Red Beans Creole

PREP: 25 minutes COOK: 11 to 13 hours (low) or 51⁄2 to 61⁄2 hours (high) + 30 minutes (high) STAND: 1 hour MAKES 4 or 5 servings

31⁄2 cups dried red beans (11⁄2 pounds)

5 cups water

3 cups chopped onions (3 large)

2 4-ounce cans (drained weight) sliced mushrooms, drained

2 tablespoons Creole seasoning

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups uncooked instant brown rice

2 cups green sweet pepper strips (2 medium)

1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano, undrained

Bottled hot pepper sauce (optional)

1 Rinse beans. In a large saucepan combine beans and enough water to cover beans by 2 inches. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain and rinse beans.

2 Transfer beans to a 31⁄2 – or 4-quart slow cooker. Stir in the 5 cups water, onions, drained mushrooms, Creole seasoning, and garlic.

3 Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 11 to 13 hours or on high-heat setting for 51⁄2 to 61⁄2 hours.

4 If using low-heat setting, turn to high-heat setting. Stir in uncooked rice, sweet pepper strips, and undrained tomatoes. Cover and cook for 30 minutes more. If desired, serve with hot pepper sauce.

PER SERVING: 415 cal., 2 g total fat (0 g sat. fat), 0 mg chol., 541 mg sodium, 81 g carb., 16 g fiber, 23 g pro.