Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Quinoa Jambalaya

One of my New Year's resolutions this year is to branch out and prepare meals I've never made before. It's easy to get stuck preparing and eating the same dinners each week. If you don't experiment with new ideas, you'll quickly become bored with your kitchen and menu. The kitchen is a creative space. So let's keep it interesting by trying at least one new recipe a month. Look forward to trying new recipes and gaining new skills! When you do this, you'll discover more about yourself too. Sometimes you might make a meal you don't like, and that's okay! The success comes with branching out of your comfort zone.

I was intimidated by jambalaya, but I made it manageable with this recipe. Stews, chilies, and soups are nice because you can throw the ingredients in a pot or slow cooker and let it cook itself. After a cold, windy day in Alabama this jambalaya was the perfect way to wind down and warm up.

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Total: 70 minutes
Prepares: 10-12 servings

Here's what you need:
3 stalks celery, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
2 jalapenos, diced
15 oz frozen cut okra
3 C vegetable broth
0.5 C water
14.5 oz canned diced tomatoes & green chilies
1.5 C quinoa
4 links Andouille sausage
1.5 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 TBSP olive oil
1/4 tsp red cayenne pepper
2 TBSP Sriracha sauce
1 TBSP Cajun seasoning
Here's what you do:
1. Dice the veggies, slice the sausage into thin rounds, peel the shrimp.
2. Heat 1 TBSP olive oil in a large pan and add the celery, onion, and peppers. Stir occasionally and sauté until the veggies are soft, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the remaining olive oil, sausage rounds, and stir occasionally for another 5 minutes.
4. Stir in the vegetable broth, water, quinoa, tomatoes and green chilies, frozen okra, Cajun spice, and cayenne pepper. Reduce to medium-low heat and allow to simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until the quinoa is cooked. Stir occasionally.
5. Add the shrimp and allow to simmer until the shrimp are cooked and pink.
6. Add additional seasoning, sauce, or salt and pepper for extra flavor! If you don't want it as spicy, try using only 1 jalapeno or removing the seeds. I'm on a spicy kick so I wanted all the spice I could get!

Calories 233
Fat 10g
Carbohydrates 18g
Protein 17g
Sugar 4g
Sodium 1332 mg
I have several containers full of left-over jambalaya. I put a few in the freezer and some in the fridge, so I'll be eating this for a while! It takes time to dice the veggies, but once the jambalaya is ready you'll realize it was all worth it (especially during those lazy days when all you'll have to do is reach into the freezer and heat it up)!

Pro tip: Use a food processor to dice the veggies. It'll save you time and isn't near as tedious.
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