Friday, April 18, 2014


Gumbo-lay-ella... So I got the name for this meal by smashing gumbo, jambalaya, and paella  together because I feel like the hot pot dinner was basically a mish mash of those things - with my own twists and shortcuts of course.

What I used:

  • 4 turkey andouille sausages
  • a dozen fresh shrimp
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 can of water
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 bunch of fresh green beans (cut in pieces about 1 inch in length)
  • 1 box Spanish rice ( planned to use quinoa or brown rice but this was all I had in the pantry!)
  • 1 Lemon (optional, but I love lemon)
How to:

In a large/deep saute pan (I used my trust le creuset) saute the garlic and diced bell pepper over medium high heat with a little salt and pepper. Saute until they are starting to crackle and soften. Add the diced sausages and allow it to heat all the way through, perhaps even crisp up on the edges. Next add in the chopped green beans and the corn, make sure you rinse and drain the corn in a strainer before adding. Again give it all a good stir/toss. Keep the heat at medium and add the canned tomatoes, then fill that can about half way with water and add that as well. Put a lid on it and let it come to a simmer for a few minutes. Last add in your fresh uncooked shrimp, right into the simmering/boiling pot and make sue they are fully covered in liquid - they will only take a few minutes to cook. Turn the heat down to low once the shrimp and done and let the concoction sit until you are ready to serve. While doing this, cook rice per instructions - the rice I had took about 25 minutes so I started it a little before the other pot.

Turkey Andouille Sausage from Whole Foods, super dahlish!

Tee rice I had on hand.. I guess it wasn't "Spanish"

Garlic, bell pepper, sausage & green beans

Adding my shrimps! 
I'm not ashamed for you to see the butter at the end, it added a really perfect silkiness that was totally worth it

Once everything is finished, place a large scoop of rice in the center of a cream soup bowl (shallow bowl) and then ladled the rest on top. The dish is somewhere between a soup and a stir fry over rice. The tomatoey broth soaks up nicely in the rice but the contents are hearty and chunky and really hold their own. Before eating I squeezed a liberal amount of lemon juice over top - I personally think lemon and lime bring out the best in almost any dish, but especially something with a bit of spicy heat like this one.

Anyways, hope everyone enjoys this Dahlicious and I must add easy meal! Have a great weekend!

Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs

Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs... Do you ever get an idea in your head and then obsessively consider how you could pull it off? I get those often, usually around cooking things outside of my normal comfort zone. Actually cooking meat often falls in that category. I love meat, I'm a meat eater, however I don't currently have a grill which generally limits what I think I can make at home. Lately though I've gotten more comfortable with letting the slow cooker do the work, and it has really made me branch out on what I cook indoors. The baby back ribs I made yesterday were a perfect example of taking the risk (relatively low, I'm talking under 20 bucks low) and hoping I didn't come home to either a pile of charred bones or a crock pot of mush. To my delighted surprise what I came home to was totally Dahlicious and seemed to be a crowd pleaser. They definitely fell off the bone, they were moist, they got a nice crust on them, and the "rub" I made up in addition to a bit of sauce for dippin created a pretty flavorful experience.

The Rub & How To:
I really just made it up based on things I'd seen online and what I had in my spice rack. I didn't use exact measurements so here is my rough estimate below:

  • 1-2 cups brown sugar
  • small spoonful of cumin
  • small spoonful of cayenne
  • small spoonful of dried oregano
  • salt & pepper
I mixed it all up and then lathered by the handful on both sides of the rack. Then I wrapped it in saran wrap and put it in the fridge to marinate about 24 hours. The next morning before work I unwrapped my precious bones and put them in the crock pot. I had read that the way to do it is to place the backs (meaty side) of the ribs against the wall of the crock pot, so they are standing on their sides. Then I set it on low, went to work and that was that. When I returned home 8 hours later I had fully cooked ribs, slightly falling off the bone! I removed them from the slow cooker and turned it off, then I brushed on a thin layer of sauce and covered them with foil on a baking sheet. We weren't eating for a few hours so I let them rest until I was ready to make the sweet potatoes and sauteed kale for the sides. Once those were getting close to ready I popped the covered ribs back in the oven to warm up (about 250 degrees) then just 5 minutes before serving I removed the foil and turned on the broiler. This made the sauce on the top bubble a bit and added an additional bit of warm crust.

