Dinner time. These two words can strike fear in the heart of any woman. As if feeding your significant other isn't enough...some of you just might have to feed kids....aaaaaagh! I saw this commercial this morning and I was a little tweaked by it...
If I ever pulled that kind of crap at the dinner table, I wouldn't have even had the chance to finish my statement....my mother would have removed me from the table faster than I could say broccoli. You see, dinner time in my childhood home was a fine tuned orchestra. Mom always made dinner...we didn't eat out two or three times a week...we didn't even eat out once a week. Maybe the parents would go out, but it was special for us to get to go as well. Mc Donald's was a special occurrence as well. We would all pile in the station wagon and dad would drive us a few blocks to Mc Donald's and order a bag of hamburgers and fries. No Happy Meals, no Cokes, no Chicken Mc Nuggets. Then, he would drive us all home to eat. He would slice fresh tomatoes and cheese and top off the hamburgers. Mom would plate the hamburgers and fries on actual dinner ware and pour cold milk into glasses. We would eat it around the dinner table as a family. That is how our family would eat fast food.
With the exception of a few meals out, we would eat at home, around the same dinner table. My father would come home at 7:00 just about every night. But just before he walked in was when the magic really happened. Whatever chaos was taking place, around six...it all stopped...and we knew it. If we were dirty, we cleaned up...and then we helped prepare the dinner and set the table. And then we all sat down together. Mom prepared one meal, and we all ate it....of course the children had smaller portions....but we all ate exactly the same meal. No one ever questioned what was on their plate...I'm not sure why, maybe just because my mom was consistant. And of course, there was always ketchup...you can fix most things with ketchup!
I'll never forget having dinner at my great grandma's house....she made the two of us liver and onions. I was like seven years old...I did not like liver and onions, but I wasn't about to tell her so ...I covered it with ketchup....and I ate it and claimed it was one of my favorite meals. I always prayed when I would go over there that she wouldn't make it ever again...and she didn't. Grandma was no dummy, I'm sure she knew I didn't love it.
A few months ago, one of the gals in my cooking class asked me a question that surprised me. She asked me: "How many different meals do you prepare each night?" "What do you mean?," I replied. She then told me that she prepared a separate meal for her husband and herself than her children. She told me that she couldn't get her children to eat anything other than mac and cheese and chicken nuggets. I was floored! I do in fact have troubles with my girls at dinner time, but I handle it much the same as my mother did. My grandmother would say, "If they're not going to eat it, they must not be very hungry." Dinner is usually around 6:30 in our home. there is absolutely no snacking after 3:45...this really does help. I do not put too much food on their plates or my own- I always encourage them to ask for more if they are still hungry. Everyone stays at the table until the last person finishes their meal. The same rules apply to the dinner table as would if the President was having dinner with us.
So, I pose these questions to you...because I am curious.
First: How many meals do you prepare for dinner?
Second: What are your dinner time rules?
Third: What will your children or yourself absolutely not eat?
Please feel free to answer, there are no wrong answers. Right or wrong, we are all trying to do our best.
Alright, I will quit rambling...and get on with today's recipe. Jambalaya! Rice, chicken, shrimp, sausage...YUMMY. Creole Jambalaya originates from the French Quarter of New Orleans, in the original European sector. It was an attempt by the Spanish to make paella in the New World, where saffron was not readily available due to import costs. Tomatoes became the substitute for saffron. As time went on, French influence became strong in New Orleans, and spices from the Caribbean changed this New World paella into a unique dish. In modern Louisiana, the dish has evolved along a variety of different lines. Creole Jambalaya, or red Jambalaya as it is called by Cajuns, is found primarily in and around New Orleans, where it is simply known as "Jambalaya." Creole Jambalaya includes tomatoes, whereas Cajun Jambalaya does not.
This recipe is so simple..of course. It is super filling and an excellent one dish meal. I hope you enjoy it.
2 cups shrimp
2 cups chicken, diced
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Combine above ingredients and let sit
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup green pepper, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup kidney beans
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons Worcestershire
2 teaspoons hot sauce, Tabasco-ish
2 cups andouille sausage, sliced
2 cups rice
3 cups chicken stock
In a heavy stock pot, fry the onion, celery, garlic, peppers, and carrots. Add all remaining ingredients excluding the sausage, rice and stock and heat to a bubble. Add the rice and get really hot, adding the chicken stock a half cup at a time, and bringing to a bubble each time. Reduce and let simmer, covered for 10 minutes. Add the shrimp, chicken, and sausage and cook for 15 minutes.