Oh, you want to know more? I found this recipe on Pinterest and the ‘caramelized cheese’ part pretty much sold me right away. If you’re thinking “what exactly is caramelized cheese?” then you are in for a treat! You know when you make a grilled cheese sandwich and some of the cheese leaks out of the bread and sizzles on the pan, forming a salty, smoky, crusty piece of bonus cheese deliciousness? That is caramelized cheese, and it’s amazing.
This rice is going to knock your socks off because it is literally coated in caramelized cheese. You get some of that smoky, cheesy flavor in every bite. I know I’m dwelling on the cheese, but there’s lots of other great stuff in there too. Tomatoes, green peppers, black beans, olives, corn and chicken round this dish out and give it hearty Mexican flavors. The cheese is what sets this rice apart though. It does take some time for the cheese to caramelize (about 40-45 minutes total), but since you are absolutely not allowed to stir it more often than once every 5 minutes, you can do other things at the same time. The only problem is that you’ll be able to smell it and it smells incredible. I can’t believe I made it 45 minutes without diving face first into the pan.
I added chicken breast and black beans to make it heartier because I wanted to eat it as a main course, but if you’d prefer to serve it as a side dish or make it vegetarian it would be just as delicious without the chicken. I’m even tagging it as vegetarian and listing additional nutrition information sans chicken because it would be such an easy change. If you serve it as a side dish you can simply halve the nutrition information and make fourteen ½ cup servings.
I frequently look forward to eating my leftovers, but I think I felt extra excitement about these. It’s all in the cheese.
Cheesy Amazing Mexi-RiceSource: slightly adapted from The Kitchn
4 c cooked brown rice (I used Uncle Ben’s and cooked mine the day before to save on prep time – recommended!)
6 oz (about 1 ½ c) shredded cheddar cheese
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced small
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes in their juices
1 c fresh or frozen corn (I used frozen right out of the freezer)
1 (2.25 oz) can of sliced black olives, minced
1 c canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 c cooked chicken breast, shredded or diced (I used a rotisserie breast) – *omit if making this vegetarian*
2 t chili powder
2 t salt
1. In a large (really large) bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix together with a large spoon until thoroughly combined.
2. Bring a large nonstick sauté pan (what I used) or cast iron skillet (do not use a stainless steel pan) over medium heat and add the rice mixture, spreading it out across the bottom of the pan. Let it sit and cook that way in five minute intervals, stirring in between. Do not stir more frequently than every five minutes – you are waiting for the cheese to caramelize before scraping it off the bottom of the pan! Scrape the cheese off the bottom and stir it in every five minutes for 35-45 minutes (I did the full 45).
Yields 7 (1 cup) servings. *With chicken*: Weight Watchers Points+: 8 per serving (P+ calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com)
Nutrition Information per serving from myfitnesspal.com: 315 calories, 36 g carbs, 11 g fat, 18 g protein, 6 g fiber
* Without chicken*: Weight Watchers Points Plus: 7 per serving (P+ calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com). Nutrition per serving from myfitnesspal.com: 282 calories, 36 g carbs, 11 g fat, 12 g protein, 6 g fiber