2 lbs shrimp
½-1lb smoked sausage or andouille
1-2 green peppers
4-5 ribs of celery
1 large onion
4-5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 28oz can of diced tomatoes
1 bundle of fresh thyme
2-3 bay leaves
Generous pinch of crushed red pepper
1-2 tsp of cayenne
(all of these to your preference)
Scallions to garnish
To begin, devein and shell your shrimp. Put your shrimp shells in a pot and cover with water. Bring to boil and then simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Chop your veg
- Brown your sausage in some oil.
- Add your holy trinity and cook until softened.
- Add the garlic and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
- Add your tomatoes.
- Strain 4-6 cups of the shrimp stock and add to the pot.
- Add your bay leaves and thyme bundle.
- Add salt and pepper and taste.
- Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Add your shrimp. Cover and simmer for about 6-7 minutes.
- Taste and adjust your seasoning.
- Serve over rice and garnish with scallions.
Adapted from Anne Burrell’s Jambalaya.
Lasagna is one of those meals that you whip up and you know you won’t have to worry about dinner for a couple of nights. It’s also one of those meals that allow you to load up on veggies! If you punch up the flavor, even the most anti-veg person will devour a serving or few.
Yields 15 lasagna rolls
Box of lasagna noodles
5 Spicy Italian sausage
small yellow onion
half of a green bell pepper
1 large zucchini
3 large carrots
1 pack of frozen chopped spinach
pint of reduced fat ricotta
4 cloves of garlic
Your favorite tomato sauce
Your preferred shredded cheese
- Preheat your oven to 375
- Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil.
- Boil the lasagna noodles.
- Using a mandolin slicer, create zucchini ribbons and carrot ribbons
- Defrost spinach
- Brown your sausage or other ground meat (this could be a omitted for a completely vegetarian recipe)
- Add chopped garlic, onion and pepper, cook until just softened, season with salt and pepper.
- Drain your noodles, should be al dente
- Remove the meat and veg from the pan and drain in a strainer or a paper towel
- Drain spinach, season with salt, pepper and about 1 tsp garlic powder.
- Season ricotta with 2 tsp garlic powder, 2 tsp Italian seasoning, 1 tsp kosher salt and a pinch of crushed pepper, mix to combine
- Take one noodle and “paint” ricotta mixture using a spoon or a spatula
- Lay carrot ribbons, sprinkle spinach, sprinkle meat mixture and top with cheese
- Tightly roll the noodles up
- Nestle a zucchini ribbon overtop, repeat until your pan is full. My pan was 13×9 and that fit 15 rolls. Lightly sprinkle kosher salt over your ribbon-wrapped rolls.
- Top with your favorite tomato sauce (I used 2 parts canned diced tomato and 1 part canned crushed tomato that I seasoned it up using my go-to’s: kosher salt, pepper, cumin, garlic, Italian seasoning, pinch of sugar and a dash of fish sauce).
- Generously top with your preferred shredded cheese
- Bake covered with foil for 45 minutes then uncovered until bubbling and the edges start to brown.
© 2016 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved
Autumn is my favorite season. Sweaters, boots, cider, stretch pants….. Okay, stretch pants are year-round over here, sue me. But still, autumn is easily the greatest season for food. It’s September but here in DC, it’s still brutally hot. We cranked up the air today and brought in the new season with a super hearty, flavorful and filling soup.
When it comes to my comfort foods measurements are never exact. You go with the flow, you taste and adjust. You wiggle when you get it perfect. Well, I wiggle. I don’t know what you do.
I love any excuse to pull out Big Red, my large Le Creuset dutch oven (thanks Trina!). You want to use a large, heavy bottomed pot for this dish because it is a one-pot wonder. Everything is happening in that pot. Everything.
Two large chicken breasts
3 spicy Italian sausages
4 garlic cloves
2 large carrots
3 celery stalks
1 small onion, or ½ of a large onion
½ green bell pepper
1 can of black beans
1-16 oz can of crushed tomato
1 carton of low-sodium chicken broth (always, always low-sodium)
Few tbsp of your preferred cooking oil
1 tsp of fish oil (don’t ask, just do it. Trust me. MAJOR NOM FACTOR)
Spices & such:
Kosher salt, pepper.
Garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, chili powder, paprika, crushed red pepper, oregano, parsley- thyme would work really well, too.
This is an example of measurem-who!? I just eyeball, but you can start with about a tsp of the first three spices, ½ tsp for the remaining ingredients, and adjust as you taste. Always taste, taste, taste!
Prepping is the name of the game. Chop up your veg right away. Just get it over with, when it’s go-time you can just dump it right in the pot and keep on moving.
In your heavy-bottom pot over med heat, add about 2 tbsp of cooking oil. Add your sausage, I made little sausage balls. Allow the sausage to caramelize and brown, the bottom of the pan may start to change color. That is nothing but food’s way of saying, “hey, you. here’s some love”. Seriously, this is a good sign. You do not want the sausage to cook through. Transfer to a paper towel lined bowl.
If the pot is beginning to dry, add another tbsp of oil. Add your chopped chicken breast to the pan. Season with kosher salt and pepper. You want the chicken to brown up and add to the brown love marks on the pan. Once the chicken is mostly cooked, carefully transfer to a bowl.
In the very same pot, right on top of all of that #BrownLove, you’re going to add your holy trinity (onions, bell pepper and celery) and your carrot. Sprinkle a bit of kosher salt and stir. Allow the vegetables to sweat, they will become very aromatic. It’s intoxicating, really. When you smell the trinity you know major NOMS are about to occur.
As the veg starts to sweat, you’ll notice the brown bits start to loosen up. Now, this is where magic happens.
Once the vegetables start to soften, you’re going to add your spices. Stir it up really well and just keep moving the veg around the pot. We don’t want to burn the spices, we just want to toast them a bit. Bring out some of that aroma and flavor.
The veg will be releasing some moisture, which is why this doesn’t look dry. And, would you look at that!? The #BrownLove is mostly off of the pot and incorporated in the veg. FLAVOR! Now, you’re going to add a capful of red wine vinegar and a tsp of fish oil to this. You want to stir to incorporate. I will admit. This part is a bit funky, but it is adding some major nuance and umami.
(Umami. The sophisticated sister to Nom. You’re welcome for that useless and totally made up bit of information).
Now, you’re going to add your chicken broth and your crushed tomato. Stir well to incorporate. Bring the soup to a boil and then turn down low. Allow it to simmer for about 10 minutes, then you’re going to add your chicken and sausage back into the mix. The sausage and the chicken are going to finish cooking gently in the simmering soup. After about 5 minutes you can go on and add your beans. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
That line of soup residue? That means the soup has reduced. That means the flavors are more concentrated. That means….Yes, you guessed it: NOM. At this point, you really just want to taste and tinker. More salt? More garlic? (The answer to more garlic is always “yes” in this house.) This is your dish, adjust as your tastebuds demand. I wound up adding a smidge more fish sauce and another pinch of salt.
Mason demanded a taste and told me it was “deeeeelicious.”
So, clearly it’s amazing.
(Notice the darker color. Reduced -> concentrated flavor -> NOM)
At the last minute I decided to serve it with some cornbread so I whipped some of that up. I’ll do a post on that another day. But just know this is some sweet, salty and moist conrbread. It’ll make you wanna cuss.
Wait. This is my blog.
This cornbread is good as shit. So is the soup. Trust me.
© 2016 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved