Recipe Monday! **updated w/ photo**

(Yes, I just randomly proclaim special days around here willy-nilly as the mood strikes me, what’s your point?)

Ok, in honor of our holiday trip to N’Awlins, I just made my first-ever pot of gumbo and if I may say so myself, it rocked so hard I should have a statue erected of me in Jackson Square. Not really, but seriously? It was really good and I am going to share the recipe with you right this minute. I kind of made up my own version after I read a whole bunch of recipes, which I guess is kind of the history of gumbo, anyway– I think it started out as a Cajun one-pot stew that utilized whatever was local and available. I didn’t put anything weird in it like alligator meat or rabbits or cocker spaniels, though that would make for a more interesting read for you guys… Oh well, next time.

Also? I would really like to have one of your favorite cold weather comfort food recipes as well– how’s about you dig out a recipe and post it here? It doesn’t have to be an original one, just something you like making and people like eating. Of course you don’t HAVE to post a recipe in order to comment, you can just say any ol’ thing you want, no pressure. You KNOW how I feel about comments…

(Some of this will be guesstimates as far as amounts go, I was kinda going by when it “looked right” to me!)

**UPDATE: And here’s a photo!


Here goes:



Here are all of the meats:

** 2 lbs. medium frozen raw shrimp, deveined, shelled and tails removed– thawed

** Package of polska kielbasa sausage OR hot cajun sausage  or mixture of both (slice about 3/4 of it up and set aside)

** 1 pkg. crawfish tails

**some leftover diced cooked chicken breast, maybe a cup (optional, but good!)

Here are all of the veggies:

** I pkg. frozen sliced okra (I KNOW, but trust me.)

** I heaping cup coarsely diced onions

** 3/4 heaping cup coarsely diced celery

** 1/2 to 3/4 cup coarsely diced green pepper

** 2 teaspoons minced garlic

Here all the ingredients that are a little less than precise in the specified amounts– these will all be to your taste.

** 2 (or maybe 3) cans diced tomatoes– you can use petite diced, or the ones that also have garlic and onions in them, or even Rotel, whatever you want.

**1 32-oz. carton of chicken stock or broth

** 1/2 to 1 cup homemade shrimp stock **optional**– (OK, don’t panic, all you do is put the tails and shells you took off of the frozen shrimp into a little saucepan and cover them with water and let them simmer while you’re doing the other stuff. It adds a nice seafood-y layer to the broth.)

** 4 Tablespoons vegetable oil

** 6 Tablespoons all purpose flour

** A few slugs of white wine

** Couple of bay leaves

** Varying pinches or teaspoons (to taste) of basil, thyme, red pepper flakes, kosher or sea salt AND Cajun seasoning of some kind (like Tony Chachere’s, Chef Paul’s Magic Seasoning, or Emeril’s Original Essence Seasoning– I used some of all three, but remember, they do have salt in them, so adjust your seasoning.)

** Cooked white rice to put in the bowls and ladle the gumbo over


Start off by placing a big pot or dutch oven on the stove top, turning the fire up to medium-high, and heating the vegetable oil until it begins to sizzle. Then, a little at a time, briskly whisk in the flour until it has all been added and it begins to brown. Keep moving the flour around in the pot until it reaches a deep tan color (but be careful not to let it burn or scorch.)

At that point, drop in the seasoning vegetables (onions, celery, bell pepper, and garlic), reduce the fire to low, and incorporate all the veggies into the darkening roux. In other words, mix, mix, and mix again! Then immediately move the gumbo pot off the fire and set it aside for a while

(If you’re going to boil the shrimp tails/shells with some water, you can get that going off to the side.)

In the meantime, in a big, high-sided skillet over medium high heat, cook the sliced polska kielbasa/cajun sausage pieces until they start to render out their pan drippings. Then, without reducing the heat, stir in the cut okra (thawed or still frozen) and begin pan-frying it, stirring continually, (expect this to take about 12 minutes or so). One note here: don’t worry about cooking out the okra “slime.” That will take care of itself later in the cooking process.

When the okra begins to toast evenly, stir into the skillet the two cans of tomatoes and cook them into the mixture until thoroughly blended. And yes, use the liquid the tomatoes come packed in, too.

