For the most part I’m pretty good about buying things and then immediately using them, partially because I like a clean kitchen and partially because my lack of a pantry demands that. I write my grocery lists and menus for the week on Saturday, and do my best to stick to those occasionally allowing some extra staples to sneak in. Every now and then however I’ll get got up in some “sale” going on and over fill my pantry with an ingredient that I use but not enough to really justify buying three or four cans of. Coconut milk frequently falls in this list, as do un-salted canned diced tomatoes, and bags of all types of rice. This results in a stuffed cabinet that prevents me from being able to see the item I really need (MIA: pineapple chunks) which results in more over purchasing. It’s a vicious cycle but this month I was able to take care of a fair amount of the bulk after being motivated by October’s Random Recipe challenge.
This month we were challenged to grab an item lurking in the back of the cupboard and DO something with it. The first thing I grabbed, some black bean soup, wound up being extremely expired so that went straight to the bin. The second item was a can of Rotel Diced Tomatoes – Original recipe, which I was very excited about. For cookbooks I decided to utilize my oft neglected Slow Cooker cookbook to find the perfect recipe for these tomatoes. Enter: Mexican Casserole – from the main dishes section.
2 cups rice, precooked
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 can "Mexican" style tomatoes
1 cup favorite salsa (I used salsa verde)
2 cups black beans, presoaked
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 jalepeno, diced
1/2 cup olives, diced (optional)
1/2 cup cheese, shredded
1 cup chips, broken
- Add everything but the chips and cheese to the slow cooker. Stir well and cook on low for 3hrs or high for 1 1/2 hours.
- Add the chips and cheese and cook on high for at least 30minutes, with the lid partially removed.
- Serve topped with any (or none) of the following: sour cream, salsa, cheese, green onions, and/or guacamole.
Instead of cooking in the slow cooker for the final 30minutes, I baked in the oven for 30minutes at 375.
I did have to make some dietary changes to the recipe, for the original recipe substitute the black beans for ground beef, and also finished it off in the oven since I didn’t trust my slow cooker to properly crisp the chips. The best part about this recipe is that it’s extremely versatile, and has the potential to clear the cabinet of more than one neglected can. One of the side panel variations suggested using velveeta or a similar cheese product in place of the shredded cheese, something that many of my friends have lurking in their cabinets. All in all this dish was a great success, which is why I’m also sending this over to /52weeks for Casserole Week.