Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Cranberry Rice

This recipe is super easy and I love it.  I use pre-packaged wild and white rice mix because it's quicker and I like the combo of white and wild rice.  The original recipe called for just wild rice.

  • package wild and white rice mix (I use Uncle Ben's)
  • 1/2 c dried cranberries
  • 4 scallions
  • 1 oz. walnuts, roasted
1.  Make rice according to the package instructions.  Let it cool a little because you don't want the cranberries to be rehydrated. 

2.  Mix in the cranberries, and the walnuts.  Slice the white part of the scallions and mix into the rice.  Slice the green part of the scallion and sprinkle on top for color.  Serve at room temperature.  ENJOY!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Apple Pie

I have never been much of a baker before.  I have always stuck to savory cooking mainly because I am lazy with the measuring.  Well, I have found a recipe for Apple Pie that is really easy to make and remember.  Remind me to never make three in one day again, though.  One might think that cooking in bulk would not be that much harder, but it was!

Let me start this off by saying I do not make my own crust.  I fear that doing this would really mess up my easy dish.  There are good products out there to use instead.  If you like to make your own crust, by all means, go ahead.  I will try to tackle that later.  Also, about the apples.  I have heard that Grammy Smith are the only apples good enough for pie.  I agree...almost.  I use half Granny Smith and half Golden Delicious.  The green apples stand up to cooking much better then the red ones, but I like the two textures and the way the red apples melt in your mouth.  Now that we have those two points out of the way, let's make some pie!

  • 2 ready-to-bake pie crusts for 9 in pies
  • 8 small-medium apples (4 green, 4 red)
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 c white sugar
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch kosher salt
  • cinnamon sugar mixture (for serving)
1.  Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Take pie crusts out of the fridge and let them sit in a semi-warm place while you prepare the filling.  Peel the apples and cut around the core (like the bell peppers) to get all the meat off.  Slice the apple into small slices and toss in a large bowl.  Add the lemon juice, sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt to the bowl and stir together.  (I like to let the mixture sit while I make the crust.)

2.  Remove one crust from the packaging and unfold it onto the counter.  If there are any tares in the dough just press them back together.  Lay this bottom crust into the pie pan and press, carefully, into the bottom corners.  If the dough ripples on any of the sides of the dish just press flat.  Pour the apple mixture into the dish and get working on the lattice top.

3.  The lattice top is hard to explain, easy to do, but hard to explain.  There is a diagram below.  Basically, you take out the other pie crust and roll it onto a flat surface (counter).  Take a ruler, or I us the side of the box, and cut strips about 3/4 in thick.  Remove every other one and lay them starting with the smallest across the pie.  Now, unroll every other strip and lay another strip parallel to the previous strips.  Make sure the strip you choose to lay down reaches the length of the pie.  Lay the strips that you rolled up back down and roll up the other strips that were down before.  Lay another parallel strip and cover back up.  Repeat this until the whole pie is covered.  If you choose another topping feel free to ignore this past paragraph.

I made one on the counter so it might be easier to see.

4.  Now to make the edges.  I cut off all the excess dough that has formed around the pie.  Just take a pair of clean scissors and cut everything that is hanging over the edge.  Take your fingers in your right hand and make an almost touching "V".  Place your left index finger in between and push.  This is how you will form the edges.  Just take a small amount of the edge, lift it off the lip of the dish and press in between your fingers.  It should look like this:

Not my picture, but I can't do that and
 take the pic at the same time!
5.  Place the pie on a sheet pan in the oven and bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes.  Take the pie out and cover the edges with strips of foil.  Put the pie back in the oven and continue baking for additional 15 minutes.  Pull the pie out and let it rest for 2 hours.  ENJOY!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Fish Tacos

I know, I know, I have been slacking big time!  I am going to try to give you three recipes in one day.  If I only get to two please don't stone me.  When the kids get up from their nap I have to go. 

My first recipe is for Fish Tacos.  At my house we eat Tex-Mex at least once a week!  We try to do Taco Tuesday (We eat tacos in our jamas in front of a movie) every week, but I often get bored with the same beef tacos over and over again.  So, sometimes it is Enchilada Tuesday, or Fajita Tuesday, but I always keep it close to the theme.  This recipe is very simple...almost too simple to blog, but I wanted to get it out there anyway.  I find that you really can use any type of fish you like as long it is white and flaky.  Meatier fish like salmon and tuna will have a different mouth feel and flavor.  Also, this meal is pretty inexpensive if you stay along the lines of tilapia or even catfish.  Let's get started...

  • 1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless white fish (I used tilapia)
  • 1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 1 c. shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 c. chopped tomatoes
  • 1 lime (in wedges)
  • handful cilantro
  • 2 green onions (sliced thin)
  • 4 oz. sour cream
  • 4 oz. cilantro ranch (recipe follows)
1.  Pat the fish dry with a paper towel.  Season with the Cajun seasoning.  In a hot skillet over the stove add the olive oil and cook the fish until opaque all the way through (about 3 min per side).  Remove the fish from the pan and let it rest on a plate in a warm spot. 

Assorted Toppings

2.  While cooking the fish, wrap the tortillas in foil and let them sit in a 200 degree oven to get warm.  When the fish is finished separate it among each tortilla and use any combination of the toppings you would like.  ENJOY!!

