Friday, November 28, 2008

Leftovers and Lights

We were very lucky to have two Thanksgiving get togethers this year; one with friends, my dad, and brother, and one with Don's parents. In the tradition of our holiday meals, there are still PLENTY of leftovers. Therefore, I like to get creative. Yesterday we had turkey omelets for breakfast and turkey/mashed potato sandwiches for lunch. Today it was jambalaya made from the leftover dirty rice. You just can't get any better than this, so I'll include the recipe below.

First you need some kind of sausage. We just happen to have some absolutely fabulous leftover venison sausage in the freezer. It is greasy, gamy goodness.

You will need to cut up the sausage into rounds or cubes and saute in a skillet. Add it in to your dirty rice, and you've got a great leftover meal. Cajun Dirty Rice

4 teaspoons Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning
1 stick butter
2 cups converted rice (it is beige, Uncle Ben's makes a bag of it)
1 cup celery, chopped
2 cups onions, chopped
1 cup bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
4 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1 quart water
livers, gizzards, necks


Put the gizzards, livers, wings, and necks in the water, bring to a boil and simmer for about 30 minutes. (Skim off any scum that rises to the surface. yes this is the gross part!) Let cool and remove the meat from the bones. Finely mince the meat, then return to the water; set aside for the moment.

Melt the butter in your cast iron pot (if you don't have one, get one), then add rice and cook until brown. Add onions, garlic, celery, bell pepper and parsley, and cook until transparent.

Heat the guts and broth again, and add to the rice. The water should be about one inch above the rice; if needed add extra water.

Add seasoning, bring to a boil and cook until the water has almost evaporated and is just bubbling on top of the rice. Stir to prevent sticking. Cover and cook over low heat for about 25 minutes. Remove from heat and let rice set for about 10 minutes. When ready to serve, stir rice well.

Not spicy enough for you? Add some tabasco or Louisiana hot sauce (my husband and I always fight about which one is better) and enjoy!

Oh and don't forget you still have some yummy leftover homemade pie from a friend!

We also put up the tree, cranked up the Christmas tunes, and lit up the fire place. Let the holidays begin. Now if I could just get my holiday shopping done!

Randolph the Reindeer makes his yearly appearance.
Don's Aggie wreath is full of spirit, even if we were a bit depressed by the Thanksgiving game.
Happy Holidays!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Baby It's Cold Outside- Irish Stew

In our house, Irish food does not often make its way to our table. However, we found this recipe and just had to try it. It was perfect for a chilly evening at home. So without further ado, I give you Irish Stew with Cheddar Biscuits.

The recipe calls for lamb, but unfortunately our local grocery store's lamb looked more like old goat. Therefore, we substituted beef, which worked out just fine.

Prep/Cook Time: 1 1/2 hours
Serving Size: 8 cups

2 lb. lamb (or beef) stew meat, cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks, seasoned
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups onion, diced
2 T. garlic, minced
2 T. tomato paste
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup dark beer (Guinness)
2 cups beef broth
2 cups chicken broth
2 fresh thyme sprigs
2 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, cubed
1 cup carrot, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup savoy cabbage, sliced
Salt/Pepper to taste


1. Brown lamb in 2 T. oil in a large pot over medium-high heat, 8 minutes. We like to use our trusty cast iron for any soup or stew. Transfer lamb to a bowl and set aside; reduce heat to medium.

2. Add 2 T. oil and onion to the pot and sweat, covered, until soft, 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and tomato paste. Cook this until the paste darkens, 2 minutes. Add flour, stir, and cook 1 more minute.

Make sure you always use a good wooden spoon for stirring. It keeps your pots from getting scraped, and I truly believe it makes everything taste better!

3. Deglaze the pot with beer, scraping up bits from the bottom. Add in both broths, lamb and its juices, and thyme sprigs. Bring up to a simmer, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 1 hour. Keep a lid on it. No peeking!

4. After the hour, stir in potatoes and carrots. Cook until tender (this depends on the size of pieces), about 15 minutes. Then add in peas, cabbage, salt and pepper. Simmer another 5 minutes.

Dish it up and enjoy!
Oh and don't forget the biscuits! Here's recipe we use. If you don't want to spend time on biscuits from scratch, just get the pillsbury kind and roll in some cheese and chives. We also half the recipe when its just the two of us.

Prep/Cook time: 50 minutes
Servings: 32
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 T. sugar
2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1/4 t. baking soda
10 T. unsalted butter, cold, cubed
1 cup Cheddar, shredded
1/3 cup minced chives
1 cup buttermilk
2 T. water
1 egg blended with 1 T. water

1. Preheat oven to 375. Spray a baking sheet with non stick spray.
2. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with a fork until pea-sized.
3. Stir in the cheddar and chives. Add buttermilk and 2 T. water; knead gently to blend. Dump the dough onto a floured cutting board and pat into an 8 inch square. Cut into 2 inch squares; then cut into triangles if you want scones. Space on the baking sheet 1 inch apart.
4 Brush the tops with egg wash mixture and bake until golden, 25 minutes.

Now it's time to curl up with a movie, a snoring pug, and my sweetie.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Baby Room

Well this doesn't really count as a cooking blog, but I wanted to show off our baby room theme. Hopefully the little guy likes alligators, tigers, and maroon!

Here is the crib (currently being taken over by furry creatures). The lamb and dog are my very first stuffed animals. The lamb was actually in my crib. Yes, they are old and very ugly. Notice the alligators on the sheets.

We've also got the college clothes covered it seems. I plan on painting the overalls like the yell leaders wear. The hubby is very excited!

Chocolate Cheese Fudge

Don't be scared of the cheese!

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Servings: around 50 pieces

Chocolate Cheese Fudge

  • 1/2 pound Velveeta cheese, sliced
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped nuts, pecans, walnuts
  • 2 (16-ounce) boxes confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder

Spray a 9x12 baking pan with PAM and set aside.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the Velveeta and butter together, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from heat and add the vanilla and nuts.

In a large bowl sift together the sugar and cocoa. Pour the cheese mixture into the sugar and cocoa mixture and stir until completely mixed. Make sure you scrape the bottom of the bowl well to get all the sugar. The candy will be very stiff.

Using your hands, remove the fudge from the bowl and press evenly and firmly into pan. Because of the amount of butter in this recipe, pat the top of the candy with a paper towel to remove the excess oil. Place pan in refrigerator until the fudge is firm. Cut and serve!