Tag Archives: garlic

Creole Chicken Gumbo

Better as leftovers? Possibly. Portioning out servings of rice with the leftover Gumbo for lunch the following day, one for my man, plus one to give away, and one for myself, I noticed the rice absorbed quite a bit of the liquid the next day even though I dropped spoonfuls of rice in the storage containers as opposed to mixing it in.


Creole Seasoning

T dried onions 

T dried melange peppercorns, milled with dried onions to make powder

T garlic powder

T dried oregano

T dried basil

T dried thyme

½ T cayenne

2 ½ T paprika 

1 ½ T salt


Chopped carrots, celery, and shallots. Honestly, I’d rather eat not-so-fresh veggies than something from a box.

Brown the roast chicken and chicken Andouille sausage on medium-high with olive oil.

In the same pan after chopping the chicken breasts and adding all of the browned meat to the Crock-Pot, brown the flour and equal part olive oil, stirring constantly.

The darker, the better from what I understand; as long as you don’t let it burn.

It will make the kitchen smell amazing! Or if you just start getting nervous that it’s going to burn, add the veggies. Cook for about four minutes. Then, add the remaining ingredients to the pot.

Cook on High for 4 hours or Low for 8-10 hours.

This was the result after four hours on High.

This was the leftovers! Both were delicious, but there was no soupiness to the leftovers. I feel like a true Gumbo is more like a stew after the rice has time to soak up the soup…but what do I know?

Chicken Gumbo

Lb chopped roasted chicken

Lb chicken Andouille sausage, sliced on a bias

One stalk celery, chopped

One medium carrot, chopped

One shallot, chopped

5 cloves of garlic, minced

8 c water

8 t Better Than Bouillon – Chicken

One large bay leaf

2 t Creole seasoning (see recipe towards beginning of post)

½ t dried thyme

½ c flour

½ c olive oil


Garlic Butter Ravioli

Bend asparagus spears as close to the bottom as possible breaking off the stiffest part of the stalk and discard (or add to compost pile). Chop shallot, mince garlic.

Melt two tablespoons of butter with two tablespoons of olive oil.

Brown both side of the chicken (pre-cooked in the slow cooker on High for four hours) in butter after adding three cloves minced garlic and one chopped shallots and cooking until clear.

I actually steamed the asparagus while the pasta was cooking. Drain pasta when floats. Plate ingredients and sprinkle with sliced almonds. Add extra olive oil and melted butter to the pasta if preferred. Easy.

Cajun Chicken and Sausage Pasta

Photo by M. Sandoval

One-Pot Cajun Chicken and Sausage Alfredo Pasta. That’s a mouthful!

This recipe was at the end of a blog post that I neither had the time nor patience to read. The photos are beautiful and show most, if not all, of the ingredients. I love that! What happens with me, though, is: I already have chicken going in the slow-cooker where I know it will be cooked to perfection. My dilemma is getting a recipe together in time for dinner. Why don’t I plan better? I can’t. Literally. Chicken in the pot is a good sign! So, I skim over the recipe and check to see if I need anything from the store. Here, I only needed the sausage and more cream. This would be easy; fresh parsley in the backyard, bulk garlic from Costco, as well as pasta, spices, and my favorite chicken “stock” Better Than Bouillon are all always on hand.

Sometimes I’ll grab the few ingredients I need for several recipes, but I really do need to get out of the house everyday. Today, was a quick-stop day.

A package of quality Andouille sausage, slice the links on a bias, brown in a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Add minced garlic, stock, and then cream. Here is where not reading all the directions ahead of time (or at least, thoroughly, became a problem…or a bump in the process). I had a pot of water going in which I planned on cooking the pasta. Looking at the pan with the sausages and stock, I realized I missed something because the cream was not going to fit. I could blame the stock; Better Than Bouillon is added to water to make as much as you need and maybe I wasn’t paying attention to the quantity of liquid I would be using. I could also blame pan use. Stock pots were not made for browning meat, but this recipe clearly states in the name that it’s a “one-pot” dish.

Anyway, I caught it at the right time (really, this is just not a one-pot dish–the chefs will tell you!); after adding the stock to the pan with the sausages which “deglazes” the pan getting all the “yummy bits”, as my chef friend calls it, off the bottom of the pan from browning the meat, and before adding the cream which potentially could stick to the pan. Everybody into the stock pot. Continuing from there, it worked out perfectly.

