Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya


In college, J and I practically lived on jambalaya and coffee. Of course, it was the boxed version and after eating it for two years, we got pretty burned out. Which was sad because jambalaya is so tasty and easy and perfect for a chilly evening. Luckily, J found this jambalaya recipe and with a few tweaks cured the burnout.

Ingredients:
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
1 (14 ounce) package andouille sausage, sliced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 large celery ribs, chopped (we left them in half moons)
3 tbs garlic, minced (we eyeballed this as we like garlic)
1 bunch scallion, chopped
1 (32 ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juices
about 15 ounces chicken stock
1 1/4 cups long grain rice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon Tony Chacere’s creole seasoning (as the original recipe states, there is absolutely no substitute for Tony’s)
cracked black pepper (to taste)

Directions:
Cook sliced sausage over medium high heat in a 6 quart stock pot until slightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add bell pepper, onion, celery, garlic and scallions and cook until softened but not translucent, about 4 minutes. Add cubed chicken breast and Worcestershire sauce and cook just until you can no longer see pink. Add the bay leaves, basil, oregano, sage, paprika, Tony Chacere’s, salt, black pepper, tomatoes and chicken broth. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Add rice, bring back up to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Cover and reduce heat to low, simmer for 30 minutes. The jambalaya should still be wet, but not soupy. Remove the bay leaves. Enjoy!

My opinion:
We’ll be adding this back to our regular dinner rotation. It was super easy to make and make more than enough to freeze half for a later meal.

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Robert Irvine’s Eggplant Parmesan


I’m rather picky when it comes to Italian food. I blame my trip to Florence for spoiling Americanized Italian food for me forever. Luckily, there are a few recipes that measure up to my expectations and one of them is this delightful Eggplant Parmesan from the Food Network with a few modifications.

Ingredients:
eggplant, peeled (we particularly enjoyed an heirloom variety) and cut into disks
2 cups buttermilk
4 cups vegetable oil (we used our deep fryer)
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder (we used a bit more)
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley (we used about 2 tablespoons, since we didn’t have fresh oregano)
1 teaspoon dried oregano (or minced fresh if you have it)
1 teaspoon ground white pepper (we used a little more of this too, about 2 teaspoons)
1 cup all-purpose flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
2 cups egg wash (which for us, was four eggs and one cup milk)
1 pound penne or fusilli pasta, cooked (we used bowtie because that’s what we had)
2 cups red sauce
Grated Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling (we used Mozzarella)
cooking spray of your choice (we used Pam Olive Oil spray)

Directions:
To bread the eggplant, first add the eggplant disks into the buttermilk and allow to soak, 1 to 2 hours (we let it soak for about an hour and a half).
Next, over medium heat, bring the oil to 350 degrees F in a wide shallow saucepan or deep fryer; then hold the oil warm until frying. Combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan powder, garlic, parsley, oregano and pepper in a bowl. Remove the eggplant from the buttermilk, and then coat with flour and tap off the excess. Dip the eggplant in the egg wash and finish with the breadcrumb-Parmesan mixture, coating well. Repeat the process with each eggplant, and then fry in the preheated oil. Allow the eggplant to brown, and then flip the cooked eggplant to ensure even cooking. Once golden brown on both sides, remove the eggplant and place on paper towels to allow the excess oil to drip off.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Drain the cooked pasta and once all the water is removed, toss with 3/4 cup of the red sauce. After tossing the pasta with the sauce, portion the pasta on plates. Place the cooked eggplant on a cooking spray covered baking sheet and finish with the remaining sauce. Add some cheese and bake, 4 to 5 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. After baking, place the eggplant over the sauced pasta and serve.

My opinion:
This is the best and simplest Eggplant Parmesan recipe we’ve found. I wouldn’t hesitate to serve this to friends and family.

Self Magazine’s Shrimp and Orzo (modified)

(Note: this is a guest post from Matt LaCasse. He and I have traded recipes since before he started #cookchat.)

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve been seeing me use the hashtag #hawaiidiet. As a part of this diet, my wife and I get 8 ounces of meat a day, but that’s limited to seafood, chicken or turkey. Up to this point in my life, I’ve had a saying that goes something like, “If it’s from the sea, it’s not for me.” I’ve had to get over that since one can only eat so much chicken and/or turkey. So, I turned to the one place I knew I could get a fantastic shrimp recipe. The host of this here blog.

God bless Aurora. She sent me this recipe for shrimp. I’ll give the recipe (from Self Magazine) as it’s supposed to be made first:

  • 1 cup dry orzo
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 can (28 oz) whole, peeled tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound medium shelled and deveined shrimp
  • 1/2 cup feta

#Hawaiidiet also bans dairy products, so the feta was out, and I’d never heard of capers before this, didn’t have any on hand, and so ended up substituting cilantro. Orzo was also out due to the no carbs aspect of the diet. So, here’s what I ended up using:

  • 2 Tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup green onions (Didn’t have an onion on hand, used these instead, worked great)
  • 1 Tb garlic powder (Thought I had garlic on hand, but I didn’t. This worked OK)
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar (Again, didn’t have any white wine on hand)
  • 1 can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 tbs parsley (I used dried parsley)
  • 1 tbs cilantro
  • The rest of the ingredients I used as listed

This was a GREAT recipe. It was a bit spicier than I had expected, but that wasn’t a bad thing. There’s LOTS of flavor here, and I really wish I could have used feta and orzo as I have no doubt that makes this taste completely different. It was a little over-tomatoey, but I’m chalking that up to the lack of feta and orzo. The cilantro added a little citrus twist to it, which I really enjoyed and would add to the original recipe; then again, I’m a cilantro freak.

Thanks to Aurora for passing along the recipe! This and a tilapia recipe she passed along have been big hits at Casa de LaCasse and will become a part of the regular rotation.