Eat Something

{October 17, 2008}   Sausage Jambalya

Ok so last night I really didn’t work hard at dinner, I just sliced and browned some andouille drained it off (and reserved that to brush on the tops of some of the biscuits instead of butter before popping them in the oven) and added a box of the chicken helper jambalaya hubby had buried in the pantry, a can of diced tomatoes and water—boiled, simmered, the end… But while chatting on the phone someone asked me about dinner last night… They did the “oh wow how do you make that?” inquiry and I explained that I didn’t I just cheated and they were unphased and said “But if you did make it, how would you do that? Because I’ve never made it, and I’m sure you have.” Well, yes of course I have… So if I’d made it from scratch last night it’d probably be about like this (oh yeah, and while I say diced, chop as you wish)…

Sausage Jambalaya
12-16 oz andouille, sliced (or a lb of whatever assorted cooked meats were in the fridge or freezer if you don’t want sausage)
2 onions, diced (or 1 lg yellow onion)
1/2 head of garlic, peeled and crushed or minced
1/2 head of celery, diced
2 bell peppers, diced (I have both red and green at the moment so I’d probably use one of each, but normally I just use green)
1-1.5 T cajun/creole seasoning of choice (or 1/2 tsp ea: garlic/onion pwd, thyme, cayenne pep, 1 tsp ea: s/p)
1.5 c rice
1 can tomatoes
3 c water, stock or white wine (if you use brown rice you can use 2 FULL tomato cans worth as it’ll fall right about 3.75 c)
maybe 1/4-1/2 tsp salt (depending on taste–the saltiness of your sausage and/or liquid–but best not to skip entirely or the rice will drain the flavor from the dish, so take it just a little past where you think it needs to be…)

Brown the sausage and remove to a plate… Use the drippings (or drain off and use some oil) to saute the veg… and the rice and seasonings and stir well to coat, bring to a boil cover and simmer… until rice is tender and liquid is mostly absorbed (if it gets completely absorbed add back a little boiling water while stirring to get it looser and a bit silken instead of dry) around 15 mins or so… {I’m guessing again but it simmers for just enough time to preheat your oven and bake some rolls… when you pull out your rolls/biscuits and flip them over on their heads it should be time to pull the rice…}


{October 3, 2008}   Lentil Hodge Podge
yeah, it is really nothing special but it was eaten by even the lentil groaners...

yeah, it is really nothing special but it was eaten by even the lentil groaners, aka. the kids...

Just a slap bash dinner, as I was tired and didn’t want to cook that night…

Lentil Hodge Podge
5 carrots, peeled and diced
3/4 lb frozen chicken, cut in chunks
2 c water
salt and garlic pwd
3 c leftover cooked white rice
2 c leftover saucy taco lentils or lentil soup (or a can of lentil soup? is that 2 c?) **

Boil ingredients carrots thru seasonings about 7 min (or until chicken is cooked thru and carrots soft, may vary based on your chopping, but it really took me 7 min I used the timer for you)… add rice and soup and simmer until warmed thru…

** Please note that if you aren’t using the taco lentils and/or your soup is bland you may need to add more seasonings as this is where most of the flavor comes from… chicken, rice, and carrots are good but not bringing much oomph so something has to shine as the star… and I did this with lentils that were pretty much just lentils–I think there were some onions and such, but if this was not full of chunks of things like sausage and potatoes and such… if yours is you can still use it you just may need more like 3-4 c or it to coat everything, but I’m betting it’d be yummy and probably better than this was… but sometimes you just gotta eat what’s on hand in the house… LOL

{September 29, 2008}   Papa-style Red Beans and Rice
hydrated pintos and Casa Nueva

the key players tonight: hydrated pintos and Casa Nueva

Ok, so Saturday I treated the fam to real deal red beans and rice which I haven’t made since before the 6 yo was eating table foods… And I am doing it the way my Pops would, aka soaking them in red wine… We had every intention of submitting this for Joelen’s Fall Foods/Red Wine Challenge as it is THE staple fall food we had growing up, nearly once a week. (And as a quirky side note: I almost my this an Eat to the Beat with Red, Red Wine just because I got the whiny UB40 song stuck in my head while open it and wanted to pass it on and get it stuck in someone else’s since I’m wicked like that… but alas, it’s not really got anything to do with the song beyond the obvious, so I won’t… but you can still have the song in your head free of charge… no need to thank me…) and Jo’s wrap up

Now briefly, if you are wanting to salvage the most beans a gentle slower soak from cold or tepid water is ideal but I rarely plan in advance so well, so hot tap it is and it is gentler than a quick soak (boil). But as always there is a better method than I exemplify… So you can negotiate less if you want, now on to it…

Wine soak...

