Tag Archives: Cook

In the Stoup-Italian-style Chicken Meatball Stoup that is!


I won’t lie – stoup isn’t my expression I stole it from Rachael Ray – it’s a soup that eats like a stew! Not only that – but its perfect for a rainy day like today.  This is a recipe – adapted from Rachael Ray’s Just In Time Cookbook, (Double Dumpling Chicken Stoup) I just tweaked it a bit for our family and – well what we had in the fridge at the time!  I consider this one kid friendly – the 4 and 6 year old both liked it – and my 40 year old kid (AKA Dad) wasn’t even finished his second helping when he declared “This is definitely a keeper! ”  I reheated some for lunch and he took some for work and it will reheat beautifully.

Italian Chicken Meatball Stoup (Joy style)

  • 2 TB EVOO
  • 1-2 broccoli stalk – peeled, half chopped into small pieces, the other shredded with a grater (keep the florets for another dinner)
  • 4 medium to large carrots – peeled, trimmed and shredded using a grater
  • 1 small – med zucchini – peel and chopped or shredded
  • 1 red onion – peeled and grated or chopped finely
  • 2 dried bay leaf
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 4 cups veggie stock (I use homemade stocks with no salt added so adjust seasoning accordingly if you are using store-bought stock)
  • 1LB extra lean ground chicken
  • 1 egg – beaten
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup Italian Bread Crumbs (I use ones that contain a bit of Romano cheese as well as seasoning)
  • 1/2 cup grated (fresh is best) baby Parmesan cheese
  • 1 package (one that feeds 2-4) fresh gnocchi (potato stuffed pasta)
  • 1 cup frozen peas – thawed
  • salt & pepper to taste

Heat a soup pot (large saucepan) over med-high heat.  Add oil to hot pan, allow to heat for a couple of minutes.  Add onions, broccoli and zucchini and saute for 5 minutes.  Add the stocks and cover. Bring to a boil and reduce heat.

Meanwhile in a small bowl, mix the ground chicken, garlic, nutmeg, bread crumbs and beaten egg and some black pepper and Parmesan cheese (can also add a bit of salt 1/8-1/4 tsp if desired).  Combine with your hands until thoroughly mixed. Form into tiny meatballs – it will make a lot of meatballs!! – about the size of shelled peanut or walnut.  Add to stoup.  Cook for about 4 minutes (simmering in a slow boil).  Add gnocchi to pot and cook (boil) for another 5 minutes .  Add thawed peas. Turn the heat off and allow to stand in pot for 5 minutes before serving.  We had this garnished with parsley and assorted buns (pumpernickel was my fave). enJOY.

Like it? Tried it?  Leave a comment and let me know!  Visit my Facebook page (Joy In Your Kitchen) or website http://mealsfromjoyskitchen.com to sign up for my newsletter!

Eat better than your cat.


You are what you eat … no seriously you are….

I was standing in a particularly slow line at the grocery store this morning and overheard the women in front of me chatting with the cashier about the cat food she was buying.  She was remarking that it was good she had a coupon because the cat food was a little more expensive but she lived alone and her cat was her friend and companion and was worth the extra money spent on a “better-for-it” food.  Ok, makes sense.  Then I looked down at what was on the belt and noticed what she was buying – the cat food, was indeed a higher end brand  but the rest of the “people food” was all garbage…. Keeping in mind this women lives alone, she was buying 13, yes 1. 3. full sized bags of assorted chips, 3 containers of chip dip, 2 boxes of granola bars, juices, a case of pop, and multiple boxes of premade process crap  umm I mean “food” (term used loosely here) like frozen dinners, breaded sodium and fat filled stuffed chicken (ahem again – term used loosely) breast, nuggets, pizzas and other assorted frozen non food.

Do see anything wrong with this picture? Why is her pet worth spending more on than herself?   Now this women was a heavyset women, and was huffing and puffing and out of breath shuffling her groceries around and heaving them into the grocery cart.  Now I am not here to judge about weight – its not about weight – its about health.   All I could think of to myself was – that women has 1 bag of frozen corn and that’s the only vegetable she is buying  (and really lets face it – its really more of a starch then a veggie) and not one fresh  or frozen fruit!  Then to top it all off – when all was said and done the cashier announced “OK, that comes to $161. 91 – I just about fell over!  I mean, I did our main grocery shopping for our family of 4 (2 adults, 2 young kids)  the other day, and spent $111 and change.  However we bought, meat (real meat), lots of fresh veggies, fruit, toilet paper, milk, cheese, butter, etc etc. real food – yup I will say it again REAL. FOOD.

