chopped onion

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

Spicy Black Bean Dip

As the sunshine shows up again this spring, so are  backyard barbecues . A great hostess is always looking for  yummy appetizers and sides for her guests as they wait for the entree to come off the grill. This black bean dip is the perfect third in a trio with garden salsa and guacamole. All the ingredients are economical and make it a great choice for a gathering in your own home or to carry with you to a potluck. Ingredients

3c.  cooked black beans

1/4t. oregano

2 canned chipotle peppers (in adobo sauce)

11/2 c. chopped onion

1T. balsamic vinegar

1/3 c. chopped cilantro

Blend beans (with liquid), chipotle peppers and balsamic vinegar in the blender and blend until smooth. Add chopped onion and cilantro.

The smokey flavor of chipotle makes this dish fabulous  with chips or raw vegetables. If you like,  use it as a sandwich spread or on your favorite wrap.

If you're concerned about calories, fat grams or carbs, it's also a healthy alternative to a sour cream or mayo based dip.

Crabmeat Au Gratin

My family lived in New Orleans for several years, and we fell in love with Cajun food.  One dish we especially liked was Crabmeat Au Gratin.  The recipe that I use comes from  my favorite cookbook, Manna From Westwego Assembly of God Church.  It was written by the women of the church, some of the greatest cooks in all New Orleans.  Enjoy.

1 stalk of chopped celery

1/4 lb butter

1 large can evaporated milk.  (I use skim or 2%)

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 egg yolks

1/2 tsp. red pepper  (I substitute Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning for desired spice)

1 lb. white crabmeat  (Imitation crabmeat may be substituted)

Saute' onions and celery in butter until wilted.  Blend flour in well with this mixture. Pour in the milk gradually, stirring constantly.  Add egg yolks, salt, black pepper and/or Creole Seasoning.  Cook for 5 minutes.

Place the crabmeat in a bowl and pour the cooked sauce over it.  Blend well and then transfer into a lightly greased casserole and sprinkle with grated cheese.

Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until cheese has melted and lightly browned.  Serves 6.

Note:  The secret to the sauce is adding enough milk to obtain the consistency that you prefer.  A little more milk added keeps it from being dry while it is being baked.

Serving suggestions:  Serve with a baked potato, steamed broccoli, and salad.