Friday, February 27, 2015

Foodie Fridays: Skillet Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya

I meant to take a picture of my own dish, but somehow we managed to
 finish off the jambalaya first!  This is an image from The Foodie Physician
 (if you have more time, try the healthy recipe on this website).

February seems to have a disproportionate number of holidays for such a short month, especially for us as my husband and I both have February birthdays.  Last week almost every day was an occasion to celebrate -- Valentine's Day on Sunday, President's Day on Monday, Mardi Gras on Tuesday, and the Chinese New Year on Thursday.  We ate out at a small local restaurant for Valentine's Day, which was serving a special menu for the day (we like to support our local businesses and their food is fantastic).  Just for fun, on Monday we made a spur of the moment decision to eat a meal appropriate for each of the other holidays.  Since it was a busy day, we felt the need to get fast food, and wanted something that seemed like a typical all-American meal for President's Day.  Since we live in the South, we chose fried chicken, and who better than the Colonel to cook for us (we actually almost never eat fried chicken, so this really was an occasion)!

I described our Chinese New Year table earlier this week, so that just leaves Mardi Gras.  We have never celebrated this holiday before, and I wanted to make the meal myself as we were eating way too much restaurant food, so I found an easy Skillet Shrimp Jambalaya recipe and changed it a bit to suit our tastes.  I was lucky to find a King Cake at our local Publix, which was a dessert we had never eaten.  I bought the cinnamon version (there was also one with cheese) and it was really tasty, although the icing was a little excessive and the colored sugars are downright garish!  It also came with a little pink plastic baby toy that was positively creepy.  I later found out that the toy is meant to represent the baby Jesus and it is supposed to be hidden under the cake.  The person who gets the portion with the toy is then responsible for providing the next year's King Cake.  Originally the King Cake was baked with a large bean or even a tiny porcelain baby inside, but with the advent of plastics and lawsuits, the baby now ends up on top of store-bought cakes.  My only complaint is that the plastic baby is truly creepy -- in fact, my husband and I have started jokingly referring to this cake as Creepy Baby Cake!  Couldn't the manufacturers come up with a nicer-looking baby?

The creepy baby surrounded by
colorful sugar crystals.
(from Wikipedia)

Seriously, could you eat a piece of cake with this sticking out?
(from National Geographic)

Anyway, enough about the creepy baby, and on to the jambalaya recipe, which really is quick, easy, and excellent!

Skillet Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya

4 T. olive oil
6 oz. andouille sausage link, sliced (I used a turkey version)
1 C. chopped onion
1/2 C. chopped celery
1/2 C. chopped bell pepper (I used a tricolor blend) 
3 C. vegetable broth
1 1/2 C. uncooked long grain rice
2 tsp. Creole seasoning*
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce 
1/8-1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 cans (14 1/2 oz. each) diced tomatoes, drained
1 lb. cooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined**
1 1/2 C. frozen peas (optional and not traditional, but tasty)

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the sliced sausage and cook for a few minutes, then stir in the onion, celery, and bell pepper and sauté until tender.  Add the next six ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the rice is tender.  Stir in the tomatoes, shrimp, and peas.  Heat through and serve (my version is not very spicy, so put a bottle of Louisiana hot sauce on the table for those who like it hotter).  Serves 6.

*If you do not have Creole seasoning, substitute 1/2 teaspoon each salt, garlic powder and paprika (I used my favorite smoked paprika) plus about 1/4 teaspoon each of dried thyme, ground cumin and cayenne pepper for the 2 tsp. seasoning called for in the recipe.

**I used frozen cooked shrimp, but next time I will buy uncooked shrimp and cook it briefly in boiling water seasoned with a seafood boil for more flavor.
                

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