Red Beans & Rice
Servings: at least 6
1 TB palm fruit oil, coconut oil or olive oil (the first 2 options are better, IMO)
1 onion, chopped ($0.15)
1 cup celery, diced ($0.33 to $0.83)
1/2 cup green peppers, diced ($0.50? - depends on season)
2 cloves garlic, minced ($0.04)
1 lb homemade turkey sausage, breakfast sausage or smoked sausage (about $2 for the homemade turkey sausage)
1 t oregano
1 t thyme
1/2 t basil
1/2 t black pepper
1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, optional
2 cups homemade chicken stock (about $0.10?)
2 bay leaves
2 cups cooked red beans ($0.34 to 0.66)
2 cups cooked brown rice ($0.47 to 0.85)
(cost of spices: $0.25?)
1. Heat oil in a large skillet or pot while you chop your onion and celery.
2. Add onion and celery and saute on medium heat until fragrant.
3. Add garlic and saute for a few seconds, then add sausage IF using breakfast sausage (if you are using smoked sausage you will add it later). Break up sausage while it cooks.
4. When sausage is cooked through, add oregano, thyme, basil and black pepper and mix in.
5. Add chicken broth, bay leaves, red beans and rice (and sausage if using smoked sausage). Stir, bring to a boil, turn heat down to medium or medium-low and cook until the chicken broth is evaporated (you will have to stir it so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan).
6. Serve and enjoy! A green salad or raw vegetables are great sides for this dish.
Approximate Cost: $4.18 to $5.38 for at least 6 servings, depending on where you live and the types of vegetables, beans, rice, and meat used; the higher price is for organic beans, rice and veggies in my area.
- Cook your rice separately (preferably in broth) and serve the beans over the rice - I prefer to make this a one-skillet meal.
- Skip the chicken broth if you are using cooked beans and rice. You won't want to use the bay leaf if you do this. The chicken broth does add nutrients and flavor!
- Skip the sausage and use vegetable broth to make this a vegetarian meal. The sausage adds a ton of flavor, though. You may want to up the spices to taste if you do this.
- Cut the amount of meat in half to reduce the cost of this meal by $1.
- Partially cook your rice in 3/4 the recommended amount of broth or water and add it partially cooked. It will absorb most of the chicken stock.
- Substitute 1-2 cans of red beans for cooked dried beans. This will increase the cost.
The day before, pick through and rinse 1 pound of red beans. Put beans in your cooking pot (or you can use a glass bowl if you prefer), fill pot with water, covering beans with at least 2 inches of water. Add 2-4 TB of whey, lemon juice or vinegar. Soak overnight. In the morning, drain your soaking water (supposed to help with digestibility of beans). Cover your beans with at least 2 inches of water again, add 2-3 tsp of sea salt, bring to a boil, turn heat down to simmer and cook for 1-2 hours, until beans are soft. Drain beans, use 2 cups for the red beans & rice, cool, and freeze the rest in 2-cup (or preferred amount) portions.
If you don't mind freezing your beans and rice together, then add 3 cups of rice to the beans at the beginning of the soaking process and follow the rest of the directions, but freeze in 4-cup portions.
Cooking Brown Rice
Soaking is optional, but I soak 2 cups of brown rice with 2 1/4 cups of water with 1 TB of whey, lemon juice, or vinegar in the morning in the same pot I will cook the rice in. When it is time to cook, I add 2 1/4 cups of chicken broth or water and 1 tsp of salt; stir, bring to a boil, turn heat to low, and cook covered for about 45 minutes. You can use 1 cup of rice and 2 1/4 cups of liquid for this recipe, but why not make extra and freeze the extra? You can cook 3 cups of brown in 6 3/4 cups of liquid if you want about 4 extra cups to freeze.
From the Freezer
I cook 1 to 2 pounds of beans at a time when I need them and freeze leftovers in 2-cup portions. I also cook extra brown rice when I am using brown rice for a recipe and freeze that in 2-cup portions. Look for directions at the bottom of the page for cooking the beans and/or rice.
I also freeze onions, green peppers, and celery ahead of time. Onions and green peppers do not have to be blanched before freezing. I have also read that blanching celery is not necessary as long as you are going to use it within about 3 months, but I cannot find the source. Download the University of Georgia's Freezing Vegetables guide (pdf) for a lot of information on freezing vegetables.
I buy a lot of ground turkey at one time, make it into homemade turkey sausage, and freeze it in 1-pound portions. You can also use breakfast sausage, smoked sausage or kielbasa for this recipe.
I make 4 to 8 quarts of homemade chicken stock (scroll down the linked page for recipe) at one time. I freeze this in various sized containers (ice cubes, 1-cup, 2-cup, and 4-cup sizes).
This recipe has been entered in the October Fest Carnival of Super Foods: Beans and Legumes Recipes, hosted by Kitchen Stewardship.