Red Beans & Rice

Red Beans & Rice

This is adapted from a New York Times recipe. I have been tweaking and finally got it to where my husband loves it. He likes to add a little extra hot sauce and some cider vinegar. I used brown rice this time and chicken andouille sausage to cut down on some of the fat. I assembled everything and then put in the crock pot for 6 hours.





  • 1 pound dried red beans 
  • 1 pound Andouille sausage, sliced 1/2-inch thick and cut into quarters (or Andouille chicken sausage)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium onions, finely diced
  • 2 large rib celery, finely diced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
  •  teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp Emeril seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • ¾ teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 bunch fresh green onions, chopped
  •  Cooked white long-grain rice, for serving


  1. In a large bowl, cover beans in water and soak for at least 4 hours or overnight. (Water should cover beans by at least an inch.)
  2. In a large, heavy pot, brown sausage in 1 tablespoon of oil until slightly crisp. Add remaining oil, then the garlic and onions. Sauté over medium heat until onions become transparent and limp. Add celery and bell pepper and sauté for 5 minutes.
  3. Pour soaked beans and water into the pot and bring to a simmer. Add black pepper, cayenne, salt and all herbs except parsley.
  4. Cook until beans are softened, about 11/2 to 2 hours. (Or in crockpot for 6 hours). Taste and adjust seasonings.
  5. Fifteen minutes before serving, remove 1 cup of beans to a bowl and, using a fork, mash them and stir back into the pot to enhance the creamy texture of the dish. Add parsley and green onions. Simmer about 15 minutes, taste and adjust seasoning, and add up to 1 cup more water if beans seem too thick. Remove bay leaves. Serve over white long-grain rice.
Creole Shrimp and Creamed Corn “Grits”

Creole Shrimp and Creamed Corn “Grits”

This is one of the best things I have made all year!!! It is summer in a bowl and full of all of my favorite things. This is Shrimp and Grits but with fresh corn instead of the grits. You can use all 1% milk but the cream really adds to the flavor. This was adapted from a Cooking Light recipe. 







7 ears fresh shucked corn
1 cup 1% low-fat milk
1/2 cup cream
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tbsp butter
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 pound raw large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup halved grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 Onion, sliced thin
1/4 cup dry white wine (or chicken stock)


Heat oven to 400. Place the grape tomatoes on a baking sheet and line with foil. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with corse sea salt. Roast for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and place into a bowl until ready to use

Cut kernels from corn. Set aside 1/4 cup kernels. Pulse remaining kernels in a food processor until almost creamy, 7 or 8 times. In a medium saucepan add the processed kernels, milk, cream, and cornstarch to pan. Bring to a simmer over medium, stirring often. Reduce heat to low; simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon butter and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Remove from heat; cover and keep warm.

In a large skillet heat olive oil and cook onions and garlic over medium heat, stirring often. Cook about 20 minutes until golden and caramelized. Combine with roasted grape tomatoes.

Combine shrimp, Creole seasoning, paprika, and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Add remaining olive oil to skillet. Add shrimp; cook about 3 minutes until opaque. Add onions, tomatoes, thyme, and garlic, stir to combine. Remove shrimp mixture with a slotted spoon and  place in a bowl. Add wine to the skillet; cook, stirring and scraping pan to loosen browned bits, 30 seconds. Serve shrimp mixture over the creamed corn. sprinkle each bowl with the reserved fresh corn kernels.


Pineapple Shrimp Curry

Pineapple Shrimp Curry

I have collected James McNair cookbooks over the years and this recipe is adapted from his Southeast Asian Cookbook. It is bursting with flavor. I used fresh pineapple but you can substitute canned. If you cannot find curry paste, Trader Joe’s has a lovely Yellow Curry sauce that I have used that would work in this as well.  





2 Cups light coconut milk*
2 Tbsp Yellow Curry paste or Yellow curry sauce*
2 Tbsp Peanut or olive oil
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 Tbsp Fish Sauce
1 Tbsp Palm, coconut or brown Sugar
1 red Bell pepper, cut into chunks
1 Onion, halved and sliced thin
1 Cup fresh pineapple, cut into small chunks (or use canned)
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
Whole fresh mint leaves for garnish

*If using prepared curry sauce eliminate the curry paste and coconut milk.



In a bowl combine coconut milk and curry paste and mix until smooth.

In a large wok or saucepan heat oil. Add the onions and cook on medium heat until golden and slightly caramelized, stirring to prevent burning. Add the red pepper.

Stir in the coconut milk/curry mixture. Add fish sauce, sugar and pineapple. Bring to a simmer and cook about 3 minutes.

Add the shrimp to the simmering curry and cook until the shrimp turn opaque.

Serve over rice and garnish with mint leaves.



Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Sriracha Slaw

Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Sriracha Slaw

This is so good! I served it with a side of fresh Mexican corn. I posted a recipe for the corn last year and we eat it constantly when corn is in season.







