Full Dinner Menu: Pasta Jambalaya and Orange Cookies

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My goal with the dinner menus is to have a quick meal planned that doesn’t taste quick and uses fresh foods, versus over-processed frozen or microwave dinners. I think this one really meets that test. It’s full of great flavors and fresh vegetables. And the Orange cookies are a quick dessert, but you can always substitute fresh oranges for a healthier alternative.

On the board:

  1. Pasta Jambalaya
  2. Broccoli
  3. Orange Cookies

Pasta Jambalaya

  • 12 oz penne pasta
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp to 1 tbsp Cajun or Creole seasoning
  • 15 oz can black beans
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 4 oz can chopped green chilies
  • 4 oz smoked sausage, sliced (I like Andouille)
  • 4 oz shredded Mexican 4-blend cheese

saucepan Continue reading

Mmm… jambalaya

DSC_0483 (1600x1060)It’s rainy today here in Beautiful Southern Illinois™ and so I passed some time looking around for something to fix for dinner.  Found some of the Andouille sausage I made a while back and thought jambalaya might hit the spot.  I try to link to this guy whenever I can, he’s my goto guy when I do anything Cajun-style.  The link goes to a jambalaya recipe that informed my take on it today, you could do worse than spend a little time looking over his recipe collection.

Friday Recipe Exchange: Not Just For Mardi Gras

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We are prepping for the big storm (ok, not New England BIG, but looking at 8-16 inches of big wet flakes) and I almost forgot it was Friday. Since it was Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras this week, that always puts me in the mood for some Louisiana-style recipes and a trip to Lucille’s restaurant for their beans and rice (and boy am I going to miss living within walking distance when I finally move – and I am so tired of house hunting).

When I can’t get there, I make my own Washday Beans and Rice, recipe and full dinner menu here.

A trip to New Orleans a few years ago gave me my first taste of authentic Beignets at Cafe Du Monde and Po’boys at Johnny’s, I liked the sandwiches so much, I hunted down some recipes, (click here).

Looking for something fancier? How about Trout Amandine with Creole Meuniere Sauce (recipe here).

What’s on your menu for the weekend? I’ll be scanning travel sites looking for somewhere warm to vacation!

Tonight’s featured recipe (pictured above) is from JeffreyW:

Shrimp and Andouille in a Creole Mustard Sauce

  • 1 pound uncooked peeled deveined large shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon Creole or Cajun seasoning (recipe below)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 pound andouille sausage, cut crosswise on diagonal into 3/4-inch-thick pieces
  • 1 large onion, halved, thinly sliced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/3-inch-wide strips
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 cup low-salt chicken broth
  • 5 tablespoons Creole mustard
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Toss shrimp with Creole seasoning in medium bowl to coat. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over high heat. Add sausage pieces, cut side down. Cook until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer sausage to bowl. Add shrimp to skillet; cook until browned and just opaque in center, about 3 minutes. Transfer to bowl with sausage. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, onion, bell pepper, and thyme to skillet. Sauté until vegetables are beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add broth, mustard, and vinegar. Stir until sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Return sausage and shrimp to skillet. Simmer until heated through, stirring occasionally, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.

Creole Seasoning

  • 1/3 Cup Paprika
  • 1/4 Cup Granulated Garlic
  • 4 Tbsp Onion Powder
  • 1/3 Cup Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 3 Tbsp White Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Dried Thyme
  • 2 Tbsp Dried Basil
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Oregano

Combine all ingredients and place in an airtight container.

Makes about 10 oz.

Bixby hit 115 lbs this week and I’m thinking that raising a Great Dane puppy should be considered an Olympic sport. He exhausts me and then is so damn cute, I’m ready for another day of puppyhood. I’ll see if I can get him to do a diary update later this weekend. That’s it for this week.  Stay warm – TaMara

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Cajun Crawfish Mac ‘n Cheese

DSC_9668 (1600x1060)I  had a few crawfish tails left over from last night’s pizza I needed to use pretty soon so I had that in the back of my mind as I idled through a few searches this morning.  No one chimed in with an answer for my question “what would be considered a typically Cajun cheese’ so I entered “Cajun” + “cheese” into the search box hoping to stumble across an answer.  What I got were dozens of recipes for “Cajun mac and cheese”.DSC_9671 (1600x1060)This seemed a perfect place to use up those extra tails.  The crawfish already had a goodly amount of Creole seasoning so I added more and minced a jalapeno for extra fun.  Those are the last of my ridged jumbo elbows so I’ll be needing to make another run to the country store.

Cajun Food Pr0n – Gumbo

DSC_9004 (1600x1060)I always send folks to this page when they ask for a gumbo recipe.  It’s for a chicken and sausage gumbo but easily adapts to whatever meat you have on hand.  The pictured gumbo has the chicken and sausage, plus precooked shrimp and crawfish tails that were added just at the end to warm through.

