Chicken and Shrimp Jambalaya

Happy Mardi Gras!  I was not raised observing Fat Tuesday, Ash Wednesday, or any of the other Lent traditions, but I’m certainly happy to use a holiday as an excuse to try a new recipe!

Chicken and Shrimp Jambalaya

I’ve been a huge fan of hearty one pot meals this winter so last weekend when we realized that Mardi Gras was just a few days away we decided that a flavorful Jambalaya would be the perfect recipe for Sunday night.   We consulted our trusty Cook’s Illustrated The New Best Recipe cook book and decided to make their version of a creole-style Jambalaya with shredded chicken thighs, andouille sausage, shrimp, tomatoes and rice.  The recipe came together fairly quickly (compared to some of our stews, at least!) and the resulting dish featured an impressive range of flavors from the smoky andouille and clam-juiced shrimp to the fresh parsley, and slow-cooked chicken.  Yum!

Chicken and Shrimp Jambalaya (from The New Best Recipe; serves 5-6)

You will need…
1 Yellow Onion, quartered
1 Celery Rib, cut into 2-3 inch pieces
1 Red Bell Pepper, quartered
5 Garlic Cloves, peeled
2 teaspoons Vegetable Oil
4 Bone-In, Skin-On Chicken Thighs
8 oz. Andouille Sausage, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4″ pieces (buy a good brand of Andouille if possible; it should give this dish a lot of flavor!)
1 1/2 Long Grain White Rice (uncooked)
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Fresh Thyme, minced (we used dried Thyme)
1/4 teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
1 – 14.5 oz. can Diced Tomatoes, drained with 1/4 cup of juice reserved
8 oz. Clam Juice
1 1/2 cups Chicken Broth
2 Bay Leaves
1 lb. Shrimp, peeled and deveined (we used frozen 30 ct. shrimp and thawed them beforehand)
2 tablespoons minced fresh Parsley

Directions:
Begin by transferring the onion, celery, red pepper and garlic into a food processor.  Pulse the vegetables briefly to finely chop them without pureeing them.  We have a miniature food processor so Matt did this in 4 steps (one per vegetable) and then combined all of the chopped veggies together on a plate.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Use tongs to place the chicken thighs in the oil, skin-side down, and cook, undisturbed, for 5 minutes or until golden brown.  (Watch out, there’s a lot of splattering!)  Use the tongs to flip the thighs over and continue to cook for another 3 minutes, then transfer the thighs to a plate.  Reduce the heat to medium, add the chopped andouille, and brown for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.  (This step smells amazing, in my opinion.)  Transfer the browned andouille to a paper towel-lined plate.

Reduce the heat further to medium low, then add in the chopped vegetables.  Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot and stir the veggies until softened, about 4 minutes.  Add in the rice, salt, thyme, and cayenne and stir well for about a minute to coat the rice in the chicken fat.  Stir in the tomatoes, tomato juice, clam juice, chicken broth and bay leaves.  Remove the skin from the chicken thighs then use your tongs to place the chicken, skinned-side down, on top of the rice mixture.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes stir the mixture once and flip the chicken thighs over, then cover and simmer for another 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.  Transfer the chicken to a plate.

Place the shrimp on top of the rice mixture then cover and cook for 5 minutes until the shrimp are pink and cooked through.  (Be careful not to overcook the shrimp.)  When the shrimp are fully cooked remove the pot from heat and discard the bay leaves.  As soon as the chicken thighs are cool enough to work with, shred the meat into thin strands with your fingers.  Gently stir the shredded chicken and minced parsley into the stew and serve immediately.

Jambalaya

728 Jambalaya

Do you have a favorite Mardi Gras-inspired dish or tradition?
Please tell me about it in the comments section!

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White Bean Chili with Sausage and Chicken

It has been bitterly cold here in southeastern PA.  We haven’t seen above-freezing temperatures in a week and the 14 inches of snow that fell last Tuesday still look fresh and powdery… no melting whatsoever!  I’m not complaining, though.  I’ll take extreme winter weather with lots of snow and cold over a mediocre, unexciting winter any year!

The cold weather means that Matt and I have been making soups, stews, and chilis almost every week.  Right now we have a beef chili simmering on the stove that’s made with “real” dried beans that we had to soak overnight… first time I’ve ever done that!  Tonight’s chili still has another hour or so to cook before it will be ready so I thought I’d use that time to post about another stew that we made a few weeks ago… white bean chili with hot sausage, chicken, bacon, and five types of peppers… yum!!

