"Found this recipe at a big Christmas get-together. Don't know who gets the real credit for creating this recipe, but it is easy and really, really good! Just a little kick and very filling. Sure to be a hit at any get-together."
Combine rice mix, water, and butter in a saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until rice is tender, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a large casserole dish lightly with cooking spray.
Cook and stir sausage in a large skillet over medium heat until browned and crumbly, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain, reserving some grease in the skillet, and place in a bowl.
Cook and stir onion and green bell pepper in the skillet until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in rice, sausage, and hoppin' John until evenly distributed. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to the prepared casserole dish.
Bake in the preheated oven until heated through, 30 to 35 minutes. Sprinkle Cheddar cheese on top. Continue baking until cheese is melted, about 10 minutes.