Simple Beef, Beans, and Rice for Dinner
It was darn cold the other night – our outdoor thermometer was stuck at 23°F and after a day snowshoeing out in the woods, we all needed something hearty and hot. In the rush of the day, I hadn’t thought ahead so I opened the freezer to see what we had. Okay, a package of ground beef. Now what? Looking in the cupboard I found a can of Progresso Vegetable Classics Hearty Tomato soup, a can of butter beans, and a can of whole kernel corn and a package of Carolina Rice. Gumbo I thought! Hmmmm, no smoked sausage, chicken or shrimp. With the question “honey, what’s for dinner” hanging over my head, I answered with a confident “Beef, Beans, and Rice” which seemed to satisfy all and got their interest.
Part chili, part gumbo, part stew, this hearty concoction turned out to be just what we needed and something that went on my list of top fast favorite recipes.
I suppose you could consider this a semi-homemade meal but you could easily convert this to a meal made from scratch by using your own fresh, frozen or dried beans and corn, tomatoes from your garden, and could mix up the grain with any of your favorites like quinoa or barley. If you wanted to keep this dish vegetarian, you could always use an extra firm tofu or even use the tofu crumble that resembles ground beef.
The nice thing about dinner that night was how fast it went together (mostly due to using canned items that help speed up the cooking process) and also the combination of textures and flavors. I know that there was already a starch with the rice, but I had a few potatoes hanging around and I liked the idea of the potatoes soaking up the tomato sauce.
1 cup of cooked white rice
1 pound of ground beef
1 can of tomato soup (I used Progresso’s Hearty Tomato – it has nice chunks of actual tomatoes and lots of herbs and flavor)
1 can of whole kernel corn
1 can of butter beans
3 small white potatoes
Generous salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of dried Italian seasoning
And the crazy secret ingredient… 1/2 cup of unsalted sunflower seeds hulled. I know, it sounds a little crazy, but the crunch that they add to the dish is amazing!
Start a pot of water boiling for your rice on the back burner. In a large sauce pot, brown your ground beef along with some ground black pepper and then drain the fat.
Add the tomato soup, drained corn, butter beans (make sure to drain and rinse the beans a few times) and the Italian seasoning.
To speed up the cooking process, wash, prick, and then microwave the potatoes until they are just cooked – not too soft. Cut into chunks, leaving the skin on, and add to the pot.
Add more ground black pepper and a bit of salt – to taste – and then let the whole dish simmer for 10 minutes. Add the sunflower seeds. Once your rice is cooked, add the rice to the pot and stir to combine. Serve hot with the option of adding more ground pepper and salt.