OK, I get that not everyone likes to cook  – or cooks for a living like I do. However there are alternatives out there, people and businesses like mine (Joy In Your Kitchen) – I make homemade fully cooked meals from whole foods and deliver them frozen – but there are also so many things you can do yourself with little to no effort to make a healthy meal quickly.  In the time it takes to bake one of those pre-made breaded chicken “breasts” stuffed with broccoli and cheddar, you could bake a real chicken breast, with freshly squeezed lime juice and sprinkled with chili flakes, steam some broccoli throw on some rice (NOT that instant crap – brown or long grain is great – or try jasmine or basmati rice – I use our rice cooker to make it easy peasy- chuck the rice and water (or use chicken stock) in close the lid and forget it) or quinoa and make a salad.  Heck – don’t want to go to the trouble of buying all the ingredients for a salad – buy a salad in a bag complete with dressing!  Better yet – forgo the typically fat laden dressing (you know the creamy stuff),  add a bit of feta cheese to the salad (it keeps FOREVER in the fridge) and sprinkle with balsamic vinegar.  Save yourself a whole lot of calories and saturated fats and feel better.  If you use this type of eating as fuel for your body – doesn’t it just make sense that your engine (body) will run cleaner?  Naturally flush the toxins out, and sustain a healthier and happier lifestyle – I mean who wants to huff and puff hauling groceries?  Even better add a little exercise (consult your doctor first before starting any exercise program) – baby steps – go for a walk then shovel the driveway, heck – pay things forward – surprise your neighbour and shovel their driveway!  Go tobogganing with the kids – or with your friends (who cares if your 40 – tobogganing is fun!) and walk up the hill, walk the dog, try out snow shoeing or cross country skiing.  Not an outdoor person?  Go to the mall and walk around it (briskly) for 25-45 minutes (you can go shopping later –  this is about continual movement), go to YouTube and search Yoga or Pilates – do some poses, buy a exercise DVD, join a class, try swimming, aquafit or walking the lengths of the pool (in the water).   Maybe you can only get moving for 5 or 10 mins at first  – that’s fine, DO IT!   I promise if you keep it up and eat cleaner you will be able to do 10 mins, then 15, then 20 and so on and so on.  Make your mind up and do it – get a friend to promise to motivate each other – heck write to me! Because no matter who you are or what you do, have or have not done in the past – you deserve it …. yes … even more so than your cat. 🙂

Easy Baked (or Grilled) Chicken Meal … or make it into a two-fer!
(sorry guys, I didn’t have time to take any pictures today!) 

Chicken & Quinoa Meal 1
1-2 chicken breast (or however many you need for you or your family)
1 lime
chili flakes to taste
Quinoa (you can get it at the grocery store typically near the rice or the Bulk Barn)
1 lemon
Broccoli – fresh is best but get the frozen kind if you don’t want to deal with fresh
optional – dried cranberries or crasions
optional – feta cheese
bag of salad
balsamic vinegar (the older its aged the sweeter it is)

Equipment needed:  1 manual juicer (I think it makes it easier – you don’t have to use but they cost about $1 at the Dollar Store) and a cookie sheet or baking pan. 1 saucepan.

Instructions
squeeze the juice out of the lime -pour over chicken breast, sprinkle with chili flakes (no you don’t need salt TRUST ME – this is good just like this)  bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until juices run clear (internal temperature is 165-170).
*tip: if you are not using a juicer to juice the lime or lemon, roll it on the counter a few times before cutting in half – you will get more juice this way.

