Clearly, I have no self-control. He definitely gets the short end of the stick on the days when I throw a tantrum like a two-year-old when I JUST WANT A DOUGHNUT RIGHT NOW. Did I mention that I’m a delight? He’s a saint. Really.

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This is one of my meals when I’m in this mood. I know, I know. White rice isn’t good for you! Eat brown rice! Avoid rice period! Well honestly – and I know so many of you are in this boat – I’m going to eat the darn white rice. There are so many other foods on my “Do Not Eat” list that I allow myself this indulgence (if it’s really an indulgence at all). Plus, cooking brown rice feels like it takes an eternity and on days like this, I need food in my stomach with the quickness.

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This is a pretty Americanized take on Mexican Rice. It has a lot of veggies to balance out all the carbs, and it makes an awesome side dish for Taco Tuesday or with fajitas.

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The key here is the Sazon, and really it’s the homemade mix that I swear by.  MSG really triggers my migraines and makes my heart race…and I just like to know what all is in the food I eat! The Sazon in packets from the store taste awesome but always make me feel awful. So I included both options in case you want to branch out and make your own! Happy Carb Loading!

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Mexican Rice

Ingredients
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ cups white rice, rinsed until water runs clear
1 ½ cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 (8-oz) can tomato sauce (no salt added preferred)
1 cup frozen corn
½ cup frozen peas
½ cup frozen carrots
1 packet Sazon seasoning, or 1 ½ tsp of homemade Sazon (see below)
salt and pepper to taste (I use about ¼ tsp each)
2 Roma tomatoes, cored, seeded and diced
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish

Directions
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan (I use a 2.5-qt Calphalon) over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, cooking until the onions are nearly translucent. Add the rice, stirring frequently until lightly toasted.

Pour the stock and tomato sauce in with the rice mixture and stir well, bringing the liquid to a low boil. Add the frozen vegetables, Sazon, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Return to a simmer and place the lid snugly on top of the saucepan, reducing the heat to medium-low. Cook for 13-15 minutes. Do not open the lid! Doing so releases steam and interferes with the liquid absorption by the rice.

Once the liquid has been absorbed, remove the pan from heat and add in the tomatoes and cilantro. Sprinkle more chopped cilantro on top for garnish and extra yumminess.

Homemade Sazon Seasoning Mix

Ingredients
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp turmeric
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp salt
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp black pepper

Directions
Combine all spices together and store in an airtight canister. The mix will last for quite some time (at least a year), but I think you’ll use this more and more once you try it. You can use Sazon in rice and beans, fajitas, as part of a marinade for meat, on vegetables…the options are endless!

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