Gluten-Free Chicken Gumbo

Heather says:

I am ridiculously happy. I was recently doing my weekly shopping and found Pillsbury Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix near the regular flour at Publix. It isn’t the fanciest of grocery stores, but it’s generally a step above of say Food Lion. Long story short, this gluten-free flour mix already contains xanthan gum which mimics the elastic nature of wheat gluten. Happy day, I can now make a gluten-free roux that doesn’t break down. The gumbo was still thick after re-heating to take pack for the kids’ lunch.

Easily Make Gluten-FrAee Chicken Gumbo

And even better than staying thick? It’s a one-to-one substitution. Please note, you may notice that the roux doesn’t get as dark as a traditional roux. I gave up on a dark roux after 15 minutes. I was starving and really didn’t want to crank up the heat only to have to start over if the roux began to break down, so it was a blonde roux gumbo, but it was gluten-free which made everyone happy.

Shortcut – substitute frozen trinity and onion / pepper seasoning mix instead of chopping everything, for a much faster prep. (Yes, working full time and commuting the chauffeur the kids does cause me to take some short cuts some nights. Please don’t ask how often we have breakfast for dinner, now be quiet and eat your scrambled eggs)

: Chicken Gumbo

  • 3 – 5 lbs bone-in, chicken (chicken thighs work perfectly)
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 3 celery ribs, with leaves, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 lb andouille sausage
  • 2 Tablespoons Cajun or Creole seasoning -please check that the brand you use is gluten-free
  • 2 quarts cold water
  • 1 lb frozen okra pieces
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free flour mix that contains xantham gum
  • 1/3 cup bacon fat or vegetable oil
  • OPTIONAL 1 tsp salt (to taste)
  • file seasoning (when serving)
  • Hot Sauce (Tabasco or my favorite Louisiana Hot Sauce)

  • In a large pot (6 quart minimum) add the water, chicken, sausage, onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, and Cajun seasoning. Bring the water to a boil, immediately reduce to a simmer and cook over low – medium low heat for 2 hours.
  • Remove the chicken, cool enough to handle, and debone, discarding the skin and bones. Return the chicken to the gumbo along with the okra and tomatoes.
  • In a heavy skillet heat the bacon fat or vegetable oil until hot, reduce the heat to low and sprinkle in the flour and stir carefully to begin making roux. Cook the roux until the color is somewhere between peanut butter and milk chocolate, depending on your preference.
  • Whisk the roux into the gumbo and cook over low heat (at a simmer) for twenty minutes.
  • Taste and add additional seasoning, if necessary.
  • In each bowl, stir in a scoop of cooked rice, a pinch of file, and a dash of hot sauce.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)

Cooking time: 2 hour(s) 30 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8

Boneless chicken alteration

Use 2 -3lbs, weighed before cooking.

Brown the chicken and dice. Skip to the roux making portion of the recipe and make the roux, then add the onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic directly to the roux, just as you would in shrimp étouffée. Then slowly stir in the chicken stock you have substituted for water and then add the Cajun seasoning, bay leaves, chicken, okra and tomatoes. Stir well and simmer for 20 minutes.

Enjoy!

Lasagna: The Company Dinner

The hearty sauce for this lasagna recipe is made from scratch and provides enough for a very large pan of lasagna. However, if you’re going to go the trouble of preparing a pan of lasagna, double the recipe and freeze one to bake at a later date. Also, don’t get overwhelmed looking at the ingredient list. The only things that get chopped are onions, garlic, and parsley. Everything else is a simple shake, stir, or squash in.

This is one of those meals, where you could sneak a book into the kitchen and rattle pans once in a while and people will assume you’ve been hard at work the whole time, even though there is a significant down time while the sauce simmers.

If you don’t want to go to all the trouble of lasagna, serve the hearty meat sauce over spaghetti noodles or toss with ziti and mozzarella. Add some fresh spinach or sauteed mushrooms, bell pepper or zucchini and skip the immersion blender for some variety. It’s not rocket science, as long as you don’t stray too far from the bones of this recipe, you’ll have a fantastic meal.

