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Family Friendly Chicken and Shrimp Paella

This easy version of Chicken and Shrimp Paella is family friendly and the perfect weeknight meal. With simple, easy to find ingredients this one pot meal comes together quickly!

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Overhead view of a black pan full of chicken and shrimp paella showing off yellow rice, chicken, red bell pepper, and cooked shrimp garnished with fresh parsley and lemon wedges.

Post updated September 22, 2021 with updated recipe, writing, and photographs.

Chicken and Shrimp Paella Recipe

This awesome recipe comes from my sister, Emeline! While I tweaked it slightly to make it more family and weeknight friendly this recipe is originally one she found in her husband’s family cookbook!

While I will be the first to admit this is not a super authentic Spanish recipe, it is an awesome weeknight version that can please the whole family! (I remember Jamie Oliver once getting raked through the coals because he published a paella recipe that wasn’t super authentic and people were so mad, please don’t be mad at me, I just want to eat food.)

So in spirit that my 3 & 6 year old enjoy this dish as much as my husband and myself is a good enough reason to share this recipe with you! 

I try to keep this recipe as SIMPLE as I can. I purposely tried to keep the method simple cutting out as much prep as I could, as well as use spices that you hopefully already have in your spice cupboard. 

If you do want to beef up this recipe a little more, there are tips for that below. Otherwise keep scrolling and lets get cooking!

Ingredients 

  • Olive Oil
  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Chicken Broth
  • Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies AKA Rotel
  • Smoked paprika
  • Cumin
  • Coriander
  • Turmeric
  • Kosher Salt
  • Rice
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Shrimp
  • Hot Sauce
  • Fresh Parsley

For a complete detailed list of the ingredients continue towards the bottom of the page.

Ingredients needed to make simple weeknight chicken and shrimp paella which features easy to find spices and ingredients.

How to Make Chicken and Shrimp Paella

Now if you want to get real technical you are supposed to make paella in a specific paella pan. I do not have one of those pans, as I am guessing you don’t either? Maybe you do, let me know in the comments! But I have found using my dutch oven works best, I think because of the heavy bottom on it, it seems to spread the heat out just right. Secondly my large cast iron or a regular large pot with a lid will work as well. 

I find this recipe to work out nicely because while the chicken is searing it gives just enough time to chop and mince the onion, garlic, and bell pepper. So to start…

Heat your dutch oven or large pot/skillet over medium-high heat. 

Add the oil and then place the chicken breasts into the pot, spread out and not touching. Cook the chicken 3 to 4  minutes each side in the oil until each side is slightly browned.

Now add the  onions and garlic next to the chicken. Sauté around the chicken for 1 to 2 minutes to sweat out the onions.

Add the chicken broth, diced tomatoes with chilies, paprika, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and salt. Cover and bring to a boil, this should take about 6 to 9 minutes depending on your environment.

Once the pot is boiling add the rice and bell pepper. Reduce to low and cook covered for 15 minutes. 

Remove the chicken breasts and set aside to cool slightly. 

Stir in the shrimp and cook for 1 minute, then turn off heat. Let everything sit for 5 minutes. 

Shred the chicken into bite sizes and add back into the paella. Stir in the parsley. 

To keep this non-spicy serve with hot sauce on the table so everyone can spice up their individual dishes, if looking to spice the whole dish start by adding about 1 teaspoon of hot sauce to the dish. 

I like to serve this paella with some warm crunchy bread for dipping, and some lemon wedges for a bit of acidity. 

Angled view of a pan full of chicken shrimp paella showing off yellow rice, Reb bell peppers, chicken, and shrimp garnished with fresh parsley.

Tips, Tricks, and Questions

What is the best rice for Paella?

Technically Spanish Paella should be made with Spanish Bomba Rice. If you don’t have that or can’t find it that is absolutely okay! Out of all the most popular rice varieties I would suggest using Arborio Rice (risotto rice), Jasmine Rice or Medium Grain Rice. My advice is to not stress too much about the variety and just use what you have!

Does Paella need Saffron?

So saffron is often regarded as an ingredient for paella but here is the thing… saffron can be expensive and sometimes hard to find. In this weeknight version of Chicken and Shrimp Paella I wanted the meal to be SIMPLE! So a blend of other spices (mostly the turmeric) is combined to offset not using saffron in this dish!

