Tag Archives: okra

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

First let me say that I have not actually made this recipe yet. But I will, soon. My husband loves gumbo. Me, I could take it or leave it. Mainly because there are peppers in it. Remember, I am the one Italian who doesn’t like sweet peppers. I know, weird. But I am willing to give this a try and I will make sure I chop the pepper very small so I can’t pick them out! You should see me at restaurants! Anyway, I got this recipe in my email today from Cooking Light. It’s actually from their November 2002 issue! So it’s been around a long time. I have changed a few things of course (though I am leaving the peppers in!). The recipe calls for boil-in-bag rice. Not happening in this house. I will use jasmine brown rice. I always make a huge batch and freeze it in small packages, for occasions just like this! And it also called for turkey kielbasa. I will use chicken sausages of some kind. The recipe originally called for bottled minced garlic. Again, not in my house! I will use fresh garlic and probably double it!

What is also really great about this recipe is that most of it uses frozen vegetables. This will save time if you’re making it last-minute. But if it’s last-minute you might not have the ingredients on hand so think ahead anyway. And if you do not like to use frozen vegetables like onion, peppers, okra etc. use fresh. But remember the frozen ones are already all cut up for you and cook faster! Another way to make this a little different is to add some shrimp to the last step also. Probably about a half pound or so of uncooked. It will cook fast so be careful.

Illustration courtesy of Cooking Light magazine

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups cooked rice of choice (I prefer jasmine brown rice)

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 cup frozen chopped onion

1 cup frozen chopped green bell pepper

1 cup frozen cut okra

1 cup chopped celery

2 teaspoons minced garlic

½ teaspoon dried thyme

¼ teaspoon ground red pepper

2 cups chopped roasted skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 2 breasts)

8 ounces chicken sausage of your choice, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 (14½ ounce) can diced tomatoes with peppers and onion

1 (14½ ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

DIRECTIONS:

1. If you are cooking rice now make the gumbo while it is cooking.

2. Combine the flour and oil in a Dutch oven or large soup pot. Saute over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes. Add the onion, green pepper, okra, celery, garlic, thyme, and ground red pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently.

3. Stir in the chicken, sausage, tomatoes, and broth, cook 6 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve over rice.

Makes 4 servings (1½ cups gumbo and ½ cup rice)

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Delicious Creole Gumbo

On May 4, 2009 the world became a lot less funny. Comedic genius and actor Dom DeLuise passed away at the age of 75. I don’t know of anyone who can’t name at least one favorite Dom  DeLuise movie. One of my faves is “Fatso”. The food in this movie was incredible and you got hungry just watching it. Especially the scene with the huge pot of sauce and meatballs. He dunks a little Italian bread into to taste it and it’s all down hill from there. Funny. He was one of my favorite actors and you always smiled when you watched him. Smiled or laughed hysterically.

Dom was not a skinny man by any means but over the years he realized he had to do something. I bought his first cookbook “Eat This…It’ll Make You Feel Better!” back in 1988. It was full of funny and wonderful stories of his family and friends. It was and still is an awesome cookbook. When I got married my father wouldn’t let me leave the house with the copy I had so I had to go and buy another one to take with me! The book is full of his mother’s Italian home cooking as well as recipes from his family and friends. It’s actually my “go to” Italian cookbook.  As the years went on and Dom got larger and larger he decided to start eating better and came out with a second book in 1997. Another hit. This one is called “Eat This Too!”. It’s a low-fat cookbook of all his favorites along with more pics and stories of his family and friends. I will never part with either cookbook. All of the recipes are delicious.

Dom & Julia on Good Morning America in 1984

Today’s recipe is from “Eat This Too!” Gumbo can be very fattening but his version is loaded with vegetables and a seafood. Serve it over brown rice instead of the usual white rice.  Don’t be afraid of the long list of ingredients either. It’s not too scary, really! It will take longer to cut up and prep all of the veggies (where’s that private sous chef when you need one?) than to cook so be brave! You won’t be disappointed!

INGREDIENTS:

2 pounds shrimp/scallops, lobster, or other seafood, shelled, cleaned

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 28-oz can tomatoes

1 6-oz can tomato paste

1 red pepper and 1 green pepper, coarsely chopped

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon parsley

1 teaspoon paprika

10 mushrooms, sliced

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon thyme

½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce

12 fresh okra, sliced

2 zucchini, sliced

1 stalk celery, chopped

3 tablespoons flour mixed with ½ cup cold water

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a large pot sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil, until golden brown. Add the remaining ingredients except the seafood.

2. Cook over medium-low heat until flavors intermingle, about 30 minutes. Add the shrimp/scallops or other seafood. Cook just a few minutes until seafood is just done. Serve while still tender.