Meanwhile just before chicken is done, set a pot of water (amount specific to the quinoa directions) to boil on the stovetop, add lemon to water (or use chicken stock), add broccoli and boil for 2 min, add quinoa to broccoli pot (cook according to directions), add cranberries or craisons and (optional) a bit of feta cheese,  just before serving, and fluff with fork or mix together. Dump some of your bag of salad into a bowl, add some feta if you like, top with balsamic vinegar. Voila dinner is served – 2 pots/pans, 1 dish, fork and knife. pretty easy eh?

Meal 2
Wait – have extra Quinoa? Don’t toss it out yet! Throw in some parsley, spinach and feta and make it into a salad for the next day’s lunch or dinner! Extra chicken throw that in too?  Or make extra chicken while you are cooking anyway and throw it into a wrap with and feta some of the bagged salad for lunch or dinner.

*Quinoa Tip 1:  if you are cooking quinoa on its own, you can play with flavours by adding different juices (from the fruit not from the bottle) like oranges, lemons or limes, chop up some pecan or almonds, substitute chicken (or vegetable) stock for water, add different spices play with different options till you find something you like!
* Quinoa Tip 2: rinse the quinoa before cooking to prevent bitterness – if you are losing it down the sink put it in a sifter (like for flour) and gently run the water over it

*To get more of the skinny (haha) on quinoa -check this article out.

I love to hear your comments or suggestions – please subscribe to my blog and/or leave me your comments!

From my kitchen to yours, happy and healthy eating!

Its a New Year – 5 steps towards accomplishing your goals & Clean Out the Fridge Primavera.


I don’t make resolutions.

That’s right I said it – I don’t make resolutions.

Resolutions revolving around New Years are for the most part – empty – made to in an effort to appease the masses – some thing done to say you have.  I mean really – how many New Years resolutions have you made and kept – for longer than a week or past the 1st week of February? Look at any gym 7 weeks into the year.  Where as the first week in January you had to wrestle the treadmill from the other 500 people, now you could bowl in in between the machines.
Long ago I gave up on the typical New Years resolutions. Any “resolution” I have made and kept have always been made as a promise to myself – whether that be to lose weight (who hasn’t made that one before?) – quit smoking (gasp – yes I’m an ex ex ex – smoker – actually have been and ex smoker now for longer than I was a smoker) or whatever else was made because I was sick and tired of doing whatever I was resolving to quit and funnily enough – never at New Years.    Instead of a resolution, I think of it as a promise – a promise to myself – samatics you might think – but to be fair I am far more likely to give up on a resolution than I am to break a promise.  If its a promise to myself – who better to avoid disappointing.   This year to further cement my promise and to help you cement yours – I’m sharing with you my tips on how to keep your “resolutions”.

 1.  Be real.  If you really want something to stick be realistic of your abilities.  If you resolve to win a marathon and you are not a runner – Break it into smaller steps – promise to yourself that you will run – a little each day and work towards a marathon.  Maybe winning the marathon can be next years promise.

2. Plan.  If you want it to happen – you need a plan surrounding the how to make it happen. Period.

3.  Confidence.  Make it attainable by including smaller goals to build your confidence.

4.  Write it down – write down your promise. Then write down your plan.  Write down your smaller goals – if you are a visual person like me – I cross off each smaller goal as I accomplish it – the more things I can cross off – the better I feel about myself and the more likely I am to keep moving in the right direction.  Another fantastic visual tool is a vision board.  Get out your old magazine and cut out words and pictures that represent what accomplishing that goal means to you. Paste them on a bulletin board or Bristol board. Put it somewhere you see it and take a minute to reflect on it when you are feel down – then revisit your list of things you have already done to accomplish it.

5.  Forgive.  Forgive yourself – if you miss a small goal, take a step backwards, stall out at some point, relapse – whatever – realize you are human and not a machine.  Life happens.  Forgive your self and start again.

6.  Timelines.  Give your self a timeline and check in with yourself – are you on target?  Better yet – do you have a buddy working towards an alike goal or even an unlike goal – check in with one another and encourage each other to keep going.

If you follow these steps – whether you want to lose weight, get healthy, give up junk food, quit smoking, run a marathon, or fly to the moon, I promise you will have more success than trying on your own.

And now my easy recipe of the week.

