I'll be honest. Mexican food didn't sound all that good tonight but the kids were craving it. I had a few ingredients and decided to go for it. The result was a delicious southwest chicken and mexican rice meal topped with my favorite all natural cheese sauce. The kids raved that it looked like something they would find at Taco Bell. But I hardly ever eat anything from Taco Bell because their gluten free options aren't so great so I don't know about that but appreciate the compliment from them.
What Type of Meat Do You Recommend Using?
I've used grilled chicken breasts and this time I used shredded chicken I had on hand. It doesn't really matter. I might try it later on with steak or pork. This is the simplicity behind the meal!
What Type of Rice Cooker Do You Use?
This recipe uses the Hamilton Beach Digital Simplicity Rice Cooker. I think any rice cooker you use is fine but I like this one because there is a setting for whole grain cereal, whole grain rice, white rice, and quick rice. I'll be honest that 95% of the time I'm in a hurry and just use the quick rice setting.
What Type of Rice Do You Use For This Recipe?
White or brown works just fine. I would even try it with quinoa. I made this rice bowl with quinoa before as well as this Mexican quinoa casserole and both were absolutely delicious. You could easily substitute quinoa. I would avoid the five minute quick rice like Minute, etc in this recipe.
Does Natural Cheese Sauce Taste as Good as Processed Cheese Sauce?
Yes! In fact I love it more! It tastes so good on nachos too! One suggestion for a nice creamy sauce is to hand grate your cheese. Try to avoid using pre shredded cheese.
Southwest Chicken and Mexican Rice Bowls with All Natural Cheese Sauce
1 ½ pounds chicken, cooked and shredded or 4 chicken breasts, cooked and grilled
For the Rice:
- 1 cup uncooked white or brown rice or quinoa
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp taco seasoning
- 1 tbsp minced garlic (dried)
- ½ cup tomato sauce
- 2 cups broth or water
For the Cheese Sauce:
- 4 ounces, Pepperjack Cheese
- 4 ounces, Cheddar Cheese
- 1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
- 1 cup Whole Milk
- 1 teaspoon Hot Sauce, Optional
To make the rice: Place all the rice ingredients into your rice cooker, stir, then cook according to manufacturers directions.
For stovetop version: In a saucepan, place all the rice ingredients and stir. Bring rice to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to low, cover and allow to cook for approximately 18-23 minutes. Stir then serve.
To Make the Cheese Sauce:
Place all cheese sauce ingredients in a pan and stir occasionally over low heat until melted and sauce is smooth.
To Assemble Rice Bowl:
Place the mexican rice in a bowl. Top with meat, then drizzle cheese sauce over. Top with additional toppings like black beans, cilantro, tomatoes, avocados, guacamole, salsa, green onions and/or sour cream.
Makes 4 servings