Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya

Main Dishes, Recipes | December 15, 2016 | By

Well that stinks. I just sat down to edit photos from a delicious breakfast casserole I made and for some reason they were all blurry. (I have been struggling with lighting now that it gets dark so early). I wanted to get that up on the blog but I will have to postpone it. That’s okay though because that means I will have to make it again soon, which means I get to eat it again soon! I guess I am fine with that ;). I am glad I have another recipe photographed and ready to go though! Say hello to Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya.

I saw Ina Garten make this on the Food Network a couple of years ago and I was immediately intrigued. It looked absolutely delicious. I whipped up a pot of this Jambalaya that evening and I have been making it ever since. This is such a comforting and impressive dish. 

It may look like this Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya calls for a lot of ingredients and that’s because well….it does. But don’t let that scare you! This dish needs love. Lots of love. There are meats that need to be browned in order to build flavor. The veggies need to soften and marry with the spices. The rice needs to simmer until it’s cooked and slightly sticky. The shrimp need to steam gently inside the rice. And the final seasonings need to be added at the end. But don’t run away! Don’t say you can’t do it! This Jambalaya is so flavorful and so completely worth all the effort that goes in it. I love to go in my kitchen (also known as my happy place), turn on some good music, pour a glass of wine, and cook me some Jambalaya! There is something very relaxing about it.

This is a great dish to entertain with because it makes a big ole pot. This may actually, literally, feed an army. Once my Dutch Oven is filled to the brim with colorful and flavorful Jambalaya, I pop it down in the middle of the table and everyone digs in. You can top it with fresh herbs, scallions, and more hot sauce if you like.

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Smoked Sausage with Cabbage and Apples

Main Dishes, Recipes, Slow Cooker | November 29, 2016 | By

As I am sitting here watching my kids eat breakfast, I find myself in deep thought about their eating habits. They are 21 months old now and getting them to eat real food can be a struggle. They love any kind of fruit (Danny is currently eating his weight in pears) but I can’t say the same for vegetables. Danny went through a phase where he loved peas, but all of sudden, when they would arrive to his plate, he would act as if they were poisoned and throw them on the floor. What happened? They pretty much love anything with cheese: pizza, grilled cheese, quesadillas, etc. but my conscience will only let me make so much of that food for them. Getting them to eat any sort of meat seems to be the real battle. I would be lying if I said it didn’t hurt my feelings a little bit when they refuse to eat my perfectly cooked chicken thighs. Many nights I make the kids one meal and my husband and I another, which is not ideal. One meal that saves me from having to do that is Smoked Sausage with Cabbage and Apples. Thank goodness for this easy meal that everyone loves!

Smoked Sausage with Cabbage and Apples could not be simpler to make. It starts with one and a half pounds of smoked sausage in the bottom of our trusty friend the crockpot. Then apples, red cabbage, and onions get layered on top. (Leave the ingredients layered and don’t stir.)

Smoked Sausage with Cabbage and Apples

Smoked Sausage with Cabbage and Apples

Smoked Sausage with Cabbage and Apples

Smoked Sausage with Cabbage and Apples

Next, the ingredients that make the sauce go in: brown sugar, salt, pepper, and apple juice. Guess what! That’s it! How easy was that? Now you can go about your day and come back in 6-8 hours for a delicious dinner. 

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Braised Chicken Thighs with 40 Cloves of Garlic

Chicken, Main Dishes, Recipes | November 3, 2016 | By

Do you love garlic? I LOVE garlic. Just one little clove brings so much flavor to a dish. I’m usually guilty of doubling the garlic in recipes though. I just can’t help it. More garlic at the party is always better. Yeah sure, there’s that whole bad breath thing….but I am willing to stand far away from other people while I enjoy lots of garlicy goodness. This recipe has 40 cloves….40 cloves! Don’t worry, it’s not the kind of garlic you are thinking. This garlic gets cooked in a way that leaves it melt in your mouth tender. You can eat it clove after clove after clove. Yum! Braised Chicken Thighs with 40 Cloves of Garlic is a garlic lovers dream!
 Braised Chicken Thighs with 40 Cloves of Garlic

If you have thought even for a second that 40 cloves of garlic is to much for one dish, let me assure you it is not! This isn’t raw garlic that can be overwhelming. This garlic has simmered away in a pan with wine, chicken stock, and chicken thighs leaving them so tender that they fall apart. They literally melt in your mouth. Their strong flavor is taken away and what’s left is a mild garlic flavor that is irresistible. Who knew garlic was capable of such greatness?

