Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Chicken Spaghetti

My mom makes the best chicken tetrazzini in the world.  Mine never tastes as good, and I dirty so many dishes.  I thought I would try chicken spaghetti as it uses many of the same ingredients.  I bookmarked this one from The Pioneer Woman last year and have been waiting for my chicken tetrazzini craving to hit.  My Mom mentioned she wanted to make some chicken tetrazzini, but I still have her recipe file at my house so she couldn't.  Sorry Mom!  This conversation left me with a craving, and I'm so glad.

I made very few adjustments since Ree's recipes are perfect as is.  I saved some time by using a rotisserie chicken and chicken bouillon cubes.  At first, I was going to cut the recipe in half, but I guess my ingredients just kept growing, so my sauce did too.  I made a huge casserole dish of chicken spaghetti for dinner last night, and froze another smaller casserole.  Maybe I will save it for the next time my mom comes to visit.  She better come over soon because I don't know how long it will remain in the freezer since my family loved it. 


2 rotisserie chicken breasts and 2 thighs, cut  or shred into pieces
3/4 lb thin spaghetti, broken into thirds
8 cups water
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken and mushroom soup
1 green pepper, diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
4 oz jar diced pimentos (I did not use)
2 cups reserved chicken broth (from cooking spaghetti)
kosher salt
black pepper
garlic powder
cayenne pepper (optional)
2 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (reserve 1 cup for topping)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a large casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Fill large stock pot with 8 cups water and add chicken bouillon.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Add the spaghetti and cook for 5 minutes, or until al dente.  Reserve 2 cups of the chicken broth and drain spaghetti.

In a large bowl, combine the chicken, cooked spaghetti, soups, green pepper, onion, pimentos, 1 1/2 cups cheese, and 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth.  Add more broth as needed.  You want the mixture to be fairly thin and stirable, and it will thicken up while baking.  Taste and season with salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder as needed.

Transfer mixture into prepared casserole dish and top with remaining 1 cup cheese.  Cover with a lid or foil.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Uncover and cook another 15-20.  We topped ours with a dollop of sour cream.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Oven Baked Wings~Spicy and BBQ

Saturday night is "Family Game Night" in our home.  We play Wii games and let the girls stay up late.  My hubby usually picks up wings and cole slaw from Wing Stop on his way home from work.  My kids like the BBQ flavor wings and we like them HOT. 

These wings are really good and remind me of Wing Stop.  They are better for you than deep fried and are easier to prepare.  You line baking sheets with foil for easy cleanup.  And there's no grease splatters all over you stovetop, floor, and walls to clean up when you use the oven. 


30 wings (I used all drumettes)
3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 T corn starch
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup Frank's Red Hot Wings Buffalo Sauce, plus more for dipping
1/2 cup favorite BBQ sauce (I used homemade), plus more for dipping

Line a baking sheet with foil and spray generously with non-stick cooking spray.  Place the flour, corn starch, and spices in a gallon size resealable bag.  Add the wings into the bag in two batches.  Seal and shake well to coat, then place on prepared baking sheet.  Refrigerate uncovered for at least 1 hour.

When ready to bake the wings, preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Pour the Buffalo sauce into a bowl.  Dip the HOT wings into the sauce and place back on to the baking sheet.  Pour 1/2 cup of the BBQ sauce into a bowl.  Dip the remaining BBQ wings into the sauce and place back onto the baking sheet.

Bake wings for 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and use the same sauces from earlier to brush onto the wings.  Flip them over and brush the other side.  Bake another 15 minutes, or until cripsy and cooked through.  Discard remaining sauce since it was used on raw chicken.  Use some fresh sauce to dip wings one final time after removing from the oven.  This will make them perfectly saucy and messy! 

Serve with a side of cole slaw and Blue Cheese or Ranch dressing.  Enjoy!

Adapted from All Recipes

Monday, March 28, 2011

Blueberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

We were invited to our neighbor's house for Sunday dinner and I wanted to make a dessert to feed a crowd.  I was originally going to make my famous New York style cheesecake with a fresh blueberry sauce, but my cheesecake pan is missing the bottom part.  It's missing because I accidentally slid it off the glass plate holding the leftover Frozen Strawberry Cheesecake right into the trash can, and the trash was picked up before I realized it was missing.

I searched the web for cheesecake bars and came across some recipes for cheesecake cupcakes.  These would be perfect because they are individual portions, easy to serve and easy to eat. 