At this time, everything gets transferred to the gumbo pot. The kielbasa, drippings, okra, and tomatoes now get stirred into the tan roux and the seasoning vegetables you cooked in the gumbo pot. And while you’re at it, go ahead and add the chopped cooked chicken and the rest of the ingredients-the stock, the wine, the bay leaves, the basil, the thyme, the red pepper flakes, the sea salt, and the seafood seasoning. If you DID do that make-your-own-shrimp-broth thing, this is when you add some of that to taste.

***Keep in mind that it is important to stir thoroughly at this stage-***  (1) you want to completely dissolve and smooth out the roux to keep lumps out of the gumbo, and (2) you want to fully disperse the ingredients into the liquids to cause them to blend and balance the overall flavor. When this is done, reduce the flame to low, cover the pot tightly, and simmer the gumbo base for at least 30 minutes to get all the ingredients to marry. I did it a little longer than that.

Then when the flavors have combined and peaked, toss in the raw shrimp and the package of crawfish tail meat and stir the entire pot a few more times for continuity. Remember that the shrimp will be ready to eat in just a matter of minutes, so be careful that you don’t overcook them (about 5 to 6 minutes should be all it takes!)

Finally, just before you plan to serve the gumbo, once more check the thickness and texture (and the seasonings). Add extra water, wine, or chicken stock if the gumbo has become too thick; or work in a little extra roux if it has turned out too thin.

This gumbo is best when ladled over steaming hot rice in deep soup bowls, surrounded by hot buttered French bread right from the oven. You can garnish with chopped parsley and green onions if you want.

So… how about some recipes from you guys?

49 Responses

  1. themema

    Oh, my goodness. I was all primed and my taste buds ready when I read the recipe title. Then I became increasingly depressed as i realized that it had more than 4 ingredients, and took longer than 10 minutes to prepare. Bummer.

    How about some great brunswick stew? Ok, it has a few more than 4 ingredients, but it is still pretty quick and easy.
    2 fryer chickens
    1 ham bone
    2 cups butter beans….. no baby limas, thank you.
    2 large onions Maya or Vidalia

  2. themema

    Sorry ’bout that…. I guess I hit the wrong key.
    ok, to continue:
    1 gt tomatoes fresh, canned, whatever.
    4 medium potatoes…. red bliss or other firm potato, no russet
    2 pts shoepeg white corn… or if yellow is all you have…..
    2 stalks celery
    1 (6oz) can tomato paste…. if I happen to have it on hand.
    Tabasco sauce and sugar to taste.

    Cook and debone chickens. Simmer ham bone in water to cover for 3 hrs (+ or – ) Chill broth from both to remove all fat.

    Mix broths. Dice onions, potatoes, and celery and add to broth.

    Add rest of ingredients. Season with salt, pepper, tabasco and sugar to taste. (I don’t add sugar.) Don’t get hung up on measuring. Basically it is best with about equal portions of onion, potato, butter beans, corn, and tomatoes.

    But of course, if your kids have caught a squirrel, rabbit, or muskrat, that works. Ok, Forget I said that. We are about a century past that.

    Simmer for 45 or so minutes.

    We make over 100 quarts for the Mennonite Bazaar each year, and always sell out.

  3. BrownEyedGirl

    I’m always looking for new recipes! These look delicious!

    Anne’s Chicken ( I have no idea who Anne is :o)

    4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
    2 tbsp melted butter or margarine
    black pepper to taste
    1 envelope Good Seasons Italian dry salad dressing mix
    1 10 3/4 oz can undiluted cream of mushroom soup
    6 oz of cream cheese cubed
    1/2 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
    1 tbsp finely chopped onion or 2 tsp onion powder

    Brown chicken in butter. ( If in a hurry skip the browning, but I highly recommend it). Place chicken in crock pot. Mix remaining ingredients ( I microwave it for a bit to melt the cream cheese) and pour over chicken. Cook on low for 6 – 8 hours . Serve over rice or egg noodles.

  4. BrownEyedGirl

    Okay, I’m throwing one in for my 13 y/o, Jessica. She made this for us in the fall. It’s a diet killer ,but soooo delicious !!

    This is from her Rachel Ray’s 30 minute meals for kids cookbook.

