I think y’all know by now that Christmas is my favorite season. I love the decorations, the lights, the carols, the spirit, but especially the reason for celebrating (the birth of Jesus!). Oddly, one of the things that seems to go hand in hand with the Christmas season is extra full calendars and lots of stress. I am definitely not immune to feeling the extra stress, so this year I’m going to cut myself a little slack. I love blogging, and I’m definitely not going to stop (Did I scare you a bit?), but I’m also not going to berate myself for not getting out a post every week during this busy season. Obviously, I’m posting today, though it won’t be the most extensive post I’ve ever done. But I doubt if I’ll be able to post next week (however much I want to), and possibly even the week after that. (Though I’m hoping it’s just next week that falls victim to my holiday preparations.) I read a lot of amazing blogs where the bloggers are super organized and do multiple posts during Christmas, but that’s not something I feel capable of right now, and I know that y’all will understand and catch up with me after we’ve all enjoyed our holidays.
Something else that falls by the wayside during the holidays (or whenever you’re stressed for time) is making a delicious, home-cooked meal. There’s nothing wrong with supermarket helpers and take out, but sometimes you really just want something homemade. That’s when you turn to one of my favorite kitchen appliances: the slow-cooker. I made this recipe a while ago, but I’ve been waiting for just the right moment to tell you about it. My hubby just flipped for this recipe. He’s a big fan of red beans and rice, and this made him so incredibly happy. What made me happy was how inexpensive and easy it was. The most expensive thing in the recipe was the andouille sausage. I found a pound of andouille for $4-$5, but you only you use 1/2 that amount for the recipe, so it’s not a bad price. (Also, if you just can’t find it, you could substitute your favorite flavorful sausage.) This also made a LOT of beans, 6-8 entree servings or 12-16 side portions (!). We enjoyed this for several days, and my hubby would urge you to make it soon. (If he remembered that I have the rest of the andouille in the freezer, I’m sure he’d be begging for me to make this. And in case you were wondering, I did enjoy this, just nowhere near as much as he did.)
Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice (from Food Network)
1/2 c. chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 lb. finely chopped andouille sausage
2 c. dried red beans, soaked overnight and drained (I used kidney beans, put them in a large bowl, covered them in water, and left them in the fridge overnight. That’s it – easy peasy!)
1 quart water
3-4 c. cooked rice (You can use any type of rice and any cooking method that you prefer. Bonus points if you use a rice cooker. When I eventually get a house and some extra space in my kitchen, I would love to invest in a rice cooker.)
1. In a slow-cooker, combine the onion, garlic, and sausage. Stir in the beans and water and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook til the beans are tender, 7 1/2 hours on low or 3 1/2-4 hours on high. (Word to the wise: you don’t want to be in the house while this cooks. It smells incredible, and you’ll go crazy wanting to eat it before it’s ready. Not that I know from experience or anything.)
2. Once the beans are done, take out 1/4 c. of the beans and mash them til smooth. Stir them back in the pot and cook 30 minutes more on low or 15 minutes on high. Serve over rice.
Here’s hoping that your holiday season doesn’t get too busy and that you can enjoy a home-cooked meal soon. Merry Christmas!!