Jambalaya

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For quite some time I had a go to easy dinner that was probably one of the most processed items in our house.  It was perfect as it was shelf stable and could be a last minute meal in about 30 minutes.  This was also one of the few meals Mr. Mixture could make himself and usually did when I traveled.  I will admit there is still a box in the back of the pantry for an emergency, but last summer I finally decided to give Jambalaya from scratch a try.

I had made versions of cajun meals before – gumbo, crawfish étouffée type item, but they never seemed as authentic as I wanted and though they were good meals they still left you yearning for the real New Orleans taste.  I say this yet I have never been to New Orleans so it is really a taste that I envision or one created by visiting some cajun restaurants over the years.

I follow 100 days of real food and though I do not think her lifestyle works for everyone and as a dietitian I have some differing ideas, we have spoken and definitely have a lot in common. I noticed there was a recipe for Jambalaya in her recipe index and though I knew I would need to make changes, as I am not a huge oyster fan, the recipe had great potential.

I already had creole seasoning as I had made a batch for another recipe we had tried previously from the Tupelo Honey Cookbook. A favorite restaurant of ours in Asheville, North Carolina.

Jambalaya

Ingredients
2 Tbsp butter
1 lb of sausage (andouille or kielbasa depends on the level of heat you want in the dish)
1 bell pepper, any color, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 Large ribs celery, chopped
1 Small head garlic, cloves peeled and minced
1 tsp Creole seasoning (sold premixed or make some)
2 Large tomatoes chopped*
1/2 pound shrimp**
1 1/2 Cups quick cooking brown rice
2 Cups chicken stock/broth (if you don’t have any stock you could use water instead)*
1 Cup water
Hot sauce, to taste (optional)
Green onions and Jalapeños for garnish

* I find this is a great meal in the winter, but tomatoes have no flavor during that time of the year.  I substitute one can/ box diced tomatoes, partially drained.  When I make this substitution I reduce the chicken stock/broth to 1 cup and use the tomato juice to add flavor.

** Precooked shrimp and sausage can be substituted without a change to the recipe. If using precooked sausage add during step #3 in directions.

Directions
1. Combine the butter and sausage in a large skillet pot over high heat (I prefer my Le Creuset for even cooking). Cook for about 6 minutes stirring occasionally. Note if using precooked sausage skip to step #2
2. Add the bell pepper, onion, celery, garlic, Creole seasoning. Sauté over high heat for about 8 minutes, or until the veggies have browned and carmelized.
3. Add the tomatoes, shrimp, and sausage if using precooked, and stir for a couple of minutes.
4. Add the rice, stir gently, then add the broth and water. Gently stir the rice again to make sure it is not sticking to the bottom of the pot.  Taste and if you desire a hotter taste add a few drops of hot sauce, stir and continue to simmer a few more minutes.
5. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes (or until the rice is tender).
6. Garnish with green onions, jalapeños and serve.

Jambalaya Printer Version

Mr. Mixture whom continues to enjoy the boxed version that we had discovered during graduate school days.  A perfect meal when on a student budget, gave a raving review.  This new jambalaya from scratch recipe has become a regularly requested meal and for good reason.  It can be spiced up to suit everyones taste and it is a great weeknight one pot meal that can easily be prepared and held for different family members mealtimes.

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Treasure Chest Thursday

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When you open your internet browser on Thursdays it is hard not to think about your past.  Everywhere you look it is #TBT Throwback Thursday, well the only other thing that might catch my eye on Thursday is Thirsty Thursday – where is it and sign me up, because by the time Thursday has rolled around we have had four early mornings, school lunches, homework, after school activities, etc and I am ready for a drink or a break.  Actually either and most likely both.

As I am waiting for the arrival of Little Miss Mixture from school and preparing for the afternoon tornado, I began thinking about what else starts with T.  How can I make a catchy phrase to capture someones attention and draw them to my blog.  Treasure came to mind as I was thinking there are recipes that we treasure – family traditions, holiday favorites, and so on.

Each new season I look over my personal recipe collections and there are always a few recipes that sound great.  I remember enjoying them so much and I work them into our weekly menu and then UGH, they disappoint.  Did I make it wrong?  Did I do something different?  Did I use a different ingredient or brand, or variety of something or have our taste changed?  Whatever it is the recipe is then out.  There are those recipes though that last the test of time and no matter what you change, how you make them they are a success.

Calypso is one of those in our house.  I do not know how it got its name, and I have scoured the internet looking for this recipe to give credit to someone, but I have yet to find it.  I believe it was torn out of a magazine many years ago, so my apologizes to whomever developed or wrote this recipe first, but I am taking credit until you shout out.

Calypso as we know it typically something from the West Indies or Caribbean.  It definitely uses ingredients that would be incorporated into that style of food, but in our house it is almost a comfort food.  It also helps that it can be made quickly and with ingredients that are generally on hand.

Calypso

10 oz. package of Yellow Rice – make as package directs

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

            seasoned with garlic & crushed red pepper flakes

1 c. chopped or diced pepper (I use whatever color I have or combination of peppers)

1 c. diced onion

2 (16oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed

2/3 cup water

Saute peppers and onions over medium high heat in the flavored oil about 6 minutes or until onion becomes translucent.  Add 2 cans of drained black beans and 2/3 cup water.  Cook for 6 minutes on medium high heat then reduce to low and mush beans to help mix flavors.

Serve over yellow rice and top with cheese, diced tomatoes.  Jalapeños and Cilantro are great toppings as well.

* I like to use dried black beans, but obviously they need to be soaked and cooked prior to beginning the recipe, so that takes more planning.

 

What recipes have lasted the test of time in your household?  What recipe do you treasure?