My cooking track record is not very impressive. It started with my infamous attempts to make grilled cheese growing up while baby-sitting my siblings (I buttered the inside instead of outside leading to some very burnt sandwiches) continued with my famous "hockey puck" cookies in college (I finally figured out that I baked them for the "prep time" amount instead of the "cook time"), and is still going strong with my recent failed pot roast attempt (not even Stephen would eat the leftovers) and last week's arm burn while making baked manicotti (it is not pretty, folks).
In Friday's Quick Takes I wrote about my mom's intervention for my unfortunate lack of talent in the kitchen (sidenote: Stephen has the metabolism of a 15-year-old and unfortunately lost 10 pounds after we got married...I'm not saying my cooking wasn't a factor). She gave me her copy of Saving Dinner, this amazing cookbook that gives you a week's worth of recipes and a grocery list to go with it that's categorized by grocery store section (it has cut our grocery store time down to an hour and a half from three hours...ok, I'm exaggerating but not much). It even gives suggestions for easy side dishes to serve with each dinner. I started by making a few recipes from the first week's section, and Stephen and I just loved this red beans and rice recipe. I made a few modifications (seasoned canned tomatoes instead of fresh, instant brown rice, etc.) and it was extremely easy on top of being delicious....
Red Beans n' Rice (adapted from Saving Dinner by Leanne Ely)
1 pound of kielbasa (use the Jenni O' smoked lean turkey kind for a low fat version)
1 onion, chopped (I used a sweet yellow onion)
2 teaspoons of minced garlic (I used the kind from the jar)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cans red beans, drained
1 can of tomatoes, undrained (I used the Rotel kind with mild green chiles)
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional, Stephen can't eat anything remotely spicy so I skipped this)
Salt and pepper to taste (I added a little bit of sea salt and of a pepper blend)
3 cups of instant brown rice, cooked
Slice the sausage and cook in a saucepan over medium-low heat for a few minutes. Add onion, garlic, and bell pepper and saute until veggies are tender. Add the beans and tomatoes. Season with thyme, salt, and pepper. Serve over brown rice.
This recipe was probably the best one we have ever made (I know, that's not saying much with our track record but trust me, it's good) and possibly the easiest. We will 100% be making this again. And again...