Affordable Spicy Paella

spicy paella

spicy paella

I have always had this weird obsession with paellas. They are so bold and bright with deep flavors. One of the reasons I believe they are often forgotten is the hefty price tag associated with the dish. Saffron is one of the most common ingredients found in paella. This spice is usually around $15 for a handful. While I LOVE saffron I decided to trade it out for smoked paprika. You will still get a bold flavor and instead of the rich yellow or orange the paprika turns the rice a deep red.

spicy paella

Another easy swap is using andouille sausage over the typical cured Spanish chorizo. When you pan fry the andouille you still get a ton of flavor to develop in a short amount of time. I love sauteing my veggies with the fried sausage to really add depth to every bite.

My grocery store does not have paella rice ready available so I switched it for arborio rice. Arborio rice is just tiny enough to soak up every little bit of broth. I actually kept adding extra broth to make sure I still had a little sauce for my bread. I skipped out on the mussels just because those are not my personal favorite. You can definitely add a few in at the end. Boneless skinless chicken thighs and shrimp are what I look forward to in a paella. Both of these proteins usually have great prices in my area especially if you have a Sprouts farmers market near by.

spicy paella

While I do believe an authentic paella taste is extremely hard to replicate without saffron- this affordable version is just as soul satisfying to me. It is such a beautiful dish and packed full of flavor. Honestly this came together so quickly as well. If you are looking to impress on a budget, this is the recipe to make!

spicy paella

Affordable Spicy Paella
Author: 
Recipe type: Rice
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
An easy way to impress with bold colors and flavors in this affordable paella.
Ingredients
  • 1 pound of chopped boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 tbsp of smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp of garlic powder
  • 1 tsp of chili powder
  • 1 tsp of red pepper
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup of chopped onions
  • 1 cup of stewed fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp of chopped garlic
  • 3 cups of chicken broth
  • fully cooked sliced andouille sausage
  • 1 pound of shrimp shelled with tails on
  • 1½ cups of arborio rice
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • lemon wedges
  • Tabasco
Instructions
  1. Heat a large paella pan or saute pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the olive oil.
  3. Add chopped onion and sausage.
  4. Fry until onions begin to be slightly translucent and the edges of the sausage starts to brown.
  5. Remove the sausage and set to the side.
  6. Add in the chicken and cook until golden brown.
  7. Add garlic and rice.
  8. Season with salt and pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, red pepper and chili powder.
  9. Add in the stewed tomatoes and stir until all the rice is covered.
  10. Pour the broth over the top and stir into the rice.
  11. Bring to a boil.
  12. Lower to medium low heat.
  13. Add the sausage back in then cover.
  14. Cook for about 10 minutes.
  15. If your broth evaporates before the rice is done just add a little more on top.
  16. The important part is to make sure you do not stir the rice at all.
  17. When the rice is almost done (about 15 minutes) add the shrimp on top.
  18. Salt and pepper then cover.
  19. When all the liquid has absorbed and you start to hear a little crackling the rice is done.
  20. If you are unsure then just test the rice to make sure it has finished.
  21. Sprinkle with parsley and squeeze a little lemon over the top.
  22. I finish mine with Tabasco!

spicy paella

I know this is going to be one of my go to recipes this summer. Even Patrick’s kids ate their entire bowls! I don’t think this dish is too spicy. You can always omit the red pepper. I love the heat so I added lots of hot sauce to my bowl 🙂

Let me know if you try this recipe! I know you will love it!

 

 

 

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Fried Catfish and Shrimp With Cajun Spices

fish fry

A few weeks ago we went to Tybee Island for the weekend and we stopped at the most amazing restaurant on the beach. Patrick and I have always been very fond of hole in the wall type restaurants. Places where the owner is usually on site talking to the guests and all the pictures on the wall are family photos. After a day on the beach in the sun and wind we were starving. We weren’t planning on dinner for a few hours so we started searching the island for a place to have a snack. We found a really tiny beach “shack” with a large patio. We ordered a platter of shrimp and fried fish to share with a side of home made tartar sauce. I don’t know if it was the beach air, the long car ride, or if these truly were the greatest bites of fish and shrimp that I have eaten.

