Archive for November 2009


Red Beans and Rice

Red Beans and Rice

This recipe for red beans and rice is perfect for a cold night. I like this one especially because it’s made in the crock pot, which I like to use a few times a week for an easy dinner.

If you can’t find andouille you can try smoked keilbasa, though it won’t taste quite the same. Make sure you soak your beans overnight and rinse them well before using. If you don’t have time to do a long soak, you can try doing a quick soak.

If you don’t have or can’t find Creole seasoning, you can easily make your own.

Red Beans and Rice

1 pound dried red beans, soaked overnight
7 cups chicken broth
1 pound andouille sausage, sliced into rounds
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped (optional)
8 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Creole seasoning, or to taste
1 ham hock or 1 cup chopped ham
4 cups cooked rice

Place the beans and chicken broth into a slow cooker. Add sliced andouille, onion, jalapeno pepper, garlic, basil and ham (or ham hock). Season with pepper and Creole seasoning.

Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours, or until beans are tender. If it’s too watery for your liking, stir in a small amount of cornstarch and water slurry until desired consistency is reached, about half an hour before serving.


Crockpot Chicken Cheese Tortilla Soup

Crockpot Tortilla Cheese Soup

Forgive the picture, this one doesn’t photograph very well!

One of Mike’s favorite restaurant foods when he lived in South Dakota was Chicken Tortilla Soup from Ground Round. I got to have it one time when we flew out to see his family, and it was really good. We don’t have Ground Rounds out here so it’s been at least 12 years since we last had it.

Anyway, he mentioned a couple of weeks ago that he was craving it, so I went online and found a “copycat” recipe for it. I adapted it for the crockpot and surprised him with it, and it was a huge hit. Even the kids, who aren’t that crazy about soup, loved it!

Chicken Cheese Tortilla Soup

1 pound cubed chicken breast
2 cans Campbell’s “Fiesta Nacho Cheese” condensed soup
2 cans condensed cream of chicken soup
2 cups milk
2 cans (about 14 oz each) mild enchilada sauce
Crushed tortilla chips
Shredded cheddar cheese

Gently boil the chicken breast until cooked through and shred or cube. Combine all ingredients except the tortilla chips and cheddar cheese and place in crockpot.

Let cook on low for about four hours, stirring occasionally as it will burn easily. Crush tortilla chips and place in bowl, ladle soup over top. Sprinkle top with shredded cheddar cheese.


Stuffed Pasta Shells


I’ve been making these stuffed pasta shells for about eight years now. You can use all beef or all turkey, but having tried both I prefer the combination. You can also use homemade pasta sauce, which works really well, but if you don’t have it on hand the jarred kind can be tasty, too.

The recipe below makes about 30 shells, or two casserole dishes-worth. My family of five gets through about a pan and a half, and the rest go in the fridge for leftovers. If you don’t have that many people to feed it halves very easily.

Stuffed Pasta Shells

30 jumbo pasta shells (or one 12 oz box)
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves finely chopped garlic
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground turkey
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 lb shredded mozzarella cheese
1 26.5 oz can spaghetti sauce (or about 3 cups of homemade sauce)

Cook shells according to package directions. Drain and set aside to cool a little. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter in a large skillet and saute onion and garlic until tender. Add turkey and beef and cook until browned. Drain and mix in basil, oregano and 2 cups of the cheese (it’ll be very cheesy and stringy – perfect!).

Spread about half a cup of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of each 9×13″ casserole dish. Stuff cooked shell with the meat and cheese mixture and place meat-side down in the casserole dish. Spoon remaining sauce over top. Cover with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove foil, add remaining cheese over top and cook for an additional six or so minutes or until cheese is melted.