Clean Out the Fridge Primavera

1/2 box penne (or whatever you are cleaning up)
2  sweet potato  fingerlings
1/4 head broccoli
1/2 c frozen peas
1 cooked chicken breast
chicken stock
basil
white wine
black pepper & garlic & onion
EVOO

The ingredients in this change – depending on what I have left over in the fridge and need to get rid of – carrots, celery, green beans, spinach or whatever else you have also works!

Cook penne according to instructions.  While pasta is cooking, in another pan heat EVOO.  Add garlic, and thinly sliced onion.  While those are sauteing for a few minutes, peel and thinly slice sweet potato, (carrots), chop broccoli and other vegetables (chopped chicken if using).  Add to garlic mixture.  Add basil -(I like a lot) – a couple handfuls of fresh chopped or about 5 TB of dried. Add black pepper.  Add chicken stock (or vegetable stock), add white wine.  Simmer until pasta is finished.  Drain pasta add to vegetables, turn heat down and simmer for another 5-10 minutes until liquid reduces.  Serve topped with fresh parmesan.

From my kitchen to yours – happy & healthy eating!

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Top 3 Easy less than 6 ingredient recipes – Cajun Shrimp Pie (sorta), Penne and Cranberry Apple Pork Chops Recipes!


Here is my quick – using up the leftovers in the fridge recipes.  These are great for that busy season – and to use up any leftovers.

Now I do have to point out that the Cajun Shrimp Pie was originally a recipe my Mom made for us when were kids  and she always called it Cajun Shrimp Pie – why I’m not sure.  Now that I am older and cook I look at the ingredients and other than the thyme … and the shrimp. In any case, I (of course) switched it up a bit, but none the less its great for left over rice.

The Penne Primavera (ish) recipe is an easy way to use up a few left over veggies and lemons.

The Pork Chops – well great to use up that one last apple, and the frozen cranberries in the fridge.

Here we go!  Another culinary mission is a foot!

Cajun Shrimp Pie

I apologize – I didn’t actually take a picture until it was in the oven, and there are a couple more than 6 ingredients in this one but still easy!

Ingredients
Crust
3 cups (a little more or less is fine) cooked rice
2 eggs – beaten
1 TB butter melted

Filling:
1 Cup uncooked med shrimp + 1/4 c salted water (my mom always used 1 small tin of salad shrimp & liquid but we prefer “real” shrimp 🙂
1 small onion – chopped finely
1 cup milk
1 cup frozen peas

2 TB cornstarch mixed with 4 TB water

1/4 tsp Thyme

Optional 4 slices processed cheese

Optional – hot sauce – we use Bayou Butt Burner Hot Sauce (2-3 glubs of it)

In a bowl, mix cooked rice, beaten eggs and butter together and press into a sprayed pie plate to form a “crust”

In a saucepan saute onions, add shrimp (if using uncooked), when onions are softened and shrimp is cooked add milk, and bring to a slow simmer, reduce heat, add cornstarch mixture, and thicken, add peas and thyme and salted water, allow to simmer for a couple of minutes.  Pour into rice crust.  Top with slices of processed cheese (you can try brick cheese, but processed works nicely :))  Bake at 375 for about 25-35 minutes(until slightly browned) and cheese is bubbling.

Prep Time 5 minutes, baking time about a 1/2 hr.   Leftovers make great lunches!  You could also make this into a “seafood pie” by adding crabmeat and scallops to the shrimp mixture.  Play with it – enJOY.   Serves with a salad.

Easy Cranberry – Apple Pork Chops

  Ingredients:

4-5 Boneless Pork Chops (small)
1/2 cup frozen cranberries
1 apple – peeled, cored sliced
1 c apple juice (or cider)
1/3 c  cranberry juice

In a sauce pan, on a med-high heat a little oil or spray with non-stick spray.
Add chops – and brown – don’t worry about cooking them through.  Once they are browned reduce heat to low-med and add juices, and rest of ingredients.
Cover and cook for 5 minutes.  Uncover and cook for an additional  minutes or until liquid reduces a little.  Serve with a baked potato, salad and roasted demonica squash.

Hint the liquid is awesome over the roasted squash.  EnJOY!

Prep time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 15-20 min

Primavera-ish – Clearing out the Crisper Penne

Boil 1/2 or 3/4 box of penne according to directions.
In the meatime:

Heat a saucepan to med- high, add whatever left over veggies (we had some chicken so I threw that in too) you have – we had 2 small fingerling sweet potatoes (peeled and sliced into long slices), broccoli, chicken breast, onion or whatever you have (green beans, carrots, parsnips, asparagus etc) Add the juice of 2-3 lemons, and the zest of 1 lemon, add about 1 c of chicken stock (or veggie stock – I happened to have chicken stock), a ton of basil (1/4 c of dried).  Saute/simmer until veggies are cooked, add pasta and simmer for a few more minutes. Add peas.  Serve & enJOY

Prep Time – 5 minutes  Cooking time: 20 min.

Hope you enJOYed (ok ok I will give the JOY thing a rest 🙂  ) these simple and healthy (well except for the process cheese business) ready to eat in no time meals!  Don’t forget to like this post & leave a comment!

Tried any of my recipes?  I want to know how it turned out leave me a comment!

From my kitchen to yours, Healthy & Happy Eating!

Joy

Last Minute Red Beans & Rice


You know those days that you take something out of the freezer to thaw – and think – I’ll figure out a plan later then all of a sudden its 3:45pm and you have no idea what to do with it?  … or is that just me? In any case – that was my situation yesterday afternoon.  At about 3:30pm I realized I had thawed the chorizo (a Spanish sausage) and had no inspiration, and no peppers in the house. Sausage, peppers, onion and potato bake is my “go to” when I am feeling uninspired to come up with something – also a family favourite so at least it works out.  I did what any idea-less foodie would do – I called upon (tweeted) to a few of my foodie friends for suggestions!   @hotpinkapron tweeted back that she was making some red beans and rice with Portuguese sausage – and I though – YUP thats what I want! Obviously from my past posts – you’ve caught on that I really really like southern foods (see my gumbo recipe).   However – I was making dinner for  6pm or so – and didn’t have time to soak my beans and simmer them the way you should (I know I know sacrilege @MSQueenFoods)so I though – what the heck – lets do this the o’ol fashion – hmmm what have I got in the cupboard to make these with?  I gotta say – these were some of the best red beans I’ve made!  Hubby and I each had  servings, my  year old practically licked her plate and my 4 year old – ate most of his (he’s not a big dinner eater – unless its Spaghetti & Mommy’s Meatballs, Mommy’s Taco’s or Mommy’s Pizza …. go figure) . (recipes to  be posted shortly!)

The “Joy” of Red Beans and Rice – southern style – Joy-ified 🙂

 Ingredients:

  •  8 cups of canned kidney beans (rinsed & drained)
  • (this is equivalent to a large commercial 100 oz sized can of kidney beans )
  • 1 1/4LB (approx 500g) Chorizo (chopped)
  • 1 cup chicken stock

  • 1/2 c tomato sauce (I had some leftover homemade so I threw it in – you could just use tomatoes)
  •  1TB minced garlic
  • 2 Tsp HOT Cayenne Pepper Sauce (like Lousianna Sauce)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

  •  3-4 small (2 large) bay leaves
  • 2 TB dried parsley
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 LB onion diced
  • white parboiled rice
  • optional:  Additional hot sauce like the Gator sauces line or Melinda’s  to add at the table.

Method:
In a large saucepan saute the garlic and onion in EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) for a few minutes until onions are soft, add parsley and bayleaf, add chorizo and cook until no longer pink.

Add beans, chicken stock, and the rest of the spices (except optional additional hot sauces). Simmer stirring occasionally for 45 min- an hour.   Cook rice, serve red beans over rice (some people like the rice added in and some like it over the top.  I added steamed asparagus for a veggie.

Enjoy!  From My Kitchen to Yours – Happy & Healthy Eating!

hey y’all – it’s Gumbo!


Some of my loyal followers here know that I worked a couple of Blues Festivals (Southside Shuffle & Kitchener Blues Festival) over the summer with Mississippi Queen Foods.  If there was anything I learned while working with the Mississippi Queen  a.k.a Connie  herself is that if your going to serve southern to a bunch of BoozeHounds  I mean Blues Fans it had better be good – and if its good people will LOVE it! I tried my hand out at making some Gumbo myself last weekend and have the pictures to prove it 🙂  and damned if I don’t think it tastes pretty freaking awesome!

