CHICKEN & SAUSAGE GUMBO sans OKRA

I am NOT a fan of Okra. In fact, I absolutely HATE, HATE, HATE OKRA!!!!!!! So, this version of gumbo has NO okra in it!! The thickening is done with a toasted flour roux instead.  Gumbo is usually served with dirty rice in many places, but hubby really likes it over a creamy mashed potato.

This is a labor intensive recipe with chopping so many times I prep the day before. While I’m chopping, I toast the flour so it has plenty of time to cool. If storing overnight, be sure to store the flour in an airtight container.

I also use a ladle as well as a slotted spoon to serve so everyone can have as much or as little gravy as they like. 😀

CHICKEN & SAUSAGE GUMBO sans OKRA

1 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 each red, orange and yellow mini pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 tablespoon FRESHLY minced thyme
3-4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
2 bay leaves
4 cups chicken broth
4 slices bacon, cut into thin strips
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat and cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 pound Andouille sausage, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 tablespoon vinegar
Prepared rice or mashed potatoes
Frank’s original hot sauce

  • Heat oven to 425°.
  • Place flour in an oven safe skillet and bake, stirring frequently, 40-55 minutes until the color of cinnamon and has a nutty fragrance.
  • Transfer flour to a bowl and allow to cool.
  • Heat oil in dutch oven over medium heat until it shimmers.
  • Add bacon and cook until bacon is rendered and beginning to crisp up.
  • Add onions, bell peppers and celery, cooking 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently until softened.
  • Stir in thyme, garlic, paprika, bay leaves, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper, stirring until fragrant.
  • Stir in 2 cups of broth.
  • Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 30 minutes.
  • Whisk together the melted butter with the remaining broth.
  • Slowly and gradually whisk the flour into the broth mixture until a smooth batter like paste is formed.
  • Increase heat to medium high.
  • SLOWLY whisk the paste into gumbo making sure each addition is COMPLETELY incorporated before adding more.
  • Stir in chicken pieces.
  • Simmer uncovered 25 minutes.
  • Discard bay leaves if using.
  • Stir sausage pieces and green onions into gumbo and slowly simmer 5 minutes to heat through.
  • Remove pot from heat and stir in vinegar.
  • Adjust seasonings.
  • Serve over rice with hot sauce.

NOTES:

  • When toasting the flour, obtaining the “cinnamon” color is key to the flavor.
  • I like to use cheesecloth seasoning bags for the bay leaves to make them easier to fish out at the end.  Bay leaves can also be eliminated with a thyme and oregano combination.  For each bay leaf substitute 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano and 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme.
  • Most recipes call for green pepper, but green pepper and I are NOT on speaking terms so I substitute mini peppers, one in each color, orange, red and yellow.

CREAMY CHILI CHICKEN

CREAMY CHILI CHICKEN ala SLOW COOKER or STOVE TOP

Avocado oil
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 cup all purpose flour for dredging
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1 large shallot, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup chili sauce
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon cornstarch

STOVE TOP

  • Heat avocado oil over medium-high heat in a heavy or cast iron skillet.
  • Dredge in flour and generously season chicken pieces.
  • Add chicken pieces to pan searing 4-5 minutes until crisp.  Flip and sear second side.
  • Transfer chicken pieces to platter and keep warm.
  • Add shallot pieces and garlic to pan, sautéing 2-3 minutes.
  • Add wine and cook until almost evaporated, 5 minutes or so.
  • Add broth, chili sauce and bring to a simmer.
  • Whisk together the heavy cream and cornstarch.
  • Cook 5 minutes until thickened.
  • Adjust seasoning and and serve over chicken and a side of mashed potatoes, rice or prepared noodles.

SLOW COOKER

  • Heat avocado oil over medium-high heat in a heavy or cast iron skillet.
  • Generously season chicken pieces.
  • Add chicken pieces searing 4-5 minutes until crisp.
  • Transfer chicken pieces to slow cooker.
  • Add shallot pieces and garlic to pan, sautéing 2-3 minutes.
  • Add wine and cook until almost evaporated, 5 minutes or so.
  • Add broth, half of chili sauce and bring to a simmer.
  • Pour around chicken in slow cooker.
  • Cook on low 4-6 hours.
  • Transfer chicken to platter and tent to keep warm.
  • Turn slow cooker to high.
  • Whisk together the remaining chili sauce, heavy cream and cornstarch.
  • Add to slow cooker and cook 15-30 minutes until thickened.
  • Adjust seasoning and and serve over chicken and a side of mashed potatoes, rice or prepared noodles.

HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY week 29 of 2019

Be sure to join us and link up with
Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy homemaker Monday

and with Laura at I’m an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

GOOD MORNING sweet friends.  I’m still playing catch up after our trip, but I’ll get there this week.  We had a good trip and it was informative in the way that it ruled out several places and routes for us for.  I took yesterday to do not much at all other than catch up with my friend and munchkins, prep parts of today’s dinner which is labor intensive, made a Pennsylvania Dutch Apple pie, dishes, vacuumed, organized, laundry… oops I guess I didn’t take yesterday off after all!

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE & WHAT I’M WEARING It’s been a tad warm in the afternoons, but with a slight breeze so not really too bad at all… for summer… 😀 This morning’s uniform is cutoffs and a soft t-shirt

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE hot water and yogurt

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE, WEEKLY TO DO LIST, HOUSE & CRAFT PROJECTS, APPOINTMENTS

  • LAUNDRY, LIVING AREAS & KITCHEN… done and clean
  • APPOINTMENTS & TO DO… just a couple
  • BLOG… still working on some updates and new recipes
  • CRAFTS/PROJECTS… ?? maybe depends on some other activities this week

WHAT IS ON THE DVR, I LIKE OR ON THE LIST TO WATCH/SOMETHING INTERESTING I WATCHED all caught up and DVR empty – summer makes TV watching just plain weird

I’M READING same book as last week – just came seem to stay awake long enough to get more than a paragraph or two read which kind of sucks since I am enjoying the book.

Love Among Lavender The Merriams #2 by Ava Miles

FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA We’re back and I haven’t yet sorted pictures, but I love this one of Multnomah Falls.  I wish I knew the people in the bottom of this picture, but they gave it context either way 😀

INSPIRATION & A FUNNY

I laughed at this much… Just thought I’d share!

HEALTH & BEAUTY TIPS

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK
MONDAY – CREAMY CHILI CHICKEN & BRAISED GREEN BEANS with POTATOES
TUESDAY – ORANGE PEANUT CHICKEN APPLE SALAD
WEDNESDAY – C.O.R.N.
THURSDAY – CHICKEN ANDOUILLE GUMBO
FRIDAY – MANDARIN CHICKEN BROCCOLI SALAD
SATURDAY – PORK TENDERLOINS & ??
SUNDAY – CHICKEN & WINE SAUCE with ROASTED SALT & VINEGAR POTATOES 

SUCCESSFUL RECIPE LINKS FROM LAST WEEK

FEATURED PARTY LINKS FOR THIS WEEK

RICOTTA MEATBALLS & GRAVY

A really flavorful and nice addition to this recipe is a batch of shallots or onions caramelized with mushrooms added to the gravy after the meatballs bake! YUMMY!

RICOTTA MEATBALLS

4 slices white bread, torn into small pieces
1/3 cup whole milk
2 pounds ground chuck
8 ounces deli ham, finely chopped
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
3 ounces FINELY grated pecorino Romano cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion, squeezed dry of moisture
2 teaspoons – 1 tablespoon FRESH ground sea salt
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon chopped fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon FRESH ground black pepper
4 LARGE eggs
2 tablespoons avocado oil
1 batch beef gravy (recipe below)

  • Preheat oven to 450°.
  • Place bread pieces in bowl and pour in milk. Using your hands press bread into milk and let stand 5 minutes.

 

  • In a large bowl arrange meat with a well in the center.
  • Add the ham pieces, onions, ricotta cheese, romano cheese, ham pieces, eggs, fennel, bread pieces, salt, oregano and pepper to the well.
  • Gently and gradually incorporate all together without overtaxing.

 

  • Spray baking dish with non-stick spray or brush with avocado oil.
  • Pour gravy into baking dish.
  • Form meat into 1 inch meatballs and arrange in the gravy 1 inch apart, turning to coat.
  • Bake 30 minutes until meatballs are golden brown and are cooked through.

BEEF GRAVY

1⁄4 cup butter
1⁄4 cup flour
1 tablespoon Better Than Beef Bouillon
2 cups beef broth
FRESH ground salt and black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon Kitchen Bouquet (optional)

  • Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add flour and whisk together, making sure to get all visible lumps.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until mixture starts to turn light brown, be sure to stir constantly.
  • Whisk bouillon and beef broth together.
  • Reduce heat to low and SLOWLY add broth mixture, stirring constantly. It may spit & bubble so be careful.
  • Add optional Kitchen Bouquet.
  • Turn heat back up to medium.
  • Continue stirring until gravy boils and thickens.
  • Makes about 2 cups.

AVOCADO RANCH SALAD DRESSING with HOMEMADE CASHEW CREAM

9 times out of 10 I make our salad dressings from scratch. The basic base formula for non-cream dressings is one part acid, such as citric juice from lemon, lime, orange or a vinegar like apple cider, champagne or balsamic to 2 parts oil, olive, walnut or avocado plus seasonings of choice. Then there are dressings that need seriously dressed up with flavor like this one!  This makes a creamy thick dressing full of flavor that coats everything!

