Thank you, Sir Mix-A-Lot, for that delightful contribution to society. What a gem.
The other day, I realized that I had somewhat abdicated my duties as creative and resourceful housewife for much of this summer, resorting to grilled chicken and vegetables as my dinner plan of choice. Granted, this meal plan is quite thrifty and managed to help us squeeze a few extra dollars from our grocery budget in the last month. But. It's boring. And it gets old. And I hate thawing chicken. And trimming off the fat. Blech. Barf. Vom. Ew. Gross. Hate it.
So, I decided to search the trusty ol' internet for something I hadn't cooked before that didn't involve chicken. At first I was looking for slow cooker recipes, but it was already mid-afternoon and I needed something for dinner in a few hours. Enter, Red Beans & Rice!
The only problem was that I found a few different recipes with many of the same ingredients but a few extra crazy-complicated steps that I just wasn't in the mood to follow. Soooo, I decided to make like the scientist I married and experiment. Heh, heh. Here's the recipe I came up with and let me just say, it's DELIGHTFUL. And healthy. And cheap. And it lasted us for three and a half dinners.
**Please note, if you are a stickler for measurements, this recipe may make you want to shave your beard and wear sackcloth and ashes because I pretty much went by the measurements of "pinch" and "dash". Don't hate me.
Heavy pot (I used my cast iron dutch oven, which I will rant and rave over every time I use it because it is the best thing that ever happened to my kitchen. That, and my ice cream maker.)
2 cans kidney beans
One package turkey kielbasa (sausage), sliced
2 cups-ish high quality H2O
Salt & pepper, to taste
2 stalks celery, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
Coupla garlic cloves, minced
A few turns of the pan of Olive Oil
Hot sauce, to taste (I used Cholula because it's the best)
Cayenne pepper, to taste
Paprika, to taste
Dried thyme, to taste
One bay leaf (take it out before you serve it. No eating allowed.)
Long grain wild rice. Or whatever kind of rice you like.
Chopped green onions for garnish on top
So, get all your diced veggies and throw them into your heated pot with your olive oil. Saute 'em around a bit. Once they get a translucent and smellin' all good, add your spices. If anything at all, go easy on the Cayenne at first because a little goes a long way. You can always add more, but you can't take it out! Stir it all up and let it meld for about a minute. Then add your water and beans and sausage. If I've left anything out, add that, too. Bring the heat up to a simmer because you want everything to get all mixed up and delicious together and let some of the water evaporate off to create a nice, spicy saucy juice. Cook your rice in a separate pot, and serve in a bowl with the rice on the bottom the beans and sausage in the middle and the chopped green onions on top. EASY PEASY LEMON SQUEEZY! Remember to taste throughout and adjust your spices accordingly.
I apologize to the city of New Orleans for stealing their thunder. Bon appétit!