Recipe: Jambalaya {bad things happen when I don’t eat}

Somehow in the past few months I seemed to have forgotten my passion for cooking.  Let’s take a moment to ponder how the heck this is even possible.  Somewhere between leaving a job of over four years, attempting to sell a house, subsequently becoming a landlord, selling off and donating an insane amount of my possessions, a crazy condo hunt, leaving my family and home state of 26 years, a HORRIBLE moving experience, starting a new job, and immersing myself in the culinary delights of a new city I forgot how much fun and just how darn rewarding a home cooked meal can be.


Through these past few whirlwind months I’ve been a little *ahem* emotional.  Ok, not just emotional.  Let’s also throw in irrational, brash, and downright scary at times.  This Saturday I actually cried over burnt pizza.  I CRIED, PEOPLE.  And then I sat on the living room floor with my knees clenched up to my chest and just stared off into nothingness as my body seethed in furry searching for some sort of carbohydrate to peak my bottomed out blood sugar.

I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again:  bad things happen when I don’t eat.

While I was in the midst of nuclear shutdown, the BF came over, sat down beside me, and put his arm around his little sugar feigning zombie.  And we sat.  And then he did what any good man would do:  he didn’t talk, didn’t ask questions, he just got up from the floor sauntered over to the kitchen and made me a snack.

I know, right?

Why can’t I see things so simply?  Is it really just a man thing?  Are women really just crazy complex, overanalyzing, (often) emotional basket cases?  Whatever the case may be (lord knows I don’t have the answers) the BF does a pretty darn good job of reeling me back from Mary’s Land of Anxious Gloom by trying to insert some of the simple things into my life.  Sunday morning he convinced me to simply sit on the porch and drink mimosas, and Sunday night we simply made jambalaya for dinner.


This was simply stick to your ribs delicious, guys.  I’m serious.  It gave the jambalaya we had in New Orleans a run for the money!



Recipe adapted from Cooking Light’s Jambalaya.

  • 2 links hot chicken or turkey sausage (cooked and sliced)
  • 1 cup white onion (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup celery (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup green pepper (chopped)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1.5 cups uncooked long grain brown rice
  • 3 cups fat-free low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp paprika (smoked, if you have it)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepepr
  • 16oz cooked chicken breast (cubed)
  • 14.5oz can diced tomatoes with green peppers and onions (undrained)
  • 4oz shrimp (uncooked)
  • 1/2 cup green onions (thinly sliced)

Note:  I recommend Uncle Ben’s Fast & Natural Whole Grain Brown Rice and Harris Teeter hot chicken sausage or Jennie-O Turkey Sausage.

Step 1:  Coat a large pot with cooking spray then heat over medium-high heat. Add sausage, onion, green pepper, celery, and garlic. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 12 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.

Step 2:  Stir in uncooked rice and cook for two minutes, stirring constantly. Add broth and all the spices and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.

Step 3:  Add chicken and tomatoes, half of the green onions, and shrimp. Stir, then cover and cook 8 minutes or until shrimp are done.

Step 4:  Remove from heat, sprinkle with remaining green onions, and eat your face off.

Stats on 1 serving: 344 calories, 45g carbs, 6g fat, 33g protein, 4g fiber


Looking for a Jambalaya-for-one recipe?  Check out this post.

Looking for a crazy, borderline incoherent, slightly volatile woman?  Catch me on a day when I miss my midmorning snack.


Spicy black bean burgers two ways






Homemade black bean burgers.  FINALLY.  After all these years I can check you off the Things I’ma Make List.  Thank you to this recipe for showing me that homemade black bean burgers are actually super simple to make.  Also thank you to Google for always helping me find delicious recipes to try out.  I may not be a recipe creator, but I’m one heck of a recipe tryer-outer-and-tweaker if I do say so myself.

Here’s how to make your own black bean burgers in four easy parts.

ONE:  Give the following a quick pulse in the blender, then strain out the excess liquids:

  • 1/2 green pepper cut into chunks
  • 1/2 onion cut into chunks
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced


TWO:  Rinse and drain 1 can of black beans and pat those little bean babies dry with a paper towel.  Once dry, pour them into a bowl and give them a good mash with a fork.  The beans will have a thick and pasty yet slightly chunky (in a good way) consistency.

