The Week of Frugal Family Dinners

This week is the week of frugal dinners, I tell you what. Well, up until Sunday when we have some new friends coming over for dinner and I’m making queso, guacamole, Chicken Enchilada Casserole, Mexican Salad with Avocado Dressing, and Sopapilla Cheesecake. Yikes! (I promised them Tex-Mex and I plan to deliver!). Which is one of the reasons why the rest of week needed to be on the less spendy side.

This is the menu plan at our house this week:

Monday – Broccoli, Rice, and Cheese Casserole
Tuesday – Red Beans and Rice
Wednesday – Tuna Salad Sandwiches with Kettle Chips
Thursday – leftovers!
Friday – Baked Chicken with Caesar Salad
Saturday – Baked Potatoes and Broccoli
Sunday – it’s a whole big thing, see above

I already told you about my throwback meal of Broccoli, Rice, and Cheese Casserole. That was a success, and created some leftovers to round out leftover night! Josh and I got a kick out of telling the girls how we used to eat it ALL. THE. TIME. when Carebear was a baby. Since Mickey was less than enthused with her introduction to Tuna Salad Sandwiches, I’m willing to bet she’ll be hogging some Broccoli, Rice, and Cheese Casserole tonight when we heat up the leftovers. It’s nice to have choices on leftover night. 🙂

Anyhow, I’m here now to share the Red Beans and Rice with you. I got this recipe from my friend Cathy who adapted it from a Southern Living Recipe. I’ve adapted it a little bit more because, well, adaptation is all the rage and in recent years I’ve learned not to be a total slave to recipes and trust myself a bit when I want to change things up. (Shout-out to my friend, Sydna, who taught me a few things about being fearless in the kitchen!) Also, I rarely have ham hocks lying around but if I did, I would throw one in the pot and just use one pound of sausage!

Red Beans and Rice (Southern Living –> Cathy –> Alyson –> YOU)

1 lb.     dried red beans, rinsed
6 cups chicken stock
2 lbs smoked sausage, sliced into bite size pieces
3          celery ribs, diced
1          green bell pepper, diced
1          red bell pepper, diced
1          lg. onion, diced
3          garlic cloves, pressed

salt and pepper to taste

2-3 C. brown rice, cooked

Wash the beans. Combine first 7 ingredients in the slow cooker (no need to pre-soak the beans). Cover and cook on high for 6-7 hours or until the beans are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over hot cooked rice.
This is super simple to throw in the pot in the morning and have ready by dinner time. Everyone in my family loves it, even my pickiest eater who shall remain nameless. (Her name is Mickey. Wait, what? Who said that?!?) What’s even better is that it makes a huge pot and I can freeze most of the leftovers for another time! 

What’s your favorite frugal meal? Bonus points if it makes leftovers to freeze! 

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