Cajun Spice:

1½ T sea salt

1½ T cayenne

1½ T paprika

1½ T garlic powder

1½ T fresh ground black pepper

T dried chopped onion

T dried oregano

Optional: T dried thyme


I had cooked the chicken separately and so chopped it and added it with the cream, pasta, and parmesan cheese (where the author used fresh grated parmesan which I didn’t know until looking up the website to cite–I use what I have unless I know it will compromise the integrity of the recipe).


What’s left of our backyard parsley after last month’s heat wave. Sprinkled on top!

Amazing flavor, just the right amount of heat (which is variable)! This one’s a keeper!


Follow me on https://poshmark.com/closet/dreamecri for the latest fashion styling tips!

Mee Hoon

You may know this dish as pancit. Depends on what kind of restaurant you visit or where you’re from. It’s difficult memorizing the names of all the foreign dishes you like unless you eat out a lot…or you cook them yourself. I honestly didn’t even know the name of this dish until I was an adult trying to duplicate something my mom had cooked on occasion while I was growing up. I had to ask her, describing it as best I could not knowing the name of mushrooms she used but only how they crunched in my mouth; the noodles by how she prepped them before cooking.

It doesn’t have the exact same flavor as my mom’s cooking it myself, but I’m able to leave out the ingredients I didn’t like, especially onions, and replace them with shallots while choosing other vegetables I like.

This time I used Napa cabbage, shredded carrots, and shallots…

Also, rice noodles and frozen shrimp whereas traditionally, you use dried shrimp.

Having a variety of colors adds to the culinary experience.

Here’s some of the prep: soaking the noodles, chopping the shallots, washing/drying the cabbage. Similarly to https://cookingupuneecrivaine.wordpress.com/2017/03/29/classic-fried-rice/ , you make sure everything that needs to be cooked is cooked and then combine everything, including sauce, to heat through. Very simple.


Ground Turkey Eggplant Lasagna

Mixing favorite veggies in an attempt to make a one-pot dinner resulting in our new favorite lasagna; although, I have to wonder if the new marinara sauce is to blame.

Ground Turkey and Veggie Lasagna


8 0z Lasagna (half a box) noodles

One eggplant, 3/4 skin removed (potato peeler works nicely) and cubed

8 oz sliced mushrooms

Handful (about 4 oz) of spinach, roughly chopped

One jar (40 oz) of Victoria White Linen Marinara Sauce

One shallot, chopped

4 cups mozzarella cheese, divided

8 oz cottage cheese

3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, divided

Leftover chopped tomatoes (about 7 oz canned)

3 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

Cooking spray

Layer in Crock-Pot on High for 3 ½ hours. 

I began with browning the ground turkey in olive oil on medium-high heat with salt and pepper 1/4-½ teaspoon of each. After draining the excess fat, add chopped shallots to the pan, stir in. Add eggplant, salt and pepper (1/4-½ teaspoon). Sauté until the eggplant is translucent. 

Coat inside of Crock-Pot with cooking spray. Add ingredients from pan to pot.



Oops, forgot to sauté the mushrooms! Into the pan they go with a little olive oil and salt and pepper until translucent!


I almost forgot garlic, too! Right on top of the cooked mix worked out perfectly. (photo below)


Minced garlic, then chopped tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms, and marinara sauce. Generally when you do lasagna, you layer it three times, but I was running out of time. I needed to get the cooking time going on the Crock-Pot for this meal to be ready for dinner. I did two layers with the mushrooms and tomatoes only in the bottom layer and spinach only in the top layer.

The first layer is always sauce, so since I had half of the meat and veggies already in the pot, I added the tomatoes and half of the sauce over it. Then all of the mushrooms, a layer of pasta, 4 oz cottage cheese, 2 c mozzarella, ½ c Parmesan. Repeat meat mixture, sauce, add spinach, continue with remaining cheese. Cover and cook.

 The result? It was that melt-in-your-mouth goodness that you get from fresh, savory ingredients. I don’t know how to describe it exactly, but it was like comfort food…and fusion…delicious!




Cincinnati Chili

Did somebody say chocolate?! Until I saw this recipe, I had only heard of chocolate added to mole in a savory dish. This was surprisingly fantastic! I’m not sure if it was the cocoa or if it was the right balance of spices, but this may be may favorite chili yet.

Begin, of course, with sautéing the shallots and browning the and ground turkey.

Add the spices and seasoning, tomatoes…

Toss in the cooked ground turkey and shallots.

Mmm…can’t wait!

All those spices and seasoning, yes!

Crock-Pot Slow Cooker Recipes binder, p.120

Crock-Pot Loaded Potatoes

Beautiful potatoes, I agree. You have extra because you bought the ten pound bag at a discount, right? They won’t go to waste with this recipe!

