Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sausage, Rice & Beans

Recipe modified by Gretchen Wilson – January 5, 2011
For a commentary-free and printer-friendly version of it, please click here.

Recipe originally published in Pillsbury, December 2010.

I am always looking for alternatives to pasta.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE pasta, but sometimes I just want something a little different.  At first, I thought this was going to make a nice side, but figured the beans and sausage gave it a little more of a meal quality.  Still, I wasn’t sure, so I made it the same day I made another dish “just in case”.  What I stumbled on was a perfect casserole dish, similar to a “bowl” dish with potatoes, meat and cheese, but healthier.

My finished product:

© You Want Me to Cook?

Picture published with recipe:

© Pillsbury

The dishes looked the same, although mine had a little more liquid to it.  I probably could have let it cook longer, but I got impatient.  Still, I think that added something to the dish.  It wasn’t dry.  It was more like a sauce with sausage.  The taste was incredible.  The garlic kielbasa with the beans combined well with the creamy sweet corn.  Yes, we ate this as a meal, not as a side.

for more details about what my ratings mean, go to Gretchen’s Rating System

MessEH – There isn’t much to do, but some of what needs to be done has the potential to be a little messy – seeding and chopping green peppers and rinsing slimy black beans.  Fortunately, everything is done in a single dish and as long as you don’t splash out the ingredients, you should be free and clear of any disasters.

Start-to-Finish Time: UNDER AN HOUR – There is minimal prep work to do and the dish is mostly mix and bake.  If you don’t run into any issues while getting everything ready, you should have no issues finishing this dish in well under an hour.

Prep Work: SLIGHT BLOOD LOSS – Although it kind of sucks that you have to deal with seeds in the green pepper, you can take comfort in that the green pepper is the easiest to clean.  Other than a little light slicing and rinsing, you’re done.

Ease of Recipe: COOK IT IN MY SLEEP – Other than the light chopping, you have to throw it in the oven in the exact same dish you mix it in.

OverallYUMMY – Usually when I photograph a dish, I’ll taste it right off of the plate when I think I’m done.  This was one of the dishes that I took a taste and then ended up eating the rest of the serving… while still standing at the counter.  My husband liked it just as much and quickly cleaned me out of leftovers for his lunch.

Recipe Information:
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings: 6

Nutritional Information
  • Calories 570
  • Total Fat 30g (Saturated Fat 11g)
  • Cholesterol 65mg
  • Sodium 1700mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 49g
  • Fiber 7g
  • Protein 27g

Working quickly, you might be able to get everything ready and in the oven in 10 minutes, but honestly, I think that may be pushing it.  I always say it’s better to take the extra time than to slice off a finger.  Give yourself at least 10-15 minutes to prep your ingredients and then another 5 minutes to assemble the casserole and put it in the oven.  Even with the bake time of 30 minutes, you’ll still be done in under an hour.

You can get six servings out of this dish, but you may want to serve it with a salad and some crusty bread.  The high sodium content of this dish is pulled from several sources: the wild rice mix, canned vegetables and kielbasa.  You can definitely reduce the sodium content by washing the beans well and looking for low sodium options in the canned vegetables.

Changes denoted by red text

1 box (6.2 ounces) fast-cooking long-grain and wild rice mix (with seasoning packet)
1¾ cups boiling water
1 can (14.75 ounces) cream style sweet corn
1 pound turkey kielbasa sausage, cut diagonally into ½ inch slices
1 large green bell pepper, chopped (1½ cups)
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained, rinsed
Cooking Spray

Ingredient Notes:
Fast-Cooking Long-Grain & Wild Rice Mix – I used Uncle Ben's rice, but if you find a generic version, you can use it.  Remember, you want a wild rice blend though.

Boiling Water
I used a tea kettle to get boiling water.  Make sure you use a glass measuring cup.  Boiling water can melt plastic and/or pick up taste from it.

Cream Style Sweet Corn – since it is a Pillsbury recipe, it called for Green Giant® Cream Style Sweet Corn.  I used the generic version to save a little money.

Turkey Kielbasa Sausage – I went with a turkey kielbasa to save on some calories and fat.  The original recipe called for either smoked chorizo or regular kielbasa, so you can try any of the three.

Black Beans
  • Since it is a Pillsbury recipe, it called for Progresso Black Beans.  I used the generic version and the dish turned out fine.
  • Black beans have a strong and distinctive flavor and are found almost everywhere I’ve shopped.  Don’t substitute if you don’t have to.
  • If you look at the sodium content of canned beans, you’ll notice it is pretty high.  Most of the sodium is in the liquid in the can, so you should rinse them well and drain them (as to not dilute your soup).  Place them in a colander and pass cool water over them while swirling them with your hand.  When they lose the “slimy” feeling, turn off the water and let them drain for a few minutes.

Cooking Spray – The casserole dish in which it is cooked needs to be lightly greased.  The easiest way to do it is with cooking spray.

Equipment Needed:
Cutting board
Sharp knife
2½-quart round casserole
Mixing - spoon
Aluminum foil

Equipment Notes:
2½-quart Round Casserole – The original recipe called for a 2-quart dish, but I had issues fitting it all in.  I upgraded to a slightly larger casserole to give me a little more room for stirring and it worked well.

(1)  Heat oven to 375°F. Spray 2½-quart round casserole with cooking spray.

(2)  In casserole, stir rice mix, contents of seasoning packet and boiling water; stir in corn.

(3)  Add sausage, bell pepper and beans; stir carefully (casserole will be full).

(4)  Cover tightly with foil; bake 25 to 30 minutes or until rice is tender.

It’s a very straightforward recipe that takes minimal skill – that’s my kind of dish!  It has a great garlic-bean taste balanced with the sweet from the creamed corn.  Other than continuing to look for lower-sodium options to help with the high level, I wouldn’t change much in this dish.  There is a turkey kielbasa with pepper-jack cheese that would give it a kick, if you want a little heat.

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