Sunday, January 8, 2012

Two pot pasta meal.

What started out as quick pasta night quickly turned into me rushing to the store for more Mushrooms, as the ones in the fridge were slimy. :(

Oh well, glad I have my mushrooms!  I also get to use my new pan (again) to make more of a pasta casserole!  I kinda made this recipe up as I went.

1 sweet onion chopped
1 lb hamburger
8oz sliced mushrooms
1 box pasta (your choice)
8oz ricotta cheese
16oz shredded pizza cheese or mozzarella cheese
1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
Italian seasoning (to taste)
1 tsp minced garlic

In a large pan (that is oven save) brown your hamburger, onion, mushrooms and garlic.  Also start your pasta water to boil.  And cook pasta as directed.

Drain the juices off the hamburger mixture.  Add to the pasta with the sauce (about half the jar), ricotta cheese and half the shredded cheese, stir to combine.  I found it was easier to mix all of this in my pasta pot then transfer back to the large oven safe pan, a lot less messy this way.  

Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese over the top; I also used some Parmesan cheese.

Pop in the oven at 350° for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and dish is well heated thru.

Serve and Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Gumbo – a stew or thick soup, usually made with chicken or seafood, greens and okra or sometimes a filé as a thickener.

In recent years I started craving Gumbo, because it just sounded good.  My solution was to purchase a box mix and add the potatoes and meat.  A friend from the Bayeux figured out what I was doing and scolded me, then gave me an authentic recipe, which I have tweaked of course!   And today I decided to make this recipe, and share it with everyone! Click here  for the printable recipe.  All told this takes almost 4 hours to create.  But is well worth it!

As I always say with any recipe, read it, then gather everything you need.  For this particular recipe I pre-chop the vegetables and sausage because once you start the roux you are stuck at the pot stirring constantly.  So seriously, get your phone, drink etc. because once you start you are stuck for at least half an hour…or get a sous chef to help you.

I use one and half medium sweet white onion, or one large onion, the large part of a celery bunch (leaves and all) and three bell peppers: one each green, red, orange. Get them all chopped and set aside.

 Then get out the smoked sausage, cut it into rounds, then halve each round.  Notice that I used a different cutting board and knife for the meat.

Making a roux is tedious to say the least.  You cannot rush it, seriously, and do not leave it to cook!  It has to be stirred constantly!   If you have a large whisk, this is when you  need it!  After the roux is sufficiently brown add the veggies including the garlic.  It will hiss and steam for a second or two.  Stir for  4-5 minutes.

Add the sausage and seasonings, instead of regular salt I used Extra Bold Smoked Sea Salt from the Spice Agent.  I really do love these guys!!!

I knew yesterday that I was going to make gumbo today, so I bought the raw chicken and boiled it so I had chicken stock for this, and the cooked chicken…I ended up with around 8 cups of stock, and used it all.

After bringing to a boil, then simmering for an hour it’s time to add the chicken (seasoned with Tony Chachere’s More Spice) Then another two hours of simmering.

The last ingredients are Gumbo Filé, shrimp (if you are using), green onions and parsley.  Before adding skim all the fat off the top that you can, this takes a bit, don’t be upset if you don’t get it all.  You will get more than a cup, so all the oil you started with at the beginning with the roux, plus more from the sausage etc will come back out, making this very good for you!  Remove from the heat and let it sit about 7 minutes (so the shrimp can cook) and while this is happening make the rice for serving.