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Gumbo, or not

I remember as a little girl, being at my Granny’s house, waiting for this delicious soup to be done.  I knew that when she added the shrimp, this meant it was almost done.  I’d stand by her side as she scooped some cooked rice into a coffee mug (I thought it was sooo cool to eat soup in a coffee mug – and I only remember doing it at her house) and then ladle in some of the delicious Gumbo.  I’d burn my tongue… every.single.time.  But, ohhhh, it was worth it.  The crazy little thing, though, is that I don’t like okra (I can handle it fried, but that is the ONLY way I’ll eat it).  So, why do I keep eating this soup even though the okra floats around in it looking like little eye balls?!  Well, I just make it without the okra!  Ha!  How about that!  And did you know that Gumbo is derived from a Bantu/African word meaning okra?  So, how can it be Gumbo when there’s no “gumbo” in it?!  Oh, I don’t know, but I still love it.  And when my Momma makes it, I just pick out the little eyeballs 😀

Gumbo

  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 green peppers, diced
  • 1/4 c butter
  • 2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 lb okra, chopped  (or not)
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 4 c water
  • 3 tsp (or cubes) chicken bouillon
  • 1 28oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 tsp House Seasoning
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
  • 2 c cooked, chopped chicken
  • 2 c peeled, deveined uncooked shrimp
  • Cooked rice

Saute onions and green peppers in butter until tender.  Then add okra (or not), garlic powder and flour.  Cook for 2-3 minutes.  Next add water and stir until slightly thickened.  Add tomatoes, bouillon, House Seasoning, worcestershire sauce, and creole seasoning.  Cover and simmer for about 45 minutes.  Stir in chicken and/or shrimp.  Continue to simmer until shrimp is pink.  Serve over rice.  (in a coffee mug – 😀 )

And this is my beautiful Granny.  I love her.

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I missed my first post yesterday….I have a good reason though.  I was doing our taxes….ugh.  It would be a lot more simple if I’d be a lot more organized.

Just to let you know. I know how to be organized.  I even like to be organized.  You should have seen my room my senior year in high school when I finally had my own room: everything had it’s place and it stayed in it’s place. (I shared a room with my sis all 17 years prior to this – she’s 5 years younger and had a creative streak much like my lil’ Reagan – who always has her creative stuff everywhere 😀  I love ya, Katrina!)  BUT then I had 3 kids and I’ve lost my organization somewhere…it’s probably under the boys’ bed…yikes!

So back to my taxes….I started gathering the paperwork around 2:30pm and finally finished up at 10:45pm.  I stopped only long enough to fix dinner: Fried Chicken Strips, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, gravy, and carrots.  Crazy – I know.  Especially on the day I decide to do taxes, but I’d already promised Mike I’d make this before I got the motivation to do our taxes.

Fried Chicken Strips
3 skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
30 saltines, crushed finely (or your favorite cracker!)
1/4 c instant potato flakes
2 Tbsp flour
2 tsp Shara’s House Seasoning
1/4 c flour
2 eggs
2 Tbsp milk
oil for frying


Heat oil over medium-high heat.  Combine saltines, potato flakes, 2 Tbsp flour, and house seasoning in a large bowl.  In a small bowl, beat eggs and milk.  In another small bowl, add the 1/4 cup of flour.  First, dip the strips in the flour, then the egg mixture, then the saltine mixture.  Fry each batch for about 8-9 minutes – turning once – until chicken is cooked through and the outside coating is golden brown.



Garlic Mashed Potatoes
3-4 large potatoes
1 stick of butter (1/2 c)
2 tsp Shara’s House Seasoning
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Clean and dice the potatoes.  Cover with water and bring to a boil.  Boil until potatoes become fork-tender – about 30 minutes.  Drain off water.  Place all the ingredients in your mixer and mix well.

It was all worth it though!  Mike did the dishes 😀  I love him.

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Chicken Fajitas

Although I dread Mondays, I always look forward to Mexican Night.  I think this is why I subconsciously picked Mondays to be Mexican Night 😀  Not only is Mexican food my favorite, it’s also very easy to throw together!  Tonight we had Chicken Fajitas…mmmmmm!