Serves 8-12

Buying Fresh Fruits & Vegetables at Their Peak (Part 2)

As promised here is the list of when it is the best time to buy fresh vegetables, when they are in season.  What are the best vegetable to buy now? Or in 3 months from now?  Right now in Florida where I live the corn is just starting to come out where in the north it won’t be at its best until August or September. I remember when we spent the summers in Maine as kids and we couldn’t wait for August because we’d go to the farm stands and get all of that delicious sweet yellow and white corn, fresh from the farms. It was so crunchy and sweet and you could eat 2 or 3 ears at a sitting without any problem.  Some vegetables are great all year-long which is a good thing! I hope this information helps out when you’re shopping. Another thing when you are buying items at their peak they are usually the best price as well. So keep that in mind as well! Happy shopping and eat your veggies!

  • Artichokes: March-May: Look for heavy, compact, plump globes. Large tightly closed, fleshy leaf scales. Good green color. Heavy for size.
  • Asparagus: March-June: Look for tightly closed buds. Straight, tender, rich green stalks. Open tips and angular or ridged spears are signs of over maturity.
  • Green/Wax Beans: April-October: Look for crisp, long, straight, blemish-free pods.
  • Lima Beans: April-August: Look for bright color for the variety. Crisp, dark-green, well-filled pods.
  • Beets: June-October: Look for firm, round, smooth, deep red-colored roots. Fresh-looking tops. Avoid those with long roots and rough, scaly areas on surface, because they are tough, fibrous and strong flavored.
  • Belgian Endive: October-May: Look for firm without bruises. Color should be white with greenish cast.
  • Broccoli: October-May: Look for firm, closed, dark-green florets. Firm, tender stalks. Yellowing green-colored heads of broccoli are over mature.
  • Brussel Sprouts: October-November: Look for miniature, compact, bright-green heads.
  • Cabbage: All Year: Look for well-trimmed, solid heads. Heavy for size.
  • Carrots: All Year: Look for firm, bright-colored, smooth, clean, well-shaped. Avoid rough, cracked or green-tinged roots.
  • Cauliflower: September-November: Look for bright-green leaves enclosing firm, closely packed creamy-white curd or florets. Avoid bruised or open florets.
  • Celery: All Year: Look for fresh, crisp branches. Light green to green color. Should not have wilted, rough look or puffy feel to the stalk.
  • Corn: May-September: Look for fresh-leaved, green husks. Plump, milky kernels. Avoid cobs with small or large, dented or shrunken kernels.
  • Cucumbers: May-August: Look for bright, shiny green; firm; well-shaped.
  • Eggplant: August-September: Look for firm, heavy, smooth, even dark purple. Free of bruises or cuts.
  • Lettuce: All Year: Look for fresh green leaves with no wilted or bruised areas. Heading varieties of lettuce should be medium weight for size.
  • Mushrooms: November-April: Look for dry, firm caps and stems. Small brown spots or open caps are still good in flavor.
  • Okra: May-September: Should have tender, bright-green, bruise-free pods, less than 4½ inches long. Pale, faded, hard pods are tough and fibrous.
  • Onions: All Year: Look for well-shaped; hard; small necks. Dry paper skins. Free of green spots or green-depressed leathery areas. Crisp green tops. Two to three-inch bleached-white roots.
  • Parsnips: October-April: Should be small to medium size; smooth-skinned; firm. Decay and bruise free.
  • Peas: April-July: Look for well-filled, bright green. Swollen, light-colored or gray-flecked pods contain tough, starchy peas.
  • Peppers: All Year: Look for good shape; firm exterior; thick flesh and bright, glossy skin.
  • Potatoes (White): All Year: Should be fairly smooth; well-shaped; firm. Free of most blemishes. Avoid bruised, sprouting, shriveled or green-tinged.
  • Potatoes (Sweet): September-December: Look for thick, chunky, medium-sized with no bruises or decay. Should taper at the end.
  • Radishes: May-July: Look for medium-sized (¾-1 inch diameter); good red color; plump; round; firm; crisp. Bright-green tops.
  • Spinach: March-May: Look for large, bright, blemish-free leaves with good green color. Yellowing indicates the start of decay. Avoid leaves with coarse stems.
  • Squash (Summer): June-August: Look for bright color; smooth; glassy skin. Heavy for the size; firm; well-shaped.
  • Squash (Winter): September-November: Should be heavy for the size. Hard, good-colored, unblemished rind.
  • Tomatoes: May-August: Should be well-formed; blemish-free; plump. Over all rich red color and slight softness.
  • Turnips/Rutabagas: September-March: Should be small to medium size; smooth; firm; heavy. Few leaf scars at top and few fibrous roots at base. Purple-tinged white ones are turnips. Yellow-skinned, larger roots are rutabagas.

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