My youngest son & me

My youngest son & me

About me

My name is Tanja (Sater) Miller and I'm excited about sharing my journey of converting my favorite recipes to gluten free! I am not a fancy cook - I prefer just a casual, fun meal. I am married with grown children (and have small grandchildren) & 3 dogs. I work full time as a registered nurse & I am a geek. Yes, I love Star Trek, Star Wars, Fringe, Firefly, Farscape and most of the other Scify shows. You will probably see a little of my geek side come out once in a while! Please join me on my journey of cooking, baking & converting every day recipes into yummy gluten free meals that everyone can enjoy (not just those with a gluten allergy!) Don't be shy about checking out my recipes....I have the gluten free version along with the regular recipe that I adapted from!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Dirty Rice

The dirty rice is actually darker than photo shows
Dirty Rice is something my family was introduced to many years ago while vacationing in the southern states. We drove to Florida (from Ohio) and stopped at a little family owned restaurant along the way. The side dish was dirty rice. The name didn't sound appetizing but heck...we are adventurous so we tried it. LOVED IT! It is spicy, sassy and the flavors just dance on the tongue! The family restaurant wouldn't share their recipe because it was their specialty dish. A few years later, I saw dirty rice was available in a pre-pared mix in a box. We would buy it frequently until I had to adhere to a gluten free diet. Most of the mixes and seasoning spices for the dirty rice contain wheat flour. We missed dirty rice. It was always requested at Thanksgiving dinner and for BBQs. My German cousins LOVED dirty rice and always request it when they come for a visit. Leftovers are great with scrambled eggs or stuffed into a burrito!

My husband made the comment that he missed having dirty rice... so I tried some of the recipes online and the taste just wasn't the same as what we were used to. Don't get me wrong...they weren't horrible but it just wasn't the same.  I tried making it from scratch using the ingredients listed on the box. wasn't exactly the same. Something just wasn't quite right. Then....I tweaked it just a little by adding some beef bouillon and paprika...BINGO! We now have the dirty rice that we love and it is now GLUTEN FREE!

I am sharing my recipe with you because even if you aren't on a gluten free diet...this recipe doesn't require any special ingredients and it is super easy, fast and yummy!  I will also give you tips on how to make it for a huge crowd since it is economical. I made a huge disposable pan (completely full) for the BBQ tomorrow and it didn't take me long at all and was budget friendly. This recipe is a lot cheaper than buying a box mix and just as easy. Leftovers freeze great too! You can use either ground sausage (like Bob Evans or Jimmy Dean's regular. I don't get the hot flavored one or the maple flavored) or lean hamburger or a combination of both! My family likes it either way but I get more compliments when I make it with ground sausage. If you find that this recipe is just a little too spicy for your liking then you can always just cook some additional plain rice and add to the mixture to tone down the spices. If you like it more spicy then add more chile flavoring to kick it up a notch!

Dirty Rice Recipe:
  • 2 cups of white rice (you can use either regular or instant rice)
  • 1 pound of ground sausage or hamburger (or combination of both)
  • 1/4 cup finely dice onions or 4-5 tbs. of dried onion flakes
  • 2 tbs. beef bouillon (or you can use 1 packet of gluten free instant onion soup mix. The gluten free soup mixes I generally use are the Hy-top brand that I find at Winco Grocery stores, Everyday Essential brand from Albertson's Grocery store or 4C brand). 
  • 1/2 tsp. Ancho Chile Flakes (these taste the best in this recipe but you can use regular chili flakes if you don't have these). Ancho chiles are found every place in the SW states...even at our Dollar Stores! You can always take a dried pepper and put it in the blender until flakey. Dried green chiles work also. I personally think the dried chiles work better in this recipe than the canned or fresh ones because the pieces are more fine and spread the flavor more evenly). Red and green bell peppers WILL NOT give you the same spicy flavor!
  • 3 tbs. minced garlic (you can use refrigerated garlic in a jar for convenience or 1 tbs. dried minced garlic. Garlic salt may be too salty!)
  • 1 tsp. Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. chile powder (I like to use Chipotle Chile powder but you can use any type. You can also add more if you want more heat. I generally start off with 1/2 tsp. and then add more if you think it needs it. If you find that it is just a little too spicy then you can add a couple tablespoons of brown sugar to tone down the spices). 
  • 1 tsp. ground pepper
  • sea salt to taste (I generally don't add this until the very end because sometimes the flavor is salty enough without adding any additional salt!)

Cook the ground sausage and/or lean hamburger in a skillet along with the onions, beef bouillon and garlic. If the meat is greasy then drain the majority of the grease but leave about 2-3 tbs. of grease remaining. This will help keep the rice from clumping together and adds a little extra flavor. If you are using regular white rice then I try to start cooking it during the same time that I start the meat. If you are using instant rice (which is a huge time saver!) then you can just do it after the meat is done. For today's recipe, I used instant rice because I was in a time crunch. (Results are the same. Instant rice is just a little more pricey than regular long cooking rice). If using the instant rice, I add the rice and the meat & all the spices to the boiling water at the same time. Turn off the stove heat, stir it all together and put a lid on top of the rice mixture and let it stand for about 6-10 minutes. DONE! If I am using the longer cooking rice then I add the rice and all the other ingredients to the boiling water, turn it down to simmer and stir frequently until rice is cooked and liquid is absorbed. Taste. If you think it needs salt or additional spices...add them. If it is too spicy for you then just cook some additional plain rice and mix it into the batch.

If you are making it for a huge crowd like I did today. I used one full box of instant rice (28 oz) and just triple the rest of the ingredients (I only had 2 pounds of ground sausage so I only used 2 pounds of meat). Since we are going to a BBQ with a lot of older people...I wanted to tone it down and keep it budget friendly. I added just a little extra chile seasoning and paprika and thought it was just fine. It had a little less meat in it than my usual batch but since I am using it as a side dish...that is just fine!

*For those of you that have Suzanne's southwest desert rub...then you can just use 2-3 tbs of that instead of the ancho chile flakes, garlic, chile powder, pepper and salt. This is one of my favorite spices/rubs and I like to use it in a lot of my recipes and on any meat for a wonderful flavor. It is sold in Cave Creek, Arizona at a little shop or you can order online @ My kids and a lot of my friends that come and visit will pick up a bottle of this after they eat at my house! (No, I don't get paid to promote her product and I don't personally know her...I just really like the product and I think it is worth mentioning). Since I know some of you use the desert can just use it in this recipe rather than scrambling around purchasing other spices! :)

The photos below don't show the true color of the dirty rice. It is actually more brown in color. The lighting makes it appear a little lighter.

I hope you enjoy the spicy flavor of my dirty rice recipe. It is one of our family's favorite rice dishes and is a great casual meal or side dish.

Gluten Free Casually

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