By Karin Calloway

Karin Calloway is a working mom living in Augusta, Ga., with multiple freelance jobs and a ton of dirty dishes.

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Chile-Cheese Rice

Steak and baked potatoes. Spaghetti and meatballs. Some dishes go so well together that they become synonymous. At our house, my baby back ribs and Chile-Cheese Rice could be added to that list. The combination of cooked rice, sour cream, drained tomatoes seasoned with chiles and grated cheddar is the perfect side dish for barbecued ribs. The dish also goes well with any meat or poultry that is grilled and basted with barbecue sauce, making it a great addition to your summer repertoire.

The secret to the dish is twofold. The first secret is oregano, which adds a subtle flavor to the mixture and is greatly missed if accidentally left out. The second secret is the rice. I use parboiled rice, such as Uncle Ben’s long grain white rice, for perfect rice that doesn’t stick together.

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1 10-ounce diced tomatoes seasoned with chiles*, drained
  • 2 cups regular or reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 3-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Add rice, reduce heat, cover and cook according to package directions. When rice is done, place in a large bowl and season with salt, pepper and oregano. Stir in drained tomatoes and sour cream. Fold in cheese. Taste for seasonings and add additional salt, pepper and oregano, as needed. Pour into the prepared pan and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes, until heated through and cheese is melted.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

*Rotel brand diced tomatoes seasoned with chiles was used for testing purposes.