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Last month I taught a class on beans and my friend volunteered to bring a recipe for Cajun Rice & Beans. She briefly explained the recipe and I have to say I wasn’t all that excited about the dish. I have only made rice & beans once or twice in married years and wasn’t a huge fan. They are usually dry, flavorless and nothing to rave about. Well….was I wrong!!! I seriously couldn’t get enough of these Cajun beans. They were packed with flavor, had a great kick, were dripping in sauce, and full of meat and vegetables–a complete meal at it’s best! My friend Debi is from Georgia and she made delicious corn bread to go along with the beans. The sweet cornbread and the spicy beans were the perfect combination.

There was another addition that I loved with this recipe. We served Southwestern Egg Rolls at our bean class and had the avocado ranch dip. The creaminess of the ranch dip went perfectly with the spiciness of the beans. This isn’t technically a part of the recipe, but when I recreated this recipe this week, it was a must in my book. I didn’t have avocados, so I just used our homemade ranch dip and blended in cilantro, a little lime juice and a can of diced green chilies. The spicy ranch dip was the perfect accompaniment to the spicy beans & rice. This recipe makes quite a bit, so invite friends over (hey…great Cinco de Mayo meal) or freeze the extras for later. Enjoy 😉

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(The vegetable, chicken and sausage mixture sauteing in the pan)

(I was shopping the other day with one of my good friends and she went to put a case of chicken broth into her cart. I about fell over dead thinking she was willing to spend $20 for 24 cans of chicken broth. To my horror I hadn’t shared one of my favorite cooking tricks with her and I realized I should probably share this tip again with you, my blogging friends.

I NEVER use cans of chicken or beef broth. Not because I don’t like it, just because it is SO expensive. It is like gold in a can. So…my solution is I buy a #10 80 oz. can of chicken bouillon and beef bouillon (or beef/chicken base from Costco) and keep it in my pantry for all of my recipes that call for chicken or beef broth. I purchase mine at either the Morning Moo Outlet Store in SLC, at Maceys or at my local Walmart. I have found the best price is usually during case lot sales or the everyday price at Walmart. (If you live outside of Utah, you can buy this product online). The #10 can of bouillon makes roughly 750 cans of chicken broth (for every 1 c. of water you add 1/2 t. of bouillon–there are over 1400 servings in a can). Here in Utah you can get the #10 can of bouillon for around $18. That makes the equivalent price per can only .02. That is TWO pennies…!!! Isn’t that fun??? Compare 2 cents a can to .60-$1.00 a can. That is pretty good savings, huh?

You may be worried about the convenience. The nice thing is, you just add water to your recipes and then sprinkle in the bouillon. Or, you can mix it separately and then add to your recipe. Either way, it is very easy to use, very inexpensive and has great flavor! I make sure to have at least one extra can of each in my food storage. Bouillon is great to have in your food storage as well so you can flavor all of your recipes if you had to eat solely out of your storage (soups, gives flavor to rice/pilafs, stews, beans, chilis, homemade cream of chicken soup, etc.)

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