br /br /br /div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-g-GK-XOIVHs/T0TqrndgBzI/AAAAAAAABZI/1mQrmq1opbY/s1600/creole+beans.jpg" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"img border="0" height="400" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-g-GK-XOIVHs/T0TqrndgBzI/AAAAAAAABZI/1mQrmq1opbY/s400/creole+beans.jpg" width="300" //a/divbr /I don't usually celebrate Mardi Gras , but these delicious spicy Creole red beans and rice got me in the mood!! I love making them because they can be made in the crock pot.br /br /I teach in a private boarding school, and today the French classes are wearing masks, celebrating, making crepes, dressing up etc. Even our school dining service jumped in by decorating the dining hall with colorful masks and metallic looking plastic beaded necklaces and featured a wonderful Louisiana Creole red bean dish for lunch that of course was gluten free. It was sooo good that I took a picture of my meal and secured the recipe. It's a fast and easy meal that can be eaten over some healthy brown rice..br /br /br /table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"tbodytrtd style="text-align: center;"a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-SHUrgpUzOU/T0j235qxZI/AAAAAAAABZQ/BSbN8mXP7fk/s1600/IMG7302.JPG" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"img border="0" height="240" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-SHUrgpUzOU/T0j235qxZI/AAAAAAAABZQ/BSbN8mXP7fk/s320/IMG7302.JPG" width="320" //a/td/trtrtd class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;"Official Mardi Gras Beads from New Orleans brought back by my friends Peter and Paula/td/tr/tbody/tablebr /br / I found out that red beans and rice are always a very a popular meal in New Orleans, and they are traditionally eaten on Mardi Gras as well. This spicy red beans and rice recipe is based on an authentic Louisiana Creole recipe . Although the original recipe included sausage, my school omitted it and made a vegetarian version.br /br /You can make the recipe the fast way by using cooked beans or the slow way by using dried soaked kidney beans and cook for about 3 hours. br /br /Personally, I like making bean dishes in the crock pot. I can start in the morning and have a hot tasty dish by noon. Ok, I love my crock pot and use it every chance I get. It makes life and clean up so easy!br /br /In addition, this is a pretty healthy meal and very economical. br /br /Also, if you are on Weight Watchers, this has a low strongPoint Plus/strong value.. Vegetables ( 0 points) and a full cup of beans ( a cup is 5 points) and 1/2 cup brown rice (?) not sure , stronganyone know?/strongbr /You can skip the rice, and still enjoy a hearty meal that is spicy and oh so tasty..br /br /ustrongIngredients: /strong/ubr /1 pound of dried kidney beans soaked overnight. When ready to use, rinse and set aside ( 4 cups cooked)br /2 large onions, choppedbr /1 large red pepper, choppedbr /2 stalks celery, choppedbr /3 cloves garlicbr /1 large can diced tomatoes or 5 plum tomatoes, choppedbr /1 tsp of Cajun seasoning ( or salt, pepper, hot pepper, basil and thyme to taste)br /br /strongDirections for dried soaked beans. /strongbr /br /strongDutch Oven:/strong Put onions, red pepper, celery, and garlic in a large Dutch oven type pan. Add tomatoes , uncooked beans, and Cajun seasoning. Stir well and add water to cover beans. Bring to a boil, then simmer covered until beans are soft about 3 hoursbr /br /strongCrock Pot:/strongbr /Put onions, red pepper, celery, and garlic in a crock pot. Add tomatoes , uncooked beans, and Cajun seasoning. Stir well and add water to cover beans. Cook on high for 3 ish hours or until beans are soft or cook on low for 6-7 hours.br /br /strongCanned or pre-cooked Beans:/strongbr /strongDutch Oven:/strong Saute all vegetable then add tomatoes, cooked beans and seasoning. Add 1/2- 1 cup of water or tomato juice or vegetable broth and cook for flavors to mingle for about 1/2 hour.br /br /Please leave a comment so I know you stopped by. Scroll down to the end of the post and click on comments.