Chicken Fajitas
3 uncooked skinless chicken breasts, sliced thin
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 Tbsp Fajita Seasoning (see recipe below)
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, sliced thin
1 green pepper, slice thin

Combine worcestershire sauce, soy, vinegar, and fajita seasoning.  Stir well and add chicken.  Marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature or cover and marinate in refrigerator for several hours.  Heat oil over high heat.  Add chicken strips and saute for 5 minutes.  Add onions and peppers and saute another 3 minutes.  Be careful to not overcook or chicken will be dry! Remove from heat and sprinkle with lime juice.  Serve with warm flour tortillas and favorite toppings.
Fajita Seasoning
5 Tbsp cumin
4 tsp oregano, crushed
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground red pepper (or more if you like it spicier)
2 tsp pepper
4 tsp garlic powder
4 tsp onion powder

Stir together and keep in air tight container.  Makes about 2/3 c of seasoning – enough for about 10 batches of fajitas.

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It’s been another busy day with running errands, and so I love using my crockpot on these kind of days. Since tonight was Parent’s Choice, and since Mike and I love Chinese food, I made Brown Sugar Chicken. This is so, so easy to throw together. The recipe calls for chicken breasts, but I actually prefer to use chicken thighs if I have them (which is what I used today).


Brown Sugar Chicken
2 lbs frozen, boneless chicken, cut into chunks
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2/3 c vinegar
1/4 c lemon-lime soda (or whatever you might have on hand – I actually use Diet Coke!)
1 c brown sugar
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1/4-1/2 tsp black pepper (to taste)

Place frozen chicken in crockpot. Mix together rest of ingredients in a bowl and pour over the top of the chicken. Cover with lid and set crockpot to low for 4-5 hours. Serve with rice or fried rice.

As I was reading one of my favorite blogs today (Baker’s Banter), I saw a post about a Mystery Cake. Welllll, since I’m a Campbell, here’s my version of this old cake:

Campbell’s Cake
4 Tbsp butter, softened
1 c sugar
1 egg
1 can Campbell’s Tomato soup
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
Cream Cheese frosting (I used Betty Crocker’s)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 inch round pan or one muffin tin (12 count). Cream together butter and sugar. Add egg and mix well. Open tomato soup and add the baking soda, stir. It will foam up like this:

Add this to the creamed mixture, and mix well. It will look curdled, but this is okay 😀 In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and spices. Add this to the rest of the tomato mixture and beat well (on medium for 1-2 minutes). Pour batter into pan or divide out into muffin tin. Bake for 30-35 minutes for 9 inch pan or 20-25 minutes for cupcakes. Cool completely and top with Cream Cheese frosting.

Seeing as I always get at least one set of the rolled eyes and “I don’t really like Chinese” or “do I have to eat the rice?”, these yummy lil’ spiced cupcakes were the redeeming factor.

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Last fall I became very frustrated with trying to come up with a variety of meals for my very plane-jane family. I wanted to be creative with my cooking – but they weren’t too interested. So, I came with this idea:

Sunday Lunch – Eat Out
Sunday Dinner – leftovers, popcorn, nachos or cereal
Monday – Mexican
Tuesday – Italian
Wednesday – Parent’s Choice or we eat at church during our Wed’s @ CCC
Thursday – Pizza
Friday – Hamburgers
Saturday – Brunch and/or Brinner (breakfast/dinner)

This has made my life sooooo much more simple. I have the freedom to make my variations with knowing that my family will eat it!!!

Anyhoooo….I’ll be giving you an example of this concept this week. To catch us up, this week’s Mexican Night was Chicken Enchiladas and Italian Night was Bacon Spaghetti.

Chicken Enchiladas
1/2 c bell peppers, chopped
1 c onions, chopped
2 Tbsp butter
1 4oz can chopped green chilies
2 c cooked chicken, shredded
Shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Flour tortillas

Sauce:
3 Tbsp butter
1/4 c flour
1 tsp coriander
3/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 c chicken broth
8oz sour cream
1/2 c Monterey Jack cheese
Cook bell peppers, onions, and butter until tender. Then add green chilies and chicken. Add 1/2 c of the following sauce.

Sauce: Melt butter in pan. Add flour, coriander and salt. Stir well for about 2 minutes. Add chicken broth, sour cream, and 1/2 c monterey jack cheese.

Add some chicken mixture and some extra monterey jack cheese to each flour tortilla. Roll up and place in greased 9×13 pan. Pour remaining sauce over tortillas. Bake in 350 degree oven till heated through and cheese is melted (about 30 minutes).



Bacon Spaghetti
1 lb bacon, fried & crumbled
1 lb cooked spaghetti
3 cloves garlic, minced
5 Tbsp olive oil
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Combine garlic and Parmesan cheese with olive oil. Toss cooked spaghetti with bacon and garlic/cheese/olive oil mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

I made the French Bread recipe to go with this….MMM! I dressed up my French Bread by adding oregano to the dough and topped the rustic loaves with butter, sea salt, and more oregano.

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