Recipe: Crockpot Jambalaya with Quinoa

I’m one of those people who loves grocery shopping. Yes, I’m a dork. I love perusing the aisles and thinking about what I’m going to cook. Week to week (or more like twice a week), I’m a local Publix shopper and so thankful for good customer service helping me get to my car since I always have at least one kid with me. (Still haven’t taken all three grocery shopping by myself–soon though!) But every month or two, I venture out to another store such as Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods or Costco. It’s probably best that I don’t go that often, because I spend a ton when I finally do plan a visit.

This morning, while both boys were in school for a couple hours, Miss Scarlett and I ventured to Costco to do some much-needed bulk shopping. I love stocking up on household basics such as paper towels, toilet paper, laundry detergent, etc., as well as certain food items that I know I can find at better prices at Costco (coconut oil, pecans, chicken stock, etc).

I’m sure to buy a few fun (aka yummy) items on a whim because it makes my heart (and belly) happy. And can I just tell you that Costco has really stepped up it’s game? I was tempted by so many of these items this trip that I really had to reign in myself. I passed by the gluten-free frozen pizza and the gluten-free cookies with hardly a sideways glance, but almost gave in at the Nuttzo Butter (seven nuts and seeds!) until I found the $17 price tag. Ouch! And not to say that Costco doesn’t have the cheapest price around, but it was still a little too rich for my blood considering our family would probably down the jar in a week.

costco items

But just let me brag about a couple of the items I was surprised to find this trip, as well as a couple products I love.

1.) In the winter, we typically buy Cuties or Halos because they are seedless and the perfect size for the Rowdy boys. But I came across this 8lb bag of Cara Cara pink-flesh oranges and swiped them up. Thank goodness I did because they are to die for. I know that sounds pretty extreme for oranges, and maybe it is or maybe I’m just going through a crazy craving phase, but I ate three of them in a matter of 10 minutes. That means they are rivaling my love of chocolate for the moment, and if you know me, that says a lot.

2.) I love me some Trader Joe’s coconut oil, but it just makes more sense to buy it cheaper in bulk since we go through a lot of coconut oil. I bake with it a lot, and James uses it for bulletproof coffee. Now that we’re restocked, I’m telling myself it’s time to get back on the bulletproof coffee train. No sugar + more fat = better Haley.

3.) Thankfully, I only make it to Costco every 6 to 8 weeks on average or Bark Thins would be my demise. Every trip they’re sure to have a different flavor of Bark Thins. I think I’ve tried four varieties and I can’t even pin down my favorite. They are all that good. I just have to be careful about getting the 1+ pound bag and remind myself to partition them out. Easier said than done!

4.) I’ve been on a hot cocoa kick this winter. Actually, I was on a kick last winter as well. Once the boys go down for naps after lunch, I love to fix a cup of hot cocoa (or half cocoa/half coffee) and sit down to do my bible study for the day. It’s that little part of me time I get throughout the day so I like to pamper myself with hot cocoa, because Mama sure isn’t pampering herself with a massage or pedicure or anything of that nature. Those aren’t part of the budget and I’d rather spend money on good food anyway 🙂

5.) I know that chicken stock sounds so boring, but since I cook a lot (and a lot of soups and stews, at that), I’ve started using stock more often than broth and I love the boost of flavor. You can also convert stock to broth by adding water, so win-win!

6.) I almost bypassed this honey, but then did a double-take when I saw “raw” and realized it’s local to North Georgia. Like any loyal Georgia citizen, I had to snatch up a jar. James and I both agree that it tastes different from processed honey, so hopefully we’re getting more of the beneficial nutrients.

I am in no way being compensated for this post (wish I was), I just loving sharing fun finds!

So, that was a very long intro to this recipe 🙂 Earlier this week, I threw some ingredients into the crockpot in the morning and let them cook down all day. Lo and behold, this all-in-one meal turned out quite tasty. Luckily, I jotted down the ingredients and measurements to remove the guess work for when I make it again.

[Poor Man’s] Crockpot Jambalaya
(Named so because I didn’t use any shrimp and because us poor people use crockpots!)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups quinoa (I used 1 cup of white and 1 cup of red)
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 lb skinless kielbasa
  • 3 to 4 cups cooked shredded chicken (I used rotisserie chicken)
  • 1 large bell pepper, diced (I used half an orange and half a red)
  • 1 heart of celery, diced (about 1.5 cups)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp hot pepper sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

This is so simple I feel a bit silly typing it, but all you do is place all the ingredients in the crockpot, stir and cook on high for 6 to 8 hours until liquid is absorbed and the desired consistency is reached. The meat is already cooked, so it’s all about softening the veggies and quinoa.

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