Heavy metal, burnt cheese and leftovers

I was recently a guest at a delicious pot luck dinner. Naturally, everyone wound up making starches. Thankfully someone made a salad. I decided on this Cheesy Tex-Mex Rice recipe from the kitchn, which I found on Pinterest. I picked it because it looked colorful and it gave me an opportunity to use my new cast iron pan. I learned to love the recipe because it entails leaving something cooking on the stove and forgetting about it for five minutes at a time. As an added bonus, I immediately knew what to cook with all the leftover ingredients – nachos. Stay tuned for that blog.

This recipe is for eight to 10 servings. Cut the recipe in half if you aren’t feeding an army.

  • 4 cups of cooked and cooled rice (I used brown)
  • 1 ½ cups of cheddar cheese (I may have used a little more)
  • 1 green pepper, diced small
  • 16 oz. of canned diced tomatoes and their juices (I used a fire roasted version)
  • 1 cup of fresh or frozen corn
  • About ½ cup minced black olives
  • 1-2 teaspoons chili powder (I used at least 3)
  • 1-3 teaspoons of salt, to taste (I used about two)

Optional extras: 1-2 diced sausage links, 1 cup of shredded chicken, 1 cup black beans, 1/3 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1-2 teaspoons of chiles en adobo. I used black beans and the chiles en adobo which gives the dish a nice smoky flavor.

Cook the rice ahead of time according to the ingredients on the box. I used the measurements for four servings. While the rice is cooling, assemble all your ingredients. Open and drain the corn and black beans, or shuck the corn on the cob if you’re using fresh corn. Dice the green pepper. Mince the black olives. Open the cans of tomatoes and chiles en adobo.

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Be sure to taste it and adjust the seasonings to your liking. Remember, with seasoning, always go easy because you can always add more, but you can’t take it away.

Set your cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat. If you’re using a cast iron pan, coat it lightly with oil. Add the rice mixture and spread it evenly over the bottom of the pan. You’ll want to cook this for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring it every five minutes. According to the kitchn..

“Be patient and don’t be tempted to stir more frequently! The cheese will melt and start to form a burnt-looking crust on the bottom of the pan. Every time you stir, scrape up this crust and mix it back into the rice. The whole dish will gradually pick up a deep, almost chocolate-like flavor from the seared cheese.”

If you see or smell smoke, reduce your heat and scrape a little more frequently. Taste the rice as it cooks, adjusting the seasoning if necessary. It is recommended that the rice cool before being served and is best if served slightly warmer than room temperature. I cooked the rice the morning of the pot luck so the flavors would have a chance to mingle. The rice can be reheated in a slow cooker, a low oven covered with aluminum foil, or in the microwave for a few minutes on high.

As for the rest of the pot luck offerings, here’s some photos for you to “sample.”

Salad in the cutest dishes ever.

Mushroom, spinach, bacon, scalloped potato goodness.

Cheesy stuffed shells with sausage.

Caprese pasta with garlic basil oil.

Ice cream cupcakes from Cold Stone Creamery

And the crew! Love Pot Luck!


2 responses

  1. Amy. Tried this recipe tonight for post Valentine’s Dinner for my girlfriend (She’s a Florist- so she’s worked not stop the last 8 days).
    Served it with broiled haddock fillet.

    Your blog pictures make my mouth water, Take care John

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