Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Cheap Meal and a Kitchen Mishap

I grew up in South Louisiana, and most people from there agree that the food cannot be beat.  My whole childhood I ate this delicious food that my parents and grandparents had cooked, and thought (since they tended to start cooking a meal long before it was time to eat it) that the recipes were somehow complex and I was always too chicken to try them.  Well, I have learned now that this is not the case at all.  They were just making sure the food simmered a LONG time.

One of my favorite meals, a favorite of my whole family actually, is red beans and rice.  This was even my baby's first "real food" experience, and she gobbled it up.  My 4 year old, who can be quite the picky eater, always cleans her bowl in no time when we have this.

It is so simple and inexpensive to make, and it freezes really well, so I always make sure I have some waiting in the freezer.  I use a crockpot to make mine, but you can make it in a pot on the stove, too.

Here is what you will need:
1lb sausage (any kind)
1lb light red kidney beans
season to taste (salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, maybe some tabasco)

Serve over rice, and with cornbread.  Don't ask me why, that's just what you do. ;)

I throw the beans in the crockpot early in the morning, fill it up with water, and season the water well.  I let these cook all day long.  A couple hours before we eat, I cut up the sausage and add it, but you can add it at the beginning, too.  When I make this, I triple the recipe because I can usually find a 3lb package of sausage on sale for $3.99 (they are regularly $5-$6).  I purchased 3 1lb bags of the beans for $1.29 regular price at the expensive grocery store since I was already there, but this is about the going price for them.  If you can find them on sale, that's even better.

I actually have to use both my larger and smaller crockpot (2lbs each of beans and sausage in the big one and 1lb each in the small one) because after attempting the full 3lbs of beans in the larger one and not having room for the sausage 2 times, I finally wised up.

I cooked this last night, and we all ate and I fixed my husband a nice lunch to take for today as well (which, he forgot in the refrigerator).  I also bagged up 5 more bags to freeze. Each should be enough for all of us to eat once, and my husband to have a lunch.  All I will have to do is make fresh rice and cornbread!
I did a little bit of calculations, because I was curious how much this meal cost per person.  6 occasions times 5 meals (each of us dinner + 1 lunch) =30 servings
Here is what I figured up:
$3.99 for sausage
$1.29 x 3=$3.87 for beans
$0.35 x 6=$2.10 for 6 packs of cornbread from Aldi
I got my rice free, and maybe you do too, but only using 2cups per meal (5 servings) makes this almost negligible, but lets say it was $2 for a 2lb bag

Total spent: $11.96  divided by 30 servings = $0.40/serving if you factor in the rice.  Since I got mine free, my total was only $0.33/serving!  Even if I paid full price for the sausage, it would still be less than $0.50/serving.  You could even do this dish vegetarian if you wanted.

I bet you are wondering where the mishap came in, right?  Well, on the way to the freezer, one of the bags sort of jumped right out of my hand.  But, I seem to think my dogs did not mind...


Meghan September 10, 2010 at 8:29 PM  

Oh no! At least your puppy is happy!

I usually take the easy way out and use canned beans for a quick meal. There's something about Blue Runner beans that makes it taste like mom's!

mrsdanigirl8 September 15, 2010 at 10:25 AM  

Thank you for the wonderful recipe!! We love beans and rice here (but the mexican variety) so I'm sure my little one will gobble this up too!

I came over via the Wednesday Window ;)

Amanda September 15, 2010 at 11:04 AM  

Thanks! Glad you liked it! (Hope the kiddo does, too!) =)

FrugalMom September 21, 2010 at 10:53 PM  

Great frugal and time saving dinner! It looks like your dog enjoyed the mishap.

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