Breakfast Casserole | GLUTEN FREE

This specific breakfast is one of those “trip down memory lane” breakfast options. As a kid from the age of 8 and on, I lived life like an only child. My sister and I were of course close, but at the time as close as a 9 year old can be with her 19 year old sister. There was a lump of my childhood where we were just in too different of age brackets to really have that “bond” like you have with a sister. This changed quite a bit around the time I turned 13, and started to develop the “older mind-set” of a pre-teenager/teenager.

Teenage years… yikes. My sister was a lifeline of words of wisdom and guidance in an ever slipply social slide, and hormonal phase of life. Here we are 15 years later and she is now smoothly guiding two teenagers of her own through that monumental phase in life. But I digress…


This specific dish isn’t about my sister, rather a different memory comes to mind whenever I make this. During those “only child” feeling years, visits from my aunt, uncle, and two cousins who lived in Eastern Pennsylvania were so exciting. My two cousins were older than me, but never treated me like they were older. Some of my best childhood memories involved playing with them at our house or even theirs. I think the thing I loved the most about those visits was that our house was full of people, waking up in the morning and finding my uncle and Dad already downstairs having coffee. Each time they would come and stay with us, we had a very specific food regimen. My mom would make her breakfast casserole, a cheese danish (really still working out the details on how to convert this to gluten free…) and of course, Laska’s Pizzas for dinner! Laska’s is a local specialty pizza shop that my aunt and uncle would stock up on for their boys, particularly on the trips when they came without them.

I love the recipes that can pull you back to very specific moments in your life, and even make you feel like a kid again. This breakfast casserole became the large crowd breakfast, making appearances at family reunions, when my sister and her husband came home from college with a crowd of friends for “Groundhog’s Day” and even my own excursion with summer school friends up to the knob. Yes, my mother sure did master the art of pleasing a crowd.

The recipe I am about to share with you is a small version, only using half of a gluten free loaf of break and filling a 6 cup casserole dish. Feel free to double and triple as needed. When my mom needed to prepare a large quantity, she would make it in a roasting pan. To begin, cube half a loaf of UDI’s brand white bread. You can use your favorite bread, my mom used to bake a gluten free egg loaf, and slice it up. I’m not 100% sure if she still does that or not, as that was back in the years when quality gluten free products were not readily available.

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Once your bread has been cubed, fill your casserole dish loosely. Don’t pack it too tightly or you’ll have one very dry Breakfast Casserole.

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Next prepare your eggs. Whisk your eggs, milk, mustard, salt and pepper until smooth. Evenly pour mixture over top of cubed bread.

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Once your bread is nice and gooey, cover the entire casserole with shredded cheddar cheese. Top with bacon bits (or crumbled REAL bacon if you want to get fancy) and place it in the oven.

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Let the casserole bake for approximately 45 minutes, and let stand at least 10 minutes before serving.

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This savory dish was so good with the sweet addition of my Mom’s cream cheese danish, and once I come up with a solution for the crescent roll, I’ll be sure to share it as well.

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Share this dish with great company, fruit, and some fresh coffee, and you’re sure to create memories that you and your guests will never forget.

Cheers!

  • Whitney

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Gluten Free “Beef” Stew

While Beef Stew isn’t necessarily a spring-focused recipe, it is a simple recipe that seems to reset your taste buds after a holiday, or even during picnic season. We recently over-indulged through the Easter holiday weekend, having a solid 3 days of family, food, and festivities. The following week, I needed a simple, REAL home-cooked meal. We were also spending the week trying to budget out our groceries and various other expenses working towards getting back on track with my “Spend Less, Value More” theme for the year. As I have mentioned before, my husband is an avid hunter, particularly PA fall Archery. We usually end up with a surplus of various cuts of venison to make it through the entire year. I have mastered the obvious: ground venison, sausage, kielbasa, and even some roasts, although I don’t love using the roasts.

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But every year we end up with an over load of packages labeled “deer loin.” The only way my husband cooks them is by frying them with breadcrumbs. Needless to say, he saves this meal for the very few moments when his gluten free family is not around. I wanted to find a way to use these up so they didn’t go to waste. I also recently discovered more of the McCormick Gluten Free Seasoning Packets. I LOVE the Brown Gravy packet and use it weekly in the winter, feeding my meat and potatoes husband.

