Monday, March 28, 2016

The Ranch Kitchen's Jambalaya

In an effort to not just cook the girls usual favorite meal of salmon or goulash when they came in, we opted for something a little out of the ordinary this Easter weekend when they came home.

Jambalaya or anything Cajun has a strong place in our girls hearts.  We love our crawfish season like none other and especially enjoy fried, boiled or it cooked as an etoufee served over rice.  So for Friday nights meal, I cooked a family favorite that we usually don't eat at home but from our favorite Cajun food restaurant Dudley's.  We cooked our own The Ranch Kitchen's Jambalaya.

I used my large nonstick Wok to cook this one pot dish and this recipe could easily have served eight people or a small crowd.  Along with a salad and some crusty French bread to dip up the broth, you have a meal that is worthy of serving company.

Years ago, when my two older daughter's each had their high school senior week activities, we always had a Crawfish Boil at our house with a big Capture the Flag game in the pasture at dark.  To serve along the boiled crawfish, I would make a huge triple batch or two of this recipe for The Ranch Kitchen's Jambalaya and serve it for those kids who didn't really enjoy the main course of 'mud bugs' as some call them in the deep south.  Crawfish are small lobster looking creatures that are harvested in the creeks and man made ditches in Texas, Louisianna and Mississippi. Spiced up with a Creole Seasoning like Tony Chachere's or Zattarain'a Shrimp Boil, you can't find a better meal.  We just boil and serve them out on top of huge tables covered with newspaper for easy cleanup.

I remember those parties well and the fun the parents had cooking for our kids and watching them enjoy each other in their last days before graduation.  It's a tradition we hope to continue for our Audrey when she graduates in a few years and hope they enjoy it as much as her sisters and friends did.

For this recipe you will use three different meats like the shrimp, sausage and chicken we used, but sometimes we can opt for just one.  You can add crawfish if you like and even bits of cut up fish like Crappy, white fish, bass, ling, snapper or catfish.  Just use what you have and make it how you like it! Do however be careful with the Creole Seasoning and add enough to make it as 'hot' in taste or mild depending on your own likes.  When you think about it, jambalaya is a very close to a seafood gumbo with most of the broth or liquid cooked out and white rice already added in.

This jambalaya dish also freezes well to serve for a quick nights dinner.  However, left overs were not an issue and what little was still left the oldest daughter gladly took home to her 'home away from home' for dinner!

So try you some mud bugs or crawfish soon while they are in season!  Season is any month that has a letter R in it (September - April) and especially January - April...because the hot summer months are just too hot to harvest them.

Enjoy and get you some crawfish if you have never had any soon and do try The Ranch Kitchen's Jambalaya!

Alise - The Ranch Kitchen

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Nolana's Potato Soup

Not all my daughters love soup. It's funny to think of and sometimes a bit confusing to remember just who likes what.  And it can be a little hard to please everyone. Thankfully tastes change as our girls have grown older and they appreciate some of their mom and dad's favorites finally.  

One of my husbands all time favorites is a just good old plain potato soup.  He is not a cheese lover at all, so a simple recipe is his favorite.  When you ask him what he liked that his mom Billie cooked, it was first her potato soup, then fried potatoes and her deer steak. 

So today as I asked Bethany just what she wanted before she headed back to her internship, it was potato soup that she requested for lunch.

It was really nice to have my mom come over and eat with us too.  Along with Bethany being home to top it off my mom asked for this recipe! So that really made my day twice as nice.  

For this recipe you can use red or traditional white potatoes, however today I opted for Idaho potatoes that had been pealed and cut in one inch cubes.  I sauteed a sweet white onion with garlic and about 3 stalks of celery to add flavor.  I usually add chicken broth, but since I couldn't find any in my pantry, I substituted with Campbell's Cream of Chicken Soup. 

Ten minutes before the potato soup was served, I added 1 cup of heavy cream to thicken it up and add a milky texture.  Sometimes I don't add the heavy cream, but instead use a little milk to add to the overall flavor.

We the potato soup I served a slice of cornbread, but will sometimes bake biscuits or beer bread as side to go along with it.  This week I'll get my beer bread up on the site to share.  It is so simple and easy to make and the house smells amazing (not like beer)!

Click here for Nolana's Potato Soup  

This soup is easily reheated with a little added water or milk the next day.  If you like add grated cheese on top and bacon or fried ham bits as I did above right before serving.  You can also add 1/3 cup or more of Cheese Whiz or Velvetta Cheese the last five minutes if you like to add additional cheesy goodness.

I hope you enjoy this our potato soup recipe as much as we do.  It's a quick and easy meal to make that almost everyone loves.  It's great on a cold night or when you are feeling a little under the weather.  


Alise - The Ranch Kitchen