Crab and leek chowder

I recently made steamed crab for dinner and for some reason bought way way too much. I had about 10-16 ounces of leftover crab legs to use. I ended up using one of Rachel Ray’s recipes and It was a true keeper. I only changed a bit of seasoning and I will certainly make this more often. Next time I will try to find the leeks already cleaned. They are a real pain to deal with, but worth it for the flavor.

 

3 leeks, trimmed, wash and diced

2 large carrots, peeled and diced

3 ribs celery, washed and chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

6 slices bacon chopped

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 bay leaf

salt and pepper

3 russet potatoes, peeled and diced

3 tablespoons flour

3-4 cups chicken broth

1 cup heavy cream

1/2-1 pound crab meat

1/2 tablespoon old bay seasoning

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 tablespoon cajun seasoning

 

Cook the  bacon in a large soup pot. When crisp, remove.

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Add the olive oil to the pan. On medium heat, saute the leeks, carrots and celery for 5-6 minutes.

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Add the dry seasoning. Add the flour. Slowly add the chicken broth while stirring constantly to prevent forming lumps.

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Add the potatoes and bacon. Bring to a boil.  Cook for 10-15 minutes. If the potatoes are not tender, boil a minute or two longer.

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Add the cream and crab. Stir well and serve.

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Chicken sausage and crab gumbo

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Gumbo takes a really really long time to make. It tastes sooo good it is worth it. My favorite part is that it can be made in giant batches. It freezes really well to made several quick dinners by warming it and making fresh rice. It makes a great easy dinner for weeknights, after babies are born, and for winter camping trips.

This batch and the portions I used made 4-5 batches of 2-3 bowls each. That is a LOT of gumbo.

 

3 green bell peppers, diced

6 celery stalks, diced

1 large onion, diced

7 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 cup dark roux

2 tablespoons butter

4 bone in chicken thighs, smoked

2 pounds andouille sausage links, smoked

10-16 ounces crab claw meat

5 bay leaves

2 teaspoon thyme

12-14 cups chicken broth

1-2 teaspoons paprika

6 large pods okra

2 tablespoons gumbo file

1 cup chopped fresh parsley

chopped green onions to garnish

 

My dark roux.

 

Melt the butter in large soup pot on medium heat. Add the celery, onion, and pepper. Cook until soft about 10-12 minutes.

Once they are soft add the garlic and then stir in the roux. Add the chicken broth. Add the thyme, paprika and bay leaves. Add the chopped up chicken and sausage. Add the okra. I use giant firm pods and put them in whole. Once the okra opens, I remove the pod and leave the seeds.

 

Cover and cook for 1-2 hours.

Just before serving, add the crab meat and gumbo file. Remove the bay leaves and okra. Add in fresh chopped parsley.

 

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Serve with white rice, corn bread, and green onions.

 

To freeze this, I let it cool fully and then place smaller portions into ziploc freezer bags without rice. When warming it, sometimes I add a bit of water. Also, this is when we add shrimp if we are going to. The shrimp does not freeze well.

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Paella

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Sometimes when you love cooking, slaving over a hot stove (errr green egg) in is more fun than going out. Somehow I convinced my husband to make paella with me. This was a first time to try Paella and i am a total fan.

The prep work is key. Everything MUST be prepped to make this work. We cooked it in a Paella pan on the green.

 

1.5 cups arborio risotto

4 cups chicken broth

1 large onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 large red bell pepper, diced

1 cup frozen green peas

4 roma tomatoes, diced

4 ounces tomato paste

4 chicken thighs – bone in and skin on

1/2 pound chorizo sausage

1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves

1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon saffron threads

6 large shrimp cleaned and peeled

juice of 1 lemon

2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil

 

Heat the chicken broth and dissolve the saffron in the broth. Keep this warm.

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Make sure everything has been prepared. You should even measure all the spices.

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Heat the grill. Cook the chicken thighs in oil until almost done. Remove from pan.

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Cook the chorizo. Add in the onion, garlic, and pepper. Cook 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste. Cook 5 minutes. Stir constantly. Add rice. Add spices. Cover with 3/4 the chicken broth. Stop stirring. Place the chicken back on top.

Add more broth as needed. When the rice is tender (this took about 40 minutes), add the peas and shrimp. Cook 2-3 more minutes. Squeeze lemon juice over when plated.

All together this took about 1.5 hours to cook. It is not fast but well worth it.

My favorite parts of this dish are the slightly burned yummy dark flavorful pieces of rice. This made enough food for an army. It re-heated well but my husband and I ate it for 3 meals. I suggest inviting friends over!

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Salmon croquettes

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Now THIS is an old recipe. Some of the best recipes are the simple old ones. It reminds me of my childhood.

