I may be an unbored housewife, but I haven’t always had the capacity to waltz into my kitchen, open the pantry, and craft a gorgeously satisfying meal for my family.  (Okay, maybe that’s only how it looks in my head.)  Nonetheless, only five years ago, I could scarcely cook a thing.  As in, my Jersey Boy husband cooked almost every meal consumed in our home and then usually did the dishes afterwards too.

In those days, as a lawyer, I worked a lot.  My hours were unpredictable, determined by the demands of my clients, and I frequently arrived home long after dinner hours.  By God’s loving mercy, He gave me a husband who not only knows how to cook, but didn’t mind doing the heavy lifting in the kitchen (and looked good doing it).

Whatever the show Jersey Shore may have done to give jersey boys a dirtball image, my Jersey Boy more than redeems.  I don’t deserve him.

In those days, if I was cooking Spanish rice, it invariably looked like this:

boxed rice

Do you know how much sodium is in this stuff?

sodium

Not to mention some suspicious sounding ingredients.  Not so bueno.

After quitting my legal career to be a housewife I figured I should play the part – so I taught myself how to cook.  It was an arduous process, and many a dish ended up burned or just plain nasty, but I learned the craft…and now I adore cooking.

I adore the creativity that it permits.  I adore that my hours spent cooking for my family are peaceful and reflective.  I often pray while I cook.  It’s good for my soul.

I learned mostly from reading cooking blogs – The Pioneer Woman being foremost among them.  Her influence on me is probably obvious.  I found her simple instructions and big photos helpful (often necessary).  I could actually see what the food was supposed to look like.

So I try to do something similar here, in my own voice and my own style.  Thanks for the inspiration PW!

After I picked up the basics, I learned many of my family’s old recipes and honed my own style.  And here I am sharing it with you.  Isn’t life surprising?

Now, back to the task at hand – Spanish Rice.

These are the main ingredients:

ingredients

Take a nice-sized sauté pan and heat it to high.  Add one tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan.  Add one tablespoon of butter into the pan, too.  The vegetable oil helps to prevent the butter from burning.

oil and butter

After the butter melts, add one and a half cups of uncooked white rice.

rice canister

rice in pan

Stir the rice until it is coated with the oil and butter.

stir

Leave the rice on high heat for a few minutes, allowing the grains to puff up a bit and turn slightly golden.  Make sure you stir it periodically and don’t let it burn!  You want it just slightly golden – not brown.

During this time, sprinkle one teaspoon of salt onto the rice.  Next, sprinkle in one teaspoon of cumin.

cumin

Then sprinkle in one-quarter of a teaspoon of garlic powder.

garlic powder

Stir your seasonings into the rice.  Now add a can of this.

rotel

This is the mild version.  Use the regular version of Rotel for a spicier rice.

When you add the Rotel your pan will steam.  Don’t burn yourself!

rotel in pan

Quickly stir.  Now measure a little under three cups of water and pour it into the pan.

photo (107)

Now add two chicken bouillon cubes.

bouillon

Bring your ingredients to a rapid boil, stirring occasionally to make sure the bouillon cubes dissolve completely.

rapid boil

After your rice reaches a rapid boil, cover it and turn the heat all the way down to low.

Let the rice cook for 15 minutes.  When it is finished, stir and serve.

final rice

This is tasty Spanish Rice…and so much better than this:

boxed rice

INGREDIENTS

1 tbsp. vegetable oil

1 tbsp. butter

1 and 1/2 cups uncooked white rice

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp. garlic powder (I used course garlic powder)

1 10 oz. can Rotel

A little less than 3 cups water

2 chicken bouillon cubes