Tag Archives: Home

Rice, Pickles & Fish Chowder


Is anyone out there Rice Challenged?   By this I mean – I can not cook rice on the stovetop. I have no idea why – its like a mental block.  We eat rice all the time so Thank Goodness for my rice cooker.

How did this happen?  I used to make rice on the stove top all the time – never had a problem wild rice, brown rice, basmati, jasmine – whatever!  I don’t understand how it is that I can make a 3 course  sit down dinner for  20 without batting an eyelash, but without my trusty rice steamer – plain ‘ol rice either crunchy or watery ?

The other thing I am totally challenged with is making pickles – don’t ask me – somewhere along the way I have lost my ability to make my own pickles so now I just steal  am given pickles by my Mother In Law.  (ya!) I figure if these are my two biggest challenges in the kitchen – no big deal – there are always ways to avoid them!  Hubby makes great rice!  My rice steamer and plenty of local pickle makers around for me to get my pickle fix on with!

Do you have any things that challenge you in the kitchen – that really shouldn’t?  Share!

My recipe today is our Dinner from last night – Fish Chowder – and o sooo good!

(sorry about the crappy picture quality – I can’t find my good camera) ahoy – ya ever been to sea Billy?…..Hearty Fish Chowder

Ingredients:
1/4 c butter
1/2 large Onion – chopped
1/2 each of a yellow and orange bell pepper – diced
4 dashes cayenne  pepper or Louisiana type hot sauce
3 cup fish stock
3TB (1.5oz) lemon juice
1 – 2 LB Basa Fillets
100 g shrimp (thats all I had add a LB if you have it!)
Any other seafood you want to add – scallops etc
3 cups white potatoes, peeled and cut into small pieces
2/3 cup chopped cooked bacon (or we use extra lean bacon style ham)

Buttermilk Cornbread Muffins

Buttermilk Cornbread Muffins

2 cup 1% milk
1 – 12 oz can (370 ml) evaporated milk
1 tsp sea salt
1tsp black pepper
1 cup frozen corn
Method:
Fish or Shrimp Stock:  
Peel shrimp – add tails and peels to a saucepan filled with water, 1 large green pepper quartered, tomato (optional), 1 onion quartered, about  1TB thyme, any fish bones or skin you may have or if you are not using shrimp in the recipe – open a can of salmon (packed in water) and pour the salmon water into the sauce pan and add 1/2 a can of salmon to your stock, Bring to a boil and simmer for an hour or longer. (Hint:  make extra and then freeze it in 1 cup sections – those mini snack bags hold a cup).

Method for Fish Chowder:   In a large stock pot – melt butter, add onions and peppers and cook until soft.  Add fish stock and bring to a boil, add potatoes and cook for 10 minutes. Add fish/seafood, bacon, and lemon juice, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add milk and evaporated milk, salt, pepper and hot sauce.  Simmer for a few minutes add frozen corn and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Serve with homemade cornbread muffins for a heart comfort food meal!  EnJOY

I love hearing your feedback – let me know what you think!

From my Kitchen to yours Happy & Healthy Eating

Joy

Advertisements

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

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!

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.