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I love gumbo. But it can be a major undertaking! This slow cook version makes it so easy. And it is SO good. I highly recommend adding the roux at the end. It makes the sauce just right.

slow cook chicken and sausage gumbo

Slow Cook Chicken & Sausage Gumbo
via back to her roots

1 large onion, diced
2 large red bell peppers, diced
2 large stalks celery, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
12 ounces frozen or fresh okra, sliced into discs
1 tablespoon dried oregano
3 bay leaves
12 ounces andouille sausage, sliced into half moons
1-1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
3 cups water
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large slow cooker, add all ingredients. Cook on high for 6 hours or low for 8 or until vegetables are mushy and stock is slightly thickened (it will still be thin; if you find it too thin, stir in a roux to thicken to preference). Serve with brown or white rice.

Here’s a classic! Easy too. The only thing you need is a little patience. But it’s well worth the wait!

beefstew-craigclaibourne-raudette

Easy Beef Stew
via the ny times

4 pounds lean, boneless chuck steak
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
2 cups coarsely chopped onions
6 tablespoons flour
4 cups dry red wine
2 cups water
4 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon thyme
6 sprigs parsley, tied in a bundle
6 large carrots, about 1 1/2 pounds, trimmed and scraped

Cut the meat into two-inch cubes. Using a large skillet, heat the oil and add the beef cubes in one layer (I ended up cooking mine in 2 batches because the pot wasn’t big enough). Add salt and pepper and cook, stirring and turning the pieces often, for about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 10 minutes. Sprinkle with flour and stir to coat the meat evenly. Add the wine and stir until the mixture boils and thickens. Stir in the water. Add the cloves, bay leaf, thyme and parsley. Cover closely and simmer for one hour.
Meanwhile, cut the carrots into one-inch lengths. If the pieces are very large, cut them in half lengthwise. Add them to the beef. Cover and continue cooking for 30 minutes, or until the carrots are tender. Serve the stew sprinkled with chopped parsley.

It’s that time of the year again, soup and stews almost every week! Any my favorite flavor boost – a little beer! Check out this amazingly simple cabbage stir fry, packed with flavor and warmth.

Cabbage-Roll-Rice_simply_stacie

Cabbage Roll Rice
adapted from simply stacie

2 cups cabbage, roughly chopped
1 lb. ground beef
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp italian seasoning
28oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup beer
1 cup Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice

Add ground beef, onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, salt and paprika to a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the ground beef is browned (about 10 minutes). Stir in italian seasonings, cabbage, diced tomatoes, water, beer and rice and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low. Cover and simmer for 18-20 minutes, or until rice is cooked and liquid is absorbed. Stir before serving. Serve hot.

It’s been so long! But stews have been calling me. And this is the perfect transitional stew. Fresh, bright ingredients that still feel right on a warm summer night, but warm and filling enough as the weather starts to turn. Plus, anything with fresh peas and ricotta is bound to be amazing.

fregola with green peas mint and ricotta

Fregola with Green Peas, Mint and Ricotta
via bon appetit

1 1/4 cups fregola (can substitue pearl couscous, if you’re having trouble!)
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
2 ounces bacon (about 3 slices), chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup dry white wine
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
Freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt
1 cup shelled fresh peas (from about 1 pound pods) or frozen peas, thawed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, plus leaves for serving
4 ounces ricotta

Cook fregola in a large pot of boiling salted water until very al dente, 6-8 minutes. Drain pasta (do not rinse), reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.
Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium and cook bacon, stirring often, until bacon is brown around the edges, about 5 minutes. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until bacon is crisp and onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add wine, bring to a simmer, and cook until skillet is almost dry, about 5 minutes. Add broth and bring to a simmer. Add fregola and cook, stirring often, until pasta is just al dente and broth is thickened, about 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Add peas and chopped mint and cook, stirring, until peas are warmed through, about 2 minutes. Add pasta cooking liquid as needed to adjust consistency. Serve topped with ricotta, mint, and cracked pepper and drizzled with oil.

 

Well, that hiatus ended up being a bit longer than expected, but I did forget to mention that summer can last well into early October here in Seattle. I’ve also been working too much, but here are a couple of recipes we tried recently and really loved! I’m just starting to get back in the swing of cooking again, it’s been a long, wonderful, busy, crazy summer.

The second the weather starts to turn, I’m ready for soup season! This one is hearty and delicious, but still bright enough to feel good on a warmish day.

lemon-chicken-soup

Lemony Chicken & Spring Vegetable Soup
View the full recipe here via The Cozy Apron.

Also this fabulous potato salad, which was so packed with flavor and so filling, we ate it as a meal all on it’s own.

potato salad with sausage and fennel

Potato Salad with Italian Sausage and Fennel
View the full recipe here via Cook the Story.

Hope you enjoy these! More recipes and fun stuff to come soon!
I hope your summer has been fabulous too! xoxo.

