I knew I was in trouble when my husband announced that taco night was getting boring. Taco night is a biweekly staple around here. It provides a weeknight meal that is quick, easy and guarantees that even our picky 10 year old will partake without complaint. If I get stuck in traffic or have some kind of delay in getting home the kids are fully capable of preparing it and having it on the table by the time I come dragging through the door. The last thing my tired brain needs is trying to find a new quick cook dish that appeals to all four of our tastes.
Last weekend I finally had a chance to sit out on the deck and thumb through the backlog of my magazine subscriptions. As I flipped through the July issue of Southern Living I spotted a photo of a Tex Mex dish that immediately caught my eye. Texas Caviar Rice and Beans. Touted as an appetizer that could become a main dish, my interest was peaked. As I read further and saw that it requires no actual cooking, just prep work and assembly, I realized that it is something I could prepare alongside our regular old, boring taco night and still appeal to everyone in the house.
My madcap plan worked! Sure, it was definitely more labor intensive than just browning some ground beef and throwing spices on top, but it was such a hit it was worth the extra effort. The kids had their usual tacos while we ate more than we probably should have of this tasty dish. I liked how this recipe provides a base for you to add or eliminate and customize to your palette. For instance, I used what I had on hand in place of some of the ingredients. Dark red kidney beans in place of black-eyed peas, chopped green pepper instead of poblanos, white rice in lieu of basmati....I think you get the idea. In fact, I threw a scoop of the taco meat on mine to make it a little more hearty. In hindsight, it was hearty enough without the meat. I virtually rolled away from the table after this meal.
Texas Caviar Rice and Beans
July 2013 issue of Southern Living
1 (15.8oz) can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed ~ I used dark red kidney beans
1 (15oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 c finely chopped roasted red peppers
1/4 c finely chopped poblano peppers ~ I used fresh green pepper
Texas Vinaigrette, divided
2 (8.8oz) pouches fully cooked basmati rice ~ I used 2 cups of uncooked Minute Rice that I prepared in the microwave
1 1/4 c halved grape tomatoes
1c shredded pepper jack cheese ~ I used cheddar jack because it was on hand
3/4 c loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
2/3 c thinly sliced celery ~ I omitted because I didn't feel like prepping
1/3 c thinly sliced green onion
Tortilla chips ~ I LOVE the blue corn and flax chips from Simply Balanced (at Target)
Garnish: sliced pickled jalapeno peppers ~ I omitted
Stir together the first 4 ingredients and 1/4c of Texas Vinaigrette in a microwave safe glass bowl; let stand 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Microwave on high 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring at 30-second intervals.
Heat rice according to package directions; fluff with a fork. Divide bean mixture, rice, tomatoes, and next 4 ingredients among 4-6 individual plates. *note: I placed it all into a shallow, oval casserole dish to serve
Serve with tortilla chips and remaining vinaigrette.
Whisk together 1/2 c olive oil, 1/4 c fresh lime juice, 2 tbsp chopped cilantro, 1 tbsp hot sauce, 1 garlic clove, minced; 1/2 tsp chili powder and 1/2 tsp ground cumin. Add kosher salt and black pepper to taste. Makes about 1 cup.