1 large baked russet potato

20 ounces canned salmon drained with bones removed – I used red salmon

1 egg

chopped fresh chives – 1/8 cup

1 tablespoon lemon zest

sat and pepper

3 tablespoons plain greek yogurt

crushed saltine crackers to coat – 3/4 sleeve

 

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Mix everything except the saltine crackers together.

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Roll into large balls using an ice cream scoop. Roll in cracker crumbs.

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Heat crisco in a pan to 350 degrees. Fry the croquettes until golden brown while maintaining an oil temperature of 325-350 degrees. Drain on wire rack on baking sheet.

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This makes about 12 croquettes and a serving size is 3-4. They freeze well both before frying and after. If you freeze before frying, you should fully thaw prior to cooking.

1 used 2 cans of salmon – the 14 ounce can as well as a 6 ounce. I know the red salmon is more expensive than the pink but it’s worth it.

Baked cod with sauteed tomatoes garlic and zucchini

Fish Fridays are my favorite days. It isn’t every Friday but I wish it were. I like this one because it is super fast, all of this could have been from my garden if it were later in the year, and it is a flavor explosion.

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Start with fresh cod. We used 1.25 pounds for 2 adults and nibbles for the kids.

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Preheat oven to 375. Place olive oil in 13×9 pan. Cover with 1 teasspoom salt and some lemon juice and bake for about 15-18 minutes or until 145 degrees.

While this is baking, prepare the veggies.

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 tablespoons butter divided

3 cloves garlic slices

1 pint cherry tomatoes halves

1 large zucchini in slices

1 tablespoon sweet basil

1 teaspoom red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoom salt

1/2 teaspoom chicken bouillon granules

juice of 1/2 large lemon

1/4 cup water

Melt the butter in oil in a skillet on medium to medium high. Add the garlic. Cook about 2-3 minutes. Do not burn. Change heat down if needed. Add tomatoes. Blister for 1-2 minutes. Add lemon juice, basil, red pepper, salt, and chicken boullion. Cook about 5 minutes. Add zucchini. Cover and remove from heat. (I like zucchini semi crisp but cooked so leave in a minute longer if you like it cooked more). Add 2 more tablespoons of butter.

Serve over the fish with steamed white or brown rice. We poured a small amount the tomatoes over the cooked fish and let it set for 5 minutes before eating too. My kids won’t eat the sauce but I took fish out for them before covering it with sauce.

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YUM!

 

Southwest grilled salmon with guacamole

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Without the rice and corn on my plate tonight, this is a whole 30 recipe. Unfortunately, I love carbs. It just isn’t quite the same without them. I mean…. this was about the easiest weeknight meal possible.

salmon – 2 pounds

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon chimayo chili powder

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The salmon went on the propane grill inside of the foil tray (but not covered) at 250 degrees for about 15-20 minutes or until it was 145 degrees. The chimayo turns very dark. It is not burned. Promise.

2 avocados

1/2 of small yellow onion diced

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

juice of 1 lime

1 teaspoon Pecos seasoning

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Chop the onion and cilantro. Mix it all up. Cover and refrigerate. The avocado will turn brown. Used within an hour and place plastic wrap pressed directly on top to make sure no air is under to turn it brown.

What is Pecos seasoning? It is pretty much what we put on any of the steaks we grill. It is quite possibly the best mix ever tasted. It comes from the Pecos people in Shepherd Texas. We order it online.

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Garlic shrimp with mashed parmesan cauliflower

We need to be a bit healthier when it comes to dinner. Normally we eat a LOT of BBQ. For the last year I have been trying to prepare seafood at least every 1-2 weeks. This is very challenging for a girl from Missouri who grew up hating seafood because it was frozen, gross, and fishy. This was my second time even cooking shrimp in my life.

Tonight’s dinner was amazing! We had a big side garden salad. The salad added vitamins and fresh flavors. I would like to say this dinner only took 30 minutes… but the prep takes a lot more time. Actual cook time is about 30 minutes.

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1 pound or so shrimp – peeled and deveined

2 tablespoons olive oil

5 cloves of fresh garlic minced

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 lemon juiced

1 teaspoon of salt

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons butter

Heat the olive oil over high heat almost smoking. Add the shrimp. Cook 1 minute. Add the salt and half of the parsley and stir. Cook 1 minute. The shrimp should now be turning pink. Add the garlic and red pepper. Cook 1 minute. Add lemon and cold butter. Wait until butter melts. Change the temperature to low. Add remaining parsley. Cook 2-3 minutes or until sauce thickens. The shrimp will be opaque and pink.

Mashed parmesan cauliflower

1 head cauliflower

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

Steam the cauliflower for 20-25 minutes. It should be very tender. Place the cauliflower in a food processor with salt and parmesan. Pulse until smooth. Slowly drizzle in the cream while still pulsing.

I would have to say I would eat this any day. From a person who typically hates shrimp, I think that says a lot. I usually eat one or two. Tonight, I ate them all.