mexican night! (err… afternoon… “linner” i guess)


i will admit, i’m sucker for meat with a “reduced” sticker at the grocery store. i walk by the case actually scanning for those little red or orange gems that often help me decide what i will be making for dinner. this is especially true if i go in feeling indecisive or unfocused. or worse yet, going in hungry already but with the foolish intent on actually cooking a large meal. sometimes in these instances hunger wins and one of our favorite pizza places (joe’s or franco’s) is dialed from outside the grocery store. sometimes a quick fix like reduced burgers or sausages come to the rescue. not that i couldn’t spend the extra buck to buy something at full price, but that seems to be reserved for when i go in list in hand and on a mission. it’s just so fun to find a good deal… (no i’m not a die-hard coupon clipper or price-matcher or bargain hunter, but if i happen upon something then yay for me!)
luckily for me, i found my reduced flank steak one afternoon AFTER having eaten lunch. and since i had never cooked flank steak before, it was an opportunity i couldn’t pass up.

scanning through websites searching for recipes involving flank steak yielded mainly ones involved a marinade of some sort. ok, marinade. check.
but what to do with it after? i am a steak lover, so slicing it up (against the grain with this cut of meat of course as it has long tough fibers and will turn into leather if you don’t) and eating it just like that would have been fine with me. but i had a little more time on my hands today so i needed to do more.
fajitas! this seems to be a popular end destination for the cooked, sliced meat… and i recently stumbled across a recipe for mexican rice that i’d been wanting to give a try so it seemed meant to be.

mexican rice

mexian rice

(based on the following link: http://centercutcook.com/mexican-rice/)

*you will want to get this going before the steak or the veggies since it will take longer to cook

ingredients

  • 1- 24 ounce can whole, peeled tomatoes, drained
  • 1 medium yellow onion, quartered
  • 2 jalepenos, seeds and ribs removed, chopped (leave some rib or seeds for more heat)
  • 2 cups long grain white rice
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro (use less if you don’t love cilantro)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 lime cut into wedges for garnish

directions:

  • pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
  • in food processor, combine whole tomatoes with quartered onion and blend until it’s completely pureed and smooth. measure two cups of this mixture, and discard any excess. YOU ONLY NEED TWO CUPS OF THIS MIXTURE (if you use it all rice will be watery) see bottom of page for an idea of what to use the leftover puree for!
  • place long grain white rice rice in fine strainer and rinse the rice until the liquid runs clear. this will take a couple of minutes. don’t skip this step! it is absolutely necessary for perfect rice! it rinses the starch off the outside of the rice
  • allow the rice to drain, and shake to remove any excess water.
  • heat 1/3 cup canola oil in a large oven-safe skillet (if you do not have an oven safe skillet, you can transfer the rice to a casserole dish before putting it in the oven) over medium heat. when hot, add in the rice.
  • stir fry the rice in the hot oil for 8-10 minutes, until the rice starts turning golden brown. stir regularly to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • add in chopped jalepenos, and garlic. cook for a few minutes.
  • stir in chicken broth, the pureed tomato/onion mixture (2 cups), salt, and cumin. bring this mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. when boiling, cover the oven-safe pan and place it in the oven. if you do not have an oven-safe skillet, transfer the mixture to an oven-safe casserole dish.
  • continue cooking the rice in the oven for 30-35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. when all of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, remove the rice from the oven.
  • stir in cilantro, and garnish with lime wedges.

flank steak

marinated flank steak

ingredients:

(you can eyeball the amounts, they don’t need to be exact. i ended up with this recipe after reading a few on various websites, although it’ mainly based off of the following link: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Marinated-Flank-Steak/Detail.aspx?event8=1&prop24=SR_Thumb&e11=marinated%20flank%20steak&e8=Quick%20Search&event10=1&e7=Home%20Page)

  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • juice from half a lemon
  • juice from half a lime (if you don’t have lime, just use a whole lemon or visa-versa)
  • 2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 lbs flank steak
  • 2 tbsp canola oil (for brushing grill grates or putting in grill pan)

directions:

  • in a medium bowl, mix the oil, soy sauce, vinegar, lemon juice, worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic, cumin, chili powder, salt and ground black pepper. place meat in a shallow glass dish. pour marinade over the steak, turning meat to coat thoroughly. cover, and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours, up to overnight (don’t let it go too long since there is acid from the citrus in this and vinegar).
  • preheat grill or grill pan on medium-high. if using grill pan, add canola oil and heat until just smoking.
  • oil the grill grates (if using a grill) and place steaks on the grill. grill meat for 5 minutes per side, or to desired doneness. *save marinade for the veggie recipe below or discard if you aren’t preparing these*
  • you want to cook the flank steak hot and fast since it is a thin piece of meat and you don’t want to turn it into leather. i like meat medium rare, so using a meat thermometer take it off around 125-130 and allow it to rest. it will go up another 5 degrees or so. don’t cut it before allowing it to rest or all the juices will come out!
  • cut thinly across the grain

peppers and onions

sauteed onions and peppers

ingredients:

  • one large yellow or sweet onion (whatever you prefer)
  • two or three peppers of whatever color you prefer. i used one green and one red
  • leftover marinade from the flank steak
  • canola oil
  • salt and pepper

directions

  • remove skin from onion and slice into half rings about a half inch thick
  • remove seeds, ribs and stems from peppers and slice same size as onions
  • in the pan the flank steak came out of (if using grill pan, otherwise use a saute pan) poar in the leftover marinade (please make sure you’re using a grill pan with sides at this point or else switch to a saute pan lol) and bring to a boil over medium high heat to cook off any bacteria, etc from the raw meat. cook for a couple of minutes. poar marinade out of pan
  • heat canola oil in the same pain and saute the onions and peppers until desired tenderness. they should be a bit crisp still. add marinade back in and stir together.

so now you’re ready to assemble and get to eating!

other ingredients you will need to turn these recipes into fajitas might include but are not limited to:

  • fajita or taco shells (soft)
  • sour cream
  • shredded lettuce
  • chopped tomato
  • salsa
  • guac
  • crumbled cojita cheese (i HIGHLY recommend this! you can also put it over the rice! nom nom nom!!!)

warm your shells and layer in your filling however you like and serve the rice on the side, or even add some inside the fajita if you wish! ours turned into fajita “wraps” of sorts because we bought burrito shells so they were huge and without rolling and folding them up, it would have been impossible to pick them up! lol

fajitas and mexican rice

fajitas and mexican rice

these take a bit of work, but there is really nothing difficult about it. and it is quite yummy and yields leftovers as well (depending on how many people and with what kinds of appetites that it is! i have a ton left, yay for leftovers!!!) i don’t eat mexian too often but when i get a craving this is a good way to go, cos i love me some steak 😀

(another note, there was extra tomato/onion puree from early on in the mexican rice recipe so instead of throwing it out i decided to whip up a sauce for my fajitas right in the same food processor bowl. i added about a handful or roughly chopped or ripped cilantro, a couple more chunks of onion i had left, a drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of salt, pepper, a squeeze of lime and a palmful of the cojita cheese and gave it a whirl! it turned out really quite delicious and added a lot of freshness to the fajitas! i forgot to take a picture, my apologies. this was also good with rice.)

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3 responses to “mexican night! (err… afternoon… “linner” i guess)

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