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  • Healthy Game Day Jambalaya

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

    Healthy Jambalaya
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    Healthy Game Day Jambalaya

    Football! FOOTBALL! Oh how I love this time of the year…for so many reasons. Cooler weather means more jeans and less skin (and no swimsuits in sight for months!). Crackling fires, crisp mornings, comfort food and … did I mention…FOOTBALL?!

    There’s nothing better than donning my ‘official’ team jersey, cracking open my favorite beer and sitting down to some game day fare. I enjoy chicken wings and nachos…but lets face it, eating them every Sunday for 16 weeks (more if my team makes it to the playoffs) would just be trouble! Some of my favorite healthier (while still being yummy and game-day worthy) meals include turkey burgers or chili, no-fry fish tacos, and chicken kabobs. This past Sunday was the first (in what will be many months of) rainy, chilly Sundays we’ve had since last winter, so Paul and I were craving something hearty and different. Enter…Jambalaya!

    Jambalaya recipes all follow the same core ingredients: chicken, shrimp, andouille sausage, spices, tomatoes and rice. There really isn’t much reason to fuss too much with traditional recipes to make it more healthy, since it’s essentially already pretty good for you. To make this version a bit lighter, I used much less oil that is typically called for (and no butter, which sometimes appears in some super-traditional recipes). I also asked my local butcher to make a small batch of ground turkey sausage with andouille spices, and, since she didn’t pack it in a casing, it was super easy to crumble into the recipe. Rounding out the mini recipe makeover was brown rice instead of white (and less of it…which I don’t think you’ll miss!)

    In the true spirit of game day cooking, I decided to use a new toy I just received: the Ninja Serious Slow cooker (full disclosure–I am not being paid or incentivize for using/talking about this appliance…just wanted to share some cool features and tips). I rarely use a slow cooker, in fact, until I got the Ninja, I hadn’t owned one in years. One of the things I never liked about crock pot cookery was the need to saute and brown ingredients before adding everything to the slow cooker. The cool thing about this gadget is that you can sear, saute, and slow cook all in one pot! Amazing! The Ninja also has the ability to roast and steam bake (apparently you can use half the fat and still have moist cakes and brownies…LOVE that idea! :)). Anyhoo, I essentially tossed everything into the slow cooker and let it cook for a couple of hours and viola…delicious Jambalaya! (If you don’t have a slow cooker, no worries, you can easily prepare this recipe using a covered Dutch oven). Also worth noting, slow cooking tends to intensify the heat of spicy ingredients like Cayenne pepper, so be conservative with the amount you use and use a little more liquid as there will be more evaporation in the cooking process when cooked on the stove top (start with an additional 1/2 cup broth or water).


    Healthy Jambalaya

    © 2012 Nancy Granada

    Healthy Game Day Jambalaya

    servings: 4 | time: about 2 hours

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    2 TBSP. Extra virgin olive oil
    1 Large green pepper, chopped
    1 Large onion, chopped
    3 Cloves garlic, chopped
    4 Medium stalks celery, chopped
    1 Serrano pepper, half of the seeds removed, all ribs removed, minced
    1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
    1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. sweet paprika (you may use hot if you want more heat)
    1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
    1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
    1 1/2 cups chicken stock
    1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice
    2 bay leaves
    3/4 cup short grain brown rice
    2/3 pound chicken breast, cubed into 1″ pieces
    2/3 pound andouille chicken sausage, crumbled (or sliced into 1/2″ thick pieces if using links)
    15 large shrimp, shell removed, deveined and cut into bite-size pieces
    3 scallions, chopped


    1. If you’re using one, heat a crock pot on high. If you’re using a Dutch oven, follow steps 2 through 8

    2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet (or Dutch oven if you’re using instead of slow cooker)

    3. Add the pepper, onion, garlic, celery and Serrano pepper

    4. Saute over medium-high heat for 10 minutes

    5. Add the oregano, thyme, salt, paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper and saute for 3 minutes. Transfer to heated crock pot, if using

    6. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, bay leaves, brown rice, chicken and sausage. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. If using a crock pot, leave the temperature to high, cover and cook for 1 hour 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. If using Dutch oven, simmer over low heat, covered

    7. At the 1 hour 20 minute mark, add the shrimp, stir cover and cook for 10 minutes

    8. Stir in chopped scallions. Cook uncovered for 2 minutes and serve


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