Tag Archives: rice

Red Beans and Rice

And now, I want a taco and Enrique Iglesias.

One summer in high school, I went on a mission trip to Belize. And during one of the stupid “get to know you” games we played with the teenagers there, I learned that apparently EVERYONE in the town we were in had the same favorite food: Red Beans and Rice. It was kind of funny hearing about 20 people have the same favorite food for some reason. After that trip, I tried making it a couple time on my own, just winging it. It turned out edible, but really bland. I was disappointed but still really wanted to try and make it because it is a really healthy dish.

Then I was browsing Pinterest for some really cheap recipes because of the “broke college kid” situation. And I found this one! I was really pumped because the solution to my bland problem was just cooking the rice with the beans and a liberal amount of paprika. I felt like an idiot, but it’s ok.

The reason this is such a cheap recipe is because rice and beans are two of the cheapest ingredients to include in a meal, and this one just uses those two (plus paprika) to make an awesome filling dish. Beans are also a great source of protein and are low in fat, so you are making a healthy meal too! Much better than ramen noodles or a can of soup.  Plus, this recipe makes plenty of food to save some and reheat later. It basically encourages laziness.

One of the other selling points that really lured me in? It is one of those one-pot meals. You can even make it in your rice cooker if you want to! I just did it in a pot on the stove because I don’t have a rice cooker and it worked great. This is also originally a vegetarian recipe, but I botched that a little bit because I used a chicken bouillon cube to flavor the rice a little bit. You can always use vegetable stock to keep it vegetarian, I just had bouillon cubes on hand and no vegetable stock. Convenience wins. We killed the vegetarian idea even more because Trusty Sidekick has this weird thing where he thinks nothing is a real meal unless it has meat in it. So I just cooked up some ground beef with taco seasoning and mixed in into the rice and beans once they were done. Totally unnecessary, but I was dealing with a manchild and it couldn’t be helped. I’m not going to include the ground beef in the recipe though.

And without further ado, here is the price breakdown:

  • 2 C. rice: $0.25
  • 1 can red beans: $1.00
  • chicken bouillon cube: $0.05
  • 3 cloves garlic: $0.25
  • The amount of paprika is not even $0.05 so I won’t include it.

Total: $1.55 (I know this seems impossible, but seriously, that is how much I spent! Using vegetable stock shouldn’t change this price that much either.)

Seriously guys, this is it. I don’t know why you wouldn’t make this after a long day.

Ingredients:

  • 2 C. rice (either white or brown work)
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 4 C. water

Instructions:

  1. Rinse the beans at least two times in the can and mince garlic.
  2. Put the beans and dry rice into the pot on your stove (or rice cooker) with 4 C. water, bouillon cube, paprika, and garlic.

    Everything except the water and paprika.
  3. Cover the pot and heat until the water begins boiling. Reduce the heat so the water simmers. For a rice cooker, just press start and leave for 40 mins.

    So it looks like weird soup here, but just have patience young grasshoppers.
  4. Leave for about 40 mins and DO NOT take off the lid. It releases the steam and the rice won’t cook as well.
  5. Once all the water is absorbed, it is ready to serve! Dish it out and enjoy.

    Here it is with the ground beef. Ya, I know it looks odd but Trusty Sidekick was pleased.

Hope you all enjoy!

Poppyseed Chicken Casserole

This recipe is impossible to eat in small quantities. Trusty Sidekick and I made it one time and I thought, “Awesome! We can eat it for dinner tonight and then have some for lunch tomorrow too. Good thinking Catherine, save yourself some time.”

OM NOM NOM NOM.

We ate the whole thing. An entire casserole. Two people. It really happened.

But I am not ashamed. Judge me if you will, but once you take a bite of this stuff, you will understand so well and feel really bad for judging me and my gluttony. I will say it is totally possible to double up and make two casseroles with hardly any more effort than making one. This way you could just refrigerate the other until the next day when you remember how happy your tummy was and get the craving for more. Trusty Sidekick also just saw me writing this post and wouldn’t stop bothering me until I promised to make this again in the next few days. THE CRAVING.

