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One Pot Sausage Jambalaya

Everybody runs their kitchens a little bit differently. It’s just one of those places that is immune to the laws and natural orders of the world and is totally unique to it’s user. And every cook is unique from their specific processes right on down to their individual food philosophies. We each have our favorite tricks of the trade and are partial to certain tools and certain methods. Be that as it may, there are certain things you’ll find in any well-stocked, well-used kitchen. They’re kitchen must-haves, and often their little multi-purpose, miracle working, border-line magical devices. Take the trusty dutch oven for example.

<Pardon the pause. I’ll be able to move on and find my train of thought again when the sons stop sniggering over my shoulder. Yes! I said Dutch oven. Now, moving right along …>

 Sausage Jambalaya

Its my my favorite one stop, one pot ‘thing’ in my entire kitchen.

Along with one pot recipes. Little one pot wonders. All cooked up in this bad boy right here. It even cooks up a perfect loaf of artisan style bread. See? Magic! If you don’t own a dutch oven, I’d highly, HIGHLY recommend investing in one. And if you’re thinking (like the hubs) that being limited on space as it is with X amount of people + Y amount of square cabinet space and = no more possible storage space for yet another kitchen gadget his crazy cook of a wife brings home, then you stop that right now. This instant. A dutch oven can do so many things you can potentially consolidate space. If not, then it’s definitely going to be a dirty dishes saver. And worst case scenario, you store that sucker in your oven. Out of sight, out of mind right? And for those days when you forget to check inside it before you turn it on, it’s oven safe 😉

And let me just mention again that this bad boy bakes. bread. Flawless, fool proof bread.

So, if you don’t have one … get one. Oh, and let’s add a nice little kick to our week night meal with the Cajun flavors of this jambalaya in a quick one pot meal that is also fool proof. And simple. Brown your meat, boil your rice, and mix everything together to finish cooking in the oven, all in one fantastic pot.

One Pot Sausage Jambalaya

Sausage Jambalaya 2

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp butter
2 packages kielbasa, or andoullie, sausage, thinly sliced
1 onion, roughly diced
1/2- 1 whole bell pepper, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp cumin
3/4 tsp Cajun seasoning
1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 cups long grain rice
2 (8 oz) cans of tomato sauce
2 cups chicken broth, or stock

Directions

1. Heat a dutch oven over medium-high heat, and once it’s good and hot, add in the oil and butter. Add in the sausage and allow it to brown a bit on both sides and caramelize. Remove the sausage to a bowl or a plate and set aside.
2. Next reduce the heat to medium/medium-low and add the onion, pepper, celery, and garlic to the sausage drippings in the dutch oven. Sprinkle the dry seasonings (paprika, garlic & onion powder, cumin, Cajun & Italian seasoning) over the veggies. Add the bay leaves and salt & pepper, as desired. Add in the tomato paste and let everything saute for a few minutes.
3. Add in the rice, stirring to make sure it’s evenly incorporated and well coated. Continue sauteing everything until the vegetables are just tender.
4. Add in the chicken broth and the tomato sauce, and return the sausage to the pot. Stir everything together, and salt and pepper again (if needed) to taste. Bring the mixture to a boil.
5. Turn off the heat, immediately cover the dutch oven with it’s lid, and transfer the dutch oven to an oven preheated to 375 degrees.
6. Cook for 25-30 minutes, or until the rice is tender and has absorbed all the liquid.

If you don’t have a Dutch oven, fear not, you can still enjoy this meal at home. Follow steps 1-4 in a large pot or even a skillet. For step 5, transfer everything to a 9×13 casserole dish. Cover tightly with aluminum oil and bake as directed. You may need to add 45-10 minutes to the cook time to allow the rice to absorb all the liquid. Just keep an eye on it after the 30 minute mark.

Mexican Rice

I meant to have this recipe up yesterday, for Taco Tuesday of course, but it just wasn’t in the cards. So instead, it’s going up today for ‘Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda’ Wednesday. (Yep, it’s now Thursday. Oops!)

If you’ve ever attempted your favorite Mexican restaurant’s rice at home and failed, raise your hand. Well you can put it down now, because this is my go-to favorite and after one bite, I think it will be yours too. Since first making it, I’ve actually found I like it so much better than the rice usually served when I dine out. No more dumping sour cream, queso, or salsa on my rice trying to give it a flavor boost. Mexican rice always tasted like it had so much potential, but was always just a hair to bland. Not anymore. This recipe is for a pilaf style rice with a characteristic reddish/orange color, flavored with onion, garlic, and spices.

