When left to his own devices (meaning if I’m out of town for at least a weekend), my husband will generally make something out of a box. Hamburger Helper, instant mashed potatoes or some variety of a Zataran’s box mix. When I asked him about his overuse of boxed food, his response was that it was easy and readily available. Mind you, since we don’t keep that stuff in the house, he still has to make a trip to the grocery to buy them. And while they may be “easy,” they’re certainly no easier than a lot of homemade recipes.
So, I set out to show him that making something from scratch doesn’t have to entail using 20 ingredients with hours of prep time. Besides, something made from scratch is bound to taste better than something that’s been sitting on a shelf for months. As my example recipe, I decided to make an at home version of dirty rice, one of his favorites from Zataran’s. Oh and my version takes less time that the box mix.
Here are the ingredients that you’ll need:
1/2 pound bulk sausage
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped green onion
2 cups cooked rice (hot)
1/8 cup chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste
I should mention that you can use whatever meats you’d like in this. The traditional version calls for diced chicken livers, but I thought the sausage would add a nice flavor. Okay, first, get your rice going. Then, in a large, deep skillet, brown the sausage and ground beef until crumbled and cooked all of the way through. I usually break apart the sausage before I add it to the skillet to help it get started.
When the meat is cooked through, go ahead and add in the onion, green pepper and celery and saute until soft (about 6-8 minutes). Next, add in the rice and parsley along with the salt and pepper and fold the rice in until it’s all mixed together well. Make sure that you scrape up all of the browned bits at the bottom of your pan since they’ll add a ton of flavor.
And that’s it! Serve it up nice and hot. This meal clocks in at about 20-25 minutes. It’s so easy, even the Irishman can do it!