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Author Archives: nina in the kitchen

Shrimp, Chicken and Andouille Smoked Sausage Gumbo

Cajun Gumbo sprinkled with Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning

This recipe is from Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen cookbook. We’ve added shrimp to this, but it’s also good without it. Or you can omit the chicken and use sausage and shrimp.

For a big crowd we double the recipe. One recipe makes about 3- 4 quarts. We enjoy it either with or without the traditional rice.

The most unusual part of this recipe is making the roux. You can purchase roux at some grocery stores or specialty shops. Making it is not difficult, but it is surprising. The first time I made it I was certain I made a mistake and threw it out! The real flavor of gumbo comes from the roux. It is a pungent flavor on its own, but combined with the seasonings and other ingredients it’s divine!

This gumbo has a lot of broth that is not thick. It is full of flavor and is a dark color. You can make your own homemade chicken stock or broth. Or you can use store bought chicken stock. Or you can make a stock using a concentrate like Better Than Bouillon Organic Chicken Stock base. These store versions can be salty, so limit your added salt if you use these types.

If you have the shrimp shells, simmer them in about 2-3 cups of water or so for 30 minutes. Strain the shells through a fine mesh strainer. Use this as part of your 7 cups of stock

Ingredients

  • 1 pound large shrimp with shells reserved
  • 6 chicken thighs, skinless and boneless
  • Salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1 cup finely chopped green pepper
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 – 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder, plus another 1-2 teaspoons
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Vegetable oil
  • 7 cups chicken stock ( including 2 cups of shrimp shell stock)
  • 1/2 pound andouille smoked sausage, cut into 1/4- 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Hot rice, optional
  • Sliced green onion
  • Tony Chachere’s Original Cajun Seasoning, optional

Directions

  1. Remove excess fat from chicken. Rub a generous amount of salt, garlic powder, and cayenne on both sides of each piece, making sure each piece is evenly covered. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl combine onion, green pepper and celery. Set aside.
  3. In a paper or plastic bag combine the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Add the chicken pieces and shake until the chicken is well coated. Reserve 1/2 cup of the seasoned flour.
  4. In a large heavy skillet heat 1 1/2 inches vegetable oil until very hot (375-400F). Fry the chicken until the crust is browned and the meat is cooked, about 5-8 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels.
  5. Carefully pour the hot oil into a glass measuring cup, leaving as many browned particles in the skillet as possible. Scrape the pan with a metal whisk to loosen any stuck particles. Return 1/2 cup of the hot oil to the skillet.
  6. Making the roux: Place the pan over high heat. BE VERY CAREFUL! This burns if it splashes on your skin! Using a long handled metal whisk gradually stir in the reserved 1/2 cup seasoned flour. Whisk constantly until the roux turns a dark red-brown to black color. This is where I thought I made a mistake! It isn’t though. Do this cooking with a fan in a well ventilated area. It takes about 10 minutes to reach the brown color.
  7. Remove from heat when you’ve reached the right dark chocolate brown color. Immediately add the vegetables, stirring constantly until the roux stops getting darker. Return pan to low heat and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes, stirring constantly and scraping the pan bottom well. You may even use a metal spatula to do this scraping.
  8. Meanwhile place the stock in an 8 quart stock pot and bring to a boil. Add roux mixture by spoonfuls to the boiling stock, stirring until dissolved between each addition. Return to a boil, stirring and scraping the pan bottom often.
  9. Reduce heat to a simmer and stir in the garlic and andouille. Simmer uncovered about 45 minutes, stirring often toward the end of cooking. Add as an option 1-2 teaspoons garlic powder and cook another 30 minutes to mellow the flavor.
  10. While the gumbo is simmering, cut the chicken into bite size pieces. When the gumbo is cooked add the chicken. Adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, cayenne and garlic powder.
  11. To serve ladle 1 1/4 cups gumbo into a large soup bowl. Then using a scoop or mold place a rounded 1/3 cup of cooked rice in the center of the gumbo. Garnish with sliced green onion and a sprinkling of a cayenne pepper seasoning mix like Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning.
Seasoned Chicken Thighs
The Cajun Trilogy: Celery, Green Pepper & Onion
Diced Vegetables
Coat seasoned chicken in seasoned flour
Fry Chicken in Oil
Drain Fried Chicken on Paper Towels
Scrape and Keep Bits of Breading in Skillet as You Add 1/2 Cup Oil
Add 1/2 cup Seasoned Flour, Scrape and Stir Carefully Till Dark Brown
Light Rouxs
Dark Roux is Best for Gumbo
Andouille, Chicken and Vegetables Ready to Add to Gumbo
Adding Vegetables to Roux (I Used Red Pepper too)
Veggies Cooking in Roux
Add Roux to Simmering Broth
Add Andouille and Garlic to Simmering Gumbo
Add Chicken to Gumbo
Add Shrimp to Simmering Gumbo
Gumbo! Voila