Round two: Wine soak...

Papa-style Red Beans and Rice
1 lb red beans (I had only pinto and turtles in the pantry, so the pintos won for obvious reasons)
1 bottle red wine (I used a Cab Sav)
about half a dozen cloves garlic, peeled and split
half a yellow onion cut in wedges
1 T ea: salt and bacon grease
1/2 T ea (or more to taste): blk pep, oregano, and sage (and I do garlic and onion powder but that’s me, most people don’t do both dried and fresh together but I do)
some fresh parsley if you’ve got it, completely optional so no biggie if you don’t (please don’t use dried parsley and invite me to dinner though)
1/2 tsp cayenne (this will not make it spicy so if you seek that use more–I would but the kids would let me–for me this is just to round and balance the pepper flavor but normal people aren’t so anal so feel free to drop it too if you are hesitant)
bay leaves (1 do 4-6 but you don’t really have to use that many)

Rinse and sort the beans of stones and obvious bad beans. Cover the beans in 1.5-2 qts hot tap water and scoop off any floaters and set aside to soak. When doubled, I drain, rinse and resort the beans… Put the beans that pass muster back in the pot cover with the bottle of wine, throw in the veg and seasonings and soak until 3 times the starting volume (you can use the handle of a wooden spoon to gauge this)… Then bring to boil and reduce to simmer until tender, about an hr I guess… I’m a ’til it’s done kinda girl if you haven’t noticed by now… Serve this over rice which you of course will cook in some chicken or fish stock (and feel free to throw some fresh parsley or some dried cilantro into this for a big more color and flavor, I usually do but it is fine without it too of course)… And no this doesn’t contain the secret seasoning blend, not because I’m holding out on you but because both me and daddy just tinker and sprinkle until it smells right so you’ll have to adapt this to taste and I probably even added some other seasonings but all the ones in larger amts are accounted for and I have seasoned beans precisely like this when on vacation without my spice rack before so they’ll be fine this way, just not quite like at my table at home… I often need hubby to serve as notetaker to keep me on top of these kinds of things as I don’t pay attention too much…

and YES I said put in the salt before the beans are cooked, and yes every other recipe will tell you after, and yes they turn out fine and are better seasoned with less salt when you do it before… we honestly made beans every week, sometimes a few times a week, I swear you can cook them with the salt nothing bad will happen and you’ll probably like them better that way anyway… but you can of course salt them afterward if you wish, nothing bad will happen that way either really (outside of likely consuming more salt to get the same flavor)… so feel free to do with that what you will…

we cooked it drier than I normally would due the wine/children thing... but I prefer leaving them saucier and just pulling them as soon as the beans are tender...

over rice

PS. and since I was gonna make Daddy’s Cornbread until we realized we had no cornmeal I also threw in the 1lb of browned pork sausage designated for that… but growing up this would usually either be meatless or have slices of kilbalsa in it… and while I’m sure if you asked my father would tell you he’d put a whole package in but I can vouch that it is not remotely close to true as I was a horrid, horrid food theif and occassionally would recruit my little brother in the snatching process as the Pops would grow too suspicious of me hanging around too much around sliced kilbalsa (or sliced cheese for the mac and cheese or cheese dip) and shoo me away… LOL So if you want meat I’d suggest using the kilbalsa insted of the ground sausage, it is better that way…

{September 25, 2008}   Lazy Lady BBQ Succotash Rice

BBQ Succotash Rice
1 pkg smoked sausage (turkey kilbalsa), chopped
1 lb frozen lima beans
2 c rice
2 bay leaves
1 qt of water

Made this up on a Tues and forgot I didn’t need it that night as there was going to be dinner at PTA… so I fridged it. Just brown the meat, add everything else and bring to boil… Shut off the heat and leave on hot eye until liquid is absorbed…

Wed night, added:
3/4-1 c BBQ sauce
around 1.5 c water
1/2 lb frozen corn
1 c quartered grape tomatoes

and rewarmed it thru…

** To make this in one go cut the extra 1.5 c water to 1/2 c and then proceed same as before… “brown the meat, add everything else and bring to boil… Shut off the heat and leave on hot eye until liquid is absorbed…” that is all…

So my aunt Vicki gave this recipe to my G-ma years ago (and I think it’s even been printed in one of the t-town cookbooks), and she frequently makes it when I’m around this time I made it while there and added beans which worked out well–plus I made some other minor changes, simply out of not remembering how it was done… most importantly, I realized how much I love this and need to tinker a non-cream of version to become a more frequently present meal… For the weekend, we just used the healthy request low sodium version and had at it…

