Sunday, February 20, 2011


My daughter-in-law taught one of my boys to make his version of her wonderful gumbo. Then, my son moved away. I have tried to do my best imitation of her real Cajun Gumbo.

5 chicken thighs
1 lb. smoked sausage
1/2 to 1 lb. small cleaned, peeled shrimp
1 to 2 cups breaded okra, fried (My own touch!)
1 small onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, cleaned and chopped
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
2 tablespoons chicken "Better than Bullion" soup base
1+ teaspoon Tony Chachere Creole Seasoning
1/2 cup flour
1/4 + olive oil
sea salt to taste
Hot cooked rice

In a large pot, place the chicken thighs on to boil, fairly early in the day. (Or the day before serving.) Use about 2 quarts of water to start. Add the better than bullion chicken soup base, the tumeric, creole seasoning, and the sage. Cover.
Boil for an hour or more.
Saute the onion and celery in a small amount of oilve oil.
Add to the broth.
Turn off heat.
Remove chicken from broth.
Remove the skins from the thighs. Discard skin.
When the thighs are cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones. Discard bones.
Refrigerate meat.
Allow the broth to cool. I usually do this at room temperature for an hour or so, then in the refrigerator several more hours.
Skim as much fat from the broth as possible.
Once the fat is skimmed from the broth, return the chicken to the broth.
Reheat over low flame.
Add hot water as necessary to equal about 10 cups liquid.

Fry and drain your okra.
Add to the broth.

Prepare rice.

Slice the smoked sausage into fairly thin slices, 1/4" or so.
Saute until the sausage begins to brown.
Remove sausage from the frying pan with a slotted spoon .
Add the sausage to the broth.
Add the flour and 1/4 cup (more or less) olive oil to the frying pan.(You dont have to drain the sausage fat).
Add 1 teaspoon salt.
Make into a roux. Cook until very brown. (add more oil if necessary

Once the roux is dark brown and smooth, pour into the boiling broth.

Stir the roux into the broth.
Bring to a boil.

Allow to cook and thicken.

Five minutes before serving, add the cleaned, deveined shrimp to the boiling gumbo. Prepared crawfish may be added here, if desired.

Serve over rice.

Refrigerate leftovers.

Even better the next day!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Banana Bread

Today, I had a couple of very ripe bananas that needed to be used. Most of the time, one of the kids falls victim to Mom noticing the bananas are beyond anyone willingly consuming them, and is forced into making Banana Bread. Everyone LOVES the banana bread, just no one wants to make it.
The boys were outside helping their Dad fend off the neighbor kids and tilling up a garden plot, so I made it myself.

Banana Bread
1 cup Vanilla Sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (2 to 4 bananas)
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I use pecans)

Heat oven to 350*
Grease (inside!) bottom of a loaf pan.
Cream together sugar, butter, and vanilla.
Add eggs and water.
Blend thoroughly.
Combine dry ingredients, except nuts.
Add to mixture
Blend until just moistened.
Stir in nuts.
Pour into pan.
Bake 55 to 75 minutes, until wood pick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean.
Cool 10 minutes.
Loosen loaf from sides of pan. Remove from pan.
To make perfect slices, allow to cool completely before slicing.
(HAHAHAHA! Forget about cooling. Nothing is better than fresh hot banana bread slathered in butter!)

Friday, February 4, 2011


1 cup butter (no substitute), softened
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (not artificial vanilla flavoring)

Beat together until well creamed.

Add combined dry ingredients:
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt (I use sea salt)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon (ground) (I used a premium cinnamon from Pampered Chef)

Blend into the creamed mixture a little at a time.
Spread into a greased 9"x9"x2" baking dish.
Bake at 325* for 30- 35 minutes, until done.
Cut into squares.

May be frosted if desired.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Spaghetti and Bread Sticks/ Pizza Crust

How is this for a "Three fer" post?
Spaghetti Sauce
32- 48 oz. (total) canned tomato products. (I use crushed tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, and diced tomatoes)
6 to 12oz canned tomato paste (If you are making a small amount, the small can is fine, if making a larger amount, use the bigger can, or two of the small)
Ground hamburger meat
onion, chopped
garlic, minced
Italian seasoning blend

Brown hamburger with the chopped onions and garlic. Drain off the fat. Add the tomato products, as well as the seasonings. I LOVE basil, so usually add at least a tablespoon of basil and a little less of the Italian seasoning blend. More garlic and some onion powder, and a teaspoon or less of sugar and of salt.
Simmer. Serve over cooked pasta.

Bread Sticks/ Pizza Crust

2 1/2 (+) cups flour
1 packet or 1 teaspoon of dry active yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1teaspoon italian seasoning blend
1 teaspoon garlic granules
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon basil
1 cup very warm (nor boiling) water
2 tablespoons cooking oil (preferably olive oil)

Mix together the dry ingredients.
Add the warm water and oil. Knead until smooth, adding more flour if necessary.
Knead until smooth.
Allow to rest 10 minutes. (For bread sticks, allow to rest until doubled)
Punch down dough.
Add small amount of flour if necessary.
knead and shape.
Preheat oven to 375*

For breadsticks:  shape into rectangle on a heavily oiled baking sheet- preferably with sides.

Brush with garlic butter. (And Parmesan cheese, if desired!)
Cut into strips, without separating them.
Allow to rise until doubled.
Bake at 375* until done.

Pizza Crust

For pizza crust: After dough has rested 10 minutes, shape to fit your greased pan. Partially bake the crust for 7 minutes in preheated oven.
Top par-baked crust with seasoned tomato sauce ( I add basil, garlic, and italian seasoning blend directly to the can of tomato sauce and stir!) cheese, and toppings of your choice. Return to hot oven for 15 minutes, or until completely hot and crust is browned.