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Food for Thought: Extra Mondays and Pressure Cooker Jambalaya

Food for Thought is a weekly collaboration between Thick Fit Mom and Flexible Fork encouraging thoughtful eating and easy, balanced meals for you and your family.


I firmly believe that every day is a blessing. A gift. An opportunity for anything.


It's just that, sometimes, Mondays can be a bit...trying. For those of us that work M-F or M-Sa, we've just had a bit of a break. Just enough to keep you from being psychotic but not vacation rested. That can make Mondays a less than relaxing experience. There's another phenomenon that's even worse though...extra Monday. Also known as midweek Monday or second Monday. There are a variety of things that can bring about an EM. A three day weekend is a common cause but malfunctioning electronics, misbehaving children and heavy rain have been known to bring it on as well.


Yesterday, I experienced an EM. I blame it on Christopher Columbus. It began with me oversleeping for my workout and arriving around 20 minutes late. Next was the coffee I wanted to buy but couldn't pay for because I don't take my wallet to the gym. I also happened to be at the one place in the universe Samsung Pay doesn't work at. I should have gone to Dunkin' but it was closer. Now I'm running really behind and I'm nearly late to get the kid to school. Obviously, I'm a couple of minutes late to work. When I went in to buy the picture package for picture day, the Lifetouch website and I got in to an argument and I didn't get that handled. Technical difficulties kept getting in the way of Micca the Magnificent from Flexible Fork being able to send me the ingredient list until I was nearly at the grocery and the instructions until I was actually in the kitchen staring at them...at which point I realized that I had left one of the grocery bags at the store on the self checkout counter. The bag with the long-grain rice, tomatoes and Cajun seasoning that I definitely couldn't skip. It was a full blown disaster of a Monday on a Tuesday and this recipe very nearly did not get made last night and you fine folks would have been reading the backup recipe post I have saved in case of emergency (oh yeah, I'm prepared for such things). I am, however, glad that I made it. I hope you will be too!



Electric Pressure Cooker/Instant Pot Jambalaya



Ingredients

  • 12 oz smoked turkey sausage, sliced in ¼” pieces

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed (My preferred method of cubing chicken is with a nice pair of kitchen shears. You’d be surprised how much easier it is to use scissors instead of a knife)

  • 1 lb medium shrimp

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 ¾ cups low sodium chicken broth

  • 1 can (14.5 oz) no added salt diced tomatoes

  • 1 ½ cups uncooked long grain white rice

  • 1 yellow onion, diced

  • 1 green bell pepper, diced

  • 3 green onions, chopped

  • 3 celery stalks, chopped

  • 3 garlic cloves, diced

  • 2 tsp Cajun seasoning

  • 1 tsp dried basil

  • ¼ tsp thyme

  • 1 tsp sugar

Instructions


1. Turn instant pot to saute setting. Add oil. Once hot, add sausage slices, cooking until browned, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate. If you're like me and you skipped the actual branded Instant Pot in favor of the one that was half the cost at ALDI, you don't have a saute setting. Instead, use the warm up time from a normal pressure cooking cycle to brown the meat.



2. Add remaining oil to the pot.


3. Add the chicken and shrimp and cook for one minute, scraping up the browned bits from the sausage.



4. Turn the pressure cooker off. Add onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic and cook for one minute.



5. Add the Cajun seasoning, dried basil, thyme, sugar and rice and stir to combine. The end result isn't super spicy. I used McCormick's Cajun seasoning and wound up sprinkling a little Mrs. Dash extra spicy seasoning on top of the finished dish. If you like your food very spicy, I'd suggest some extra pepper here or adding a salt-free alternative like the Mrs. Dash so you don't wind up making it to salty just to get some extra kick.



6. Add the diced tomatoes and their juices and chicken stock.



7. Secure the pressure cooker lid and turn valve to sealing.


8. Cook on Manual High Pressure for 5 minutes. When the timer beeps, allow the pressure to naturally release for 5 minutes, and then quick release the remaining pressure. Again, if you don't have a setting that specifically says "manual" simply use a quick cooking setting, or any setting that allows you to select the amount of time you need.


9. Carefully open the lid and gently fluff the rice with a fork. Add the sausages on top of the rice and return the lid to let the mixture rest for an additional 5 minutes. The texture is a little softer than my normal stove top jambalaya...almost like a risotto. This is not a bad thing.


10. Top individual servings with green onion and serve.




Bonus Step: Heat yourself up some for lunch the next day. The flavor just gets better and better!




Let us know what you think or share your Monday horror stories in the comments or on Facebook!

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