This dish, often known as  ‘Spanish’ rice, makes an easy addition and perfect compliment to any Mexican style entree. Tacos for dinner? No? Maybe some fajitas instead? Nope? What about enchiladas? Either way, this here’s your side dish. You can’t go wrong. Did you make a big batch (as is it serves about 4 people) and now you’ve got leftovers? You’re in luck! Not only does this rice still taste just as flavorful the next day, it goes great in a burrito. Is it steak night and you’re out of ideas for sides to serve? Voila! Problem solved. Same goes for chicken 🙂 Feel free to tweak the recipe and play around a bit to make it your own.

Notice I don’t claim this recipe is ‘authentic’? It probably isn’t, but it is damn good.

Mexican Rice

 Mexican Rice

recipe originally from Favorite Family Recipes

3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup long grain rice, uncooked
1 tsp fresh minced garlic
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 3/4 cup chicken broth
3 tbsp finely chopped, fresh cilantro

Directions

1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. When hot, add the rice and gently stir until rice begins to lightly brown and crisp.
2. Add the garlic, salt, and cumin, stirring until fully incorporated and everything’s a nice golden color .
3. Add the tomato sauce, chicken broth, and cilantro and turn the heat up to medium high.
4. Bring the mix to a boil then turn the heat to low and cover.
5. Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork, and enjoy!

Spicy Rice & Bean Burritos

We all really like Chipotle. In fact, if we’re going to grab a bite somewhere, that’s probably where we will end up. Son # 1 even more than the rest of us. We find him wandering around the house daily, greeting us with ‘Yaaasss, Chipotle is my liiiiiiiiiiiiiffffffffffffe.’ The jury’s still out on if it’s because he’s morphing into a perpetually misunderstood 16 year old in a week, or if it’s just because he’s him. Either way, we can always agree on the fact that a Chipotle burrito is friggin’ delicious. Sometimes there are little hiccups in our plans to go ‘grab a bite’ though. The number one being the major bump in the road of having 4 hungry boys and only one income. So last week when son # 2 went a whole day without complaining about any chores, even helping out with extras, and then asked could we grab a burrito while we were out running errands did I let the piddly little issue of my budget get in my way? Of course not! Budget smudget. Okay, not really. It didn’t get in the way because we just took a different route. We came home, stuck our heads together and created our own version, full of copy-cat-ish Chipotle burrito love.

These are fantastic. Don’t let their humble appearance fool you, these could easily give Chipotle a run for their money! They are pretty spicy, but coming from someone who doesn’t like spicy food and loves these, I would say not too spicy. Feel free to dial down the heat though by using less of the spices.  Or, if you’re feeling brave really into spicy food and want to crank up the heat, splash some hot sauce onto the rice mixture, or you could sprinkle a few diced jalapeno peppers on top of the filling before rolling up the tortilla. Not feeling a burrito today? This rice/bean filling is just as good served as a hearty rice dish served alongside spicy, or fiesta-style, grilled chicken.

Spicy Rice & Bean Burritos

 Spicy Rice & Bean Burritos

recipe adapted from A Bitchin Kitchen

1 tbsp olive oil
3 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp chili powder
1 pepper from a can of chipotles in adobo, minced
2 tsp sauce from a can of chipotles in adobo
1 tsp ground cumin
one large pinch of cayenne pepper
1/3 cup water
1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups cooked rice
1/4 cup salsa
6 burrito-sized tortillas
8 oz shredded cheese, mexican blend, cheddar, or monterey jack
shredded lettuce
4 green onions, thinly sliced
fat-free Greek yogurt, or sour cream

Directions

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, chili powder, pepper, adobo sauce, cumin, and cayenne. Allow them to cook just until fragrant, only about 30-60 seconds. Add in the drained/rinsed beans and the water. Bring the filling to a simmer, and then lower the heat to medium-low and allow it to cook for 8 minutes, mashing the bean mixture slightly. Remove from heat, and stir in rice and salsa until everything is evenly combined.
2. Divide the mixture evenly among the center of each tortilla. Top the filling with cheese, lettuce, green onions, and greek yogurt as desired. Roll them up by folding over both side about 1 1/2 inches and then rolling up lengthwise to close/make the burrito, and serve!