1 pound shrimp, deveined, peeled on skewers
Coconut oil spray
1 tsp paprika
4 Corn or flour tortillas
1 heaping cup finely shredded cabbage
1/4 cup yogurt Ranch dressing
2 Tbsp Sriracha sauce
1/2 lime or about 1 tsp lime juice
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp Honey
salt & pepper to taste
Half a sliced avocado


For the Sriracha Ranch, whisk together the ranch and Sriracha sauce. For a spicier sauce, add extra Sriracha to taste.

For the Slaw, combine cabbage, apple cider vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper. Cut your lime in half and add juice of half the lime into your slaw. Adjust honey to taste and set aside to marinate while you cook the shrimp.

Pat shrimp dry and season with paprika, salt, and pepper. Mix well to coat both sides. Put shrimp on metal skewers and set in the fridge while you make your slaw and sauce.

Heat the grill and cook, depending on shrimp size, about 3 min each side.

Remove from skewers and chop each shrimp in half. Line your tortillas with shrimp and top with a hearty drizzle of sauce. Top with slaw and sliced avocado.


Chicken Tamale Pie

Chicken Tamale Pie

I was trying to come up with something to make with the boneless, skinless chicken thighs I had in the fridge so I started going through some old cookbooks I had not used in a while. I adapted this from an old James McNair recipe in his “Chicken” cookbook. I have quite a few that I have acquired over the years. This is a great weeknight recipe. It warms up well, too. 










1 can (28 oz.) Italian-style plum tomatoes, with their juices
1 can (16 oz.) cream-style corn
3 – 4 tsp. salt
1 medium-sized onion, sliced thin
1/4 cup olive oil
1 canned adobo chipotle chili (chopped)
1 cup milk
½ cup yellow cornmeal
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup pitted ripe olives
5 chicken thighs, cooked and shredded
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
Olive oil for drizzling


Sauté onion until golden. Add tomatoes, corn, salt, olive oil and chili powder in a large saucepan and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the milk, cornmeal, and eggs; add to the tomato mixture and cook, stirring constantly to prevent scorching, until thick, about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the olives, chicken and about 1/2 cup of the cheese mixture.

Pour mixture into a lightly greased shallow ovenproof dish. Top with the remaining cheeses, drizzle with oil, and bake until the pie is firm and the cheese is crusty, 35 – 45 minutes. Serve piping hot.

Japanese-Style Beef Stew

Japanese-Style Beef Stew

This is just wonderful. My husband had 3 helpings. The flavors are American stew with an asian twist. The spicy ginger and sweetness of the squash are perfect together. Ultimate comfort food! This was inspired by the New York Times recipe but with my own variations. It is easy to overcook the squash so after adding it watch to make sure it does not get too overcooked and mushy.



  • 2 – 2 1/2 pounds boneless chuck in 1-inch to 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • 3-4 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup mirin (honey or sugar can be used – adjust to taste)
  • 10 nickel-size slices of ginger
  •  Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • tsp cinamon (optional)
  • 1 large peeled butternut cut in 1-inch chunks (sweet potatoes would also work)


  1. In a large bowl combine flour, salt, pepper and paprika. Add meat in batches to coat.
  2. In a large stock pot heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil (you may need more or less depending on how much beef) . Over medium-high heat, sear meat until nicely browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer chunks to a medium-size bowl. I did this in 2 batches.
  3. Add mirin and soy sauce to the skillet, and cook over high heat, stirring and scraping until all the solids are integrated into the liquid, add beef stock.
  4. Add beef back into the pot. Cover, and cook on top of stove, maintaining a steady simmer. Stir after 30 minutes. Then check meat every 15 minutes.
  5. While beef is simmering, heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and add onions. Cook slowly over medium heat until golden brown and caramelized. Remove from heat.
  6. When meat is tender, about 45 minutes, stir in squash and onions. Continue to cook until squash is tender but not mushy, about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve over rice.

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Mahogany Chicken Wings

Mahogany Chicken Wings


I grew up in Connecticut and came back for visits to my parents several times a year. One of my favorite places to go was a wonderful Garden shop called Lexington Gardens. 20 some odd years ago on one of those visits I bought this a cookbook that i still love and use today. Pacific Flavors by Hugh Carpenter. I have made these wings many times over the years and have adjusted things here and there. The original recipe called for plum sauce and I can no longer find it in the store so I doubled the Hoisin sauce. I double the recipe and figure on about 3-4 wings per person. I served as a main meal with pasta salad.



4 pounds of chicken wings

3/4 cup plum sauce
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/4 cup Mirin
1/4 cup honey


Cut the tips off the wings

Combine the marinade ingredients. Place wings in a large pan and pour marinade over the wings to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 12 – 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 375. Place a wire rack in a large roasting pan and coat with cooking spray.

Drain the marinade from the chicken and reserve. Put the marinade in a small pan, bring to a boil and simmer. Arrange the wings on the rack and roast for 30 minutes. I have done this without a rack and it works fine but the wings don’t get as crispy (but still tasty). After 30 minutes baste with the marinade, turn them and baste again.

