Money Mindful Meals: Chicken and Sausage Jambalotto

This week I am really on a budget. My usual “budget” includes numerous exceptions: swanky cocktails at Sable, a few bottles of champagne for New Year’s Eve, and a new hat to replace the one I lost. But this week there will be absolutely no exceptions; I am saving to buy a plane ticket to Peru where I will be exploring Cusco and Machu Picchu with my friend, Anna, and her family.

So this week I will eat every meal at home, drink only PBR, and bring my lunch to work every day. The latter being the most challenging. Waking up early enough to make a sandwich always seems reasonable before I go to bed, but at 6:30am, when my alarm begins to beep, I relentlessly press snooze until I have to sprint out the door to work. In order to avoid this SNAFU (did you know ‘SNAFU’ was an acronym?), I dedicated Sunday to making a huge pot of food and then packaging the food in plastic containers that would guarantee me easy access to lunch on my morning run out the door.

Sunday I made jambalaya, but to save money I skipped the shrimp, opted for spicy Italian sausage instead of Andouille, and used rice I already had in stock, arborio rice (traditionally used in risotto due to its high starch content). The arborio yielded a dish that was creamier than a typical Jambalaya and more closely related to paella, jambalaya’s mother dish. So this week I will be enjoying a spicy and smooth jambalotto for lunch. Or should I call it risottalaya? Or risotto alla jambalaya? I think I like how jambalotto flows, what are your thoughts?

Alex Milling is a recent graduate of Northwestern University and is hoping to hear new and fun ways to combine the words ‘jambalaya’ and ‘risotto.’


Chicken and Sausage Jambalotto
Serves 6
Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit

Traditionally, risotto is made by adding more liquid as it becomes absorbed by the rice, stirring constantly. Since this recipe does not have you prepare the rice in such a manner, it is not a traditional risotto, rather a rice dish with certain risotto characteristics.

Total Cost: $17.47
Cost per Serving: $2.91


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter – in-stock
2 small yellow onions, chopped – $0.56
5 green onions, chopped – $0.43
1/2 green bell pepper, diced – $0.58
4 garlic cloves, chopped – $0.22
2 bay leaves – in-stock
1 jalapeño chili, finely chopped with seeds – $0.19
1 tablespoon Creole Seasoning – in-stock
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper – in-stock
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled – in-stock
2 tablespoons tomato paste – $0.45
1 pound hot Italian sausage, squeezed into 1/2-inch pieces – $1.99
1 pound chicken tenders, cut into 1-inch pieces – $5.49
2 14 1/2-ounce cans chicken broth – $1.99
1 16-ounce can plum tomatoes, diced, with liquid – $1.49
3 cups arborio rice – $4.08

Melt butter in stock pot over medium-low heat. Add yellow onions, 4 green onions, bell pepper, garlic, bay leaves, jalapeño, Creole Seasoning, cayenne pepper and oregano. Cover and cook until onions are translucent, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.

Mix in tomato paste. Add sausage, chicken, broth, and tomatoes. Bring mixture to simmer, cover, and let cook for 30 minutes. Add rice, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until rice is tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.

Garnish with remaining green onions and serve immediately.

Originally posted on Thursday, January 12th, 2012

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