I hit the jackpot at the dollar store this week! They were more well-stocked than the last time I visited, so I was able to brainstorm several quick dollar store dinners to keep us going for the next few weeks. This week we made this super quick Sausage and Rice, which is a simplified version of my Cajun Sausage and Rice recipe. And the Cajun Sausage and Rice is a simplified version of jambalaya, so I guess you could say that this dollar store sausage and rice recipe is kind of like jambalaya’s third cousin, twice removed. 😆
Dollar Store Dinners
Welcome to the new Dollar Store Dinners series on Budget Bytes. We’re making quick and simple meals using only ingredients found at the dollar store. While the availability of ingredients will vary from store to store, hopefully, these easy recipes will give you some inspiration for when money is tight and access to groceries is limited!
What’s in This Meal?
This super simple meal is cooked all in one pot for maximum flavor and minimum cleanup. It starts with smoked sausage and a mix of frozen vegetables (onion, bell pepper, and celery), then we add rice, chicken broth, and a little creole seasoning. Everything is simmered together until the rice is tender, then topped it off with a couple of dashes of hot sauce, plus a little more creole seasoning to taste. Simple, yet good!
Here’s what we bought at the dollar store:
- Smoked sausage $1.25
- Frozen seasoning blend $1.25
- Vegetable oil $1.25
- Long grain white rice. $1.25
- Chicken bouillon $1.25
- Creole seasoning $1.25
- Hot sauce $1.25
And we have plenty of leftover oil, rice, bouillon, Creole seasoning, and hot sauce to use in other recipes!
What Kind of Sausage To Use
Since we got all of the ingredients for this dish at the dollar store, there was no room to be choosy about what type of sausage to use. Luckily they had a package of “smoked sausage” that I snatched up immediately. This sausage looked exactly like the “hot dogs” on the shelf next to them, so I’m pretty sure the only difference was the addition of smoke flavoring. If all you had available was hot dogs, I’m sure this would still make a tasty meal!
But if you do have access to a variety of sausage, definitely go for a smoked pork or beef sausage, like andouille or kielbasa.
What Kind of Seasoning to Use
A lot of the flavor in this dish comes from the smoked sausage and chicken broth. I also added some creole seasoning, but if your dollar store doesn’t have that there are other options. Try adding some salt-free all-purpose seasoning (like Mrs. Dash), taco seasoning, or even steak seasoning. Just be aware of the salt content of your seasoning so you don’t over salt the dish.
What else can I add?
If you want to bump up this recipe a bit, try adding a drained can of kidney beans, or maybe a can of diced tomatoes (reduce the broth by the amount of liquid in the can of tomatoes). And I’m a “cheese makes everything better” type of person, so if I had some cheddar I’d throw that on top and let it melt, too. 😛
See my full “grocery store” version of this recipe here: Cajun Sausage and Rice Skillet.
Sausage and Rice
- 8 oz. smoked sausage $1.25
- 2 Tbsp cooking oil $1.25
- 10 oz. frozen seasoning mix (celery, onion, bell pepper, parsley) $1.25
- 1 cup long grain white rice $1.25
- 1.5 cups chicken broth (made with bouillon) $1.25
- 1/2 tsp Creole seasoning $1.25
- hot sauce to taste $1.25
- Slice the smoked sausage into ½-inch thick rounds.
- Add the cooking oil to a deep skillet and heat over medium. Once hot, add the smoked sausage and continue to cook until the sausage has browned (3-5 minutes).
- Add the frozen seasoning mix to the skillet and continue to cook and stir over medium heat until the vegetables are heated through.
- Add the rice, Creole seasoning, and chicken broth to the skillet, then stir until everything is combined.
- Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to medium-high, and let the broth come up to a boil. When it reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to medium-low, and let the skillet simmer for 15 minutes (do not lift the lid, do not stir).
- After simmering for 15 minutes, turn off the heat and let the skillet rest with the lid in place for an additional five minutes.
- Finally, lift the lid, fluff the rice, and add more Creole seasoing and hot sauce to taste. Serve and enjoy!
See how we calculate recipe costs here.
How to Make Sausage and Rice – Step by Step Photos
Here are all of the ingredients we used: smoked sausage, frozen seasoning blend (onion, celery, bell pepper, parsley), vegetable oil, white rice, chicken bouillon, Creole seasoning, and hot sauce.
Slice 8 oz. of smoked sausage.
Heat 2 Tbsp vegetable oil (or any cooking oil) in a deep skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the sliced sausage and cook until browned.
Add the frozen celery, bell pepper, onion, and parsley mix (called “seasoning mix) and sauté until heated through.
Add one cup of rice, ½ tsp of Creole seasoning, and 1.5 cups chicken broth (made with the bouillon). You don’t want to add too much Creole seasoning here because it contains salt and you don’t want to over-salt the dish.
Stir everything together until evenly combined. Place a lid on top, turn the heat up to medium-high, and allow the broth to come up to a boil.
When it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to medium-low and let the skillet simmer for 15 minutes (do not remove the lid or stir it). After simmering for 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let it rest with the lid in place for an additional five minutes.
Fluff the rice with a fork, then season to your liking with extra Creole seasoning and hot sauce.