Anyway, this is one of Trusty Sidekick’s mom’s recipes. He requested I make it about a year ago and she sent along the recipe to me. I can’t count how many times I have made it since. It really is wonderful and doesn’t leave you sitting on the couch afterwards wondering what you did to yourself or what could have possessed you to eat so much food. You just kind of sit back, close your eyes, and pray for a belly rub because you literally are so content with your life. You also will not be hungry for approximately 12 hours.

Keeping this in mind, this dish is perfect to make on a sad rainy day, after a bad test, or to have waiting for you when you come back from your horrible job. It makes everything better. I know you are doubting me. Stop it. And go make this. It is almost impossible to screw up unless you can’t cook rice, or can’t cook chicken. I know it looks like there a lot of steps, but most of it occurs simultaneously so don’t feel like it is daunting.

In case you can’t tell, I’m probably more excited about this recipe than any normal human (who hasn’t eaten Poppyseed Chicken) should be. Partly because this will be my first time actually writing this down. It has been saved as a note on my phone ever since I got it from Trusty Sidekick’s mom. Also, let that be a clue as to how simple it is. I made it from a note on my phone. Admittedly, part of that was that I am too lazy to actually write it out…but whatever.

This is also one of those recipes that can add up if you don’t have some of the basic ingredients on hand that you will use in small amounts. Don’t let this discourage you. Once you make this one time, it will be much cheaper the next time you make it. Poppyseeds are also kind of expensive (I was really surprised when I saw that it was about $4.00 per bottle) and so if you don’t want to spring for them, rest assured the recipe turns out just fine. Which sounds weird since the dish is called Poppyseed Chicken. Just let it happen guys. Trusty Sidekick also points out that they get stuck in your teeth, but do look pretty. So keep that it mind.

So, the price breakdown.

  • 1 lb. chicken: somewhere around $3.00
  • 2 sticks butter: $1.50-ish (margarine is also fine and will be cheaper and healthier)
  • Ritz crackers: $2.50 for a box (you only use a sleeve)
  • 1 C. rice: $0.50? We just buy a huge bag so it may be even cheaper than that.
  • Chicken boullion cube: $0.20 This is one of those things where you buy a jar for $2.00 with 10 cubes inside.
  • Can of cream of chicken soup: $1.00 (on average)
  • 8 oz. sour cream: $1.00
  • Poppyseeds: $.50 (about what you use from the jar)

Total:$9.20

Ingredients:

The ingredients. We didn’t have any butter, so I just used margarine.
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 8 oz. fat-free sour cream
  • 2 sticks butter (or 1 1/2)
  • 1 chicken boullion cube
  • 1 sleeve ritz crackers
  • 1 1/2 tsp. poppyseeds
  • 1 C. rice (makes 2 C. cooked)

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a casserole dish. The dish can either be a 9×12 nonstick pan or a glass casserole dish of about the same size. I use a 8×8 glass casserole dish. This just means that the dish is more full than if I had used a larger pan.

2.Start cooking the chicken in a nonstick pan. This is the longest step so just put them in on medium heat and flip them when they are halfway done after about 10 minutes. Do other stuff in the meantime. When it is cooked take it out of the pan to cool and shred it with your hands to make bite-sized strips. It is also ok if they are slightly pink, they will get fully baked in the oven.

Chicken and rice going together. Look at that multi-tasking.

3. Start making the rice. Boil 2 C. of water in a saucepan with the chicken boullion cube. Add 1 C. rice and re-cover until cooked, about 10 min. Make sure the heat is not up past medium or the rice boils over and makes a huge mess. When rice is done, place it in the bottom of your dish to make the bottom layer of the casserole.

The finished rice.

4. In a large bowl, mix together the soup, fat-free sour cream, 1 stick of butter (softened), and poppyseeds (if using) until it is well blended. When the chicken is done and shredded, add it to this mixture. Add this on top of the rice for the next layer.

Appetizing.


5. Mash up 1 sleeve of crackers while still in the sleeve (this is the least messy way). Put into a bowl with the other stick of softened butter. I tend to use more like a 1/2 stick and the same effect is achieved. And less fat, which is a bonus.

6. Sprinkle the crackers and butter on top of the casserole evenly.

7. Put the casserole in the oven for 20-30 mins. Keep an eye on it for the last few minutes and when it starts bubbling and the crackers look toasted, it’s done!

