I know, I know, it's Thursday. But I had this idea on Tuesday and waiting almost an entire week to post it was just too difficult! So my plan is to post our meal plan each week on Monday and give you one of our recipes for that week.
About six months ago we started to meal plan for three reasons. 1: It eliminates the frantic scramble to pull something together for dinner at the last minute. 2: It helps to save money on the grocery bill by eliminating unnecessary purchases and spreading out more expensive meals. 3. It gives me more confidence to do the cooking. For the first 4 years of our marriage John had done nearly all of the cooking because he enjoys it and is naturally much better at it. But with the pressures of his school schedule, that started to be increasingly more difficult. Now I handle dinner Monday through Friday!
We don't always plan the weekend meals and we don't mind eating leftovers, so this week's meal plan is really short!
Monday: Veggie Pasta
Tuesday: Leftover veggie pasta
Wednesday: Red beans and rice
Thursday: Leftover red beans and rice
Friday: Out to eat with visiting relatives :-)
The recipe I'll share this week is for red beans & rice. This is a simple meal to make, but not one we have very often because of the cost of the meat. We enjoy it with andouille sausage and a ham shank from Whole Foods, but if you used only the sausage, or bought both at a cheaper place, you could bring the cost down. We haven't be impressed with the supermarket andouille sausage (my husband is from New Orleans!). This is a recipe from a friend of ours (also a New Orleanian!) that we tweaked.
1 pound red beans, soaked overnight
1 yellow onion chopped
3 stalks celery chopped
3-4 cloves garlic minced
1 ham shank
1 pound andouille sausage
1-2 tsp. thyme
1. Put everything into a crockpot. Cover with water. Cook on high for 5-6 hours
2. About 2 hours into the cooking process, take out the andouille sausage and slice (as thin or thick as you like)*
4. When the meat starts to fall off the ham shank (about 5-6 hours), pull it out and shred. Return the meat to the crockpot and stir in. Leave the crockpot uncovered for about 15 minutes to let the sauce thicken a little.
4. Serve over rice**. Top with Tony's seasoning if desired. Enjoy!!
* If you want to be able to leave your crockpot, you can slice the sausage at the very beginning, but raw sausage is trickier to cut. Don't wait until the end to slice because you want the flavors of the sausage to blend into everything else.
** Don't forget to cook your rice based on the time listed on the package! We like brown rice, which can take a while to cook!