Weeknight Simple: Skillet Red Beans and Rice

August 23, 2017



Week 2 of school and things aren’t slowing down one dang bit. If anything, it’s been busier this week with all of the hoopla surrounding the eclipse. We reached about 94% totality (I think?) in my neck of the woods, and I was glad the girls’ school provided glasses and the opportunity to view it. I remember the last eclipse I viewed–I was 10 years old and we used those light box/paper contraptions. Personally, mine didn’t work very well and I ended up feeling frustrated. Luckily, the day got better because one of the rascally boys in my 4th grade class found a snake on the playground and hid it underneath the teacher’s desk. It scared the bejeezus out of her, which was quite gratifying. She was not a very nice woman–not at all. She was by far and away the nastiest teacher I ever had. Made for a memorable eclipse, though!

The girls have been downright blessed in the teacher department, and for that I’m grateful. They both came home energized and excited on Eclipse Monday. I was feeling all nostalgic and made them a retro-style treat for after school Monday, which I’ll tell you about in the future. I’ve made the girls several homemade after school treats in the last few weeks. For some reason, I’ve been missing them terribly this time around. Keeping busy in the kitchen helps occupy my idle hands and wandering mind, and it also entertains the dog, which is no small feat when the house is empty.

I’ve been so busy making treats that I’ve been slacking a bit in the dinner department. I’ve been relying on quick and easy suppers since school began, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We’re still adjusting to getting in a homework routine, and my husband has been working some long and crazy hours, so “family meals” have been scattered affairs at best.

It’s something I know a lot of people feel guilty about…you read all of these articles lamenting The Death of the Family Dinner, etc. and feel scolded. I’m not immune, either, but I also try to be realistic about things. Life is busy. Adults work, sometimes a lot and sometimes late. Kids have activities. I’m lucky to get everyone fed at all, let alone together. The truth is, lots of times I catch up with the girls about their day in the late afternoon, while I’m cooking dinner or packing lunches for the next day, and they’re at the kitchen counter doing homework. If my husband’s going to be late or we’re eating something the girls won’t appreciate, I feed them early. That’s a-okay in my book. I’m still talking to my kids and connecting with them daily, and that’s what’s most important.

Call me a radical: Family is about connection, not pot roast.


One of my go-to easy meals is this riff on cajun/creole food: red beans and rice. In Louisiana, red beans and rice is often served on Mondays, as a way to use up leftover odds and ends from Sunday dinner. Anything that utilizes “leftover odds and ends” is a keeper in my book.

One leftover thing I always seem to have is leftover cooked rice. For some reason, I never manage to make the right quantity of rice for my family. I end up with a big pot of the stuff, and then I have to figure out what the heck to do with it. Fried rice is, naturally, a frequent occurence in our house, but sometimes I’m not in the mood for soy sauce and chopsticks. Sometimes my hankerings lean toward the bayou, so red beans and rice it is.

Red beans and rice is also a tremendous vehicle for whatever leftover protein you have hanging around in your refrigerator. If I have rotisserie chicken, I’ll throw that in. Shrimp or sausage or even ground beef–toss it into the pool. Ham is a great addition, too.

The most time consuming part of this recipe is chopping the vegetables, but even with that step, dinner is on the table in under 30 minutes. Perfect for those busy fall evenings, when everyone’s still struggling a bit to fall into study habits and jam-packed schedules.

I hope you all are starting to find your groove during this busy season. I saw lots of Halloween decor in my grocery store last week, so I know those Autumn days aren’t too far behind, and to be honest, I’m ready. The girls have been ready for Halloween since last Halloween, those little freaks. Bring it on!





Speedy Skillet Red Beans and Rice

serves 4


12 ounces spicy chicken sausage (pre-cooked) cut into chunks

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 cloves garlic, chopped

3/4 cup chopped celery

3/4 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced

1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 can (15-ounce) kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1-2 tablespoons chicken broth

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 cups cooked leftover rice (I had brown on hand so that’s what I used)

1/3 cup chopped scallion


Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and the sausage and cook until browned, about2 minutes. Remove sausage, leaving any drippings in the pan. Add garlic, onion, celery, both kinds of bell peppers and saute until tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in the seasonings, beans, chicken stock, red wine vinegar, crushed red pepper and a dash of salt and a few cracks of  black pepper. Cover the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Using a fork, lightly mash about half of the beans. Stir in the rice. Cover and cook about 3-4 minutes or until bubbly. Adjust for seasoning. Sprinkle scallion over and serve.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

elizabeth August 23, 2017 at 5:33 am

I loathe the “death of the family dinner” complaint because usually the people complaining about it are usually men who are skirting a bit too close to misogyny for my comfort. (Michael Pollan, I’m looking at you.) I think you have the right idea–find what works for you and make the most of it.


Dana Talusani August 23, 2017 at 3:30 pm


The “Michael Pollan, I’m looking at you” comment made me laugh! I love your saucy sense of humor.


Arnebya August 23, 2017 at 1:14 pm

There are days when I come in, make dinner, talk to them while I do it, and then eat alone in the living room or basement. Some days are just like that. I’ll keep trying to keep it from becoming habit. I don’t like beans, never have. I am trying, though. I don’t think I’m there AT ALL with red or black beans though. Moving in slow with white. Glad the girls’ start of school is going well. (I’m ready for the holidays too.)


Dana Talusani August 23, 2017 at 3:29 pm


For the longest time, I did not like beans, either. Hated them, in fact. It was a texture issue for me, not taste. Something happened in my late 20’s, and like you, white beans were my “gateway bean.” I still cannot do garbanzo beans, except in hummus. I have come to love white beans and black beans and will tolerate kidney beans. Glad you are looking forward to the holidays. I like Halloween because the girls get so geeked out over it, but this year both my Daddy-o and my husband will be absent for Thanksgiving, so we’re not even having it. Christmas is nice but moreso for the two week school break more than all of the hoopla. Call me Scrooge.


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