Smoked Pork Chop and Wild Rice Casserole
8 smoked pork chops
2 pkg wild rice/long grain blends
2 cans cream of mushroom
1 c milk
2 c hot water (was supposed to be 3, but there wasn’t room after the beans and this actually was enough)
1 pkg frozen wide, flat italian style green beans (not sure the skinnier string beans would fair as well with the length of cooking)

Put the frozen green beans in the bottom of the dish (this time a long rectangular pyrex)… Mix rice, cream of, and milk and spread over top of beans… Lay the pork chops along the top of the rice (I had to sort of overlap them a bit to make them fit, and did so with the bones on top so more meat was against the rice if that makes sense) poured over as much of the hot water as would fit in the dish, which ended up being 2 c… Loosely lay a sheet of foil over the top and bake at 350 until bubbly and rice is done (about 1-1.5 hrs)…

PS. This is assuredly in own of the t-town cookbooks, but I didn’t mark it down…

{August 17, 2008}   Beer Cheese Risotto

Beer Cheese Risotto
1.5 T butter
1.5 c ea: onions, aborio rice, beer **
1/2 tsp ea: dry mustard, salt, onion pwd
4 c hot water/broth (may not use all, but need it warm and ready in case)
1/4 c parm
1.5 c sharp cheddar

Saute the onions. Stir in rice and coat well and get mostly translucent. Add beer and seasonings and simmer, stirring. When absorbed add remaining liquid in 1/2-1 c increments, stirring until absorbed. On last batch of liquid when it’s getting to be just about done end with about 1/2 c unabsorbed liquid and turn off heat, but leave on hot eye. Add the cheeses, and stir until melted and rice appears creamy and remove from hot eye.

** You can sub hard cider, wine, or even vinegar/lemon juice spiked water for an alcoholess version…though obviously subbing anything will make it not beer cheese. And IMO the best beer for this is an amber one… too dark is overpowering here (just put it in a stew you’re not gonna want to bother finding it a cheese mate trust me I’ve tried many and it’s not an appealing combo even when you have a cheese that doen’t get lost) and too light is not going to stand up to the strong cheeses (does ok with a swiss or kind of a white cheddar–but that one’s still pushing it a tiny bit); but feel free to use what you like to drink I tend to tweak the cheeses according to what stray beer is hanging around (as I always have a good selection of cheeses on hand).

NB: Sometimes I finish this off with a bit of butter (or a wedge of laughing cow if I have it), but not always. It’s often a where shall I spend the calories deal here, and therefore decided meal by meal. And you can add garlic, Hubby likes adding garlic… but I just don’t care for the garlic, cheese, beer trio.

{August 14, 2008}   Red Beans and Rice-ish

Ok, big secret confession. Hubs requested Red Beans and Rice the other night but I didn’t really want it, plus I didn’t have any dried beans and I really like making my own for Red Beans and Rice so I can use the bean juice. So Red Beans and Rice (in this house) would normally be some saucy beans (with or without sausage) and then I’d make some white rice seperately with a bit of cilantro scattered thru (mostly for color), and either serve the bean mixture ladelled over the rice or serve a bowl of the beans with a scoop of the rice in the middle (one of the kids favors it this way). So what I made was really more of a Beany Jambalya, but it had red beans and it had rice and he was happy… so we let him believe it was the meal he’d requested.

Beany Jambalya
2 links Nathan’s sausage (about 1/3 lb worth), cut up
maybe 1 c chicken (pulled from the roasted one, I used breast meat to balance the cheesy sausage)
1 bell pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
2 cans red beans, drained and rinsed (yep you read that right, I used canned and I didn’t make any of the kids open them either)
1.5 c rice
about 1/4 c worth of assorted seasonings done to taste (celery seed, onion/garlic pwd, s/p, smoked paprika, sage, and I can’t remember what else but those were probably the dominants)

Brown the sausage, remove from pot and use the run off to saute the onions. Add everything and cover with a scant qt of water (broth is fine if you have it), and simmer until mostly absorbed and rice is done.

{August 10, 2008}   Wild Rice Blend

Wild Rice Blend
2 T butter
1/3 c hulled barley
2/3 c brown basmati
1/4 c wild rice
3 c water
1/2 tsp ea: s/p
1 tsp ea: garlic pwd, onion pwd, grated parm

Rinse barley and toast in the butter, add the wild rice and brown rice and stir to coat in the butter. Add the water and seasonings and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer at lowest heat until absorbed.

et cetera