Yeah, for real! Loaded potatoes, easily done in the Crock-Pot. Delicious, perfectly cooked, and a crowd-pleaser.

Wash and scrub them. Chop them into bite size pieces or cubes. The foil didn’t save from any mess that cooking spray could prevent, so save your foil. It’s easier to stir this goodness together which I recommend at least halfway through the cooking time to make sure all of the potatoes cook evenly.

I used chives from my backyard! I hate onions, but these are light enough to season dishes without any strong flavor from it.

Beautiful, right? Are you drooling yet?

I used the following recipe as a guide.

Lemon Chicken Piccata

I love finding a variety of recipes with the same main ingredients. It just takes a simple change in seasoning to make a recipe different, and seasonings keep well throughout the year if stored properly, so if you cook as much as I do, it’s worth having an assortment of dried herbs and spices in your kitchen. I also have a small garden of our most used herbs growing fresh in the backyard. The pint of cream I bought for this recipe, I split to also use for the Zuppa Toscana so as not to waste the cream which is not a common item in my kitchen. So, on with the show…

There’s an Italian grill chain restaurant that makes a piccata which is actually my favorite dish to order making this recipe that much more satisfying to be able to cook at home. I absolutely love cooking and love knowing exactly what is in my food.

I think I want to make double the recipe next time! There just wasn’t enough leftovers.

Here’s the sauce with all the yummy bits from browning the chicken. Add heavy cream.


Add capers and lemon juice. *I’ve made this over and over, and the milk can curdle easily, so adding before serving tastes just as good as the recipe calls for it and saves you from that. Unless you’re a pro at cooking with milk and cream, I would recommend it at the end which also gives you that fresh taste.

The chicken breaded and browned a nice golden brown. Remove from pan to finish the sauce. It has a nice crust of parmesan and flour with salt and pepper.

I actually cheated and cooked frozen chicken in the crockpot for four hours on High. It always comes out perfectly cooked and tender that way. Cold from refrigerating it the night before, I then breaded it and browned it on the skillet with olive oil. I think there’s less chance of it drying out if you start with cold chicken since the breading doesn’t take long to brown. It came out perfectly delicious.

Creamy Lemon Parmesan Chicken (Piccata)

Zuppa Toscana

Doesn’t that look scrumptious and satisfying? It is. I feel like I can say that because I didn’t make up this recipe. It is supposed to be a copy-cat of a popular chain Italian restaurant. The link to the recipe is at the end of this post.

This was much more flavorful than I expected. Eight ingredients, but very well chosen. The  Italian sausage is perfectly seasoned to balance the mild veggies in this recipe.

Add browned sausage, chicken broth, potatoes or Cannellini beans.

Add kale and cream in last half hour of cooking.


Update: I recently substituted the potatoes with Cannellini beans as a low-carb option. Not only are the beans as hearty as potatoes, but they offer a good amount of fiber as well as a different array of vitamins and minerals. This is our new favorite Zuppa Toscana! Needless to say, it went over very well in my house.

Pork Pozole

Not your grandmother’s pork pozole. This is the experience without the guilt. I have been hearing the names of Mexican dishes more and more over the past two years but not your ordinary taco or burrito names, so me, I have to look it up and how to make it. I am finding that Mexican food is much more exciting than the corner fast-food joint and so much more satisfying! Horchata, champurrado, elote, chiles rellenos…mole! A few that you have to try to understand the variety available. Of course, chili powder is a common seasoning in whatever meat you choose which can be used for so many recipes, but why limit yourself? This pozole is hearty and full of flavor. You can make it traditional by adding shredded cabbage before serving with warmed tortillas. A quick internet search will tell you any common Mexican topping will also go well with this; queso fresco, sliced avocado, sour cream, for example.

One pound pork tenderloin, sliced into ½-inch discs

One large shallot, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

Two cups of enchilada sauce (homemade, recipe below)

One can of hominy (15.5 oz)

Two small bay leaves

1/4 teaspoon of cumin

1/4 teaspoon of oregano

salt and pepper

Everything in the slow cooker on Low for 6 hours.

I suggest doubling the seasoning and veggies in the future. The sauce only made enough for two servings. I would also take the meat out at the end and cut it into 1-inch cubes. Leaving it in large pieces while cooking helps it retain moisture. Waiting to cut it into small pieces will help keep the pork tender.

Enchilada Sauce, makes about 3 cups

1 ½ cups water

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup chili powder

1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce

2 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix or blend together. Add to crock-pot with recipes calling for enchilada sauce. Stores nicely in the refrigerator. This is uncooked, so the flour will not thicken the sauce (and the flavor burn off) until heated thoroughly.