Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Tasty Tuesday - Jambalaya!

Maybe it's the season - nearly spring, mardi-gras - maybe it's just random, but I've been craving some good, homemade, cajun yumminess. After spending hours searching for recipes, and comparing them, I came up with a basic skeleton of a recipe, then had a whole lotta fun fleshing it out! The result is this super tasty Jambalaya that's going to make your house smell like glory, fill your belly with cajun goodness, and help you burn more fat. Ha! Yep! The capsaicin in this recipe does indeed help you burn more fat (mighty metabolic monster!!)!

Now, don't let the list of ingredients scare you off. You can prep this recipe on your one-day food prep, then just set all those ingredient baggies in a larger ziploc or a bowl/tray. When you're ready to whip this up, pull out those ingredients and you're on your way in moments! The jambalaya takes about 15 minutes hands-on, then simmers for 1-2 hours (your choice - more simmer = more flavor). Then you add the shellfish and cook another 15-20 minutes, and it's ready! It's really not complicated, I promise!

Jambalaya

By
"Craving comfort food, but don't want to sabotage your goals? This amazing jambalaya will satisfy your tastebuds, fill your belly, and help you burn more fat!"

Serves 8
Prep Time:
Cook Time:

Ingredients

  • 3 chicken thighs, diced
  • 3 sausage links, sliced (I used Aidell's Andouille sausage)
  • 1/2 lb shrimp, raw, peeled and deveined (you can remove the tails if you want)
  • 2 lobster tails, or 1/4 to 1/2 lb raw crawfish (alternatively, you can eliminate the shellfish altogether, just increase the chicken)
  • 1 (14oz) can crushed tomatoes, including juice
  • 1 (14oz) can red beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
  • 3 cups chicken bone broth*
  • 1 cup long grain brown rice (uncooked)
  • 3 bell peppers, any color (I used 1 each red, yellow and orange)
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp dried minced onion**
  • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumen
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 bay leaf

 

Directions

  1. In dutch oven over medium high heat, add 1 Tbsp olive oil. When sizzling, add garlic and peppers, stirring often until just beginning to soften (about 5 minutes).
  2. Add chopped/diced chicken and sliced sausage and cook until chicken is mostly not pink.
  3. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, seasonings, broth and rice, stirring well.
  4. Reduce heat to lowest simmer and cover, leaving a small gap in the lid for steam to escape.
  5. Cook, stirring periodically, about 60 minutes. You can cook longer - the longer it cooks, the more flavor there is, just keep that heat low, and stir occasionally.
  6. Add red beans and stir, then lay shrimp and lobster (or crawfish) on top, recover and increase heat to medium. Cook until seafood is cooked through (about 15 minutes).
  7. Discard bay leaf.
  8. Serve, topping with chopped green onion.

Nutritional Information

Amount Per Serving  Calories: 347 | Total Protein: 32 g | Total Carbohydrate: 38 g | Total Fat: 6 g | Total Fiber: 6 g | Total Sodium: 900 mg 
NOTES:
*You can substitute low-sodium chicken broth for bone broth if you can't find it. I recommend Pacific Foods or Imagine brands.
** You can substitute a raw onion, diced, for the dried onion. My husband doesn't like the texture of the fresh, but can handle the dehydrated.
***CROCKPOT: You can make this in the crockpot! Add everything to the pot (except red beans, shrimp and lobster), and cook on low 4-6 hours. About 20 minutes before serving, add remaining ingredients, cover and continue cooking until shrimp is no longer translucent.


Monday, March 2, 2015

Monday's Recipe Mania!

I love recipe days! Today I tried out 3 recipes I found on Pinterest... I even managed to follow directions! I didn't make a single tweak. Not a one. And... on two of the recipes, I should have ;-)
  

 

First up was the main dish... Jamie Oliver's Chicken in Milk.


It was VERY good. When you try it, don't leave out the cinnamon stick because you think it's weird... lol! Trust me, it gives the chicken a very subtle, extra yum. Also, per another blogger's directions, I cooked it for the first 30 minutes without a lid, then the next 30 with it. Dayum good!!

I did two sides, one starch, one veggie... Here's the potato stacks.