It snowed last night here in Seattle. And the answer to snow is always a hearty soup. We made this a little while back on a cold, cold night and it really hit the spot. Packed with veggies and greens and sausage and lentils, this is definitely a meal in a bowl. The sizzlling garlic oil addition at the end adds just the right kick of flavor. Definitely satisfies all my winter desires.

lentil soup with sausage chard and garlic

Lentil Soup with Sausage, Chard & Garlic
via smitten kitchen

1/2 cup olive oil, divided
4 large links of sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 medium onion, diced
2 celery stalks, sliced or diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into half-moons or diced
4 cloves garlic, sliced (reserve half for later in recipe)
Kosher salt
A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 cup brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
2 bay leaves
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
6 cups water
Freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 cups shredded or thinly ribboned Swiss chard leaves or kale
Grated Pecorino Romano cheese to finish

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil (enough to coat bottom of pot) in a large pot on medium heat. When hot, add the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until it starts to brown, about five minutes. Add the onion, celery, carrots, first two garlic cloves, a pinch fo salt, and if you like your soup spicy, a pinch of red pepper flakes. Cook with the sausage until the vegetables soften a bit, another 5 minutes. Add the lentils, bay leaves, tomatoes, water (6 cups is, conveniently, a little less than 2 empty 28-ounce cans, so you can get any tomato pulp you missed), more salt and black pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook until the lentils are tender, about 40 minutes. (It might be necessary to add more water if the soup gets too thick, though we preferred ours on the thick side). When the lentils are cooked, add the chard and cook until the leaves are tender, just a few minutes more. Discard the bay leaves.
To finish, divide soup among bowls, then add the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and 2 garlic cloves to a small skillet and heat over medium until the garlic softens and hisses. Drizzle this over soup bowls, and top with fresh Romano, passing more at the table. Leftovers will keep for several days in the fridge.

Trying to get back on the paleo wagon this week with a hearty stew to start us off. Fresh, meaty and bright! The lemon added just the right amount of acid to this hearty, delicious dish.

chicken-meatballs-with-braised-lemon-and-kale

Chicken Meatballs with Braised Lemon and Kale
via bon appétit

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 medium shallots, minced, divided
1 scallion, minced (all parts), plus thinly sliced green tops for garnish
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound ground chicken meat (or turkey)
1 teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, plus more
1 lemon, very thinly sliced and seeds removed
2 cups chicken broth
1 large bunch curly kale, destemmed

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add shallot, scallion, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring constantly until softened and fragrant, about 6 minutes. Add 1/3 of ground chicken and cook just until cooked through, breaking up any clumps. Transfer to a medium bowl and let cool slightly. Add remaining chicken meat, salt, and several grindings of black pepper. Mix just to combine. Wipe out the pot and add the remaining tbsp oil. Heat over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Form meat mixture into 8 meatballs each about 2 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter and add to pot (mixture will be soft). Cook until light golden brown on all sides, 6-8 minutes total. Remove meatballs to a plate; set aside.
Add remaining shallot and lemon slices and cook until lemon slices are tender and starting to turn light golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add chicken broth and return meatballs to pot. Bring to simmer, lower heat and cover. Cook meatballs until cooked through, 8-10 minutes. Add kale to pot, and cook until tender and bright green, 4-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat. Divide kale and sauce among 4 shallow bowls, topping with meatballs and lemon slices. Garnish with sliced scallion tops and serve.

 

Some nights I’m in for a big, complex meal. I love spending time in the kitchen, but it’s not always one of those nights. Sometimes we’re short on energy, but still want something homemade and delicious. On those nights I head over to Stonesoup; it’s full of simple, fresh, whole food recipes.
I love this recipe for it’s simplicity and it’s versatility. I’m thinking next time we might add brussels sprouts. We often toss whatever’s on hand in a baking pan and roast it in the oven for a hour, but this recipe has a great balance of flavors and is a perfect starting point for different combinations.

roasted sausage onions and butternut squash

Magic Sausage Supper
via stonesoup

1/2 butternut squash
2 medium onions, quartered lengthwise
1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes
4 thick sausages (we used kielbasa)
1 small bunch flat leaf parsley, leaves picked

Preheat your oven to 350F. Halve the squash crosswise then chop into wedges. Place pumpkin, onion, chili and sausages in a roasting dish. Drizzle generously with olive oil. Roast for about an hour, stirring at the half way mark. It’s ready when everything is golden and tender. Serve with parsley leaves sprinkled over the top.

Mushrooms and marsala are always the perfect pairing. And Smitten Kitchen always does it perfectly. My obsession started with the Mushroom Bourguignon (favorite dish ever) and blossomed from there. I love the simple ingredients that play off each other so well here.

chicken and mushroom marsala

Chicken and Mushroom Marsala
via smitten kitchen

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, halved and sliced thin
3/4 pound mushrooms, sliced thin, any variety you like
1/2 cup dry Marsala
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves (optional, for garnish)

Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. In a large heavy skillet heat oil and 1 1/2 tablespoons butter over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and brown chicken in 2 batches, transferring with tongs to a large plate as browned. Discard all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet and sauté onion and mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated. Add Marsala and cook mixture, stirring, until Marsala is almost evaporated. Add broth and chicken with any juices that have accumulated on plate and simmer, turning chicken once, until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Transfer chicken with tongs to a platter.
Simmer mushroom sauce until liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup. Remove skillet from heat and stir in remaining 2 tablespoons butter and salt and pepper to taste, stirring until butter is just incorporated. Spoon mushroom sauce around chicken and sprinkle with parsley.