Friday, February 21, 2014

Weekend Wino: Wine-o-rita & Mexican Inspired Rice & Bean Casserole



Happy Friday everyone!  The sun is shining brightly here and the last few warm days allowed for me to wear flip-flops (in 35 degree weather-yes, this is normal in Illinois)!  While I think I'm one of the very few who actually enjoy winter-I've got to admit, I'm starting to get Spring Fever.  My mind keeps wandering to getting back on the motorcycle, cruising down Route 66 and stopping off in the little small towns to visit friends or grilling out. 

Mexican food is one of the many things I like to eat to try to relive and celebrate the heat of the sun and the spice of the food. In the wintertime its especially appreciated as it takes the mind off of the bitter cold and into a more relaxed mental state.  I mean, is there any other type of food instills celebration in the mind more than Mexican? 

While this is the Weekend Wino edition, I was sure to include wine in the menu, but as an ingredient to my new favorite margarita: The Wine-o-rita.  This margarita-inspired cocktail came about with the influence of restaurants putting the little Corona bottles in margaritas and due to the lack of sweet n sour in my apartment.  I will say it was quite delicious-even Levi had a couple with dinner!

The Wine-o-Rita

Salt a glass and fill with ice

Take a tumbler and add:
1 1/2oz tequila (we like Herradura Blanco)
3/4oz triple sec (we like Patron Citronage)
Splash of lime juice
4oz dry white wine
Shake and pour into glass
Top with OJ

For dinner I really wanted the stuffed poblano peppers from Destihl, a local gastropub.  So I thought I would put together a dish that would bring out similar flavors of that incredible dish.  Levi and I were thrilled with the results!  In addition, the dish came out fairly healthy since we restrained ourselves with the cheese.

Mexican Inspired Rice & Bean Casserole
Serves 10

1 16oz bag dried black beans
2 cups dried rice (6 servings)
2 medium onions-chopped
4 small (2 large) cloves of garlic-minced
1 12oz bag frozen green peppers-diced
1 12oz bag frozen corn
1 15oz can diced tomatoes-drained
1 6oz can salsa verde
2 cups shredded colby-jack cheese
4 Tablespoons Tony Cachere's Cerole Seasoning
1 Tablespoon ground cumin

Cook dried beans according to package.  When beans are almost done add onion, garlic, cumin and 3 tablespoons Tony Chachere's.  When beans are done, drain off 1/2 the liquid.

Cook rice according to package.

Take 9x13 and add the beans, rice, green peppers, corn and tomatoes and mix together.  Spread the mixture evenly across the casserole dish.  Heavily sprinkle the last tablespoon of Tony Chachere's over top.  Pour Salsa verde evenly over the casserole.  Top with colby-jack.

Bake, covered at 350 degree F for 45-55 minutes.
Serve with baked tilapia or another protein of your choice.

Enjoy!
~Carmen

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