My husband and I recently had the opportunity to have a kid free “date day” and found ourselves in Central PA shopping and trying out some new restaurants. Once seated in our restaurant, something felt strangely repetitive. The Piano Bar was so familiar and the entire vibe of the place felt like such a deja vu moment I found myself lost in thought trying to place the similar memory or location when it hit me; I had been in this exact restaurant, ironically sitting in this exact booth, with my bestie and sister for a “mini bachelorette night out” almost exactly five years before.
I found myself reminiscing over the shift life takes in a five year span and began to reflect on how good life has been to us. Here I sat with my high school sweetheart, a free night for just the two of us that wasn’t super crazy but very much needed and two healthy girls having their own mini vacation at Nana and Papa’s house. Yes, life has been good to us.
After receiving the wine list, and feeling incredibly inferior to it’s elegance and class, citing brands I had never heard before, our fabulous waitress guided me in my choice steering me to an excellent selection for my naive taste buds. The steam bar was full with a wide selection of fresh clams that my husband and I debated trying, temporarily flashing back to our one trip to Maine knocking fresh clams off our food bucket list (permanently knocking them off of mine…!) and chose to refrain. I ended up selecting a flavorful dish of jambalaya while my husband chose a steak with some amazing potato side dish. We spent the evening eating and chatting, uninterrupted by a toddler’s requests or a one year old’s singing. Such a peaceful evening. As my dish arrived I knew I had to replicate a simple quick version at home.
Fast forward three weeks and here we are discussing the simplicity of Jambalaya. While I am no New Orleans native, or well versed in any type of culinary expertise, I do enjoy a flavorful dish and particularly time sensitive dinners. So I began to throw together my best interpretation of a One-Pot Jambalaya. The recipe I am about to present does not have seafood, but could easily be adapted by tossing in your favorite shell fish at the last moment.
I started off with 3 tablespoons of butter and a Rotisserie Chicken diced up into two cups of small chunks (because, I SUCK at cooking chicken, and who doesn’t love a good rotisserie chicken?) tossing them both into a large skillet until the chicken began to get a slightly golden hue to it, approximately 3 minutes. I then added one package of turkey kielbasa sliced into neat little discs.
YUM. I am reliving the smells as I type! After the sausage begins to brown just a little, add:
- 1 diced green bell pepper
- 1 medium diced sweet onion
- 3 ribs of celery diced
Place the lid on the pan and let the vegetables cook for about 5 more minutes until softened. (I like a little crunch to my Jambalaya, so I did not go beyond 5 minutes)
I then added 1 28 oz can of Crushed Tomatoes, 2 small squirts of minced garlic (yes… I keep it simple and buy the squeeze jar) and 2 cups of chicken broth.
I’m looking for time friendly meals during the week, but flavorful. Canned crushed tomatoes, squeeze garlic, and chicken broth are all quick, flavorful additions to any meal.
*Disclaimer: This is not an add for any of these products, nor can I verify that the chicken broth pictured is 100% gluten free.
I also did a little research and made up a blend of Cajun Seasoning listed below the recipe.
Add anywhere from 2 to 3 tablespoons of this seasoning blend depending on how spicy you want your Jambalaya. We planned on an alternate dinner for the girls on this particular night so we could turn the heat up in this recipe.
Stir the ingredients together and bring to a boil. Once the mixture is just beginning to boil, add 2 cups of Instant Rice and let cook an additional 5 minutes.
I did not go beyond the 5 minutes because I was worried about the Rice absorbing too much of the liquids. The end result of this meal was AH-MAZING!
I am sure a year down the road I will look back at these initial posts and think, “Wow! Those were some terrible pictures!” But the reality is, that is what MY dinner looked like, real, and simple. And delicious.
One Pot Jambalaya
A flavorful, simple meal, providing a homemade feel on those busy week nights.
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 rotisserie chicken diced to make two cups of chicken
- 1 package turkey kielbasa sliced
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 3 ribs of celery diced
- 1 medium sweet onion diced
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 2 cloves crushed garlic
- 2-3 Tablespoons of Cajun seasoning mix
- 2 cups instant rice
1. In large skillet melt 3 Tbsp butter. Add 2 cups diced chicken from rotisserie chicken lets cook 2-3 minutes.
2. Add in one package turkey kielbasa sliced and continue to cook until slightly browned.
3. Add in diced vegetables and continue to cook covered over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften.
4. Add remaining ingredients minus the rice and bring to a boil.
5. Add 2 cups of rice and cover, letting cook 5 more minutes.
6. Remove from heat and serve immediately.
Simple Cajun Seasoning
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Mix all ingredients together well. Store in an air-tight container.