Yes it doesn't look like much does it? But the flavors of this simple skillet dinner were great. A little 30 minute meal from an old cooking magazine, Light & Tasty 2002, transported me back to my childhood of hearty skillet dinners in wet cold rainy Washington State. You know that feeling right? Comfort, warm, relaxing, inviting, the kind of food that's perfect on a winter night or just when you are tired. This taste and comfort brought me back at least 15 years in the space and time of two first bites. I had never made this recipe before so it shocked me that it instantly reminded me of growing up and my family. What a great way to chase a bit of holiday family homesickness with a great bowl of food. Not that food will fix things. It just helps. I should note my lovely mother in law, who lives in the same area where I grew up, also makes a mean green bean beef skillet dinner.
The adapted recipe below was fun and easy and full of good veggies. Feel free to adapt the veggies to fit the season. Seasonal produce will be easier to find, will taste better, and probably lower in price since it won't have to travel so far to get the store or farmers market. I cannot wait to make this with fresh grilled corn next year!
2 cups of white long grain rice
4 1/2 cups of water
1 &1/2" - 2" piece of fresh rosemary
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chicken bouillon flavor (reduced sodium)* if you don't have this sub 1 cup of water for chicken stock or chicken broth to get the same flavor.
1.In a small pan, combine water, rice, salt, and chicken flavor and bring to a boil.
2. Reduce heat to low, add the whole piece of rosemary to the top, cover and let cook for 20-24 minutes - Don't stir. Leave it alone.
To make the meat/veg topping to go over the rice you need :
1/2 lb of lean ground beef
1/2 lb of lean ground pork
1 Tbs of olive oil
1 Tbs Italian seasoning
1/2 of a medium onion, rough chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, rough chopped
3 Tbs all purpose flour
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried basil
2 cups frozen corn
1 Tbs butter
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup chicken stock/broth
1 can (14.5 oz) regular diced tomatoes (not drained)
1 can (14.5 oz) fire roasted tomatoes (not drained)
1.In a large skillet, cook the meat with 1/2 Tbs olive oil and Italian seasoning until the meat is half way done.
2.Add in the chopped onion, bell pepper, and remaining Olive oil (1/2 Tbs)
3.Saute veggies with the meat until the meat is done* Note: If you don't stir the meat too often it will get those dark caramelized bits that really really make good flavor for the dish as a whole.
4. Drain some of the fat from the skillet.
5. To the skillet add salt, pepper, dried basil, and flour. Let this cook for approx 2 minutes - stir often.
6.Add in everything else: corn, butter, water, milk, tomatoes, bay leaves, chicken broth/stock
7. Bring it to a boil. Cover. Reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes. Don't worry I freaked out at this point when I made it. Yes it looks like stew. Yes it will thicken nicely.
8. Pull the bay leaves out of the skillet. Pull the rosemary stem out of the rice. Its okay and good even if some of the leaves off the rosemary come off. But you won't want to eat the stem.
9. Serve the yummy meat veggie mixture over the white rice - eat immediately
Serves approx 6 people.
Hope you feel warm, safe, & loved this holiday season. Enjoy! From my comfortable kitchen to yours!