Yup! Beans and rice again! There are just so many possibilities to feed my family of six for near to nothing. When this package of red beans and rice mix caught my eye, I just had to give it a try. Not that I was looking for a great new go-to option, but I just couldn’t believe that a pre-packaged mix could come anywhere close to being as economical or tasty as my homemade version.
The consensus? I was right. Not one of us was impressed or even liked the red beans and rice from the mix. I didn’t make the kids eat it---and that rarely happens in our house. And the leftovers? Most of them got tossed.
|I added some leftover ham.|
The following week, I made my own version of red beans and rice. There are two ways that I make this dish. The first, that I’m sharing today, is very simple and frugal. The second way I make red beans and rice, isn’t as near-to-nothing because it uses some pricey meat. I will definitely have to share that one in the future.
Ideally, I would use one red pepper and one green pepper. When I made this to take pictures, I used two red because they were on sale. I was also out of onions, so I just did without.
The recipe includes hot sauce as optional. I usually don’t put any in the pot because of the kids, but Robbie and I add it to our individual bowls. If you do not include the hot sauce, you may want to add a little more salt.
Of course, when I make red beans and rice, I end up with a ton. We ate them for dinner, froze some for another dinner, and refrigerated some for lunch.
Simple Red Beans and Rice
2 bell peppers (any color)
1-2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 qts. water
2 c. brown rice
2½ c. cooked red beans
Chopped or diced cooked ham or sausage (optional)
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
4 Tbsp. chicken or vegetable bouillon
1½ heaping Tbsp. paprika
½ tsp. pepper
1½ tsp. salt (more or less to taste)
Hot sauce (optional)
Dice peppers and onion. Heat oil in large Dutch oven or stock pot. Add peppers and onion to oil; sauté until soft and onions are slightly translucent. Add all remaining ingredients. Bring to boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer until rice is done, about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
When rice is done, leave at a simmer and use immersion blender or back of spoon to smash some of the beans until desired consistency is reached, adding water as necessary.
|I used a spoon to smash some of the beans against the pot|
because my immersion blender died.
Soup will continue to thicken a bit as it sits. Adjust seasonings as desired. Yield: lots! (probably about 4 qts.) Total cost without meat: less than $6.
|It even just looks better than the packaged version.|