Did you miss me? It has been about a week since my last actual recipe post. I am really sorry about that. I just had one of those busy weeks, where I had so much to get done- that cooking and baking got pushed aside :/ Fret not, today I got to wake up early do some menu planning, run to the grocery store and have a little kitchen fun. And I plan to continue this fun tomorrow :)
What's new? Well this past Wednesday Justin defended his master's thesis, meaning he is now Justin (insert last name), M.S.! How exciting for him! To celebrate, he wanted to go to BJ's Brewhouse and Restaurant. You do not have to ask me twice- as that was one of my favorite restaurants. I absolutely LOVE their pizookie. Not sure if you noticed but I said "was my favorite." BJs used to be modestly more pricey but gave huge portion sizes. Now, I am not endorsing eating large portions in one sitting, but as a graduate student- large portions means left overs :) This time when I went to BJs their portion sizes were tiny and their prices were way up :/ No Bueno BJs Brewhouse and Restaurant...No Beuno. Even their pizookie, as delicious as it is- is now way overpriced. ::though that did not stop me from eating a bite of Justin's Red Velvet Pizookie::
I brought up BJs Brewhouse and Restaurant not only to congratulate Justin but also because when there, I ordered the Jambalaya. Now I did not expect it to be so "authentic" and it was not- but it was good enough to where it had me craving actual Jambalaya. And so I wanted to see if I could maybe, kinda sort-of, make a make-shift, version of Jambalaya (aka: Sri Lankan me- making hubby style Jambalaya). Result: the hubby said it tasted like the real thing and better then the Jambalaya made by a Cajun Restaurant here! I thought it was yummy as well- if I do say so myself. ::me popping my collar:: -- and now ::me laughing at myself:: #dork
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 (14oz) bag of frozen cajun vegetables (I used Kroger's Mirepoix Cajun Blend)
1 (12 oz) bag of Kroger's 3 pepper and onion blend
1 (14oz) sausage, cut into medallions (Andouille sausage is most authentic)
1 (8oz) box of either Tony Chachere's or Zatarains dirty rice mix*
1 c. of rice (long grain)
2 1/4 c. water
2 3/4 c. chicken broth
1 1/2 tbsp. garlic
14.5 oz. can of tomatoes
15 oz. can of tomato sauce
Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning- to taste
Hot sauce (to taste)- add a few dashes
Lemon juice- to taste- a few squirts
* Tony Chachere and Zatarains both offer Jambalaya mix- but I think the dirty rice gives it more flavor
**Add shrimp for a great addition. The hubby does not like shrimp :/ That is the only reason I did not include it in this dish.
In a large skillet or wok, heat olive oil over medium heat. Once hot add in Cajun vegetables and pepper/onion blend. Saute until tender and no excess liquid remains, about 5-10 minutes. Then add in sausage and cook until browned. Set aside.
In a large pot, over medium heat, combine Dirty Rice mix, long grain rice, water and chicken broth. Stir to distribute contents of dirty rice mix. Then add in garlic, tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Increase to medium-high heat and bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce to medium-low heat, add in vegetable-sausage blend (that you cooked in skillet) and garnishes (Creole seasoning, hot sauce, and lemon juice).
Cook on medium-low heat for up to and hour- to allow rice to absorb liquid. This slow-cooking method is what makes the rice so tender yet so flavorful. Stir rice intermittently while it is cooking- to prevent rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Also, while rice is cooking, taste rice to make sure garnishes is to your preference- add more if necessary. Be careful with the hot sauce and Tony Chacheres as adding a little can make it very spicy. If rice is not cooked and all the liquid has been absorbed --add in more chicken broth 1/2 c. at a time. Continue to add chicken broth until rice is cooked and tender.