Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Chicken Etouffee and Bumbleee Stew

Happy Mardi Gras!  What better way than to celebrate with some delicious cajun food.  The chicken etouffee recipe is from Emeril Lagasse, and it has lots of spice and awesome flavors.  The bumblebee stew is on the sweeter side and together, they balance perfectly.

While the etouffe looks like it has a lot of ingredients, it's really not hard.  If you can make a roux, you can make this!  Basically, throw everything in, and let it just get more delicious the longer it simmers.

Serves 6, easily

1 4 lb chicken cut into 8 pieces
Cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup flour
1 cup finely diced onion
2 bay leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bottle dark lager or amber beer
1 quart cold chicken stock
1 can minced tomatoes
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/4 cup hot sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Season the chicken pieces with salt and cayenne pepper.  Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat and sear chicken on both sides until it is golden brown.  Remove to a platter and reserve.

Add butter to pan and when melted, add flour and stir to combine well.  Continue to cook roux, stirring constantly, until chocolate brown, about 12-15 minutes.  (It is helpful to use a whisk until the roux is complete and until the liquids have been thoroughly mixed in.)

Immediately add onion and bay leaves and cook until soft, 2-3 minutes.  Add garlic and cook another 2 minutes, then add the beer and stir well to loosen any browned bits from the bottom.  Add the stock, brown sugar, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, tomatoes and stir to combine.  Bring to a boil, return chicken pieces to the pot and simmer for 1 hour and 15 minutes until the chicken is very tender.  

Remove chicken pieces to a platter and when cool enough to handle, remove the chicken meat from the bones.  Return the chicken meat to etouffee and continue to cook another 30 minutes until sauce is thickened and flavorful and chicken is beginning to fall apart.  Add chopped parsley and stir to combine.  Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary, and serve immediately over rice.

Bumblebee Stew
Serves 6, easily


1 large yellow onion, diced
1 stick butter
1/2 - 1 package frozen corn, I like Trader Joe's roasted sweet corn
2 cans black beans
1-2 can diced tomatoes


Saute the diced onion in the butter.  Add remaining ingredients.  Heat until it simmers; you are done. Serve alongside the chicken etouffee on top of the rice.  Garlic bread is also a nice addition!

Happy Mardi Gras!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Banana Bread with Nutty Streusel

Oh, I love a good streusel; don't you? Today's recipe is from my Miette cookbook.  If you aren't familiar with Miette, you should be.  It is a most fantastic bakery in San Francisco, and her recipes are wonderful.  Her cake creations are beautiful, and pastries are delightful.  Here are some pictures:

Now on to the really good stuff.  The best part of the bread is the streusel on top.  Because that part is so tasty, I double it, and I also substitute walnuts in place of pecans, but you can do what you like!  The bread is moist and chocked full of walnuts, so it has a great texture.  Here's how you can make your own.

Banana Bread with Nutty Streusel
Adapted From Miette
Makes 2 loaves


(amounts listed are doubled from original)
1 cup walnut pieces
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup flour
4 tablespoons cold butter
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/8 teaspoon kosher salt

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 medium soft, but not black, bananas, peeled and roughly mashed
1/2 cup walnut pieces


Liberally butter two 8x4 inch loaf pans and dust with flour.  Tap out excess.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
To make the streusel, add all ingredients.  Blend together with your hand or pastry blender until all ingredients are combined.  Place in the fridge until you are ready to use.  Can be made up to five days in advance.
To make the banana bread, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl and set aside.  In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, and vanilla until well combined and lightened in color, 4-5 minutes.  Reduce the speed to low and drizzle in the oil, whisking just until combined.  Add the banana mash and whisk.  Add the dry ingredients and walnuts to the batter in three additions, whisking until combined.  Do not overmix.
Divide the batter between the prepared pans.  Sprinkle the tops with the streusel, dividing it evenly.  Bake until the breads have risen nicely and the tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. about 45-50 minutes.  Transfer to wire racks and let cool in the pans for 20 minutes.  Run an offset spatula around the edges of the pan, then invert the cakes onto the racks and let cool 20 minutes longer.  Serve right away or refrigerate until you are ready to serve.  To freeze, wrap tightly in a second layer of plastic and store in the freezer for up to two months.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Kathy's Cinnamon Muffins

Hello Friends!

