One of the reasons I first started cooking was my displeasure with what I was bringing to work for lunch. I found myself wanting a real meal midday. Not a sandwich (sandwiches can be real meals, but the ones I was making weren’t), not a prepackaged freezer meal, not a container of yogurt. A real, hot, meal.
3 years later, I’m still working on coming up with good lunch ideas that don’t add a lot of time to my daily routine. The easiest way to make this happen is to cook up a big batch of something over the weekend and portion it out to last for the week. Lately I’ve been on a roll. Two weeks ago I made vegetarian chili in my slow cooker. Last week it was Moroccan Lentil Soup. This week it was a jambalaya style creation that turned out great. After the food is cooked and cooled down, it gets divided up and put in the fridge. We’ve recently discovered that canning jars with plastic storage caps are perfect for this-they don’t leak, they’re sturdy, they’re glass and they hold the perfect amount of food.
Jambalaya-Style Rice with Shrimp
This recipe was highly inspired by a post on the Simple Dollar, but the original recipe is so flexible that it can be overwhelming. This version supplies explicit instructions for a delicious and filling dish that can serve a crowd or provide lunch for 2 for a week.
Makes about 10 servings
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 an onion, diced
2 cups uncooked white rice
4 and 1/2 cups chicken broth or water
spice mix-a 1/4 teaspoon of each of the following: cayenne pepper, paprika, black ground pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, and basil (inspired by the Simple Dollar)
1 and 1/2 cups kidney beans
1/2 pound frozen shrimp, defrosted
1 green pepper, diced
1 cup canned diced tomatoes
1. Heat the vegetable oil in a 4 quart saucepan on medium heat. Add the onion and cook until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the rice, stirring to toast for about 2 minutes.
2. Pour the chicken broth into the saucepan and stir to remove any rice or onions from the bottom of the pan. Turn the heat up to medium-high and allow the mixture to come to a boil.
3. Return the heat to medium and add your remaining ingredients (spice mix, kidney beans, shrimp, green pepper and tomatoes). Stir to evenly combine. Allow to simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the rice and shrimp are cooked through.
4. Divide into portions for lunches and enjoy throughout the week!