Restaurant Style Mexican Rice

We were having company so I decided to make some yummy rice to go along with our usual sides for the steak fajitas we are currently obsessed with. My kids don't love rice, but I do, so I don't make it that often because I end up eating literally the entire batch haha! But even the kids liked this new version! I was pretty impressed with how legit it tasted I must admit. Maybe a tad too much tomato taste, but really on the whole it was quite authentic. I found the recipe, and the first picture, on Fabulously Delicious and we will definitely make it whenever we are having people over for a Mexican-type meal!

1 cup white rice
1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 green bell pepper, sliced and seeds reserved
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 bouillon cube (I use vegetable but chicken is fine, too), chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cumin
Pinch red pepper flakes
Pinch black pepper

Heat up olive oil in a pan on medium/high. Add in rice and bell pepper seeds. Stir frequently and cook until rice starts to lightly brown; about 5 minutes.
Add in tomato sauce, and 2 cans of water. Stir. Add in salt, garlic salt, chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, black pepper and chopped bullion cube. Stir. Add in bell pepper slices. Bring to a boil.
Cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 40 minutes (mine only took 30 minutes). Remove bell pepper slices prior to serving.

Avalanche Bars (Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory copy)

I have only occasionally stopped into Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factories for treats, but the Avalanche Bars definitely made an impression on me! While looking for some new dinner recipes to try last week I stumbled upon this version by Cookies & Cups and knew we had to try them. My oldest and her friend actually made these all on their own (hence the handfuls of chocolate chips on top haha) and they turned out so amazingly delicious! We will definitely make them again and again and again! Also, the recipe just makes a square baking dish worth which is nice because then you can enjoy them for a couple days without being tempted anymore :)!

12 oz bag of White Chocolate Chips
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
3 cups Rice Krispies
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips + 2 Tbsp for garnish.
Lightly grease a 9×9 pan

In microwave-safe bowl pour in white chips and heat on 50% power for 1 minute. Stir and continue in 30 second increments until chips are melted.
Combine the peanut butter with the melted chips and add the krispies.
Let cool approx 15 – 20 minutes stirring every 5 minutes or so to help cool.
Add the marshmallows and the mini chocolate chips and stir to combine.
Pour mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly, pressing lightly with the back of your spoon, but do not compact too much, otherwise they will get hard.
Press the remaining chocolate chips into the top for garnish.
When the bars are completely cooled cut into squares and enjoy!

The Best Steak Fajitas!
We have made these steak fajitas from Mel's Kitchen Cafe a few times already since discovering them only a couple weeks ago! My grocery store sells "stir-fry steak" that is already cut into thin strips so it makes this the easiest and most flavorful meal! I get the meat marinading the day before and then we grill them up right before meal time and the flavor is out of this world. I haven't even ever made the chipotle sour cream that she included in the original recipe. I sautee some onion and peppers that have been cut into strips and we also top them with guacamole and cilantro (and a little cheese for some of the family). We have charro beans on the side with some chips and salsa and it has become my kids' favorite meal of the week!
(I provide corn and flour tortillas)

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (from about 4-6 limes) – zest the limes before juicing; you’ll need the zest later
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
10 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 to 2 pounds flank steak
Chipotle Sour Cream Sauce:
1 cup sour cream, light or regular
1 teaspoon minced chipotle in adobo sauce (more or less to adjust spiciness)
2 to 3 teaspoons adobo sauce (spooned from the can of chipotle chiles)
1 tablespoon fresh lime zest (from about 2 limes)

For Serving:
Tortillas and other toppings of choice, like tomatoes, cilantro, cheese, sautéed or grilled peppers, pickled onions

For the fajitas, whisk together the oil, lime juice, vinegar, garlic, sugar, cumin, salt, paprika, and coriander. Place the steak in a dish (like a 9X13-inch pan) and pour the marinade over the top, turning to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours.
Preheat grill to medium-high (I set my pellet grill to 375 degrees). Grill the steak until desired doneness; 4-6 minutes for medium rare (add time if needed for a more well-cooked piece of meat). Remove the steak from the grill and tent with foil for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.
For the chipotle sour cream, stir all the ingredients together. Cover and refrigerate (can be made 2-3 days in advance).
Serve the steak slices on tortillas with the chipotle sour cream and any other favorite toppings or sautéed or grilled peppers and onions.

Margherita Pasta

Although I found the recipe on the blog Peachtree Cooking, it originally came from A Bountiful Kitchen (as did the picture!).
We have tried a few recipes recently that we LOVE and have been making on a fairly regular basis and this is one of them (I need to get around to blogging the rest as well!). The ingredients and the process are so simple, but the flavors are amazing. This is one of our favorite meatless meals! Nearly as good as being back in Italy ;-)!

1 box spaghetti, cooked "al dente", drained (I used Gluten Free)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter optional, but highly recommended for flavor
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs. Roma tomatoes (about 8-10) coarsely chopped or grape tomatoes
1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 lb. fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
½ cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
additional basil leaves for garnish

Cook pasta. Set aside, or while pasta is cooking prepare sauce.
In large skillet, heat oil and butter over low heat.
Sauté the garlic until fragrant over low heat, about 1 minute.
Add tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper.
Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add basil, and pasta to pan with tomatoes.
Cook for 2-3 minutes, just until all pasta is heated through.
Just before ready to serve, pour into serving bowl, toss with fresh mozzarella and grated cheese. Serve at once with additional grated cheese, and more fresh basil if desired.