Friday, November 25, 2011

Lightened up, healthier Jambalaya

One of my favorite meals, especially in the Autumn and Winter months, is Jambalaya - This recipe was adapted from a recipe my husband found a few years ago on the internet that used summer sausage, which we had a few of as part of a Christmas Gift box from Swiss Colony or Figis.  In my version, I use brown rice, instead of white, increased the veggies a bit and replaced the high fat summer sausage with a low fat chicken sausage.
(Full ingredient list is at the end of the post)

There area number of chicken sausages on the market now, so look for a flavor that is low in fat and a flavor that appeals to you - The one I used here was the most point friendly I've found so far.  It's a little different every time I make it - between trying different chicken sausages and different types of tomatoes.  The original recipe called for stewed tomatoes, but I use whatever appeals to me at the time :)

This one I found at our local ShopRite and is only 2 PPV per link; most I've found have been 3 PPV per link.

When I saw this new flavor, I just thought it was perfect for Jambalaya - use whatever variety you feel will work for you :)

Start by dicing 3 medium celery stalks, 1 large red onion and 2 small bell peppers - I used a red and an orange bell pepper for more nutrition; colored peppers have *much* more vitamin C than green and I personally prefer their flavor, I rarely ever buy green bell peppers any more...

Sometimes I use pre-cooked (leftover) chicken, but this time I used 15 oz (raw weight) boneless skinless chicken breast that I browned and cubed.

Add 1 Tbs Canola or Olive Oil to a large skillet or chef's pan and add the veggies - saute until onions are translucent.

Add 3 clove(s) garlic clove, minced, 1/2 tsp each dried rosemary, thyme, ground cumin, cayenne pepper, paprika (I like smoked) and 2 tsp chili powder (I like to use 1 reg chili powder and 1 Ancho chili powder) and saute for a minute or two.

Add 1 1/2 cups brown rice - I like brown basmati for this - and saute for a few minutes to toast the rice - be careful not to scorch the rice mixture or you'll have to start over from scratch :o 

Add one can stewed or diced tomatoes of your choice, 2 cups water, 1 large or 2 small bay leaves and salt and pepper - cover and simmer 25-30 minutes or until rice is tender - if all liquid hasn't been absorbed, remove lid, turn heat up a bit and simmer, stirring, until liquid is absorbed/cooked off.

Remove bay leaf/leaves, add cooked chicken, sliced sausage, and about 3 Tbs chopped fresh parsley and cooke another coupleminutes to heat through.  I also added 5 oz thawed cooked peeled shrimp (I always keep a bag in the freezer) at the end and stirred it in - they'll be warmed by the hot dish - you don;t want to really cook them or they may become tough.

Yum!  I like mine with a good drizzle of hot sauce :)

For 6 servings, this dish came to 9 PPV - other times, with other choices of sausage etc, it has been anywhere from 10 to 12 PPV.


1 Tbsp canola oil
3 medium stalks uncooked celery
2 small uncooked bell pepper
1 large uncooked red onion
3 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 cups brown basmati rice, uncooked
2 cups water
15 oz canned diced tomatoes
1 leaf/leaves bay leaf
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp parsley
1 pkg Thin 'n Trim Chipotle Peach Chicken Sausage - 1 link/2oz/56g
15 oz uncooked boneless skinless chicken breast(s)
5 oz cooked shrimp
Hot Sauce

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Should I change my blog?!

Hi Folks! It's been such a long time since I've posted here. I still pack Rob's lunches, but they are so much the same every day that I got a little bored with the posting :o  I've been more into cooking than Bento here in the last year or so and usually post pictures to my FB account. A couplefriends have asked/suggested a food blog, but there are so many out there from so much more talented folks than I - but maybe I should...  I'm doing Weight Watchers also and am often changing up and creating recipes that fit my plan and are pretty healthy, so I like to share that with my friends and others on the same journey... So folks, what do you think? Change this blog to include the food, create a new blog instead, what should I call it? Would love your input! :)

I think I'll start with a super healthy soup I came up with after reading a number of recipes online. I wanted something I'd never made before and I adore soups, plus a 5 lb bag of carrots was on sale that week - and it turns out, the soup is even Vegan :) I'm not a Vegetarian or Vegan, but a meatless meal a few times a week is a wonderful thing :)

It is based on a Guy Fieri recipe, but of course, I changed it quite a bit... Basically, the idea of adding ground pine nuts was the unique thing in his that I wanted:

Carrot Cauliflower Ginger Soup

1 medium red onion, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp olive oil (I used Trader Joe's Organic Garlic Infused)
2 Tbs fresh Ginger root, grated
1 Tbs minced Garlic
5 c Vegetable Stock (I made my own)
2 1/2 pound roughly chopped carrots
2 cups chopped Cauliflower
1 1/2 c Coconut Milk (I used Trader Joe's Unsweetened, not canned)
1 oz pine nuts, ground
a little nutmeg
a little curry powder
more salt to taste
ground pepper if desired

Toast pine nuts and set aside - Saute red onion in olive oil until translucent, add ginger and garlic and saute for a minute or two - add stock and vegetables and simmer covered until carrots are soft - blend with an immersion blender (or carefully, in batches in your blender, vented slightly with a towel on top of lid), add coconut milk, pine nuts and spices to taste; add a bit of water if the soup has become too thick for your taste (or stock or coconut milk, but this could change the PPVs) - Makes 6 servings at 3 PPV per serving

Original Guy Fieri Recipe is here:
I highly recommend an immersion blender - I absolutely love mine and use it often enough - below is the one that I have and love - My husband wasn't sure we'd use the chopper and whisk attachments, but I do, especially the chopper; I used it for the pine nuts in this recipe as a matter of fact. Purchasing through the link will help support my blog, but of course, feel free to shop around for the best deal!