I recently noticed a McCormick Gluten Free Beef Stew packet, and have been meaning to incorporate it into a recipe at some point. I know it is just as simple to create these seasoning mixtures and thicken the sauce with corn starch, but McCormick packets make such a nice, rich sauce that I’m just as happy to take the simple road on this. So one evening after the kids were in bed, and my husband had some show I was definitely not interested in on tv, I started trying to think of some new ideas for inexpensive meals. I decided to try a crock pot version of “Beef” Stew, using the term beef lightly with the intention to replace the beef with the deer loin we have in the freezer.

Knowing that venison is a mild meat, but has a very detectible flavor to some, I knew the McCormick packet would be a good pair up, since we’ve used other packets that have excellent flavor.

I also discovered that the Sam’s Choice brand Bone Broth flavors are gluten free and available at chains like Walmart. It’s an inexpensive brand and readily available which is super convenient if you aren’t in close proximity to a Giant, Wegman’s, Trader Joe’s,  Whole Foods, or any other Gluten-Free friendly organic-focused grocery store.

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I also recently broke down and upgraded my Crock Pot from my old turn-the-knob style to this Crock Pot with a timer, delay start, and VERY convenient settings when you have 10 + hours out of the house! If you purchase the one in my link above, you get an additional mini dipper with it! I don’t recommend the Crock Pots with the clip-on lids. They eventually break and the lids do not stay on well without the clips.

I started out by thawing the deer loins and tossing them in to the crock pot. Simple right? This entire recipe is SUCH A BREEZE, and trust me, turns out so well!

Next, I used long carrots and peeled them but did not cut them. I would not have done this if it wasn’t for The Wicked Noodle’s recipe on, Recipe Review | Balsamic Dijon Roast suggested to me by a great friend, where the original recipe used long skinny carrots. We LOVED the carrots like this, and they hold up much better when in a crock pot for 10+ hours. I simply diced my russet potatoes into nice chunks.

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Before adding the vegetables I sprinkled my seasoning packet over the meat in the crockpot and dumped one carton full of beef bone broth over top. Then I tossed my vegetables in, set my time and did not touch it again until I got home from work.

These types of meals are the best to come home to. The entire house smells so good the second you open the door. When I picked my kids up from our sitter, I told her how excited I was to get home and try this recipe out, when she said they just had a similar meal a few nights before. She asked me if I made biscuits, and thanks to her suggestion, I did just that! GLUTEN FREE BISQUICK is the best invention EVER, in case you weren’t sure. My girls and I were able to whip up a half batch of drop biscuits once we got home, but not before peeking into the crock pot to see how our little creation was stewing.

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I wish I could share the scent with the picture. Once our drop biscuits were finished, I couldn’t even wait for my husband to get home before diving into this dish.

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And there you have it, a simple meal that tastes like you slaved over the stove all day.

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Please let me know if you try this, if you use venison, or if you have any recipes you’d like to share! I always welcome feedback! Cheers!

  • Whitney

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Gluten Free Venison Stew

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 lbs deer loin, (or cubed beef)
  • 1 packet McCormick’s Gluten Free Beef Stew seasoning
  • 6-8 large carrots
  • 4 large russet potatoes cubed
  • 1 carton Sam’s Choice Beef Bone Broth (or other gluten free broth)

Directions

  1. Place the deer loin or cubed beef in the crock pot.
  2. Sprinkle entire seasoning packet over the meat. Pour in the carton of beef broth.
  3. Peel carrots and dice potatoes. Pour vegetables into crock pot. Set to low heat 8-10 hours. Keep warm until ready to serve.
  4. Optional: serve with Gluten Free Bisquick Drop Biscuits

Gluten Free Tacos | Tater Tot Tacos

As a Celiac patient, there have been several minor difficulties in certain meals that I have struggled with for years. Tacos have always been a favorite meal option of mine; however, if you have ever been forced to switch from soft flexible flour tortillas to stiff and incredibly crumbly soft corn shells, you can understand my disappointment.