Shrimp Arrabbiata

Spicy Saucy Shrimp Arrabbiata

Sip and Feast posted this fantastic recipe which was perfect for our love of spicy foods! I didn’t have the hot pickled peppers, so I substituted jarred roasted red peppers. Also I didn’t have fresh basil so I used dry. I didn’t have canned plum tomatoes so I used smaller cans of diced tomatoes and hot fire roasted tomatoes. All worked well!

Arrabbiata is an Italian word meaning angry and refers to the spiciness of the chili peppers. This sauce is usually made of garlic, tomatoes, and dried red chili peppers cooked in olive oil. It’s served with pasta or in this case shrimp and crusty Italian bread. Dave and I are limiting our carbs, so we ate the shrimp and sauce with a green salad! Perfecto!

Here’s his recipe. It’s heavenly!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound extra large shrimp
  • 1 28 ounce can plum tomatoes or a 14.5 can of fire roasted tomatoes and a 14.5 can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 2 medium pickled hot cherry peppers or 1/2 cup roasted red pepper pieces
  • 1 tablespoon cherry pepper vinegar from pepper jar
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper or more
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or more
  • 10 fresh basil leaves
  • Crusty Italian bread if desired or pasta!

Directions

  1. Pat dry with toweling thawed shrimp and place in bowl with 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Place in fridge.
  2. Chop garlic cloves in half. Chop cherry peppers in bite size pieces. Julienne the basil. Break plum tomatoes apart with hands.
  3. In a saucepan heat 4 tablespoons olive oil on medium heat and sauté the garlic 2-3 minutes or just until beginning to turn golden. Add the cherry peppers and sauté for 1 minute more. Add the tomato paste and break up with a wooden spoon.
  4. After about 5 minutes the paste will start to break down, add the plum tomatoes, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon oregano. Mix throughly and let the sauce cook covered or partially covered for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Don’t burn or overcook!
  5. In a clean sauté pan heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil on medium high heat and sauté shrimp 3-4 minutes until pink and cooked through. Add 1 cup of sauce to the shrimp and cook for 1 minute mixing well.
  6. Taste the sauce and the shrimp. Add extra spices as you like.
  7. Remove the Shrimp Arrabbiata from the heat and add the basil. Serve the extra sauce with the shrimp and with crusty Italian bread or pasta.
Thank you to Sip and Feast!

Chaffle: Cheese and Waffle

This super easy fun waffle recipe is from HummingbirdHigh.com

She has amazing recipes!

The cheese and egg waffle called Chaffle!
Mozzarella cheese and egg are all you need
Grate the mozzarella
Add eggs
Combine egg and mozzarella
Pour Batter into hot Belgium style waffle maker
Close the lid and wait till the light turns green
Crispy Chaffle!