Just the ribs & the rub

Post slow cookin

A pretty Dahlish sauce

A little slather before resting under foil

sauteed garlic/lemon kale

Ribs, kale, & baked sweet potato

All in all they turned out swell and I'm quite glad to have them in my repertoire! 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Kitchen Chalkboard

Kitchen Chalkboard.... In my old place I used to write down all of the week night meals I planned to make on a pad of paper that had a magnetic strip which held perfectly to my fridge door. At the new place I'm stepping up my menu game and invested in a little chalkboard (a little over a foot long and about 6 inches wide). My plan is to put the weeks meals up there, in part to remind me and keep me on track, and in part to remind my roomie of what I'll be cooking up. That way if he thinks it sounds awful  (cough cough - tofu) he can suddenly book an important "work dinner" :-)

This Sunday was cool and drizzly after a beautiful weekend that was really our first sneak peak at spring weather in so long that the entire city was basically jumping for joy on Friday night. Anywho Sunday was the perfect day for my favorite chicken and white bean soup - which I adapted from my mom's chicken & bowtie noodle soup. It still has the same nostalgic flavor of growing up, but adds the more healthful white bean in place of the carby pasta. I also added finely chopped kale for a bit of greens and body. This is really, as Rachel Ray has coined, a Stoup. The soup is so hearty but still leaves you feeling light. Yum.

Sunday morning also called for a little healthful brekkie of scrambled eggs (secret ingredient is whisking in a little milk or *gasp* half & half.... that recipe is courtesy of my sneaky grandpa), cottage cheese with blueberries, and whole wheat toast with peanut butter. Dahlish!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Playing Catch Up

Playing Catch Up... Let me tell you, moving to a new apartment (with a beautiful kitchen I might add) is exciting but also a lot of work. It also means that during this transition period I have not been cooking quite as much as normal and when I have, it's mostly been repeats. However I do have a few things I have tried recently... some worked, some didn't so I will definitely be sharing those below.

Here is a recap on what I've been making and eating lately. Does anyone have anything really great they have made lately?? If so let me know, I'm thirsting for some inspiration!

Bolognese & Spiralized Pasta
I love a good meat sauce, such a comfort food. I happened to have a box of San Marzano tomatoes that I really wanted to use so 1/2 a lb of pork and 1/2 a lb of beef, one onion, a bunch of garlic and herbs and I got myself that sauce I wanted. It's so simple but so Dahlicious. I wanted to be "good" by eating it with veggie noodles but couldn't help but have a little bread and butter on the side.

Chicken in Speck:
Really similar to one of my fav go-to's chicken wrapped in proscuitto but we happened to have some Speck instead and it was just swell. So simple but really locks in the juiciness of the chicken breast and gives a great salty crunchy exterior. Served up with a heaping scoop of roasted cauliflower and brocolini.

Slow Cooker Stir Fry
Ok this is one I am going to say was a fail. I am new to the slow cooker thing and I liked the idea of dumping everything in. And the chicken was good, tender... but the veggies were mush. Will not repeat this one.

Slow Cooker Balsamic Roast Beef:
This was random but ran across a recipe and went for it. The beef was tender but despite ALL of the flavorful ingredients I felt like it was lacking something. I can't put my finger on it but I will be investigating and experimenting going forward. This is how I made it:

  • 2lb chuck roast
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 1/4 cup balsamic
  • spoonful soy sauce
  • spoonful honey
  • spoonful Worcestershire
  • 4 crushed garlic cloves
  • sprinkle of red pepper flakes

On low for 8 hours. I served it atop quinoa with some roasted carrots diced up and tossed in, and along side some sauteed asparagus. I didn't get any great pics, I was in a hurry to eat as it was post yoga and I was RAVENOUS.


Quick Saute

Quick Saute... Life does not seem to be slowing down that's for sure, full steam ahead and not a moment to spare. Between moving apartments & a hectic work schedule it seems like trying to find time to eat is becoming harder and harder lately. Last night my only chance to catch 60 minutes of zen "me" time was between 7-8 at yoga. I came from work around 6, scrambled 2 eggs and downed a glass of almond milk to hold me over in class. When I came home around 8:15 I knew I needed to eat SOMETHING before bed because I would be too hungry to sleep but didn't want the hassle of making a huge meal. I also wanted it to be healthful.

I ended up sauteing a few random ingredients from the fridge and it was perfect. Took about 5 minutes and was just what I needed.

I tossed a bunch of shredded chicken that I made on Sunday night into a saute pan to heat it up. Then I added a mix of  olives and white beans that I grabbed at the store this weekend for an appetizer, and finished it off with a big handful of spinach and fresh black pepper. I tossed it all together and it was ready in no time


On a side note, on Saturday we went to dinner with some friends and had them over for a little appetizer first. Since we were having Italian for dinner I figured I'd stick with the theme. This was so easy but seemed to be a crowd pleaser:

Sliced baguette, dusted with olive oil and in the broiled on each side till golden brown. Served with buratta, roasted tomatoes, salami, and proscuitto: