Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Cilantro-Lime Brown Rice With Black Beans

Let's DishAn Easy

Side Dish


Gluten Free!








Cilantro-Lime Brown Rice With Black Beans

I’m using a boil-in-a-bag quick cooking brown rice for this dish. Truth be told I wasn’t sure about the taste of a quick cooking brown rice. The rice has a slightly nutty flavor. It’s really delicious.  There are some really great products available in local grocery stores today.  I’m okay with taking advantage of semi-homemade dishes.  It definitely allows for more TV time.


Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8-10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Yields: 6 servings

2 bags of boil-in-a-bag brown rice (or white rice if you prefer)
1 can of low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2  teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 cup of chopped cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons of lime zest
1/4 cup of sliced green onions

Boil the rice according to the directions on the back of the box. Let the excess water in the “cooking bags” drain completely before transferring the rice to a large bowl.  Add in the rinsed and drained black beans, lime zest, chopped cilantro leaves, sliced green onions, Kosher salt, and black pepper. Finally toss all the ingredients together.

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Brown And Wild Rice Medley

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Taking help from your local grocery store is not something you should feel guilty about. There’s nothing better than using a few simple ingredients to help make rice,  POP! I found that “Minute Rice” has come out with a brown and wild rice variety, in cups. Basically the rice is ready to serve in sealed cups. What I’ve done, is to jazz it up a bit.  I’m using a store bought Cantina style salsa. I absolutely love this variety of salsa and  I always have a container in my frig.  This is a side dish that pairs well with chicken, pork, or fish.

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1 tablespoon of olive oil
2-4.4 ounce cups of ready to serve Brown and Wild rice
1 can of reduced sodium rinsed and drained black beans
1 can of shoe peg corn ( large can 11 ounce)
1 plum tomato seeded in finely diced
1/2 a green bell pepper finely diced
1/2 a diced white Spanish onion
1 teaspoon of  Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of fresh cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons of Cantina style fresh salsa (available in most produce departments)
2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro leaves

First, I saute the diced tomatoes, onions, and green peppers in the olive oil over medium heat. Sprinkle in the Kosher salt and pepper, stirring that though. Once they’ve started softening, about 2-3 minutes, add in the ready to serve Minute Brown and Wild rice. Then add the, drained and rinsed, shoe peg corn and black beans. Stir all this though to combine. Let the black beans and corn to come up to temperature. Finally, add the salsa and stir to combine. Turn the heat off and sprinkle in the chopped cilantro.

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Homemade Chili

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There are times when I crave a bowl of my homemade chili. Chili that’s smokey, spicy, and with real depth of flavor. In this recipe I bring out all the stops. To add texture and sweetness, I like adding shoe peg corn. Shoe peg corn are small sweet white corn kernels, and I believe, is an ingredient that’s underutilized. I’m also a believer in adding black beans to chili. Everyone who loves chili knows, the longer it simmers the thicker and better it gets. The making of chili takes a lot of love. If you can dedicate 30 minutes of prep time and a little over an hour of cooking time, I promise you will really love this chili.

Ancho chilies are just a smoked Poblano peppers that’s been dried. A mild pepper with a smokey flavor that’s perfect for chili. Let me start out by showing you how to add these peppers to your chili.

Directions For Reconstituting Chiles:
I start by placing 6 dried ancho chilies to a pot along with 2-1/2 cups of water. On medium heat, I bring the chilies up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. I let the chilies simmer for about 20 minutes. I turn the heat off allowing the chiles steep in their liquid (chili stock) for another 10 minutes before going into the food processor.  While this process is taking place, use this time to prep all the veggies, measure out the spices for the chili, thawing the shoe peg corn, and finally rinsing and draining the beans for the chili.

After the peppers have been reconstituted, stems removed and seeded, I place them into a food processor along with their liquid ( start with 1/2 a cup, add more cooking liquid if needed) to be processed and then set aside. You want the processed chiles to be a thick puree. Yields, 1/2 cup of ancho chili puree

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The next day I like to do something a little different. You know how chili always better the second day well… I grab a warm corn tortilla and make a taco. A little homemade chili, Pico de gallo, and Queso Fresco. YUMMY!


Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Equipment: 6 quart Dutch oven pot
Yields: 6 servings

4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds of lean ground sirloin
6 processed ancho chiles, yields, 1/2 cup of ancho puree
3 tablespoons of Mexican chocolate (optional)
1 small jar of processed Piquillo peppers
3 tablespoons of chili powder
3 packed tablespoons of light brown sugar
2 tablespoons of ground cumin
2 tablespoons of sweet paprika
2 tablespoons of smokey paprika
2 tablespoons of dried oregano
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 minced and seeded chipotle peppers
1 minced and seeded jalapeno pepper
2 cloves of minced garlic
2 diced red bell peppers
1 diced green bell pepper
1/4 cup of sliced green onions ( reserving the green tops for garnish)
1 large diced onion
2-28 ounce cans of whole San Marzano tomatoes
1- 10-1/2 ounce can of beef consomme
2 cups of low sodium beef broth
1-15 ounce can of drained and rinsed kidney beans
1-15 ounce can of drained and rinsed black beans
1 package of thawed frozen shoepeg corn

shredded cheddar cheese
lime wedges
diced red onion
sliced tops of green onions
tortilla chips

As shown above, while the dried ancho chilies are being reconstituted on the stove, you want to move on to the prep work for the chili. Start with dicing and mincing of the vegetables.

Diced green onions (reserving the green tops for garnish), a Spanish onion, red and green bell peppers, minced garlic and seeded and minced a jalapeno pepper. Alongside those ingredients, I’ve seeded and chopped a couple of Chipotle peppers packed in Adobo sauce. Another ingredient is, I’ve taken a jar of Piquillo peppers and pureed those in a food processor. I have my black and kidney beans drained and rinsed. My shoepeg white corn has been thawed.

By the time all the veggies have been diced and minced, it’s time to seed, clean, and process the ancho chilies.  After the ancho chilies have been processed, then you want to get all your liquids together for the chili. The low sodium beef broth, beef consomme, and the canned San Marzano whole tomatoes.

Next, is to get together all the spices that will be going into the chili. First, and this is totally optional, is the chocolate. I’m using what’s known as Mexican chocolate. It’s used as a spice and gives a depth of flavor to the chili. Then there are the standard chili spices, chili powder, ground cumin, sweet and smokey paprika, garlic powder, dried oregano, light brown sugar, Kosher salt,  and black pepper.

Using a large heavy Dutch oven pot to make chili.  The stove on medium heat, I start with some vegetable oil in the bottom of the pot. To bloom all the spices, I add them right in with the vegetable oil. Stirring and mixing all the spices, including the brown sugar. Once the spices release their aroma, add the lean ground sirloin to the pot. Once the meat is stirred and mixed with the spices, add in the minced Chipotle peppers, stirring that through. Continue cooking the meat for another 10 minutes allowing the meat to brown completely.

Next, add in all the diced veggies along with the minced garlic and jalapeno. To that, some tomato paste. I stir all of these ingredients together, making sure the meat and veggies are well combined.

Now for the liquids. Start with the canned whole tomatoes. Once they’re in the pot, using a wooden spoon,  start breaking them up. To the pot, add in the beef consomme and beef broth, again, giving everything a big stir to combine. Still, on medium heat, let everything come up to a bubble. Turn the heat down to med-low, stirring occasionally, let simmer for 50 minutes. Once the chili has been simmering for 50 minutes, add the black beans, kidney beans, and shoepeg corn and let simmer for another 10 minutes.

Finally, the usual suspects, some shredded cheddar, diced red onions, cilantro, lime wedges, and of course some guacamole!

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Chicken Tortilla Soup

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Whenever is a gloomy day. I always reach for a hot bowl of soup. Not just any soup, but my chicken tortilla soup with all its wonderful toppings. The crispy corn tortillas on the top just give that extra POW ! Let me tell you how I made the crispy tortilla strip for the top.

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First set the oven at  375 degrees. I just take some corn tortillas, spray both sides with a non- stick cooking spray. I stack them all up on top of each other, and cut them into strips. Next I place them on a couple of baking sheets. I toss them through with my hands before spreading them out in one layer. I sprinkle a little salt all over the top of the strips and bake them off. When they come out, set them aside to cool. Once cooled, I place them into a large resealable bag.

