Jazz up your Zatarain’s

This is an easy weekday meal out of a box you can feel good about if you add the fresh goodies I suggest.

When I make Zatarain’s it’s what I call a ‘one pot meal night.’ If you have 30-40 minutes (usually the amount of time spent ordering take-out and waiting for delivery or pick-up. All the while hoping they don’t mess up your order.

You can use this time, instead chopping fresh veggies, herbs, and a lean protein to add to the most amazing Zatarain’s Jambalaya you ever made in 40 minutes (that’s start to finish) and 25 of the 40 minutes is cook time. I am usually folding laundry, practicing spelling words with my kids, setting the table, emptying the dishwasher, or catching up on PTA email during the 25 minutes of cooking.

The object of this dinner is to make it happen with little time and little budget. Use what you have. Don’t go buy this stuff because I know you have some, maybe even all of these ingredients from cooking dinner and packing lunches all week. I’ll also give you a list of additional ingredients I have used in the past. I chose these ingredients because they are the most basic and I usually have them in hand. The only thing I bought specifically for this recipe was the box of Zatarain’s and the protein. In this case I used chicken sausage. Trying to keep it as healthy as possible.


  • One Box of Zatarain’s (or like brand – Aldi sells a comparable product)
  • 3 Cups of water
  • 1 Package of Chicken Sausage (Sliced)
  • 1 Small Red Onion (Chopped)
  • 2 Medium/Large Carrots (Sliced)
  • 1 Roma Tomato (Chopped)
  • 2 Stalks of Celery (Diced)
  • 1 Sweet Pepper (Diced)
  • 1/3 Cup Cilantro (Chopped)

Okay, first thing…I know you will be tempted to follow the directions on the package. It’s what we do, but not in this case. The directions are slightly modified because of the goodies we are adding.

Modified Box Instructions:

  1. Sauté sausage in about 1 Tbs. of olive oil until browned.
  2. Add onions and sweet pepper and cook until slightly caramelized.

    Photo taken with Focos
  3. Add the carrots, celery, and tomato, scraping the bottom of the pan to get the brown bits worked into the flavor. This is where your ‘slow cooked’ flavor comes from, but it only takes 2 minutes.

    Photo taken with Focos
  4. Add the water and really get all the brown goodness on the bottom of the pan worked into the mix and bring everything to a boil. Including the meat.
  5. Once the mixture reaches a boil add the rice/seasoning packet. Stir to combine.
  6. Put the lid on, turn down to a low simmer, and set the timer for 25 minutes. Go do what you gotta do!
  7. After 25 minutes turn the pan off and let sit for 5 minutes. Top with cilantro and Enjoy!

As promised, here is a list of ingredients I have used in the past. Let your imagination run wild!


  • Leftover Grilled Chicken
  • Leftover Taco Meat (it was good)
  • Andouille Sausage
  • Shrimp
  • Tempeh
  • Beans: Kidney, Pinto, & Black Beans work well
  • Kielbasa


  • Corn
  • Salsa (instead of tomatoes)
  • Any kind of onions (Visalia, Green Onions, Shallots, Spanish)
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Black Olives
  • Zucchini or Squash
  • Green Beans
  • Okra
  • Jalapeño or Poblano Peppers (You can add any kind of pepper. I stick to the sweet because my kids don’t like the heat.
  • Butternut Squash

Enjoy The Day,



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