Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya

Close-ups of jambalaya are maybe not quite as appetizing as its taste. Delicious, I swear!

Close-ups of jambalaya are maybe not quite as appetizing as its taste. Delicious, I swear!

 

From the same cookbook as the last post, Jambalaya: The Official Cookbook of the Junior League of New Orleans (1981). Spicy, delicious, and easier than you might have imagined, this is the real thing! There are ten jambalaya recipes in this cookbook. Here is the one we made tonight:

1 lb smoked sausage, thinly sliced
3 tbsp olive oil
2/3 c chopped green bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 c chopped fresh parsley
1 c chopped celery
2 16-oz cans tomatoes
2 c chicken broth
1 c chopped green onion
1 1/2 tsp thyme
2 bay leaves
2 tsp oregano
1 tbsp Creole seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 c long grain converted rice, washed
3 lbs raw shrimp, peeled

Preheat you oven to 350 degrees. In a 4 quart heavy pot, sauté sausage; remove with a slotted spoon. Add oil to the drippings and sauté green peppers, garlic, parsley, and celery for five minutes. Chop tomatoes and reserve liquid. Add tomatoes with liquid, broth, and green onions. Stir in spices. Add rice which has been washed and rinsed three times. Add sausage and cook for 30 minutes, covered, over low heat, stirring occasionally. After most liquid has been absorbed by rice, add shrimp and cook until pink. Transfer mixture to a casserole dish and bake for approximately 25 minutes. Serves 10.

Notes: I halved this recipe and it came out just fine. I do feel that this dish needs vegetables. I think a cup of okra would be perfect. Okra tends to thicken things a little bit, so I’m guessing a little extra chicken broth might be needed. Also, serve this with a dollop of sour cream. It cuts the spiciness and heavy texture nicely.

Shrimp Fettucine

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From a fantastic vintage cookbook I grew up with, Jambalaya: The Official Cookbook of the Junior League of New Orleans (1981). When you can find it used, it is well worth the couple of dollars. It occasionally pops up on that Amazon page or eBay. The recipes are all classics, plus many Creole and Cajun dishes you’ve never heard of.  Even without pictures, they’ll make you drool just reading the dish names.

This was an easy 20 minute dinner and a fairly plain and simple one for the cookbook, but last night I happened to have everything on the list at home, even the shrimp. I omitted the mushrooms because I’m the only one in my house that loves them. If I had added them I think shiitakes would have been ideal, as their flavor and shape holds up well in cooking and they produce very little liquid. Lastly, I think a sprinkle of dry white wine or vermouth would make this more dynamic. I served it with a wedge of lemon and tossed some deep fried shallots on there – blammo. Perfection.

You’ll have to unbutton your jeans when you’re done eating.

5 green onions, chopped
2 c sliced mushrooms (I omitted this)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 stick of butter (American sticks are 8 tbsp – 1/2 c)
2 tbsp oil (I omitted this)
1 lb peeled, deveined, raw shrimp (I only had 1/2 lb)
2 tsp salt
8 oz fettucine (I used closer to 10 oz)
3/4 c grated Romano cheese
3/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
1 c heavy cream
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley

In a large skillet, saute green onions, mushrooms, and garlic in 1/2 a stick of butter and oil. Add shrimp and saute until pink. Pour off excess liquid. Season with salt (I also added pepper). Cover and keep warm.

Cook noodles in salted, boiling water. Drain. In a saucepan, melt remaining 1/2 stick of butter. Add noodles, cheeses, and cream. Mix well and combine with shrimp mixture. Sprinkle with parsley and toss. Serve immediately.

*Note: They aren’t kidding about serving immediately. It pales in texture every moment that goes by.

Pasta With Herbs and Greens

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From Donna Hay’s Instant Cook. This is the easiest way to get Nevan to eat a lot of vegetables (although admittedly I may have gone a little crazy with the parmesan there). He had three helpings last night.

14 oz orecchiette or rigatoni pasta
1 tbsp butter (I use 2 tbsp)
3/4 cup chicken stock
7 oz broccoli, cut into small florets
3.5 oz green beans, quartered
3/4 cup green peas
2.5 oz baby spinach leaves
sea salt and cracked black pepper
1/4 cup mint, shredded
1/4 cup basil, shredded
parmesan

– I also add crumbled spicy turkey sausage and either smoked paprika or a little cayenne powder, and sometimes garlic. White pepper would be good too. This recipe is a great base but needs a little oomph.

Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain. While pasta is cooking, heat a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add stock and butter and bring to a simmer. Add broccoli, beans, and peas,and cover and cook for 2-3 minutes until tender. Stir in the spinach, salt, pepper, and cooked pasta. Sprinkle with basil, mint, and parmesan. Serves 4 (I think serves 6).

Banana Apple Dumpling Bread

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Sometimes a simple experiment ends up being a huge success. My little experiment from years ago ended up becoming a favorite in our house, among family and friends, and even the old grandma who used to be my neighbor, who would regularly ask me to make it for her.

I took a really good banana bread recipe (which I found in my America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook) and using their suggested Orange Spice variation I added large chunks of apple to it. I experimented with grating the apple (too wet) and large slices pressed into the loaf (looked beautiful, but the dough against the slices would not bake). In the end, large chunks won.

2 c all-purpose flour
3/4 c sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted then cooled
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 c plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp orange zest
1 1/4 c walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
3/4 of an apple that is good for baking, such as Jazz, Pink Lady, or Granny Smith, diced into 1-1.25″ pieces, skin intact

Adjust oven rack to the lower middle position and heat to 350 degrees. Butter a 9X5″ loaf pan. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk the bananas, eggs, yogurt, butter, orange zest, and vanilla in a separate bowl. Gently fold banana mixture into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula and until just combined. Fold in apples and nuts.

Scrape batter into the loaf pan. Press any apple pieces into the batter if they are at the top. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few crumbs attached, approximately 55 minutes.

Let the loaf cool for 10 minutes, then unmold and allow to cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Serve warm, with a little powdered sugar sprinkled over it.

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Happy Girl Nachos

I have fluctuated between vegetarian and “vegan-ish” diets for much of my adult life.  I feel best when I eat a mostly vegan diet, but I tend to get to a certain time frame and then I cave because there’s some food that I just can’t quite replicate and I really miss it.  Often, that food is nachos.  I will fully admit a serious need for nachos in my life.  I heart them.  Really.

About a month ago, I was feeling the need for a plate of nice warm chips with their oozy, cheesy goodness and some of my favorite toppings, but with a true and concerted effort to stick to my vegan eating this time, I figured I’d just have to deal with it.  I was sitting sadly outside of my son’s beat band class when I made a desperate attempt to find some online recipe on my phone that I could at least attempt.  I ran across this blog where some crazy girl wrote that I could have my vegan cheesy sauce with a simple scoop of red pepper hummus, some unsweetened almond milk, and a pinch of Daiya cheese?  Um, no.  I was thinking she’d lost it, but I was willing to try.

Now I love her.  Truly brilliant, I say!!  And scrumptious.  It even got a semi-thumbs up from the hubs who is from Wisconsin, so you don’t mess with his cheese.  This is seriously good.  And seriously simple.  I now enjoy my nachos anytime I like…which actually I should be mad at Happynhealthy for because it means I either better get off my ass and re-kickstart my running program, or resign myself to being fat and happy on my couch eating nachos.

Here’s how she says to mix it up, but honestly I don’t measure anything anymore.  It always turns out good~

Vegan Cheese Sauce – 70 calories per serving (approx 1/4 C)

  • 2 T Roasted red pepper humus
  • 1 T Unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 T Daiya dairy free cheese
  • Mix and heat in the microwave for 45 secs

nachos

Red Lentil Dal

I have a significant other who loves Indian food.  Loves!  I don’t love it.  Every time we have an opportunity to have a date night, his first suggestion is any Indian restaurant in town.  I almost always decline.  I do start to feel guilty about it, though, and when I ran across this Red Lentil Dal in The Happy Herbivore, I thought it would be a nice gesture.  Would you believe that I love it, too!?

Red Lentil Dal

from The Happy Herbivore by Lindsay Nixon

1 small onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp paprika

1 T. ground ginger

1/2 c. dried red lentils

2 c. vegetable broth

1 chopped tomato, with juices

3 oz. tomato paste

1 T. ground coriander

2 tsp garam masala

salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

cayenne, to taste

Line a medium pot with 1/2 c. water and cook onions and garlic until transluscent.

