Belongs to jerseyjenny Mexican Rice 

Because the spiciness of jalapeños varies from chile to chile, we try to control the heat by removing the ribs and seeds (the source of most of the heat) from those chiles that are cooked in the rice. Use an ovensafe pot about 12 inches in diameter so that the rice cooks evenly and in the time indicated. The pot’s depth is less important than its diameter; we’ve successfully used both a straight-sided sauté pan and a Dutch oven. Whichever type of pot you use, it should have a tight-fitting, ovensafe lid. Vegetable broth can be substituted for chicken broth.

ready in about an hour; serves 6
You might need to buy:
  • medium jalapeño chiles
  • long grain white rice
  • canola oil
  • tomato paste
  • table salt
  • minced fresh cilantro leaves

Freezer Chicken Enchiladas

Preparing enchiladas can be a multi-hour, labor-intensive endeavor. There’s the sauce to prep and the filling to cook, and finally, all the rolling. We wanted to find a way to streamline chicken enchiladas and make them freezable so that they could be prepared well ahead of time and stored at the ready. Here’s what we discovered:

Test Kitchen Discoveries

  • Freeze the rolled enchiladas and sauce separately; otherwise they will turn into a mushy mess.
  • Spray the tortillas with vegetable oil cooking spray and briefly heat them in the oven to make them pliant enough to roll easily.
  • Bake the enchiladas while still frozen. We found that defrosting them actually leads to a dried-out texture once baked.
  • Partially bake the enchiladas “naked,” or without sauce. A light coat of vegetable oil spray will keep the tortillas from drying out too much.
  • For authentic flavor, puree and “fry” the sauce until the flavor and color has intensified. Most Mexican sauces are prepared in this fashion.
  • Smoky chipotle chiles add both heat and a rich flavor to the sauce. These chiles, which are smoked jalapeños, come packed in a tomato-based adobo sauce. They are found in the Mexican foods section of most supermarkets.

Use leftover cooked chicken or a store-bought rotisserie chicken in this recipe. Note that you won’t need 1 1/2 cups of the cheese until you bake the enchiladas. Serve with avocado, pickled jalapeños, shredded lettuce, and/or sour cream.

ready in about an hour and 40 minutes; serves 4
You might need to buy:
  • canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
  • ground cumin
  • coriander
  • table salt
  • low-sodium chicken broth
  • vegetable oil
  • shredded cooked chicken
  • shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • minced canned pickled jalapeños
  • Cooking spray

In addition to serving this salsa with tortilla chips, you might try mixing it in with pasta—about a tablespoon or so per serving. You’ll still get a good dose of heat.

ready in about 25 minutes; serves 12
You might need to buy:
  • vegetable oil
  • Table salt and ground black pepper
  • lime juice from 2 medium limes
  • chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • olive oil

The closing of her favorite Mexican restaurant spurred life member Emily E. Lane to try to recreate a much-loved dish. Although she runs a baking business from her home, this is the first original recipe Emily has developed. It’s full of shrimp and crab, and covered with a creamy cheese sauce.

PER SERVING: 460 calories, 23.5 g total fat (12.5 g saturated fat), 27.5 g protein, 33 g carbohydrate, 130 mg cholesterol, 1180 mg sodium, 1.5 g fiber

ready in about 40 minutes; serves 8
You might need to buy:
  • butter
  • all-purpose flour
  • reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • half-and-half
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • sour cream

A wide-bottomed saucepan with a tight-fitting lid works best for evenly cooked rice. We prefer olive oil for this dish, but butter can be used as well. This recipe is based on authentic Mexican rice; however, this version is much quicker to prepare.

ready in about 30 minutes; serves 6
You might need to buy:
  • water
  • Table salt and ground black pepper
  • olive oil
  • tomato paste
  • minced fresh cilantro