Homemade Dirty Rice & A Tale Of No Refunds



We had an interesting start to a wonderful weekend. With both my birthday and Valentines so close together, I decided to surprise my family by renting a large cabin in the Smoky Mountains. I invited my brother and sister in law, their two children, and my mother and father in law for a big old Southern family getaway.

To make it even more special, we kept it a secret from the kids and I spent weeks imagining their surprised faces at finding out where we were going and being greeted by their cousins and grandparents upon arrival. I’d been looking forward to the weekend for quite some time and was thrilled when I was finally able to pack us up. As soon as Ricky got off work Friday we loaded up the car (dog and all) to head towards Gatlinburg, not telling Brady and Katy Rose until we were well on our way.

About two hours into our drive we realized that this winter storm was something we weren’t going to be able to ignore. Long story short (how often do I do THAT on southern plate?) we had to turn around and come back home. Although Ricky’s parents had managed to reach the cabin, the road leading to it’s perch atop the mountain had since become covered in snow and ice and they were relying on hope and sun to be able to get down the following day. Ricky’s brother and his family had to turn back and go home as well.

The kids were heartbroken and we made the ride home in silence and tears from the peanut gallery in the back seat.

The bright sides of this situation were obvious: We were lucky we weren’t stuck on the mountain and we were fortunate we weren’t on roads we could easily have a wreck on.

Still, I have to admit, I’d much rather have been in that cabin on a mountain top looking out over the snow. I hid my disappointment as the kids vented theirs and one thought kept reverberating through my mind: our little weekend getaway wasn’t going to happen and there were no refunds.

We would never get those three days back. Then a question came to me, how were those three days any different from any other three days? No matter where we were, at home or in a cabin on a mountain, there were still no refunds on this weekend.

The next day I woke up with renewed determination. While we didn’t get to spend time together in a cabin, we still got to spend it together. We took the kids to Birmingham for the day and spent our time at home helping Brady earn a new boy scout badge. We made brownies and shopped for groceries as a family. In between, the kids petted the dog so much it’s a wonder she doesn’t have bald spots, and we had a nice little time in our warm little house.

As a result of our weekend I awakened to the first hand realization that whether you’re at home or on vacation, each day is a one shot deal. Instead of pining for a view from someone else’s window, take a moment to appreciate the view from your own. We may not be in a rented cabin, but that doesn’t mean we can’t spend just as much quality time with our children in our own living room.

Make the most of today. Use it up, wear it out, squeeze every last ounce of “good” out of it. Even if you aren’t financially vested, There are still no refunds.

Yesterday we talked to the cabin owner and she graciously offered to let us schedule two more nights to replace the ones we were unable to use. Ricky’s parents also made it down off the mountain in one piece thanks to a patch of rain that temporarily cleared the roads, and I came out of this with a priceless bit of wisdom. That’s money well spent either way you look at it.

Today begins my week of meals planned by Brady as part of a Boy Scout project. When I asked him to write down five things that he would like for supper this week, someone on twitter said “Ten year old boy planning meals? Get ready for pizza all week!”. I was expecting that as well but have to say I am very impressed with Brady’s choices and really looking forward to supper each night.

Some things he chose are already on SouthernPlate.com but I’ll be posting tutorials for the recipes we use that aren’t as the week goes on.

His very first choice is one of my dear favorites from Cajun country, another beloved style of Southern cooking, Dirty Rice. There are two ways that I make dirty rice…

The first way is to simply add ground beef to this:

BUT hang in there, I’m bringing you the SECOND Way in this post!


Hey, it’s quick, easy, and delicious. Ain’t  no shame in my game!

The second way is the one I am bringing you today, from scratch. Now this recipe has a wee bit of heat to it. Brady and I enjoy it immensely just as is but Katy Rose won’t touch it. She only eats the dirty rice made from boxed mix. If you’re feeding this to younger kids or those who don’t care for the spice, you can cut down a bit on the seasoning and use ground beef instead of sausage.

When I say “heat” I’m not talking about “oh my goodness this is so hot” I just mean it leaves a little zing in your mouth and is divine served with iced tea.  

Note to all Texans: I realize these references to heat will be laughable to you and you’d likely have to spice this up with jalapenos just to get your newborns to touch it. I’m just laying it out for folks not from your parts.

Note to all Cajuns: If you’re reading this post, just stop now and tell me what time dinner will be ready. I’m on my way…


You’re going to need: Cooked rice, Creole seasoning, parsley (fresh or dried), onion, bell pepper, sausage, celery, and some chopped or minced garlic.

I like to use Tennessee Pride sausage just so Brady and I can sing this song…

Now y’all gotta sing with me.

Of course, the Tennessee Pride folks don’t know me from Adam so if y’all know anyone who works there, tell ’em I said “Hidy”.


Chop up all of your green stuff, the white stuff too :)

This photo shows chopped bell pepper, celery, parsley, and onion.

What we’re seeing here is known as “The Cajun Trinity”- three essential ingredients in seasoning a variety of Cajun dishes: Onion, Bell pepper, and Celery.

Parsley and garlic are perfect accompaniments to the trinity.

You can use dried parsley which would have been my first choice if Wally World hadn’t of been out of it.

They were also out of Chili Powder and a few other things on my list. ~blinks~ Whats up with that?


Place your sausage and vegetable type thingies (I’m gonna use that term to encompass veggies, herbs, whatever) in a large skillet.

Pictured here: Garlic, onion, bell pepper, celery, and parsley.


Chop up your sausage a bit and cook that over medium to medium high heat.