THREE:  Whisk together the following in a small bowl:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper (or less if you are a wimp)
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Franks Red Hot

FOUR:  Combine parts 1, 2, and 3, then sprinkle in 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs and mix until combined.  Use a 1/2 cup measuring cup to evenly portion out four burgers.  If you’re anal like me, your burgers will have precisely the same circumference.  This is optional (though highly recommended).

Cook those burgers up in a 375 degree oven for 10 minutes on each side.


*Ding ding ding* Burgers are done!!!

Now it’s time to get creative.

Last night, I had one of the burgers in a big burger salad (just like we had at Pike’s over the weekend)!


I’m fairly certain ketchup and mustard have never looked so good:


Once the leftover burgers were cooled off, I wrapped them in parchment paper and then in a Ziploc baggie, and tossed them in the freezer.  Tonight, I heated one of the burgers up in the oven (again, 375 degrees 10 minutes on each side).

I plopped the burger on a Trader Joe’s low carb tortilla along with some tomato, onion, avocado, and dijon mustard:


Coming in for your close up:


I really enjoyed these spicy black bean burgers. The patties held together well even though the middle of the burger had a soft refried bean consistency (which I actually liked).  Next time I think I’ll cook them longer in the oven and see if the burger firms up at all.  Regardless, I’ll definitely be making these guys again!  I think I’ll try swapping out the bread crumbs for oats and egg whites for the egg.

I’m pumped I still have 2 more of these  in the freezer Smile

Stats on 1 black bean burger:  182 calories, 30g carbs, 3g fat, 4g protein, 7g fiber


Chicken Larb

Reasons why you should never judge a recipe by its cover.. err title:


Chicken Larb!

Say whaaaaa?  What the crap is “larb”?  Google tells me “larb” is a type of meat salad.  Good to know, Google.  Good to know.

Had I known this fun fact, I might not have hesitated to clip the recipe for “Chicken Larb” out of one of my issues of Cooking Light.  But lucky for my belly, I looked past the gag-reflex-prompting title and filed this puppy away in my big black book.

I tweaked the recipe slightly and scaled it down to one delicious serving.  First up, toss the following in a food processor:

  • 4 ounces chicken breast
  • 2 tsp red curry paste
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp minced garlic
  • sprinkle of black pepper

Give it a quick buzz in the food processor, and you’ll end up with this crazy orange colored ground chicken:


I’m still amazed that I can make my own ground meat at home.  It’s the little things, I guess!

Saute the chicken in a pan coated with nonstick spray over medium heat.  I occasionally added a tbsp of water to the pan to help moisten things up.

Meanwhile, combine the following:

  • 1/2 cup diced cucumber
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp minced shallot
  • The juice of 1/4 of a lime

Thing of beauty:


Once the chicken is cooked through, combine the chicken with the cucumber mixture and then spoon onto romaine lettuce leaves, and juice a quarter lime over top:


Looks crazy good, am I right?  I had a big serving of roasted broccoli on the side:


This was super tasty and SUPER healthful.  I decided mid-meal to grab a tablespoon or so of fat-free plan Greek Yogurt to dollop on top.  It really was the icing on the larb 😉

This was my first time using red curry paste, and the paste along with the cilantro really made for a tasty combo.


There’s a recipe on the back of the paste bottle for Red Curry Shrimp.  I need to try that STAT!

Roasted broccoli Smile


A delicious dinner enjoyed on my newly assembled patio furniture:


It’s nice to have a little helper.  Or a 6’4” helper… either way Smile

Stats on the Chicken Larb + 1.5 cups broccolee broccolye brocco-lee-hee:  221 calories, 19g carbs, 1g fat, 27g protein, 4g fiber

I can’t believe how outrageously low cal yet still tasty that meal was – next time I may beef it up with some beans or avocado.

Soooooo did you catch the broccoli reference?!?!  PLEASE take 4 minutes and watch this.  You won’t regret it.  And as an added bonus you will now know the song I sing to myself every time I chop up broccoli Laughing out loud


Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for quite a while, but am just now getting around to it.  Dang you tax season.  Dang you!

This is an incredibly easy soup to throw together, and as and added bonus it’s pretty low cal (not to mention tasty).  Boo. ya.

I searched long and hard for wild rice, but could not find any at my grocery store.  What the heck is up with that?  So, I settled on some Rice a Roni Long Grain & Wild Rice:


I cooked the rice up according to the package directions (subbing in chicken broth for water and omitting the butter).

Then I heated up a large pot, sprayed it down with some cooking spray, and sautéed the following:

  • 1  cup  prechopped onion
  • 2/3 cup  chopped red bell pepper
  • 1  cup  cut carrots
  • 3  teaspoon  bottled minced garlic
  • 1/2  teaspoon  dried thyme
  • 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms


My grocery store doesn’t have “gourmet” mushrooms, but these baby bellas always do the trick:


All the kids into the pool:

Once the veggies were softened, I added in a splash of chicken stock to decaramelize the brown bits on the bottom of the pan.  Once I worked them all off the bottom, I tossed in the rest of the stock, and stirred in:

  • 2 shredded chicken breasts
  • the cooked Rice A roni
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper


Awwwwww yeah.




This batch made up four delicious servings, two of which I popped in the freezer.

Cook once, eat fource…errr.. something like that.

Chicken & Wild Rice Soup Ingredients List (serves 4) — inspired by Cooking Light Magazine

  • 4  cups  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 1  box Rice A Roni wild rice
  • 1  cup  prechopped onion
  • 2/3 cup  chopped red bell pepper
  • 1  cup  chopped carrots
  • 3  teaspoon  bottled minced garlic
  • 1/2  teaspoon  dried thyme
  • 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms
  • 2  shredded chicken breasts
  • 1/8  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  black pepper

A random questions for ya’ll this evening–anyone have a Griddler?  If so, is it worth the $$$ and what model is the best? 

Faux Chicken Parmesan

Do you guys every go through phases where you just don’t want anything to do with certain foods?  Lately, that’s how I’ve been feeling about meat. I just have not been craving it! 

While at Target over the weekend, I picked up a box of Morning Star Chick Patties.  I think I’ve contemplated buying these dozens of times before, but never sealed the deal.


Over the weekend, I cooked one of these patties up in the oven and had it on a Pepperidge Farm 7 grain deli flat.

No sauce.  No veggies.  Just the faux meat and bun.

It was glorious.  It seriously reminded me of the chicken pattie sandwiches from high school.  I know that sounds disgusting, but in this instance it’s actually a very very good thing. 

Then, the other night I had a VISION: Faux Chicken Parmesan… Healthified, no less: 


Shut the front door!!!!

First up, grab a spaghetti squash and halve it…


I swear, every time I try and halve a squash I have flashes of severing a finger.  I think to myself, “is this it?”  Is this the day that I lose a finger in the name of squash??


Once it’s halved, scoop out the seeds, and pop this puppy onto a cookie sheet into a 415 degree over for 30 minutes.  I ‘m no fan of mooshy squashoodles.

Next, I grabbed some leftover pasta sauce from the freezer.  This was Nature’s Basket Roasted Garlic:


Why do I get such joy from stock piling individual servings of goods in the freezer?  It’s uncanny really. 

I defrosted the sauce a bit in the microwave, then tossed in a pan and added a hodge podge of seasonings including:  red pepper flakes, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, parsley.


Once the squash was done, I pulled it out of the oven and used a fork to scrape out the innards.  Then popped 1 chicken pattie and some broccoli into the oven to do their thang.

Once the pattie was cooked through, I combined all my delicious and oh-so-easy ingredients:


Faux-chicken-parmesan MASTERPIECE.


I am in love with these patties… seriously, if you haven’t tried them DO IT.  Just make sure you cook them in the oven (and not the microwave) and you’ll get a crispy delicious bit of faux-meat-heaven.


Mmmm hmmmmmmmmmmm….


This WILL be making frequent appearance in my tax season dinner diet.  For sure.


Stats on 1 serving faux chicken parmesan (1/2 squash, 1 pattie, 1/2 cup sauce):  274 calories, 44carbs, 7g fat, 12g protein, 8g fiber

Lest we not forget….. the winner of my Luna Bar giveaway is…….


Meagan!  Yay!!!  Email me with your mailing adddres and I’ll get the bars to you ASAP!