I made this mexican rice skillet one night on a whim and my family LOVED IT. I mean, they nearly finished the entire pan. So sad, only because there were no leftovers for me for lunch. Conversely, so great, because dinner came together in 30 minutes and everyone was totally happy!
Then, I thought about it and realized it would be the perfect dinner to make during the crazy week that is Halloween here. I don’t know about you, but between October 26th and October 31st there seems to be an endless supply of Halloween-ing to do, all taking place during dinner time.
This recipe is great reheated, can be made ahead of time and left on the stove to eat when you walk in the door, and I’m taking shortcuts in this one. To keep things simple in this recipe, you’ll see that not everything is homemade. As Sandra Lee said, this is “semi-homemade”. And that’s okay with me!
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Do I have to start with boxed rice for this dish?
Absolutely not, but I find that it really makes things easier. Find your favorite boxed rice with flavors that you love and go for it. Do you make our own rice with a great Mexican spice blend? Then start with that.
I happen to love the Near East Spanish Rice. It may not be authentically Mexican per se, but the flavors are really close and we are going to add all sorts of stuff to it to round out the flavors in this dish. I also use the same box of Spanish rice as a side for my simple fish tacos, so you might want to buy a few the next time you are at the grocery.
What proteins work well in this mexican rice skillet?
My family and I love topping this dish with a fried egg. Not only are they easy to make, but I love a vegetarian dinner. If you are looking to substitute for a different protein, you could easily add the following:
- Ground beef: I would cook separately with some taco seasoning and then top skillet with it once everything is cooked.
- Shredded chicken: You could cook the chicken in the crockpot with a jar of salsa and top the skillet with it once its cooked. If you want to keep things really simple, buy a rotisserie chicken, and shred that on top.
- Fried egg: I love a fried egg on so many dishes. You can see proof of that here. Also, its so fast to put together and everyone in the family loves it...and eggs are cheap!
Tips and Tricks:
- Use your favorite jarred salsa in this recipe or make your own. We always have a half used jar of salsa or two in the back of the fridge and this is the perfect use for it. If you like your food a little spicy, use a hot version, like things not so spicy, go with mild.
- Fry the eggs to order. It might take a few extra minutes, but no one was every upset to have the perfect fried egg hot on their dinner.
- Add in any other veggie you would like. Play with the ingredients and really make this into something that will quickly become a family favorite.
Looking for other great recipes that are super quick for busy weeknights? Check these out!
mexican rice skillet - the perfect weeknight dinner
- rice skillet
- 1 box Near Spanish Rice and seasoning packet
- ½ cup jarred salsa
- 2 cups water
- 15 oz can seasoned black beans drained
- 15 0 z can corn drained
- optional toppings: shredded cheese avocado, guacamole, hot sauce
- fried eggs
- 4 eggs
- glug or two of olive oil
- kosher salt
- to a large saute pan (that has a lid) over medium-high heat, add all of the ingredients
- stir together to make sure everything is evenly distributed and bring to a boil
- once it reaches a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 15-20 minutes until rice is cooked through
- be sure to give things a stir every few minutes to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan
- once rice is cooked through, turn off heat, fluff rice skillet with a fork and let sit covered until ready to serve
- at this point prep protein (fried eggs, ground beef with taco seasoning, shredded rotisserie chicken
- serve in bowls with protein on top and any other additional toppings (shredded cheese, guacamole, hot sauce, shredded lettuce, etc).
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