I'm in the middle of an experiment.
That's pretty impressive for me right now, as I don't really have the energy to do anything. BUT, I've been wanting a good bowl of red beans and rice and Greg has been wanting Chinese (which I have NOT been wanting since getting pregnant, MicroTot doesn't even want to think about it) so we compromised. I'm cooking up a pot of red beans and Greg's going to get Chinese take out! Win-win!
I've never made red beans and rice before. Ever. I've eaten it everywhere in town that serves it, but since Greg won't eat red beans OR rice, I've never bothered to make it at home. I got some suggestions on FB last week, and some advice from my mom over the weekend, and took a stab at it. I put my rice on to cook (I prefer brown rice, which takes 45 minutes to cook anyway) and started sauteing some diced onion in my pot while I sliced up half a package of link sausage to toss in with the onion. When that was about done I tossed in a small amount of garlic (I buy garlic chopped in jars, because I don't use it often enough to keep whole garlic). A lot of the recipes I've seen call for diced tomato, celery, and bell peppers too. That's an awful lot of chopping for me right now, and there was no way I was putting in that much effort, so I just opened a can of red beans and tossed it in the pot with the onions, sausage, and garlic. (Mom had suggested chopped ham, too, but I couldn't find any at the grocery store that I'm allowed to eat right now. Deli meat has too many nitrates and chemicals and pregnant people are generally forbidden from eating much of it.)
As I was stirring up my pot and adding a little water I spied something on the corner of my cabinet. I'm brilliant and didn't know it. Back before I was preggers I did a lot of playing with my food dehydrator and sitting on my cabinet was a jar with dehydrated bell peppers and celery. And I happened to remember that I had a jar of dehydrated ground tomato powder in my spice cabinet! I didn't want a LOT of any of it, just enough to flavor, so I added in a just a little of each.
I haven't eaten it yet, so I can't say if it's tasty. I did a taste test a few minutes ago and the sausage wasn't as strongly flavored as I'd like, so I added a very small dash of creole seasoning. Not much at all. The last time I ordered red beans at a restaurant it was so spicy I couldn't taste any actual flavor, so I wanted to make sure I didn't overpower mine with spiciness.
I should point out here that in a perfect world I'd use dry beans, soak them overnight and it would be a good bit healthier. But I'm not perfect and didn't have that much notice!
Meanwhile, my mom sent home a bag of garden pickings this weekend, which means I need to get off my rear end and do something with a bag of roma tomatoes, bell peppers, and okra. Figure most of that will get dehydrated or frozen (except the okra, of course), because that's the easiest way to deal with it right now, but I will have to prep it all first and that's going to take some effort and a few days. I also want to dehydrate some onion into flakes, but that's going to require finding a home for my dehydrator outside so it doesn't stink up my house. I also have two big watermelons Dad grew for Kaycie that need to be eaten!
But first, I can't wait to dig into my red beans tonight. I'll let you know how it turns out.