Ingredients

  • This recipe makes 2 Chaffles
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese (4-8 ounces)
  • 2 eggs

Directions

  1. Place grated mozzarella in a small bowl. The original recipe from HummingbirdHigh.com uses 4 ounces cheese and 1 egg. I found less cheese works great too
  2. Add eggs and mix with a spoon
  3. Pour batter onto hot Belgium waffle iron. Mine is a nonstick surface. You may need to coat it with a tiny bit of oil first
  4. I set mine on my usual low setting for waffles and waiting till the light turned green. They were perfect!
Voila! My beautiful delicious Chaffle!
Thank you Michelle from HummingbirdHigh.com

Salsa Verde and Citrus with Walleye

Salsa Verde and Blood Oranges with Walleye

This isn’t a salsa I’d like with chips, but I love it with fish! It’s fresh, flavorful, spicy and colorful!

My husband doesn’t like fish and he loves lots of spice and flavor. This salsa has made eating fish enjoyable for him!

The Original Dish developed this recipe using grapefruit and parsley. She’s one of my favorite sources for recipes and food ideas.

My husband can’t eat grapefruit so I used blood oranges and lime juice instead. Also we both love cilantro which I used instead of parsley.

Ingredients

  • 1 large whitefish, walleye or halibut fillet (4 servings)
  • Olive oil
  • 1-2 cups fresh cilantro or parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced chives
  • 2 tablespoons minced jalapeño or more
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup fresh peeled and segmented grapefruit, blood oranges, or oranges

Directions

1. In a small bowl place the peeled and segmented fruit and any juice that follows.

2. In another small bowl combine the cilantro, chives, jalapeño, lime juice and olive oil. Season with some salt. Add 2 tablespoons of the citrus juice if you like.

Here is a quick an easy way to prepare your fish. You can follow my recipe for Flash Baked Salmon. Here is the link

https://ninainthekitchen.com/2016/02/12/flash-baked-salmon/

After you flash bake the fish, divide into 4 pieces. Place each piece on a dinner plate. Spoon the Salsa Verde over and around each fillet. Gently spoon the citrus fruit over the fish and around the plate too.

Voila!

Creamy Baked Chicken

Creamy Baked Chicken, Yummy Sauce, Smashed Potatoes & Asparagus

Comfort food from the 1960s! My mom made this recipe for decades and so have I! Everyone loves it! My kids continue to make it! It’s simple, requires very few ingredients and has some flexibility too!

Basic steps to get this in your tummy!

Melt butter in a glass baking pan. Glass looks better for serving, but not essential
Coat the chicken on both sides with melted butter
Bake chicken for 30-45 minutes
In a bowl combine Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup, milk and sherry. Use the empty can as your measuring tool. 1/2 can milk and 1/2 can sherry is my proportion. The original is 1/4 can sherry and 3/4 can milk. Or use a full can milk and no sherry. Or use another white wine variety!
Pour the soup sauce over the baked chicken. I use 5-6 skinless chicken thighs with the bone. The bone helps keep the shape of the chicken so it doesn’t fall apart. If you want less sauce, add more chicken
Bake another 30 minutes until it starts browning, and even longer to get a really dark brown crust! The sauce evaporates more the longer you cook it.

Ingredients

  • 5- 6 chicken thighs, with bone, skinless
  • 1-10.5 ounce can Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup
  • About 5 oz milk, measure 1/2 can
  • About 5 oz sherry, measure 1/2 can
  • 1 small can sliced mushrooms, drained OPTIONAL
  • 3 tablespoons butter Or 2-3 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Melt butter in glass baking pan in the oven. I used an 8×12 baking pan.

2. Place chicken in butter and turn pieces over so all sides are coated

3. Bake 30-45 minutes

4. In a medium bowl whisk together Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup, milk and sherry. Add canned mushrooms too if you like which were part of the original recipe.

5. Pour the sauce over the baked chicken. Bake another 30-45 minutes, depending how brown you like it.

6. Mashed potatoes of some sort is essential. I like smashed yellow potatoes with their skins! Wide egg noodles also work.

7. Unless you really brown the chicken and sauce it’s a pretty bland color, so add a colorful vegetable and or sprinkle with paprika, another mid century culinary trick!

Voila!

Chocolate Salami

Sliced Chocolate Salami ready to eat!

My new favorite cookie! No baking needed and it’s full of antioxidants! It looks like an Italian salami but it’s made with chocolate, chewy dried cherries, crunchy pistachios and plain cookies.

