There are a few perks to living in Michigan – one is picking strawberries on your lunch break. Our health park is about 2 miles from a strawberry patch and it has become a June ritual to go picking at lunch.
A co-worker asked me to go and knowing they only accept cash, I told her I would pass. And then she did the sweetest thing and said she had plenty of cash and I could Venmo her. Thank goodness for today’s technologies!
We picked and talked and soaked up the sun. My berries were weighed first and she promptly paid the $10.50 owed. Her berries were then paid and she went to hand over the $18.50 she owed…only to discover that she was $0.68 short. The (older) woman working the little stand wasn’t sure what to do with us. I offered to put back a quart of berries that she could sell (there’s a whole bunch of quarts lined up for sale!) but she wasn’t so fond of that idea.
She asked if we lived close. I said that we worked close and she asked that I bring her the $0.68 today. So, I did. I went at lunch and she seemed rather relieved to see me make good on my promise. Perhaps I should have suggested Venmo – ha! It was cute. Only in small town middle America would such a thing happen, I swear.
After delivering the change to the strawberry patch attendant, I returned to my office to fire up my new iPhone (happy early birthday to me) and warm up my lunch. I walked away while it was warming the microwave and when I returned – oh the smells! What is it about Cajun spices that always sound – and smell – so divine!?
This SUPER simple meal uses one of my pantry staples – ready rice! Who doesn’t have 90 seconds to warm up a whole grain? Coupled with andouille sausage, peppers, onions, and big Cajun flavor, this meal hits the spot time and time again. I scale back the cayenne for the little mouths I feed, but if you like things spicy, throw it on it! Enjoy!
- 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 (12 oz) package andouille sausage, sliced into ¼-inch thick rounds
- 2 red bell peppers, sliced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
- 1 onion, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 5 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1¼ cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 Tbsp cajun seasoning
- 1 tsp paprika
- ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper (up to ¼ tsp if you like spice!)
- 2 (8.8 oz) packages ready brown rice*, microwaved according to package directions
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- Place oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot and shimmering, add the sausage and cook for 4-5 minutes or until browned on both sides. Remove to a plate. Return the skillet to the heat and add the peppers and onions; allow to cook 2-3 minutes or until charred before stirring. Cook until al dente, about 2-3 minutes more. Add the garlic and pepper, cooking until fragrant, about 1 minute. remove to the plate with the sausage.
- Return the skillet to the heat and add the tomato paste and chicken broth, whisk to combine. Allow the mixture to simmer for 1 minute, then add the cajun seasoning, paprika, and cayenne; whisk well.
- Stir in the cooked rice until well-combined. Add the sausage, peppers, and onions; gently mix until combined. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve immediately
*may sub in 4 cups of cooked brown rice