Mexindian Summer Salad

While I love to cook, the summer heat causes me to avoid using the the stove and oven as much as possible. Instead, I opt for fresh produce that I can chop and mix without applying heat. This isn't too difficult when you cook with mostly beans and vegetables.

This one has a really nice sauce that has two of my favorite spices: paprika and turmeric. I love this combination. It's a really accessible way to quickly introduce heaps of flavor and depth. Especially if you're not that comfortable with combining a lot of spices. This simplifies it, but still keeps it interesting. 

It's easy to put together too. Just combine all ingredients and let rest in the fridge overnight. This allows time for the tomatoes to release their juices, the acid to wake up the spices and the starches from the beans to thicken the sauce. 

Vegan cooking is a unique situation. Traditional techniques don't necessarily work. We have to approach the ingredients from a different perspective in order …

Vegetarian Rice a Roni Herb and Butter

The rice a roni flavor herb and butter is lacto-vegetarian. It contains some milk products, but no eggs or animal stuffs. It has a surprisingly good flavor. It's quick and easy to make a complete meal from a box of flavored rice. And it can taste outstanding as well.

Ingredients
1 box rice a roni herb and butter flavor
1/2 cup frozen mustard greens (spinach, collards or kale are fine too)
1 cup canned, rinsed black beans

In a large sauce pan, add the amount of water indicated on the rice a roni package, plus 1/4 cup. I never add the butter or margarine. I don't taste any benefit from it. You can add if you like. But don't add the extra water if you do. Add flavor packet and rice. Set on high and cover. Bring to a boil.

Personally, I never do the recommended saute first thing either that rice a roni calls for in the directions. I've tried it and don't see a difference. Better just to make the rice without the extra steps. Tastes as good and is less effort.

Once rice mix has come to a boil add mustard greens and lower heat to maintain a soft simmer. Keep cooking with lid on. Monitor closely. Rice easily boils over.

Depending on how you prefer to eat and whom you're feeding, you can add the beans in different ways. If everyone enjoys beans and rice, by all means, add them to the cooking rice a roni pot. Add beans when there are only a few minutes left in the cooking of the rice.

If you have bean haters to contend with the beans can be added to individual portions. Especially if you plan to microwave most portions. Better to leave the beans out. This way you can heat the rice longer, as it takes more time to reheat. Microwave rice for about 1 minute. Then add beans and microwave another minute more. This is for a fairly small microwave. For more powerful models lower the cooking time. better under heated than over when it comes to microwaving.