Should the shrimp be peeled?

Honestly do what is easiest for you! I like to leave shrimp with the shell on because I think it adds just a bit more flavor but if it is easier for your family to eat it with the shrimp peeled before you add it to the paella do it that way!

Looking for some ways to make this dish yours? Try:

  • Add chorizo to the dish
  • Do you have saffron? Use a little of that!
  • Add a ½ cup of frozen peas towards the end
Close up of a pan filled with yellow chicken and shrimp paella with shrimp sitting on top with chunks of chicken, tomatoes, and bell peppers.

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Overhead view of a black pan full of chicken and shrimp paella showing off yellow rice, chicken, red bell pepper, and cooked shrimp garnished with fresh parsley and lemon wedges.

Chicken and Shrimp Paella

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

A delicious weeknight version of Paella starring Chicken and Shrimp without hard to find or expensive ingredients. This might not be the most authentic recipe but it is super easy and family friendly!

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups chicken broth (24 oz)
  • 2 (10 oz) cans diced tomatoes with mild green chilies (drained)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 pound medium shrimp
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce*
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley

Instructions

    1. Heat a dutch oven or large pot/skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil. Add chicken breasts, cook 3 to 4 minutes each side in the oil until each side is slightly browned.
    2. Add onions and garlic next to the chicken. Sauté around the chicken for 1 to 2 minutes.
    3. Add the chicken broth, diced tomatoes with chilies, paprika, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and salt. Cover and bring to a boil, this should take about 6 to 9 minutes.
    4. Once the pot is boiling add the rice and bell pepper. Reduce to low and cook covered for 15 minutes.
    5. Remove chicken, set aside to cool slightly. Stir in the shrimp and cook for 1 minute, then turn off heat. Let everything sit for 5 minutes. Shred the chicken and add back in to the paella. Stir in the parsley. To keep this non-spicy serve with hot sauce on the table so everyone can spice up their individual dishes, if looking to spice the whole dish start by adding about 1 teaspoon of hot sauce to the dish.

Notes

*To keep this ‘family friendly’ I opted to keep the hot sauce on the side, this way even people who don’t care for spice can enjoy this dish too!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 483Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 294mgSodium: 2401mgCarbohydrates: 51gFiber: 2gSugar: 5gProtein: 51g

Nutritional data is automated, final nutritional information will depend on ingredients used and any changes made.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment below on the blog or share a photo with me tag @the_schmidty_wife! Can't wait to see what you made!

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Peace & Love

Lauren, The Schmidty Wife

Original Post from 2018:

Hello there! My name is Emeline Hoblick, otherwise known as the sister of the fabulous Schmidty Wife! As followers of this blog may well know, my sister Lauren is having a baby and needs a quick break from blogging for family time. In the meantime, welcome to SISTER FOOD BLOG TAKEOVER 2018. Friends (I think we’re friends now), I am so excited to be guest hosting this blog. My sister is such a talented cook and I hope I can do the blog justice! Today we are making Chicken and Shrimp Paella!

Just a little background about me. I was born and raised in Minnesota, but over three years ago, I made a move to Pierre, South Dakota to take a job. Not long after I moved to South Dakota is when I met my husband Dan. Dan had also moved to Pierre to take a job and is originally from Ohio.

After a little more than one year of marriage, let’s just say that I’ve learned how different Dan’s go-to recipes are from mine. And boy has that made it interesting! When I first started thinking about recipe ideas for the blog, I had a few ideas in mind with the number one goal of keeping it simple. I’m sure I’m not the only one here that needs the majority of dinners to be on a pretty quick timetable. My husband and I are like senior citizens, we love to eat dinner around 5:30 so most of the time, I find recipes that don’t take too long.

Cut to today’s recipe! Chicken and Shrimp Paella.

This recipe is slight twist on are recipe from Dan’s grandma’s recipe that is hand-written in his recipe book. It’s glorious spicy one-pan dish that comes together in just half an hour. In case you want to pair this recipe with an adult beverage, I believe this recipe pairs lovely with a dry rosé.

Happy cooking!

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