Speed and spice make simplicity a sweet strategy


POSTED: Wednesday, February 18, 2009

For busy families, simple is best, and simple can be tasty and satisfying. The recipes we're sharing this week are good examples.

Easy Spanish Rice is super-yummy, is great for a potluck or as a side dish, freezes well and makes great leftovers. What more could you ask for? The Chicken and Green Chili Casserole makes leftover roast chicken look and taste like a whole new dish. And the Vegetarian Chili can be put together in a flash. Served with rice and topped with cheese, it's a hearty dish that's sure to please. To save even more time, double these recipes and make enough for two meals.


Easy Spanish Rice

1 pound ground beef or turkey

1/2 cup minced onion

1/3 cup chopped green pepper

1 clove garlic, minced

1 can (10-1/2 ounce) tomato soup

1 can (use soup can) water

1 cup uncooked rice

1/2 tsp. salt

Dash of pepper

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Brown ground beef; drain fat.

Add onion, green pepper and garlic; saute until vegetables are tender.

Add remaining ingredients; bring to boil. Cover and cook over low heat until rice is done, 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Serves 6.


Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 300 calories, 8 g total fat, 3 g saturated fat, 50 mg cholesterol, 550 mg sodium, 36 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 19 g protein


Chicken and Green Chili Casserole

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

8 ounces fresh mushrooms

1/2 of a roasted chicken, shredded

1 can (10-1/2 ounces) cream of mushroom soup

1 large can (7 ounces) diced mild green chilies

8 corn tortillas

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat oil over medium heat. Saute onions, garlic and mushrooms; add chicken, soup and chilies.

Dip tortillas in hot water, pat dry with paper towels and place 4 in the bottom of a 13-by-9-inch pan. Top with half the chicken mixture and half the cheeses. Repeat layers. Bake 20 minutes, uncovered. Serves 6.


Approximate nutritional information, per serving (with chicken skin): 500 calories, 31 g total fat, 12 g saturated fat, 100 mg cholesterol, 750 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 30 g protein


Approximate nutritional information, per serving (without chicken skin): 400 calories, 22 g total fat, 10 g saturated fat, 80 mg cholesterol, 750 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 27 g protein


Vegetarian Chili

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1-1/3 cups chopped onions

1 green pepper, chopped

1 celery rib, chopped

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 can (28 ounces) stewed tomatoes

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 cans (16 ounces each) kidney beans

Shredded cheese for garnish (optional)

Heat oil in large saucepan. Add garlic, onions, green pepper and celery; cook and stir until tender.

Add remaining ingredients except beans; mix well.

Whirl half the beans in a blender and stir into soup with remaining beans. Simmer 30 minutes.

Serve topped with shredded cheese. Serves 6.


Approximate nutritional information, per serving (not including optional cheese): 250 calories, 6 g total fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, no cholesterol, 800 mg sodium, 41 g carbohydrate, 13 g fiber, 9 g sugar, 10 g protein


For more from Hawaiian Electric Co.'s database of local-style recipes, visit www.heco.com.