Company’s Coming Lasagna

Sauce:

  • 1 lb hot or mild bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic – minced
  • 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 6oz can tomato paste
  • 2 6.5oz can tomato sauce (or just use one 15oz one, it’s not critical)
  • 2 TBSP white sugar (cuts the acidity of the sauce, omit if you use seasoned tomatoes as they frequently already contain sugar)
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried basil (or use 2 – 3x as much fresh
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 4 TBSP chopped fresh parsley – divided

In a large, heavy pot brown the beef and sausage over medium heat, drain and set aside. I set the meat on paper towels to soak up any remaining grease. Do not wash the pot, all of the browned bits from the beef and sausage add flavor to the final sauce. If you’d like, give the pan a quick wipe to remove any excess grease.

Onion garlic seasoningPlace the pot back on the burner over medium heat and add the diced onion, dried basil (wait if you are using fresh), Italian seasoning, fennel, salt, and pepper. Once the onion begins to soften, add the minced garlic.

To the onions, garlic, and seasoning add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, sugar and if you choose, fresh basil. Return the meat to the pot, stir until well combined and lower the heat to low.

Cover and simmer for 1 – 1.5 hours. Alternately, place all the ingredients in a large crockpot and cook on low all day.

While the sauce simmers, boil 8oz of lasagna noodles according to the package directions.

Also, assemble the ricotta filling.

Add 2 TBSP of parsley at the very end of cooking, unless you skip the blender step. In this case, add all the parsley.

Immersion Blender

I don’t like big chunks of meat in spaghetti or lasagna sauce, except for meatballs. I never said it was rational, it’s just one of my quirks. So, I give the whole sauce a good whir with an immersion blender. I use this thing for everything from soups to smoothies; stick blenders can be found for as little as $25. I’m sure high-end ones are great, but I’ve been happy with my el cheap-o for several years. Add the rest of the parsley and stir.

Now it’s time to assemble the lasagna.

Ricotta filling:

  • 16oz ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 lb pkg frozen spinach, drained completely, squeeze the ever loving life out of it! I mean it

Mix all ingredients well.
That was rough, eh?

Other ingredients for lasagna assembly:

  • 1 lb mozzarella – grated
  • 1 generous cup grated Parmesan (use a Parmesan Romano mix if you’d like)
  • boiled lasagna noodles (the number depends on the size of your pan, use your judgement)

To assemble:

Preheat the oven 375F.

sauce layer Spoon just enough sauce to cover the bottom of the pan.

noodle layer Add a single layer of noodles.

CHEESE Spread with 1/2 the ricotta mixture, sprinkle with 1/3 the mozzarella and parmesan. Repeat layers and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.

**optional tip** add a layer of thinly sliced zucchini, mushrooms, and summer squash.

Cover tightly, but do NOT let the foil touch the cheese or you’ll yank off all the yummy goodness when it is removed. Alternately, add a layer of parchment paper between the lasagna and foil, this works very well.

Bake for 25 minutes, remove the foil and bake for an additional 25 minutes. If the cheese isn’t nicely browned, broil just long enough to add some color.

**Warning, all the cheese makes this dish nuclear hot, allow it to cool some before serving.**

Enjoy.

How to Fry an Egg

Heather says:

Today we’re covering fried eggs -as new projects to procrastinate develop- I’ll also address: scrambled eggs, omelets, frittatas, quiche, and my as yet unnamed hybrid of the three techniques that feeds my family on a busy evening when I have no interest in effort.

 

How to Fry an Egg Tutorial

 

So what is a fried egg? Well there are five ways to have them, in this tutorial:

The Great Fried Egg TutorialGot that?

If you do not have a nonstick pan before you even pull the eggs out of the fridge, you have a little prep work. Grab a bottle of vegetable oil, a paper towel, salt, and your pan. Wipe the pan with a thin coat of vegetable oil. Heat the pan over medium high heat until it is very hot, but not smoking. Turn off the burner and let it cool completely. Your pan is now conditioned and primed for use.

