Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

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I’m sure you are thinking that I’m having a thing with strange dish names lately.

I totally believe in being creative in the kitchen and this one recipe that has always intrigued me.

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So here’s was my issue. I had a list of ingredients for this recipe that was as long as my arm and you know how I feel about that, right? Ugh. Anything more than 5 ingredients makes me itch.

I figured that it was going to be a very long shopping experience but to my surprise it really wasn’t as bad as I thought. In fact, I ended up with this next level shrimp that were the equivalent in price to the last pair of shoes I bought on Boxing Day. Don’t tell Steve.

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Here’s where it gets a bit dicey. And what I mean by that was, the most difficult part of this recipe was the endless amount of dicing I had to do – you will see why later.

Listen. I know it’s takes a bit of work but look at what the results are when you unleash this meal at your table. HELLO.

Here’s my jambalaya story and I’m sticking to it.

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I have been trying new things over the past few weeks and have always wanted to make a JAMBALAYA. My goal was to develop a signature version of this classic New Orleans dish that boasts hints of Spanish, African and French cuisines. I decided to go with a combination of chicken, shrimp and brown rice as the key ingredients.

Yes. Yes. I know that a jambalaya always includes some sort of sausage component such as andouille but I omitted it for a couple of reasons. One being that I wanted to keep this dish lighter and the other being that I really didn’t feel like adding the sausage into this dish. Good enough explanation? Thought so.

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So, is it really a jambalaya without the sausage? I’m going say it IS and fairly certain that I’m not going to “jambalaya jail” for the crime of omitting an ingredient.

And lately, I have been kinda obsessed with ONE POT meals. It’s just easier for all concerned. This one in particular is the quintessential comfort meal filled with hot and spicy aromatic flavours and chock full of hearty deliciousness. And oh how SCHPICY it was!

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This is NOT for the faint at heart. My nose was running down my face like a river. Very attractive.

Quick fix for this? Just cut your hot spices in half when you are adding them into the recipe. You can always add more at the end but once you OVERSPICE you are outta luck.

I’m sure many of you are looking at this dish and thinking, “Wow, that looks too fancy to make, I’m not sure I can handle that”.

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Yes, there are quite a few ingredients and a few extra steps but because it’s all made in ONE pot, it’s really a breeze to throw together. Trust me on this one. I’m not going to steer you wrong.

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Oh, and jambalaya is one of those recipes that can be made year-round. It’s a perfect summer meal or a cozy one to keep you warm in the winter. Another bonus is that this recipe can easily be doubled for a larger crowd AND you can always prepare the jambalaya in advance, re-heat it and add the shrimp just before serving, making it a perfect choice stress free entertaining.

Ready to get your jambalaya hat ON? Let’s do this.

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  • 6 - 8 chicken thighs, boneless & skinless, cut into 1 inch bite size pieces

  • extra virgin olive oil

  • ½ large sweet onion, diced

  • 2 bell peppers, diced (I used red and orange)

  • 3 celery stalks, diced

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 tablespoons cajun seasoning, divided

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon pepper

  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, if you want it spicy

  • 1 tablespoon italian seasoning

  • 1 teaspoon chili pepper flakes

  • 1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes

  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 1½ cups basmati brown rice

  • 3 cups organic low salt chicken broth

  • 1 cup okra (I used frozen and thawed it first)

  • 1 package (16-20 count) black tiger shrimp, peeled and deveined

  • Fresh parsley, chopped for garnish


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large dutch oven or stock pot. Add chicken, 1 tablespoon cajun seasoning, salt and pepper. Sauté for 8 minutes, until chicken is cooked evenly. Remove from pot and set aside.

  2. To the same pot add another tablespoon of olive oil and heat to medium low. Add in your trinity (onions, peppers, celery). Sauté for 8 minutes, or until trinity is nice and soft. Add the garlic, remaining tablespoon of cajun seasoning, cayenne, Italian seasoning, chili pepper flakes, and additional salt and pepper to taste. Cook for another minute.

  3. Add in the crushed tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, brown rice, and chicken broth. Stir and mix well. Bring the mixture to a slow boil, then reduce to simmer on low heat. Cover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring every 5 to 7 minutes so that the mixture doesn't scorch and burn.

  4. The rice should be fully cooked and the liquid absorbed. If the rice is still chewy, add a bit more chicken broth, cover and cook longer.

  5. Add in the shrimp, okra and continue cooking on medium heat until the shrimp is fully cooked through (about 5-7 minutes).

  6. Add the chicken back into the pot and heat through. Garnish with chopped parsley if desired.