What We Eat

Since receiving my Miss Menu in the mail a couple weeks ago I’ve been so excited to use it! The first week I had it we were on vacation so this week was my real first week of use and so far I couldn’t love it more.
One big thing I noticed is I saved a bunch of money at the grocery store since I knew exactly what items I needed. I was able to buy for the entire week since I planned our meat meals according to the day I went to the store. I also saved a ton of time at the store since all my items were in categories based on how the store is run. So efficient I don’t know why I ever lived without this! Score 1 for organization!
Anyways, I thought I’d combine two days worth of dinners in this post. Tuesday night I made Cajun chicken and Andouille sausage gumbo and Thursday night I made jerk chicken. Both turned out delicious and both were first time recipes in our house! I was so happy they came out good because nothing is worse than spending a couple hours (and more than a couple dishes) on dinner and it going bad. Like I mentioned in an earlier post I am planning to cook every night for the next two weeks. Most of the recipes are new to us with a couple “oldies but goodies” thrown into the mix.
I don’t normally follow a recipe exactly. I like to look at them and get an idea for ingredients then cook by taste. Like my mama did! So these recipes are about as exact as I could get them but I encourage you to add a pinch more or less as you feel fit!
As a side note: Ryan said the jerk chicken is the best meal I’ve ever made… WooHoo!
Cajun Chicken Gumbo
Ingredients
4 cloves of garlic
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 andouille sausage
1 green bell pepper
1-2 stalks of celery
¼ lb okra
1 yellow onion
2 tbs butter (I use unsalted)
2 tbs all purpose flower
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 tbs Cajun seasoning
½ -1 cup long grain rice (I use brown)
Olive oil
salt and pepper to taste



1.    Cook rice according to package, or I add 1 tsp unsalted butter to 2 cups boiling water, add rice, and simmer, covered, for about 45 min or until all water is absorbed.
2.    While rice is cooking, prepare other ingredients. Wash produce and remove chicken and sausage from fridge. Peel and mince the garlic. Remove the stems, ribs, and seeds from bell pepper and dice along with the celery. Peel and dice the onion. Cut off stems from okra and cut into small rounds.
3.    Make a roux. In a medium pot (I used a 5 ½ quart dutch oven), melt the butter on medium head. Add the flower and stir constantly for about 3 minutes or until deep golden brown.



4.    To the roux, add a drizzle of olive oil, bell pepper, onion, celery, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Stir frequently until vegetables have softened, about 3 minutes.



5.    Increase the heat to med-high and add the chicken breast, sausage, crushed tomato, cajun seasoning, okra, and about 2 cups of water (I add just under the 2 cup line worth of water). Season with a little salt. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat to med-low and simmer, stirring occasionally until chicken and sausage are completely cooked (I cover because I feel the meat is more moist but it will cook slightly faster this way).  Remove from heat.


6.    Remove the cooked chicken and sausage from the pot. Slice the sausage and shred the chicken.


7.    Return chicken and sausage to the pot of gumbo and stir to combine. Add cooked rice. Divide gumbo between two bowls and enjoy!


Jerk Chicken
Ingredients
¾ cup of rice (I used same long grain brown rice from above)
1 can pinto beans
2 scallions
1 bunch cilantro
2 cloves garlic
1 large carrot or 2-3 medium carrots
1 green bell pepper
1 red onion
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1-1 ½ tbs jerk seasoning
2 tbs tomato paste
3 tbs chicken demi-glace
1 lime
salt and pepper to taste

* William Sonoma has demi-glace but it is really pricey! I found “Better Than Bouillion” from Sprouts and thought it worked perfectly! Plus it’s a tenth of the price! Or you can made demi-glace from scratch but its a pain in the behind. 

1.    Cook the rice. In a small pot bring 2 cups water to a boil and add 1 tbs unsalted butter. Once boiling, add rice and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook about 45 min or until all water is absorbed.



2.    Prepare ingredients while rice cooks. Wash and dry produce. Drain and rinse pinto beans. Slice scallions at an angle. Peel and roughly chop garlic. Roughly chop cilantro leaves. Slice carrots into rounds (I didn’t peel the carrots, just washed but if you prefer, peel the carrots at this time). Dice the onion. Remove seeds and ribs and dice bell pepper.
3.    Season chicken with jerk seasoning and salt (I do this once my chicken is already in the pan by doing one side at a time. It doesn’t really make a difference I just feel its cleaner).

4.    In a large pan, heat olive oil and add the chicken (if you haven’t already seasoned do it now).

5.    Cook chicken about 3 minutes per side.

6.    Add onion, garlic, bell pepper, and carrots to the pan. Season with a pinch of salt. Cook until veggies are softened.



7.    Add tomato paste, demi-glace (or sub), pinto beans, and 1 cup water. Stir to combine, scraping the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to med-low. Cover with a lid until chicken in cooked through.

8.    Divide rice between two bowls. Top each with a piece of chicken, half the sauce mixture, cilantro, and scallions. Serve with a lime wedge.


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