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 11, 2008}   Crockpot Simmered Gumbo

So first thing first, this isn’t really a crockpot recipe in the since of dump it all in the crock in 5 mins or less on your way out the door… but rather a “I have time to cook the bits but I need to leave the house a few times while it is simmering so I’ll put it in the crockpot” kind of thing… so you do need to plan some time to deal with it either in the morning or the night before… and you could skimp on browning your meats and sauteing your veg if you’re not worried about the caramelization/flavor loss there… but you should really take your time with the roux and get it nice and dark over a slow heat as this will make a huge impact on flavor, and if you rush it you’re likely to either burn it or have uneven patches and starting over makes it take a lot more time than doing it slow and right in the first place… so at least plan time for the roux…

If you want to make the whole thing on the stove, just use a serving platter to pile the cooked meat and veg on as you go and while you make the roux, then whisk in all your liquid and bring to a boil… add back all your bits, cover, return to a boil and reduce to a simmer… then add the shrimp in the last five minutes or so from when you want to eat and simmer right in the gumbo (until they are pink and curled up tight like a clip on earring)…

with the shrimp and over rice...

with the shrimp and over rice...

Crockpot Simmered Gumbo
3/4-1 lb andouille sausage, sliced
1.5-2 lb cubed beef **
1.5-2 lb chicken breast tenders (mine were frozen), cut in spoon friendly chunks
2 qts chicken stock, separated (if you want to make this not in the crock you’ll probably want around 3 qts)
1/2 lb cajun style bacon ***
2 lg onions, diced
1 head garlic, minced
oregano, garlic/onion pwd, thyme, blk pep, bay leaves
1/2 head celery, diced (about 2-2.5 c)
7 carrots, diced (about 2-2.5 c)
about 1/2 c flour
1-2 bell peppers, diced
handful of okra pods (or say 7), finely sliced ****
1-1.5 T King Creole seasoning (courtesy of Joelen from the prize booty, but please adjust to your tastes)
2-3 lbs shrimp (most people will prefer these shelled, I’d suppose)

Preheat your crock on high, preheat your pan to med high or high… Brown up the sausage on both sides, add to the crock… brown up the beef on all sides (doesn’t have to cook thru just want a good sear with some nice browned bits), and add to the crock… then I added water to deglaze the pan and poached the chicken a bit to thaw it and make it easy to chop… chopped and added them to the crock… topped the meat in the crock with 1 qt of the stock… dumped the deglazed poaching liquid down the drain (as I didn’t need the extra liquid in the crock and knew the stock would be tastier)… reduce to medium, and set about crisping the bacon, drained off about 1/2 c of the bacon grease (most of it)and reserved… add the onions and garlic (more oil if particularly needed, I did not but depends on the leanness of your bacon and how crisp you cooked it, so you gauge that) along with the seasonings (which I actually remembered to measure but didn’t remember to write down) and cook until onions are becoming translucent… add celery and carrots (I add only half the celery to saute so there is a contrast of soft and crisp, but you can saute all or none as you wish…) and continue cooking until they caramelize a bit, then add to the crock… I reduce the heat to med-low (but you could probably get by on med if you are careful, attentive and a diligent stirrer) add the reserved bacon grease and the flour to the pan to make your roux, and darken to about a walnut color, stirring constantly… whisk in the other qt of stock and bring to a boil, boil 2-3 minutes to thicken and pour into the crock… add the peppers,okra, and cajun/creole seasoning and reduce the heat to Low and allow to simmer all day… when we were getting ready to eat, pulled out some of the gumbo broth into the pan to boil the shrimp and add back to the gumbo (I added them to the kids’ and the Hubster’s portions)…

give it a little stir... and now you are ready to simmer it, while you go about what you have to do...

give it a little stir... and now you are ready to simmer it, while you go about what you have to do...

this is about how dark you want it... trust me, it is worth it to go slow...

this is about how dark you want it... trust me, it is worth it to go slow...

Ive got carcasses, yes I do... but Im not making stock, how bout you?

Ive got carcasses, yes I do... but Im not making stock, how bout you?