Nice brown crackers, super creamy chicken mix underneath. If this is wrong I don’t want to be right.

8. Take it out and just separate it into two big bowls. Don’t try and fool yourself into thinking you will just “have a normal portion”. Ha. You are funny.
Hope you enjoy this recipe! Comments and questions always welcome 🙂

Adaptation of Roasted Lemon Garlic Herb Shrimp

So this is one of my Pinterest recipes, originally on Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice This sounds super fancy and shenanigans like that, but I assure you the name sounds like that just so other people will be impressed with you when you told them what you made for dinner last night. Your mom may also become slightly less disappointed in you. No promises on that one though. The basic idea here is very simple. Put some stuff in a pan for some time.

The finished procuct.

So why is this cheap?

The shrimp is somewhat more expensive than other meat/protein sources, but the rest of the ingredients are very inexpensive or are just a small portion of what you have on hand. Plus waiting to make this until you can grab some shrimp when it is on sale is a fan-freaking-tastic idea.
A super basic breakdown:

  • Lemon: They cost about 70 cents. You can also just use lemon juice if you are so inclined.
  • Garlic: A whole bulb is about 50 cents, and you can save some of it for later cooking.
  • Herbs: Freeze-dried or dried are about $2-$3  per bottle, but these keep for a long time and you don’t use a lot in a given recipe. Or, having your own plant means it is free.
  • Noodles/Rice: Seriously, if you pay a lot for noodles or rice you are doing it wrong.
  • Olive oil: Not the cheapest of oils, but you will actually only use about $1.50 worth in this recipe.
  • Butter: 2 tablespoons are like 25 cents or something like that. Margarine also works fine in this recipe.

Feel better about being fancy? Good. Let’s move on to some modifications you can make to this.

This recipe originally called for thyme as the herb, but I happen to have a lovely basil plant. His name is Barry. So, I went with some fresh basil. You could easily substitute any herb you would like (oregano, parsley, marjoram, or sage are some that could work) or even mix them up. If all you have is dried just use about half of what the recipe calls for since the flavor is stronger. Just know what kind of flavor you want before going willy-nilly.

You also have a great option for what you will serve with the shrimp. I made this with a mix of quinoa* and rice. The Trust Sidekick is not a fan of quinoa. I would actually recommend doing just rice, or maybe some orzo pasta or angel hair. Once again, use what you’ve got! Spaghetti noodles or rotini work just as fine as anything else. The oil and herbs it’s roasted in are delicious, and no sense in wasting them so make sure you use this as a sauce for whatever you serve with the shrimp. We didn’t use enough and The Trusty Sidekick and I both agreed that using more would have added a lot of flavor.

Anyway, here is the recipe I used:

Yield: about 3 servings

Total cooking time: 40 minutes

Tools you need:

  • 9×12 baking pan
  • Knife and cutting board
  • Cheese grater (optional)
  • Collander/strainer (if using frozen shrimp)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lemon (or 2 1/2 T. lemon juice)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (doesn’t need to be exact)
  • 1 T. fresh/freeze-dried herbs (about) or 1/2 T. dried
  • 2 T. butter/margarine
  • 1 lb. shrimp (no tails, deveined)
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • rice/pasta

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Zest lemon with cheese grater and set aside. Cut lemon into thin slices and mince garlic.

    I also did some lemon wedges to squeeze onto the omnoms.
  2. Pour olive oil into 9×12 pan until it coats the entire bottom. Add in lemon zest and herbs. Bake for 10-12 minutes until it is browned. Make sure you check every few minutes so it doesn’t burn.
  3. Cook rice/pasta according to package directions.
  4. If shrimp is frozen, place in collander and run under warm water for a few minutes until it is unfrozen.
  5. Take pan out of oven and add the butter, shrimp, garlic, and lemon slices (or lemon juice). Toss everything to coat it evenly.

    In the oven.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes until shrimp are pink. Check on it every few minutes.
  7. Serve shrimp over rice/pasta and liberally pour on the sauce.
  8. Have a happy tummy.

Hope you all enjoy. Comments are always welcome!

*Quinoa is a somewhat rice-like grain that has a bit more protein and amino acids in it. It is more expensive than rice, but my dear mother gave me some so I used it.