Shrimp and Andouille Sausage Jambalaya

I have dabbled in family ancestry over the past few years but have never stuck with it long enough to get past a few generations.  I have not found proof that I have Cajun ancestors, but I know they are there somewhere!  Cajun cuisine is my absolute favorite food!  I’ll pick it over a steak dinner any day!
I have not shared a Cajun recipe in a while, so it is long past due.  This jambalaya recipe is super easy and comes together fast.  I used a new spice blend from Legion of Spice called Bayou Blue.   Legion of Spice is a new company offering wonderful rubs and spice blends.  Their products contain no salt, no MSG, no fillers, it is Gluten free, all natural and made in the USA. If you live in the US, you can get your very own FREE sample packs  by visiting their homepage, and signing up for their monthly newsletter. While on their website use coupon code “LEGION” for 15% off because you will for sure want to pick up a jar of Bayou Black for this delicious jambalaya!
Hillshire Farms has a Cajun Style Andouille Smoked Sausage that tastes great and works well in this recipe.  My family loves the shrimp, but you can substitute boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes if desired.

Shrimp and Andouille Sausage Jambalaya
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. andouille sausage, cut into ½-inch rounds
  • 1 lb. peeled and deveined medium shrimp
  • 1 lg. yellow onion, diced
  • 1 lg. green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 lg. fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. Cajun or Creole Seasoning
  • 1 c. uncooked long grain rice
  • 2 c. chicken broth
  • 1 bunch green onions, green part only, chopped
  • 1 bunch chopped fresh parsley leaves
  1. In a large Dutch oven, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook until lightly browned, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from pot and set aside.
  2. Add a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil if the pan needs it. Add the chopped onion, bell pepper, and celery to the Dutch oven and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, 7 to 10 minutes.
  3. Add shrimp and sausage, tomatoes, garlic, seasoning, rice, and chicken broth to the pan. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cover. Simmer until rice is cooked through, about 20 minutes.
  4. Stir in parsley and green onion just before serving.
To use chicken instead of shrimp: Add 1 lb. chicken that had been cut into 1-inch cubes, to the Dutch oven with the sausage. Cook until lightly browned. Chicken does not have to be cooked through, it will continue to cook in the last 20 minutes of cooking.


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Cinnamon Swirl Banana Muffins


It is no secret that I enjoy cooking and all things that come with it.  Well, except for maybe the cleaning up.  I read cookbooks for pleasure and even watch a few cooking shows.  I also love a day off.  I’m up for a good restaurant any day with someone else doing all of the work.

 Savannah decided to come home over the weekend since the college campus was closed due to Hurricane Matthew.  Having her home was great, and I usually make a few of her favorite dishes while she is home.  This time, she cooked breakfast for us one morning.  She baked these fabulous Cinnamon Swirl Banana Muffins.  The cinnamon swirl was a great addition to banana muffins.
This recipe can also be used to make a loaf of banana bread.  Savannah said that the bread is better the day after it bakes.  We wouldn’t know because the muffins did not last long enough to find out.


Cinnamon Swirl Banana Muffins
  • 3 to 4 overripe bananas, mashed
  • ⅓ c. unsalted butter, melted
  • ¾ c. granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1½ c. all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ c. granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin pan with 12 paper liners or spray a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray, set aside.
  2. Mix mashed bananas, butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla in a large bowl. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt and gently mix into the banana mixture. Do not overmix!
  3. Fill the paper liners half-way with batter. Then evenly distribute half of the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Add remaining batter to the top of each. Using a butter knife, swirl the batter. Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon/sugar mixture.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
To make a loaf, pour half of batter the greased loaf pan. Sprinkle with half of the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Pour remaining batter on top and swirl with a butter knife. Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon/sugar mixture. Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes.


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Homemade Payday Candy




The first taste of this fantastic Homemade Payday Candy took me back 40 years or more.  Back to a time when I could walk to the Beeler’s store with my cousins for a Coke and candy bar.  Those were the days!  We didn’t even need money because we would put it on daddy’s tab.  The gas tab that he would keep and pay at the end of the month.  The one that would undoubtedly have a few surprises on it when he went in to pay.
This candy is one of the easiest candy recipes you’ll ever make.  Waiting for the candy to chill is the hardest part!  The Payday candy would be a great recipe to get the kids involved.  With only five ingredients and the microwave, you will be licking the bowl in a matter of minutes!


Homemade Payday Candy
  • 1 (16-oz.) salted cocktail peanuts
  • 2 c. peanut butter chips
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 (14-oz.) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (10.5-oz.) bag mini marshmallows
  1. Spray a 9 x 13-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle 1 c. peanuts on the bottom of the pan, set aside.
  2. In a large microwave-safe bowl, heat peanut butter chips and butter in 30-second increments on 50% power, stirring after each, until melted.
  3. Stir sweetened condensed milk into the chips and microwave on high power for 1 more minute. Stir until smooth and combined.
  4. Fold the marshmallows into the peanut butter chips mixture until evenly coated. Pour over the peanuts in the pan. Spreading even with a spatula, try not to disturb the peanuts.
  5. Press the remaining 1 c. nuts into the marshmallow mixture. Cover and chill for at least one hour.
  6. Cut into squares.
You may substitute salted dry-roasted peanuts for the cocktail peanuts if you prefer.