             NB: technically, I took the roux a touch darker than the pic… but that was a good point to snag the pic and still get the broth in in time…

** If you want to use pork instead that is fine, but it’ll need to be cooked all the way thru first as it’s not gonna taste so good cooking from the simmer… hence beef is easier if you don’t have leftover pork roast or such on hand…

*** pretty much a hickory smoked one with a dry rub on it, so you can use regular and add more seasonings if you don’t have this… I just like that it’s smoked with the rub, need to get charlie’s to make it this way as their bacon would make a better base… [note to self: attempt to sweet talk the butcher into cajoling whoever smokes it]

**** but oddly this time it was truly a fluke as it was just a grab and bag… I only counted as I was chopping, but it brought a smile to my face… and I forgot to measure but I’m guessing this was in the neighborhood of 1 c… of course if you like okra feel free to use however much you want, personally I hate the stuff… but for me gumbo is not gumbo until it’s got that okra ooze in it (even if I do fish out the actual pieces)…

{October 6, 2008}   Pitty Pat’s B-day Polenta

The baby’s finger food b-day dinner (from last month’s catch up, obviously)…

Pitty Pat’s B-day Polenta
1 lb ground pork + lots of seasonings (if you aren’t concerned about the salt/sodium you can just use a ready made sausage–but I you know babies/salt)
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/2 c finely snipped or diced dried tomatoes (dried but a bit moist, like raisins, and preferably not in oil)
1 roasted bell pepper, skinned, seeded, and diced (I did green but if you aren’t making your own, the red ones are fine)
2 c cornmeal
about 2 T sea salt (might be a little shy of this really, as I don’t officially measure, but the point is it’s kind of a lot… if you undersalt it before you cook it you won’t be able to redo it and hence will never have the chance to bring out the flavor of the cornmeal again… but if you’re a learn-the-hard-way type try boiling cornmeal in unsalted water just for kicks, and when you’re ready to eat you’ll know what you should do next time…)
2 qts – 9 c water (I reckon you could use some broth if you want, and if you use canned or salted broth you can obviously cut back on the salt a bit… but frankly salt water is cheaper, and you’ll have plenty of stuff in this so flavor won’t be a problem…)
1-2 jars of italian marinated mushrooms, drained (or undrained the liquid can replace some of the water if you’d like, but add the liquid at the same time as the water)

Mix up the pork and seasonings and test a pinch of your sausage (ie. cook it up a taste it)… if it’s ok, finish cooking the rest with onion (otherwise tinker and test another pinch, etc…) once all the sausage is well browned and the onions translucent… add your liquid and let it start to come to a boil… meanwhile, chopped and add the tomatoes and peppers… when the liquid is boiling, reduce to medium low and mix it the polenta S L O W L Y and let simmer stirring as often as you can until it thickens up and pulls from the sides, around 20-30 mins… Then add your drained mushrooms, butter and parm and turn out onto a pan or into a casserole dish and let cool a bit to set up and then slice and serve (or slice and fry/bake/grill and serve)…

{September 29, 2008}   Birthday Cod

Hubster one more time. From the 6 year olds Birthday dinner.

1 1/2 lbs cod
6 oz of sundried tomato pesto (Classico)
bacon to wrap

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spoon pesto on top of cod to make a layer about 1/4 inch thick. Wrap bacon around cod and brown on all sides in a saute pan. Bake in oven, pesto side up, for approximately 15 minutes until fish is white and flakes easily. Serve

[notes from cejay: this will use a somewhat large quantity of bacon, you want to completely wrap the fish in bacon so you can no longer see what is inside–just bacon sealed upon bacon like wrapping a gift… and realistically, I suppose it is to keep the pesto in and the fish moist or something but since the bluejay is indeed my son this is not light on the bacon… and when you are “browning” this is really crisping it up… when he went to turn it and the bacon tried to flop away he said “nevermind, it’s not browned enough” so you should be aware you are crisping the bacon around the fish not just goldening it… and he did this over a HIGH heat, like searing, and then drained off the bacon grease before baking to temp–he used the thermometer because of the whack-job oven so while the time is likey still right because he’s all mr. chefypants seafood this is not how long it took us…]

{September 29, 2008}   Sausage and Pasta

Hubster again. Making another quick dinner.

1 lb of favorite pasta
1 lb smoked sausage – sliced
1 med onion chopped
3 cloves of garlic
1 16 oz jar of favorite pasta sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook onion, pepper and garlic on medium heat until tender. Add sliced smoked sausage and saute until brown heated thru. In a seperate pot cook pasta until tender. Add jar of sauce to sausage mixture and simmer until hot. Add pasta to sauce mixture once cooked stir together and serve.

{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…

Ok, so it’s not magic. It’s completely common place to plop leftovers in a stew… but an emailer has requested a leftover showcase. So while I use random leftovers all the time, when something is strategically made from leftovers I shall deem it such from now on… So dear e-friend hope this soothes your rerun fever… : )

I think this shows a little of everything...

I think this shows a little of everything...

