Poor Man’s Gumbo

March 12, 2008


I read this recipe in Everyday with Rachel Ray and knew I had to try it because it uses mostly inexpensive pantry staples! The bacon was the star of the recipe (and I almost wish we’d used more) and we added a few extras like okra, carrots and leftover spaghetti squash (which kind of got lost in the sea of tomatoy deliciousness!) It was basically like a tuna-hinted ratatouille/veggie tomato sauce. If you hate tuna, you could substitute shrimp, fish, chicken, beans – anything. But if you use too much fresh seafood it wouldn’t be poor man’s gumbo!

We made our own modifications as usual. Here’s our version:

  • 3 slices of all-natural bacon (maybe5 slices next time?)
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 3 large stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, de-seeded and minced
  • About 1/3 cup leftover spaghetti squash (which is totally optional because I didn’t even notice it)
  • 3/4 cup frozen okra, thawed (a really nice addition!)
  • 2 cups frozen bell peppers, thawed
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 6 oz can chunk light tuna
  • Thyme, savory, Cajon seasoning and S+P to taste.

Brown bacon until crispy. Remove bacon and rest on paper towel. Add carrots and celery to pan and cook until carrot softens. Add remaining veggies. Cook for a bit:


Add tomatoes (and their juice), tuna (I drained it), and tomato paste plus seasonings. Stir and cook until it’s all combined and flavorful.

Pour over brown rice, sprinkle with bacon!

Makes 3 servings, about 375 kcal, 11 grams fiber and 26 grams protein each.


I had a few crackers on the side. I think I love them so much with soups and stews because they cleanse my palate between bites. I have one about every 4-5th bite and it’s a great break in flavor.


All together with some wine!


Not including wine, this dinner was about 450 kcal, 12 grams fiber and 28 grams protein. And I’m completely full and satisfied!

The husband and I finished off our open bottle from Monday. It aged for the better 8)


I didn’t need a snack this afternoon, probably due to a lot of fat (healthy and maybe not) at lunch: almonds, goat’s cheese, bacon slice (double today!), olive oil dressing, scone.

When I got home I had to do some studying for an exam tomorrow. What I really wanted to do was go outside and enjoy the weather so I compromised and took my notecards for a walk again. There were so many people out in our neighborhood today! I got a good bit of studying done and stretched my legs after a long chemistry lab. So refreshing before dinner!

I’m off to read Eat, Pray, Love (yes, I’m STILL reading it – I only get through about 10-20 pages a night!)

See you in the AM!

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Julia March 12, 2008 at 7:17 pm

I have eat pray love in an audiobook and I just can’t stand the way she talks.


2 arimcg March 12, 2008 at 7:25 pm

I am totally obsessed with Rachael Ray. I went and saw her show last year and I almost died. I don’t know what it is – you love her or you hate her – but I love her recipes. Of course, I’d watch anything on the Food Network. But still.


3 Ilene March 12, 2008 at 7:41 pm

Kath (or anyone), I saw on TV an interview with previous Biggest Loser winners, and they said that they lost weight by netting negative calories daily (eg. eating 1500 but burning 5000 to lose a pound a day).

Isn’t this extremely unhealthy?!?!


4 Kim March 12, 2008 at 7:52 pm

Hey Kath, or any other blog-mate, may I ask if you recall what the advice was about “B” supplement for thyroid function improvement. I searched but couldn’t find it in the old posts. Sorry for inconvenience. I’m down almost two dress sizes. Woo hoo! Half-way to goal. Cheers.


5 B_Hlthy March 12, 2008 at 7:58 pm

it is extreme and dangerous!! i am nearly positive they disclaim their practices in the credits and throughout shows and say that they monitor their programs extensively. I think they also do some extensive searching/pre-testing (addressing the potential complications of this type of exercise) on particular contestants before they actually get to the show! The bottom line is the people are morbidly obese! They could die any minute from heart disease/cholesterol levels/ any kind of health implications due to the insane amount of extra weight and unhealthy habits.
The sooner they get to a healthy range the better!

I bought Eat Pray Love and LOVE IT!!! I get through about 20 pages each night too…
i love the part where shes driving with her friend and writes a petition to God… so many great moments in that book!


6 Amy A. March 12, 2008 at 8:04 pm

Wow, my meals are really following your lead this week…and not intentionally! Before checking in this morning, I had steel cut oats and craved some mango. And now tonight, your meal idea is just what I need. I am trying to cut down on grocery spending yet make tasty meals, use what I have on hand before buying more food, and limit processed foods. I have tuna, tomatoes, tomato paste, carrots, celery, and bacon on hand. Clearly, I am having poor man’s gumbo tomorrow night!! It’s like you read my mind! Thanks!

And I have to say, reading your blog has given me so many new ideas, and I have seriously cut down on the purchasing of convenience/processed foods. I have a lot of the same flavor preferences as you, so I LOVE reading your blog. Thanks so much for all you do.