I made a plain cheesecake batter using fresh lemon zest and Mexican vanilla.  I made a cinnamon graham cracker crust in the bottom of cupcake liners, and poured the batter on top.  Then I pushed some blueberries into each one and baked them just until set.  I also made a homemade blueberry sauce to top them before refrigerating overnight to set up.  I made some plain cheesecakes for my hubby because I'm a very considerate and thoughtful wife.  He said "uuuummm, these are good!"

I had some leftover batter since it makes 32 cupcakes, and I only have 24 cupcake tin spaces.  I made 24 mini cheesecake bites using my mini muffin pan with mini liners and without the crust.  These baked for about 8 minutes, just until set.  Then, I topped each one with some of that homemade blueberry sauce and refrigerated them overnight as well.  My kids really loved these and are taking some to school to share with their best friends at lunch.

Crust Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups crushed honey graham crackers
4 T unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp cinnamon
 3 T sugar

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake tins with paper liners (makes 32).  In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, cinnamon, and sugar using a fork. Press 1 T mixture into the bottom of each cupcake liner (I used more) and press firmly to pack (I used a shot glass and was able to push some of the mixture up the sides). Bake for 5 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack until ready to fill.

Cheesecake Ingredients:

2 lbs (4-8oz bars) cream cheese, room temperature
Note: I used 2 bars regular cream cheese and 2 bars 1/3 less fat cream cheese
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs, room temperature
zest from 1 lemon

In a large stand mixer bowl, beat the cream cheese until fluffy.  Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth.  Add one egg at a time, beating after each addition.  Scrape down the sides and beat until creamy and lump free.  Add the lemon zest and mix to combine.

Spoon cheesecake batter into each cupcake liner 3/4 of the way full.  Scatter 5-6 fresh blueberries into each one and press down into batter.

Bake for 22 minutes, or until set.  Let cool in pan on a wire rack until room temperature.

Fresh Blueberry Sauce:

1 pint fresh blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup water, divided
2 T corn starch

In a small sauce pan over medium heat, add the blueberries, sugar, lemon juice, and 1/4 cup water.  Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  Stir together 1/4 cup water and corn starch in a small cup.  Add to the pan and stir until thickened.  Remove from heat and let sit until ready to top cheesecakes.

To finish the cheesecakes, top each one with 1 T blueberry sauce.  Transfer cheesecake cupcakes to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving (I prefer refrigerate overnight as they set up better and are cool throughout).  Enjoy!

Adapted from Annie's Eats (from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Mint Oreo Brownies with Mint Fudge Icing

I always see these Mint Oreos in the grocery store next to my favorite Double Stuf Oreos.  I knew we would like them since we loved these Homemade Oreos, where I used Peppermint extract in half of them.  These Oreos are really good just by themself, but I decided to try them in some brownies with a mint fudge icing.  They are thick, rich, and delicious!

Brownie Ingredients:

1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted
2 T water
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
Dash salt
8 Mint Oreos, cut into quarters

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9x9 inch baking pan with cooking spray.  Line with parchment paper with a 1 inch overhang to help lift out brownies later.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together sugar, butter, and water.  Stir in eggs and vanilla extract. 

Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in separate bowl.  Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients just until combined and lump free.  Add the quartered Oreos and carefully fold into brownie batter.  Spread into prepared baking pan.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out slightly sticky.  Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
Mint Fudge Icing:
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
6 T milk
4 T unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp mint extract
6 Mint Oreos, quartered (for garnish)
In a small sauce pan over low heat, melt butter.  Stir in milk.  Sift in cocoa powder and powdered sugar.  Whisk until smooth.  Turn off heat and whisk in mint extract.  Pour over warm brownies and let cool until set.
When the icing has set, lift brownies out of pan onto cutting board.  Cut into squares and garnish with Oreos.  Enjoy!
As you can tell, I didn't wait for the icing to completely set because my girls were anxious to eat them and I wanted a good picture before the sun went down. They are so good warm! Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Calzones Your Way

Calzones are a favorite quick to go meal from our local Italian restaurant.  We call in the order and hubby picks it up.  We get to pick our favorite toppings that are stuffed inside pizza crust.  A side of marinara for dipping completes it.  This is my first time making calzones at home.  It was just like making pizza and fun for the kids.  These would also be fun to make mini and serve as appetizers.

I used the recipe for pizza dough from The Pioneer Woman's Cookbook.  I added some extra seasonings and used a little whole wheat flour, and it turned out perfect.  This will be my new pizza dough recipe from now on.

Pizza Dough:
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
4  cups all purpose flour (can also substitute 1/4 cup whole wheat for white flour)
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for oiling bowl

In a small glass bowl, add the warm water and sprinkle in the yeast.  Let sit for 5 minutes.  Add the sugar and stir. 

