Low Country Foil Bake

Hi everyone!

There are many times when I struggle with what to cook next but I know can always count on other bloggers to help me out in the food department.  I always get a good dose of inspiration to help me on my way.  This week I was reading a blog by Hey Miss Lisp and she had a recipe called Cajun Shrimp Foil Bake.  It looked great.  What I liked most about her recipe was her substitutions, which were great.  Of course with my husband being from New Orleans, I was not allowed to substitute.  He is very traditional and “protective” of the recipes he’s grown up with.  Anyway, I was inspired to do an entire week dedicated to Foil Bakes. Yay!!!

Today I made a Low Country Foil Bake.  I have made this recipe so many ways, even in a pressure cooker – which came out amazing by the way.  This was the first time I made it in foil.  My favorite part about low country boils “or bakes,” is the sausage.  My husband introduced me to andouille when we first meet and I have been hooked ever since.  In case you have never heard of it, it is a coarse-grained smoked sausage made using pork, garlic, pepper, onions, wine and seasonings. The pork used is mostly from a smoked Boston shoulder roast.  It is an amazing sausage and a must-have for this recipe.  It is, however, not easy to find.  My local grocery store just started carrying it regularly.

We are a family of four so I made four individual packets, each made to order.  In the end, this meal came out great.  I just used salt and pepper to season the kids foil bake.  This recipe was fast, easy and pleasing all at the same time.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb medium size shrimp, peeled
  • 2 ears of corn, cut in 4 pieces each
  • 4 red potatoes, cubed
  • 14 oz andouille sausage
  • 2 tbsp cajun seasoning
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon
Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.  In a bowl, combine the butter, olive oil and cajun seasoning.  When thoroughly combined, add the shrimp, corn, sausage and potatoes and mix until everything is coated with the butter/olive oil/seasoning mixture.
3.  Lay out (4) 16-inch long pieces of foil and divide the low country ingredients evenly in the center of the foil.  Wrap the foil tightly so there are no holes.  If you have to, add another piece of foil on top to ensure the moisture remains in the packet.
4.  Place the foil packets on a foil lined baking sheet for 15-20 minutes or until everything is cooked through.
5.  Open the packets and drench with lemon juice.
Watch this quick video!

Dinner Strategies Meal Plan 3: Italian Sausage Dinners

Today I am sharing last weeks meal plan if anyone is interested. I have three great dinner ideas! I hope these posts make it easier for you to get dinner on the table! And don’t feel like you have to make every single recipe…usually their is plenty left over for the next day. These meal plans are meant to be a guide! Feel free to change the plans up to meet your needs!

The meal theme for this week is Italian Sausage.  I made the following:

Italian Sausage and Feta Calzone

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Italian Sausage and Tortellini Soup

Just click the link to see view the ingredients and directions.

Here is the grocery list.  I tried to pick three very different recipes with similar ingredients to cut down on waste.  I also use a lot of cabinet staples to cut down on the grocery bill.  Let me know what you think.

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Italian Sausage and Tortellini Soup

Hi everyone, I am back with my final Italian sausage recipe for the week.  I recently went to Olive Garden for a work luncheon and I ordered the soup/salad/bread sticks…my usual at Olive Garden.  Well it was quite busy on this particular day and they literally ran out of food.  They were rationing out the parmesan cheese.  Anyway, when my soup arrived, it was “soupy.”  I love a hearty soup so I was a bit disappointed at how barren my bowl was.  I vowed to make a hearty soup when I got home.  Originally I wanted to mimic Olive Garden’s Soup but when I got home, I realized I did not have any chicken broth.  So, instead, I made a beef broth based soup which turned out just as good.

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This recipe ended up being great.  It was quick and easy for a weeknight meal.  I wasn’t sure if the kids were going to eat it but they did.  My oldest did a visual inspection for beans.  When she didn’t see any, she decided it was safe to eat.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 Tablespoon italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb of Italian Sausage
  • 9 ounce refrigerated tortellini
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 1 large zucchini

Directions:

  1. In a skillet set over medium-high, cook the sausage until browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked sausage to a paper towel lined plate to drain; set aside.
  2. In a pot over medium heat, heat up the butter. Add onion, garlic and zucchini and cook until tender. Add flour and stir.  Gradually add broth and stir.  Add diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer.
  3. Add the Italian sausage, tortellini, and spinach. Let simmer for 10 minutes to thicken up and for the tortellini to cook.  Garnish with cheese.

Watch this quick video for more!

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

I saw a picture of stuffed zucchini’s on instagram and I went nuts.  I decided to stuff my very own zucchini’s.  What I liked about this recipe is that the stuffing possibilities are endless.  But of course I just use what I have on hand.

 

Today I had some Italian sausage that I cooked yesterday, some diced tomatoes, garlic, onions, bread crumbs and cheese.

I mixed all my ingredients up and scooped them into my boats. This quick recipe baked in about 20 minutes.  The best part of this recipe is the breadcrumbs that get sprinkled on in the end.  They give the recipe great texture.  I think I will add breadcrumbs to the filling mixture next time, especially after looking in my pantry and discovering enough bread crumbs to feed a small army.