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Jalapeño Cheese Dip



Football season is in full swing now, and as many of you know, we had a contest at The Courier Herald for the best tailgating recipe last month. After receiving many wonderful recipes, I would like to announce that the winner is Sally Willis Daniels!

I would like to thank everyone who participated in the Tailgating Recipe Contest! I received many great submissions, and my family and friends enjoyed several taste tests. It was extremely hard to pick just one recipe. However, when it came down to one winner I chose this fabulous Jalapeno Cheese Dip recipe for its terrific flavor and originality.

This dip is not the cheese dip that comes to mind when you first read the recipe title. The dip reminds me somewhat of Vidalia Onion Dip or Jalapeno Popper Dip. Adding the undrained jalapenos adds an unexpected flavor that I enjoyed. I even took this dip to Friday night tailgating with my friends.  We baked the dip, uncovered, on the grill which gave it a fabulous smoky taste.  Sally’s recipe makes enough for a large tailgating party. The amount pictured is half of the recipe.

Congratulations Sally, your Jalapeno Cheese Dip recipe is amazing!


And the Winner is...
  • 2 (16-oz.) containers sour cream
  • 1 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 2 c. mayonnaise
  • 1 (12-oz.) jar chopped jalapenos, undrained
  • 1 (8-oz.) pkg. Mexican cheese blend or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • Tostitos Scoops for dipping
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the sour cream, cream cheese, and mayonnaise (I did this with an electric mixer). Add the undrained jalapenos and the shredded cheese and mix.
  3. Spoon into a baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 60 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Serve with Tostitos Scoops.



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Venison Medallions with Blueberry-Sage Sauce and Compote of Leek and Wild Mushrooms


You can definitely tell that deer season has started here. Our lives revolve around food plots, deer stands, and trail cameras. Right now it's bow season and my son hunts with a bow. My guys both eat what they kill, but they kill very few deer. They are members of a deer management club, and the rules are pretty strict.  I can usually count on at least one of two deer per season going into the freezer though. When I first married Greg, I hated the thought of cooking and eating deer. However, almost 29 years later things have changed a little. One contributing factor is the quality of the food we buy. Knowing that much of the meat in our stores has added hormones and antibiotics discourages me from purchasing it. For that reason, and the fact that I have figured out to cook more than venison chili, I have grown to enjoy venison. Today I'm sharing a fabulous recipe from The Mansion on Turtle Creek Cook Book. It looks fancy, and you would think it would be difficult. There are a few steps involved, but this recipe is very simple to prepare and delicious to eat.  
Blueberry-Sage Sauce
  • 2 c. zinfandel
  • 1½ pints blueberries, fresh or frozen, rinsed and well drained
  • 2 c. brown veal demi glace
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • Salt, to taste
  • Juice of ½ lemon or to taste
  • 2 sprigs fresh sage
  1. Place Zinfandel in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until liquid is reduced to about ½ cup.
  2. Add the berries, and return liquid to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until berries are soft.
  3. Add demi-glace and bring the liquid to a boil. Lower heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or to coat the back of a spoon.
  4. Strain sauce nd whisk in butter. Season with salt and lemon juice to taste. Place sage in sauce and steep for 10 to 20 minutes or until ready to use. Keep warm. Remove sage sprigs before serving.
You can find Classic French Demi-Glace in some grocery stores. The brand I used was More Than Gourmet.

Compote of Leek and Wild Mushrooms
  • 1 lg. leek, white part only
  • 1 c. chopped assorted wild mushrooms
  • ½ c. heavy cream
  • Salt to taste
  • Juice of ½ lemon or to taste
  1. Cut leek into 2-inch sections. Cut sections into fine julienne strips.
  2. Combine leek strips, wild mushrooms, and cream in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and cook for about 5 minutes or until the cream has thickened.
  3. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and lemon juice. Keep warm.
  4. Compote may be prepared several hours ahead. Keep warm or reheat gently.
  5. Sauce may be prepared several hours ahead. Keep warm or reheat gently if necessary.

Venison Medallions with Blueberry-Sage Sauce and Compote of Leek and Wild Mushrooms
  • 8 (3-oz.) medallions from the backstrap of venison
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 tbsp. canola oil
  • Blueberry-Sage Sauce (recipe follows)
  • Compote of Leek and Wild Mushrooms (recipe follows)
  1. Season venison with salt and pepper, to taste. Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Bring oil to smoking point.
  2. Place medallions carefully in the pan and saute for 3 minutes, being careful not to crowd the pan. Turn and cook for another 2 minutes for medium-rare. Repeat as needed to brown all fillets.
  3. Spoon Blueberry-Sage Sauce over the bottom of each dinner plate Place with 2 medallions in the center of each plate and nestle a small mound of Compote of Leek and Wild Mushrooms above the medallions. Serve immediately.


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