Read Carefully

One of my all-time favorite recipes is one pot jambalaya. I love the spicy power of a well-rounded jambalaya and the ease of cleaning up just one pot. As a single parent, cutting down on clean up time is crucial. Until today, this meal has been saved for non-child attended dinners – but that’s about to change.

After every holiday, I always have an abundance of keilbasa leftover to slice, dice, and prepare in new ways. Jambalaya, with its use of andouille sausage, seemed like a great utilization of these leftovers. I set to find out how a toned down version of the cajun dish would fare with a child at the table.

Cutting down on the spice

Kids tastebuds are more sensitive to spicy foods, there are numerous studies done on this but I haven’t read them. I just know that my kid runs at the sight of any pepper, be it green or black. Dare a peppered spice touch her tongue, it shall be washed away with milk as cries of “it’s spicy!” ring through the land. It was intimidating to think I was going to thrown a cajun-seasoned dish in front of her but I was just tired enough to try (or not care).

The main thing was, not to include the creole/cayenne/cajun seasonings. By cutting back on the spices, I could slowly ramp up the ‘hotness’ to match where she was at on the spice-spectrum. I opted to not add any extra spices but to use dirty rice (lightly seasoned rice). It ultimately was still spicy, but because both her dad & I eat spicy foods, she was a trooper and ate it. She wanted to work up her tolerance to eat spicy foods like us – this is another article on the power of parental influence, but I’ll save that for another day.

It was a rookie mistake, using the dirty rice. I could barely taste the spiciness but it instantly affected my daughter’s tastebuds. Instead, I should have used brown rice and added a nominal amount of creole seasoning. For kids that have zero tolerance to spicy foods or simply don’t care to try it, use the brown rice and add salt/pepper and the smallest amount of creole to taste.

Over time, you can add more and more spicy seasoning to match your family’s spice-spectrum. The recipe I used was originally posted on, go check them out for more great recipes! - jambalaya



  • 2 tbsp – olive oil
  • 1/2 medium – onion
  • 1 medium – bell pepper, red
  • 1 medium – bell pepper, green
  • 1 medium – bell pepper, orange
  • 2 cloves – garlic
  • 1 breast – chicken breast
  • 8 ounce – turkey sausage
  • 3 cup – chicken broth, low-sodium
  • 2 cup – crushed tomatoes, canned
  • 1/2 cup – brown rice, raw
  • 1/2 tbsp – Cajun spice
  • 1 teaspoon – thyme, dried
  • 1 teaspoon – Worcestershire sauce
  • 8 oz – shrimp, peeled and deveined


  1. Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven or sturdy pot.  Chop onions and peppers into bit size pieces.  Mince or crush garlic.
  2. Saute veggies and garlic until they soften, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Cut chicken and sausage into bite size pieces.
  4. Add the chicken and the sausage and continue cooking until chicken is no longer pink on the outside.
  5. To the pot add the rest of the ingredients, except the shrimp.   Stir to combine.
  6. Decrease the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes.
  7. {If you use brown rice vs. white rice, this will take longer to cook for the rice to soften.  Plan on an extra 20-25 minutes and you may need to add more liquid}
  8. Once the rice is soft, taste and add more seasonings to taste.
  9. Add shrimp and continue to simmer until the shrimp are pink and cooked through.
  10. Serve warm and enjoy!