In my Former, Warmer Life I had neighborhood friends over every Thursday for dinner. Once I made red beans and rice, and I wasn't sure if the kids would eat it... but they did! Lots of it! (And tons of crusty bread and then like 3 pieces of pound cake EACH. They were all starving, apparently.) Here's the recipe I used. It's from Scouting Magazine, not a place I normally find recipes. I think it's a keeper. Low fat, high fiber, tasty herbs.
crock pot red beans and rice
1 lb dried red or kidney beans (don't use canned)
2 T oil (I omitted this and used a nonstick pan)
1/2 lb spicy smoked sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 stalked celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
6 cups water or low-salt chicken broth
4 cups cooked rice
To soak beans, rinse well. Place in a bowl, and add enough water to cover by at least 2 inches. Let sit 8 hours or overnight. Drain before using.
Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Saute sausage until slightly browned, about 3 min. Remove and set aside.
Add onion, bell pepper, and celery to the skillet and cook until softened and fragrant, about 3 min. Add garlic and cook for 1 min.
Season with salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, and cayenne; stir and cook 1 min. Add reserved sausage and beans and stir to combine.
Pour sausage/bean mixture into a 5-6 quart slow cooker (water should cover beans by at least 1/2 inch; more if you like a soupier meal).
Cover and cook on high for 2 hours; then on low for 6 hours. Remove bay leaves before serving over cooked rice.