{One Pot Wonder} Dirty Rice

For years, we bought the box mix and simply added ground beef to it. We were in heaven. It was divine. It tasted great and it was quick. Everything we ever needed or wanted in our dirty rice dinners. Or so I thought. Sometimes I have readers send me links to recipes they think will tickle my fancy or that they want an opinion on before venturing into uncharted territory. THAT’ is how this recipe fell into my lap, err inbox, late last year, and I can’t say thank you enough!

I wanted to share this with you all sooner. I really did. You see, I first made this late last year, and we loved it. But I don’t typically take pictures until the next time I make something. I mean, I’ve gotta make sure it’s son approve and all. So then there was the second time we made this, and all I had was a crappy picture that really didn’t do it justice, and this meal deserved better than that. So I used that as the perfect excuse to make it again. And it seemed that every time I got around to making it again, and again, we were all in so much of a hurry to dig into this dish that the only photo I could get was using the hub’s cell phone! Clearly you can see where our priorities lie. 😉 So this time around, about 9 months later, give or take a month or so, I didn’t tell anyone what was for dinner and wouldn’t let anyone near the kitchen until I’d managed to get at least one decent shot with my camera. Once I snapped it, that was it, the troops were all over it. It was a lot like what I’d imagine feeding a pack of ravenous wolves might be like. [End tangent]

So. Dirty Rice. If you’re from the South, especially the deep south and any ‘bayou’ regions, you’ve probably grown up on the stuff. For those of you not from the deep south, a fun fact about ‘dirty’ rice.  The traditional Cajun dish get it’s name from the white rice it calls for that turns a ‘dirty’ color when cooked with small pieces of chicken livers. Yeah. I didn’t like liver when I was little, and it’s still a no-go now. I know, I know, your palette can change as you age, but I’m not chancing it. No liver for this Mama. I get my rice pleeeenty dirty using good ol’ ground beef. Don’t like beef? Chicken sausage or pork sausage both work great in this meal. If you’ve got one pot, and one 25-minute window of time, you’ve got this amazing dinner that will leave you with only ONE dish to clean. Priceless, right?!

Dirty Rice

Dirty Rice

recipe adapted from Southern Plate

1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground beef
1 stalk celery, sliced
1/2 bell pepper, diced
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 small onion, diced
4 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped, or 2 tbsp dried
1-3 tbsp creole seasoning, depending on how spicy you’d like it
5 cups cooked rice
 
Directions
 
1. In a large skillet, heat up the oil, over medium heat.
2. Add the ground beef, celery, pepper, garlic, and onion and cook, breaking up the beef while stirring, until the ground beef is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.
3. Add the parsley and creole seasoning, starting on the low end with 1 tbsp and tasting before leaving it or increasing the amount as desired, stirring to combine.
4. Then stir in the cooked rice, and saute for 5 minutes, or until heated through, over medium heat.
 
 
Like the idea of a one pot meal and a less-mess dinner? Check out these other one pot wonders:
4 Sons 'R' Us: Mexican Chicken & Rice
Mexican Chicken & Rice (Arroz con Pollo)
4 Sons 'R' Us: {One Pot Wonder} Pizza Pasta
Pizza Pasta
4 Sons 'R' Us: {One Pot Wonder} Chicken Lo Mein
Chicken Lo Mein
 

Crockpot Chicken, Sausage, & Rice

Do you ever have times where you feel the need to disconnect? To step away from the computer, from social media, altogether for a few days and just reconnect with the world around you? To reconnect with your family, your spouse, your children? For us, it’s been the past four or five days. All the kids are home and it’s summer and sometimes we find we just need to be ‘present’. It’s amazing all that we always manage to get done during our completely unhooked periods. We deep cleaned. I’m talking the whole house, furniture pulled away from walls and cleaned behind. Carpets washed. Walls painted. Clothes and toys purged. We had movie days and movie nights. We rode bikes and threw footballs. We spent time with family. We talked. It was a much-needed and refreshing change of pace. But, starting tomorrow we’ll be back on the blog, emails will be re-opened, and social media re-visited. Thanks guys for understanding the need to occasionally go off-line. I promise the rest of this week holds several goodies in store!

For me, the crock pot is a summer must-have for come dinnertime, because turning the oven on is so not happening. When we think crock pot cooking, I know I typically think warm winter stews and casseroles, but it’s actually the steamy miserably muggy months when the crock pot becomes my BFF. My let’s make beautiful kitchen magic together, and save me money at the same, time forever friend.

