Mexican Skillet and Refried Beans

My friend showed me this meal a couple of weeks ago and it was so tasty! I couldn't wait to make it myself. I adapted her recipe a bit, based on what I had on hand (hers called for tofu but I used chicken since I had some cooked and ready to go in my freezer). This was a really easy dish and I love that it doesn't create a mess in the kitchen. My hubby has asked me to make this a staple :)

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Mexican Skillet

2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 cups brown rice, soaked and drained
1 onion, diced
1 jar green or red salsa (I like the Fresh & Easy brand)
chicken stock
1 can diced green chilies
shredded chicken (about a small handful)
1/2 cup frozen organic corn
sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)

To soak rice: The night before, combine rice, 2 cups filtered water, and 2 tablespoons acidic medium (lemon juice, kefir, buttermilk, etc). Let sit on counter 12-24 hours. When ready to use, rinse and drain.

In a skillet over medium heat, saute rice and onion until rice is slightly browned. In a large measuring cup, pour in jar of salsa, chicken stock, and diced green chilies until the mixture reaches the 5 cup line (you are wanting 5 cups of liquid total). Add liquid to skillet and stir to combine. Place lid and simmer mixture until liquid is mostly absorbed and rice is tender (15-20 minutes). Stir in chicken and corn and re-place lid until warmed. Top with shredded cheese. Season with salt, to taste if necessary (I did not need any additional seasonings because the flavor of the chicken stock and salsa add so much by themselves!).

*You won't see corn in the photo above because I omitted it due to my son's allergy...it is delicious with corn, however, so do add it if you can!
*Make this vegetarian by using vegetable stock and omitting the chicken - it will still be just as good!

Homemade Refried Beans

1 pound dry pinto beans, cooked
1 jar red salsa
2 tablespoons melted butter or olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt, to taste
sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)

Cook dry beans and drain liquid. In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients and pulse until combined and creamy. If desired, add shredded cheese to beans and pulse again.

To serve:
Serve Mexican skillet and refried beans along with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, olives, and tortilla chips. Enjoy!