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium zucchini
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1/2 lb Italian sausage 
  • 1 clove garlic, minced 
  • 1 small onion, chopped 
  • 1 cup tomatoes, diced 
  • salt and pepper, to taste 
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan, shredded
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Take a veggie peeler and cut skin off zucchini.  Cut the zucchini in half, length-wise.  With a small spoon, scoop out the zucchini flesh to make a boat.  Place the zucchini boats on a foil-lined pan. Chop up the zucchini flesh and set aside.

In a pan over medium-high heat, add Italian sausage,and cook until no longer pink. Drain the grease from meat, completely.

In a bowl, add the garlic, onion, chopped zucchini flesh, tomatoes, Italian sausage, cheese and salt and pepper. Mix to combine

Spoon the mixture in the zucchini boats.

Sprinkle breadcrumbs over top. Place in oven and bake for about 20 minutes.

Italian Sausage and Feta Calzone

I almost didn’t write a blog post about this meal because I didn’t think it was worthy of its own post. I considered it “unblogable” until my kids tried it. They were so excited about it. My 5 year old looked at me and said, “mommy this is so yum. You need to put this online.” The two year old just shoveled it in her mouth and didn’t say a word. I have never had a dinner reaction like that before, so here I am – posting!

Well at least I got to use a lot of stuff in the fridge I had left over like my last bit of feta and some pasta sauce.  I got this recipe from a pillsbury box a long while back and have used/adapted it often.  I started this recipe by cooking a whole pack of Italian sausage.  It was greasy so I had to drain it.  I used 1/3 of the meat for this recipe and I saved the rest for later.  After I unrolled the crescent rolls, I added sauce, feta, mozzarella and meat, and closed it up.  Not as beautifully as pillsbury but good enough.  The calzone baked for about 15 minutes and was ready.  I served it with homemade fries.  I could have easily added more stuff, like bell peppers and onions, but I will save it for next time.

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Ingredients:

– 1/2 lb Italian pork sausage
– 1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury crescent dinner rolls
– 1/4 cup pizza sauce or spaghetti sauce
– 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (2 oz)
– 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
– 1 egg, beaten

Directions:

1.  Heat oven to 375°F. Grease or spray cookie sheet. In 10-inch skillet, cook sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; drain.

2.  On cookie sheet, unroll dough and separate into 4 rectangles; press each into 7×4-inch rectangle, firmly pressing perforations to seal. Spread 1 tablespoon sauce on half of each rectangle to within 1 inch of edge. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons cheese over sauce; top with one-fourth of sausage mixture. Fold dough over filling; firmly press edges with fork to seal. Brush top of each with egg. With fork, prick top of each to allow steam to escape.

3.  Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until deep golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Serve warm.

Dinner Strategies Meal Plan 2: Chicken Dinners

 

Today I am sharing last weeks meal plan if anyone is interested. I have three great dinner ideas! I hope these posts make it easier for you to get dinner on the table! And don’t feel like you have to make every single recipe…usually their is plenty left over for the next day. These meal plans are meant to be a guide! Feel free to change the plans up to meet your needs!

The meal theme for this week is chicken.  I made the following:

Slow Cooker Chicken and Avocado Soup

Chicken Corn Chowder with Corn Bread Waffles

Pineapple Chicken and Rice

Just click the link to see view the ingredients and directions.

 

Here is the grocery list.  I tried to pick three very different recipes with similar ingredients to cut down on waste.  I also use a lot of cabinet staples to cut down on the grocery bill.  Let me know what you think.

Presentation1

 

Pineapple Chicken and Rice

This is my last chicken meal for the week and also my favorite.  It was my favorite because it was the quickest.  I make this meal often but I try to add new elements to make it better each time.  This time I was in the grocery store and found some cool things in the asian food section of Harris Teeter.  I found fortune cookies and black sesame seeds.  These two things made this meal extra fun.  At the end of dinner, everyone opened their cookies and got great fortunes, except for me.  Mine said “pick another cookie.”  Go figure.

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To start, I loosely chopped my pineapple, onion and bell peppers because I wanted them chunky and used my rice cooker to make my rice sticky.

 

When I was done cooking the meat and veggies, I mixed in an easy, sweet pineapple sauce while everything was still in the skillet.  When the chicken and sauce was well blended, I scooped it out of the skillet and put it on top of a bed of rice.  I garnished the meal with black sesame seeds and a fortune cookie for a fun twist.

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Ingredients:

  • 8 oz can diced pineapple, reserve 1/3 cup juice
  • 1/3cuplow sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3cuplow sodium chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup of honey
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbs toasted sesame seed oil
  • boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • black sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)
  • fortune cookies (optional)
  • rice, for serving
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

1.  In a medium saucepan, whisk together the pineapple juice, honey, soy sauce, chicken stock and cornstarch. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until the mixture is the consistency of syrup. Set the sauce aside.

2.  Add the toasted sesame seed oil to a large nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onion, and bell pepper and cook until softened, 1-3 minutes.  Add the chicken to the pan and season it with salt and pepper. Add the chicken and stir until it is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.

3.  Add the sauce to the pan and stir until combined with chicken. Add the pineapple and cook for an additional minute.

4.  Serve the chicken atop a bed of rice.  Garnish with sesame seeds and a fortune cookie.
Check out this easy video for more!