But first the lesson part of today 🙂  What is Gumbo exactly anyway?  Gumbo is a soup/stew that typically contains 3 different meats,  or whatever you have, with a base is made from a roux,  the “Holy Trinity” of onions, green peppers and celery (the base to a lot of  creole or cajun dishes).  It usually contains Okra, Andouille Sausage (spicy pork sausage native to the N’awlins area) and seafood. Gumbo was born on the plantations where the slave owners would throw the slaves the “scraps” and thus Gumbo was born (hey I didn’t say it had a pretty beginning!) .

When I decided to try my hand at Gumbo I didn’t have any filé (ground Sassafras leaf) which is used as a thickener & to add flavour,  instead I used okra as a thickener.  (If you are wondering where you can buy the filé or other southern groceries here in Canada – take a look at the MQF – General Store.)
The first thing I did was start my stock – you can use chicken stock or water, but I was making my gumbo with shrimp and was peeling them anyway so I went ahead and made my own shrimp stock.

Shrimp Stock

Peel shrimp for gumbo, add peels to a pot of water with a roughly chopped/chunked  onion, a green pepper and a tomato (I used organic ones from my local farmer, Svetec Farms but any will do).  Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until you need it (at least an hour or so), when ready to use, pour stock thru strainer and disregard veggies & peels.

Here’s my recipe!

The Joy of Gumbo (come on – I haven’t made a “Joy” reference for a long time!)

You will need:

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 LB chopped  lean bacon (pay more and get the less fatty ones – we use side bacon)
  • 2 cups chopped okra (wash, cut stem off and chop

  •  1 LB spicy pork sausage
  • 10 tomatoes chopped
  • 1-2 Jalapeno’s chopped
  • 1/2 c butter – melted (or lard 0r bacon fat! yikes!)
  • 2/3 c  all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups or so chopped onion
  • 4 green onions – chopped
  • 10 small green peppers diced finely

  • 2/3 c celery chopped
  • 2 TB parsley
  • 3 TB minced garlic
  • water
  • 8 c Shrimp Stock
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 10  dashes Louisiana Hot Sauce (or cayenne pepper sauce)

  • 1 Tsp dried Thyme
  • 1 1/2 LB peeled uncooked shrimp – large sized
  • 1/2 LB peeled uncooked shrimp – small

Cooking Equipment:

  • stock pot, sauce pan, frying pan/skillet, strainer

Method

Gumbo is an all day process – or ideally overnight – leave yourself lots of time!
Time saver hint:  Use a food processor to shred or chop your veggies except okra and tomatoes.

  1. Brown the sausage in the skillet – preferably use andouille sausage but if you are here in Canada its harder to get – I used a hot pork sausage, removed it from the casing and added cajun spice to it.
  2. Once the sausages are browned, discard the fat in the skillet, drain sausage meat on paper towel and set aside.  Add bacon to skillet and. cook until well done.  Remove to paper towel and set aside.
  3. Stir the okra into the hot bacon grease and saute for about 5 minutes,  drain the okra in a colander and discard the bacon drippings.
  4. In saucepan, add okra, jalapeno and tomatoes over medium heat, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer the okra mixture for about 10 minutes.
  5. In a large stock pot, melt the butter (or lard)  over medium heat, and cook and stir the onion, green onions, green pepper, celery, parsley, and garlic until the onion begins to turn brown.
  6. After about 10 minutes, remove the vegetables but leave the butter in the pot
  7. Pour a glass of wine.  (you’ll be standing in one place for a while – might as well enjoy it)
  8. Stir in the flour, reduce heat to low, and cook the roux, stirring constantly, until it darkens in colour (anywhere from carmel to a milk chocolate colour).
    30 to 45 minutes.
  9. Whisk in 2 cups  of water or stock
  10. Do not the roux burn.
  11. When the roux is the correct colour, Raise the heat to medium; stir in salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, thyme, and bay leaves, bring the mixture to a
     boil and stir in the sausage, bacon, okra-tomato mixture, and 6 more cups of
    stock.
  12. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer the gumbo, stirring occasionally, until the soup has thickened and the flavors are blended, about 45 minutes.
    Stir in the shrimp, and simmer until they turn pink and opaque, 6 to 8 more minutes. Discard bay leaves and adjust the seasonings, if desired, before serving.

