When I meal plan, I spend more time thinking about the entrée than the side dishes. I tend to stick to familiar favorites and rotate them so that it’s not brown rice and green beans every night. Some of this is in an effort not to flood M and O’s plates with foods that are new to them all at once. While they have risen to the occasion of eating things that are new to them, it’s more likely that they will give the zucchini stuffed chicken or Salisbury steak a chance if it’s accompanied by things they’ve seen before. Luckily vegetables rarely present a challenge, and the switch to whole grain egg noodles and brown rice has gone unnoticed. Or, if they notice, they haven’t complained. Small victories!
Every once in a while, I come across a recipe for a side dish and think “I must make this at once,” and plan a meal around that side dish. This crock pot Spanish rice is a prime example. I saw the recipe and decided I needed to add a suitable entrée to the meal plan just so we could have this rice. It cooks in the slow cooker in a few hours, but if you’re using brown rice I’d give yourself a little extra time. It took an extra hour (four hours total) for the rice to be properly cooked because I used brown rice instead of long grain. If yours is cooked sooner than the four hours, you can leave it on the “keep warm” setting until the rest of the meal is ready. On a side note, I love how adding tomatoes and peppers to something makes it “Spanish” much like adding an avocado slice to a burger makes it the “California burger.” Putting that aside, M and O ate this- tomato chunks, peppers and all- and asked for seconds. More small victories!
Crock Pot Spanish Rice
- 1 C. uncooked brown or long grain rice (brown rice will take a little longer than long grain)
- 1 C. water
- 1/2 C. finely chopped onion
- 1/2 C. chopped red or green bell pepper, finely chopped (or red and green if you want to mix them)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes (including liquid)
Spray the inside of a 4 quart crock pot with non-stick cooking spray (or use a crock pot liner).
Put all ingredients in the slow cooker and stir briefly to combine.
Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours (closer to 3 for long grain rice, closer to 4 for brown rice), until the rice is cooked and the liquid has been absorbed.
Makes about 3 cups of Spanish rice.