White Bean Chili with Sausage, Bacon and Chicken

This white bean chili comes together really quickly… just under an hour from start to finish.  That’s much faster than tonight’s beef chili which has been simmering for nearly 7 hours! (Can you tell that I am impatiently waiting for it to be done?  I’m starving!!)  Getting back to the white bean chili, I found that the “white” cannellini beans and navy beans were a nice change from the basic kidney beans and black beans that my chilis usually include and I definitely liked the combination of bell peppers, jalapeño, green chiles, and chipotles en adobo.  Oh, and of course I thoroughly enjoyed the bacon and hot sausage… how could you not like that winning combination?  🙂

White Bean Chili with Sausage and Chicken (adapted from this recipe at Food52)

Chili Ingredients:
Olive Oil
5 slices Bacon, chopped
1 lb. Chicken Breast, cut into 1″ cubes
1 lb. Hot Italian Sausage, ground (or removed from casing)
2 Yellow Onions, diced
1 Green Bell Pepper, diced
1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
1 Jalapeño Pepper, minced
2 – 4 oz. cans Diced Green Chiles
2 Chipotles en Adobo, minced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Ground Coriander
3 tablespoons Cumin
1 1/2 tablespoons Chili Powder
3 tablespoons Mexican Oregano
3 tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
6 cups Chicken Stock
1 – 15 oz. can Cannellinni Beans, partially drained
1 – 15 oz. can Navy Beans, partially drained

Garnishes:
Your choice of Sour Cream, Grated Cheddar Cheese, Fresh Cilantro, Lime Wedges, Avocado, and/or Tortilla Strips

White Bean Chili In Process

Directions:
Heat a large (7-8 qt) stock pot over medium-high heat.  Add a few tablespoons of olive oil and brown the chopped bacon until it is just starting to get crispy.  Add in the chicken and sausage.  Brown the meat, stirring frequently, for approx. 12 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the sausage is well crumbled.

Stir in the next seven ingredients (onion thru garlic) and saute until the onions are tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the spices (black pepper thru Mexican oregano), stir well, and continue to cook for another 3 minutes.  Sprinkle the flour over the mixture, stir, and cook for 3 more minutes.  Next, add the chicken stock 1 cup at a time, stirring and scraping the browned bits off of bottom of the pot between each cup.  Bring the chili to a boil then add the beans and stir well to combine.  Reduce the heat and simmer the chili for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve the white bean chili in large bowls and top with your choice of garnish.  We enjoyed our chili with sour cream, cheddar cheese, and cilantro and it was delicious!

White Bean Chili 4

Here are some of the other Chilis and Stews that we’ve been making lately.  Enjoy and stay warm!
•  Pozole Verde
•  Pork and Green Chile Stew
•  Butternut Squash and Turkey Chili

Rotisserie Chicken Taquitos

Believe it or not, one of the most popular recipes on this blog is my take on Rotisserie Chicken Burritos.  I’m guessing it must be the combination of cheesy deliciousness and the ease of using precooked rotisserie chicken that makes the burritos so popular. (And did I mention the melted cheese? YUM!)  With that in mind, Matt and I set out to see what other easy weeknight meal we could make with rotisserie chicken.  These baked chicken and poblano chile taquitos are the satisfying result!

Rotisserie Chicken Taquitos

Taquitos are basically little burritos that are bite-sized and perfect for dipping.  Just like burritos, taquitos are created by wrapping a tortilla around tasty filling, but unlike burritos the taquitos are baked in the oven (or fried) to give them a nice crispy texture.  The firm outer shell of the tortilla helps each little taquito hold its shape as you dip it into your choice of salsa, sour cream or guacamole.