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As usual, any meal that cannot be a sandwich is converted to a salad. And if you have ever been forced to cut Gluten from your life, you can relate with me when I say, you can only eat SO. MANY. SALADS. Period.

My husband and I began making meals of loaded tater tots long before it became a “thing” or local made-to-order chains jumped on to the band wagon. It wasn’t until a trip to my sisters though, that I considered using Tater Tots as a base for tacos. I love Nachos, Taco Salads, and even suffering through the awful dry corn shells, but this was a whole new level of delicious. Tater Tots are top in my “these are a few of my favorite things!” (think The Sound of Music theme song added to my food list) So whenever my sister made dinner one evening and everyone loaded up a plate of tater tots, including this Non-Gluten-Free half of her family, I thought to myself, this is the answer I have been looking for.

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Tacos are such a quick and easy meal, but have been missing from our meal rotation, because like many good ideas, once they slip your mind, it takes some random reminder to bring them back to the fore front. I can’t even tell you the last time I had Tater Tot Tacos. So when we decided to get back on track with meal-planning and budgeting our groceries, (recently I have fallen off the spend less value more, theme for the year) I immediately thought of this, because it is simple and budget friendly.

We are the stereotypical western Pennsylvania family: a husband who hunts just about every season, and a wife who tries to incorporate all of that meat into her meals without anyone knowing it’s there. Needless to say we have a surplus of ground venison throughout the year. The thing I like the most about ground venison is that any meal with a significant amount of seasoning or flavorful sauce, masks the slightly different texture and hint of a flavor someone who isn’t necessarily fond of the meat, would ever notice. I started out with a pound of ground venison and a packet of Ortega’s Mild Taco seasoning. Every time I start browning ground venison I add both onions and garlic salt to the meat. After the meat has browned and any liquids have been drained, add in your packet of seasoning and cup of water.

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But before browning your meat, as it takes only a few minutes, you will want to place your tater tots in a preheated oven at 425 degrees. I prefer the Crispy Crowns, by Ore Ida, as they hold up better with the toppings, and have a nice little crunch. We brown our Tots for 15 minutes in the oven, sometimes flipping halfway through, sometimes not, depending on whether or not I actually remember to do it. Either way, both options turn out some delicious tater tots.

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Once your tater tots are in the oven, you would want to actually brown your meat and prepare your toppings. I have gone from a smorgasbord of topping options, to the simple tomato, lettuce, and cheese options. For this sample I have included shredded fiesta blend cheese, sour cream, diced tomato, romaine lettuce shredded, taco sauce, and of course the hearty ground meat mixture.

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My favorite part of this is the layering… I LOVE LOADED TATER TOTS. Literally with any toppings, I’m good to go.

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With a total of like 15 minutes of prep, you have a delicious and filling meal. It doesn’t hurt that it looks pretty too!

Tater Tots are always stocked in our freezer, as it is a safe option for both of my daughters to eat, they taste delicious, and are a convenient side when in a time crunch. Again, THANK YOU ORE-IDA for always considering the needs of Celiac patients in offering guaranteed gluten free products.

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Cheers, and enjoy the beautiful weather!

  • Whitney

Loaded Taco Tater Tots

  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1/2 a bag of Ore Ida crispy crowns
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (or venison)
  • 1 packet Ortega Mild Taco Seasoning
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 4 leaves Romain lettuce
  • shredded taco blend cheese
  • taco sauce
  • optional sour cream for topping

Directions

  1. Place half the bag of tater tots on a baking sheet. Bake in a pre-heated oven set to 425 degrees for 15 minutes.
  2. While the tater tots bake, brown the ground meat. Add seasoning packet and water, continue to cook over medium-low heat until thickened.
  3. Prepare toppings: shred lettuce, dice tomatoes, gather all remaining toppings of choosing.
  4. Once tater tots have baked, remove from the oven. Top first with meat, then cheese, and add additional toppings of choosing after that. Serve immediately.

