*Finally* found a great mexican rice recipe, although I wish I could work around the Rotel canned tomatoes! I'll be experimenting with fresh tomatoes/peppers and update if I find success - but this was so popular in the house that I'm reluctant to mess with it!
Cheesy Mexican Rice from www.letsdishrecipes.com (who adapted it from Paula Deen)
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 jalepeno, seeded and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups chicken broth
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes with green chiles
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (can also use Monterey Jack)
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the rice, onion, jalepeno, and garlic. Cook until the rice is browned and vegetables are tender. Stir in the broth, tomatoes, chili powder, cumin and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the rice is tender, about 15 to 17 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and cheese and transfer to a serving bowl.
**If you only have a 10 oz. can of tomatoes, add about 1/4 cup water as well, so the rice doesn't dry out