This week’s guest chef is a member of the Bumbling Band we all know, love & turn to for her recipe ideas.
Gena is a graduate student in the biomedical sciences, hoping to complete her education in May. When she’s not in the lab and needs to relax and reduce stress, she runs, cooks, and avoids cleaning the house. Gena shares her recipes on her blog Gena Cooks.
(MizFit note: she wrote the three sentences above so Im gonna toss in a few extra words: funny, motivated, creative, helpful, BEYOND SMART, athletic, fabulous.)
I love Cajun food. Actually, I love any extra spicy food. I do realize, however, that not everyone shares my love of heat. This recipe for Cajun red beans and rice is simple, healthy, and easily adjustable to your particular heat level. It also only takes about 30 minutes to cook, requires only a big skillet and a pot (hooray for less clean up!), and is full of veggies and grains.
Cajun Red Beans and Rice
Total time: 20 – 30 minutes
Serving: about 6 or so
2 cups rice, cooked (I use brown rice)
1 14 oz can light red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
8 oz andouille sausage or turkey sausage (andouille can be very hard to
2 green bell peppers
2 stalks of celery (get at least one from the middle, with lots of
2 large tomatoes or 1 10.5 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 tbs paprika
Cayenne pepper to taste
Tabasco, Texas Pete, or other hot sauce, to taste
First of all, get the rice cooking if you’re not using the quick cook kind. My rice took way longer to cook than the whole rest of the meal!
Dice up the sausage and cook it over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Cajun cooking generally calls for andouille sausage, which has a wonderful flavor that makes any cajun dish have that little something distinct. However, it isn’t exactly low fat, and in my four years in NC I’ve never been able to find it in the grocery stores. Instead I tend to use a smoked turkey sausage of the precooked variety. It keeps down the fat levels and is still tasty. You’ll just need to add extra seasoning to make up for the difference!
When the sausage is browned, take it out of the skillet and throw in the diced up bell pepper, onion, and celery. Add in some chopped garlic if you’d like! Cook the veggies until they are starting to get soft, then chop up and add the tomatoes (or throw in the canned ones). Let this cook down for about 5 minutes.
Right, so now it’s time to season it all up. This is completely adjustable to your heat index. Start out with a little seasoning and then ramp it up until it’s as hot as you like. Start with about 2 tsp paprika – I used 2 tbs. Add the cayenne, starting with 1/8 of a tsp – I used, oh, 1.5 tsps I think, because I like it really hot! Put in a shake or two of hot sauce (you need that hot sauce flavor!) or 15 if you’re like me. Add 1 tsp salt and a few shakes of black pepper and you are all seasoned up!
Add the beans, drained and rinsed, and put the sausage back in the skillet. Once it’s all hot and bubbly again, serve it over the rice, with the bottle of hot sauce on the table in case anyone wants theirs a little hotter!
*You can easily leave out the sausage to make it a vegetarian meal, or
add diced chicken or pork for a meatier dish.
There you go, People. The food stylin’ tips from none other than Gena who is, perhaps, the only woman who mightcould convince me to try a dish this hothothot.
AND you *so* know that the final sentence has my MizFit name written all over it.
Im game to try & to add some extra diced chickenandsausage (I know. I know. Ill do turkey sausage.)
Anyone have some vegetarian creativeness to add to the mix? Thoughts or suggestions?
Please to hit us up in the comments.