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Weeknight Paella x 3

With a little planning & investment in time (about 30 minutes) you can have a great meal ready to pull out from the freezer and get on the table any hectic weeknight (3 times!!). You prep this meal ahead of time, divide into 3 freezer bags and toss in the freezer. Pull it out some evening and you can have dinner on the table less than an hour after you walk in the door, and you only need to be actively involved for 15 minutes of the cooking time!!



3 meals - 4 servings each


Prep work:
Put 1 cup rice into each of 3 small freezer bags, seal & set aside.
Put 1/3 of the onion & 1/3 of the red pepper into each of 3 small freezer bags, seal & set aside.
Put 1/3 of the shrimp into each of 3 small freezer bags, seal & set aside.
Chop chicken breast into bite size pieces & divide among 3 small freezer bags. Slice Andouille into rounds about 1/4 inch thick, divide among the 3 freezer bags with chicken in them.
In a small bowl combine: 1/2 tablespoon chicken base, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/2 tablespoon parsley flakes, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 5-6 threads of saffron, black papper to taste, and 2 tablespoons water. Combine well & pour into one of the chicken/Andouille bags, toss in bag to coat meat. Add a bay leaf & hot sauce to taste, seal & set aside.
Repeat previous step for 2 remaining chicken/Andouille bags.
In each of the large freezer bags, place a rice bag, an onion/pepper bag, a shrimp bag, & a seasoned chicken/andouille bag. Seal well removing excess air & freeze.
Cooking it:
Remove a bag from freezer.
In a large sauce pan with lid heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat, add onion & pepper from bag, breaking up with wooden spoon, cook 3-4 minutes until it starts to soften. While it is cooking defrost season chicken andouille bag in microwave, 2-3 minutes (it does not have to be completely thawed, just enough so you can break it apart easily).
Add in contents of rice bag to sauce pan, & stir to coat rice & cook 1-2 minutes.
Add 2 cups hot tap water and bring to a boil.
Stir in seasoned chicken/andouille bag, breaking up with wooden spoon. Cover & simmer 15 minutes.
Stir in shrimp bag, cover & simmer another 5-10 minutes.
Remove from heat & let stand 5 minutes
Stir & serve.


Each bag yields 4 servings. You can substitute broth or white wine for part or all of the water when cooking it. If you wanted to divide a bag of frozen peas into 3 small bags & freeze one with each meal you can, add them the last 2-3 minutes of cooking. Lately I am very into cooking or prepping ahead. It is well worth the investment of time on the weekend when I can take the time & enjoy the process to make meals that I can pull out & put very little effort into getting on the table, but they are still good homemade meals.


This recipe was provided by Lara N from Rockford