My Italian friend Giovanna Nebuloni from Milan Italy first introduced Chocolate Salami to me. She called it Salame di Cioccolato. Her recipe was much different than this, but the concept is the same. Pieces of cookie chunks resembling salami fat in a dark chocolate cookie, rolled in a light colored ingredient resembling the white powdery dusting of benign mold.

This recipe is adapted from America’s Test Kitchen cookbook The Perfect Cookie. I soaked the chopped dried cherries in whiskey instead of Grand Mariner. Also I think more lady fingers are needed. It’s a forgiving recipe, so you can easily add more cookie crumbs. I kept it at 3/4 cup cookie crumbs, but 1 cup would work too. I used Stella D’oro Margherite cookies because they are dried ladyfingers and taste yummy, but vanilla wafers or savoiardi would work too, or any biscuit like cookie.

Here’s all your ingredients plus a little powdered sugar
Melt chocolate and heavy cream in microwave
Slice ladyfingers into 1/2 inch chunks
Process some of the cookie pieces into crumbs
Mix crumbs into melted chocolate
Sir in the pistachios, cherries and cookie pieces
Divide cookie dough in half
Place each half on a piece of plastic wrap. Roll into 6-7 inch logs. Twist ends
After chilling, roll in powdered sugar and slice.

Ingredients

1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped coarse

2 tablespoons whiskey, bourbon or Grand Marnier

6-8 ounces dried lady fingers (Stella D’oro Margherite cookies)

1 cup/6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips

1/3 cup heavy cream

Pinch or more salt

2/3 cup pistachios, toasted

1/2 cup confectioners sugar

Instructions

1. In a small bowl combine cherries and whiskey. Microwave 30 seconds. Cool

2. Slice lady fingers into 1/2 inch pieces with a bread knife. Reserve 1 cup of the biggest chunks. Process the remaining lady fingers so you have 3/4 cup or so.

3. In a medium bowl microwave chocolate and heavy cream just until melted and smooth, about 30 seconds or so.

4. Add salt and ladyfinger crumbs to chocolate and mix well.

5. Add cherry mixture, pistachios and ladyfinger chunks. Stir until thick dough forms.

6. Divide dough in half and place each piece on a sheet of plastic wrap.

7. Use the plastic to roll each piece into a 6-7 inch log. Twist the ends tight. Refrigerate about 3 hours until firm, but check them to re-roll and insure their shape during that time.

8. When ready to serve, place confectioners sugar in a shallow dish. Unwrap the logs and roll until well coated. Cut into 1/2 inch slices. Serve chilled.

Voila!

Blueberry Coconut Granola Bars

Wholefoodbellies.com shared this recipe and we love it! It’s quick to put together and does not require complicated baking skills. I changed it up a bit by adding blueberry preserves in between 2 layers of batter. Also I substituted cashew butter for the applesauce. It would also be tasty to add some shredded coconut to the mix!

Ingredients

3 cups old fashioned rolled oats

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup plain yogurt

2/3 cup milk

1/2 cup cashew butter or applesauce ( I used cashew butter…yum)

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1/4 cup coconut sugar

2 eggs

3/4 cup dried blueberries

1/2 cup blueberry preserves (homemade or Bonne Maman brand)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare an 8×8 inch square baking pan with cooking spray or coconut oil.
    In a large bowl combine oats, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
    In another bowl whisk together yogurt, milk, cashew butter, coconut oil, coconut sugar, and eggs
    Add the wet mix to the dry until just blended. Fold in dried blueberries
    Pour half of the batter into the baking pan. Smooth out evenly
    Spread the preserves over the batter evenly
    Pour remaining batter over preserves in spoonfuls. Spread out evenly
    Bake about 35 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool another 30 minutes or so
    Store in the frig or freezer for a later time or cut into squares after cooling
    28 rectangular bars are a nice size. They cut especially well if very cold or frozen

Voila! Enjoy this easy healthy snack or breakfast bar!