Pork and Veggie Stew
leftover meat, peppers, onions, and rice from here **
leftover potatoes and pineapples from here
2 cans tomatoes
1/4 c white rum
1.5 c frozen lima beans
4-5 bay leaves
1 leftover bell pepper top
a dozen cloves (studded in pepper top)
1 T ea: allspice, ginger
1/2 head of garlic, roasted (leftover from the caribbean meal too really, in a preheated 400 oven the roasting took about as long as the limas)
juice of 3-4 limes (about 1/4 c juice)

Preheat the oven to 400. Chop the roast as you’d wish to spoon it and dump everything but the garlic and limes in the pot to boil with 1.5 qt water and a bit of salt (the limas need it). Drizzle the garlic w/olive oil (or whatever oil) and roast around 25-30 mins or until limas are tender. Remove the pepper/cloves and bay. Squeeze in garlic and lime juice (roll limes under your palm a bit and nuke for 30 sec to amplify the flow of juice) and serve.

** Now, technically I left the ginger slices in mostly because I forgot I packed them away, but I’d either chop them finer or fish them out.

Also, be careful how you stud the pepper piece as those piercing the flesh and no skin came out into the stew and you don’t want to hunt for tiny cloves amongst huge chunks. Alternatively, I suppose you could just cram them in some cheesecloth… Plus if you were less lazy you could zest the limes before juicing I’d recommend it as I think I’d be very good with that addition…

{August 24, 2008}   “Caribbean” Crockpot Roast

Ok, so I found this recipe claimed it was a Caribbean Pork Roast…I know nothing about carribean food so I dunno if it actually is or if it is even very Caribbean inspired but that’s ok (my beloved Joy of cooking had pretty much just soups so what can you do if you don’t want soup?). I was trying to make something for Joelen’s Caribbean Challenge and really don’t know caribbean food. I’m sure there’s a decent chance that after I read the round-up posted I will learn I knew more than I thought about Caribbean food without realizing it but that’s ok. Oh and for the record, the challenge is long over am I didn’t make the deadline, but I was planning to make this:

And this recipe wasn’t originally in the crockpot, it’s just hot out. And as always when I put a pork roast in the slow cooker I do it in two steps to drain off the superfluous grease (and perhaps that could also be why I always avoid the mystical ‘cat pee smell’ a certain someone finds). But it required little tweaking to do so, however, I think next time I will bypass both oven and crock and do it on the stovetop with pork steaks or chops because of the citrus…

“Carribean” Crockpot Roast
5 lb pork roast
2 c orange juice
1/2 c ea: sweet dark rum, key lime juice (you can juice your own, I just think key limes are such a pain)
1 T ea: cumin, hot pepper sauce [after trying it I would cut the cumin back or out as it was overpowering and a bit too peacockish for a dish with so many flavors…]
1/2 T ea: allspice, blk pepper, salt
1 yellow onion
1/2 head of garlic, cloves halved and peeled
1 green bell pepper
1.5-2 in hunk ginger, cut into sixths
[in theory, I believe this called for finishing off with: 1/4 c dry white rum and 1/2 c lime juice–and I even had 6 limes ready to juice to be sure I could do it… but I decided last minute to nix it, Little Hawk was here and doesn’t like rum and I figured the kids didn’t need it either… but feel free to add it as I think it would work well especially the additional lime…]

Season the meat with s/p and sear the roast on all sides. Put in crockpot on HIGH 2-3 hrs, remove and drain off fat and juices, and refrigerate. Put sliced onions in bottom of crock, followed by roast, pour over oj, key lime juice and seasonings along with garlic and ginger reduce to LOW. When starting rice add chopped bell pepper… [I used the chilled pork juices, minus the fat layer, to cook the rice but you could just use water and a bit of salt]

the pork has reached temp and getting ready to drain the runoff so the fat can be removed...

2-3 hrs into things: the pork has reached temp and getting ready to drain the runoff so the fat can be removed...

Served over the rice... dishing up it is really not visually striking so maybe using more colorful peppers could be... *shrugs*

Served over the rice... dishing up it is really not visually striking so maybe using more colorful peppers could be... *shrugs*










The rest of this dinner was sort of attempting to be in keeping with the theme so feel free to check out the Pineapple Sweet Potatoes and Chili Fried Bananas (sorry but since we’d already eaten the broccoli slaw anyway I didn’t bother with the Mojo).

{August 12, 2008}   Perk-me up Kid’s Pizza

Perk-me up Kid’s Pizza
3/4 lb (12 oz) pizza dough, rolled out (yes, I use a rolling pin… B’s the italian not me, I have no nifty dough tossing skills)
olive oil
some leftover jarred spaghetti sauce
some leftover canned tomato paste
3 oz ea: cheddar and mozzarella (shredded or rough chopped in tiny bits)
the last of the pepperoni (about 3 dozen slices I’d guess)

Let the dough rise, then roll it out (or toss) as you wish. Spray or rub some olive oil on the dough. Thicken the sauce with the paste and spread it on the oiled dough (oiled to back up in case the sauce remains a little thin so there won’t be soggy crust). Scatter the cheese and let them place the pepperoni as they wish… Bake about 12 min-ish @ 425, cool pan on a rack about 5 min.