Optional Step but I recommend.  

  1. If you can stand it, let the soup simmer for a few hours skimming fat/grease off the top every so often.  Personally, I like to refrigerate it overnight and let the fat form a layer on top, it can then can be easily skimmed off in the morning.

I serve this with Jalapeno Cheese Cornbread Muffins /Loaf. (Yes- I know its a stone and not a cast iron skillet – I couldn’t find my skillet- I sprayed the stone and preheated it previous to adding the batter, it worked pretty well)

Interesting to note: In Mississippi style southern cornbread there is no sugar or honey, the sweeter version is more popular in the north.   I make and prefer the unsweetened classic version but I had extra jalapeno’s so I them in.

You may wish to use filé or offer to anyone that wants a thicker gumbo (although this is pretty damn thick!).  You can substitute the meat ingredients however you wish,  chicken, catfish, crabmeat, crawfish, etc

Try it!  En”JOY” <grin> it and let me know what you think!

I recommend The Bayou Butt Burner Hot Sauce or Melinda’s Habanero Hot Sauce! ( you can order it online from MQF!)

Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog and leave a comment!

Till next time y’all
from my kitchen to yours,  happy & healthy eating

Joy

Fall in love with fall…veggies!


Did you miss me?  I knew you did!  The last month has been a whirlwind of activities! But have no fear I am back!

Nothing to me says fall like a Pork Roast, with autumn veggies cooked in the oven.  So good!   Today, once again I’m slightly short on time (and sane-ness!) so I thought I would post my favorite way to roast pork.  In fact I even have a picture of our dinner last night.  Normally I would add some peeled, cored & quartered baking apples (Mac’s are great for this (and only this or other baking dishes in my opinion but thats me) but any other type of apple will work), however my “little darlings” ahem said a little sarcastically – left me only 2 apples from the 1 & 1/2 bushel we picked – 1 with a bite out of it (why do children do that?) and one with a wormhole in it – so apples didn’t quite make it into this dish.

Applicious-Pork Roast
by Joy 

Roasted Pork Loin, with sweet & white potatoes, carrots & onions and apples

  • 5-7 LB Boneless Pork Loin – trimmed of fat
  • 1  container  of apple juice (low acid) – about 5 cups
  • 3 TB cinnamon – I love real cinnamon from Mexico but any cinnamon will do
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 3 TB Cumin

  • 1 TB nutmeg
  • 1-2 large sweet potatoes peeled & cut into chunks
  • 6-7 small white potatoes (we leave the skin on) or use new potatoes
  • 2 red onions quartered
  • 4 peeled carrots (organic are ideal)
  • 4-5 Apples – peeled, cored & quartered

Trim off all visible fat from pork. In a roast pan, place a roasting rack, spray with cooking spray. Place Meat, fat side down on rack, Place veggies & apples around meat. Sprinkle all seasoning on meat and veggies. Rub into meat.  Pour apple juice over veggies. Cover with lid or foil and bake at 325 for 20 min per pound or until the internal temperature is 160 -170.  Let pork rest for 15 min for juices to redistribute before carving.  My favourite part? Enjoy with family, friends and a glass of wine.

PSSSSSsssssss…. want a decadent treat this Thanksgiving weekend?  Check out my fellow blogger Dana’s “Hot Pink Apron”  ‘s recipe for Pumpkin Biscotti

Have a Happy & Healthy Thanksgiving Dinner!

Summer’s here – what to eat?


Summer has arrived – whats on your plate?  Summer for our family means eating outside and  lots of quick and easy meals, barbecue,  salads, corn on the cob, fresh veggies and dips and relaxing with a beer relaxing – who wants to make a big meal inside when its beautiful outside?

Whats better than some BBQed chicken for dinner?

BBQ Chicken

How about some BBQ chicken with my homemade BBQ sauce the Joy of BBQ (ok I had to add a little plug there!)    and rice, brussel sprouts (or little green brains – as my kids refer to them)  and a big salad.