If you follow my blog, I'm sorry for my hiatus.  I've been super busy these past few months, but I'm back with some fantastic recipes to share with you.  Today's recipe is my mother-in-law's, and every time I make it multiple people ask me for the recipe.  In fact, one of my co-workers asks me to make him some every day that I see him.  I am making him some tomorrow, and hence, here is the recipe. :)

Kathy's Cinnamon Muffins


2/3 cup brown sugar
4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup - 1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 package yellow cake mix; I always use Pillsbury
1 3.4 oz package vanilla instant pudding
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup water
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 24 cupcake wells with liners.  In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, the cinnamon and the walnuts.  In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, pudding, oil, water, eggs and vanilla.  Fill the cupcake wells with half of the batter (a little under half way up the well.) Add the brown sugar - cinnamon mixture to the cupcake wells until the muffin mix is covered.  Add the second half of the batter on top of the brown sugar.  If you have any left over brown sugar, you can sprinkle a little more on top.

Bake for about 19 minutes, but be sure to check them as everyone's oven is different.  Allow the muffins to cool and then make your glaze mixture.  Drizzle the glaze on top, and then you're done!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Cranberry Apple Crisp

In a recent post, I mentioned that I had gone to an apple orchard.  I wanted to share some of the recipes that I used because I had 13 pounds of apples to go through!  One of my favorite apple recipes was an apple crisp that I made from my Cuisine at Home magazine.  It was super easy and the streusel on top just set it over the edge of goodness!  

Here's the recipe:

Apple Crisp
Adapted from Cuisine at Home
Issue No. 95


For the Streusel:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 sticks cold butter, diced
3/4 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup chopped pecans

3/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup cider or brandy
4 lbs Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  For the streusel, whisk together flour, sugar, brown sugar, and salt.  Cut butter into flour mixture with a pastry blender until thoroughly combined.  Mix oats and pecans into flour mixture; cover and refrigerate.

For the filling, soak cranberries in brandy or cider for 20 minutes, until plumped, 20 minutes.  Drain and save liquid for another use.  Toss together apples, cranberries, brown sugar, lemon juice, 2 Tbsp flour, cinnamon and salt in a bowl.  Transfer to a 9x13 inch baking dish.  Cover apples with streusel and bake until apples are tender, about 50 minutes.  Let apple crisp rest on a cooling rack 30 minutes before serving.

I'm pretty sure you will enjoy this as much as I did.  Just add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and you'll be set!  Happy Fall!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Week Six

I'm back today with another week of recipes for you to try out.  I'm a week behind, so here's what we had last week.  I find this week's food to be particularly tasty, and I've had them all before, so I know that they taste good.

Monday: Guinness Roast Beef 

  • Okay, this was A-mazing!  And it was a splurge, but who cares because it tasted so good.
  • I had the onions, garlic, spices, and corn starch.
  • I bought a chuck roast ($9), beef broth ($2), 2 bottles of Guinness ($4), 4 carrots ($1), and a head of cabbage ($1.50).

The total was $17.50, but I had leftovers and I reused the meat for another day.

Tuesday: Cajun Fettucini Alfredo (I will post this recipe soon)

  • For this recipe, I had the alfredo sauce and the spices. - (I froze this a month or two ago, and when it defrosted, I just added some more cream and some more parmesan cheese to even out the consistency.)  It tasted totally fine - I was leery to freeze that type of thing, but it worked!
  • I bought the chicken ($12) and the fettucini ($2).

This recipe cost $14, and I had enough for lunch the next day.  For the spices, I used Penzey's spices red and black spices.

Wednesday: White Chicken Chili

  • For this recipe, I had all of the spices, the onion, the garlic, the olive oil, dried beans, the chicken from last night and 4 cups of chicken broth.
  • I purchased the parsley ($2) and another container of chicken broth. ($2)

My total for this meal was $4, and I froze two more containers of it.  That will be two more dinners for us, and 3 lunches for me!

Thursday: Open Faced Roast Beef Sandwiches

  • For this, I had the roast, the gravy, the bread, and I simply bought the potatoes to make mashed potatoes ($2).  

The total is $2 for the dinner, and we definitely had enough for a lunch too!
And, this recipe is pretty self-explanatory.  Toast bread, add roast, put mashed potatoes on the side, drown the whole thing in gravy... you're set.

Friday: Butternut Squash stuffed Shells with Brown Butter Sauce

  • For tonight's dinner, I had the ricotta cheese, the pasta shells, garlic, parmesan cheese and the butter.
  • I bought butternut squash ($2), a container of spinach ($2), and the sage ($2).

This meal cost $6, and we had way too much of it.  It was good on day one, so make a half portion because this is the dinner that never ends.

