As a Personal Chef, one of my responsibilities is to come up with new and different dishes for my clients every week. I look to magazines, TV shows, websites, restaurant menus and fellow bloggers for inspiration daily. Sometimes I feel like I spend all my waking hours trying to think up new meal ideas (some of my sleeping hours, too).
Inspiration can strike at the oddest times, as was the case with this recipe, which I stumbled upon in Family Circle magazine while on vacation recently. Vacation. A time of no work. But I couldn't help myself. I ripped it out, carried it home and made it soon after.
In my mind, there's nothing not to like about Jambalaya, the Creole combo of chicken, spicy sausage, shrimp, vegetables and rice. However, if there's something you don't like about it, it's not a deal-breaker - this is the kind of recipe you can fiddle with to your heart's content. You might not end up with the world's most authentic Jambalaya, but you will end up with a hearty, healthy meal. I adjusted the spices for my family and didn't include any seafood. It was a hit all around.
Jambalaya Serves 6
1 T. vegetable oil 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces 1 package fully-cooked smoked chicken sausage (I used Hillshire Farms Smoked Chicken Sausage - use something spicier if you can handle it - we can't!) 1 medium onion, diced 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced 2 ribs celery, chopped 1 1/2 t. Cajun seasoning 1 can diced tomatoes (use the kind with green chiles if you like heat) 1 cup long-grain white rice (I use Uncle Ben's Converted white rice) 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Heat oil in a large lidded skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and sausage and saute until chicken is no longer pink but not quite cooked through. Remove chicken and sausage from pan and set aside on a plate.
Add onion, green pepper and celery to pan and cook until vegetables are crisp tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in Cajun seasoning, tomatoes and their juices, rice and broth.
Bring to a simmer, cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 20 minutes, until almost all the liquid is absorbed. Stir the chicken and sausage back into the pan, along with any accumulated juices. Cook, uncovered, until rice is tender and chicken is cooked through, about 5 more minutes.
This meal is just fine if you prepare it ahead of time, cool it, and then heat it up again before serving. Serve with hot sauce (such as Tabasco or Frank's) if you'd like to spice it up at the table.