Roast for another 30 minutes until tender and golden.


Ricotta and Spinach Stuffed Chicken

Ricotta and Spinach Stuffed Chicken


This was a quick week night dinner. I usually like chicken thighs better but the chicken turned out moist and flavorful. I served it with an apple, walnut and Romaine salad with greek yogurt dressing. This served more than 2 (depending on the size of the breast) but you could easily double for more servings. This would also be good with a marinara sauce. 





1 6 oz bag of pre-washed spinach
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup of part skim ricotta (you could also use full fat)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup panko flakes
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
cooking Spray


Preheat oven to 450.

Heat olive oil in a large non stick pan over medium heat. Add spinach to the pan and cook until spinach wilts, about 4-5 minutes. Stir frequently. Drain spinach in a sieve, pressing to remove any excess water. Place on a cutting board and finely chop. Place in a medium size bowl. Add ricotta and parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and stir well to combine.

Place chicken breast between 2 sheets of wax paper. Pound to flatten to about 1/4 inch using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Place half of the ricotta mixture in the middle of the chicken leaving a 1/4 inch border. Using the short side roll up in a jelly roll fashion and place seam side down in a 2 quart baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Repeat with the remaining chicken breast.

Sprinkle chicken with the panko flakes, parmesan cheese and smoked paprika. Bake at 450 for 20 – 30 minutes until chicken is done


Spaghetti Squash Rosti

Spaghetti Squash Rosti


My wonderful mother, who taught me how to cook, is always on the lookout for recipes I might like. She found this on the Chew and I did my own version of it. This is great as a vegetarian main meal with a salad. We warmed up the leftovers for lunch the next day. You could add a lot of different ingredients like roasted grape tomatoes, onions or swiss chard. If you want to go vegetarian you can leave out the egg. The recipe did not call for it but I added as a binder.



  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 1 cup cooked Quinoa
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cub bread crumbs






Preheat oven to 400ºF. Slice spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and place cut side down in a baking dish. Add enough water to cover the bottom of the baking dish, cover with foil and bake until tender, about 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Once cool enough to handle, shred with a fork and place in a large bowl

Add the squash, quinoa, egg, flour, bread crumbs  and chili flakes. Season with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Spray a large sauté pan with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Add the squash mixture and press into a pancake using a spatula. Allow to cook until golden brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. I covered the pan for about half the time. Place a large plate over the pan and invert the pancake onto the plate and slide back into the pan. Cook on the other side until golden brown, about another 5 minutes. Slide onto a large plate. Cut into wedges.


BBQ Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

BBQ Stuffed Sweet Potatoes


This is another recipe inspired by Her posts are so lovely and probably more healthy than mine… but they always inspire me. I would not have thought of BBQ meat combined with a sweet potato but it is wonderful. I have made this twice, once as a vegetarian meal without the meat (using only caramelized onions, roasted corn and Cojita cheese) and once following this recipe. We loved both versions but this is my favorite. You could use beef, chicken or pork. I had BBQ beef brisket in the fridge so I went with that. The first time I used fresh roasted corn but frozen works just fine. 

Serves 3-4





  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 package or Trader Joe’s frozen Roasted Mexican corn (or 2 ears fresh corn toasted in a frying pan)
  • 1 sweet onion, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 16 oz BBQ Pork, Beef or Chicken (I used Beef Brisket from Trader Joe’s)
  • 6 oz shredded Cojita, Cheddar or Monterey jack Cheese


  1. Wash sweet potatoes and prick each one several times with fork. Place on a foil lined or non stick baking sheet and bake at 375 for 45-60 minutes or until they are soft to the touch. I used a convection oven so it took only about 45 minutes.
  2. Warm the BBQ beef in the oven at 350 for about 15- 20 minutes.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan and add the sliced onions. Cook for about 20 minutes until golden and caramelized.
  4. For frozen corn: use a non stick pan to toast over medium heat to give it a bit of caramelizing; about 5-7 minutes.
    For fresh corn: Grill for a few minutes on each side and slice kernels off the cob OR Slice corn off the cob and toast in a pan for about 4-5 minutes.
  5. When the potatoes are done, cool for a few minutes then remove the skin and place sweet potatoes in a large bowl. Mash with a fork and add 1/2 the cheese, onions, corn and fold in the shredded BBQ. Mix well. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  6. Place the filling In oven safe dishes and bake just until the cheese is melted.


This is my vegetarian version. Once the sweet potatoes are cooked, allow to cool for a few minutes, then cut off the tops and scoop out the cooked flesh of each potato, add to a large bowl. Leave the skin of the potatoes intact along with a thin layer of potato to help hold skins together. Mix all the ingredients and then scoop sweet potato filling into the skins, drizzle with BBQ sauce, top with cheese and bake for 6 or 7 minutes until cheese is melted. I served with a greens and apple salad.