August 15th, 2016 was a big day in our house. Not only was it my daughter’s 14th birthday but I also started a full-time job doing what I love just as much as cooking. With the new full-time job comes the very real struggle of finding meals for dinner that don’t take hours to prepare and cook. For this challenge, I’ve relied heavily on my crock pot more than ever before. This dependence also came with extensive internet research for crock pot meals that were varied, flavorful and relatively healthy.
I was excited to try a new recipe I found for Jambalaya. Not only have I never made Jambalaya before but of course, I was happy that I could fix it and forget it. I did all the heavy lifting (a.k.a. prep) last night after cooking, serving and cleaning up that night’s dinner AND fixing my kids school lunches for the next day (my new “working” mom reality), threw it all in the crock pot, put the crock pot in the fridge and stuck a Post-it note on the coffee machine reminding myself to get it started before I left for work this morning. With eyes half open this morning, I started my coffee brewing and set the crock pot on low to stew away for the next 9 or so hours.
All day long I thought about the Jambalaya and delighted in the thought that it was a Friday (of a three day weekend I might add) and all I had to do when I got home was crack open a cold beer, cook some rice and serve dinner.
I rushed home with anticipation, burst through the garage door, gave my hubby a hug and reveled in the aroma permeating the house. I cracked open the lid, dug my spoon into the Jambalaya (making sure to get as many of the ingredients as I could possibly fit on my spoon) and barely gave it time to cool off before eagerly shoving that spoon into my mouth.
And then the tears started rolling down my cheeks. Oh Holy Cajun Seasoning!!!!
I stirred the Jambalaya while thinking back to my prep the night before. Did I double the spices? Did I read Tablespoon when it actually said Teaspoon? I was tired after all. It had already been a long day. I was pretty confident that I followed the recipe correctly so I stirred a little longer thinking maybe I just got an extra spicy spoonful. I took another big bite and more tears (and coughing) ensued. As I was choking at the kitchen counter and begging for water, my son walked in. He looked at me strangely, asked if I was ok and then asked, “what’s for dinner?” Barely able to speak, I nodded to answer his question about my well-being and then pointed at the Jambalaya while filling a spoon for him to try. I thought perhaps I was being overly dramatic about the spice and reassurance from my son that it was ‘not that spicy’ would make me feel better. Unfortunately, that’s not how this went down. My son threw the spoon down, hurried to the fridge for some milk and then proceeded to yell at me for 5 minutes about serving him, “flaming hot, super spicy mystery stew.”
Upon his recovery, two t.v. dinners went into the oven for my kids. On a side note….I did not buy t.v. dinners. I don’t condone the consumption of t.v. dinners. This is the result of my husband at the grocery store with a little too much time to spare. Anyway, back to the Jambalaya…it’s still sitting on the kitchen counter, in the crock pot, abandoned by my kids. And hubby doesn’t want it either but he claims its because he had too big of a lunch and not because of the spice. We shall see if he consumes it for his usual 10pm snack. I have to admit that even I’m a little scared to eat anymore of it.
For those that like spice and crock pot recipes, here is the recipe. I might suggest toning down the cayenne pepper and Cajun seasoning if you have kids.
Crock Pot, Make Your Kids Cry, Jambalya
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into 1 inch cubes
1 pound andouille sausage, sliced
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried parsley
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 pound frozen cooked shrimp without tails
Throw it all in the crock pot and simmer on low for at least 7 hours.