We made our taquitos rather plump which worked out well since they were our main dinner entree.  If you wanted to serve these as an appetizer you could make them a little thinner.  Also, we made up our filling as we went along and we’ll probably continue to tweak it when we make these in the future, so have fun and play around with your own combination of shredded meat, veggies, and seasonings.  Just don’t forget the cheese!  🙂

Homemade Taquitos Montage

Baked Rotisserie Chicken Taquitos with Poblano Chiles

You will need…
3 small Poblano Peppers
1/2 Yellow Onion, finely diced
1 clove Garlic, minced
1 large Rotisserie Chicken Breast, meat removed from bone and chopped
1 teaspoon Chile Powder
1/2 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Mexican Oregano
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Approx. 1 cup Shredded Mexican Blend Cheese
Handful Cilantro Leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup Peanut Oil
12-18 Small Corn Tortillas
Sour Cream and Salsa, for serving

Directions:
Place the poblano peppers on a rimmed baking sheet and broil on the top rack of an oven for 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally, until the pepper skin is blistered and starting to blackened.  Remove from the oven and transfer the peppers to a glass bowl.  Cover the bowl for 5-10 minutes with a dish towel to hold in the moisture.  Then, carefully peel the skin off of the poblanos (it should come off pretty easily), remove the seeds and finely chop.

Saute the diced onions and garlic in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat until translucent.  Add in the chopped poblanos, chicken and seasonings (chile powder through salt and pepper) and stir well.  Saute until ingredients are heated through then transfer to a large bowl.  Stir in the shredded cheese and cilantro to complete your taquito filling.

Heat the peanut oil in a small pan over medium heat.  Use tongs to place a tortilla in the oil.  The oil is hot enough when small bubbles appear around the outer edge of the tortilla.  (It’s too hot if the oil is bubbling wildly and/or causing the tortilla to lift up out of the oil.)  Allow the tortilla to heat in the oil for 20-30 seconds, then use the tongs to flip it over and cook for another 15 seconds.  Lift the tortilla out of the oil, allow the excess oil to drip off, then transfer to a cutting board.  Fill the tortilla with a small amount of the filling (approx. 2-3 tablespoons), roll it up, and place it seam-side down on a baking sheet.  Repeat this process with the remaining tortillas.

Bake the taquitos in a preheatead 350°F oven for 20-30 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.  Serve with sour cream and salsa.

Taquitos!

Chicken Lo Mein

This past weekend was our first free weekend since before our wedding! No DockDogs events, no traveling, no commitments… just time to ourselves! We celebrated by sleeping in both days, going out to lunch together (because we slept through breakfast) and watching hours of the British Open and Tour de France. I also did a lot of running on our brand new treadmill and Matt started a construction project that involved cutting open our bedroom wall in multiple spots… more on those events in a future post!

For dinner on Saturday we made a new recipe from our trusty cookbook, Stir Frying to the Sky’s Edge. I know I’ve said this before but this cookbook is AWESOME! In addition to savory recipes like Kung Pao Chicken and Hot Pepper Beef, this book is also full of helpful cooking techniques, information about ingredients and a whole tutorial on how to select and care for your wok. We have always been amazed by how great the recipes from this book turn out and Saturday’s dinner of Chicken Lo Mein was no exception. Without further ado, here’s the recipe!

Chicken Lo Mein

Chicken Lo Mein with Ginger Mushrooms (from Stir Frying to the Sky’s Edge by Grace Young)

You will need…
12 oz. fresh thick Egg Noodles*
2 teaspoons Sesame Oil
12 oz. boneless, skinless Chicken Thighs, cut into 1/4″ thick bite-sized slices
1 tablespoon Ginger, finely shredded (cut into tiny matchstick-like pieces)
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon Rice Wine or Dry Sherry, divided
1 teaspoon Cornstarch
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon Soy Sauce, divided
1 teaspoon Salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon Ground White Pepper
2 tablespoons Peanut Oil, divided
1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
3 cups Napa Cabbage, thinly sliced
4 oz. Shiitake Mushrooms, stems removed and caps thinly sliced
1/2 cup Scallions, finely shredded (try using a Negi cutter to shred the scallion into even threads)
*We couldn’t find egg noodles so we used a package of Kame Stir-Fry Hokkien Noodles that we simply microwaved to heat up.

Directions:
Cook or heat up your noodles until al dente according to the package instructions. If using fresh noodles that you have to cook in boiling water, drain the cooked noodles and rinse several times with cold water. Place the cooked noodles in a bowl and stir in the sesame oil. Set aside.

Combine the chicken, ginger, 1 teaspoon rice wine, cornstarch, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 1/4 teaspoon salt and the white pepper in a small bowl. In another small bowl combine the remaining 1 tablespoon rice wine and 1 tablespoon soy sauce.

