Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Seafood Paella....Dinner Fail!

I must say that it does not happen often that I try a new recipe and we agree I will never make it again, but this latest recipe may just fit into that category. I found a recipe for a Simple Paella by Colleen Weeden in the January 2011 issue of Parents magazine on page 36. The idea of this "one-pot wonder" was appealing and the picture looked quite appetizing, so I thought I would give it a try last night for dinner.

I gathered all of my ingredients and went to work.

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 3/4 cup chopped sweet peppers
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup uncooked regular brown rice
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 12 oz fresh or frozen shrimp, thawed, peeled, deveined, and halved
  • 12 oz tilapia fillets, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • Coat a 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray; add peppers, onion, and garlic.
  • In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine broth, rice, thyme, crushed red pepper, and turmeric. Microwave on high for 4 minutes, or until just boiling. Pour over vegetables in cooker.
  • Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 4 hours.
  • About an hour before you'd like to eat, stir in shrimp, tilapia, and peas.
  • Cover; cook 45 minutes more, stirring once. Remove cooker from liner; let stand, covered for 10 minutes. Makes 6 servings.
  • Nutrition per serving: 269 calories; 29 g protein; 3 g fat; 31 g carbs; 3 g fiber; 60 mg calcium; 3 mg iron; 205 mg sodium
And here was the finished product on the plate...

As for changes I made to the ingredients and recipe...I didn't use cooking spray, I just used a crockpot liner to keep everything from sticking to my crockpot. I love this product because it makes for a much easier clean-up! :) I used 2 small red peppers for the sweet peppers and a 1/2 of a sweet onion for the onion. I didn't measure them, but they probably came out to more than what it called for in the recipe. At the last minute I realized that I only had instant brown rice and the recipe called for regular, so I thought it might be a mistake to use that. So, I substituted the only regular rice I had, which was Kasmati, an Indian rice I use when I make chicken curry. I figured it would work better than the instant variety. I also used fresh shrimp since I am not a fan of frozen shrimp.

And the verdict...FAIL! :( After all that time and quite an expensive little meal, we decided it really wasn't that impressive. The rice was too mushy, which may or may not have happened with regular brown rice? Or maybe not cooking it for 4 hours would have been better? The house smelled wonderful when the first ingredients were cooking, but I don't think that they needed that long to cook honestly. The overall taste of the dish was too bland, despite the use of crushed red pepper and turmeric. Maybe increasing these amounts would help? Even with some salt and pepper at the end, it didn't help much. The idea of the shrimp and tilapia being steamed/baked with no other seasonings on them was not a great one. I was definitely not a fan of how they tasted. I also did not care for the frozen peas (I only like fresh peas in their pods, sauteed in a little EVOO or canola oil), but they were the only item Ethan would eat! haha! Josh ate a decent helping, but didn't go back for seconds, which is usually a good indication that he isn't really digging a dish. I had a small portion then decided that a bagel sounded better. Awesome. So, with a little work, this dish might be ok, but I would not recommend it as is.

As promised in my last post, here is a pic of our completed puzzle! :) We are planning on framing it and hanging it in the formal living room with our other vacation pictures. Now we are on the hunt for their San Francisco puzzle...


  1. love the puzzle! what a great family activity! (well, when you actually do let ethan help) ;)

    what is the brand of the puzzle? i'll look for the san francisco one here, it can be a birthday present if i find it first haha

    bummer about the paella, we wouldn't even attempt that one here!

  2. Thanks! Yes, it was a fun family activity! :) Ethan helped for some of it when he was interested, so it was good. :) Puzzle is from Buffalo Games. We got the first one at Target and need to see if they have the other. If not, we can order it online. Yeah, I was bummed about the meal too. Really hoped it would be fabulous!


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