Here's a favorite, speedy side dish. We ate it alongside bean burritos (cheese, onions, peppers, beans) that can easily be put together while waiting for the microwave to beep.
Please either ignore or be amused by my hungry child's voice in the background. She's saying "Oooo" as I stir in the vegetables and squeezes in a few hiccups. But you know what? She's right where I want her to be. I want her to learn to love cooking healthy foods, too.
There are no pictures to accompany this post. However, the meal really didn't look much different than our first trip. Unfortunately though, the situation was significantly more depressing than the first trip. And along with that, I must ask for sincere apologies for not pointing out previously that the rice is not vegetarian. I just found out myself.
The first time I heard of Paxia, I was getting off of I-4 and saw a guy dancing around with a sign saying it was the best Mexican restaurant in Orlando. The next time I heard of Paxia was less than a week later when I was researching the restaurants participating in Eat Local Week sponsored by Slow Food Orlando.
Sometimes, the photos of a meal go up on flickr before I get around to posting the story behind it. Our dear friend, Brent, had the kids by himself over the weekend while Lisa, his wife, was away with her family. Brent saw our picture of the Mexican Pizza, guessed how to make it, and made one for the kids. He said Kyle liked it, and he loved it. Apparently, Elena wasn't so sure about it. Therefore, I can actually post the opinions of this dish beyond our household. The first photo was from our dinner and the second is from Brent and the kids' dinner.
Recipe for Mexican Pizza
2 Burrito-sized Flour Tortillas
1/8 onion, sliced
1/4 small bell pepper, sliced
1/4 cup sliced black olives
1/3 can Fire Roasted Tomatoes
1/3 can Refried Beans
1/2 cup (more or less) cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place one flour tortilla in the center of a jelly roll pan (I like a pan with edges so juices don't run). Spread refried beans over the tortilla. Lay the onions, bell peppers, and black olives around over the beans and top with one layer of cheese (optional). Place second tortilla over the toppings (like a quesadilla), and top with the tomatoes and additional cheese. Bake in oven 7 minutes or until edges are brown and cheese is bubbling.
When Lisa and I first stepped into a kitchen together, I remember her saying something to the effect of being nervous meeting and cooking for someone who knew her way around the kitchen. But I wasn't worried and was happy to share her space with her. Lisa certainly can stand up for herself in a kitchen. She taught me so much--especially about gluten-free and vegan cooking. I am a better cook for spending time in her kitchen with her. I hope she realizes how valuable that weekend was for me.
Baked Brown Rice
2 cups brown rice (Basmati rice is the best)
5 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
Place all ingredients in a glass baking dish, stir, and cover with foil or glass top.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
This recipe works great on time bake. You can easily cut the recipe in half or double it depending on how many you are serving. Same baking time regardless.
Slow Cooker Beans
1 pound dried beans, (black or pinto)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon granulated onion
6 cups hot water
1 3- 6 in. strip kombu seaweed
Place all ingredients in a slow cooker, stir, and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours. No pre-soaking needed!
Don't get nervous, I use a soybean based vegetarian alternative to regular chicken. It comes in large rolls from health food stores and is very versatile. We find many uses from slicing like lunch meat to dicing for enchiladas to shredding for chicken salad.