Monday, September 12, 2011

Rice and Beans OR Rice and Beans?

Amy's Indian: Mattar Paneer

Today, bonus treat: pictures of what I ate for lunch AND dinner.  In the esteemed words of Samuel L. Jackson, "Hold on to your butts."

For lunch I went with Amy's Indian: Mattar Paneer, light on calories, high on flavor.  Simply put, garbanzo beans in chana masala with peas and basmati rice.

Frozen Meal tidbit:
Frozen meals are a quick lunch option, but usually pretty bad for you.  Don't be fooled by "Healthy Choice" or "Lean Cuisine" either.  What they don't have in calories they more than make up for in extreeeeme amounts of sodium: my meal had a whopping 780 mg.  Considering the fact that the CDC suggests less than 1500 mg a day, that is a lot.

Also, since calories are so low, it could be easy to turn to candy/other badness in the afternoon when hunger pangs return.

My solutions are to keep healthy snacks on hand and eat frozen meals sparingly.  I will not not (English degree: double negatives are allowed) eat Amy's Indian because I gotsta have it, but I certainly don't eat it more than once a week, if that.

Homemade red beans and rice

And for dinner, more rice, this time the plain old long grain variety.  If you like rice and you don't have a rice cooker, you are hurting yourself.  It makes cooking rice super simple, and super easy to clean-up, especially if you are impatient with cooking rice and sometimes turn the heat up too high so it sticks to the bottom of the pan (cough. me. cough).

On top of that rice are good ol' red beans, a la my slow cooker. As a person that has a deep-rooted need to always be productive, using a slow cooker is a-mazing because I am cooking WHILE NOT EVEN HOME.  It's magic, really.

Red beans couldn't be simpler.  Easy to cook, easy to make a large batch to serve to a crowd, great frozen and enjoyed later. The trick to skipping soaking the beans over night and slow cooking them is to make sure to bring everything to a boil on the stove before putting in the slow cooker, or else your consistency will be no bueno.

I follow my friend Aimee's recipe (see below) and add Louisiana Hot Sauce and diced raw onions on top.  Yes, please.

Red Beans Recipe, a la my pal, Aimee McGlone

  • "It freezes beautifully and I want to make something from the freezes beautifully section of my cookbook."  (Name that film!)
  • This will make enough for dinner two, twice, plus possibly more depending on your portions and desire to stuff yourself full of beans.
  • Ingredients
    • Light smoked sausauge (1 package: Andouille is typical, but it will make it greasy and requires that you skim it every hour.  No thanks) 
    • 1 Pound Red Beans (Camelia are the best)
    • Veggies: 1 Large Onion, 2 Stalks Celery, 1 Medium Bell Pepper
    • Seasonings: 2-3 Bay Leaves, Crushed Red Pepper, Tony's
  • The Cooking
    • Start by dicing veggies.  No need to be too precise: it'll all get cooked down.
    • Dice the meat
    • Brown the meat in a couple teaspoons of vegetable oil and set aside.
    • In the same pan saute the onion, celery and bell peper until tender, but not browned. 
    • Add the meat back and saute it a bit get it all mixed up
    • Take the beans, which you need to give a good rinse and add them to the mix.
    • Add about 7 cups of water, 2-3 bay leaves, tony's, a little salt/pepper and a little crush red pepper to make it a little extra spicy and bring to a boil. 
    • Transfer the whole thing to the slow cooker and let it go for 4 to 5 hours on high or 7 to 8 on low.
    • Smash a couple spoonfuls of beans with the back of the spoon against the side of the pot and stir them back it to the pot towards the end to make them really creamy and yummy, taste and adjust the seasoning at the end too. 


  1. I have never cooked red beans before (I know...gasp!) And after seeing this recipe, I will be giving it a shot. It seems super easy! I will let you know how it goes! BTW, I am loving your blog! You have inspired me to try new things!

  2. You have no idea how much your comment made my day. That's exactly why I started this little food blog. Let me know how your beans turn out! :)