Wheatless Wednesday–Sausage & Rice Skillet Meal

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Looking back to my childhood, I wonder how many meals left my dad hungry. We’d mix a pound of ground beef with a can of cream of mushroom soup, thin it with milk and serve it over six mashed potatoes with a side of peas or beans or some frozen vegetable that couldn’t have amounted to more than 3 cups.  I never remember more than one frozen pizza being served for supper.  A one-pound link of smoked sausage with a single packet of creamy chicken noodle side dish and a veggie… and there were 6 of us.  Granted, in the early years of the existence of my siblings and me, we didn’t eat much, but I don’t really remember the amount of food being prepared ever increasing as we grew.  It might explain his fondness for beef roast: there was always more than enough of that!

What got me thinking about my dad was a box of rice.  A couple days ago I reached my limit on meals with boneless skinless chicken and ground beef.  And because I was veering off the monthly meal plan, I needed something fast and easy.  Raiding the pantry, I came up with a package of smoked sausage links, a box of Uncle Ben’s rice, a can of beans, and an onion.  Recalling previous meals along this theme that always fell short on flavor, I decided that perhaps I’d apply what will soon become my cardinal rule of cooking: bacon will make it better.  So I cooked up the bacon, sausage, and onion and dumped the rice in.  One cup?  Seriously?  There was no way that would be enough.  So I added another half-cup of long-grain rice and continued on, in awe that somehow my dad didn’t die of starvation years earlier.

I suppose he could have been holding out for some killer prime time snacks.

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Sausage & Rice Skillet Meal

Using a single box of rice side dish will yield enough food to serve 4; I supplemented with an additional amount of rice to accommodate my family.  For every half-cup of rice, add another half-cup of water or broth.

  • 2 slices bacon, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 14-16 oz. package smoked sausage (links or “rope”), sliced
  • 1 package rice side dish (I used Uncle Ben’s Long Grain & Wild Rice), seasoning packet removed (you may use if you don’t need it gluten-free)  plus 1/2 cup rice or 1-1/2 cups long grain rice
  • 3 cups chicken or beef broth or 3 cups water with 3 chicken or beef bouillon cubes 
  • 1 16-oz. can beans (I used white northern), drained
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. dried basil (optional)
  1. Cook bacon in large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high heat until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.  Add onion and sausage; cook until onion is golden and sausage is browned, about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add rice, broth, beans, garlic, salt, pepper, and basil.  Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and cover.  Simmer until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 20-25 minutes.  Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.  Serve.
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