Heat a wok over high heat. Pour in 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil and add the red pepper flakes. Stir fry for 10 seconds then push the flakes to the sides of the wok and add the chicken mixture. Spread the chicken evenly on the bottom of the wok and allow to cook, undisturbed, for 1 minute, then stir fry the chicken for another 30 seconds or until it starts to brown. Add in the cabbage and mushrooms and stir fry for 1 minute or until the cabbage wilts. Transfer the wok contents to a plate.

Pour the remaining tablespoon of peanut oil into the wok then add in the noodles and stir fry for 15 seconds. Stir in the rice wine/soy sauce mixture and add the scallions, chicken mixture, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt. Stir fry for 1 to 2 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Serve and enjoy!

Chicken Lo Mein Close Up

Chicken Lo Mein Dinner

Rotisserie Chicken Burritos

Pan-fried burritos stuffed with rotisserie chicken, beans, salsa, and cheese… does it get any better that that?  Not in my book!

We used to make these delicious burritos before TheLittleGSP.com existed (in fact, recipes like this inspired me to create a blog so I’d have a place to share them!), but after starting the blog we found ourselves constantly looking for new and exciting recipes to try and we somehow left this one behind.  Well, we’ve corrected that now.  We made these burritos two nights ago for dinner and gobbled up the leftovers today for lunch and I can now confidently say that this recipe is as tasty and satisfying as any of the recipes you’ll find in this blog.  It’s also incredibly easy and uses readily available ingredients… perfect!

Rotisserie Chicken Burrito

Rotisserie Chicken Burritos (from MyRecipes.com)

You will need…
1/4 cup Water
2 tablespoons Lime Juice
1/4 teaspoon Cumin
1/4 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Chile Powder
1/8 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
2 Split Rotisserie Chicken Breasts, meat pulled from the bone and shredded
1/4 cup Green Onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup Salsa
1-15oz can Black Beans, drained
1/4 cup chopped Cilantro
1-2 tablespoons Olive Oil
4 “Burrito-sized” Flour Tortillas
1/2 cup Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese (or Mexican Blend)

Pan-Frying the Burritos

Directions:
In a small sauce pan, combine the first 6 ingredients (water thru red pepper flakes) and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat, then add in the chicken and green onions and stir well to coat.  Set aside.  Meanwhile, stir together the salsa, beans, and cilantro in a microwaveable bowl and heat on high in a microwave for 1-2 minutes (just to warm it up slightly, especially if the salsa has been in the fridge).

Pour about 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a skillet and allow it to heat up over medium heat.  Assemble your burritos two at a time by layering the bean/salsa mixture, chicken, and cheese in a narrow strip along the center of the tortillas.  Fold the edges of each tortilla in towards the center and place them side by side in the skillet, seam side “up.”  Use a small pot lid to press down slightly on the tortillas while you pan-fry them for approximately three minutes, then carefully flip them over and, using the lid once again, continue to cook the burritos for another 3 minutes or until the tortillas are golden brown and the cheese is thoroughly melted.  Enjoy with salsa, sour cream and guacamole!

Rotisserie Chicken Burrito (cut)

Chicken Enchiladas with Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Several weeks ago I shared the recipe for one of our all-time favorite appetizers, Roasted Tomatillo Salsa. In addition to being a great appetizer, this salsa is also a star ingredient in Tyler Florence’s Chicken Enchiladas. We’ve made these enchiladas a few times and they are delicious! Although the original recipe calls for flour tortillas we tried mixing things up last night and used corn tortillas instead. The corn tortillas didn’t hold together quite as well as the flour tortillas (as evidenced by my disheveled-looking plated dinner photos!) but they more than made up for that with their wonderful corn-y texture and taste.

By themselves, these enchiladas will easily feed 4-6 adults for dinner but you could also serve them with Mexican rice or a side of beans to round out the meal.

Chicken Enchiladas with Roasted Tomatillo Salsa (from The Food Network)

You will need…
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 White Onion, diced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons Cumin
1/4 cup Flour
2 cups Chicken Stock
Handful Cilantro Leaves, chopped, plus more for garnish
1 small Rotisserie Chicken, meat removed from bones and shredded
Salt and Pepper to taste
Approx. 2 cups Roasted Tomatillo Salsa (view recipe)
14 Corn Tortillas, warmed in a stack under a damp towel in the microwave for 30 seconds before assembly
8 oz. Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
Sour Cream, for garnish
Tomatoes, Chopped, for garnish

Directions:
Heat the Olive Oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the diced onion and sauté until the onion is starting to turn brown and caramelize, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cumin and continue to cook for 1 minute. Sprinkle in the flour, stir well, and gradually pour in the chicken stock. Stir well then reduce heat and allow to simmer until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally. Remove thickened sauce from heat and stir in 1 cup of the Tomatillo Salsa, along with the cilantro and shredded chicken. Stir well to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper if desired.

Set up five stations with the following: (1) stack of warmed tortillas, (2) shallow bowl with several spoonfuls of tomatillo salsa, (3) chicken mixture, (4) Monterey Jack cheese, (5) 13×9 inch baking pan with several spoonfuls of tomatillo salsa smeared across the bottom. To assemble your enchiladas, coat both sides of a tortilla with salsa and spoon in a few tablespoons of the chicken mixture. Sprinkle some cheese over the chicken mixture and then roll the tortilla up and place in the baking pan. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, lining them up neatly in the baking pan. Spoon any extra chicken mixture over the rolled tortillas and cover with the remaining tomatillo salsa (approx. 3/4 cup). Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and bake in a preheated 350° oven for 30 minutes.

The enchiladas are done when the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve your enchiladas with a garnish of sour cream, cilantro, and chopped tomatoes. Enjoy!

Jalapeño Garlic Chicken Quesadillas

Wait!  Before you read this, please comment on my Tomato Salad post to win a FREE digital kitchen scale!  Contest ends tomorrow (8/1) at 11:59PM.

We had originally planned to make standard chicken tacos for dinner tonight but decided to mix (or melt?) things up with these cheesy jalapeño garlic chicken quesadillas instead.  Matt found the marinade recipe on About.com and I think that it gave the chicken a great amount of flavor without overwhelming the other ingredients in the quesadilla.

Our garden-fresh peppers were featured three ways in this meal.  We used two jalapeño peppers in the marinade, sliced up two small red peppers to saute with the onions and applied a few drops of our super-hot roasted fresh chile salsa (recipe coming soon!) over top of the cheese in the final quesadilla.  Delicious!

Jalapeño Garlic Chicken Quesadillas

You will need…
2 Jalapeño Peppers, stems removed
2-3 cloves Garlic, peeled
3/4 cup Water
1/2 cup Red Wine Vinegar
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Ancho Chile Powder
1/4 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1 Chicken Breast (2 halves)
Peanut Oil
1/2 Red Onion, thinly sliced
1 Red Bell Pepper, sliced into thin strips
6-8 Corn Tortillas
1 cup Shredded Cheese (we used Sargento Authentic Mexican Blend – a mix of Queso Quesadilla, Asadero, Queso Gallego, Manchego and Anejo Enchilado Cheese… whew!)
Hot Sauce or Roasted Fresh Chile Salsa to taste

Directions:
Place the jalapeño peppers and garlic in a blender and blend until finely chopped.  Add the next seven ingredients (water thru black pepper) and blend thoroughly.  Pour the mixture into a large zipper-top bag and add the chicken.  Allow to marinade for at least 30 minutes.

Add a tablespoon of Peanut Oil to a large skillet and saute the onion over medium heat.  When the onion is tender and starting to brown, add the red bell pepper and continuing sauteing until the peppers have softened slightly, approximately 5 minutes.  Remove the onions and peppers from the skillet and set aside.

Grill the marinaded chicken over direct medium-high heat until cooked through, approximately 7-8 minutes per side.  Remove the chicken from the grill and allow it to rest for 3-5 minutes before cutting it into thin slices.

Add a small amount of peanut oil to a large skillet and heat over medium heat.  Place one corn tortilla in the skillet and top with a small handful of shredded cheese.  Layer a few slices of chicken onto the cheese and spoon some of the onion-pepper mixture over the chicken.  Top with another scant handful of cheese and a few drops of your favorite hot sauce or spicy salsa.  Layer a second corn tortilla onto your creation.  Allow the bottom of the quesadilla to turn golden brown then carefully flip the quesadilla over and cook the other side until golden.  Remove the quesadilla from the skillet, and repeat the layering process with the remaining 2-3 quesadillas.  Slice the quesadillas into quarters and serve with salsa, guacamole, or sour cream… or just eat them as is!  🙂