Results... Meh. I got these puppies in the oven during my chicken's last 30 minutes (they cook at the same temp)... they were ok. Actually, they were just ok. Nothing special. No spike of "oh wow!". Not even a little bump of "oh wow". Meh.

Second side, these green beans.

By all accounts, these should have been fabulous. They weren't. It was too much goin' on. Next time, I'd do either the sauce or the toppings - and I wouldn't waste my time doing the boil/blanch thing. Just toss those puppies in a steamer bag and done. Yeesh. But, I can decisively say now that there's NO taste difference between doing it the super-time-consuming way and my easy steamer bag way. Hence, you can guess which method I'll use in the future. ;-) But back to the recipe... the toppings got lost in the strong flavor of the sauce. Again - it'd be one or the other.

So, all things considered... decent dinner. The chicken's a keeper, the potatoes need a flavor tweak, and the green beans - well, I've got better recipes. What'd YOU have for dinner?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Taking a Big Bite of Life (aka Biting Off More Than I Can Chew)

Well, the title says it all, doesn't it? LOL! I like to keep busy, it's just part of my personality, but this has somehow turned a corner into insanity. Oh well, who wants to be sane, anyway? ;-)

Currently, I'm doing a ton of recipe testing and tweaking - several days a week, my kitchen is my laboratory. When I'm working on a recipe, it's not just the ingredients and process I'm working out, I've got pen and paper for notes, and my computer for nutrition programming - I'm crunching numbers, along with herbs. So it takes a bit longer and more effort and attention. Which is fine - I love it.

In addition to the recipes, I work on my clients plans, the website, updating and tweaking, the newsletter (did you get yours today??), the special exclusives I include in said newsletter (this issue it was a full 7-day meal plan - 45 pages!!). There's travel - business, and personal (family). I have a ton (ok, there's 9) new cookbooks to go through and review, and 15 periodicals/magazines that also must be read and processed. There's the forum, this blog, the other blog - all of which I'm trying hard to improve my presence in. I have my Personal Training Course, which is slow going as I haven't blocked in stone my time to study (ugh). And there's general life... husband, kids, family. It's been busy. Which, again, is just how I like it.

However - in the midst of all this I've taken on a few more projects. One is learning about nutrition for healing and endurance for Chemotherapy patients. (random... did you know that if you can keep a patient properly fed, it'll reduce weight loss, thus increasing their chances of completing chemo on schedule by 80%? Tough to do when most patients struggle to choke down single bits or sips due to pain and/or lack of appetite).

The second project is actually a series of projects. I bought a sewing machine and serger. Back a million years ago, I sewed for hire, to feed my family. I'm not going to address the ex except to state that a new synthesizer or speaker is NOT more important than feeding your children. 'Nuff said. So, I worked at JoAnn's during the day and sewed through the nights. Costumes, wedding gowns, prom gowns, regular clothes, home dec stuff, crafts... I did a ton of it. So much, that when I came out to AZ, I put away those machines (which were later ruined in a move - and boy, was I mad!!), and swore never to sew in another zipper. EVER.

Fast forward to these days... I need window coverings, a window-seat cushion, and a ton of nursery items (for the future), as well as a line of cool aprons for Recipe For Fitness that I want to get done. So, after pricing stuff out for weeks, I realized it was stupid to hire out or buy what I needed when I have the skills to do it myself, the way I want it done.

So I bought the machines. And all the supplies for the window seat. And several patterns for other stuff. Now I am staring at my office with all this stuff staring back at me, and realizing that I need to get the desk no one uses out of that room, and replace it with a crafting table and storage cabinet. So.. yet another task added to my list.

What was I thinking??? Oh, and I need to get all our tax stuff together in a reasonable order, then over to our tax guy.

Oh!! And I have to go to the grocery store - we need general supplies, plus I have another recipe to test tonight. OMG. I think I'm going to go sit out on the patio (it's a beautiful 71 degrees!) and suck my thumb. Or have a big drink. Is it too early for wine?
Nope, Betty say's it's not to early, as long as I keep it to one glass. No problem, I'll use hers. ;-)

So... what do you all do when you've bitten off more than you can chew? How do you organize your time and priorities? What are your challenges? Your greatest tricks to keep it all together? SHARE!!! ;-)

Happy Thursday, folks!