Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Cheap and Fast: Red Beans and Rice

This is an extra special post. Wanna know why? 2 reasons:

  1. This is one of my favorite pantry meals to make.
  2. I cooked this meal while wearing heels, so it's extra fancy.
It's been one of those paycheck cycles where certain...surprises came up. For instance, my car insurance jumped an extra $50/month without them telling me because of an accident I was in back in December (12/12/12 to be exact). Liberty Mutual apparently doesn't increase rates mid-contract cycle. Would have been nice to know! I also had to buy some new shoes for my trip to Vegas next week for work, so naturally I had to break them in--hence the cooking in heels bit. In general though, this meal is about anything but fancy.

This is one of those recipes where I always keep the ingredients on hand. The canned beans were on sale for 30 cents this week, I paid $1.50 for the pepper, I had the stewed tomatoes already in my cabinet from last time they were on sale for $1.00, and I already had the onion on hand from last time I bought a bag of onions. You can also wait until the peppers are on sale, cut up a bunch of them, put each diced pepper and onion into plastic bags and freeze them. Then you'll always have them on hand! Perfect, right? Oh, and did I mention that this recipe is also very healthy and very vegetarian/vegan? Oh, and did I also mention that I use this recipe as an excuse to make corn bread? 

This was one of those recipes that my I copied from my mom's recipe box to take with me to college because it's college-kid-cheap to make. And it took me longer to bake the cornbread. It takes about 10 minutes to cook. If you make rice the old-fashioned way it will take a bit longer, but I use Trader Joe's microwavable frozen rice and it's ready in 3 minutes. What could be better? So next time you think about heating up a frozen pizza for dinner, just remember that you could have a homemade and healthy meal made in the time it would take you to preheat the oven. Enjoy!

Red Beans and Rice

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion
1 small green or red bell pepper
1-2 cloves of garlic
1 14 ½-ounce can stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 16-ounce can red beans, drained
1 teaspoon dried thyme
¾ teaspoon hot pepper sauce (i.e. Frank’s) or to taste
Rice, prepared

  1. Heat oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. 
  2. Coarsely chop onion and place in skillet. 
  3. Coarsely chop bell pepper and add to skillet with garlic, Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  4. Stir in tomatoes, beans, thyme, and pepper sauce. Simmer uncovered for 8 to 9 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  5. Serve over rice, with corn bread if desired.

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