I’m sorry to admit that I have never put forth much effort into cooking meals for my family. I have been married for 12 years now and a mother for almost 8 years, but in all that time I have been amazingly, exhaustively busy. Too busy to think much about what to cook for dinner each night. It doesn’t help that my mother got sick when I was in middle school, and she was unable to teach me and my sisters much about how to cook. The result of this has been a lot of Hamburger Helper and easy meals such as tacos and spaghetti. In fact over the years we have pretty much been eating the same handful of meals over and over again, and eating out way more than what is healthy.
But this is a New Year and quite literally a new beginning for me as I have left the workforce to become a stay-at-home mom, and goal number one for me is to begin cooking real meals for my family each night. Without my income we are on a tight grocery budget and eating out is not really an option for us anymore (which is a good thing), so I am going to need to learn how to cook more than the handful of meals we have survived on in the past. So I have set a goal for myself and I am sharing it with all of you to keep myself accountable to it: learn 31 meals in the first 31 days of the year. In the month of January I will cook a different meal each day and share the recipe (and the taste results) here. So without further ado I present 31 Days of 31 Meals Day 1:
Red Beans And Rice With Sausage
Since I am just starting out with this cooking thing, I figured it best to start out with a simple meal. My husband brought home a package of Vigo Red Beans and Rice from the grocery store and I thought to myself “I can totally do something with this.” So I embarked on my first new meal, and I only needed a few ingredients.
2 celery stalks
1 small yellow onion
1 8 oz package of Vigo Red Beans & Rice (Zatarains would work just as well)
2 chicken bullion cubes (or 2 3/4 cups of chicken broth)
2 tablespoons of garlic powder (or freshly minced garlic)
1//2 pound of smoked sausage
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
1 tablespoon of butter or margarine
First I chopped the celery and onion into small pieces, which means that I quartered them and put them in the Black & Decker vegetable chopper that “Santa” gave me for Christmas (I used Christmas to stock up on kitchen supplies for my new journey as a stay-at-home mom and wife. I netted a rice cooker, vegetable chopper, Tupperware, and a Ninja blender and food processor).
I poured the oil into a pan and heated it on medium heat. I added the onion and celery and sauteed them until they were softened, which was about 7 minutes. Then I cut up the sausage and added to the pan and cooked them all together for another 5 minutes or so.
I poured 2 3/4 cups of water into my rice cooker (you can use a pot with a tight fitted lid on the stove) and added the bouillon cubes, garlic, butter, pack of Vigo Red Beans and Rice, and the vegetable and sausage mixture. I set the rice cooker to the cook setting and walked away until it switched to warm. If cooking on the stove make sure the lid is on tight and cook for 22 – 25 minutes, then mix well and fluff the rice and viola! Dinner is served.
This works great as a one pot meal, or you can serve it with a salad and bread. A good additional add-in would be some chopped green bell pepper, my family doesn’t like it and won’t eat it, but if your family does then consider adding it in for even more flavor.
This meal passed the taste test with flying colors, it was delicious and my hubby loved it!