Saturday: Waffles with strawberries and whipped cream

  • I had everything for this recipe (flour, milk, eggs, cinnamon, rice krispy cereal, vanilla, vegetable oil, baking powder, salt and heavy cream) except for the strawberries ($2).
  • I use the heavy cream to make fresh whipped cream, I cut up the strawberries, and the secret weapon is Trader Joe's sugar-coffee grinder.  Grind some on top of your waffles, and you will not be disappointed!

Dinner = $2.

Sunday: Stuffed Shells Again for free!

The meals this week cost $45.40  I'm pretty impressed with this one if I don't say so myself. :)
Have a great week!

All pictures are from Pinterest.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Candy Bar Cookies

The other day, the hubby and I went a restaurant called Room Four here in Indy.  It was pretty tasty, but the best thing that we had there was the candy bar cookies served with cocoa laced whipped cream.  I was skeptical at first (I don't know why), but after the first bite, I was sold!  So when it was time for me to make a batch of cookies, I decided to try my own.  Granted these are not quite as good as the Room Four candy bar cookies, but they are extremely tasty in their own right.

Here's how you can make your own:

Candy Bar Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from The Picky Palate

2 sticks softened butter
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 bag of chocolate chips
3/4 bag of heath bits
1 bag of mini snickers - you know.... the smallest size possible

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  In the stand of a mixing bowl, mix the butter and sugars until light.  Then, mix in the vanilla and eggs.
In a medium sized bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt.  Gradually add the flour mixture into the butter, and finally add the chocolate chips and heath bits.
Using a 1/4 cup scoop, take the dough, make a dent, insert a snickers bar, and wrap the dough around the candy bar.  Pinch off any extra dough that's unneeded to cover up the dough.  You should end up with a cookie that looks about the size of a golf ball.  I put twelve of these on a cookie pan, and froze the rest.  I think I ended up with about 36 cookies in all.
Bake the cookies for 9-14 minutes... mine took about 10.

I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Veggie Lasagna

I've always found a veggie lasagna to be a tricky thing.  I love lasagna, but I'm not so much a fan of egg plant or chunky tomatoes, and so many veggie lasagnas have that sort of thing.  I do love vegetables though, so I came up with my own variation.

I took an inventory of what I had: spinach, sweet potato, carrots and onion.  They all sounded good to me, so I threw all of it in a pan with a bit of olive oil to soften the mixture, and then I just assembled the lasagna as normal.  It was so good, and the best part of this recipe is that you can substitute whatever you want and add or subtract so easily.  Best of all, it was cheesy and it made a lot, so I was able to freeze it for a lazy day.

Here's what you need:

Veggie Lasagna
Easily Feeds 8-10

1 bag fresh spinach
2 carrots - peeled and shredded
1 large sweet potato - peeled and shredded
1 onion - finely chopped
3 garlic cloves - minced (originally I used garlic scapes, but those are really seasonal and found at farmer's markets.  If you're lucky enough to get some, you should totally add them!)
2 cans of tomato sauce
1/2 box or so of no boil lasagna noodles
1 bag of mozzarella cheese
1 bag of sliced provolone cheese
16 oz. ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
handful of fresh basil - sliced
1 egg
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil


After your vegetables are prepped and ready to go, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large sauce pan.  Allow it to heat for a minute or so, then add onions, carrots and sweet potato.  Saute on medium heat for 4-5 minutes, then add garlic.  Saute another 2 minutes and finally add spinach until it is just beginning to wilt.  Remove from heat.

For your cheese mixture, add ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, 1 egg, oregano, basil, and salt and pepper to a medium sized bowl.  Mix until the ingredients come together.

Finally, to assemble, grease a 9x13" baking dish.  Pour enough sauce in the bottom to evenly cover up the bottom of the pan.  Set 3-4 lasagna noodles on the bottom - don't be afraid to break the sheets in half to get all the spots covered up!  Add more sauce to cover the noodles.  Add half of your vegetables, then add half of the ricotta mixture.  Make sure both are spread evenly across the noodles.  Sprinkle a little under half of the mozzarella on top, and give it another splash of sauce.

Repeat another layer beginning with the noodles and ending with the splash of the sauce.  Finally, top with one last layer of noodles.  You should have about half a jar of sauce left by this point, so go ahead and pour the rest on.  End by adding the slices of provolone cheese and fill in the "cheese gaps" by using the remainder of the mozzarella cheese.

Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes... make sure to check the directions on the noodle box since each brand may be different.  Once it's bubbly, you can turn on the broiler for a minute or so to make the top nice and golden brown.

Serve this with a nice salad, and you're all set for a tasty dinner!  I hope you enjoy it!