Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Despite my deep Gulf Coast roots (we can trace my Dad's side of the family back to a man on the boat when d'Iberville landed) I'm not much of a seafood eater. Growing up in this area, dancing around a table of fried oysters begging for me (or so my Mama says), a grandmother that picked crabs for a living and a great grandmother that cooked some of the best seafood gumbo known to man, I'm still not a big fan of seafood. Now I'll eat the occasional crab claw, I like fried "popcorn" shrimp and I can even handle some crawfish now and then but I don't suck the heads! EWW!  I prefer to stick to the food that lives out of the water. That's why my gumbo has chicken and sausage in it. 

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

2 chicken breasts, boiled and shredded
1 lb. sausage, diced (I like using andouille but smoked will do) and browned
8 c. water
3 garlic cloves, minced
5 T. oil (any kind will do)
2 T. flour
1 tsp. thyme
6 chicken bouillon cubes
1 bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste or 1/2 can tomato sauce
1 tsp. sage
1 tsp. cayenne pepper

Mix bouillon, water, spices, shredded chicken ans diced in large pot. Set to simmer. Saute vegetables until tender and add to pot. (Sometimes I cheat on the veggies and buy a bag of seasoning blend.) Make a dark roux; add to pot and stir. Grind okra in food processor; cook  down until most of the sliminess is gone**; add tomato paste. Cook down and add to pot. Cover and simmer 25 to 35 minutes. Serve over rice.

** Don't let the use of okra turn you off. I know some people won't eat okra because of it's sliminess. Cooking it like this takes almost all of that away. You do not get the slimy texture after its cooked down and mixed into the gumbo. 

How to Make a Roux

If you aren't from the south odds are you've never had milk gravy or gumbo made with a roux. Roux is the basis for all things rich and thick in southern cooking. Make a roux; add milk and you have gravy for homemade biscuits, meatballs or chicken fried steak. Make roux and add it to any soup to make it thick and add a layer of flavor that is delicious.

5 T. oil (bacon grease, vegetable oil, olive oil, doesn't really matter)
2 LARGE T.  flour
salt and pepper to taste

In a small cast iron skillet (preferable) heat oil until very hot; add flour, salt and pepper. Keep a careful eye on the skillet! Stirring often until flour turns a dark peanut brown.

If making gravy turn down heat and add milk at this point and stir A LOT! Working out any lumps.

If adding to soup, just stir it in!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

BBQ Pork in the crock pot

My husband HATES condiments! I mean it! He HATES them! I've seen the man make his own sandwich and then check to make sure there is no mayonnaise on it! He loves these sandwiches despite the fact they have ketchup and ground mustard in them. 

I had this for the first time when we lived in Lubbock, Texas at a luncheon at the Deaf Center where I worked. It was delicious and so easy! I've been making it for years now and it never gets old. 

**yeah I forgot to take a single picture. So picture pork ribs slow cooking in the crockpot.**

3/4-1 cup white vinegar (I use 1 cup because I like it tangy!)
1/2 c. ketchup
2 T. sugar
2 T. worchestershire sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. ground mustard
1 tsp. paprika
1/2-1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 lb. boneless country style ribs
1 T. vegetable oil

Combine first nine ingredients in a slow cooker. Cut ribs into chunks; brown in skillet in oil and then add to crock pot. Cover and cook on low 4-6 hours or until tender. Serve as is or shred and serve on buns (that's our preference).

Sunday, January 23, 2011

This weeks menu

Here's this week's menu! I don't know if you've noticed yet, but lunch generally stays the same. We don't actually eat the same thing every Monday, I just mix it up according to what mood the kiddos are in! Same thing applies to breakfast!

Breakfast- Cereal
Lunch- Homemade Peanut Butter & Banana sandwich
Dinner- Red Beans and Rice Chicken Pesto


Breakfast- Toast and yogurt
Lunch- Mac & Cheese
Dinner- Cavatini (we didn't have it last week!)

