Need a healthy one pot meal to get you through the winter months? This Skillet Sausage and Rice with butternut squash and cranberries fits the bill!
This recipe is sponsored by UNCLE BEN’S® Flavored Grains Long Grain & Wild Rice, Original Recipe. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
This morning I pulled a muscle in my back, because apparently I’m 29 going on 60. I wish I could tell you I was doing something super awesome when it happened, like climbing a sheer rock face or lifting a burning car off of a trapped child. Unfortunately, the real story is much sadder. I was sitting up in bed first thing in the morning, when my just-woken tiny child came toddling in. I greeted him with a smile, reached my arms out, scooped him up, and then felt a tightening in my back so fierce it stole my breath, causing me to drop my sweet boy back to the floor. Mother of the year, right here.
Due to this turn of events, I’ll be limiting all future activity to getting the mail, brisk walks around the living room, and reaching between the couch cushions to pick up the piece of popcorn I dropped.
Luckily there’s nothing strenuous about making this stove top Skillet Sausage and Rice. This simple meal comes together in a single skillet and is positively loaded with good for you veggies. I like to start the party (don’t worry, nothing too rowdy–I have my back to think of, after all) with some good Italian sausage sizzling with onions, celery, garlic, and butternut squash. I am all aboard the butternut squash train this year, as evidenced by the Butternut Squash Curry.
Once the veggies are starting to soften, I add Uncle Ben’s ® Long Grain Wild Rice to the mix. This is one of my favorite shortcuts for busy weeknights. This rice is quick cooking, filling, and has the ideal blend of seasonings for a wintery bowl like this one. Once the rice and seasonings are stirred in, I add some broth and dried cranberries (yes, cranberries!), cover the pot, and walk away. Now’s my chance to have a little me time, which these days looks like folding laundry, checking my Instagram, and rubbing some Icy Hot on my back. Ya know, normal 29 year old stuff.
In about 20 minutes, the rice and squash is tender, the cranberries plump and juicy. We’re just about ready to dive in, but the dish still needs a few final touches. I like to sneak in some kale for extra nutrition and top everything off with a sprinkling of slivered almonds.
I realize some of you may look at this and think it sounds a wee bit strange. Sausage and cranberries? Rice and almonds? Do all of these things really work together in one dish? The short answer is: YES. The long answer is: Seriously, they do! This sweet and savory thing is, in fact, all its cracked up to be. In fact, sometimes I like to add even more cranberries because that pop of sweetness is just so good! All the crunchy, creamy, sweet and savory goodness you need for a healthy weeknight meal is right here in one skillet.
You can purchase Uncle Ben’s® Flavored Grains at Kroger or any of the other Kroger family of stores, and right now when you buy 2 Uncle Ben’s® Flavored Grains products, you get $1 off (redeemed at the register). Now is a great time to stock up for a winter’s worth of quick and nourishing meals like this one. For more weeknight recipe ideas, visit Uncle Ben’s® on Facebook and Pinterest.
Skillet Sausage and Rice
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lb. Italian sausage
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped (optional)
- 2 cups chopped butternut squash
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 box Uncle Ben's® Flavored Grains Long Grain & Wild Rice, Original Recipe
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup baby kale
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the Italian sausage and break it up with a spatula or wooden spoon. Add the onion as well, and saute until the sausage is no longer pink and the onion is softened. Stir in the butternut squash and the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the wild rice, seasoning packet, chicken broth and cranberries.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low, cover and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the rice and squash is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the baby kale until wilted. Season with black pepper, if desired.
- The mixture will likely look a little soupy at first, but as it sits it will thicken up. Top the rice mixture with slivered almonds and serve.