Friday, October 5, 2007

Leftover-Fest Jambalaya

I got several things accomplished at once today, and I'm kinda proud. Tired, but proud. First of all, the kitchen is clean. The kitchen. Is. Clean. You have no idea how big that is. I made a good, hot dinner, and did it using leftovers and Stuff I Already Had On Hand. That is also huge. AND, everyone ate it. Admittedly, Bella only ate a molecule or two, but she is the preschooler human equivalent of an air fern.

OK, so here's what I had:

Ham left over from what Alex brought home last night
A partial package of frozen tail-on shrimp
Chicken broth that I cooked boil-in-bag rice in last week, and then froze
Three leftover pieces of frozen garlic bread
One packet of instant brown rice
Half a bag of frozen chopped onions
A can of diced tomatoes with peppers, onion and celery
File' powder
Garlic powder
Thyme
Olive Oil
Butter
Louisiana hot sauce
Coarse Kosher salt

And here's what I made with it:
7  add shrimp at the end of cooking process

And here's how--again, you can change this up about a million ways, however you like. I started with a pat of butter and a splash of olive oil in a Dutch oven.
1  A pat of butter, a splash of olive oil

Sauteed the onion and garlic (or garlic powder) until browned.
2   brown onions and garlic

Added about a cup of uncooked, instant brown rice, and a couple cups of chopped ham, stirred to coat in oil.
3   add ham and uncooked rice, stir to blend

Added the can of diced tomatoes (the variety with celery and peppers added).
4  add diced tomatoes

Added the 2-3 cups of chicken broth, that I'd partially thawed in the microwave.
5   add chicken broth

Reduced heat, covered, and simmered for a while, cooking down the liquid, while also adding gumbo file' powder to thicken.
6  reduce heat, simmer, cooking down

When optimal thickness was reached, added the frozen shrimp and cooked just 'til done, a couple of minutes.
7  add shrimp at the end of cooking process

Removed shrimp, pulled tails off because my family would whine about having to do it themselves, put tailless shrimp back into jambalaya, made final adjustments to seasoning and thickness, then served with garlic bread, hey presto.
8  pull tails off shrimp, adjust thickness and seasoning if desired, serve

This is kind of a big deal for me, because I'm bad about accumulating ingredients in my pantry and freezer, and not using them. To stop doing that is one of the goals I'm trying to reach with all this (there are MANY), because to not do so is wasteful of food and money, and we certainly don't have money to spare around here. I work too hard organizing coupon sprees to waste the spoils of my victory.

4 comments:

andrea said...

Brilliant. I'm actually bookmarking this because Greg's favourite dish is Jambalaya and neither of us ever takes the time to make it properly! Ham is a typical leftover but I might just make it with chorizo sausage next time I can find it...

Belinda said...

My actual favorite comes from a Crock-Pot recipe. Seriously. From the little paper booklet that comes WITH the Crock-Pot when you buy it. BEST EVER. I use instant brown rice (now that brown rice comes in "instant" is there any excuse NOT to use it instead of white?) and about 4 times more liquid than they call for, but other than that, the same. Is also good with chicken.

paper napkin said...

Woo-hoo! Clean kitchen and a hot dinner! Gold stars on your chart!

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