Breakfast- Muffins & Fruit
Lunch- Chicken Nuggets
Dinner- Shepard's Pie

Breakfast- Scrambled eggs & Turkey Bacon
Lunch- Grilled Cheese
Dinner- Gumbo Tacos

Breakfast- Waffles
Lunch- Pizza
Dinner- BBQ pork in the crockpot 

Breakfast- Cereal
Lunch- ham and cheese
Dinner- Pizza

Breakfast- Kids will eat a bowl of cereal or toast, Hubby and I have a muffin and coffee at church.
Lunch- at church. A long time family friend's son is getting baptized and we're having dinner on the grounds afterwards! YUM! 
Dinner- Usually don't cook Sunday nights.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Pork Chop Bake

I found this recipe in a Southern Living cookbook about ten years ago. Of course like all things, my recipe is slightly different than the original! Even my reluctant eater, Molly, like this dish!

What you need:
4- small boneless pork chops (some people call them breakfast pork chops, I call them easy!)
1/3 c. flour
salt and pepper, garlic powder
3-carrots or a handful of baby carrots, chopped
2-celery stalks, chopped
3 or 4 large potatoes
1- onion, chopped
1 1/2 c. HOT water
2 chicken bouillon cubes

Pour about 2-3 T. of oil in a good heavy pot ( like my enamel cast iron!) that has a lid and brown your floured pork chops. They don't have to be completely done, just browned. You'll finish cooking them later.

While they cook chop up all your veggies but keep them separate!

Get your hot water and drop in your two boillion cubes and add some salt,pepper and garlic powder to taste. Set to the side.

In the same pot you just browned your pork chops, layer the pork chops, potatoes, carrots, celery and onions...In that order! Pour your seasoned water over the top and put a lid on it! Let cook over medium heat for 30-45 minutes or until all your vegetables are tender.

I don't serve this dish with anything else since there are so many veggies in the dish. YUM!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Crockpot Cabbage and Sausage

This recipe is from my best friend, Dawn. I love cabbage! I especially love "fried" cabbage, but this crockpot dish is next in line! Even my 17  month old chowed down on the cabbage!

1 large head cabbage, quartered and stem removed
1 lb. smoked sausage (I used Polk's)
1 stick butter
1 onion
salt and pepper
1/4 c. water

Layer cabbage, sausage, onion, and butter; repeat until you've used it all. Salt and pepper to taste, then pour water over top. Cook 4 hours on high. Stir occasionally. 

I serve this with a pan of homemade mac & cheese (another of Dawn's recipes) and sometimes with a pan of cornbread.

Homemade Peanut Butter

So I have a list of twelve things to do in 2011. Number one on that list...make homemade peanut butter! If it wasn't for peanut butter and bananas my two girls might never eat again! There's a strict rule in our house, JIF and only JIF grace our cabinets. Lets see if I can change that. 

I grabbed a 1 1/2 lb. bag of  dry roasted peanuts from Target  last night for under $2! Shelled and removed the skin and dropped them in a bowl. Now I only did about a cup just to try it tonight. Dropped them all in my food processor and hit the button. It takes about 5 minutes for the peanuts to start releasing their oil to make it creamy. The longer you blend the creamier it gets. Can you say YUM!?! Molly was dancing around the kitchen waiting to taste it. 

I added about 1/2 tsp. of honey just for a little sweetness. The one cup of peanuts made about a 1/2 cup of peanut butter. Perfect for lunch tomorrow! Wish I would have realized this was so easy! I would have made it sooner! Plus I know everything that's in it! No artificial anything, no preservatives (which reminds me store the fresh stuff in the fridge in an airtight container) or anything else. Wait it gets better! It's CHEAP! Not to mention it was fun. Molly had a great time cracking the peanuts with me. 

So ya'll grab some bread and whip you up a pb&j, pb & banana or a fluffernutter! 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

This weeks menu

I hope that all of you are enjoying a peak into my cooking world! I'm really enjoying putting this out into the world! Here's this week's menu:

Breakfast- Cereal
Lunch- Homemade Peanut Butter & Banana sandwich
Dinner- Cavatini  Chicken Bulgolgi(yes we ate it again!)


Breakfast- Toast and yogurt
Lunch- Mac & Cheese
Dinner- Cheesy Crock Pot Chicken Spaghetti & Meatballs

Breakfast- Muffins & Fruit
Lunch- Chicken Nuggets

Breakfast- Scrambled eggs & Turkey Bacon
Lunch- Grilled Cheese

Breakfast- Waffles
Lunch- Pizza
Dinner- White Chicken Chili

Breakfast- Cereal
Lunch- Pizza
Dinner- Slow Cooker Pork Ribs

Breakfast- Kids will eat a bowl of cereal or toast, Hubby and I have a muffin and coffee at church.
Lunch- at Mom's (We eat a very large lunch at my Mom's house every Sunday with the ENTIRE family!)
Dinner- Usually don't cook Sunday nights.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Blog Hop Friday!