In a large stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, add flour, salt, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder.  Turn on low to mix in spices.  Slowly drizzle in the olive oil.  Add the water/yeast mixture and mix on medium speed.  Let the mixer kneed the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.

Drizzle some olive oil into large glass or metal bowl and use your hand to rub all around bottom and sides.  Form the dough into a ball, add it to the oiled bowl, and turn to oil on all sides.  Cover with a damp kitchen towel or tightly with plastic wrap and place in a warm area until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Sprinkle some corn meal onto a large pizza pan or baking sheet.

To make calzones, pinch off a piece of pizza dough and roll into a ball.  Spread flour on a work surface and roll dough out into a large circle, being careful not to roll too thin.  

Set out all your toppings, and let your family pile them up on their individual calzone.  Place toppings on 1/2 of the dough, leaving a 1/2 inch border. 

The toppings we used this time were:

mozzarella cheese
ricotta cheese
canadian bacon
cooked Italian sausage
green peppers
red onions

Fold the empty side of pizza dough over the toppings.  Roll the edges up and pinch together to seal, using your fingers like you would for a pie crust.  Sprinkle top with Italian seasoning and garlic powder, if desired. 

Use a spatula to transfer to prepared baking sheet.  You can even use a paring knife to carve your initials into the top so they don't get mixed up.

Bake for 12 minutes, or until crust is lightly browned.  Serve with a side of marinara for dipping.  Enjoy!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Easy Banana Bread

Today is the last weekday of Spring Break, so I wanted to make my girls a special breakfast.  This banana bread is Madison's favorite!  It's baking in the oven right now, and it smells so good.  This is a simple quick bread, and you can make any additions your family likes, i.e. pecans, walnuts, cranberries, raisins, chocolate chips, blueberries, strawberries, etc.  You can also replace the banana with pumpkin puree to make pumpkin bread.

This bread takes no time to assemble and less than an hour to bake.  It's best served warm with some butter on top. 


1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a loaf pan.

In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until creamy.  Add the eggs and vanilla extract and mix well. Add the flour, baking soda, and cinnamon and mix just until combined. Add the mashed bananas and mix until incorporated.

Pour banana bread batter into prepared loaf pan.  Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until toothpick tester comes out clean.  Serve warm with butter.  Enjoy!

Note:  This banana bread is very moist, so it's best to store it at room temperature in the loaf pan lightly covered with foil. 

Lightened Up Baked Pasta

Is Spring Break over yet? Oh, I'm just kidding.  I just LOVE taking all 3 girls grocery shopping with me.  And sending them to their separate rooms serveral times throughout the day.  And doing more laundry because it's cold in the morning and hot in the afternoon, so they change clothes.  And telling them to please clean up their mess when they decide to play somewhere else.  All kidding aside, it was time to cook a grown up meal.  I've eaten all the tacos, cheeseburgers, and chicken tenders I can handle this week.  I needed a comfort meal, preferably one that my kids will also enjoy eating.

I found this recipe in my Cooking Light March 2011 issue. The original recipe is a vegetarian dish, but since we aren't vegetarians, I added chicken. I also added mushrooms (for me) and used chicken broth instead of white wine. The lemon adds so much flavor to this pasta.  I adjusted the recipe to include more sauce because this type of pasta soaks it up and it was a little dry after baking. I also had to photograph the leftovers the next morning to take advantage of natural lighting. (It was so much creamier at dinnertime.)You definitely have to plan ahead and allow time for this pasta dish to bake once it's assembled.  It's topped with an Italian Panko and parmesan breadcrumb mixture to give it a nice crunch.  You don't even have to bake this dish if you don't have the time or don't care for the crunchy topping.  You could simply boil the pasta until al dente, toss it all together, sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese, and serve immediately.  Either way, it's a delicious and satisfying meal when you've had one of those days that only pasta can fix...and a little chocolate from some mint chocolate ice cream.


3/4 lb Barilla Campanelle pasta
5 oz. fresh spinach, stems removed
2 T olive oil, divided
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup flour
1 can low sodium chicken broth
3 cups reduced fat milk (I used 2%)
1 large lemon, zest and juice
kosher salt
black pepper
Italian seasoning
garlic powder
1 cup Italian Panko breadcrumbs, divided
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a large casserole dish with cooking spray.

Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.  Heat a large deep skillet over medium high heat.  Add 1 T olive oil and cook the chicken until no longer pink.  Remove to a bowl and set aside.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted boiling water for 7 minutes, until just shy of al dente.  Turn off the heat, stir in the spinach, and let wilt for 2 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

In the same large skillet over medium heat, add another 1 T olive oil.  Add the onions and mushrooms and cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.   Add the garlic and cook another minute.  Stir in the flour and cook for a minute.  Pour in the chicken broth and stir until flour is incorporated.  Add the milk, and season salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning.  Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally.  This will take about 10-12 minutes.  Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon zest and lemon juice.  Taste and reseason if needed.

Add the chicken and pasta mixture to the sauce and toss to coat evenly.  Pour into the prepared casserole dish.  Sprinkle top with 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs, then 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, then the other 1/2 cup Panko.  Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown on top and bubbly.  Enjoy!

Note:  If you don't have the time to bake the pasta:  Boil the pasta until al dente, toss it together with the chicken and sauce, sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese, and serve immediately.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

My girls are home all week for Spring Break, so I've been cooking their favorite meals...tacos, bbq, hot dogs, pizza, and ice cream.  I thought it would be nice to make something green for them in celebration of St. Patrick's Day.  This mint chocolate chip ice cream is so refreshing with the peppermint flavoring and rich with the chocolate chips! 


1 cup milk (I used 2%)
3/4 cup sugar
dash salt
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
green food coloring
1/2 to 3/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a medium sauce pan over medium low heat, whisk together the milk, sugar, and salt.  Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low.  In a glass bowl, lightly beat 3 egg yolks, then whisk in 1/4 cup of the warm milk mixture to tempur the eggs.  Slowly whisk the eggs into the sauce pan and cook until custard is just thickened, whisking constantly.  Be careful not to bring to a boil. 

Pour thickened custard into a chilled glass bowl and refrigerate until cool, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours.  Note:  If there are any lumps in your custard, strain through a fine mesh sieve into the chilled glass bowl.

Prepare your ice cream machine.  Add the heavy cream, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract to the cooled custard.  Stir in some green food coloring until you get a pretty light green.  Pour the mixture into your ice cream machine.  After 10 minutes, pour the chocolate chips into the ice cream machine.  Continue to freeze according to your ice cream manufacturer's instructions.  Mine usually takes about 25 minutes total.  

Pour the soft serve ice cream into an airtight container and freeze until ready to serve.  Enjoy!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Frozen Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Pie

I'm baaaaack! I'm finally in the kitchen and it feels good to cook again.  Yesterday was family day and we spent the day outside playing with our girls.  My little Jordyn was jumping on the trampoline with her big sisters.  They had a blast and nobody got hurt! 

My hubby and I researched planting apple trees in our backyard.  Our local nursery didn't have Granny Smith apple trees in stock yet, so we will hopefully get them planted next weekend.  I can't wait until we get to pick apples out of our own backyard since I absolutely love making apple desserts

My hubby smoked a brisket and ribs, and the whole neighborhood was filled with the smell of BBQ.  I made a pasta salad and baked beans to go with the meat.  I made this dessert early in the afternoon and let it set up in the freezer to have after dinner. 

This dessert is simply amazing! It's so easy to make and requires just a few ingredients.  You do have to plan ahead as it takes time to set up.  This dessert consists of store bought strawberry ice cream, frozen store bought cheesecake, and a simple homemade sweet graham cracker crust.  Top it with a fresh strawberry sauce and it's done.

Strawberry Cheesecake:

1/2 gallon Blue Bell strawberry ice cream
1 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
6 T unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1 Sara Lee frozen cheesecake, partially thawed

Strawberry Sauce:

1 lb fresh strawberries, hulled and cut into pieces
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 T sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Set the ice cream and cheesecake out at room temperature for 30 minutes to soften.  Meanwhile, use a fork to mix together the graham cracker crumbs, butter, and 1/4 cup sugar in a bowl.  Press this mixture into a 9-inch springform pan along the bottom and halfway up the sides.  Use a glass or metal measuring cup to press and pack the mixture tight.

When the ice cream has softened, place in a large stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  Mix until soft and creamy, but not melted.

Remove the thawed cheesecake to a cutting board.  Cut into 1/2 inch cubes and add to softened ice cream.  Use a large spatula or spoon to gently fold cheesecake into the ice cream.  Pour mixture into graham cracker crust.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in freezer to set up.

Make the strawberry sauce by adding all ingredients to a small sauce pan.  Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.  Pour into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To serve, remove the sides of the springform pan and put the frozen cheesecake on a plate.  Cut into slices and top with strawberry sauce.  Enjoy!

Adapted from Tyler Florence
How to Boil Water

Monday, March 7, 2011

Homemade Oatmeal Cream Pies

I can't believe this is my 200th post!  Time flies when you're having fun!

