Monday, July 3, 2017

Authentic Family Recipes.

Year 5 - Day 184: Today, I am grateful for authentic family recipes that feed the masses... for under $20. 

Red Beans and Rice (usually, we forget the rice and just throw it over cornbread). 

This is a family recipe from my Sister-in-Love, Billie Smith. Billie is the wife of my Brother-in-Love, Bruce. She was born and raised in Mississippi and it is where they make their home. Time with them is rare, so we have to make the most of it when it happens. 

When Chase was 15 months old, Bruce and Billie came up for Thanksgiving. We headed to Indiana to share the meal with BIL Monte and SIL Jan and their clan. Bruce and Billie stopped in Peoria and we made the final leg of the journey together. During the time at our house... Billie taught me how to make Red Beans and Rice. 

This recipe has been a part of our kitchen for 24 years. We made it long before cajun food was readily available in midwest restaurants and on the grocery shelves. 

The kids know what is cooking when they walk in the door and there is always a wholehearted approval. It does require some time babysitting the pot as it cooks, but it is worth it when it is finally ready. 

In this day of too much fast food (because it is cheap and easy), I am reminded, today, of the greater value of family recipes passed down through generations. This one... I would rather make with you than share a recipe, because that is how Billie taught me. It is a recipe as full of relationship as it is red beans. 

Honestly, it is simply throwing the ingredients in a huge pot in the order listed below, then cooking and cooking.  (Soaking the beans overnight shortens the cook time to about 3-4 hours). 

1-2-bags of Small Red Beans (Wal-mart for 1.20 a bag) =$2.40
1 large Red Onion $1.50
2-3 lbs of Smoked Sausage (in natural casing). $5-7 (sliced 1/4-1/2 inch pieces)
2-3 TBS of Cajun Seasoning $4 

Serve over rice with cornbread for a side. Or... skip the rice and eat it over the cornbread.
Rice - $2
Jiffy Corn Mix made into Corn Bread -$2

Garnish with Sour Cream and Green Onions
Add Franks Red Hot to taste if you like a little heat. 

We consider it Cajun Chili. It makes us hungry for time with Bruce and Billie, too.

Are there unpleasant side effects? Not for us. When beans are a regular part of any diet, I don't think it is the issue the old, familiar children's chant implies. "Beans, Beans good for your heart..." 

Beans really are good for the heart, and they are high in fiber. (My sweet friend Ethel Graymar.. another Mississippi girl who used to hook me up with red beans when they were not easy to find here... adds a little baking soda while cooking to reduce gas issues for those concerned... others add baking soda to the soak water. Both work.) Studies show they are diabetic friendly. 

Red Beans take some time, but freeze well if you make a big batch. They are cheap, filling, yummy and healthy. They make hospitality easy. Add another couple spots at the table and invite friends for cajun cuisine. 

Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. -1 Peter 4:9 

Or this little gem of instruction that always makes me smile.

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.-Hebrews 13:2

I am grateful Billie shared this little gem of a family recipe so many years ago. I remember her enthusiasm and patience as I asked questions. I remember watching the pot and stirring side by side. I remember presenting a new dish at the table that was well received. 

Heartwarming and pocketbook friendly! 

Today, I am grateful for authentic family recipes that feed the masses... for under $20. 

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