Monday 18 April 2016

Midweek meal for all the family - jambalaya!

Trying to please everyone round the dinner table can be hard. And making something that's full of good things, and doesn't take ages to prepare when you get in the door after work / nursery / school can be even harder.

I'm always looking for new meal ideas and make my own up as I go along. I rarely take a recipe as it is, without adding something and I find that this makes cooking and meal times more fun. Who knows what we could be having tonight...?!

There's a few basics we always tend to have in - chicken or turkey, including breaded options as these are always a winner with Ethan, pasta and rice in the cupboard and a good stock of veggies, particularly peppers and onions - which means that come the end of the week, there's often a similar selection of leftover items that need to be used up.

At the weekend, I decided to have a play and see what dish I could come up with to use everything we had. And the results were delicious, even if I say so myself - just ask my hubs and Ethan, as we polished off the whole lot in one sitting (even though there would have been a good amount of leftovers for lunch the next day!).

Family favourite Bernard Matthews asked if I had a meal idea to share that could incorporate their new Buttermilk Turkey Fillet Cuts into an American influenced dish - challenge accepted!

We love Mexican and American South inspired meals in our house - anything which can be served with a side of coleslaw or guacamole is a winner in my book - so I decided to have a go at making my own take on jambalaya, using the 100% British turkey breast fillets to make more of the meal and keep my little boy happy too.

Here's what I used and how I made this perfect midweek meal idea in just 20 minutes...


- 2 x Bernard Matthews Buttermilk Turkey Fillet Cuts (340g pack, RRP £3.00 and available from Sainsbury's)

- 2 x sausages / diced chorizo (we had two chorizo inspired sausages left in the fridge that I used, but diced chorizo would be a good choice too, if your children don't mind it, to add flavour)

- 1 x packet of instant rice (for speed, and I choose a wholegrain rice and quinoa mix to pack in lots of good things)

- 1 x red pepper

- 1 x red onion

- 1 x tin sweetcorn

- 1 x tin chopped tomatoes

- 2 tbsp paprika

- Hot sauce of choice (add as much as you like, according to taste - I added this after serving a portion for Ethan)

- Grated cheese


1. Pop your turkey breast fillets onto a baking tray, in the oven for 20-25 minutes at gas mark 6. As soon as they're cooked, you'll have everything prepared and will be ready to serve.

2. Cook your sausages in a large frying pan for around 10-12 minutes. When they are nice and brown all over, cut in half and then into smaller cubes. If using diced chorizo, add this to some olive oil and cook for just 4-5 minutes on a medium heat, to release the juices and flavour.

3. Whilst everything is sizzling, remove the core of the pepper and the skin of the onion, and dice both up as small as needed to get past your children... depending on how fussy they are! 

4. Cook your rice in the microwave for two minutes.

5. Meanwhile, once the sausages / chorizo is ready, add the onion then the peppers to the pan and stir for a couple of minutes until softened and the onions are browned. Then add the sweetcorn and stir through.

6. Add the paprika, stir everything together before mixing in the chopped tomatoes. Keep the pan on a medium heat for another two minutes.

7. In a large serving dish, combine the chorizo / veg mix with the rice. By now, your oven timer should be going off to tell you the turkey fillets are done...

8. Remove the turkey fillets from the oven. Cut through the buttermilk fillets in a diagonal direction then add to the serving dish - you're good to go!

Bring to the table and allow everyone to dig in, adding a sprinkle of cheese or another dash of hot sauce according to preference. 

And just watch the lot disappear in next to no time...

Alternative ideas: 

- add peas or diced / grated carrot to add even more veggies to the mix - mushrooms and courgettes would also work well and, to really beef it up more, you could add roasted sweet potato (expect leftovers if there isn't more than 3-4 of you!)

- char-grill some corn on the cobs to serve as an accompaniment

- serve coleslaw or guacamole on the side (any excuse!)

This is a really straightforward meal to prepare but has lots to it, making it a nutritious and filling dish. I all too often just serve things as they are presented, but what I like about this and the new Bernard Matthews Buttermilk Turkey Fillet Cuts is how versatile they can be with a bit of thought. Ethan is a fan of the turkey dinosaurs and I use the cooked turkey options in salads, but these fillet cuts are tasty and have a nice crunch to them too so I think I'll carry on experimenting. 

Mixing the fillets with the rice and veg in this dish adds more substance as they are really 'meaty', and I'd suggest they would also be great in a wrap, either as a lunch option that busy mums can prepare the night before or for a quick fajita dinner on a Friday night.

Ethan was suitably impressed, eating the turkey and the cheese first, but also tucking into the veggies and the rice (he can be a bit fussy sometimes, liking something one day and then not the next, so was pleased that he didn't just leave the peppers). 

For more family meal ideas from Bernard Matthews, visit their Facebook page and check out their brand new look too - it actually took me a while to spot what I was looking for in the chiller section at Sainsbury's because of the new branding! 

Let me know what you would do with these to make an American themed midweek meal that makes everyone happy.

* All opinions in this challenge post are my own, as is the recipe - let me know if you give it a go!


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