Little Debbie oatmeal cream pies are my hubby's favorite after dinner treat.  As he sat here eating a red velvet sandwich cookie a couple of weeks ago, he suggested other filled cookies I could make that would be good.  He forgot to mention these oatmeal cream pies, but they were the first ones I thought of as he was talking. 

I was surprised how simple these were to make.  Sorry Little Debbie...I won't be buying your processed cookies ever again.  These are so much better!

Oatmeal Cookies:

1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup Old Fashioned Oats

Cream Filling:

1 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup + 4 T powdered sugar
3 tsp vanilla extract
7 1/2 oz jar marshmallow cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  This is an important step because you will let the cookies cool on the hot baking sheets.  If they are not lined with parchment paper, they will stick even on a non-stick baking sheet.

Sift together the dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

In a large stand mixer, cream the brown sugar, butter, egg and vanilla until smooth.  Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined.  Stir in the oats.

Use a tablespoon size scoop to form equal size dough balls.  Allow plenty of space for them to spread.  Bake for 7-9 minutes.  Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet.

You can make the cream filling while the cookies cool.  In a large stand mixer, cream the shortening, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth.  Add the marshmallow cream and mix until well combined.  Add mixture to a piping bag fitted with a large tip.

Turn half of the cookies over.  On the inside of the cookie, pipe the cream filling starting on the outside edge, and pipe in a circular pattern until you reach the middle.  Place another cookie on top and press slightly.  Repeat for all cookies.  Makes 10 oatmeal cream pies.  Enjoy!

Adapted from 

Friday, March 4, 2011

Sausage, Chicken and Shrimp Gumbo

To get us ready for the big NOLA and Mardi Gras, I made a big pot of Gumbo.  My favorite part is the sausage and Louisiana hot sauce.  I like it spicy, but my kids don't, so I always load up on the spice in my bowl.  And I learned that a cast iron skillet really does produce a wonderful and nutty dark roux.  I personally like a light brown roux, and my hubby likes a very dark roux.  I'm the cook, so I got my way this time! He will get his way when we get to New Orleans next week.


1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 T vegetable oil 
1 large green pepper, diced
1 white onion, diced
3 ribs celery, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp crushed dried thyme
1 tsp paprika
1 can diced tomatoes, with juice
6 cups chicken stock
1 lb Eckridge sausage, sliced
1 lb chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1 lb raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed
kosher salt
black pepper
Louisiana hot pepper sauce
white or brown rice, cooked per package instructions

In a cast iron skillet over medium low heat, stir together the vegetable oil and flour.  Cook, stirring often, until a nice brown color is achieved.  Set aside.

In a large stock pot over medium high heat, add 2 T vegetable oil, and saute the green peppers, onions, and celery for 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook another minute.  Add the spices, diced tomatoes, and chicken stock.  Carefully, add 1/2 cup of the roux and stir well.  Reserve the rest of the roux for thickening later. 

Add the sausage and chicken to the pot, and cook until the chicken is cooked through.  Add the raw shrimp and cook for another 5 minutes, or until shrimp is cooked through.  Add more roux to achieve desired thickness.  Taste and add salt and black pepper, as needed.  If you like it spicy, add some Louisiana hot pepper sauce. 

Serve over cooked rice and top with fresh chopped tomatoes and sliced green onions.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Pineapple Lime Sherbet

I have a new subscription to Cooking Light magazine.  I read it while I'm sitting in the carpool pick up line at school waiting for my kids.  I found so many new recipes I want to make, and this is one of them.  This recipe is adapted from the March 2011 Cooking Light issue.

The original recipe is simply called "Tropical Sherbet" because it uses 3 parts pineapple, 1 part papaya.  We don't care for papaya, so I just used all pineapple.  I also added lime zest.  This is a great tropical treat that will make you want to be at the beach listening to the ocean.


2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup water
4 cups fresh pineapple, cubed (1 whole)
3/4 cup coconut milk (found on Asian aisle)
1 T fresh lime juice
zest of lime (optional)
1 T light corn syrup

In a small sauce pan over medium heat, stir together the sugar and water until sugar completely dissolves.  Remove from heat and let cool.  This is a simple syrup.

Combine cooled simple syrup , pineapple, coconut milk, lime juice, lime zest, and light corn syrup in a blender, and process until smooth.

Note:  Original recipe says to strain the mixture over a fine sieve and discard solids.  I chose not to do that to have more texture.

Pour sherbet mixture into the freezer can of an ice cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.  Transfer to an air tight container, and freeze for 2 hours, or until firm.  It was also very good soft serve!  Enjoy!
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