Affordable Family Dinners – Cajun Jambalaya

With seasoned shrimp, chicken, and sausage simmered with spicy rice and vegetables, this jambalaya is classic southern comfort food.

Today’s affordable family dinner recipe is courtesy of the Stark County Hunger Task Force.

This southern favorite one-pot dish varies from kitchen to kitchen, depending on the cook and the recipes passed down from older generations. But one thing is for sure – the better the ingredients, the better the end result.

Here are some tips for this dish –

Keep the shrimp tails on! This way, you can ensure you don’t lose out on the classic seafood flavor that is traditionally found in recipes like jambalaya and gumbo.

Use Andouille sausage as it is a staple of Creole cooking, characterized by its smoky flavor and specific blend of spices. If you can’t find Andouille sausage near you, you can start with ground pork and build the usual flavors in. In terms of spices, add to taste: cayenne, chili powder, paprika, cumin, and dried oregano. Liquid smoke can be used to incorporate the smoky flavor.

When it comes to rice, long grain is best. Other types of rice might get mushy or when cooked in this style. Make sure you’re getting the classic kind, not quick cooking rice. Also, rinsing your rice is an important step in this recipe.

If you end up wanting even more spice in this dish,  you can add a teaspoon of cayenne pepper or a fresh hot pepper. If you’d rather add the heat after it’s cooked, try serving it with your favorite hot sauce.


Easy Cajun Jambalaya 

1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1″ pieces
1 tsp. dried oregano
6 oz. andouille sausage, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. tomato paste
2 c. low-sodium chicken stock
1 (15-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 c. long grain rice
2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Freshly ground black pepper

Kosher salt


  1. In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and bell peppers and season with salt and pepper. Cook until soft, about 5 minutes, then stir in chicken and season with salt, pepper, and oregano. Cook until the chicken is golden, about 5 minutes, then stir in andouille sausage, garlic, and tomato paste and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more.
  2. Add chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, rice, and Old Bay. Reduce heat to medium low, cover with a tight fitting lid, and cook until the rice is tender and the liquid is almost absorbed, about 20 minutes.
  3. Add the shrimp and cook until pink, 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in green onions just before serving.

This dish will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days. To reheat, add a little vegetable oil to a large skillet and add your leftovers, stirring occasionally. You can let the rice crisp up on the bottom of the pan, but avoid cooking the shrimp too much longer, since it can get tough and chewy the longer it cooks.

As with most dishes, jambalaya can keep for months in the freezer. Reheating it from its frozen state is less than ideal though, since the rice will turn to total mush. If you’re planning on making jambalaya in advance and freezing it, leave out the rice and cook it fresh when you’re ready to serve. is one of our favorite resources for easy, delicious family meals.

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