Add turmeric, cumin ,paprika, and ginger and cook for another 2 minutes, adding water if necessary to prevent sticking or burning.

Add lentils, broth, tomato, tomato paste, and coriander, stirring to combine.

Bring to a buil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until lentils are cooked and orange-ish.

Add garam masala, stirring to combine, and let rest 5 minutes.  Add salt, pepper and cayenne.

*Nutritional Information:  Calories 134, Total Fat 0.7, Cholesterol 0, Total Carbs 25.5, Dietary Fiber 9,3, Protein 7.0g.

We ladled ours over a bed of cooked brown rice and it was truly delicious~

red lentil dal

Almond-Chocolate Cookies

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Before.

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After.

Some time ago, I worked with a woman who would sometimes make these and bring them in for the team. I believe she got the recipe from Crisco by the name “Chocolate Filled Bon Bons”, but I haven’t been able to find it on their site to link to. I am not a fan of Crisco and generally only use it for this recipe, as they are so good I am willing to forgive it. It’s that yummy.

As usual, I alter the recipe a bit, but only a bit… the last bit of rolling it through sugar and almonds. This time around I decided to try out less flour to get it crispier, which worked and came out beautifully; however, the cookies are definitely more fragile. Normally they maintain their ball shape. While this makes for a softer cookie (or bon bon), it does allow the recipient to enjoy the cookie and Hershey Kiss all in one bite.

I made these as a thank you gift to Dave’s office for the beautiful baby gifts they gave us.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup shortening (I prefer to use plain, but you can also use butter flavored)
1/2 cup white sugar, plus about 1/3 cup more for rolling
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (if you prefer, just use more vanilla)
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sliced almonds
24 milk chocolate Hershey Kisses, unwrapped (note: the original recipe calls for 48, but I have never been able to squeeze nearly that many out of the amount of dough made from quantities above. Always 24)

Preheat oven to 350F. Using a mixer, cream shortening and sugars until fluffy. Add egg and extracts and beat well. Add flour, baking powder, salt, and mix well. On a plate, combine the extra 1/3 cup of white sugar with the sliced almonds and mix. I usually crumble up half of the almonds.

Form into 1 inch balls. Press a Hershey Kiss into the ball so that the Kiss is completely enrobed. Roll each ball through the sugar/almond mixture. Bake for 12-13 minutes on an ungreased cookie sheet. It is worth mentioning that when baking with Crisco, they often look undercooked when they are in fact done as it should not brown, so be careful not to over bake. Cool on a wire rack. They will need to cool for 5-10 minutes before firming up.

Makes approximately two dozen delicious cookies.

Vegan stuffing and “sausage”

If you haven’t tried Field Roast sausages yet, you are missing out.  Our favorite so far is the Smoked Apple Sage which is just plain amazing.  Tonight I took it out of the casing, sliced it in to rounds and sauteed them with a little bit of olive oil until they were browned and getting a little crisp.  Mouthwatering delicious and between these and some of the traditional sausages I used to eat, there is no contest.  I’d pick this anyday!

I’m also love, love, loving my Happy Herbivore cookbook lately and Nixon’s Traditional Stuffing recipe was the perfect complement to the Field Roast Smoked Apple Sage sausage.

Traditional Stuffing

6 c. cubed whole wheat bread ( I left mine out overnight)

1 1/2 tsp dried oregano

1 1/2 tsp dried thyme

1 1/2 tsp dried parsley

1 1/2 tsp dried basil

1 1/2 tsp powdered sage

1 large onion, chopped

4 celery sticks, chopped

1 c. No Chicken Broth

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Preheat oven to 350* and lightly spray a 9×13 baking pan.  Set aside.

Transfer bread cubes to a plastic bag.  Spray once or twice with cooking spray, add herbs and toss for a minute.  ( I actually did this in a large mixing bowl so as not to use a plastic bag, but whatever works).

Open bag and re-spray once or twice, then seal it and shake gently until cubes are evenly coated.  Set aside.  (Again, I did this in a bowl, so I put part of the bread crumbs in, sprayed, sprinkled the herbs, then added more bread, sprayed, sprinkled, etc.)