Great Tip – if you are barbecuing for a crowd (or your selves) and have bone-in chicken and want to shorten the time on the grill so you can relax or reduce the charring – removed the skin (this will also cut the saturated fat) and boil your chicken on the stove for about 15-20 min – or until the chicken is no longer pink inside, then douse it with sauce and grill – tender and delish!

Need a vegetarian option?  Get some Portebello Mushrooms, brush with EVOO, minced garlic and salt and pepper to taste, and grill – hearty alternative to steak or chicken.

What are your favorite things to add to a salad?

We love Romaine Lettuce, Avocado, Feta Cheese, Berries, and topped with Balsamic Vinegar instead of dressing #YUM!

If you want an alternative to Balsamic Dressing here is a great go to recipe for a quick summer (or winter) salad dressing:

4 tspEVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

1TB Juice – apple, orange or mango are all great

1TB rice vinegar

1/2 tsp cumin (or coriander – whichever one you like)

1/2 tsp dijon mustard

salt & pepper to taste,

1tsp garlic (optional)

whisk together and pour over salad (we like this one over mixed greens, avocado, oranges segments and red onion).

So grab what ever is in the fridge, get out the grill, sit down together and enjoy dinner as a family!  Enjoying time with family and friends makes everything (even your mother-in-laws cooking …(or is that beer?)in any case… taste better!

Happy & Healthy Eating!

What am I all about?


Well I think its high time, since I’ve had this blank blog for almost a month now to create something profound and important and share with you all …. wait – I don’t really have anything profound to blog about – important?  well I guess that all depends on who’s reading!  Welcome to my blog – I write about the things that are important to me – nutrition, and well living whilst dabbling in a bit of humor and story telling (all true!!) wanna come along for the ride?  Fasten your seat belt here we go!

An intro might be in order – as much as I’d love to say I was fun, fit, and fabulous  – I’d be fibbing (see that literary skill with alteration pretty impressive eh?) so I will go with a definite fun and fabulous and striving to be fit.   O ya – I happen to be Canadian too (just in case you didn’t catch the “eh” at the end of my last sentence).  Of course I do have 2 young children, a husband and am starting a business,  so sometimes I’m just having a fit, or fit to be tied or not “fitting” into an outfit … But then I digress…. so besides being a typical time crunched mom I also used to be a commuter – used to be is the key there – ahhh there’s something to be missed about sitting in traffic breathing in environmental toxins and elevating your blood pressure for 3 hours a day isn’t there? – (Ya like you miss having a root canal).

When I decided to leave my corporate job and go out on my own I thought hmmm, what interests me?  What am I good at?  Well I love cooking so I started there.  I looked at my past situation – that being no time to do anything let alone nutrition – I mean I know its important but who the heck has time to whip something up after work before taking the kids to swimming, dancing, gymnastics or whatever else maybe on the agenda?  So I looked around – and hey wow there were lots of people just like me! I started doing some market research and found out some interesting stuff I mean facts.   Like – how about the fact of the 100 ish families  I surveyed 47% of them eat take out, or hit the drive thru 1-2 times a week for dinner 19% go thru 3-4 times a week.  Wow!  Then those same people stated that they check the nutritional breakdowns in the food they buy and are concerned about sodium, fats, and cholesterol and overall nutrition. Whaaaa?  Does anyone else see a contradiction here?   Everyone knows its bad but save from making things yourself, there just aren’t a lot of options out there.   This spoke to me – actually jumped up – slapped me in the face, wiggled its butt and shouted to me – WOOOOO – Girl I think you are on to something here … and thats how my story begins….

Once upon a time there was a girl named Joy that loved to cook, and be healthy, and live well and wanted her cake and to eat it too (‘cos everyone knows there are no calories in cake)  and so I bring you Joy In Your Kitchen.  – I’m not here to tout the virtues of my business – you can visit my web site for that  – I want to share with you my passion for living well (mentally, emotionally and physically) and along the way share some of my more humorous stories, trials and tribulations  – cos everyone knows that laughter is the BEST medicine and there’s just nothing better sometimes then a good ‘ol belly laugh ….

Welcome to my blog.