Pasta Carbonera | Simple and Delicious

Rich, Creamy, and Easy! These are the words that describe this simple, and frequently made dish in our household. This is my husband’s favorite pasta dish, one I forget about too often. I usually make a trip to our local Meat Market on Fridays on my way home from work, stocking up on the essentials for the weekend, particularly as we creep into grilling season. There is something about fresh bacon that is so much more appealing than the typical bacon purchased at the store; however, in this dish, both work amazingly. With the unpredictable weather that falls in the months of March and April, this comfort food dish is a real crowd-pleaser on those dreary rainy days.

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I was first introduced to Carbonera years ago by my sister, before she ever chose the path of culinary arts whenever visiting her in Harrisburg. My mom copied her recipe and returned home adding it into her regular rotations. Once moving out on my own I received a copy of her recipe and filed it away with many other family favorites. Over time, and several moves, her original recipe was lost in the shuffle. Eventually I began playing around with what I remembered to be the basic foundations of her original recipe and settled in a simplified version of this savory meal.

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To start, begin by slicing your bacon into small pieces, or mini strips and place in your frying pan with olive oil. We use extra light, but I know many recipes call for Extra Virgin. I simply chose this  because it is what my Mom always used, so I habitually began buying it.

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This precious little gem of a splatter screen from The Pampered Chef, is an excellent protector when you have crazy little people running around at your feel while cooking. I would definitely recommend contacting my friend Kathy for this and many more of her great products! I used to sell Pampered Chef, so I am a bit of an addict. (Ok seriously, half my kitchen has The Pampered Chef written on it!) My favorite pan, pictured above, came in a 7 piece set, I received on a cookware promotional month for hosting a show. Perhaps Kathy could hook you up with the seasonal promotions!

While the bacon sizzles away, boil your water and toss in those gluten free noodles. I like to use Tinkyada; however, I also LOVE Glutino brand pasta. I am just terrible at keeping it in stock.

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Once your bacon browns a little and begins to crisp, add in the chicken broth and let simmer until slightly reduced. Use this time to shred your cheese and whisk up your eggs. We used to always used the packaged cheese, but I switched to a block of Parmesan freshly grated and it was delicious! Both will work, but I strongly recommend fresh grated Parmesan.

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I used my Micro-plane for this batch of cheese and I love it! We have all sizes of the micro-plane graters, and they withstand the test of time! Mine is almost 8 years old. I received it in my starter kit back when I was a consultant.

I found this inexpensive Pasta Pot by Tramontina, which included the pot, a lock-n-strain strainer, and glass lid. This is a LIFE SAVER. I hate leaving strainers blocking my sink and getting in the way in my cabinets. We found it on Amazon a few years ago and use it approximately 3 times a week for any number of tasks including steaming vegetables and cooking pasta. Once the pasta has been drained and using a pot holder, I simply slide the strainer off.

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After draining the pasta, you will need to stir in the whisked eggs and grated cheese into the hot pasta, continuing to stir until a creamy consistency develops. The heat of the pasta will actually temper the eggs, combined with the cheese, you end up with a creamy “cooked” sauce.

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Then pour in the bacon mixture stirring it all together and serve immediately. I noticed some recipes recommend saving pasta water to thin the mixture out if it gets too thick; however, I have always just used a little chicken broth to thin the pasta back out whenever reheating left overs the following day.

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Once you plate up your pasta, be sure to top it with additional cheese and enjoy the flavorful rewards from this very simple pasta dish!

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Cheers!

  • Whitney

 

Simple Pasta Carbonera

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Credit: Chef Lindsey-inspired

Ingredients

  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 package bacon
  • 1/2 c. chicken broth
  • 12 ounces pasta
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 eggs whisked
  • 1 8 oz block of Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

    1. Place water on to boil and cook pasta according to package directions
  1. Slice bacon strips cross-wise into small pieces. Place olive oil and bacon in large skillet and cook until slightly browned and crisp.
  2. Add in chicken broth and continue to cook over medium heat until slightly reduced. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Grate cheese and set aside. Whisk eggs and garlic together.
  4. Once pasta has cooked and been drained pour egg mixture and cheese immediately over hot pasta stirring constantly until a smooth sauce develops.
  5. Pour bacon mixture into pasta stirring until well combined. Serve immediately.

