Dinner tonight. Why? Because the last time I made this I doubled it and threw one in the freezer for a night such as this. A night where I have no plan other than we will need to eat at some point. Freezer meals might be time-consuming up front but pay off in the long run. Get some friends together and make a bunch to share. Meatloaf, shepherd’s pie, chili, roasted meat, chicken and sweet potato bakes are recent freezer meals to fill our freezers.
Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday and is next week. This is when people indulge in rich, fatty, delicious foods and excessive partying before Ash Wednesday and Lent, which is a period of fasting and penance. Mardi Gras or Carnival is celebrated worldwide, in the US most notably in New Orleans. New Orleans during Mardi Gras has been on my list of things to do but I’ve heard it’s not a very wholesome, kid-friendly environment, so it may have to wait a bit. My kids are already asking how babies get in your belly, the last thing I need to answer is why you have to show your boobies to get a beaded necklace.
Here is a dish that originated in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Traditionally it is served over rice, which has been subbed out for cauliflower rice. Tabasco can be added to the main pot or kept out for sensitive palates and added to individual dishes. I usually double the recipe.
Jambalaya (my grandma’s recipe)
1 T coconut oil
1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 cup celery, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
½ pound ham, kielbasa, or andouille sausage, cubed (read the labels)
1-14 oz can chicken broth (preferably homemade)
1-14oz can diced stewed tomatoes (no salt added)
1 bay leaf (remove before serving)
½ t Tabasco
½ t dried ground thyme
1/8 t allspice
½ pound shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed
Melt oil in a large heavy bottom pot over medium heat. Add the trinity (onion, green pepper, celery), garlic and ham and cook until veg is soft, about 10 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes, and spices and simmer uncovered for 10 more minutes. Add shrimp and allow to cook through, about 5 minutes more. Serve in a bowl over cauliflower rice.
Cauliflower “Rice” (from The Food Lover’s Kitchen and from the cookbook Make it Paleo)
1 T coconut oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 head cauliflower, grated on a cheese grater or pulsed in a food processor or VitaMix
Salt and pepper, to taste
Use the large holes on a cheese grater and grate the cauliflower. In a large sauté pan over medium heat melt the oil. Add onion and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the “riced” cauliflower and stir to combine. Let cook until cauliflower has softened, but be careful not to overcook to mush. Add salt and pepper to taste.
With this delicious, healthful, and filling jambalaya you can enjoy Mardi Gras with your shirt on. Or not, if that’s your thing.