Cook celery and onion in 1/2 c. of water (I used the No Chicken Broth for this step), over medium heat until celery is soft, onion is transluscent and most of the water (broth) has evaporated; about 5 minutes.

Transfer to a large bowl and combine with bread cubes.

Stir to combine, then transfer to prepared pan.

Drizzle with 1/4 c. broth or less.  (I used 1/2 c. because 1/4 didn’t seem like quite enough).

Bake for 30 minutes, checking every 10 minutes and adding more No Chicken Broth as needed to prevent stuffing from drying out.

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Now, you may think this sounds like an Autumnal sort of dish, but I can assure you….it’s delish any time of year.

Stuffing

Nutritional Info (Stuffing Only):  Recipe serves 8.  Calories 115, Cal from Fat 13, Total Fat 1.4g, Cholesterol 0, Total Carb 20, Dietary Fiber 3.3, Sugars 3.4, Protein 6.7

Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

I have a girl in my life who loves scones or any baked goods she can get her little 3-year old hands on.  I will buy her one periodically on our way through Starbucks or if she’s good at the grocery store, but honestly, I don’t feel great about either option, knowing they are loaded with fat and sugar and who knows what else.

I love the Happy Herbivore and recently got Nixon’s cookbook.  She’s got a great recipe for Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins that are a hit with both Sophie and myself, and they are the perfect on-the-go breakfast as I’m off to class.  Oh, and no one would believe it’s only 123 calories!

Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

1 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 c. rolled oats

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger, or to taste  (I happened to have a gingerroot in my hand so I used fresh and it was perfect.  Probaby about a tsp)

1 c. unsweetened applesauce (The only applesauce on hand was organic cinnamon.  It worked just fine)

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/4 c. pure maple syrup

3/4 c. frozen wild blueberries

 

Preheat oven to 350*.  Grease or spray muffin tin or paper liners, if using.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices together until well-blended.

Add applesauce, sugar, and maple syrup and stir until mostly combined.

Add blueberries, stirring until just combined.

Spoon into muffin cups, 3/4 full.

Sprinkle additional oats or brown sugar on top if desired.  (I did a tiny amt of both)

Bake for 18-25 min, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  (20  min was perfect for my oven)

Transfer to a wire rack for cooling.

Blueberry Muffin

 

Nutritional Information:  Cal 123, Calories from fat 5, Total Fat 0.5, Cholesterol 0, Total Carbs 27, Dietary Fiber 2.4, Sugars 12, Proteins 2.1.

Gai Yang (Thai BBQed Chicken)

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This is a simple recipe from my go-to Thai cookbook, Thailand: The Beautiful Cookbook. Although traditional gai yang is barbecued (and there are gai yang variations in the book whose directions only give barbecuing instructions), this one is baked then broiled. Juicy, fragrant, delicious, simple. Nevan’s favorite!

Quick notes: I usually double the marinade while keeping the salt at 1 tsp, up the cilantro/ginger/garlic, and add some dried sliced red Asian chillies. Doubling the marinade also gives you extra sauce to put on the rice! Also, while the recipe calls for a whole chicken, I just buy the same weight in wings because everyone in the house seems to prefer it that way (plus, American chickens rarely come in such a low weight).

1 whole chicken, about 3 lbs, cut in half

Marinade:

1 tsp salt
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp white pepper
1 tbsp minced cilantro leaves and root (you may have to skip the root, as Americans rarely sell cilantro with it intact)
2 tbsp rice wine (or cognac or whiskey)
2 tbsp coconut milk
1 tbsp nam pla (fish sauce)
1 tsp chopped fresh ginger
2 tbsp soy sauce

Rub the entire chicken with the combined marinade ingredients. Allow to marinate for 15 minutes minimum. When I do wings, I put the wings and marinade in a casserole dish, coating the chicken well, and put them in the fridge until I’m ready for baking.

Bake at 350F for 45 minutes (I turn the wings over halfway through cooking) and then broil or grill for 10 minutes or until done and nicely browned.

Cut into serving sized pieces and serve with chili sauce. I like to serve this with steamed rice and stir-fried vegetables on the side.

For the vegetables, I threw together some leftover bell pepper, broccoli, carrots, onion, garlic, and basil with a little sesame oil and soy sauce… nothin’ fancy.