Rice, like pasta is one of my fave pantry staple items. Cheap. cheerful and super versatile.

Char’s Tex-Mex Rice Salad   

Simple, delicious, doable, nutritious and one of my youngest son’s fave dishes. Hope you enjoy it as much as he does!   

Dressing

zest and juice of 2 limes

2 tsp (10 mL) minced fresh garlic *or to taste

1 tsp (5 mL) each; cumin, ground coriander and chili powder

1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt

hefty pinch chili flakes 

Whisk together all ingredients. Set aside. 

Salad

½ cup basmati rice     

1 can (540 mL) black beans, drained and rinsed

½ cup (125 mL) frozen corn, thawed

2 cups (500 mL) halved grape tomatoes

2 ripe avocados, diced

½ cup (125 mL) each: chopped fresh cilantro and green onions

¼ cup (60 mL) chopped fresh mint

Cook rice according to package directions. Cool. Toss rice with remaining ingredients and dressing.  Makes about 6 cups (1.5 L).

Char’s Creamy Spiced Rice Pudding

There is nothing more comforting than warm rice pudding – it’s like a giant hug in rice form. For a creamier texture I like to use arborio rice – as I always have it on hand for risotto anyhow.

1 tbsp (15 mL) butter

½ cup arborio rice

1 ½ cups (375 mL) milk

1 cup (250 mL) 35% cream

⅓ cup (75 mL) Muskoka maple syrup   

1 vanilla bean, sliced in half

1 cinnamon stick *or 1 tsp (5 mL) ground cinnamon

½ tsp (2 mL) each; ground ginger and ground cardamom

¼ tsp (1 mL) each; ground nutmeg, ground cloves and salt

Garnish (optional): 

½ cup (125 mL) roughly chopped walnuts

¼ cup (60 mL) dried cherries or dried fruit of choice: raisins, dried blueberries or dried cranberries 

Additional cinnamon stick and maple syrup 

more flavour add-ins: add 1/2 tsp (2 ml) orange zest and/or toasted coconut – YUM!!

Place all ingredients (except for garnishes) in a medium sauce pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Turn heat down and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Stir in walnuts and dried fruit (*if using). Garnish with cinnamon sticks and additional maple syrup.  

Be sure and use hashtag #InCharsKitchen ~ if recreating and posting my recipes!! I’d love to follow along and see what you’re cooking.

 Charmaine is the host of “In Char’s Kitchen” on YourTV Muskoka and regular guest on: Rogers IN StudioRogers Daytime OttawaCTV Morning Live OttawaCHCH Morning Live and Breakfast Television sharing her love and enthusiasm for all things food, cooking and fitness.

Most importantly; Charmaine is the mother of two active boys; Tyler & Colgan.

Charmaine understands the importance of preparing healthy, wholesome dishes all while keeping budget and time in mind.

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Charmaine’s Kitchen Built By: All About Kitchens 705-646-0347 or visit  www.allaboutkitchens.com