Cilantro Ranch:
  • 3 oz. ranch
  • handful cilantro
  • 1/2 lime (juiced)
  • Kosher salt and pepper
1.  In a food processor, or blender combine all ingredients.  Cover the mixture with lid and turn it on!  Blend until nice and smooth.  If there is not enough liquid to make it a sauce you can add a little more lime, or even some water.  (Just enough to loosen it up.)  Taste mixture often to help with the seasonings.  ENJOY!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I know...I haven't given you a recipe in over a week.  I have been busy with the kid's stuff and not really been making anything too interesting.  Here's what I am going to do about it...  Everyone knows Thanksgiving is comeing up next week.  Well, I have three dinners to make food for, so I am going to post the 6 recipes I will be fixing.  I have to make one appetizer, two vegetable sides, one dessert and two cocktails.  I promise, it will be a lot of food.  I cannot at this time guarantee there will be pictures for all the recipes, but I will try my best.  Don't be mad, just be patient...it's going to be good!

Monday, November 7, 2011


Everybody has their own version of what they like to call a good gumbo.  Some like it hot, some like it with just chicken, some don't like okra.  There are many different ways to make gumbo and my way might not be your liking, but I love it when it starts to get a little cold outside.  The one thing that makes all good gumbo alike is definitely the roux.  The roux is the base for the gumbo and really needs to take time and effort in order to do right.  Without a good base, there is "no soup for you"!

There are a few things that make my gumbo mine.  One, I use chicken, beef and fish in my gumbo.  I kind of use it like a "clean out my fridge" gumbo.  Whatever I have available will go in.  Two, I put some fresh tomatoes in to stew with the gumbo.  I feel like it gives it more body, and I love lots of variety in my gumbo.  The more vegetables, the better!  Three, and this may surprise some people, but I use lemon juice to finish it off.  I find that the lemon gives the gumbo a light feeling...even though it's a heavy comfort food.  And last, but not least, I use a touch of Mrs. Dash for the seasoning.  I saw a lady from Louisiana do it on television once, so I tried it and liked it.  That's the only reason.

  • 1/4 lb. butter
  • 1/2 c four
  • 3 chicken leg quarters
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 14 oz. smoked sausage (cut into 1/4 in. slices)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped, seeds removed
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 3 c stock (any kind will work)
  • 3 Tbsp good Cajun seasoning
  • 2 tsp Mrs. Dash, table blend
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 bag frozen, sliced okra
  • 2 lb. shrimp, peeled, tail removed
  • 1 lb. crawfish tails
  • 1 lemon
  • white rice, for serving

1.  To make the roux...get yourself a large, shallow pan and start to heat it up slowly on the stove.  Melt the butter and add the flour in.  At first, it will be a light yellow color:

 Then, it will start to turn a peanut butter color:
When it gets to a rich chocolate color, you are finished.  This should take about 30 min of constant whisking.  Don't be discouraged though, you can always make this ahead of time and store it in the fridge.

2.  While the roux is cooking away, season the chicken with salt and pepper and sear it off in a large Dutch oven.  When it is nice and brown, remove it to rest on a plate.  While that is resting, sear off the sausage...the same way.  When the chicken is cooled off enough to touch, take all the meat off the bone and set it aside with the sausage.

3.  In the same Dutch oven, saute the onion and the bell pepper until nice and soft, about 5 minutes.  Throw in the garlic for an additional min. 

4.  When the roux is done, add it to the pan with the peppers and onions.  Mix that together a couple of times and slowly add the stock.  You should get a thick sauce-like soup at this point.  Add all the seasonings and down to the tomatoes.  Add the chicken and the sausage and bring it up to a boil.  Cover the pot and let it simmer for one hour.

5.  After the hour, add the okra, shrimp and crawfish to the pot.  Bring this up to a boil long enough until the shrimp is nice and pink. 

6.  Finish off the gumbo by squeezing the lemon over the top.  Serve with some hot white rice and homemade cornbread.  ENJOY!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Chicken Curry

I know, I know, I have been slacking, but with Halloween and my best friend's wedding coming up (not to mention three kids...) I have been a little busy.  This next recipe is one that I have recently grown to really love.  I was never a huge fan of curry before, mainly because I thought it tasted like it smelled, but this recipe really works for me and my family.  I originally found it on the Martha Stewart website and as almost every recipe I use decided to change it up per my family.  Basically I like this the most because it is a stewed item...something that can just sit and get yummy on the stove top.

  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs. chicken thighs (I use bone-in)
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 small onion (chopped)
  • 3 cloves garlic (I like lots of garlic)
  • 4 carrots
  • 3 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 c beer
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 package frozen peas
  • cooked white rice (about 2 cups)
1.  In a large dutch oven, heat the oil over medium high heat until just smoking.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper and sear off all sides, about 5 min per side.  Do this in small batches as to not overcrowd the pan.  Take the chicken out and let it rest on a plate.

2.  Add the chopped onion to the oiled pan and sweat until soft and browned a little.  Now, peel the carrots and slice them about 1/2 in. thick.  Add them to the pan and cook about 5 min stirring often.  Throw in the garlic and continue to cook another minute.  I like to just smash the garlic and throw it in whole, them remove it later before I serve the dinner.  Feel free to mince the garlic before it goes in, or even use one spoonful of the jar garlic from the store. 

3.  Add the curry and the thyme and stir them in quickly.  Then deglaze the pan with the beer.  Make sure to get all the good bits off the bottom of the pan.  Add the coconut milk and the reserved chicken with all it's juices.  Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat to a simmer.  Place the lid on and let it cook slowly for 30 minutes.  Open the lid and check to make sure you are not boiling the chicken.  It should be simmering. 

4.  Check to make sure the carrots are cooked through and your chicken reads 165 degrees.  If it does not, simmer for some more time.  If it is ready, turn off the heat and mix in the frozen peas.  The heat of the sauce should be enough to cook the peas through.  If not, turn the heat back on until the peas are just finished. 

5.  Serve this over some rice and you should have a complete meal!  ENJOY!