November 2014 – Theme:
A Food Memory For Which You Are Thankful In the US, November marks the Thanksgiving holiday. But many of us are especially thankful for food memories we have shared with friends or relatives throughout our lives. Was it a special meal you ate as a child? Or, maybe it was a food you grew and harvested with your own children. Please share one of your favorite food memories and the healthier “redo” of the recipe.
This months challenge was hard for me, not because I had a hard time thinking of something to make, but how in fact could I choose just one. I mention on the blog all the time how certain foods hold a special place in my heart, mostly because for the memories it holds to a certain person. After lots of thought and going back and forth I finally decided on this Paella dish so I could take a walk down memory lane back to my honeymoon.
The first time I ever had paella was on our honeymoon in the Dominican Republic. We stayed at the Sanctuary in Cap Cana (which by the way I cannot say enough good things about) and one of the five restaurants on the property was the Blue Marlin. It was simply beautiful, as you can see from the picture below, and easily became our favorite little dining spot during our stay. Our first dining experience at the Blue Marlin took place our first night and Jason was the one who ended up ordering the Paella for his meal. Little did we know at the time we easily could have split this dish as it came out in a large paella pan overflowing with chicken, fish, veggies and spices. Both of our jaws dropped as we stared at this beautiful and rustic plate of goodness in front of us. Thinking back I have no idea what I ordered that night because the paella had certainly stolen the show. Not only did we enjoy an incredible meal at this picturesque little restaurant but I had just married my best friend and the love of my life and we were about to spend the next 6 days in paradise. We still talk about this meal often, and neither one of us can think about paella without thinking about our honeymoon.
Paella is a Spanish dish with yellow rice as its main ingredient, and accompanied by any combination of chicken, seafood, pork, and spices cooked and served in a large shallow pan. Paella isn’t the easiest dish to make but I could not be happier with how well it turned out. We both agreed this paella dish would have to make more appearances at our dinner table. It’s a healthy one pot dish with a little bit of everything in it. The best part is we can sit back and reminisce about that lovely night at the Blue Marlin.
- 3 Chicken Sausage links, casings removed
- ¾ lb. Shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 6 skinless boneless chicken thighs
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ cup canned diced tomatoes
- 3 cups fat free less sodium chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- ½ cup chopped red bell pepper
- 2 cups Arborio rice, uncooked
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- Herb Blend:
- ¼ cup fresh chopped rosemary
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Prepare herb blend, set aside
- Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet, or paella pan, over medium high heat. Add chicken. Cook 3 minutes on each side or till lightly browned. Remove from pan, cover and keep warm.
- Add sausage to pan; cook 1 minute stirring and chopping to crumble. Add onion and bell pepper. Cook 5-7 minutes stirring constantly. Add rice, tomato, paprika, turmeric, and herb blend; Stir and cook 5 minutes. Return chicken to pan. Add broth and bring to a boil.
- Wrap handle of pan with tin foil, cover and bake 15 minutes in the oven. Stir in shrimp, peas, and artichoke hearts. Cover and bake an additional 5-10 minutes or till shrimp is done.
- Remove pan from oven and serve