Sunday, July 19, 2015


I had no idea what Jambalaya was until my parents moved to Georgia when I went to college.  It's a southern dish that's typically a mash-up of rice, meat (chicken, andouille sausage and shrimp), veggies, spices and chicken stock.  It's kind of like a Spanish paella, only southern-style.

While living in Georgia my mom got this recipe from a friend for Quick Chicken Jambalaya.  It was my first and pretty much only experience with jambalaya and we made it and loved it for years.  It's super easy and yummy and not too spicy.  After getting into cooking more and wanting to branch out I started looking for jambalaya recipes that were a little more authentic.  My sister pointed me in the direction of this recipe and we have really loved it.  It's so full of flavor and just the right level of heat for my taste (although may be a little spicy for the kiddos). It's also great because once everything is chopped and ready to go, you can throw it together in a jiffy!

olive oil
1 rib of celery, small-diced
1/2 onion, small-diced
1/2 orange pepper, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow pepper, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 lb. andouille sausage, sliced
1 1/4 cups chicken stock
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
3/4 cup uncooked rice
1 Tbsp. Creole or Cajun seasoning (Zeus or Tony Cachere's are good or a homemade blend)
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (I omitted this and just added an extra chicken breast)

garnishes: chopped green onion, parsley or cilantro

Heat a drizzle of oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add celery, onion and peppers and sauté about 4 minutes.  Add garlic and sauté another minute.  Add another drizzle of olive oil, of necessary, and add chicken to the pan.  Sauté a couple minutes until about half-cooked.  Add the sausage, tomatoes, rice, stock, Creole seasoning, bay leaf, thyme and cayenne.  Stir together and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and, cover, and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until rice is cooked.

Once rice is tender stir in the shrimp to combine. Continue to simmer until shrimp is fully cooked.  Remove from heat. Remove bay leaf and check for seasoning.  Add more Creole seasoning, salt and pepper, as desired.

Serve warm with choice of garnish.

**Note: I halved the original recipe because I didn't think my kids would eat it and I didn't want to have tons of leftovers. To make original recipe, double everything except the chicken stock and tomatoes.  Still use 1 can of tomatoes and use 3 cups chicken stock.

SOURCE: Gimme Some Oven

Monday, July 6, 2015

Jalapeño Popper Pizza

Confession: I don't think I've ever even had a jalapeño popper!  I don't even know what they really taste like but I could not stop thinking about the idea of this pizza.  So mouth-watering, I had to make it.  Like over and over.  My husband's response to what kind of pizza we were having the other night when I made this was, "oh, that one again."  Yeah, that one again.  Don't get me wrong, he loved it too. The first two times I made it there was no chance of getting a picture so I had to make it again to make sure I got it just right and had a quick couple of seconds to snap some pics.

This pizza definitely isn't the hottest thing I've tasted, but just enough heat and smoke for my taste.  I used half pepper jack cheese and half smoked cheddar cheese (my fave).  Smoked cheddar (not the processed smoked cheese "product", but real cheese) might be hard to find in some areas, so using all pepper jack or using mozzarella or sharp cheddar would be a good substitute. Sometimes I like to add grilled chicken but it can get heavy. In that case, I would use parchment to roll the dough on and just slide that onto the pizza stone. I also brush the edges of the dough with some of the bacon fat and that's TOTALLY optional, but not really....just do it. 

Jalapeño Popper Pizza
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
1 cup shredded smoked cheddar cheese
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 jalapeños, seeded and thinly sliced
a few thin slices of red onion

Prepare pizza dough as directed.  While dough is rising, cook bacon and set aside, reserving a couple tablespoons of the bacon grease.  Prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Preheat oven and pizza stone to 450 degrees. Stretch out pizza dough onto pizza peel dusted with flour or cornmeal. Brush bacon grease around the outer edges. Using either your fingers or a spatula, spread softened cream cheese over the dough, leaving about a 1-inch border where you brushed the bacon grease. Layer both cheeses, crumbled bacon, red onion and jalapeños.  Slide pizza onto baking stone and bake 8-10 minutes, or until lightly golden and cheese  is bubbly. 


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