Mexican Rice – for a picnic potluck

I had briefly mentioned about our picnic at the park in my earlier post in which few families got together and did a potluck. With heat looming, it was a weekend well spent, as the kids spent hours together splashing in the water, while the adults stayed in the shade chatting and enjoying the assortment of delicious food.

The theme was chosen as Mexican cuisine and everybody pitched in food ideas. Some criteria to keep in mind was that the food had to be kid friendly, easily transportable and would not perish soon.

I prepared this Mexican Rice along with Corn Salsa and Guacamole. This Mexican rice turned out to be a hit among the kids. Colorful and not too spicy, it has a mild flavor with a tangy taste. It formed a good accompaniment with topping of shredded cheese, some nachos and corn salsa on the side.

Here is a menu list of what we came up with for the potluck.

  • Appetizers: Nachos with Salsa, Corn Salsa and Guacamole, juices.
  • Salad: Lettuce, cooked black beans, corn with Catalina dressing topped with crushed nachos for crunch.
  • Tostadas: Charras with topping of refried beans, salsa, lettuce and sour cream. Somewhat similar to what is in here.
  • Tacos: Hard taco shell, topped with refried beans, salsa and lettuce.
  • Mexican Rice, Corn Salsa and Guacamole
  • Dessert: Pound cake, fresh fruits, cookies for kids. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 2 cups broth ( I used vegetarian )
  • 1/2 green bell pepper (chopped )
  • 1/2 onion (chopped ) + ¼ cup chopped onion
  • 1 jalapeno pepper( chopped )
  • 1 tomato (chopped into quarters)
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic (chopped)
  • salt
  • Oil

Method:

  • Blend the tomato along with ¼ cup chopped onion and oregano. Keep aside.
  • In a medium sauce pan, add oil over medium heat. Add in the chopped onion. Sauté for 1-2 minutes and then add the bell pepper and chopped jalapeno mix until softened.
  • Add dry rice and stir for about 5 minutes until the rice becomes a golden brown color and gets the nutty flavor.
  • Add in the chopped garlic to the rice and sauté for one more minute.
  • Next add in broth and tomato sauce, mix well and bring it to a boil.
  • After it starts boiling, turn the heat to medium and cover with lid. Do not touch for the next 10-15 minutes.
  • After it is cooked, add the chopped cilantro and fluff it up with a fork.

Blueberry Yogurt Parfait

 

Blueberries are powerhouse of nutrition! They are packed with vitamins, minerals, and rate very high on antioxidants capability. You knew that already didn’t you? Now that summer is here, the groceries are flooded with varieties of fresh berries. There are different ways in which I use the berries including the regular whip cream based parfait.

This parfait turned out to be unexpected treat for us at home; an accidental oversight which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. While doing the regular grocery I picked up a tub of blueberry yogurt instead of the regular plain yogurt. I realized this only after coming back home and did not have the heart to waste it. So a good way was to turn this into a quick yogurt fruit dessert.

I love these small treats which are light yet leave you with a refreshed feeling. Plus it is guilt free, high in fiber, carbohydrates and protein.

This yogurt based parfait can be had for breakfast or as a yummy snack. Customize this based on your preference; for example skip nuts add other berries, banana etc. It is best enjoyed using fresh or frozen blueberries, but fresh is always are recommended.

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 3 cups blueberry yogurt (low fat)
  • ¼ cup chopped nuts ( I used pecans)
  • 2 Tbsp flax seeds (optional)
  • 1/3 cup granola

Method

  • In a bowl/cup add ¼ cup of yogurt to the base and layer with 4-5 blueberries and 1 Tbsp of granola.
  • If you want continue to build the parfait layers by alternating the fruit and granola in the yogurt cup.
  • Top it off with nuts, flax seeds. Continue this process and make other parfait cups.
  • Serve parfaits immediately (else the granola will get soggy).

 

Corn Salsa – picnic recipe

Picnic at the park with friends, delicious Mexican food, kids splashing in water, chit chat, laughter; this is a tidbit of how we spent one of our weekend evenings. It was a great way to unwind and sync up with friends; it also provided a much needed relief from the scorching summer heat. 

Few of our friends decided to have a potluck picnic and I made this salsa along with Mexican Rice and Guacamole to take. This salsa is based on the recipe that is served at Chipotle Mexican Grill. This is one of our favorites and a few servings of this, makes the burritos and the veggie bowl served there taste delicious.

 I love the fact that it is so simple and nutritious; can be made with just few basic ingredients on hand. It is a kid favorite and does not involve any cooking at all. All that is required is to mix the ingredients together and refrigerate it for few hours before serving. 

This serves as a good accompaniment along with chips/nachos, tacos, topping over tostadas or along with simple Mexican Rice.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups frozen corn (you can use fresh also)
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 tsp finely chopped jalapeno
  • Salt to taste
  • Juice of 1/2 lime

Method:

  • If using frozen corn, thaw the corn in advance. After that warm it for a minute or so in the microwave and drain any liquid from it.
  •  Chop the jalapeno finely.  (If you do not like it hot then remove the seeds, before chopping).  
  • Take a big bowl and add the corn, jalapeno, chopped onion, salt, coriander and mix well.
  • Stir in the lime juice and mix well again. Cover with a lid.
  •  Refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.  This will allow the flavors to blend together.