Thursday, February 3, 2011

Man Food Make-Over

Ok I am going to be totally honest. This is the first recipe that I have posted without trying myself. I love the challenge of making a traditionally unhealthy dish more nutritious, mainly because it means that no foods are completely off limits. With modification, almost any meal can be guilt-free. For example, the sound of "fettucine alfredo" is very appealing to me. The fat and calories, not so much, which is fine because I know that I can make a tasty, healthy version. Now when I hear "red beans and rice", I have no desire to make-over this dish. It's just not my kind of food, healthy or not. While we were in New Orleans for New Year's Eve, the boyfriend decided that he is quite fond of the cajun cuisine. We bought a red beans and rice box dinner mix in a little shop so that I could make it for him back at home. I made it the first time using cajun sausage, and he loved. Actually everyone who tried it seemed to enjoy the spicy flavors. My mom, like myself, didn't think this type of food was her thing. Well she was braver than me and tried it. She was surprised that she really liked the dish. Using the pork sausage, it wasn't the healthiest meal ever.

The last time I was visiting the boyfriend in Auburn, we decided instead of going out to eat, we would spend the money on groceries for me to cook. That way he would have plenty of leftovers throughout the week. He decided on lettuce wraps, mexican lasagna, and red beans and rice. I was a bit surprised when he suggested that we use smoked turkey sausage in place of the pork, which saved 110 calories per serving (so proud of him!). We bought the Zatarain's box mix which was made of basically the same ingredients as the mix we purchased in New Orleans. This was very easy to make as I just threw it all in the crock pot. The beans did have to soak overnight and cook for about an hour but that's really not any work. Since the smoked turkey sausage did not have any cajun flavor, I sauteed it with ground red pepper and red pepper flakes. I swapped brown rice for white rice to add additional fiber to the beans. The final verdict: The boyfriend loved it and decided it was every bit as good as the pork sausage version. With all of the positive reviews, I might just have to try out the next batch.

Red Beans and Rice
serves 13
1 box Zatarain's red beans and rice seasoning mix
16 oz. link Butterball smoked turkey sausage, chopped into 1/2" pieces
1 pound dry red kidney beans
6.5 cups cooked whole grain brown rice
  1. Spray large pan with cooking spray and saute sausage pieces until done.
  2. Follow cooking directions on package of red beans. (I like to soak them overnight before cooking)
  3. Combine seasoning mix with cold water and then empty the mixture, sausage, and beans into the crock pot and cook over low for 4-6 hours.
  4. Serve over cooked rice.
Nutrition: (per serving with 1/2 cup cooked rice) 307 calories, 50g carbohydrate, 16g protein, 4g fat, 7g fiber, 5 weight watchers points



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About Lauren


Nutrition student with a passion for giving yummy recipes a healthy make-over. Future RD on a constant search for the best food finds. And new blogger trying to relay my tasty ideas to everyone else.

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