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Mexican Beans and Rice with Spicy Meatballs

1 pound extra-lean ground beef
2 packages taco seasoning mix -- (1 1/4-ounce)
1/2 Cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
1/2 Cup plain bread crumbs
1/3 Cup finely chopped carrots
3 1/2 Cups water
1 can sliced ripe olives -- (2 1/4 ounce)drained
1 can diced green chiles -- (7-ounce)
6 garlic cloves -- minced
1 red bell pepper -- diced
2 cups converted white rice
1 can kidney beans -- (15-ounce) rinsed and drained


To make the meatballs, in a medium bowl, combine the ground beef, 1/2 package taco seasoning mix, cilantro, bread crumbs, carrots, and 1/2 Cup of the water. Mix to blend well. Roll into 24 balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Set aside.

For the beans and rice, in a 4- or 5-quart slow cooker, mix together the remaining 3 Cups water with the remaining taco seasoning mix, olives, green chiles, garlic, bell pepper, and rice. Gently push the meatballs down into the rice mixture.

Cover and cook on the low heat setting 4 hours, or until the rice is just tender and the meatballs are cooked through.

Gently stir in the beans. Cover and cook 30 minutes longer.

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