You must do this if you are using a stainless steel pan or the eggs will stick in the tiny scratches and pits on your pan’s surface. The vegetable oil seals these cracks and lets the eggs fry without making a horrific stuck on mess. If some bits of egg do stick to your pan, scrub with a little bit of salt and a paper towel between batches. If you use soap and water, you’ll have to recondition your pan before cooking more eggs.

Now we’re ready to fry some eggs.

Whether the eggs are basted, sunny side up, over light (easy), over medium, or over hard they all start the same:

Gather your conditioned or nonstick pan, your fat -butter, bacon grease, coconut oil, or vegetable oil,- and a spatula. Flipping eggs without a spatula will be covered in a future post. Just hang tight if that’s your goal.

The amount of fat you’ll use depends completely on the size of your pan. You want 1/8″ of fat / oil, less than that and the eggs may stick with more, they may be greasy.

Turn your burner to medium or your griddle to 325F. Allow the pan and fat to heat. To check and see if the pan is ready sprinkle a TINY -you read that right? TINY- amount of water. It should sizzle. If it pops, turn the heat DOWN.

Oil that is too hot causes brown, crispy edges.

Oil that is too cool lets the eggs spread too far which makes them harder to flip.

Reduce the heat to low, unless you’re using a griddle, in that case just leave it alone, but know you’ll have to flip sooner.

Now here’s where the methods diverge.

Baste with a lidFor basted eggs, sprinkle a few drops of water over the eggs and cover. Cook just until the whites are set. The steam will create a thin film of cooked white over the yolk.

For sunny side up eggs cook slowly until the whites are set, then use a spatula to remove from the pan. This is boring, but effective.

To fry eggs over light, medium, or hard they must be turned.

Egg Flip Slide the tip of your spatula all the way around the edge of the white, to ensure the egg is not sticking the pan. Then, slide the spatula halfway under the eggs, in one motion lift up and turn over toward the side of the egg that does not have the spatula under it. That edge (marked in my ever so spiffy illustration with a blue arrow) should never lose contact with the pan.

Remember! Flip gently or suffer the consequence of broken yolks. Remember you will probably break a few before you get the hang of the turn.

Ready to flipFor over light / easy eggs leave them alone until the edge of the white is set, there will still be a pool of unset white surrounding the yolk. Let the egg cook for only a few seconds to set the rest of the white and transfer it to a plate to serve.

Over medium eggs should cook until the white is mostly set, then turned and allowed to cook for 15 – 20 seconds. The yolk should be thick and partially, but not fully cooked. If you break it with a fork, it should still flow, but not be super runny.

Break YolksFor over hard eggs, break the yolk with a fork, then flip and allow to cook until the yolk is completely set.

Enjoy!

Related Post:

How to Hard Boil an Egg

Lowcountry Boil

It’s Memorial Day weekend in the US. Spend time with your loved ones and remember those who sacrificed so we could spend this time together. The recipe below is a classic great for get-togethers with the framily [sic].

Heather says:

Making Low Country Boil is a time honored tradition in the South. Remember how leery I was when I posted my recipe for fried chicken? Lowcountry boil* is another traditional recipe where people will bicker over the right way to get things done. What I’m sharing below is a framework; how you change the ingredients to fit your taste will depend on the tradition you are following or creating.

*notice that sometimes there is a space and sometimes there isn’t, that’s a whole other debate. I tend to stick to Lowcountry, but other people have strong opinions on the matter.

This recipe for Lowcountry boil can be multiplied to feed a crowd. The proportions are for 4lbs medium to large headless, deveined shrimp.

It’s a casual dinner, meant to be enjoyed with cold beer, lots of napkins, talk about the heat, and good friends.

Lowcountry Boil is a one pot wonder. The sausage, potatoes (and onions, if you’d like) are tossed in first, then comes the sweet corn, and finally, at just the last minute the shrimp join in the fun. Never forget, over cooked shrimp are rubber shrimp; as soon as they are cooked through, it’s time to lift the basket or strain the contents.  I’m not cool enough to have a basket insert. Large batches can be prepared outdoors in a turkey fryer, with the exact same timeline.