7 Romina March 12, 2008 at 8:14 pm

I love watching Rachael Ray’s show, and sometimes her recipes, but I find they get repetitive. This looks really delicious though!


8 kay March 12, 2008 at 8:21 pm

Looks delish!! or should I say Yum-o?

What type of makeup do you guys (Kath or anyone) use? I am trying to find a natural makeup… any suggestions?? Thanks!


9 VeggieGirl March 12, 2008 at 8:24 pm

I subscribe to Everyday with Rachael Ray – such a fun magazine to read/get ideas from! Cute recipe name for the gumbo :0)

Enjoy reading tonight!!


10 chandra March 12, 2008 at 8:48 pm

I’m still reading it too, so don’t feel bad! I’m just getting to the second section, I fell asleep in bed reading the other night. :)


11 Justy2003 March 12, 2008 at 9:25 pm

I just bought “Eat, Pray, Love” as well as “Fit From Within” online today. They’ll be my beach reads as I head off for a relaxing vacation next week! :) Not only do you give great food ideas, but good reading material as well! Hope you’re enjoying the book so far…I can’t wait til I get mine!


12 Ally March 12, 2008 at 9:41 pm

I love watching The Biggest Loser, but I know results like that are not realistic OR healthy. The one girl has lost an average of 6.7 lbs a week for 10 weeks in a row- that’s crazy!

I keep seeing you post about Eat, Pray, Love, and I also keep seeing it in bookstores- I think I may need to check it out!


13 Leng March 12, 2008 at 9:48 pm

My gosh look at all those beautiful veggies! I love how you used okra! ohey goey sliminess. I’m so tempted to dish my meal plan for tonight, and make something similar.


14 goalie30 March 12, 2008 at 10:16 pm

Susa, if you are out there, in regards to an earlier post you left for me, no I unfortunately do not blog. If I didn’t work 9+ hours a day five days a week, I think I would probably start my own, but carrying a camera around at work for me is just not feasible, and I like to let loose a little bit more on the weekends, so I don’t think I would want the pressure of having to keep up to date with the blog, photos, and an extremely healthy diet just for the sake of being a great role model for others. I think I’d probably worry too much about what others thought of me, my blog, and my life! I give kudos to all the gals (and guys!) out there who put these blogs together and spend countless hours day in and day out updating it and interacting with the readers; it takes a lot of work and resilient self esteem/nerves!


15 Amanda @ Down Home Dieting March 12, 2008 at 10:28 pm

MMMMm.. I want wine now!

How do you like Eat, Pray, love? Everyone is reading that right now it seems!


16 Megan March 12, 2008 at 11:39 pm

In regard to the Biggest Loser question, yes it is unhealthy. I don’t care what anyone says losing weight that quick is not a good way to go about it. If a person wants to lose weight and keep it off the best way is slow and steady.


17 Kath March 13, 2008 at 5:04 am

Enjoy the gumbo!! Take a photo and send it to me if you can!

I love Neutragena, but I don’t think that classifies as “natural makeup.” I also wear Clinque. A mix of the two.

You mentioned that one of the reasons you are hesitant to start a blog (other than time!) is you wouldn’t want to follow “an extremely healthy diet just for the sake of being a great role model for others.” I do not follow my diet for the sake of the blog – I follow my diet for me. This IS my diet, blog or no blog. Just wanted to point that out :)

Amanda ,
I have to say I related more to Italy than I do to India, but it’s still very interesting. It’s dragging a bit with all the meditation, so I hope things get a little more interesting soon! But I still find it a great read.



18 Sarah March 13, 2008 at 6:41 am

Totally agree that losing so much weight so fast isn’t healthy. I admit, I love watching the Biggest Loser…BUT, I think it is not only unhealthy for the contestants but the viewers as well…

To see someone crying because they “only” lost 3-4 pounds in one week is a sad thing, and might be discouraging for people out there who are losing the healthy 1-2 pounds a week. Crazy!!


19 goalie30 March 13, 2008 at 6:48 am

I see your point Kath and I wasn’t saying that what you eat is based on your viewing audience. I mean that if I personally started a blog, I would feel pressured to clean up my diet more than it already is right now, for sake of being a good role model for others. That and I eat about 5-6 meals/snacks per day and that would make for a lot of photo taking, uploading, and typing!!


20 Kath March 13, 2008 at 6:50 am

Understood :)



21 Laura March 13, 2008 at 11:22 am

Love the blog! On a side note, am I the only one who didn’t like Eat, Pray, Love??


22 sarah March 13, 2008 at 12:25 pm

i read that magazine on the plane back from boston on tuesday and that was one of the only recipes i thought looked really good! and i wasnt going to tell my husband it was tuna and not crab, he would never notice. i LOVE rachel ray! so glad you tried it and i get a trustworthy opinion on the recipe =)


23 Susa March 13, 2008 at 7:53 pm

Goalie, thanks for the answer.
I was just wondering if you had *any* blog, because I like the way you write.

And there’s the okra again :). I really have to brave it and try it.


24 Weight Loss Blog December 15, 2008 at 5:17 pm

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