 

Food Post | Debbie’s Pizzaburgers

This recipe is by far, one of my family’s most recent favorites. But I must warn you, it not for the healthy or faint-of-heart. If you were looking for an old-school, simple but delicious recipe that reminds you of simpler times where kids ran the streets of town and parents stood on the porch at dusk yelling for them to come home to eat, this recipe is for you. My husband asked me a few months ago to make  Pizza-burgers. So I of course, referred to my mother for a recipe and she gave me a recipe that is what I believe to be the most common concoction found in recipe boxes and even on the internet. Once I prepared them, my husband immediately said, “These are not like the Pizza-burgers I grew up with.” Intrigued, I called my mother-in-law the next day and she started out by warning me that I needed to try them before judging the ingredients.

Before I introduce the ingredients to my Mother-in-law’s recipe, I feel like I need to present some information. One of the main ingredients in this concoction of meats and cheeses is quite possibly one of the most mocked products on the market; however, has an incredibly interesting history.

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SPAM. Yes… I all but tossed the recipe at the first mention of the ingredient; but my mother-in-law assured me, it’s good. If you can get past the snapping of the can and dumping of a loaf of meat onto your cutting board, you will like the end result. Never having done either of these tasks with meat in the past, I was timid at the thought, to say the least. Nevertheless, I persevered and dove head first into my first Spam creation.

SPAM has quite an interesting history behind those tin cans. To begin, Dan Myers, the editor of The Daily Meal explains:

“Spam (or officially, SPAM), was introduced by the Hormel Foods Corporation in 1937. At the time, the fact that meat could be kept fresh for years by canning it was incredibly novel. It was rationed to troops during World War II, and while the Europeans the GI’s exposed to the canned meat largely didn’t want to have anything to do with it  (except for the British), those on the Pacific front fell in love with it, and it’s still extremely popular there to this day.” (thedailymeal.com)

The article also sites astronomical figures of 44,000 cans of spam produced every HOUR. I had to further investigate this statistic as it was staggeringly large. Several websites concurred with these statistics. I also reviewed the nutritional information presented on SPAM discovering the nutritional information to be no different than many brands of deli meats like Ham or Bologna.

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Spam is literally celebrated in Hawaii every year, particularly this year as the product will be turning 80! Myers goes on to describe how the publicity for SPAM grew after the War ended, citing: “After the war, Hormel launched a massive publicity campaign for the canned ham, recruiting a group of former servicewomen, whom they dubbed the ‘Hormel Girls,’ to tour the country promoting the product. By 1948 the group had swelled to 60 women with a 16-piece orchestra, and they were even given a radio show which aired until the group disbanded in 1953.” (thedailymeal.com) 

Intrigued by the history, I then started looking through the facts on the product located on SPAM’s home site:

  • There are 15 varieties of SPAM
  • Products are sold in 44 different countries
  • Over 8 BILLION cans have been sold to date
  • The canjo is a banjo made using a SPAM can (no joke… this is a REAL thing!)
  • Hawaii eats 7 million cans of SPAM every year (Think… 50 First Dates with Adam Sandler )
  • In Southeast Asia, SPAM is given as a luxury gift
  • There is an entire Museum dedicated to the SPAM brand in Austin, MN.
  • One SPAM brand plant produces 350 cans a minute.

The list goes on, and being one who is intrigued by weird statistics, I could go on for hours! Check out the SPAM home page for more fun facts.

Returning back to Debbie’s Pizza-burgers, I made my first batch a few months ago. I was amazed at how different hers were than the normal ones I was used to. I personally loved the variation on flavor!

To start off, brown one pound of meat in a pan. I add a little onion salt and garlic powder. We use a lot of ground venison so those seasonings are used every time a recipe starts with a ground chuck or ground venison. (If you were looking for healthy, I presume you could use a ground turkey; however, I have not done that yet.) My Mother-in-law also adds oregano. I add some during the meat browning and when adding the sauce later.

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This next step is the one that almost did me in: Grate one SPAM loaf and add it into the browned meat. Repeat this step grating in the block of Longhorn cheese. (On one particular occasion, I was unable to find this specific cheese, so I did some last minute research and discovered Colby cheese is almost identical in make and style It works as a good substitute. There was no flavor difference!)