Braised Chicken Thighs with 40 Cloves of Garlic

Let’s talk about these beautiful chicken thighs for a moment. They are an important part of this dish too! Using bone in/skin on chicken thighs brings so much extra flavor and keeps the chicken moist. Plus, who doesn’t love that crispy skin!? The chicken gets browned in a pan with a little bit of olive oil. Once browned, you remove it from the pan and in goes the Marsala. Yay for wine! This deglazes the pan bringing the leftover chicken bits up off the bottom and into what will become the sauce. The chicken thighs go back in the pan along with the garlic cloves and chicken stock. Now into the oven it goes for 45 minutes so the chicken cooks through, the garlic becomes tender, and the flavors in the sauce marry. The only thing left to do is add the spinach and let it wilt. Now it’s ready to serve.

Braised Chicken Thighs with 40 Cloves of Garlic is the perfect one pan dinner for any night of the week. The oven does most of the work and the result is amazing. Make sure you serve this alongside some toasted bread to sop up all of that delicious sauce. You won’t want to leave any part of it behind. Oh and you don’t have to count the garlic cloves. This meal will be as delicious with 38 cloves as it is with 42 :).   

Braised Chicken Thighs with 40 Cloves of Garlic

Braised Chicken Thighs with 40 Cloves of Garlic

Braised Chicken Thighs with 40 Cloves of Garlic

Braised Chicken Thighs with 40 Cloves of Garlic

Braised Chicken Thighs with 40 Cloves of Garlic

Braised Chicken Thighs with 40 Cloves of Garlic

Braised Chicken Thighs with 40 Cloves of Garlic

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 40 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
  • 5 large chicken thighs, skin on and bone in (you can use whatever amount fits in your pan)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbls. olive oil
  • 2 tbls. fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup Marsala wine
  • 3 to 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 to 3 cups of spinach

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Simmer the garlic in a small saucepan for ten minutes. Drain and let cool. Peel the skin off the cloves.
  3. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook until the skin is crispy, about 8 minutes. Flip the chicken over and cook for an additional 4 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate.
  4. To the skillet add the fresh thyme and the Marsala. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pan skin side up. Add in the garlic and enough chicken stock to come half way up the chicken but not over the skin. You want the skin to stay crispy. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
  5. Remove the chicken from the pan onto a plate and cover with foil. Put the pan on the stovetop on low heat and add in the spinach. Stir until the spinach is wilted.
  6. Serve the sauce in the bottom of a shallow bowl and top with chicken. Serve alongside toasted bread for mopping up the sauce.

Notes

Adapted from Rachael Ray

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Grandma’s Shrimp Creole

Main Dishes, Recipes | October 30, 2016 | By

I have finally done it! I made my Grandmother’s recipe for Shrimp Creole. I have been hearing about how amazing this dish is from my Dad for many years and I don’t know why it has taken me so long to give it a try. Better late than never right? I am regretting it though. Think about how many years I have wasted not eating this on a regular basis! My Grandma was so kind to let me share the recipe with all of you and I may have raided her recipe box, so there will be lots more to come from her kitchen to yours. I am very excited about that. If you haven’t yet seen her recipe for Crab Casserole, be sure to check that out!

I have already given you some background information on my wonderful Grandma Gloria in my post about the Crab Casserole. She and my Grandfather are getting ready to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary! Many people say she’s a saint for putting up with that man for so many years but I think she still sees that cute football player she fell in love with back in high school. If anyone can handle Pops, it’s Grandma. Sure he’s feisty, but so is she! Now let’s make some Shrimp Creole!

Shrimp Creole

At the supermarket I found some beautiful shrimp from North Carolina. Yes, these will do nicely. This dish doesn’t call for any fancy ingredients and I was shocked how deep the flavor was for as little effort as it required. This is also a one pan dinner and who doesn’t love that? First, peel and devein one pound of shrimp. Usually they come cleaned but this time for me they didn’t. No problem! Next, gather all of your ingredients. You will need, diced onion, celery, garlic, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, sugar, salt, and minced green peppers. The celery and onions get sautéed in olive oil until tender. Next, the tomatoes, tomato sauce, garlic, and seasonings get added. This simmers on low for 45 minutes.