I'm blog hopping over here at Mostly Homemade when I should probably be cooking instead!

<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="BoostMyBlogFriday" /></a>

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Chicken Rice and Broccoli Casserole

This is the dish that finally got my 7 year old to eat rice! Molly L O V E S broccoli, I mean LOVES broccoli!! She'll eat it any way you make it broiled, boiled, baked, fried, sauteed, steamed, etc. etc. etc. but she use to HATE rice just as much as she loved broccoli. Rice and potatoes are two things she just flat out refused to eat until about 8 months ago. 

Super easy recipe that you probably have all the ingredients for in your kitchen right now. Feel free to add more chicken. I'm a frugal girl so I like to stretch my meat. This is a great bake and take for potlucks or bringing a meal to someone. Enjoy!

Chicken, Rice and Broccoli Casserole

1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
2 boxes Zatarain's Rice Pilaf or Rice a Roni Chicken
8 oz. Velveeta cheese, sliced or you can use several cheese slices (whatever you have on hand EXCEPT shredded cheese! It just doesn't cook the same)
1/2 head fresh broccoli or 1 bag frozen broccoli florets
1 can cream of chicken soup(I'll be posting the homemade cream soups recipe soon!)
1 1/2 cans full of milk or water

Cook Rice and broccoli according to directions. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a well greased 13 x 9 pan you are going to layer the cooked rice mix, then the chicken and the broccoli. Mix together the soup and milk or water. Pour over top of everything and then top with sliced cheese. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until cheese is good and melted.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Watergate Salad...This really needs a new name!

My dear sweet husband has a severe aversion to the term "salad" mostly due to several bad experiences during his childhood that involved potato salad and having to clear his plate. So now if anything says "salad" or might possibly have mayonnaise, cream cheese, sour cream, or mustard it's pretty much off limits. But a few months ago while we went to visit his Grandmother Joyce she was excited to tell him she had made his favorite salad! Watergate salad held a special place on the table that night!

Now I remember my Mammaw making Watergate salad and other congealed concoctions that were used to trick children into eating vegetables disguised as dessert. I always made sure to steer clear of those dishes! But as an adult I'm trying to branch out and set good examples for my girls and try things that I normally do not eat. For that particular night it was Watergate Salad! And it was good!!!!!

Since coming back from our visit to Yazoo City, I've made Watergate Salad almost once a week! It's sweet enough to satisfy your sweet tooth with few calories, which is a good thing in our quest to eat healthier! Our 7 year old has taken to calling it "Green Stuff"....not much better than salad in my opinion!

Watergate Salad

1 box instant Pistachio pudding mix
1 container of Cool Whip (I use lite or sugar free)
1/2 bag fruit flavored marshmallows
1 large can crushed pineapple

Mix pineapple and pudding mix first. Stir in cool whip and marshmallows. Store in airtight container. We eat it immediately, but the original recipe says to refrigerate first.

This week's menu and why I'm posting it two days late

I just started this blog and I'm already behind! Ugh! None the less, I'm posting this week's menu two three days late just because this is one of those disorganized weeks for me!

Breakfast- Toast with choice of topping (butter, jelly, Nutella, cheese) and juice
Lunch- Grilled cheese 
Dinner- Shanghi Beef


Breakfast- Cereal
Lunch- Chicken Nuggets , green beans and carrots with peanut butter
Dinner- Jambalaya

Breakfast- Yogurt & Fruit
Lunch- leftovers

Breakfast- cereal
Lunch- Peanut Butter and Banana sandwiches
Dinner- Nachos

Breakfast- Banana Nut Muffins
Lunch- Mac & Cheese
Dinner- Pork Chop Bake Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Breakfast- Pancakes
Lunch- Poboys
Dinner- Church Home Group (we're supplying the crackers and Watergate Salad!)

Breakfast- Kids will eat a bowl of cereal or toast, Hubby and I have a muffin and coffee at church.
Lunch- at Mom's (We eat a very large lunch at my Mom's house every Sunday with the ENTIRE family!)
Dinner- Usually don't cook Sunday nights.