Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Easy Chicken Jambalaya

When Joe and I were dating, relaxing on the sofa and watching Food Network was a favorite Sunday afternoon activity.  It usually determined what was for dinner that night.  Our inspiration. 
These days, with Grace hogging the TV or Joe and I just being busy during naptime, we just don't get the opportunity to relax and watch the programs we like.

Over the weekend, I had the rare treat of having the TV to myself during daytime hours!  Grace was napping and I was caught up on housework and was even showered!  So, I took advantage of the down time and turned on the Food Network.  Sandra's Money Saving Meals is a current favorite.  Although, I've probably only seen maybe 3 episodes.  One being Big Easy, the episode I watched on Sunday. 

I had chicken thawing in the fridge, so I knew right away that I wanted to make her Chicken Jambalaya recipe.  I even had all the ingredients on hand which is why I like her show so much.  She cooks with things that are normally in my pantry!  No trip to the grocery needed! 

We already had plans to go out to dinner on Sunday, and with yesterday being Mardi Gras, it just made sense to serve this as our Fat Tuesday dinner. 

Sandra's recipe called for chicken thighs, but since I had chicken breast already thawing, I just went ahead and used what I had.  Actually, I ended up using the tenderloin.  The pack of chicken that I thawed was huge.  I removed the tenderloins and saved them for Tuesday's dinner, then split the 6 breasts in half and grilled them for Monday's dinner and for lunches throughout the week.  I love getting several meals out of one pack of meat! 

Anyway, back to the jambalaya.  The only changes I made to the original recipe was using the tenderloin instead of thighs and I used red bell pepper since that's what I had in the veggie bin.

I really would have loved to add our favorite smoked kielbasa to the dish, but I used the last of it a while back and haven't gotten to the Polish Market in a while.  So, for now, I stuck with the original recipe.

Chicken Jambalaya


2 tablespoons canola oil, divided

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 cups long grain rice

3 cups chicken broth

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juice

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, for garnish


In a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon oil. Add the chicken, season lightly with salt and pepper, and brown on both sides, about 7 minutes, working in batches if necessary. Remove the chicken to a plate. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and the onions, peppers, and celery, and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, Cajun seasoning, cayenne, salt and pepper, and give it a stir. Stir in the rice. Add the chicken back to the pot, along with the broth and tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 30 minutes.

We really enjoyed this recipe!  I loved how easy it was to prepare and clean-up was simple since it's a one-pot meal!  Joe and I each ate hearty portions and we have plenty left over!  I reserved 3 cups of the jambalaya to use in the other recipes featured on that program (really stretching that pack of chicken!), plus there is enough for a decent lunch portion for Joe to take to work with him tomorrow.

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