Simple Red Beans and Rice

This is one of my favorites to prepare for frozen lunches (see meal prepping post). It’s simple to prepare, can be done relatively quickly with the right kitchen tools, and is very inexpensive to pull together.  Beans and rice are a staple meal in most cultures for a reason, they’re nutritious, affordable, and usually tasty!


I’ll cover how I prepare it with some of the gadgets in our kitchen, and offer up some options if you don’t have all the tools I’m using.  I’ll add a list of all the kitchen tools (with links) at the end. Our post on meal prep for reference.

Recipe:  I’ll use grams where I’ve weighed items out, and anything in pounds represents the whole package.  This comes in at around 550 calories per serving and makes 20 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1000 g Basmati Jasmine Rice
  • 350 g Onions
  • 150 g Celery
  • 3 Liters Chicken Stock
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 lbs dry red kidney beans
  • 4 lbs Kielbasa Sausage

Directions:

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First thing we need to get started are the beans and rice.  I did the beans in an Insta-Pot with the 3 Liters of chicken stock.  This will take about 30-45 minutes of cook time plus cool down which was another 45 minutes for this batch (check your instructions).  Follow the regular instructions on the bag if you’re not using an insta pot (this will take much longer so plan accordingly).  Picture above is right when they were finishing up.
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My rice cooker is a little small so I started half the rice (with the rice cooker instructed 3 cups of water) right after the beans.  I’ll put this in a bowl as soon as it’s done and start the second half so that both will finish by the time the beans are done.  Picture above is of the cooked rice.
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Peeled Onions and Celery Ready to Chop. Since the plan is to freeze this I’ll do something between a medium and large chop for this dish to add a little texture to it.
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Toss chopped vegetables into a cast iron skillet with the olive oil over medium high heat.  Any other pan will do but I like how much heat the cast iron holds because of it’s weight.
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The goal here is to keep it moving over good heat and avoid burning everything while still getting a little bit of char on the vegtables.
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Maybe 10-15 minutes later they’ll look like these and I’ll empty everything into a large bowl.  Remember we’re cooking a large amount of food here and have to manage space a  little more.
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This is the large pack that Costco in my area sells I used for this batch.  I split them long ways and then slice the halves.
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Those pieces go into the cast iron skillet for the same treatment as the vegetables.  Kielbasa is precooked so we’re only looking to get a little sear/browning on it to add flavor.
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After 10 minutes or so it goes into the bowl on top of the vegetables.
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A good look at the finished beans.  These were done just as I was finishing up all of the skillet work on the onions/celery/kielbasa.
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Stir the bowl of kielbasa and vegetables right into the beans and chicken stock.  There should be just enough liquid in there for it to work out well but don’t be afraid to add more.
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Split the rice evenly between 20 1 quart containers.  The sharp eye will notice that there are 30 in this picture.  I spread everything too thin to start with and had to reduce them down to 20.  Alternatively you could weigh the rice and then add (by weight again) the beans and kielbasa if you wanted to be overly accurate.  I’ve done it before but it’s really not worth it unless you are watching your diet like a hawk.
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Evenly scoop the beans and kielbasa onto the rice in the containers and seal them up for the freezer.  Be sure to refrigerate first and then move to the freezer.
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The final version mixed together and ready for a healthy dose of hot sauce.

That’s pretty much it for this one.  When you thaw one out and microwave it you’ll get the best results if you put it in the fridge overnight first.  I’ll usually add a couple of tablespoons of water before putting it in the microwave as well (especially if it’s still frozen solid).  Microwave until warm (stir about halfway through).  The rice will break up a little bit after freezing but it still tastes fine.

Kitchen Items I used:

  • Freezer Containers – I’m using the small half quart size here
  • Insta-Pot – This is a big version at 12 quarts but you need space when doing beans since you can only use half the capacity (read the instructions!).  Smaller size version here
  • Cast Iron – Go with a 10″ or larger here, I have most of the sizes up to 12″
  • Rice Cooker– Yes an insta pot does also function as a rice cooker.  I used mine at the same time I was doing the beans to save a little time, not a requirement.

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