Monday, 21 September 2020

Mexican rice (with salsa) and lockdown reflections

All going well, Melbourne is nearing the end of lockdown 2.0.  We are now able to have higher temperatures than diagnoses most days!*  I really feel for those in Europe who are heading into their second lockdown.  The first lockdown felt scary but also a bit novel and exciting to be living in such amazing times.  Keeping up the energy in the second lockdown is harder.  My cooking has got simpler.  I think that is why we started Taco Tuesday.  And we always have leftover salsa.  So today I am pretty happy to share this great recipe I found for a great way to use up salsa.

Before I do, I will indulge in a moan about lockdown.  If not for corona virus, I would be flying to Scotland today, so I am probably feeling it a bit more keenly.  But I have also found myself not recognising an old colleague in the park because we were wearing masks,   My 11 year old daughter has gone months without seeing friends in real life and I hope she gets some decent time in the school with her class before finishing primary school this year.  I had hoped at least to be out of lockdown for my September leave so we could holiday somewhere local but instead it is a staycation.  Some days are fine at home and others are full of thoughts of what we are missing.

The Moreland new station is under construction
As much drama as I get on the bike rides in Brunswick.

What I really dislike about lockdown

  • Masks
  • Border closures
  • Low energy
  • Complex rules
  • Online shopping

Playground equipment tied up

Missing because of lockdown

  • Hugs and smiles - elbow bumps and crinkly eyes are no substitute.
  • Flying to Scotland
  • Meeting friends for a cuppa
  • Arriving at work feeling alive after a good bike ride 
  • Swimming

A stroll through the Melbourne General Cemetery in lockdown with a friend
included a stop at Walter Lindrum's billiard table grave.

5 things to make me happy during lockdown


Looking forward to after lockdown:

  • Sharing lunch with my parents and siblings in Geelong (and those living further away)
  • Able to focus on with my paid work without a child in the house
  • Seeing movies in a cinema
  • The sounds of kids playing together in the school yard
  • A day meandering around galleries, shops, cafes.

 And now onto the recipe which is for all those with waning energy in lockdown.  We have been having lots of comfort food.  Mug cakes.  Pasta.  Noodles.  And Taco Tuesday.  I was so excited to find this recipe for Mexican rice with salsa.  I am not sure if it is only me but so often I open a jar of salsa full of hope and then next time I look at it is is old and beardy.  (Sounds like lockdown!)

It is brilliant when a recipe calls for everything that is in the house.  Did I mention that we are avoiding ducking out for one or two things at the shops.  Good for the budget.  Less good for creativity.   This recipes is a matter of cooking brown rice and adding in a jar of salsa, some corn and beans and I added some greens.


It is very simple to make but rather tasty and can be served with a variety of toppings or in a taco with toppings or beside a taco.  I enjoyed some for lunches as well as dinner.  The original recipe I found had precooked brown rice but in lockdown I could put on the brown rice easily enough.  I made 2 cups but have reduced it to 1 1/2 cups as I think there could have been less rice and more flavour.  The recipe has changed how I look at salsa in the supermarket.  Instead of trying to ignore the jars lest they grow beards in my fridge, I am now looking at them hopefully as I know what to do with the leftovers.  It might not be traditional but it keeps me sane in lockdown.

*On the day of writing, we had 11 Covid19 diagnoses in our state of Victoria and the temperature in Melbourne hit a high of 20 Celcius.

More easy Tex Mex recipes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Kale, cheese and mole quesadillas (v)
Kidney bean stew (gf, v)
Rapid refried beans (gf, v)
Super easy vegie layered tortilla casserole

Tex Mex vegan bowl (gf, v)

Mexican rice with salsa
Adapted from Kim's Cravings

1 1/2 cups dried brown rice
2 1/4 cups water
400g tin corn kernels, rinsed and drained
400g tin black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup salsa - bought or home made
handful of baby spinach

Cook the rice in your favourite way.  (I place water and rice in a large saucepan.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 25 minutes.)  Stir in corn, black beans, salsa and spinach.  Gently heat until the corn and black beans are warm and the spinach is wilted.  Check seasoning and adjust to taste.  Can be kept for a few days in the fridge or frozen.

On the Stereo:
The Songs of Leonard Cohen


  1. I always enjoy reading your reflections - pros and cons. I hope Sylvia gets to see some friends in real life soon and that she gets some quality time in the school. I am also very sorry that your trip to Scotland is not happening. I know its not going to make you feel any better, but this year D and me had booked a month off to travel overseas, i got permission from work etc. first time for us to something big, did not happen.So lets hope in the coming years when we do get to travel again, it will be like the first time x Love the look of the rice, especially as it is made with brown rice, an ingredient that i neglect to eat often.

  2. Burrito bowls like these are a favorite at my home too- we load them up with roasted veg, salad, sometimes soy chorizo etc.

    Here in the Southern US we have no lockdown but just an endless situation where safety measures are being half-heartedly followed and cases show no signs of waning. I feel we'll be in this situation for another year.

  3. I really feel for you all in lockdown, Queensland has dodged the bullet so far. Hope things return to normal for you all very soon. I think taco Tuesday is a wonderful idea, we had it on Monday this week, hee, hee, and I love your idea of using brown rice and the other ingredients.I have all of them in my pantry except for the salsa, would need to buy that too.Although I should try and make some. Do you make your own taco shells?Great post, Thanks.

  4. Simple tasty dinners you can whip up in a flash are the best! Thanks for sharing your reflections - I've been keeping a covid diary of sorts and I wonder what I will remember from this time when I am older

  5. I often make Mexican style rice dishes and this one with salsa sounds lovely. I hope you can soon enjoy post lockdown activities.

  6. This rice sounds really good, and I have the ingredients- even better. I agree with your observations about lockdown.


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