While I love making a dish 100% from scratch, I confess that there are times that I appreciate a “semi-homemade” dish. During busy weekdays, between juggling work, family, social life, + household chores (not to mention a newborn), it isn’t always practical for me to make dinner entirely from scratch. So, I have some tried-and-true “semi-homemade” dishes that I turn to on busy evenings – they give me that home-cooked, comfort food feeling, without all the time + energy that from-scratch dinners sometimes entail.
And this dish – Quick Red Beans + Rice with Sausage – is one of my favorite easy weeknight dinners. A simple store-bought red beans + rice mix (preferably low-sodium if you can find it) is jazzed up with sauteed onions, garlic, carrots, celery + sliced sausage, + a few dashes of hot sauce. For this particular version, I used chicken sausage, but andouille or other smoked sausage would also work wonderfully. Served with crusty italian bread + a fresh, simple salad, it’s a delicious, easy weeknight dinner that tastes far more homemade + time-consuming than it is. =)
If you’re looking for another fab semi-homemade dinner to try, this Pasta With Lentil ‘Bolognese’ is super simple, healthy + delicious! That reminds me that I’ve got to make it again soon. =)
Quick Red Beans + Rice With Sausage
serves 4-6, adapted from Cajunlicious
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 lb sausage, sliced into half-moons
8 oz package seasoned red beans + rice mix, preferably low-sodium or reduced-sodium (like Zatarain‘s or Vigo)
optional: hot sauce + italian bread for serving
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, + celery, + cook for 7-10 minutes, until the onions are translucent + the veggies have softened. (NOTE: do NOT season with salt/pepper at this point. Between the salt/seasoning of the rice mixture + the chicken broth, it’s easy to over-salt this dish. Wait until the end to see if you need any salt or pepper.) Add the garlic + cook for 1 minute more, until the garlic is fragrant. Add the sliced sausage + cook for about 5 minutes, until the sausage is starting to brown.
Add the bay leaf + chicken broth, + bring to a boil. Stir in the contents of the red beans + rice mix, reduce to a simmer, cover + cook for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rice + beans are tender, + most of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat + allow to sit for about 5 minutes to thicken up.
Add more salt + pepper if needed (we did not need any) + serve with hot sauce + crusty italian bread. enjoy!print this recipe