Not everyone knows this. In fact I suspect that not too many people do, but I loved Chi-chi’s restaurants. And even though they’ve been gone about nine years, I still crave my favorites…dishes I can’t get anywhere else.
I started on a mission a few years ago, when I realized I could still buy their taco seasoning, ‘restaurante’ seasoning, and (thank you, God!) their corn cake mix in some grocery stores.
While I’ve managed to get as close as I ever will to their beef and cheese enchiladas with green chili sauce (ground beef, restaurante seasoning, and diced green chilis with heavy cream), and the corn cakes are super simple with the mix, I’ve yet to come up with the cheese and onion enchilada. It sounds like it should be simple enough…corn tortilla, cheddar cheese, diced onion, red sauce…but it’s not the same.
I’ve also been missing their rice. Yes, it was kind of bland, and might not impress most people, but I loved it. And I’ve finally found a recipe that’s close. Yup. At allrecipes.com.
The first time I made it, I used medium salsa…and found it to be a bit spicier than Chi-chi’s. In other words, not a bland-ish side dish you could have with meals that aren’t comprised of all Mexican food. It was delicious, but definitely a tacos or nachos only kind of side.
So next time I bought mild salsa (Chi-chi’s). Unfortunately I didn’t have chicken broth. I put chicken broth in my shopping cart, and I set the chicken broth on the conveyor belt…but when I got home, it wasn’t in any of the bags. Neither was it listed on the receipt. I’m 99% sure the woman behind me at the checkout stole it. It was one of the last items I took out of the cart – right beside my purse, and was just my side of the little blue thing separating my groceries from hers. Her little daughter was bugging the snot out of me, so I’m thinking the woman forgot to pick up some she needed, had her child distract me…and moved it to her side of the bar. (yes, I had to rant for a second)
Anyway, what to do, what to do? Supper was planned, I was looking forward to the rice…and I didn’t want anything else, darn it.
And so I decided to improvise, changing the recipe as follows (the onion wasn’t fresh because I did forget to pick that up):
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 1/2 tablespoons dried minced onion (put in water for about 5 minutes, then drain whatever liquid is left…or not)
1 1/2 cups rice (NOT instant)
2 chicken bullion cubes (I used gluten free – and mushed it down)
2 cups water
1 heaping cup Chi-chi’s mild salsa
Saute the onion in the oil for a few minutes, add the rice and stir over medium heat until it begins to turn golden. I wound up adding a little more coconut oil to coat it all. Add rest of ingredients, bring to boil, cover and simmer about 20 minutes.
I wound up having several snacks, and even a supper (adding some cheddar cheese for protein) over the next few days. My son hates Mexican rice, so it was all mine. 🙂 I did add a little more salsa each time because it tends to get a little dry after the first meal.
I think it actually turned out better with the water and bullion cubes, so I’ll be making it that way tomorrow. I’m also going to try it with brown rice this time and see how that goes.
But if you’re looking for a super yummy side dish, one that will go with most any meat, this is a great one. If you give it a try, let me know what you think.
Psst! Did you hear about my new secret group on Facebook? It’s so secret you won’t be able to find it no matter how hard you look. In fact, the only people who will find it are those who have subscribed to my newsletter (http://kristykjames.net/newsletter/), and who send me an email or Facebook message letting me know they’d like to join. That way I can send an email invitation.
Why a secret group? I thought it would be a fun place to just chat and get to know one another. Yes, I’m still a teenager at heart. I’ve always liked the secret clubhouse kind of thing. They always seemed so mysterious and exclusive.
Psst again. Did you know that you can get The Daddy Pact, Someday…Maybe, and The Romance Manifesto free at these fine online bookstores? Amazon.com, iTunes Bookstore, and Barnes & Noble. ***The Romance Manifesto is no longer available at Amazon.com.***