AVOCADO RANCH SALAD DRESSING – makes 1 1/2 cups

1 cup cashew cream (mayo works too)
1 avocado
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
Juice of 1 LARGE lemon
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon FRESH chopped dill
1 tablespoon FRESH chopped chives
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
PINCH smoked paprika

  • Whisk all together well.
  • Chill well.

CASHEW CREAM makes 2 cups
1 1/2 cups raw unsalted cashews
3/4 cup filtered water, plus more for soaking
juice of 1 LARGE lemon
1/2 – 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • Place the cashews in a bowl and fill with filtered water at least an inch above the cashews.
  • Allow the cashews to soak for 30 minutes or up to overnight.
  • Drain and rinse the cashews well.
  • Place the cashews, filtered water, lemon juice, and salt in a high powered blender or food processor.
  • Blend until desired consistency.

NOTES: Your cashew cream will last in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and can be frozen for up to 6 months. If you choose to freeze it be sure to run it through the blender really quick after you defrost it to eliminate any lumps.

ASIAN SESAME VINAIGRETTE

ASIAN SESAME VINAIGRETTE

1/3 cup avocado oil
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
2 teaspoons QUALITY honey
1 teaspoon creamy horseradish
1 clove garlic, minced
FRESH ground sea salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper, to taste

  • Combine in a dressing cruet and shake vigorously.
  • Chill at least one hour before serving.
  • Shake before serving.

PORK TENDERLOIN with BOURBON PEACH SAUCE with PARSLEY SLAW

PORK TENDERLOIN with BOURBON PEACH SAUCE with PARSLEY SLAW

TENDERLOIN
1 pound pork tenderloin
2 tablespoons avocado oil
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
2 cups sliced peaches
2 tablespoons QUALITY bourbon
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon QUALITY honey
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • Heat oil over medium high heat.
  • Generously season the pork tenderloin.
  • Add pork to skillet and sear on all sides until completely browned and cooked to 140°, about 5-6 minutes per side.
  • Transfer to a plate and keep warm.
  • Add peaches to pan, stirring 2-3 minutes to cook through.
  • Whisk together the bourbon, vinegar, dijon and honey. Add to peaches, stirring 5minutes until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and stir in butter.
  • Plate pork and top with peach sauce.
  • Add a generous side of slaw and enjoy!

PARSLEY BROCCOLI SLAW
3 cups broccoli sticks bag mix
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped FRESH thyme
1/3 cup toasted almond slices
1 tablespoon avocado oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Quality honey

  • Toss together the cabbage, parsley, thyme and almonds.
  • Whisk together the oil, vinegar and honey.
  • Drizzle dressing over slaw mixture and toss well.

FLOATING FRUIT CAKE – PEACH

This is a super fun recipe in that the batter and fruit actually trade places during the baking process ending with a crunchy biscuit topping over sweet, juicy fruit.   My favorite flavor is peach, but it works just as well with cherries, blackberries, blueberries, apples or ANY fruit combo you can think of!

PEACH COBBLER

FILLING
8 cups about 10 peaches peeled and sliced OR 32 ounces of sliced frozen peaches, thawed
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon QUALITY cinnamon

In a large mixing bowl toss peaches with 2 and cinnamon and set aside.

TOPPING
12 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup + 2 tablespoons milk
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

  • Preheat oven to 300°.
  • Spray 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  • In another large mixing bowl whisk together the butter, flour, 2 cups sugar, baking powder, salt and milk.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan.
  • Layer evenly with peach slices.
  • Bake for 1 hour or until browned and bubbly.

NOTE: You can use other fruits, but omit the cinnamon if using berries such as blueberries, blackberries or raspberries.

CUCUMBER SALAD

CUCUMBER SALAD

1 LARGE English cucumber, peeled and chopped to 2 cups
1/2 cup chopped seeded Roma tomatoes, about 2 large tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped FRESH Italian flat leaf parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped FRESH cilantro
4 red mini peppers, about 1/3 cup chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup sour cream
Juice of 1 LARGE lemon
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • In a Salad bowl toss together the cucumber, tomatoes, red onion and peppers.
  • Whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice, salt and pepper until smooth.
  • Add parsley and cilantro.
  • Pour over cucumber mixture and gently toss.

HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY week 28 of 2019

Be sure to join us.  You can link up with
Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy homemaker Monday

and with Laura at I’m an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

GOOD MORNING sweet ladies.  I hope you had a wonderful week and enjoyed your Independence day celebrations!  Ours was a quiet 4th.  I helped a friend paint her new house and hubby pulled his back so spent it on the heating pad! 