And yes, if you have any doubts, the cheddar and the pepperoni make this somewhat of an orange oily spotted thing. So I personally would have used only mozz, but the kid got 5 shots, a blood test and a skin test, so with 7 needle pricks if he wants a few grease spots to cheer him up then so be it I reckon…this wasn’t a battle I deemed worth picking. The normal among us–ie. me and the other 2 kids–towelled it off before eating, while the Bluejay just blissfully dripped grease on himself in joyous stupor.

Soda Chops 
Ok, first a brief warning: this isn’t a QUICK meal! I mean it’s not a lot of work or anything, but if you are wanting to come home after work and make dinner you’d probably want to save this until the weekend.

pkg pork chops, I think mine was 10-12 boneless (could also use chicken cutlets)
1 can ea: tomato paste, coke
2 oz wedge onion (est. based on known shopping weight) 
4 lg cloves garlic
2 T ea: worchestershire, Dale’s, cider vinegar
1.5 tsp ea: mustard seed, chili pwd, lemon zest
1 tsp ea: garlic pwd, onion pwd, cayenne
s/p to taste (may not need, so taste)

Brown the chops on each side. Pop onion (cut more if you like), garlic, worchestershire, Dale’s, and vinegar in blender/processor and blend smooth. Preheat your oven to 300-325. Place browned chops on a plate, and add tomato paste, soda, dry spices to the pan and whisk smooth. Mix in blender puree and bring to just the bud of a boil. Put 1/4 to 1/3 of the sauce in the bottom of a glass or ceramic baking dish. Add the chops, cover with the rest of the sauce and bake in a slow oven about 1-1.5 hrs.

NB: You really could jazz this up however you like so feel free to change the seasonings, or could you probably even cheat with bottled BBQ sauce although I swear this isn’t hard. Might could speed it up on top of the stove but I don’t know how the sauce would do with direct heat and it’d probably need more tending… This was intentionally a leave alone dish so we could leave the house for scouts though so the stovetop seemed a bad idea. But if you try it I’d love to know how the sauce works outside the oven…


As a different, easier, version that’s still similar enough you could also do the Pepsi Chicken sauce on the pork or just do the Pepsi Chicken:

Pepsi Chicken (this is from my Bronson cookbook, p 57, but it’s one of those things that is everywhere)

4-6 bnls, skls chicken breasts
2 c pepsi
1 c ketchup

Cut the chicken into bite pieces, cover with soda and ketchup. Cook at MED-LOW for 1.5-2 hrs until thick like BBQ sauce.

I actually never made the PC because I figured it’d just be bland (and maybe it is) but alot of people I know keep talking about it so maybe it’s good…then again maybe it’s just easy, as many people love easy.

{July 25, 2008}   Pork Chop Loaf

Probably sounds more involved than it is, it’s pork chops lined up in a loaf pan with stuffing in between (make sure a chop is on each end) and then I skewered them together in a few places to keep it tight because I probably could have used another chop and/or a bit more stuffing to fill the pan, but ran out of both and just wanted to cook it… Also, I used the nice bone in chops since the bone would be sticking out of the pan and hence roasting nicely for a stock later–just froze them for now.

Pork Chop Loaf (pretty much from my Old BHG I think)
6 pork chops (using next time, but my pkg had 5)
3 T butter
3 cups stale bread cubes (leftover croutons work great for this too)
1.5-2 cups chopped (cooked if need be) stuffing add-ins
1 egg, beaten together with stuffing seasonings

Season the chops as desired, and brown in the butter on both sides. Mix stuffing ing and make sure egg is well distributed. Place chops in the loaf pan alternating with stuffing, making sure to begin and end with chop. Bake 1 hr @ 300-325.

The Simmered Pork Chops (i like to use thick pork steaks with a bone)
pork chops or pork steaks
apple cider* or orange juice
amounts I don’t really measure as I generally have both on hand in generous supply, plus it varies depending on the size of your pan and the thickeness of the meat sorry…

Season the pork liberally with s/p and garlic/onion powder (or whatever you like on your pork, sometimes I add a bit of cinnamon or allspice and thyme if I’ve got cider going in or tarragon or another herb with the oj but usually I make this on vacay so I keep it simple to not have to bring/buy too many spices). Brown both sides of meat quickly in a hot pan with a little bit of oil or bacon grease, drain off any excess fat or don’t bother if it’s not much. Pour in a bit of the juice and scrape the browned bits free put the meat back in a nice arrangement and add juice until the meat covered. Bring to boil, cover and reduce to simmer and walk away and let the juice reduce by half or so to become a sauce. That’s all, I tried telling you there wasn’t a recipe…but since you wanted one I hope this helps.

et cetera