I use medium high because I’m impatient.

Folks always talk about how patience is a virtue, well I think impatience is every bit the virtue patience is and more, because impatience gets supper on the table a whole heap faster.


It’s gonna look kinda like this when it’s almost done but we need to keep cooking until all of our veggies are tender.

Celery tends to be a bit stubborn at times but heat and your determination will eventually triumph.


Add your creole seasoning. I use  two and a half tablespoons and LAWDY is it ever good.

You might want to cut back for starters though.

~smiles sheepishly~


All done!


Toss in your rice.


Stir that up good and make sure your rice is heated through.

Sit down with a glass of iced tea and a proud ten year old.

Thank the good Lord for Cajun cooking!

Homemade Dirty Rice
  • 4-5 Cups cooked rice
  • 1 pound uncooked sausage (or ground beef)
  • *1 -3 Tablespoons Creole Seasoning (I use Tony Chachere's)
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • ½ Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped or minced garlic
  • 4 Tablespoons fresh chopped parsley (or 2 Tablespoons dried)
  1. In large skillet over medium heat, place celery, bell pepper, garlic, onion, parsley, and sausage. Break up sausage and cook all, stirring regularly, until sausage is fully cooked and vegetables are tender. Add Creole seasoning, stir. Stir in rice and continue cooking over medium heat until rice is heated through, stirring well the whole time.
  2. *For the Creole seasoning: Start on the low end and add more after the rice has been stirred in if you like more seasoning. This adds the spiciness so you want to do it to your personal taste. If you're a Texan, just toss the whole lot in and laugh at how wimpy the rest of us are. If you're a Cajun, please call and give me directions to your house - I like to eat :).

*If you’d like to make your own Creole or Cajun seasoning, click here for a great recipe from Tipnut.com (scroll down towards the bottom)

No one cares what you know until they know that you care.

~Submitted by Berta. Join the rest of the family and submit your quote here.


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  1. Cathy says

    Hi, I just discovered your site. You came up on the Pinterest picks for me today. I am so glad that I checked it out. I have never had dirty rice, but I am going to try your recipe. It sounds like our kind of meal, easy, cheap, and tasty.

  2. John Blanchard says

    Ive only had dirty rice once in my life, it was at a restaurant a whole lotta years ago :) But I liked it. Im going to try this. Im sure I’l enjoy it. My wife doesnt care for spicy at all, so more for me!! 😀 hehe And I use Odems Tennessee Pride sausage all the time. I love making gravy with it. Looking forward to some great dirty rice. 😉

  3. Wanda Wuensche says

    Hi Christy, I am waving to you as we drive through Alabama! We are on our way back home to TX. Your state is lovely but you need to stop this rain for us! Houston was flooded when we left home, as was most of the state. We hope things have dried out a bit.
    For those who lost family members or friends, my prayers are with you.

    The recipe looks great…just right. I’m a native Texan, but I do not like foods too spicy. No hot peppers for me!

    Thanks for the homeschool curriculum sale information. My children are all adults now, so my homeschooling days are over. I love the material though, and wish this had been available to me years ago!
    My grandchildren are homeschooled, so I may order some of this anyway.
    I also passed on the information to my daughter and daughter-in-law.
    Have a nice day!

  4. Josey says

    I did 2 Tablespoons of the cajun seasoning and it was just right for me, though the kids had to have mac n cheese instead. I used a different brand of spice than what you have pictured though and it was a little too salty. Will have to pick up some Tony Chachere’s.

    • says

      Hey Stephen, thanks for taking the time to let me know that. It’s a shame you couldn’t have taken the time to read the post where I addressed this but I reckon leaving this comment is all you were after anyway so we both get to leave here happy. Have a great day!

  5. Diane C. says

    Hello, I made this last night never having creole seasoning before. I pretty much followed your recipe, only thing I did different was I put half a tablespoon creole seasoning in the rice before I cooked it. I then added the two tablespoons to the meat mixture after it was cooked per the instructions. I bought the same brand you suggested but this stuff was WAY to salty. My youngest son(24yrs) couldn’t eat it. After the salt taste died down there was a good heat to it then it tasted good but with every bite there is a strong salt hit. Is the recipe at tipnut.com for homemade creole seasoning good? If I make it then I can reduce the salt but would I still use the two and a half tablespoons as directed or should I use less?

    • says

      With the seasonings already and then adding the creole seasoning I imagine that did add a lot of sodium. I am afraid I can’t say whether one is better to use than the other, I always make it as directed without adding other things. It will be a trial and error experiment for you.

      • Diane C. says

        You said “with the seasoning already” I didn’t add any other seasoning. I used white rice and ground beef that’s why I added a bit of creole seasoning to the rice and didn’t go over the two and a half tablespoons the recipe called for. I will try the homemade version for the creole seasoning because even though this dish was salty I did like it. ☺

        • says

          I’m sorry, I was referring to adding seasoning in a part of the recipe where I didn’t add seasoning. I see what you are saying, though. Homemade versions are so much fun to work with because you can really customize to your liking. I tend to always up garlic and paprika when I make seasonings, etc. You may have used a saltier version of Creole seasoning than I use, or the exact same one and just prefer less salt than I do. I admit to loving the flavor enhancing qualities of salt and we don’t have any particular sensitivity to it but either way you go, you are definitely on the right track!

          • Diane C. says

            Thanks! on a side note I’d just like to say the leftovers reheated and mixed with scrambled eggs are wonderful! Eggs need salt and the leftovers provided the right amount for the eggs. Yummy!


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