Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Comfort Me with... Spanish Rice??? Comfort Food, Part Three

How coincidental is this? I made Spanish Rice two nights ago, tried to write a post about it last night, but the desire to sleep won out over the need to write! Then, I look at this morning's StarAdvertiser food section and see the article on the same dish! (If you're not a subscriber, there's a paywall and you won't be able to read it!) Or just check out the recipe below. We were talking about the food we grew up on - public school cafeteria lunches!

I'm not a sentimental person when it comes to the past, or about music, and I don't remember much that was good about school lunch - except the sloppy joes and SPANISH RICE! Every time I mention the latter, folks ooh and aah! It sure wasn't the healthiest lunch. Leftover white rice cooked with ground meat that was probably 25% fat? The DH remembers green beans in this, but I don't!

Making Spanish rice a couple nights ago took a bit of planning. The night before I made it, I soaked about 1-1/2 cups each white rice and long grain brown rice, then I cooked, cooled and refrigerated it. Yes, it made lots more rice than I needed for the recipe, and I refrigerated and froze the rest.

From the grocery store, I bought 90% lean ground beef. Growing up, my dad had to watch his cholesterol, so my mother ONLY bought lean beef, rarely pork, never hamburger. Instead she went to the butcher in Kaimuki (WHERE are all the butchers now?) where she chose a piece of round, had the butcher trim the fat and grind the meat! With the use of lean beef and brown rice, it was a conscious effort on my part to make this a healthier meal.

Yesterday, I bought yellow and green bell peppers at the farmer's market downtown. When I got home from work, I chopped a medium size onion and half each of green, red and yellow bell peppers. I cooked the beef, onions and peppers and seasoned them with black pepper, sweet paprika, ancho chile powder, garlic salt, some fresh thyme and sea salt. I added 1-1/2 cans of diced tomatoes, and finally, 3 cups of cooked rice. Cooked through until heated, and adjusted salt and pepper.

I served this with mixed baby greens, slivers of red onion and a sliced tomato with balsamic vinaigrette.

Oh, were we comforted! And there were enough leftovers for lunch for one and two for dinner!

There WERE other good things about public school cafeteria lunch: ice cake when you worked cafeteria, the shortbread, and almond cookies (remember the latter with the big Red Dye #2 splotch!?), and the cream puffs (Manoa School, and I only had 2 or 3 in my entire time there!)


What school YOU went?

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