Everything Tex-Mex Rice

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TEx Mex RiceI am currently obsessed with this Tex-Mex rice dish. J. doesn’t do much Mexican food, so¬†when he’s away, we eat this like crazy. You” find the recipe below but honestly, it’s really just a starter guide. I highly recommend Basmati rice and swear by this Taco Seasoning recipe, but beyond that, you can throw in whatever you want and leave out the bits you don’t like.

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Mouse (aka Max) boiled and baked this week’s stash of homemade bagels. As a Christmas bonus, you’re also welcome to this Bagel Bitch’s favorite Sun-Dried Tomato Bagel recipe.

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I'm a big fan of Trader Joes' sauces. I keep a fat stash of them in the cupboard, including my favorite Curry Simmer Sauce, Thai Red Curry Sauce and their Basil Pesto. My favorite use of TJ's Pesto sauce dish consists of blanched asparagus and green beans tossed with a fresh cheese ravioli, but this quickie pesto chicken pasta dish is now a close second. I added fresh basil, toasted pine nuts and Parmesan to mimic the pesto and a pop of grape tomatoes for sweetness.

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Lentils find their way onto so many of those lists of foods we SHOULD be eating but in my house, shoulds are widely ignored. We eat what we crave, and finding ways to make lentils craveable was easier than I ever expected. Over the last year, I've fallen in love with the lowly lentil. From Mujadara (brown lentils, wild rice and caramelized onions) to Moong Dal (yellow lentil soup with carrots and potatoes) to my new favorite Spicy Red Lentil Soup. The pop of fresh herbs and the bite of hot peppers elevate this red lentil soup to a whole new level.

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In early June, we had lunch with friends at Santa Cruz Diner. The place is famous for its huge portions, relatively low prices and the diversity of its menu. This time 'round, I ordered their coconut curry chicken soup and I've been craving another bowl of it it ever since. I found a simple recipe for a coconut curry sauce and used it as base for my soup.

14 oz. coconut milk

1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp Turmeric
¼ tsp sea salt

Toss all four ingredients into a small saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes. The sauce will thicken when it cools. I made my sauce the day before I was going to try the soup and simply refrigerated it overnight. The next day, I poached a chicken breast (simmering, not boiling water, which will tend to make the meat tough) and par-boiled a sliced potato and three carrots, chopped into large chunks. I emptied the container of curry sauce into the soup pot and added the following: 

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