As a father of one child with a food allergy and two others who can be finnicky eaters, I’m always trying to create meals that everyone in my family will enjoy. The recipes not only need to be tasty, but they also need to be quick and easy to prepare.
This regular column will chronicle my attempts to create meals that get a unanimous thumbs up from these harsh critics.
For my first attempt, I decided to make a variation of my mother’s red beans and rice recipe. Because we didn’t have much money, we often relied on beans and rice for a hearty, nutritious meal. My mother used dried red beans and loving spent several hours cooking the dish to perfection. I can still remember how the aromas would waft through the house as the meal slowly simmered on the stove. It felt as if my mother was giving us a culinary hugged that lasted all day.
My version, while still as flavorful, only takes a fraction of the time. Although it doesn’t compare to hers, it does pay homage to my Lousiana heritage and allows my kids to get a taste of my childhood.
- 1 Small onion diced
- 1/2 Bell pepper diced
- 1 Celery stalk diced
- 2 Strips of bacon
- 1 lb Smoked sausage
- 3 Cans of Red Beans
- 2 Cups of Rice (uncooked)
- 1 Cup of Chicken stock
- 1 Tablespoon of garlic powder
- 1 Bay leaf
- 1 Teaspoon of sage
- 1 Teaspoon of chili powder
- Pinch of Brown sugar
- Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning to taste
- Pour olive oil in pan, add vegetables, and sauté until onions are translucent.
- Remove vegetables from pan and place into a large pot.
- Slice bacon and sausage into small pieces and brown in pan.
- Drain fat and add meat to pot.
- Add beans, chicken stock, and seasonings to pot.
- Stir to mix ingredients then place pot on high heat until the liquid starts to boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Cook rice per directions on package.
- Serve red beans over rice.
The kids spared me the usual dinner time drama and I was pleasantly surprised that 2 of 3 kids finished the meal.
- Me – Thumbs up.
- KayEm – Thumbs up.
- Nee (11) – Thumbs up.
- N (9) – Thumbs up.
- X (5) – Thumbs down (he said that is was neither good nor bad – just okay).
Therefore, this dish gets a family rating of 4 out 5 stars.
P.S. – If you try it for your family, let me know how they like it.