Shrimp Creole

Shrimp Creole

Shrimp Creole

Now that the sauce is thick and rich, the raw shrimp and green peppers join the party. It won’t be long now. The shrimp just need to cook through and then it’s time to eat!

Shrimp Creole

What a delicious meal. The sauce is packed full of flavor from the chili powder but it’s not too spicy. It goes perfectly with the juicy sweet shrimp. Serving it over white rice is best because it soaks up all of the flavor. I will be making this for my family over and over again!Shrimp Creole

Shrimp Creole

Shrimp Creole

Shrimp Creole

Grandma’s Shrimp Creole

Cook Time: 1 hour

Yield: 4

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup green peppers, minced
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbls. olive oil
  • 2 (15oz) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsps. salt
  • 1 tbls. sugar
  • 1 tbls. chili powder
  • 1 tbls. Worcestershire sauce
  • dash tabasco
  • 1lb raw shrimp

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet, saute the onion and celery in olive oil until tender but not brown. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, garlic, salt, sugar, chili powder, Worcestershire, and tabasco. Simmer on low uncovered for 45 minutes. If the sauce gets too thick, add a little bit of water.
  2. Add the shrimp and green peppers and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the shrimp is cooked.
  3. Serve over white rice.
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Creamy Pork Potpie

Main Dishes, Recipes | October 24, 2016 | By

Well hello there! Sorry I have been a little MIA. I came down with a cold that everyone seems to be dealing with and it knocked me out. What’s almost worse than the chest congestion and cough is the lack of an appetite. I have been living in a world where I eat because I have to, not because I want to…it’s awful, I know. I realize that’s not the worst thing that could happen, but for a foodie like me to not have a strong opinion on what we should have for dinner….it’s concerning. So I haven’t been cooking :(. After a few nights of takeout dinners, I was ready to get back in the kitchen. I needed a recipe that was easy to make, really comforting, and of course delicious so Creamy Pork Potpie it was!

Creamy Pork Potpie

This Creamy Pork Potpie recipe is from my beloved Taste of Home Cookbook. I especially love making this dish when the weather cools off because it is so so comforting! It warms you right up and is very simple to make. First, you make a rue in a saucepan, then add chicken stock and milk, boiling until thickened. Next add frozen veggies, cubed cooked pork, cheddar cheese, salt and pepper, stirring until the cheese is melted. Pour the mixture into a baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Top with thawed puff pastry that has been rolled out to fit the size of your pan and brush with an egg wash. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.   

Creamy Pork Potpie

This Creamy Pork Potpie is perfect for a weeknight dinner. I love that you can use whatever meat and vegetables you have on hand to make it your own. What a great way to get creative with leftovers! The filling is super creamy with lots of pork and veggies. You could even take the creaminess up a notch by using heavy cream in place of the milk. Now that would be goooood! The filling isn’t the only delicious part of this recipe. Look at that puff pastry. All puffed up and beautifully golden brown. It is such a great alternative to making pie crust (not that I mind making pie crust but how easy is it to thaw out puff pastry?). I love getting some of that crust in every bite.

I look forward to making this many more times as the weather gets colder. I am in comfort food heaven.

Creamy Pork Potpie

Creamy Pork Potpie

Creamy Pork Potpie

Creamy Pork Potpie

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 (14.5oz) can chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 1/2 cups pork, cooked and cubed
  • 2 1/2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Stir in the flour until smooth. Gradually add the milk and broth, whisking to avoid clumps. Bring to a boil and stir for another two minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
  2. Add the pork, vegetables, cheese, salt and pepper to the saucepan. Heat through and transfer to a greased 11X7in baking dish.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry out big enough to cover your dish. Place over the pork mixture and brush with the egg.
  4. Bake uncovered at 425 degrees for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

For a creamier potpie you can use heavy cream or half and half instead of milk. Use any meat and vegetable combo you like. Mix it up!

Adapted from Taste of Home Cookbook

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