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My recipe for roasting chicken has not changed.  I set the oven for 350 degrees. Add a drizzle of olive oil, sprinkling of salt and pepper, and roast for 35-40 minutes. I let the chicken cool for a bit before removing it from the bone, and shredding all the chicken. I like the chicken shredded in the particular dish, I don’t know, for soups I just think it looks better. Now while the chicken was roasting in the oven, I prep all my veggies for the soup. I try to always have my prep done ahead of time or, at the very least, work on it while another ingredient is cooking. This way, when I need them, they’re ready. Plus it just makes things run smoother for me.

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While the chicken was roasting away, I prepare all the veggies for the soup and got all my ingredients together. I’m using a red and green bell pepper, for this recipe, and all the other ingredients you see. I’ll tell you about it as we go.

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To start I have a heavy bottom pot that I add in vegetable oil. I’m using this oil instead of olive oil because, it’s neutral in flavor. To the oil I add in the tomato paste and dried oregano to start blooming. Next, I throw in the onions, let them start softening. To that, the bell peppers, minced garlic,a bay leaf, and some salt and pepper. Stir all the ingredients around and let them cook for about 5-7 minutes giving everything a chance to marry. Going forward, I add in a can of tomatoes with green chilis  fire roasted tomatoes, and finally the drained and rinsed black beans and corn. I stir that around for just a minute before adding in the low sodium chicken broth and water. I bring all this up to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let cook for about 35-40 minutes. About this time the chicken is just about ready to come out of the oven. As shown in the top pictures, I remove the chicken from the bone and shred it. After all the chicken is shredded I add it into the pot with all the other ingredients. I give it a gently stir and let everything continue to simmer.

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At this point, the soup has been simmering away and the chicken has been added. I want to bring home the corn tortilla flavor, and to give the soup a little body, This is what I do.

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During the last 15 minutes of cooking, I add 3 tablespoons of corn meal to 1/2 a cup of water, stir it together, and add it into the hot simmering soup.

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After the soup is done I add in some fresh chopped cilantro, remove the bay leaf, and add in my favorite toppings. I served the soup with a lime wedge, a handful of shredded cheddar, a few cilantro leaves, some finely diced red onion, and of course the crispy tortilla strips.

Prep time: 15-20 minutes (this includes cutting up all the veggies and getting all the topping ready)
Cook Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients for the chicken;
2 large bone in, skin on, chicken breasts
2 tablespoons of olive oil for the chicken
1 tablespoons of Kosher salt for the  chicken
1 teaspoon of black pepper for the chicken

Ingredients for tortilla strips:
1 package of corn tortillas
some non- stick cooking spray
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt

Ingredients for soup:
2 quarts of low sodium chicken broth
2 cups of water ( 1/2 a cup reserved for corn meal)
1 each red and green bell pepper large dice
1 diced onion
3 cloves on minced garlic
1 -11 ounce can of Ro*Tel ( if you want it spicier, add in some fresh chopped jalapenos too)
1-15 ounce  can of fire roasted tomatoes
1-15 ounce can of low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
1-11 can of white shoe peg corn, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
3 tablespoons of corn meal
2 tablespoons of dried oregano
1-1/2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 bunch of fresh cilantro
1 lime
1 package of shredded cheddar

Start out by having the oven set at 375 degrees and bake off the tortilla strips. This will take 12-15 minutes. Turn down the oven to 350 degrees an get the chicken into the oven. While the chicken is cooking. prep all the veggies and ingredients for the soup and the toppings. Once you’ve done this start the soup as explained above. Next pull the chicken out of the oven,( when it’s cool enough to handle) remove the skin and chicken from the bone and shred it. Add the chicken to the soup, let simmer for 40 minutes, Fifteen minutes before the soup is done, remove the bay leaf, add in the corn meal and water mixture. Finish with some fresh chopped cilantro and give a big stir. Ladle a bowl full, and then top with your favorite toppings, a wedge of lime, and some of those crispy tortilla strips.

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