There are all kinds of boxed mixes and "just add meat" meal kits on the market, but with a little help, it's easy to come up with something such as this recipe for dirty rice that's homemade and tastier.
The recipe comes from a friend, Eunice Fenchak, who had lived in Shreveport, La.
This is a meal that the men in my family, especially my teenage son, love. I'll often make it at the beginning of a crazy week when my teens' schedule will not accommodate a family meal. Everyone can reheat an individual serving of the rice when he is ready to eat.
When we're eating in shifts, I'll pick up a big fruit salad as a side, but if we're eating as a family I serve dirty rice with a big tossed salad.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium bell pepper, cored and chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic, about 2 large cloves
1 pound extra-lean ground beef
1-2 tablespoons Cajun or Creole seasoning, or to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups converted long grain white rice
1 14.5-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bell pepper, onion and celery and saute until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Break the ground beef up into the vegetable mixture and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Add seasoning, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Taste the beef and vegetable mixture: It should be well-seasoned because the flavors will be diluted when you add the rice and liquids. Stir in the rice, chicken broth and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
Makes 6 main dish servings.