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Continue to cook on low heat until the cheese begins to melt, occasionally stirring the two meats and cheese until combined.

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Next, add in enough Ragu traditional marinara sauce (I have also subbed in my favorite sauce on occasion when forgetting to get this specific brand, and noticed very little change in flavor) to moisten the mixture, (It took me about half of the jar, but use your best judgement) and season with a little more Oregano. Stir to combine.

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Now, to make the perfect GLUTEN FREE Pizza-burger, you need a good quality bun to support the hearty topping. We love Udi’s brand products and I am fortunate enough to have two local stores stocking the hamburger buns, hot dog buns, and loaves of bread in the gluten free freezer section. These items are available on Amazon in case options.

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Our family is a 50/50 split, so preparation for meals involving bread products requires two separate baking sheets, one gluten free and one for regular products. If you are preparing both types of pizza-burgers, be cautious and always prepare the gluten-free buns first to prevent cross-contamination with a spoon being re-dipped into the meat mixture.

Once you have prepared your pizza-burgers, place the sheet pans into an oven heated to 425 degrees for 10 minutes. You can do a lower temperature if you prefer, we just seem to always have tater tots with this meal and they require the higher heat.

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The gluten-free sheet pan always consists of tater tots along with the Pizza-burgers! Thank you Ore Ida for being certified gluten-free!

Once the timer goes off, pull those delicious bad boys out of the oven and let them sit a minute or two before serving. Trust me when I tell you, the flavor behind these burgers is like no other Pizza-burger you’ve had before. Debbie, we are calling this a winner!

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So, when you are looking for a quick dinner, or a twist on an old classic, pull this recipe out and surprise your family with a recipe full of ingredients that have clearly stood the test of time.

Cheers!

Debbie's Pizza-burgers

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

An old classic with a flavorful twist that is perfect as a nostalgic recipe reminiscent of childhood.

Ingredients


– 1 pound ground beef
– 1 can SPAM classic or lite
– 1 block Longhorn cheese
– 1 1/2 tsp of Oregano
– 1 jar Ragu traditional marinara (only using half)
– 1 package hamburger buns
[/recipe-ingredients}

Directions


1. Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. In a large skillet, brown the ground beef and season with onion salt and garlic powder if desired.
2. While the meat is browning, grate one container of SPAM or SPAM lite and 1 block of Longhorn cheese.
3. Once the meat is brown, drain the excess liquid and add the grated meat and cheese. Stir to combine.
4. Add in approximately half the jar of Ragu traditional marinara, or just until meat mixture is moistened.
5. Season with Oregano
6. Once all of the ingredients have been mixed thoroughly, and cheese has melted, remove from heat.
7. Prepare hamburger buns on baking sheets. Spoon on to prepared hamburger buns. Mixture should cover approximately 8-12 Hamburger bun halves
8. Place baking sheets in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.

 

Food Post | One Pot Jambalaya

My husband and I recently had the opportunity to have a kid free “date day” and found ourselves in Central PA shopping and trying out some new restaurants. Once seated in our restaurant, something felt strangely repetitive. The Piano Bar was so familiar and the entire vibe of the place felt like such a deja vu moment I found myself lost in thought trying to place the similar memory or location when it hit me; I had been in this exact restaurant, ironically sitting in this exact booth, with my bestie and sister for a “mini bachelorette night out” almost exactly five years before.

I found myself reminiscing over the shift life takes in a five year span and began to reflect on how good life has been to us. Here I sat with my high school sweetheart, a free night for just the two of us that wasn’t super crazy but very much needed and two healthy girls having their own mini vacation at Nana and Papa’s house. Yes, life has been good to us.

