Red Beans and Rice - Super Quick and Easy!
Red Beans and Rice
Yesterday afternoon, I made some tasty red beans and rice. I was busy on the computer when Johnny came in the office to ask what we were doing for lunch…or for dinner. It was between the two meal times, and neither of us had eaten anything all day. Of course, his query actually translated into “When the hell are you gonna get off the computer and fix me something to eat?” That’s what he really meant, but he knew that wouldn’t get him very far with me. I’m the type of person who can be lead a mile but not pushed an inch. Anyway, I finally pried myself from my computer chair and dragged myself into the kitchen. I’d put off going to the grocery store, so we were out of almost everything. I stood staring into my open kitchen cabinets and saw a can of diced tomatoes and some kidney beans. I thought about chili until I remembered we had no ground beef. I went to the fridge, and the only meat we had there was some sausage. An idea began to form…and it turned into a great dish! I can't decide if it's Cajun food, Creole food, or soul food, but it’s delicious and definitely one of my quick and easy recipes. I really don’t know what to call it, so I’ll just call it what it is…or was: Red beans and rice…with sausage.
Quick and Easy Recipes
Quick and easy recipes are important to most of from time to time. Sometimes we’re just too busy to cook and prepare a time-consuming recipe. This red beans and rice recipe took just minutes to prepare, although it tasted like I’d spent a lot more time on it. One reason it was so quick and easy is because I used canned beans, so I didn’t have to soak dried beans overnight or cook them for hours. And yes, I’ve made traditional Cajun red beans and rice the old fashioned way, with Andouille sausage and my quick and easy recipe is almost as good, and it’s a heck of a lot easier.
Another reason this red beans and rice recipe falls under the quick and easy recipes category is because of the rice. I used Minute Rice. Well, to be honest, I didn’t use that particular brand name. I used a cheaper version of instant rice I bought at Walmart. All you have to do is combine equal parts rice and water and cook it in the microwave for three minutes. Of course, you’ll probably want to add some butter and some seasoning before or after zapping the rice.
I use Minute Rice (or cheap instant rice) all the time! In fact, I’m making some tonight to go with some country fried steak and gravy. It’s a great time saver, and I really can’t tell much difference from it and regular rice. In fact, I think I actually prefer the texture of the instant rice. It never gets gummy or sticks together. If you’ve never used it, give it a try! I use it in soups, casseroles, and cold rice salads, too.
Sausage gives my easy red beans and rice more flavor and more substance. You can use any type of link sausage here. Personally, I like to use smoked sausage because I like the smoky flavor. In fact, my favorite links to use in this red beans and rice recipe are ones we’ve grilled. This dish is a great way to use those leftover smoked sausage.
You’re probably wondering how to make quick and easy recipes with sausage. Don’t they have to be cooked for a while? They do, unless you buy sausage that’s already fully cooked when you buy them. In that case, the links just need to be warmed up. We like the Johnsonville smoked sausage that’s pre-cooked, but there are lots of other good choices. You can use mild sausage or hot and spicy sausage – whichever you prefer. If you use hot and spicy smoked sausage, just be sure to adjust the seasoning in your red beans and rice.
What type of seasoning should you use with red beans and rice? Again, it’s all up to you. Cajun red beans and rice usually includes onion, garlic, bell pepper, celery, thyme, black pepper, bay leaf, cayenne, and parsley. I like to use some chicken flavoring in my Minute rice, in the form of powdered chicken bouillon. I also like to add some paprika. You might like to try other seasoning ingredients, like hot sauce, basil, oregano, or other Cajun seasoning herbs and spices. You might like to try a Cajun seaoning blend or maybe a Soul Food seasoning blend.
Be careful when you’re seasoning your red beans and rice. Depending on the sausage you use, the spices in the pork can add a lot of flavor to the dish. If you’re omitting the sausage, you’ll probably need to add more herbs and/or spices. Use a light hand with the salt, too. The powdered chicken bouillon is very salty, so you might not need to add more salt.
Rate my red beans and rice! Thanks!
- 1 1/2 cups instant rice
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 can diced tomatoes, drained, (I used Italian diced tomatoes)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1/2 cup diced bell pepper
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 can dark red kidney beans, drained
- 1/2 pound - 1 pound cooked smoked sausage, sliced
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- salt and pepper, to taste
- In a microwave-safe dish, combine rice and water. Add butter, chicken bouillon, and bay leaf. Cook on high for three minutes. If liquid isn’t fully absorbed, cook longer.
- While the rice is cooking, sauté the onions, bell pepper, and garlic in oil.
- When the rice is done, let it sit for four or five minutes. Remove the bay leaf. Add the kidney beans and the tomatoes.
- When the vegetables are soft, add them to the rice, along with any pan drippings.
- Add the smoked sausage and spices and stir. Cover tightly and return to the microwave. Heat for about one minute and stir. Heat for another minute or two, until the dish is piping hot.
- You can adjust the amount of seasoning you like to make the red beans and rice hotter or milder. It’s also easy to add other ingredients, like chopped celery, hot peppers, diced ham, boiled shrimp, diced cooked chicken, or cooked and crumbled bacon. You can use my red beans and rice recipe as a basis for all sorts of quick and easy recipes of your own! This dish is great when leftovers are warmed up in the microwave, too, as Hamlet and I discovered at around 2 a.m. this morning. He gives it two paws up! Of course, you can also omit the smoked sausage or any other type of meat completely, if you like. In that case, serve the red beans and rice as a side dish.