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October 2016

Creole Jambalaya

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There are two variations of jambalaya, Cajun and Creole. They are both insanely delicious, but the difference between the two comes down to tomatoes. Creole versions incorporate them while Cajun ones do not. The term Creole originally referred to people who were born to the settlers in French colonial Louisiana. French Creole refers to people with European ancestry who were born in the colony, while Louisiana Creole refers to mixed ancestry. Creole food has a mix of cultural influences of New Orleans. Cajun cuisine got its roots from the French Acadian settlers in the swamps and prairies of southwest Louisiana, and their cuisine was more rustic. 

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Crock Pot Apple Butter

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I had good intentions of making this and posting earlier in the apple season, but time just got away from me! Most of the U-Pick orchards are picked out, but the farmers markets here in Ohio are still beautifully packed with apples galore of many late season varieties. I absolutely love Jonathan apples and decided to use them in my apple butter this year. Jonathan apples are a medium sized apple and are sweet, tart, and very juicy! However, you can use any type of apple that you fancy!

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Porter Turkey Chili

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It is officially chili season! I can eat chili any time of year, but fall definitely compliments this dish very well! I love experimenting with chili and finding new ways to enhance this classic. One of my favorites is a beer based chili. I used turkey this time because I have been eating a bit too much red meat lately. The turkey went very well and absorbed the rich flavors nicely, but beef or chicken would work well also. You can also skip the meat and double down on beans instead. If you canned tomatoes from your summer garden, this is a great time to use them! You can also use dried beans instead of canned. Just make sure to soak them overnight first so that they are soft enough. 

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Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Dates

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I have noticed that bacon wrapped dates have become more and more popular over the last few years, popping up on more menus and showing up at catered events. I have heard that they are nicknamed "Devils on Horseback". I have had them stuffed with a variety of different soft cheeses, or just as a plain love affair between bacon and dates. They are great for gatherings and easy to assemble. I like to put them together and stow them in the fridge the night before I am hosting, so all I have to do is pop them in the oven right before guests arrive. They give your house a delicious aroma so even if you just called in a take out order for your party, your house will smell like you have been hard at work in the kitchen all day!

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Curry Pumpkin Soup

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Ok folks, I have hung on to this recipe for the past few years and only given it to a few select people, but I am now passing it on for more to enjoy! As you can probably tell, I have a serious love for food. I often have dreams that involve food and cooking. Some give me great recipe ideas like this soup, others are ridiculous and involve me making things like giant cheesecakes in kiddie swimming pools. I often wake up and try to write down the yummy sounding concoctions that my mind conjures in dreamland. This one turned out to be a hit and I have had several requests for it now that pumpkin season is under way! 

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Zesty Lemon Chicken Noodle Soup

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The days may still be warm, but the last day of summer passed by last week and the evenings have a cool, crisp hint of fall in the air! That means... soup season is upon us! I had my wisdom teeth removed a few weeks ago, so I got an early start on soup season. The idea to make this soup came to me in a sleepy haze while recovering the first weekend after bidding farewell to my molars. There is just something healing about a warm bowl of goodness! Adding zesty lemon to this soup gave a whole new meaning to chicken noodle soup.

Zesty Lemon Chicken Noodle Soup

  • 2 quarts of chicken broth (homemade, boxed, or canned)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3-4 chicken breasts
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 4 celery ribs
  • 2-3 carrots
  • 1 leek trimmed and chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • A handful of fresh thyme sprigs (or 2 teaspoons dry)
  • A handful of fresh oregano (or 1 tablespoon dry)
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 bag of egg noodles
  • Green onions and lemon zest for garnish

Chop veggies and herbs. If using fresh herbs, remove leaves from stems and chop oregano if the leaves are large. Set veggies and herbs aside for later use. 

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Pour chicken broth into a stock pot and bring to a boil. Put chicken breasts in and cook on medium for 20 minutes.

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Remove chicken breasts and transfer stock to another container and set aside. Chop chicken breasts. Note that they may not be cooked all the way through depending on the size of the breasts, but this is fine as you will be putting them back on the heat in just a bit.

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Transfer chopped chicken to a bowl and pour in 1 cup of the chicken broth and the 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. Let this soak while you turn your attention to the veggies.

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Heat your stock pot and throw in olive oil with the onion and celery. Cook on medium for about 5 minutes until onions start to become translucent.

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Add leeks, carrots, herbs, bay leaves, and 1 cup of chicken broth. Simmer on medium low for about 8-10 minutes or until carrots start to become tender, but not too soft.

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Add remaining chicken broth and heat through. Add egg noodles and let cook on medium heat until noodles are about halfway cooked through.

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Add chicken (along with the broth and lemon juice it was soaking in) and continue to cook for an additional 15-20 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally.

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Garnish with chopped green onions and grated lemon zest and enjoy!

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