After receiving the wine list, and feeling incredibly inferior to it’s elegance and class, citing brands I had never heard before, our fabulous waitress guided me in my choice steering me to an excellent selection for my naive taste buds. The steam bar was full with a wide selection of fresh clams that my husband and I debated trying, temporarily flashing back to our one trip to Maine knocking fresh clams off our food bucket list (permanently knocking them off of mine…!) and chose to refrain. I ended up selecting a flavorful dish of jambalaya while my husband chose a steak with some amazing potato side dish. We spent the evening eating and chatting, uninterrupted by a toddler’s requests or a one year old’s singing. Such a peaceful evening. As my dish arrived I knew I had to replicate a simple quick version at home.

Fast forward three weeks and here we are discussing the simplicity of Jambalaya. While I am no New Orleans native, or well versed in any type of culinary expertise, I do enjoy a flavorful dish and particularly time sensitive dinners. So I began to throw together my best interpretation of a One-Pot Jambalaya. The recipe I am about to present does not have seafood, but could easily be adapted by tossing in your favorite shell fish at the last moment.

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I started off with 3 tablespoons of butter and a Rotisserie Chicken diced up into two cups of small chunks (because, I SUCK at cooking chicken, and who doesn’t love a good rotisserie chicken?) tossing them both into a large skillet until the chicken began to get a slightly golden hue to it, approximately 3 minutes. I then added one package of turkey kielbasa sliced into neat little discs.

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YUM. I am reliving the smells as I type! After the sausage begins to brown just a little, add:

  • 1 diced green bell pepper
  • 1 medium diced sweet onion
  • 3 ribs of celery  diced

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Place the lid on the pan and let the vegetables cook for about 5 more minutes until softened. (I like a little crunch to my Jambalaya, so I did not go beyond 5 minutes)

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I then added 1 28 oz can of Crushed Tomatoes, 2 small squirts of minced garlic (yes… I keep it simple and buy the squeeze jar) and 2 cups of chicken broth.

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I’m looking for time friendly meals during the week, but flavorful. Canned crushed tomatoes, squeeze garlic, and chicken broth are all quick, flavorful additions to any meal.
*Disclaimer: This is not an add for any of these products, nor can I verify that the chicken broth pictured is 100% gluten free. 

I also did a little research and made up a blend of Cajun Seasoning listed below the recipe.

Add anywhere from 2 to 3 tablespoons of this seasoning blend depending on how spicy you want your Jambalaya. We planned on an alternate dinner for the girls on this particular night so we could turn the heat up in this recipe.

Stir the ingredients together and bring to a boil. Once the mixture is just beginning to boil, add 2 cups of Instant Rice and let cook an additional 5 minutes.

I did not go beyond the 5 minutes because I was worried about the Rice absorbing too much of the liquids. The end result of this meal was AH-MAZING!

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I am sure a year down the road I will look back at these initial posts and think, “Wow! Those were some terrible pictures!” But the reality is, that is what MY dinner looked like, real, and simple. And delicious.

Cheers!

  • Whitney

One Pot Jambalaya

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A flavorful, simple meal, providing a homemade feel on those busy week nights.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 rotisserie chicken diced to make two cups of chicken
  • 1 package turkey kielbasa sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 3 ribs of celery diced
  • 1 medium sweet onion diced
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of Cajun seasoning mix
  • 2 cups instant rice

Directions


1. In large skillet melt 3 Tbsp butter. Add 2 cups diced chicken from rotisserie chicken lets cook 2-3 minutes.
2. Add in one package turkey kielbasa sliced and continue to cook until slightly browned.
3. Add in diced vegetables and continue to cook covered over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften.
4. Add remaining ingredients minus the rice and bring to a boil.
5. Add 2 cups of rice and cover, letting cook 5 more minutes.
6. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

 

 

Simple Cajun Seasoning

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients together well. Store in an air-tight container.

 

Recipe Review | Balsamic Dijon Roast

So, it’s pretty obvious to most who know my family that we are a Meat-and-Potatoes kind of crew. My husband is an avid hunter and keeps us well stocked throughout the year with a variety of cuts of meat. I do appreciate a good quality roast recipe. In my initial searches, trial and errors of roast recipe hunting, they all felt like they tasted the same to me… like simply a hunk of meat would taste. I continued to make several pot roast recipes since my husband did really like this style of meal until I came across my first game changer roast recipe. This initial recipe, which was so crazy to me, but SO. DELICIOUS was a crock pot recipe.

