I know that traditionally Jambalaya is spicy hot, but my husband is not a fan of hot stuff. So this Jambalaya in mild with just a tiny kick of cayenne, which makes it more family-friendly. It also means that with the addition of hot sauce, one family member can have his/her Jambalaya red hot, while the rest can enjoy a milder version.
This recipe is heavily based on a recipe from “The Complete Idiots Guide to Easy Freezer Meals“. It’s a newer book that I just discovered last week. I’m always looking for new recipes that freeze well so the hubby doesn’t grow tired of the selection in the freezer.
I use double smoked sausage for extra flavor and thin chicken breasts (you can purchase them thin or pound them thin), just so they cook more evenly and more quickly. I also used brown long grain rice for an extra nutritional punch. It’s also a little nuttier and crunchier than white rice, but you can certainly use white rice if you prefer. I also used my favorite stock, Better Than Bouillon, in this recipe. It’s so much easier than keeping a lot of stock on hand and this vegetarian is NOT going to make her own stock any time soon.
This recipes generally yields 12 cups for about 8 1-1/2 cup servings or in our case it’s dinner tonight and 6 for the freezer for the hubby. Star rating? Nine out of 10 for flavor and mildness. The hubby loved the smoked flavor of the smoked sausage with the garlic and chicken. A great combination that was not overwhelmed by a burning hotness.
Should you buy the “The Complete Idiots Guide to Easy Freezer Meals” book? If you’re new to OAMC it’s a great reference. If you’re not, the first few chapters will not be valuable – it covers how to cook and freeze in bulk. There are several great recipes in the book, like this is one. If you’re looking for an easy-to-use freezer book, this one might fit the bill.
- 1 T Olive Oil
- 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" pieces
- 2 lbs smoked sausage, cute into ½" pieces
- 4 large celery stalks, chopped into ½" pieces
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- ½ large green bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, diced
- 2 tsp minced roasted garlic
- 2-1/2 cups uncooked brown long grain rice (NOT instant rice)
- 6 cups chicken stock or 6 cups water plus 6 tsp Better Than Bouillon Chicken Stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- ⅛ tsp cayenne
- Heat olive oil in large stock pot over medium heat. Add chicken and cook for about 5 minutes or until browned on all sides.
- Add the sausage, onions, celery, and bell peppers. Cook, stirring frequently for about 6-8 minutes or until the onion begins to brown.
- Add garlic and rice, cook, stirring for about 2 more minutes.
- Add chicken stock and stir, being sure to deglaze the pan and scraping up any browned bits off the bottom.
- Add bay leaves, dried thyme, dried oregano, cayenne, and hot sauce if using (1 tsp or to taste). Stir to blend.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30-45 minutes (read the rice package - cook for the time noted and check at the minimum estimated cooking time).
- Cook until the mixture is absorbed and the rice is tender.
- Cool slightly and remove the bay leaf..
- Package for the freezer in a size appropriate for your family.
- Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Heat in a large saucepan sprayed with cooking spray or in the microwave. You can also heat it in the oven, covered, for 30-45 minutes depending on the size of the pan.
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