fish fry

My goal was to try and recreate those fun beach memories with my own fish fry. My batter is not quite as light as the batter I had that weekend on the beach, but it is so delicious. The spicy crunch of the batter with the tender shrimp and fish on the inside. A squeeze of fresh lemon and a sprinkle of salt and you are set for an amazing meal.

fish fry

The true star of the meal is this tartar sauce. I have never really had tartar sauce with my fish in the past, but after trying it at the beach and Patrick raving about it I knew I needed to try. I am pretty impressed with my first try. If you do not like a super tart tarter sauce skip the lemon. I think I would have liked the sauce more if I had just left the fresh lemon on my fish and not added it to the sauce too.

tartar sauce

Fried Catfish and Shrimp With Cajun Spices
Recipe type: Seafood, Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Lightly battered catfish and shrimp with homemade tartar sauce.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups of AP flour
  • 3 tbsp cajun seasoning
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp of cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup of panko crumbs
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 pound of catfish cut into rectangles
  • ½ of shrimp no shells or tails
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • For the tartar sauce:
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • ½ cup of mayo
  • ½ fresh lemon
  • 2 tbsp of dill relish
  • tsp cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat a fryer to 350 degrees I used vegetable oil
  2. In a bowl mix the AP flour, seasoning, panko, milk and water
  3. Dip the fish and shrimp and lightly shake the excess batter off
  4. Fry until golden brown
  5. Drain on a drying rack over paper towel to keep everything crispy
  6. Lightly salt and squeeze some fresh lemon over everything
  7. For the sauce
  8. Mix the sour cream, relish, mayo, pepper, and lemon (if you like it tart!)
  9. Best served after cooling for several hours

fried fish

Best served on news paper or parchment paper!

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Coconut Shrimp and Citrus Dip

coconut shrimp

Coconut Shrimp

Shrimp are not necessary a Valentine’s Day staple, but in our home this is a dish that reminds us of our first Valentine’s Day together.

We wanted a fun place close by that served seafood so we decided on Bahama Breeze last V-day. We ordered the signature coconut shrimp appetizer while we were waiting on our table. Jumbo shrimp perfectly butterflied with a sweet crunch dipped into a sauce that always makes my mouth water.

If you have not been to a Bahama Breeze before – try and picture a Caribbean themed restaurant filled with wicker chairs and tropical drinks. Usually there is some sort of live band playing island music. The atmosphere is so light and fun it really is just a bonus that the food is pure heaven.

So the other night we were debating on what to eat at the grocery store when I spotted jumbo shrimp on sale. I dipped them in a sweet and salty coconut panko mix that is a spot on copy cat texture.  I was shocked when I researched the citrus sauce and saw Bahama Breeze has the recipe posted on their website! It truly is the perfect companion to these shrimp.

coconut shrimp

Here is the link to the Bahama Breeze Citrus Mustard Sauce if you want to try it out!

Coconut Shrimp and Citrus Dip
Recipe type: Dinner, Seafood
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Crunchy coconut shrimp with a sweet citrus dip.
Ingredients
  • 1 pound Large Shrimp - vein and shells removed (20-25 count)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups of flour divided
  • 2 cups of panko crumbs
  • 1 cup of shredded coconut sweetened
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp red pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • parsley for sprinkling
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 quart of canola oil for frying
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oil to 350.
  2. Butterfly each shrimp by running your knife down the back of the shrimp ¾ of the way though until each side begins to open up.
  3. Set up three bowls.
  4. One with one cup of flour.
  5. One with the 3 eggs beaten.
  6. And the last bowl with one cup of flour, 2 cups of panko, coconut and the salt, paprika, red pepper, and garlic powder.
  7. Dip each shrimp into the flour then the eggs then the panko mixture.
  8. Pat this mixture onto the shrimp. It should be a fairly thick layer.
  9. Fry for 3-4 minutes each.
  10. Do not crowd.
  11. Sprinkle shrimp with parsley and squeeze lemon over the top.

image1 (57)

Hopefully I have inspired you to make this yummy app for your valentine! (Or yourself! Nothing wrong with that!)

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