The recipe was as follow:

  • 1 rump roast or chuck roast
  • 1 packaged of Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning
  • 1 package McCormick gluten free brown gravy (this is a STAPLE in our house)
  • 2 cups beef broth, gluten free, low sodium

I literally tossed the roast in the crock pot in the morning before work, shook in each of the packages of dried seasonings and put in the broth plus an additional half cup because I knew it would be 10 + hours before I would be home and my Crock Pot did not have the timer setting on it.

The magic of this roast is the fact that it creates its own gravy while cooking! And it’s DELICIOUS! This is the quickest and easiest way to feel like you spent the day cooking when really, you were at work all day, or hopefully, shopping with your bestie all day.

Speaking of besties, I was fortunate enough to spend part of my weekend catching up with mine and snuggling her sweet new bundle of joy. She and I have been friends since childhood and she knows me better than anyone else! I could go on for an hour about how she’s the “peanut butter to my jelly…” the “yin to my yang…” and countless other corny sayings just to describe to you how crucial she is to my life.

She messaged me the other day with a recipe suggestion that she just loved and thought might be a good piece for my blog. Well let me tell you, she was SPOT ON. She sent me a pin from The Wicked Noodle, a blog now on my radar for excellent flavor combinations, with the suggestion that I try this Chuck Roast with Balsamic and Dijon. Now, typically when I hear the term balsamic, I hesitate a bit. Why? I have no idea because my adult taste buds love everything involving it. Perhaps it was a bad encounter when I was younger, but I’m so glad I resisted that naive thought process.

This recipe recommends using a dutch oven, which I happen to LOVE cooking in but do not use nearly enough. It’s a simple straightforward recipe that involves a total of 3 1/2 to 4 hours in the oven, so the perfect Sunday dinner. That is exactly when we tried this bad boy.

Simply start out by browning your well salted and peppered chuck roast in a couple tablespoons of oil, preferably canola, making sure to seal all the flavor in on all sides.

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Once you’ve browned all the sides of the roast remove from the pan and toss in one chopped yellow onion. I prefer larger chunks in something like this so I didn’t dice too small.

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Using the drippings from the meat, cook the onions until they begin to soften and absorb all the delicious flavors from the meat. This took me about 5 minutes. Once the onions soften add the balsamic vinegar and bring to a boil continuing to cook until the liquid reduces and appears to be slightly syrupy.

You can see the difference in the pictures above from when I first added the liquid to when the onions caramelized in the balsamic vinegar. By this point my kitchen was smelling ah-mazing! After the liquid reduces stir in the Dijon mustard making a nice creamy bed to lay your chuck roast on.

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Return the roast to the bed of onion mixture and add two cups of beef broth to the heavenly flavors that have already infiltrated the air. The recipe calls for fresh Thyme; however, I did not have that and replaced with a few shakes of dried thyme leaves. I would strongly recommend sticking to fresh herbs, they just were not available at the time of cooking this roast.

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Once you have added all of the ingredients, place the lid on your dutch oven and return it to a 300 degree oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

After the chuck roast has cooked for the given time, add in your carrots and teeny tiny potatoes. And, can I just add, that my daughters love teeny tiny potatoes? It doesn’t even matter what type they are, they love them! They also love large carrots! Switching from small carrots and standard sized potatoes adds a fun little spin on the recipe, so we went for it!

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After adding the vegetables, return to the oven for an additional 30 to 60 minutes. I chose to go for the full 60 because I love good tender vegetables with my roast.

The prep time on this meal was less than 15 minutes and so simple that I had enough time to grade some always lovely research papers for my cuties at work. As much as I would have loved to consume my time with meal prep in exchange for paper grading, both needed done, and BOTH were completed with a solid hour left over during nap time to do… whatever I wanted! I like to call that the Sunday JACK POT!

Once the meal was complete, I let it stand for a few minutes while prepping my little ladies final pieces to their meals and like all good Sundays, we sat down, together to eat.

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So, The Wicked Noodle hit the jack pot with this roast bursting with flavor and texture. Excellent job, excellent job.

Cheers!

  • Whitney