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With four hungry boys in the house, I am often looking for dishes that are nutritious and loved by the boys without breaking the bank. My little carnivores would love nothing more than to scarf down up to half a pound of meat in one sitting. However, my pocket book can’t handle that.
Thank goodness I discovered that they love homemade red beans and rice. This allows me to stretch the meat while maintaining loads of protein that they need to grow.
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Crock Pot Red Beans and Rice ~ Family Favorite Recipe
Having grown up in the south, I was quite familiar with red beans and rice. However, the super creamy rendition I recall from school cafeterias is full of lard. My personal health consciousness just won’t tolerate adding that much fat for the sake of a creamy texture.
After trying several recipes, I found a Red Beans and Rice recipe on Allrecipes that tasted great and the boys love. Of course, I’ve tweaked it a little for spiciness, although I’ve been upping the heat factor a bit recently.
While I typically make it with the sausage, I have kept it vegetarian for me and topped the beans with sausage pieces for the boys.
Making Red Beans and Rice
I always prep things before I start cooking.
Slicing the onions and celery is made much easier using the Slicer Shredder Attachment on my Bosch stand mixer. If they seem too large after processing, a quick chop with a chef’s knife finishes the job. Added benefit is less tears from the onion.
Onions, celery, garlic and peppers get sautéed in the pan for a few minutes.
We love using Cast-Iron Skillet for this (and making cornbread!)
After gathering the spices, I measure them all into a small custard cup . That way it’s one quick ‘dump’ into the pan with the sautéed vegetables.
The beans, water and bay leaf go into the programmable crock pot first with the seasoned vegetables being mixed into the crock.
If you want the BEST possible outcome, order the Camilla Red Beans.
They consistently make the best red beans for us. Unlike other kidney beans I’ve bought, these mash up for a super creamy texture.
And, I have been able to get away without presoaking them and still have my dinner ready on time..
Buy a pound on Amazon and give them a test hop.
Four hours on high is a minimum and the setting I’ll use on my programmable crockpot. The latest start time I is Noon with dinner at 6 p.m.
However, the kidney beans we get in bulk up here are ‘tougher’ and need a longer cook time. That’s why we order the Camilla Red Beans.
For best results, I start cooking in the crockpot by 10 a.m. I then program it for 6 hours on high to cook.
The programmable crock pot will automatically switch to warm when that time is done.
About half an hour before I plan to serve the meal, I pull about a cup of beans from the pot. These are mashed either by hand or in a blender.
Stir the mashed beans back into the pot to simmer helps to thicken the meal.
Do you want the flavor of sausage to permeate the beans?
Add the diced up smoked sausage as well for the last 30 minutes of simmering.
Our preferred sides are a tossed salad and a nice wedge of homemade cornbread.
And, of course, the red beans is served atop a nice bed of rice. We usually eat brown rice for the added nutrition. Norpro 144 Heat Diffuser
When I cook my rice on the stovetop, I use a heat diffuser underneath. The Norpro model pictured to the left is the same one I’ve had for several years now.
This helps to keep things from burning or sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Such a small investment in a very useful kitchen tool. You just need to remember to USE it!
What is a favorite dinner dish for your family?
Get the Recipe for Red Beans and Rice
This is adapted from the recipe I originally found on Allrecipes.com.
Healthy Red Beans and Rice for a taste of Louisiana without all the fat. ** when the boys wanted it milder, I used a Creole seasoning blend instead of a Cajun one. I also cut back the amount of cayenne pepper. ** green pepper are ideal for the extra 'bite'. However, I've made this using other bell peppers without ill effect.
Healthy Red Beans and Rice for a taste of Louisiana without all the fat.
** when the boys wanted it milder, I used a Creole seasoning blend instead of a Cajun one. I also cut back the amount of cayenne pepper. ** green pepper are ideal for the extra 'bite'. However, I've made this using other bell peppers without ill effect.