Gumbo Pr0n – Shrimp, Andouille, and Crayfish

DSC_8209 (1600x1060)Mmm… gumbo.  I’ve made this often enough that I was able to put this one together without even glancing at a recipe.  We ran across some frozen crayfish tails while were were scouting brisket prices and “we can make gumbo” was the first thing that came to mind.

The general recipe is simple enough:  Chop up up the trinity of onions, celery, and green peppers and keep them ready to go, then start a roux and take it to a color that suits you, stirring all the while.  I use peanut oil instead of butter, use equal parts flour and oil.  A large flat bottom pot and a wooden spatula with a flat tip is the best thing I’ve found for making one although you can do the roux in the oven if you have time.

When the roux is dark enough to suit, stir in the trinity .  Season with your favorite spices.  Give the veggies five minutes or so to wilt then add your stock.  This time I used lamb stock I had on hand but the usual is chicken stock, or shrimp stock.  The lamb stock worked great.  Bring it to a boil and then simmer.

You are nearly home free, now.  Add everything else in its proper time, sausage and chicken can go in early, seafoods go in late.  I put okra in this one but that’s optional.  Mine came frozen and chopped, I added it to the simmering stock early.  It’s said to be a thickener but I really couldn’t say.  Adjust your seasonings and serve it with rice.

Friday Night Recipe Exchange: Taste of New Orleans

Saturday Night On Bourbon Street

Saturday Night In New Orleans (October 2010)

I’m back from my most excellent week in Los Angeles and Ventura County. I have some great photos and fun food stories to share, but work has been non-stop since I returned, so I haven’t even unpacked my camera from its bag to download the photos. I will do that this weekend.

I was mulling over what to post tonight and realized Mardi Gras is coming up soon and I have a stash of recipes that would fit that theme.

My fall back recipe when I want a touch of creole is Washday Beans and Rice (recipe here)

A trip to New Orleans a few years ago gave me my first taste of authentic Beignets at Cafe Du Monde and Po’boys at Johnny’s, I liked the sandwiches so much, I hunted down some recipes, (click here).

Dinner was fancier, Trout Amandine with Creole Meuniere Sauce (recipe here).

I flew home in time to miss the rain, but managed to drive home in white out conditions. I am so over winter, how about you? What’s on the menu for the weekend? Any favorite Fat Tuesday recipes? Hit the comments.

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The featured recipe (pictured above) is from JeffrewW tonight:

Shrimp and Andouille in a Creole Mustard Sauce

  • 1 pound uncooked peeled deveined large shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon Creole or Cajun seasoning (recipe below)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 pound andouille sausage, cut crosswise on diagonal into 3/4-inch-thick pieces
  • 1 large onion, halved, thinly sliced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/3-inch-wide strips
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 cup low-salt chicken broth
  • 5 tablespoons Creole mustard
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Toss shrimp with Creole seasoning in medium bowl to coat. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over high heat. Add sausage pieces, cut side down. Cook until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer sausage to bowl. Add shrimp to skillet; cook until browned and just opaque in center, about 3 minutes. Transfer to bowl with sausage. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, onion, bell pepper, and thyme to skillet. Sauté until vegetables are beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add broth, mustard, and vinegar. Stir until sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Return sausage and shrimp to skillet. Simmer until heated through, stirring occasionally, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.

Creole Seasoning

  • 1/3 Cup Paprika
  • 1/4 Cup Granulated Garlic
  • 4 Tbsp Onion Powder
  • 1/3 Cup Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 3 Tbsp White Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Dried Thyme
  • 2 Tbsp Dried Basil
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Oregano

Combine all ingredients and place in an airtight container.

Makes about 10 oz.

That’s it for this week. Until next week…. – TaMara

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Chicken Gumbo with Chorizo Sausage

DSC_7656 (1600x1060)This starts as a basic gumbo – cook a dark roux with flour and oil, add the Cajun trinity of diced onions, celery, and green peppers.  Let the veggies cook for a few minutes then add chicken broth.  I browned chicken thighs and fresh chorizo in a separate pan then added those to the simmering broth.  The fresh chorizo is where this veers off the normal path.  Alas, I had no more Andouille and it really wanted sausage.  The recipe uses a homemade seasoning from this recipe.  That NOLA site is a goldmine for this style of cooking and you can do worse than spending a while looking over all the recipes.

When the sausage and chicken are cooked through remove them to cool, slice the sausage and strip the chicken meat from the bones and add it all back to the pot.  This will take a couple of hours.  I did the roux atop the stove on a medium high heat and stirred it constantly lest it burn, using a flat wooden spatula to keep the bottom scraped.  That took 20 minutes or so.