A Kaleidoscopic Carnival of Flavor

My family LOVES fiery food. We especially have a weakness for zingy Cajun cuisine and, specifically, Jambalaya, and I am always looking (and cooking) for the ultimate recipe. Well, Holy Creole, my search is over!! When I ran across this gorgeous Jambalaya on the fabulous blog Gimme Some Oven, I knew I had to try it. I mean, look at this kaleidoscopic carnival — it is gorgeous! Packed full of so many vibrant veggies, how could I resist?

GimmeSomeOvenJambalaya

To make this delish dish as healthy as possible for my family, I switched it up a tad. Keep reading to find out how…

This recipe requires a good bit of prep work: chopping the celery, bell peppers, onion, and jalapeno; mincing the garlic; cutting up the chicken; slicing the sausage; and peeling the shrimp. I spent about 30 minutes prepping, which I didn’t mind at all because I always find knife work to be very cathartic.

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After your ingredients are prepped and ready to go, you need to oil your pan. Three tablespoons of olive oil was way too much for my comfort level, so I subbed three sprays of olive oil from my awesome olive oil mister. Olive oil is a healthy fat, it’s true; in fact, it is considered one of the world’s healthiest foods. But, using an oil mister in this recipe saved more than 300 calories and nearly 40 fat grams!

Saute your cut up vegetables until they are crisp tender. This should take about five minutes.

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When your veggies are al dente (that is, still a little crisp), add the chicken and sausage to the skillet. Saute until the chicken pieces are no longer pink. This should take about five minutes.

Although I love the taste of andouille pork sausage, I don’t love the fat and calories. It is chock-full of evil, so I subbed a much leaner smoked turkey sausage. This simple switch alone saved 80 calories and 10 grams of fat per serving of sausage! That is 67% less fat! (FYI: Hillshire Farms seems to be the lowest in calories, fat, cholesterol and sodium.) You may wonder if this recipe will be bland with turkey sausage instead of the andouille, but it simply is not true. With all of the savory veggies in this entree, along with the Cajun seasoning, this dish still packs a flavor punch!

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Next, add the chicken broth, tomatoes, Cajun seasoning, bay leaf, thyme and cayenne pepper. Stir well to combine. I used a larger can of crushed tomatoes in my recipe — 28 ounces vs. 14 ounces. I did this primarily because I wanted a richer tomato flavor to balance out the punch of the jalapenos and spices. I also eliminated the additional salt and pepper in this recipe. The Cajun seasoning that I used (McCormick Perfect Pinch) contains salt and pepper and, in fact, is pretty high in sodium, so the additional salt would have been too much, IMHO.

Stir in the rice and bring the ingredients to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the skillet and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

I used brown rice in my recipe. Why brown and not white? I love brown rice. I love it not only because of its health benefits (three times the fiber of white rice; higher in potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium; rich in anti-oxidants; stabilizes blood sugar levels; it is a whole grain), but I love its taste and texture.

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When the rice is cooked, stir in the shrimp. Let the mixture continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are no longer translucent, about 5 minutes.

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Remove the bay leaf, garnish with fresh parsley and green onions, serve and enjoy!

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When I took my first bite of this dish, I literally said, “This is the best Jambalaya I have ever tasted!” Hubs said, “This is incredible!” It was delightfully delectable!! I had seconds; he had thirds. There were no leftovers.

 


Jambalaya

Serves 6

1/6 of recipe = 6 WW PP

Ingredients

3 ribs celery, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 small yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 (12 oz.) package smoked turkey sausage, thinly sliced
3 cups chicken broth
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes with puree
2 Tablespoon Cajun or Creole seasoning
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups brown rice, uncooked
1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled, deveined and well rinsed

Instructions

1.  Heat 3 generous sprays of olive oil in a large skillet.
2.  Add celery, bell peppers, onion, jalapeno and garlic to the skillet and saute until crisp tender, about 5 minutes.
3.  Stir in the chicken and sausage. Saute for an additional 5 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink.
4.  Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, Cajun/Creole seasoning, bay leaf, thyme and cayenne pepper. Stir well to combine.
5.  Stir in rice.
6.  Bring ingredients to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rice is cooked and most of the liquid is absorbed.
7.  Stir in the shrimp. Let the mixture continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are no longer translucent, about 5 minutes.
8.  Remove the bay leaf. 
9.  Garnish with fresh parsley and sliced green onions, serve and enjoy!


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One thought on “A Kaleidoscopic Carnival of Flavor

  1. Jackie

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. It is the best Jambalaya I have ever tasted!!! I cannot wait to make it again. Would next week be too soon?

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