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE & WHAT I’M WEARING We’re still trying to narrow down “where” we are going to settle for good and are taking a small trip this week to immerse ourselves into one of the areas we are considering.  And by immerse I mean walk the streets and neighborhoods, talk to the local people and get a true feel for the area.  The weather was predicted to be MUCH warmer when I first started watching it, but a “cool” front has evidently moved in and dropped the temps by 10 degrees!  We’re going to be LOVING it!

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE hot water and cheerios

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE, WEEKLY TO DO LIST, HOUSE & CRAFT PROJECTS, APPOINTMENTS

  • LAUNDRY, LIVING AREAS & KITCHEN… pretty tidy and caught up until we get back Friday
  • YARD…  hubby had to sideline the gate repair with his back and will hopefully get it finished today and if not after we get back Friday
  • APPOINTMENTS & TO DO… nothing but research this week
  • BLOG… there are a few recipes set to post this week, but I need to get caught up on translations 😀
  • CRAFTS/PROJECTS… I was hoping to get some of the garland done this past week, but it will wait until next week 😀

WHAT IS ON THE DVR, I LIKE OR ON THE LIST TO WATCH in NO particular order

  • The Good Witch
  • The Great American Food Truck Race
  • Guy’s Grocery Games
  • Beat Bobby Flay
  • Reef Break
  • Elementary
  • MasterChef

I’M READING Love Among Lavender The Merriams #2 by Ava Miles

FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA I spent the 4th of July helping my friend paint her upstairs in preparation for the carpet installation today.  We got A LOT done!  Her mom and the youngest munchkin made us a foursome for the day until the middle munchkin got home from a sleepover and joined the fun.  My favorite photo was of the munchkins helping paint their brother’s bedroom.  Just look at those smiles – I can NEVER resist them!

INSPIRATION & A FUNNY

HEALTH & BEAUTY TIPS

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK
MONDAY – RICOTTA MEATBALLS with SALAD & AVOCADO RANCH DRESSING
TUESDAY – OUT
WEDNESDAY – OUT
THURSDAY – OUT
FRIDAY – OUT
SATURDAY – ??
SUNDAY – CREAMY CHILI CHICKEN & SALAD

SUCCESSFUL RECIPE LINKS FROM LAST WEEK

CHURCH SUPPER RING

I wish I had taken a picture of the “WHOLE” ring, but never even thought about it for some reason. It does make an impressive looking presentation for a church potluck or even impromptu company. The best part is that any leftover filling makes a GREAT cold chicken salad!  Fill a pita and eat on the run 😀
CHURCH SUPPER RING serves 8-12

2 – 8 ounce tubes Pillsbury crescent rolls
3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Heinz Chili sauce
1/2 cup chopped mini peppers
1 small bunch green onions, chopped
6 strips bacon, chopped, cooked and crumbled crisp
1 package Good Season’s Italian Salad dressing

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Spray 14 inch pizza pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Unroll crescent dough into 16 triangles.
    place the wide end of the triangle 3 inches from the edge of the pan with the point overhanging the edge of the pan. Repeat overlapping the corners and lightly pressing to secure edges until all pieces are used.
  • In a mixing bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, chili sauce and Italian seasoning mix until well blended.
  • Fold in chicken, cheese, onions, bacon pieces and peppers until mixed well.
  • Spoon chicken mixtures over the wide edges of the dough.
  • Fold tip up over chicken mixture and tuck under the edge pressing lightly to secure the dough.
  • Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
  • Cut into slices.

HAM STEAK with RED EYE GRAVY

HAM STEAK with RED EYE GRAVY

1 1/4 pound bone-in ham steak
2 slices bacon, chopped small
2 tablespoons finely chopped onions
1 teaspoon Wondra flour
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon maple syrup
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chilled VERY cold
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder

  • Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium high heat until well rendered and crispy.
  • Pat ham steaks dry and season well.
  • Add to hot grease and brown well, about 4 minutes.
  • Flip and sear the second side about 2 minutes.
  • Remove ham pieces to a platter and tent with foil while you prepare the gravy.
  • Add onion to skillet and sauce a minute or so.
  • Add flour and whisk to combine 15-30 seconds.
  • Whisk in broth and maple syrup. Bring to a simmer and cook until reduced and slightly thickened, 5-6 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and whisk in espresso powder and COLD butter.
  • Season to taste.
  • Pour off any residual ham juices on serving platter.
  • Top with gravy and serve immediately.

NOTE:  The main use of the bacon is to create the grease to cook the ham and gravy in so chopping extra small I find works really well in order to not need to find another use for the bacon pieces. I just leave them in the gravy 😀