When I came back from my two week vacation and opened the fridge, I was blown away. In place of a fridge overflowing with vegetables, fruits, breads, leftovers and nearly empty jars of pickles, jams, peanut butter, spice pastes etc etc, I was looking at a newly cleaned spartan fridge with just the basics stocked neatly in the right compartments.
The reason??? My husband had decided to cook through all the produce that I had left behind in stead of buying more food. He had made simple meals with what was in the fridge and just that. No rushing out to just buy parsley or right type of cucumber. He come home, opened the fridge looked at what was there and planned his meal accordingly. The simplicity of that blew me away. And I should add that my husband is NOT an indifferent eater. As much as I envy those who do not spend hours obsessing about food, I could not have easily adjusted to being married somebody like that.
And so I decided that is what I will do too.I will just plan my meals according to what my pantry has. No rushing out to buy last minute ingredients. If I really want to make a certain dish I will make space for it when I shop next and not go shopping now. I am hoping this will reduce waste, ensure we eat fresh and will also give me a reason to cook with what I have and find ways to make it taste good for me.
All that said I had picked up a bunch of poblano peppers, some bell peppers last time I was in the store. So I decided on a simple Mexican vegetarian meal . Stuffed poblano peppers, a vegetarian fajita with bell peppers and mushrooms, spanish rice and beans.
I was very happy with all the dishes but what I really loved was how my spanish rice turned out. So that is what I am going to share here.
Spanish Rice (I altered this recipe to suit what I had)
1 cup rice
1 small onion cut fine
2 cloves garlic minced fine
1/2 green bell pepper cut fine
4 small green chillies
1/2 tsp chilli powder ( this depends a lot on how spicy your chilli powder is and how you like your rice. So adjust to taste)
1 tsp sugar ( again this depends on what tomatoes you use)
2 tomatoes ( I used Roma)
1 tsp cumin powder
salt to taste
Olive oil to cook it all.
Add olive oil to pan and heat on a medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook. After a minute add bell pepper and mix. Cook this mixture for a few minutes until the onion is translucent. Wash the rice, drain and add the rise to the pan. Stir to mix so that all your rice is coated with the oil. Cook this mixture for around 5 minutes until your rice starts turning slightly brown
While the rice is cooking, put the two tomatoes and the green chillies in a food processor and pulse until you get a chunky smoothie like mixture. Add this mixture in parts to the rise. Add the first part and then mix to incorporate. While the rice is absorbing the tomato add salt , sugar cumin powder. Do not add the chilli powder yet. Wait till you have an idea of how spicy the green chillies will make your rice before adding the chilli powder.
Add the rest and stir to incorporate. After the rice has absorbed all the liquid from the tomatoes start adding broth or water. Add liquid is small parts about 1/2 to 3/4 cup and wait till the liquid is absorbed before adding more. At this point you can also add the chilli powder after a tasting.
When the rice is cooked, let it rest for a few minutes and fluff with a fork. I have always made spanish rice with canned tomatoes (most recipes online also ask for canned tomatoes), but I have never been this happy with the results. Which is why in place of posting the stuffed poblanos I decided to write about my star for the evening - the humble Spanish Rice.
Edited to Add
I wanted to add pictures of the full spread...