It seems like everyone I know had a magical experience during their first couple of years at college. Or maybe that’s just a stereotype and I don’t really know what everyone else was experiencing, but I do know that for me, it was hard. Like…worse than middle school (I actually have very happy middle school memories–I don’t know if that makes me freakish!). For those first two years, I felt lost, like I had no idea who I was or who I wanted to be and the expectation was that at that point in my life, I should have known. Heck, I spent the first 18 years of my life thinking that I knew and then suddenly I didn’t anymore. Those years, more than almost any other time in my life, are ones you couldn’t pay me to re-live.
It was during that time that I really started to cook. In earnest. I had always dabbled here and there in the kitchen, but I reached a point where it kind of became this cathartic therapy for me. The problem was that I didn’t have a ton of recipes and I didn’t always know what I was doing.
My roommate Sara (not Our Best Bites Sara, actually–Sara from rockin’ West Des Moines), on the other hand, came to college well-stocked with family recipes. This is one that she would make all the time and then just eat the leftovers for the rest of the week. It became one of my favorite recipes and one that, these days, I kind of forget about until I remember how much I love it.
It actually reminds me a lot of our Jambalaya; it has rice, bacon, onions, garlic, green peppers, tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder (definitely not in Jambalaya before someone goes and calls the Louisiana State Police on me!).
Cut the bacon into 1″ pieces and cook over medium heat.
While the bacon is cooking, chop the onion and pepper and mince the garlic.
When the bacon is crips, remove it from the pan and drain on paper towels. Add the onions, garlic, and pepper
in a little of the reserved bacon grease and cook until the onions are tender. While the onions are cooking, place the tomatoes in a blender jar…
and pulse a few times until the tomatoes have broken down. Add the seasonings…
and Worcestershire sauce.
When the onions are tender, add the tomato mixture, rice, and some water. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 20-25 minutes (at a low elevation, closer to an hour at high elevations) or until the rice is cooked. Super easy, right?
And perfect for fall. And the leftovers are awesome, especially if you have access to a microwave at work where you can re-heat them.
Cut bacon into 1″ pieces and cook until crisp in a Dutch oven if possible. Remove from pan and drain the grease, reserving 2 tablespoons in the pan. Return the pan to medium heat and add the onion, garlic, and bell pepper. Cook until the onions are translucent and fragrant. While the onions are cooking, place the tomatoes in the jar of your blender and pulse 2-3 times to chop them. Add the seasonings, Tabsco sauce, and Worcestershire sauce to the tomatoes and then, when the onions are done cooking, add the tomato mixture, seasonings, and rice and and bring to a boil. Stir, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook for 20-25 minutes at low elevations or closer to an hour for high elevations or until the rice is cooked, stirring occasionally to make sure the rice is not burning. Serves 6-8-ish and makes great leftovers.