Thursday, January 7, 2010

Cajun Jambalaya Pasta

We really enjoy eating a variety of foods and many of the foods that we make at home are based on meals we had while dining out. Sometimes I find a recipe, sometimes I make it up based on what I think is in the dish and still other times, I start with a recipe and tweak it to our tastes.

One dish that we like to make at home that we first had at a restaurant is Cajun Jambalaya Pasta. I like that it is a fairly healthy meal, but offers a lot of flavor. This dish is based on a dish offered at the Cheesecake Factory. Since our nearest Cheesecake Factory is an hour away, we almost never go unless we are traveling.

Cajun Jambalaya Pasta

Spice Blend:
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2# large shrimp, peeled and deveined

12 oz Fettuccine

2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 small green pepper, sliced
1 small red pepper, sliced
1 small yellow pepper, sliced
1 small white onion, sliced

1 1/2 c chicken stock
1 tbsp corn starch
2 tbsp white wine
2 tsp chopped fresh parsley

Make spice blend by combining the spices in a small bowl. Sprinkle cut up chicken with 1/3 of spice blend. In another bowl, sprinkle shrimp with 1/3 of spice blend.

Prepare pasta.

While pasta cooks, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. When oil is hot, saute chicken for about 2 min per side. Add shrimp to pan and cook another 2 minutes. When chicken and shrimp have been seared, move shrimp and chicken into a bowl. Without rinsing, put pan back on high heat and add 1 tbsp olive oil. Add tomato, peppers, and onion. Sprinkle the rest of the spice blend over the vegetables. Saute for about 10 minutes, or until vegetables start to brown. Add chicken and shrimp back to the pan. Pour in 3/4 c chicken stock. Cook over high heat until stock has been reduced to just about nothing. Add remaining broth. Stir constantly, reducing broth a bit. Then, turn the heat down to low. Combine cornstarch and wine in small bowl, stirring until cornstarch is dissolved. Add to pan and simmer over low heat until sauce thickens slightly. Serve over pasta, top with parsley.

In the winter, when fresh peppers and tomatoes are not as cheap, we use a bag of frozen peppers and onions and a can of petite diced tomatoes. (This can also be a time saver, since everything is already cut and prepped.) To make the dish healthier, use Spinach Fettuccine and/or Whole Wheat Fettuccine. With so many fresh ingredients and so much flavor, it is a great healthy meal to serve to your family. I will caution that you might want to start with less spice if you are serving children. I actually have only worked up to using about half of the spice blend in cooking. I put the rest on the counter and allow my husband to add more spice to his bowl. Otherwise, the dish would be too spicy for the kids.

For more healthy recipe options, check out the Ultimate Recipe Swap Healthier Eating at Life As Mom.

This recipe also shared at The Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap.