Thursday, February 27, 2014

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya {Pass the Cook Book}

It is another month and another Pass the Cook Book Club posting. This month's cookbook was one that was new to me. Cooking Up a Storm is a compilation of Cajun style recipes put together to help remember family recipes lost when Hurricane Katrina hi in 2005.

The three choices for the month were chicken and sausage jambalaya, crawfish in saffron cream, and bananas foster pie. I ended up making the chicken and sausage jambalaya.  It was a tough call though. I was too busy to hunt around for the crawfish in Connecticut but this recipe looked fantastic. I already have plans for making the bananas foster pie too.

The jambalaya turned out delicious.  It came together quickly on a Saturday afternoon and feed us through the weekend. I lost the jar of tomato paste I bought for the recipe and ended up using a can of diced tomatoes.  I think this made my version a bit less rich on the whole tomato flavor.

We have a local Cajun restaurant that adds red beans in their jambalaya so we added a can of those as well as a fresh jalapeno to spice things up a bit. 

As always I had so much fun this month learning about a new cookbook and picking out a recipe.  If you want to become a part of the cookbook club read this post and click for the Facebook group. Also check out all of the other blogger's posts below.

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Keywords: saute entree chicken Cajun
Ingredients (serves 8)
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, about 1 lbs total, cut into 1” cubes
  • 1 ½ tsp Cajun seasoning
  • ½ lbs smoked sausage or kielbasa, like andouille, sliced ¼” thick
  • 1 ½ cups chopped yellow onion
  • 1 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced thinly
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp chopped green onions, greens only
  • 1 ½ cups long grain rice
Heat the oil in a large heavy pot, such as a Dutch oven.

Season the chicken with Cajun seasoning. Add the chicken to the pot and cook, stirring, over medium heat until evenly brown, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

Add the onions and peppers and cook, stirring, until softened and golden, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add the water, diced tomatoes, parsley, and green onions. Stir and bring to a boil.

Add the rice, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until the rice is tender and has absorbed most of the liquid, 15 to 20 minutes. Do not stir! Fluff the mixture with fork before serving.
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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Columbus Ohio and WIAW

I am currently in Columbus Ohio visiting The Ohio State University. Given the fact that I am from Iowa and my dad went to the University of Iowa I feel like I am betraying my roots.  And it is cold!

Mr. J and I are discussing tools needed for upcoming house projects. My Amazon is now only showing me power tools. Where is my cookbook and kitchen utensil feeds?

My meals lately have been with business men. This pretty much means no pictures allowed. 

I am going on vacation next week and half the fun for me will be our road trip. I cannot stop thinking about what snacks to pack and what food places we can hit up along the way.

This trip also has me on high anxiety since I am going to be gone for such a long time with no kitchen time. I am debating about doing a binge cooking session for a week's worth of recipes or just going on hiatus.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

So the Polar Vortex is back and I kind of wish I had no idea what that means. The teaser of warmer temperatures this weekend was just mean.  Instead of sulking though I am going to embrace the colder temperatures and use my oven as much as possible, enjoying all of the meals and baking that come summertime just won't happen.

Up first is mac and cheese. Cheesy pasta jazzed up with buffalo chicken.  I wanted to make Brussels Sprouts mac and cheese and Mr. J would not hear it. Somehow the compromise became buffalo chicken mac and cheese. Don't ask how logically that happened.  

Anyway, this was definitely a team effort. I made the mac and cheese part. Mr. J headed up the buffalo chicken. In the end we combined both in a baking dish and popped it into the oven.

The results ended up as some of the best mac and cheese we ever created. Creamy, cheesy, and a bit spicy.  Just enough to get the buffalo flavors but not too hot.  Of course we lean towards the hot side of the scale so if you are not so adventurous you might want to cut back on spices and peppers.

What do you want to make in the oven before temperatures get too warm?

Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Keywords: bake entree cheese chicken
Ingredients (serves 8)
For the Buffalo Chicken:
  • 1lb of chicken breasts, diced into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup Franks Red Hot Sauce
  • 1/3 cup Sriracha
  • 2 habaneros finely chopped - seeds included
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (I've used red wine, white wine, and distilled white… all fine)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 stick of unsalted butter
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
For the Mac and Cheese:
  • Kosher salt
  • Vegetable oil
  • 8 oz elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 tablespoons
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
For the buffalo chicken:
In a large sauce pan, put 1/2 of the butter (1/4 stick) and melt on medium high heat.

Add in habaneros and garlic and cook on medium until aromatic (about 3 minutes), stirring regularly - the longer you let the peppers cook at this stage the hotter the sauce will be.

Add in Frank's Hot Sauce, Sriracha, and remainder of butter, stir the butter in until melted.

Add in remainder of ingredients and stir until well combined.

Cook the sauce for about 5minutes, stirring regularly until the flavors are well combined and the sauce thickens.

Add in chicken and cook for another 8-10 minutes until cooked through. Set aside.

For the pasta:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it.

Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large (4-quart) pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth.

Off the heat, add the, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, and pepper. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well.

Add in the buffalo chicken mixture and fold into the mac and cheese.  Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.
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Monday, February 24, 2014

Rosemary Focaccia Bread {SRC}

Easy to put together, no knead focaccia bread done in under two hours. Perfect addition to any meal.

This month for the Secret Recipe Club I got Sally from Bewitching Kitchen.  Sally does science research at Kansas State University one of the universities I work with so I immediately felt a connection. She grew up in Brazil and lived in Paris so her recipes have a very international flare.  There were several recipes I was picking between - Tlayuda, Mexican pizza, Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry, and pretty much every bread recipe. And boy does she have a lot of bread recipes. It must be from her time in Paris. 

I ultimately ended up with a bread recipe. The No Knead Focaccia to be exact.  We were planning a semi special meal and I wanted something nice to serve with it.  Nice to me means warm bread. Having this focaccia was like the warm, irresistible bread basket in front of you at a restaurant.

The whole recipe from start to out of the oven was done in under two hours. Not bad for homemade bread. It was wonderful with dinner and then we used the extra for sandwiches the next day.

If you haven't visited Sally's Bewitching Kitchen please do. She is a very active member of SRC and I swear she visits every blog to comment each month. Thanks Sally for the great recipe!

Rosemary Focaccia

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 10 minutes, plus 40 minutes ri
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Keywords: bake bread
Ingredients (serves 12)
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 4 cups unbleached bread flour
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 2-3 tsp olive oil
  • 2 T chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add lukewarm water, sprinkle yeast over water and stir until dissolved. Turn on low with a dough hook and mix 2 cups of flour and salt until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 2 cups of flour, stirring for 2 more minutes, just until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, and the flour is fully incorporated.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 30 to 40 minutes.

Heat the oven to 500F. Oil a 13×18 inch baking sheet.

Place the dough onto the middle of the baking sheet, drizzle the surface with 2 tsp olive oil. gently use your fingers stretch the dough to the edges of the sheet, making indentations as you go. If needed drizzle a bit more olive oil on the surface. Finish by sprinkling the top with rosemary and salt.

Place in the oven and reduce the temperature to 450F. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm.
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Secret Recipe Club

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Weekend Edition: Spring Time Maybe?

Oh my goodness we almost hit 50 degrees today. It was like a miracle occurred.

I got to go for a walk outside and it was warm.

I did some painting and cleaning.  We finished up another room. Yippee!!  

Mr. J and I started watching Breaking Bad.  He has wanted to watch it for the longest time. I am not into drugs or anything illegal for that matter so I avoid most t.v. shows and movies on the subject. I must say after watching the first three episodes it does kind of draw you in.

I have only used the crock pot once all winter and decided this week it need to make another appearance. We made this Beef Bourguignon. It was fabulous and only makes me want to cook from the slow cooker for the rest of February.

Did you have warm weather this weekend? What did you do to enjoy it?

In case you missed it here is what I was up to last week:

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Crazy Day and WIAW

Hello Lovelies, 

Yesterday was crazy. I was up in Worcester.  We woke up to cloudy skies. By 10am it was snowing. By 1pm it was coming down like crazy. By 6pm it was done and the roads were pretty clear. I think we got about 8 inches. It was almost like you blinked and it was done.

We had a rental car and they didn't give us a scrapper. I think this should be illegal.  The good news was that not once but twice a man helped up clear our car of snow as we pathetically tried to do so with our gloved hands.

Distracted by the weather I completely forgot to snap pictures of breakfast and lunch. I could probably go back to past posts and get the same meals though. Breakfast was a hotel meal.  A veggie egg white omelette and some fruit.  Lunch was Panera.  I always get the same thing at Panera.  The chicken, avocado cobb salad and broccoli cheddar soup. It was perfect for a cold snowy day.

Dinner was at a Mexican restaurant across the street from the hotel. It was pretty good. They had a guacamole bar with all sorts of unique guacamole versions. I am a purest so I went with the house special but my co workers were a bit more adventurous.  The got the Mediterranean which had feta, roasted red peppers and olives and the Crunchy which had mixed nuts, pepitas and coconut chips mixed in. Both were good but it was hard to wrap my mind around them being guacamole.

My main meal was adobe chicken enchiladas. 

Do you like unique version of guacamole? If so what kind?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

What I am reading lately...

I cannot believe it is only Tuesday. It feels like Friday. Definitely feels like Friday.

All of my trips have given me plenty of time to read. I have a list about 10 books deep to get through and I am making a huge dent.

The Girl You Left Behind is by Jojo Moyes.  You may remember she also wrote You Before Me.

The Girl You Left Behind follows two women's journeys.  The first is back in France 1916 during WWI. Germans occupy Sophie's town and come to seek warm meals in her family's Inn. She struggles to keep things running with her sister and they both long to hear news from their husband's fighting in the war. 

The second story is of Liv Halston, who is struggling to find her life again with the unexpected death of her husband. 

Both women are fighting to do what is right in their hearts regardless of the consequences of their actions. The novel focuses on love, loss and self sacrifice. 

I love this story. You get sucked right in but only later in the book do all the pieces fall into place. It is beautifully written and makes you feel like you personally know and feel each of the characters as if they were your own family.

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