Chicken, sausage, and rice is another one of my favorite crock pot meals to make, whatever the season. The chicken comes out cooked to tender perfection and pairs perfectly with the sausage. So much flavor! Round out the meal by serving this with a nice, warm piece of crusty bread and a refreshing side salad.

Crockpot Chicken, Sausage, & Rice

4 Sons 'R' Us: Crockpot Chicken, Sausage, and Rice

recipe adapted from Free WW Recipes 

1 tsp crushed red peppers
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp thyme leaves
1 tbsp paprika
1 lb smoked sausage, cut in 1 inch pieces
2 cups coarsely chopped onions
1 cup coarsely chopped green bell pepper
1 cup coarsely chopped red bell pepper
1 cup sliced celery
1 (14-1/2 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
4 bay leaves
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 2 lbs)
2 cups instant white rice
 
Directions
1. Rinse chicken and pat dry
2. Place sausage, bell peppers, onions, celery, tomatoes, broth, bay leaves, thyme, paprika, and garlic powder in slow cooker.
3. Stir to blend well.
4. Top with chicken and sprinkle with black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes.
5. Cover and cook 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender.
7. Add rice and stir gently.
8. Cover and cook 15 to 20 minutes until rice is tender.
9. Remove bay leaves and chicken bones before serving.
IMPORTANT: For best results, do not remove cover during cooking.

Cheesy Zucchini Rice

The summer squash just keeps on growing, and I’ve been inundated with zucchs (pronounced zukes). Believe me when I tell you, I am not complaining. I’m always appreciative of my gorgeous green bounty. I really can’t get enough of them. But I  have struggled some this year with coming up with more uses for them than the previous go-to 3 I had, as I mentioned a few weeks ago. Now, I’ve discovered yet another new use for my beloved summer squash. Cheesy Zucchini Rice! Seriously, it’s the perfect summer side dish for you. I know you haven’t tried it yet, but you’ll have to trust me on this.

This little recipe also incredibly versatile, and goes well with pretty much any main dish – grilled chicken, pork, fish, steak, shrimp (you get the idea). You could even mix in some extra vegetables and serve it as a vegetarian entree, or just a light summer lunch. You can feel pretty safe changing up the cheese, too! We love a good cheddar, but I’m certain most cheeses would taste great. I mean, when can you go wrong with cheese? Trying to eat healthier? Try a little less cheese, and add in a little extra zucchini. However you decide to make it, just make it – before zucchini season is over!

Cheesy Zucchini Rice

4 Sons 'R' Us: Cheesy Zucchini Rice

recipe adapted from Buns In My Oven

1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup long-grain white rice
2 cups of chicken broth
2 tbsp butter
1 medium or 2 small zucchini, grated (you can use a food processor or a standard cheese grater)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste
splash of milk, as needed

Directions

1. In a medium pan, or pot, over medium heat, heat the oil.
2. Add the rice, briefly giving it a stir to coat, and then add in the broth and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and cover.
4. Simmer 15 – 20 minutes, or until the majority of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender.
5. Remove the pan or pot from the heat source. Stir in the butter, zucchini, cheese, and garlic and continue stirring until evenly combined. Re-cover and let the rice sit for about 5 minutes.
6. Stir again and then add in the salt and pepper and a splash of milk (if needed)  if you’d like to thin =the mixture out a bit or if it needs an extra dash of creaminess.

{One Pot Wonder} Mexican Chicken & Rice

The great thing about this dish? (I mean besides the incredibly tasty flavors) It can all be made in one pot. All of it. Rice and all. It’s like magic. Dinner magic. One pot to dirty, one pot to clean, one delicious meal to consume. And if I haven’t convinced you yet… it’s quick. Super quick. Less than 30 minutes quick. Don’t believe me? Here, let me walk you through it.

Cook chicken –> stir everything else in –> let cook 20 minutes –>DONE. Piece. of. chicken & rice. cake.

{One Pot Wonder} Mexican Chicken & Rice

4 Sons 'R' Us: Mexican Chicken & Rice

recipe adapted from Yellow Bliss Road

Directions

1. Cut chicken into one inch pieces and season with salt & pepper. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add chicken. Cook until just barely browned, but not cooked through.
2. Add one cup of long grain white rice and saute for one minute. Add remaining ingredients, stir, and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low for about 20 minutes or until rice is tender and fluffy. If there is still liquid in the pan, uncover and simmer until the liquid is reduced.

4 Sons 'R' Us: Mexican Chicken & Rice 2

Buen provecho!

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