bell pepper

Brown Rice, Mexican Style

Anywhere there's Mexican food, you'll find rice. Enchiladas and rice, tacos and rice, beans and rice. My mother, grandmother and mother-in-law each prepared rice with their own twist and now I've added mine. I hope you'll try this easy, yummy recipe which takes brown rice, full of nutrients, and packs it with flavor that will fill your kitchen with a heavenly aroma.

Mexican Brown Rice


1 c. brown rice

2t. canola oil   

1 T. chicken boullion

2 c. water

½ t. ground cumin

2 cloves minced garlic

1/3 c chopped onion

3/4 c diced or crushed tomatoes

1c chopped vegetables –combination of any of the following: mushrooms, cooked garbanzos, chopped carrots, celery, bell pepper, frozen peas)

Cilantro (optional)


Pour brown rice  and canola oil into 2 qt. saucepan, stirring continually until toasty. ( This will make cooking time shorter and rice will have a wonderfully  firm texture.) When rice has browned sufficiently, add water, cumin, tomatoes and garlic. Bring to a boil then lower temperature to a simmer.  Add vegetables and cilantro after rice has been cooking for 20-25 minutes.Cook an additional 15-20 minutes until all liquid has been absorbed and rice is al dente.

Makes 4 c or 8-1/2 c. servings

Hungry for Hummus?

Chickpeas are the core ingredient to this healthy food, loaded with protein. Hummus is popular in the Middle East and is also commonly found in Mediterranean-style meals. However, it is now quite popular in the US, costs pennies to make and less than fifteen minutes of prep time. My recipe is a "mas o menos," which means more or less. Adjust the ingredients to your particular taste.


1 can of chickpeas/garbanzo, with liquid

juice of 1 fresh lemon

2 T. tahini*

2 cloves of roasted garlic**

1/8 c. olive oil

salt to taste

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve with pita chips, raw veggies or use as a spread on a sandwich or wrap.

*Sesame seed paste can be purchased at any grocery store with a healthy food section.

**My daughter taught me to a quick-roast garlic, just place the cloves in a nonstick pan on medium heat and turn them until they're lightly browned on all sides.


Substitute any of the following for a twist:

roasted red bell pepper, roasted jalapeno, sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives

Sweet Potato Quesadillas

Sweet potatoes can be found year round, but November and December is peak season for them. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) ranked the sweet potato number one in nutrition of all vegetables. This quick and easy recipe is yummy and packed with Vitamins A & C, beta carotene and fiber. To top it all off, one medium sweet potato only has about 130-160 calories! Ingredients

4 servings

2c. baked sweet potatoes, mashed ( about 2 small potatoes)

2 T. canola oil

1/2 c. chopped red bell pepper

1/3 c. chopped cilantro

3T. canned enchilada sauce ( any brand will do)

fresh shredded Parmesan cheese

8 flour tortillas

Heat oil in medium size pan. Saute red pepper 3-5 min. until tender. Add cilantro and enchilada sauce and heat through.  Add sweet potato and maintain on low-medium heat until mixture is heated. Spread mixture onto a tortilla, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese to taste. Place another tortilla on top and heat on a griddle until toasted.

Use a pizza cutter and cut them in halves, fourths or in eighths to be used as an appetizer.

The great thing about these quesadillas is that they can be served immediately, sit out for a while and eaten at room temp or as a midnight snack right out of the frig!!

I served them as a late night snack to overnight guests. Everyone loved them and my nephew said,"Tia, as a meat lover, have you ever thought of throwing in a little chicken?"

Sooooooo, next week I'm going throw a little smoked chicken (that means rotisserie chicken from the grocery store) in the mix and see what happens.