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Jumpin Jambalaya

Jumpin Jambalaya

Yesterday was a stormy grey day and we had a ton of errands to run. Jake and I headed out to get his Chinese money exchanged to dollars and buy the things he needed to settle back into living in the US. We got caught in a couple of major downpours and came home soaking wet and freezing cold. After changing into dry clothes Jake needed a nap to help combat jet lag and I started making dinner.

Jambalaya is one of my favorite foods and this recipe is pretty simple. Its perfect with some french bread and a salad with ranch dressing and a sprinkle of cajun seasonings.

Jumpin Jambalaya

2 pounds of shrimp, cooked, peeled, deveined and tail removed ( the  seafood counter at my grocery store has them, but they also have them frozen, either one works)

1 pound of smoked sausage chopped into bite size pieces. I like Zumos brand, but you can use any kielbasa or smoked link your grocery store has to offer.

1 large onion chopped

1 big poblano pepper deseeded and chopped

4 stalks of celery chopped

3 cups of okra chopped

3-4 roma tomatoes chopped

3 Tbs tomato paste

2 cups of uncooked rice ( I used brown rice)

4 cups of chicken broth

2 tsp cajun seasonings

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (use 1 tsp if you want it more spicy)

2 tsp paprika

2 Tbs hot sauce (I like Louisiana brand)

Cover the bottom of a large pot or dutch oven with olive oil and add the onion, poblano, celery and okra. Turn heat to med-high and stir to coat the oil on the vegetables. Cook until they are tender, but not brown. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste and the sausage, then add the rice and broth. Cover and turn heat down to med-low. Let it simmer for about 25-30 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Add in the shrimp, hot sauce and all the seasonings, stir to combine. Once it is heated all the way throughout serve with toasted french bread and a salad. Enjoy!

Happy Cooking!

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Chicken and Waffles

We moved into our house in April and the stuff we do not use on a daily basis I put in our awesome walk in attic space. I was trying to find something in the attic last week and I found our big Belgian waffle maker in the process, and I knew I needed to make some waffles. We are really not big breakfast eaters. I normally have some fresh juice or some greek yogurt and Cody skips breakfast all together, so our waffle iron goes unused for months at a time. While I was planning my weekly menu I remembered my waffle maker and decided I need to make a delicious savory waffle.

I have heard of Chicken and Waffles before, but I have never eaten it, so I thought I would make something like that. Cody likes the dark meat of the chicken so I bought some boneless/skinless thighs and he was pretty impressed. This recipe is really easy, even though it has a few steps to it. You can always take a short cut and use a waffle mix and just add the seasonings in the recipe.

Savory Chicken And Waffles

For the Waffles

2 cups All Purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1tsp salt

4 large eggs, separated

1 Tbs Garlic Powder

1 Tbs Italian Seasonings

1/2 tsp cracked black pepper

4 Tbs butter, melted

2 cups milk

1 cup of shredded cheese (I used an Italian blend)

non-stick cooking spray

Preheat your waffle Iron. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder together in a large mixing bowl. In a smaller bowl whisk the egg yolks with the italian seasoning, pepper and garlic powder, add the melted butter and milk and whisk to combine, add the cheese and stir. Mix the egg mixture with the flour mixture and stir to combine. With an electric mixture beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, gently fold the egg whites into the  batter and stir gently. Spray your waffle iron well and pour batter into iron and cook according to your waffle irons instructions.

For the Chicken:

6 boneless skinless chicken thighs or chicken breast, whichever you prefer

salt and pepper

olive oil

Cover the bottom of a skillet with olive oil and heat it over med-med high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Once the oil is hot put the chicken in the pan and cook only turning once. The outside will get a nice golden brown color.

For the Gravy:

3 Tbs of flour

2 cups of milk

1/2 tsp of salt

1/2 tsp crack black pepper

In the same pan the chicken was cooked in with the same oil whisk in the flour over medium heat and create a roux. If it is all crumbly add a bit more oil, stir until it starts to smell like pancakes and is getting a bit bubbly. Maybe 3-4 min. Whisk in the milk and keep whisking. Turn the heat to medium low and add the salt and pepper. Keep stirring until desired thickness is reached, the longer it cooks the thicker it gets. If it is not thickening you can whisk in some more flour a little at a time.

To serve

Top the Waffles with the Chicken and pour gravy on top. Serve with some green beans and fresh fruit salad. Enjoy!

Happy Cooking!


Aunt Sue's Pizza Crust

Aunt Sue’s Pizza Crust

Football season has finally arrived and from Texas Tech games on Saturday to Monday Night Football our meals are football friendlily. Pizza goes with watching football, and its one of Cody’s favorite meals. Whenever we order pizza I am amazed at how expensive it can be. Its at least $40.00 for the three of us and thats not including any extra dipping sauces or a side of hot wings.

I have an amazing Aunt Sue who is one of my major role models and she is a magnificent cook. She gave me a wonderful pizza crust recipe and taught me how to make the dough many years ago and its the best. This dough is fool proof, and super easy.

Aunt Sue’s Pizza Crust

1 package of yeast

1 cup of warm water (120 degrees)

1 tsp sugar

2 Tbs oil

1/4 tsp salt

2 1/2 cups flour

in a mixing bowl mix the sugar with the warm water and then sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow the yeast to “grow” for about 5 minutes, when they get all foamy looking they are ready. If your yeast has been in the refrigerator it might take a little longer. Add in the rest of the ingredients and beat it vigorously, you can even mix it in with your hands.

Cover the bowl with some plastic wrap and get all your pizza toppings out, grate some mozzarella cheese, and preheat your oven to 425.

Dust your pizza stone or baking pan with cornmeal and pat out your pizza crust. Cover with your favorite pizza sauce (I like to use leftover spicy marinara), layer on your toppings, your favorite cheeses and sprinkle some italian seasoning on top. Bake for 15-20 min or until crust is golden and cheese is bubbly.

This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled…I made 4 batches last night. Divide it up and freeze some for next time or make some cheesy garlic bread. Last night I braided three “snakes” of dough together and stuffed spices, cheese, melted butter and garlic between the braids and we had delicious pizza, cheesy bread and enjoyed some Monday Night Football. Enjoy!

Thank you Aunt Sue for this wonderful recipe, I want to be like you when I grow up.

Happy Cooking


Ragin' Cajun Dinner

Ragin’ Cajun Dinner

Cody is from South East Texas and he grew up eating a lot of cajun seafood and he absolutely loves it. He has been talking about how badly he wants to have a shrimp and crab boil, so I put a cajun dinner on our menu this week.

Our grocery store had very little crab and it was super expensive so I did shrimp, sausage and potatoes instead. It tasted wonderful and Cody was a happy man!

Ragin’ Cajun Boil

2 pounds of raw shrimp with the shell on

2 links of smoked sausage sliced into 2 inch sections

2 pounds of Marble Potatoes (the are little tiny and some are purple, red and yellow).

1bag of Louisiana brand of crab boil seasonings

Fill a BIG pot a little over half way full of water and pour in the bag of Louisiana crab boil. Cover the pot and bring to a boil, add the potatoes first and cover again. Once the potatoes are almost cooked add the shrimp and sausage and cover again. when the shrimp are floating and are pink they are cooked. Scoop everything out and put in a big serving dish. Serve with Cocktail sauce, Tarter sauce and fresh rolls. The purple potatoes are so fun and everyone gets excited to eat them. This is a super easy dinner and it taste wonderful. Enjoy!

Happy Cooking

Purple Potatoes

Purple Potatoes


Mexican Cornbread

Mexican Fiesta Cornbread

When Cody and I first started dating I made him my stuffed pork tenderloin and he was so impressed he said he wanted to cook a special meal for me, his Mexican Cornbread. I was super excited, because I absolutely love cornbread and having such a cute guy cook me dinner is always a treat.

I was sitting in the windowsill watching him cook and really trying not to put in my two cents worth…even though it looked like it was going to be a disaster. He had cornbread mix, cheese, meat and seasonings all over the kitchen and the batter was to the brim of the baking dish before he put it in the oven. While it was in the oven we could hear the hiss of food falling onto the the heating coils and smell the scorching morsels. When the timer went off Cody opened the oven and took out the cornbread is was burned on the sides and a gooy mess in the middle. I was taught to never turn my nose up at food someone had taken the time to make, so I said “Oh it will be yummy” and I cut us each a piece from the least burned side. I assured him that it was not “that bad” and I would perfect his recipe (starting with a proper sized baking dish) and it would be wonderful. Shortly after that dinner this recipe was created and we enjoyed it many more times.

Mexican Fiesta Cornbread

2 cups of All-purpose flour

2 cups of yellow cornmeal

2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup sugar

5 eggs beaten

2 cups of milk

1/2 cup of melted butter

1 pound of hamburger meat

1 white onion

2-3 chopped jalapeños (depends on how much heat you want)

1 can of diced tomatoes with green chilies

1 cup of shredded cheese

1/4 cup of vegetable oil

Preheat your oven to 400 and get out your cast iron skillet (12 inches or bigger). In a separate pan cook the meat with the onion and jalapeños, once its cooked remove from heat and stir in the can of tomatoes.

Whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and sugar together. Add in the eggs, milk and butter and stir until its all incorporated. Stir in the meat mixture and the cheese.

Pour the 1/4 cup of oil in the bottom of the cast iron skillet and make sure is covered and there is plenty to come up the sides when you pour the batter in. Pour the cornbread mixture into the skillet and bake in the oven for about an hour. When a butter knife inserted into the center comes out clean its ready.

Serve with chips and salsa and a salad. Enjoy!

Happy Cooking!

Fiesta Cornbread

Fiesta Cornbread


Banana Bread

Banana Bread

This morning a bunch of black mushy bananas greeted me in the kitchen and since it is September 1st and fall is right around the corner I felt like it was banana bread time. I always buy a bunch of bananas every time I go to the grocery store, because they always look so pretty and delicious. I rarely eat bananas though so they always turn black and no longer look appetizing. Growing up, wasting food was basically the unpardonable sin so I have dutifully froze all the old mushy bananas and use them in smoothies. Instead of getting out a large freezer bag, I preheated my oven and made a delicious batch of banana bread and pretended it was a cool fall day.

Banana Bread Recipe

4 old mushy bananas smashed

1/3 cup melted butter

3/4 cup of sugar

1 beaten egg

1 Tbs vanilla

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp of ground nutmeg

1 1/2 cup flour

Preheat oven to 350. In a mixing bowl smash the bananas with a wooden spoon and then add all the wet ingredients and mix well. Add in the seasonings and then the flour. stir well. Spray a 4×8 loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and pour the batter in. Bake for 50 min-1hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 20 min and then dump out and enjoy a warm slice topped with some butter. I doubled the recipe because I had so many bananas, feel free to double or even triple the recipe!

Happy Cooking