As I type this we are heading into the final days of Carnival 2017. This means late nights out on the parade route.

Inevitably, everyone will be hungry when we get home. I’ve found it’s best to plan ahead and prepare food ahead of time. Luckily, New Orleans classics like jambalaya and red beans and rice are perfect after-parade dishes. They can be prepared ahead of time and quickly heated up when needed.

Here’s an easy jambalaya recipe.  The ingredients list is here (note the custom stationary – a gift from my wife!):


  1. Prep everything you need ahead of time. Chop the vegetables, measure out your seasonings, have the chicken stock or water ready to go. It is easy to think you can do these things on the fly, but I always miss something when I try to do this. Don’t make that mistake.
  2. Add one tablespoon of oil or butter to your pot. Very lightly brown the chicken in the pot you are going to cook your jambalaya. Set the chicken aside.
  3. Add the onions, green bell peppers. Cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add the garlic. Stir everything around and give it a minute or two until the raw smell of garlic goes away.
  5. Add the smoked sausage and the seasonings. Stir everything then cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes stirring occasionally, but not constantly. The goal is to brown the vegetables and the sausage without burning the garlic.
  6. Add rice, stock/water, green onions, and bay leaves. Add the chicken that you browned earlier. Bring heat to medium high and stir regularly until it just begins to boil. Reduce heat to low, stir, place lid on the pot and let it cook for 16 minutes. Feel free to stir it once or twice making sure it isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  7. Optional: Once the rice is cooked add a spoon or two of tomato purée.
  8. Taste and add salt as needed. NOTE: depending on the smoked sausage you used, there may already be plenty of salt.




New Orleans is so much more than the Bourbon Street scenes you may have seen–– it’s a 300-year-old city made up of vibrant neighborhoods, diverse populations, and traditions layered upon each other.
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