OK, I know I am gonna take some heat on this because most of you that really know me, and my somewhat snobbish ways, know that when it concerns food, and I should say authentic foods, that I am indeed... picky.
I have always been a Cajun "brown" Jambalaya lover/maker and have had some pretty atrocious versions of "red" in and around New Orleans. It takes me a couple of hours prepping, cooking, and finishing off my Jambalaya, so I only fix it once every other month or so. It is awesome though.
A girl at work brought in something the other day, I asked "what is that"? She said "Jambalaya, it's not as good as yours though" which flattered me, so I tried some. It was very good, even considering she had used Italian sausage in it. Now notice I am not going out on too long a limb.
She told me it was Zatarain's. I was amazed since I have usually not placed much stock in boxed dinners, but I do know and love some of Zatarain's products. So I went to the store, got a pack of the "Reduced Sodium" Zatarain's Jambalaya Mix, and made some up. I sliced up half a pound of andouille (or smoked sausage), one plump, de-boned, shredded-up, chicken breast from the kitchen here at work, (dinner theater with fried chicken) a half-cup of diced onion and half-cup diced celery. So I had really very little invested in it.
In 1 tbs of margarine, I sweated the onions and celery in a 3 qt. saucepan, added the chicken meat, andouille, and let it go a bit, then added the 2 1/2 cups of water the box called for. I brought it to a boil, then added the mix. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
I turned the heat down a bit and simmered for about 20 mins., stirring occaisionally. Put the lid on the pot and popped it into the 300º oven for 15 minutes. Brought it out, fluffed it a bit, and tasted it. You know what? It was really, really tasty.
You dont have to add the onions or celery, and you can add diced ham, shrimp, or whatever for your meat. If a snob like me can enjoy this easy set-up anyone can. I knocked it together in about 10 mins. it cooked for about 40 mins. all together, and was cheap. Do I like it better than my scratch-made version? No, but in a hurry, this is fine... try it out.
BTW The Reduced Sodium version has 40% Less Sodium than regular Zatarain's Jambalaya Mix with NO MSG Added!
OK lemme have it!