If you have a picnic table, cover it with newspaper or butcher’s paper, dump out the spread and everyone can pick at the Lowcountry boil to their hearts’ content. Having to peel the shrimp slows people down enough to enjoy the meal and complain about the heat and bugs. It’s a bonding experience.

Lacking a picnic table, we chose to eat indoors, but enjoyed it all the same.

Recipe for Lowcountry Boil

  • 2 lbs smoked or kielbasa sausage, cut into 1 inch pieces  (We prefer smoked, sorry Mom)
  • 3 lbs new or Yukon Gold potatoes – If they are large, quarter them
  • Optional 1 – 2 onions, paper removed and quartered
  • 6 ears of corn, husks and silk removed, broken or cut in half
  • 4 lbs medium shrimp, headless and deveined
  • Crab Boil (love me some Zatarains) or Old Bay Seasoning (I two time on Zatarains w/ Old Bay)  – to taste, somewhere between 2 tsp per quart of water – 1 TBSP per quart
  • 3 – 4 whole cloves (not heads) of garlic

Heat a large pot of water over medium-high heat and add the crab boil or Old Bay.

While waiting for the water to boil, beware of sneak thieves, they will lurk about.

When the water boils add the potatoes, garlic, optional onions, and sausage. You can reduce the heat a little, but keep it boiling. After 10 minutes add the corn

Cook for 5 minutes.

Add the shrimp, turn off the heat, and cook for 3 minutes.

Strain.

Serve.

Enjoy.

Shrimp Quesadillas

Heather says:

I promise you, that if you can make grilled cheese, you’ve got these shrimp quesadillas in the bag. In our house as the weather gets warmer we find ourselves reaching for lighter and lighter fare. Shrimp quesadillas are a perfect main dish item for spring and summer. Don’t go too heavy on the cheese, allow the shrimp to take center stage. If you want to go even lighter, skip the butter on the tortilla, it’s delicious with or without. Serve these as a main dish or appetizer with salsa and guacamole. A handful of raw bell peppers are a perfect side. If you’re only cooking for two, just reduce the shrimp to one pound and use half the tortillas.

If you want these shrimp quesadillas to have a kick, go ahead and leave the jalapeño seeds and ribs intact. Just don’t come crying to me later. Be careful not to boil the shrimp too long, they’ll get rubbery.

I will note that if you use carb balance tortillas, you just might find yourself eating just the filling. Not that anyone around here is guilty of that.

 

Shrimp Quesadillas

Recipe: Shrimp Quesadillas

Summary: Quick and easy shrimp quesadillas, perfect for a beginner cook.

Ingredients

  1. 2 lbs peeled and deveined shrimp
  2. 1/2 cup lime juice – about 2 medium limes
  3. 2 TBSP ground cumin
  4. 3 green onions, chopped
  5. 1 handful cilantro, chopped
  6. 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
  7. 8 tortillas (burrito size)
  8. Shredded cheese
  9. Butter

Instructions

  1. Bring a stockpot of water to a full boil. Add the shrimp to the pot and cook for one to two minutes.
  2. Drain the shrimp and run under cold water to stop the cooking process.
  3. While the water is coming to a boil, mix together the lime juice, cumin, jalapeno, green onions, and cilantro in a large bowl. Once the shrimp are cold, add them to the bowl and toss to evenly coat. Allow to marinate for 10 – 30 minutes.
  4. Heat a large skillet or griddle to medium. Place a buttered tortilla in the skillet and add 1/4 lb of the shrimp mixture to one half of the tortilla. Sprinkle with cheese and fold the tortilla. Cook for a couple minutes on each side until the desired level of browning has been achieved. (If you skip the butter your tortilla won’t brown)

Cooking time (duration): 30

Diet type: Pescatarian

Number of servings (yield): 4

Meal type: dinner

Culinary tradition: USA (Southwestern)

I’m trying out some new recipe software, tell me what you think. Do you like the format?

 

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 Shared on Mouthwatering Monday and Tasty Tuesday.