Remember about 4 months ago when this wonderful little face made its appearance in our family?
It kind of seems like yesterday, so I’m not really sure where 4 months of time have gone, and I wish I could just make time pause for a year or two while I enjoy this fleeting, achingly beautiful newborn stage.
One of the best things about having this cute little munchkin, besides the sweetest baby snuggles and the wonder of watching a baby sleep so.very.well was the amazing amount of delicious food we received in the weeks after he was born. It was exactly what I needed to jolt me out of my cooking rut and get some new recipes into the rotation. Having the meals ready to go into the oven also helped me to appreciate the value of meal prep earlier in the day so I’m not spending the time right before dinner in the kitchen.
This taco rice was inspired by one such meal we received from a friend. Every member of the family loved it, and we had enough to freeze half for another night, when it was just as well-received and proved its worth as a freeze-and-thaw meal. It’s been on our meal plan regularly since, and I recently found a 5-grain blend that combines rice, oats, wheat berries, spelt and barley that works great in place of rice and is packed with nutritional benefits like iron and fibre.
It may not sound as exciting as it actually is. ;)
Rice, quinoa, barley or any similar blend all work well in this recipe, and you can double, triple, quadruple, mass-produce this stuff like nobody’s business (see note for freezing instructions!).
Would you eat this as a side dish, wrap it in a burrito, or put it on your salad? I love taco salad, but have never figured out a way to have it for dinner that the kids can eat. This taco rice has solved all my problems. We eat it as salad, but for the two-year-old, it’s perfectly hearty enough to eat on its own with a side of peppers, tomatoes and tortilla chips. So basically he can eat everything but the lettuce, and love it. AND the taco seasoning and texture of the rice/grains means I can hide mushrooms, peppers, onions and all kinds of goodies in here without a single complaint. It can be vegetarian, or you can use ground beef. Is there anything else you could ask for in a meal?
Needless to say, we eat this a lot.
- 2¾ - 3 cups cooked rice (or other grain - see post for options)
- ½ lb lean ground beef
- ½ small onion, finely chopped
- 3-4 mushrooms, finely chopped
- 1 small bell pepper, finely chopped
- ½ cup salsa
- ½ cup water
- 1 pkg (30g) reduced sodium taco seasoning
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- SALAD TOPPINGS:
- chopped tomatoes
- chopped lettuce
- sour cream
- grated cheese
- tortilla chips
- Prepare rice according to package directions. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Meanwhile, fry ground beef with onion, mushrooms and pepper until no pink remains in meat. Drain grease, then add salsa, water and taco seasoning and stir well.
- Stir cooked rice into meal mixture and transfer to lightly greased 9x9-inch baking dish. Top with grated cheese and bake for 10-15 minutes to melt cheese.
- Serve with toppings of your choice.
Thanks for a great recipe! We love this one!
I’m so glad! It’s one of my go-to’s that works with pretty much anything in the fridge and pantry :)
I make something similar but throw uncooked rice and salsa in with the cooked ground beef and veg and cook the rice in place. One less step. Then top with some cheese. Yum. I generally use mango salsa for a slightly different flavour profile (no taco seasoning). Hope you’ll try it!
I would LOVE to cook the rice in the same pan and save a step! Do you add any extra liquid? We love mango salsa too :)
I can’t believe it’s been four months already!! It doesn’t feel that long ago that you were pregnant!
And this taco rice sounds delicious! Making me hungry for dinner!
It is CRAZY that he’s 4 months already :)
Taco rice! I make a Mexican rice which is quite similar. But I love that you add salad toppings!!
Anna @ shenANNAgans says
Brilliant Anna. I met a Mexican couple on my travels in Asia recently, they talked about tortillas and their versatility, thinking your taco rice would go wonderfully in a tortilla wrap. Especially love I can freeze it, adding to the dinner meal plan stat. :)
Julia @ Swirls and Spice says
I need a dish like this that solves all my problems. I could eat Mexican almost every day.
And boy is your little guy adorable!! Mine just won’ stop growing!
Candice | everybody loves pretty says
This looks fantastic Anna! Definitely a recipe I want to try out! Also – your little one is so cute!!
I am a fan of anything that can be batch produced and frozen – a lifesaver when you are cooking for one and don’t really want to put in effort for just one person. Makes creating a taco salad for one easy peasy!
Thanks so much for this one! I am definitely going to try it as we are huge taco/nacho lovers over here but fine it doesn’t fill very well. I am sure the addition of grains will help with that problem!
Amy @ Fearless Homemaker says
Oh, this sounds SO good! I love that it has that mexican/taco flavor but you can “healthy” it up more than most mexican dishes in a salad form. And yes, it totally sounds like something that is adaptable enough to please both the adults AND the little ones. YUM!
This sounds like an amazing weeknight dinner / leftovers for lunch at work option. AND freezer friendly too…. winner winner taco dinner :)
Oh, and that picture is adorable! Yes please :)
Looks great! Where did you get that grain blend? Sounds like something I would like :)
It’s from Superstore/Loblaws, one of their PC brand Blue Menu products :) It was in the same section as the rice side dishes like Uncle Ben’s.
Suzanne @ Flour Arrangements says
I love versatile recipes, and this one sounds like a winner! Thanks for sharing that cute picture of your little guy, too. So adorable!
Sarah | (Cooking for) Kiwi & Bean says
This is a GREAT idea. My kids are huge rice eaters (like to the point I’m starting to worry about the whole arsenic thing, to be honest!) and I can imagine this would go over very very well. Thanks for the awesome inspiration!!