Monday, November 8, 2010

Get out those slow cookers!!!

You all (ughh humm...all 9 of you) may be wondering if I've been eating lately since I haven't blogged.  The answer.  Uhhh YES are you kidding me???  Probably a little too much to be honest.  Of course, Halloween candy has consumed my daily work life AND a lot of the daily calories I'm trying to watch too.  So, thank God it is almost gone. :)  BUT there has been a few substantial meals as well.  So, let's see.....where to start? 

How about with Slow Cooker Red Beans & Brown Rice.  Ya see, time to cook is not on my side lately because I've commited to a 7 week session of 3x per week at my local YMCA.  Which I am loving, but on those days it is a bit hard to create a full family meal. day last week I turned to my good ole' crock pot. 

I saw a recipe for Red Beans & Rice on Food Network's TV Show, 5 Ingredient Fix, and wanted to try it.  I've never had Red Beans & Rice and figured why not try this recipe - 5 ingredients and a crock pot - awesome!!!  Well, first problem was I couldn't find Andouille sausage where I was shopping and didn't feel like driving anywhere else....ughh....I needed that sausage though because it was a major ingredient since that is where most of the flavor and spices came from for the entire dish.  Hmmm???  How about lightening it up with Smoked Turkey Sausage and just adding some creole seasoning instead?  Perfect.  From there I also changed a few other things, and because you should always give credit where credit is due, my recipe was adapted from this one.  Even with my few changes it didn't take many ingredients at all, it was cheap, could feed an army, was super easy and tasted great.  :)

This southern classic can easily be turned into a Vegetarian meal by omitting the turkey sausage and using vegetable broth. You can also use water in place of the broth (like the original) to lower the sodium content. For you meat lovers, you can subsitute a different type of protein as you wish as well.  Either way...enjoy!


SERVES 16 ~ 1/2 C of cooked rice topped with 1/2 C of beans

  • 16 oz. bag of dry small red beans
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 1-14oz. pkg of turkey smoked sausage, chopped
  • 2T of creole seasoning (Tony Chachere is good)
  • 3 cups of chicken broth (or whichever flavor of broth you like best)
  • 8 cups of brown rice, cooked
  • Soak beans according to package directions overnight.
  • Drain beans and place in a stockpot covering the beans with 6-8 cups of water. Boil for 10 minutes. Drain.  This step will save you from the possible "red bean poisoning" sometimes associated with cooking red beans (aka: kidney beans) in a slow cooker. 
  • Place beans along with remaining ingredients into a crock-pot (slow cooker), stir to combine and cover. Set on HIGH for 4-6 hours or LOW for 6-8 hours.
NOTE:  I personally like my beans WELL DONE so I set mine to HIGH for the whole 8 hours (while I'm at work). This is a personal preference.  I also like take the back of a wooden spoon and smash through some of the beans. This will help thicken up the dish a bit too if the beans haven't absorbed most of the liquid. Again, a personal preference and you do not have to do this. If you would rather have a thinner consistency to your sauce you may even want to increase your broth to 4 cups.