I don’t know about you, but I LOVE Mexican food!!! And I love spending a nice amount of time on the main dish, be it just homemade tacos or fajitas, spicy south-of-the-border grilled chicken or fish, enchiladas or burritos, or even a simple lunch of quesadillas, I can spend HOURS in the kitchen having a blast creating!
But on the flip-side, I sometimes do NOT like spending yet another several hours on a side dish to go with. I always want there to be that “one dish” that’s the star of the show, and then keep it simple after that. A light salad, fresh fruit and a simple rice dish with lots of flavor is all that’s needed and more. Follow up with a tart, cool, palate-cleansing and simple dessert like my Key Lime Pie, and you’ve got a fantastic Mexican-style meal! 😀
Not to say that a basic side dish should have no flavor and be nothing short of blah. Not at all. But the key, to me anyways, is balance. Too much of a good thing is….well, simply too much. Focus on one thing, and let the rest fall into place naturally and easily. If you go overboard, the meal in turn will be overboard and the star will get lost in the confusion. The exception to this, I guess, would be a more extravagant party-style buffet full of goodies that are eaten at leisure and not all at one sitting.
But we’re talking about a weeknight, family-style, “Taco Tuesday” kind of meal, not a New Year’s Eve gala. 😉 Choose a main dish, such as my Mexican Stuffed Shells, rich and creamy Enchiladas Suizas, or my super fun Baja Fish Tacos, and serve this simple dish alongside! It’s a huge kitchen helper when you want to spend more time (and money) on the main dish, and just serve something simple, easy and tasty on the side. Not to mention, a bit more healthy to boot! 😉 Nothing wrong with a side of rice and protein-packed beans! 😀 I LOVE a good rice dish, you too? 😀
Rice is SUPER easy to make, so much so, that it practically makes itself. There’s NOTHING hard about it, no mystery, no need to fret. I don’t know why some are afraid to make it and cave to expensive, salt-packed and additive-laden boxes of “stuff”. You can do this. I promise. 😉
Two simple things have helped me over the years of making rice, and the rice police would probably shoot me. But it works for me. So be it. Lock me up.
I use a saucepan by Calphalon, my FAVORITE pan of all-time!, that has a rounded bottom. For some reason this just seems to work so much better!!
And two, I add just a tad more water than the directions say so that it never, and I mean, never, sticks to the bottom nor burns. The firing squad can lower their guns….I said a TAD. JEEEZ! I add just a tablespoon more than required and it just works for me. 😉 If you’re a rice pro, obviously you don’t need this little cushion. I am not a rice pro. Until I added the extra water. 😉
I also like a bit more butter, so does my hubby, but that part is up to you. You can most certainly cut it in half and add just a tablespoon if you’d like. But who doesn’t enjoy a little extra butter?
Plus it helps to mellow the sharpness of the spices instead of adding any kind of sugars. Which brings us to the spices. This my own personal blend that we love, but you can adjust the flavorings any which way you choose!
I added dark red kidney beans, because I had several cans on hand. But black beans would also be a nice choice. I’m not a big fan of beans in general, but I do like kidney beans now and then in certain dishes, and this just happens to be one of them.
You can jazz this up, too, if preferred, by adding chopped pickled jalapeños or fresh minced peppers, onions, diced tomatoes, chopped cilantro, or even salsa. This is just the basic recipe to play and have fun with. 😉 (I actually enjoy a little hot sauce on mine along with some fresh Pico de Gallo, melted cheese and a touch of sour cream on top sometimes. 😉 A nice squirt of fresh lime juice freshens this up, too! 😉 )
But I only add all of that when the main dish is also simple, and it won’t compete or overshadow it in any way. 😉 But go for it if you’d like! Especially for a buffet-style side dish! 😀
So here’s a very nice side dish that you can whip up in less than 30 minutes with almost ZERO work at all that goes well with just about any Mexican, Tex-Mex or even a spicy grilled steak, chicken, pork or fish dinner, that’s easy, tasty and literally costs pennies per serving ! 😉 Spend your money on the main dish, and let this easy side dish help you out on the rest to balance out the meal as well as the cost! 😉
*You can also add some cooked chorizo, spicy sausage, or even kicked-up hamburger to this and turn this side dish into a simple main dish all by itself! Toss in some peppers, onions and tomatoes, and a quickie supper or lunch is done! 😉
I hope this tasty Mexican Rice with Beans side dish helps you to round out your Mexican Night meal and complete your next Taco Tuesday, and I’ll see you all soon! Take care! ~Kelly