    Tomato , Basil and Cheese Baked Pasta

    1 pound small shell pasta
    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan in a slow stream
    3 large cloves garlic
    1/2 small to medium yellow onion
    1 (28-ounce) can crushed Italian tomatoes, any brand
    1/2 cup, 10 to 12 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
    Salt and pepper
    1 cup store bought basil pesto sauce
    1 cup ricotta cheese
    1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, a couple of handfuls
    1/2 pound fresh mozzarella ( can use regular, fresh is best – can be found near deli or in gourmet cheese section of grocery store)

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt the water. Add small shell pasta and cook the pasta to al dente doneness which means that the pasta will still have a bite to it or be a little chewy. The pasta will soak up more juice and keep on cooking after we drain it, so we need it to be a little under cooked. The shells will probably cook about 9 or 10 minutes.

    Preheat a deep, big skillet or a medium sauce pot over medium heat.

    Place garlic on the cutting board and place the flat of your knife on top of each clove. Carefully give the garlic a whack with the palm of your hand to separate the cloves from the skins. Throw out the skins and chop up the garlic.

    Add extra-virgin olive oil to the pan by pouring a slow stream of it twice-around-the-pan. This will be about 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil just enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Do not let the oil pour out too fast. You are looking for a slow, steady stream. Add the garlic to the oil. To chop the onion, cut the ends off and cut the whole onion down the center. Wrap half and save it. Cut the other half into thin slices then twist the slices a quarter turn and chop them again. Hold the tip of knife on the cutting board and lift the back of the knife up and down over the onion to make the pieces really small. Add the chopped up onion to the garlic and oil. Cook, stirring a lot, 5 minutes until the onions are mushy and look cooked.

    Add the tomatoes to the onions and stir. When the tomatoes come to a bubble, reduce the heat under the sauce to low. Stir in basil pieces to wilt them. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to your taste.

    Preheat your broiler to high and place a rack in the center of the oven. ( We skipped this part, since I didn’t know if my casserole wish would survive going under the broiler)

    Drain pasta shells. Add them to a casserole dish. Add pesto sauce, 1 cup of ricotta cheese and a handful of grated Parmigiano, too. Stir carefully and coat the hot pasta with the pesto and cheeses. Pour the hot tomato and basil sauce over the pasta, as much as you like. You can always serve a little extra at the table, to pass around. Shred up some mozzarella cheese with a grater and scatter it over the pasta. Add a final sprinkle of Parmigiano to the mozzarella as well. Place the casserole under the broiler in the middle of oven, 10 to 12 inches from the heat. Let the cheese melt and bubble on top, 3 to 5 minutes.

    We tried to be “diet conscious” and use half of the pesto, but ended up using the rest of it on our plates. The flavor is best when you use it all!!

    Break out the garlic bread!! Enjoy!

  5. BrownEyedGirl

    This should be recurring blog…. You know… Desserts at Valentines….Mexican at Cinco de Mayo….

  6. JnnfrSr

    My recipes aren’t in anyway complex, but they are good cold weather food that my children are always asking for (we live in Illinois, near Chicago). My mom made these for me, and if they were good enough for mom, they are good enough for me!

    Fried Potatos & Hot Dogs
    Peel, quarter, and slice 4 large russett potatos or 6-8 medium potatos
    Slice up 2 beef hot dogs per large potato – salt and pepper each layer. (Layer is one large potato and 2 hot dogs).

    Fry in large frying pan with enough olive oil to fully coat bottom. Stir every five minutes or so, until potatos are done and have a crunchy coat. Serve with wahtever vegetable you can get your children to eat.

    Chicken & Rice
    This is even more simple – my parents were poor graduate students when she started serving this, and even though we are now grown with children of our own, we still eat this.

    Make up 3 cups of cooked rice. While hot, mix in one can of Campbell’s Cream of Chicken. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve again with whatever veggie you can get inside your kiddos.

    Both extremely simple – both are warm comfies on a cold day!

  7. Phyllis R

    Hey, I agree with BrownEyedGirl. It would be neat to get recipes with each holiday or “just because” days. :) I am going to post one that we use alot on cold days and on “just because we like it days”.

    1 Lg Sack of Fritos
    1 Family size can of Cream of Chicken soup
    1 medium box of Velvetta cheese
    1 small onion diced
    2 cans diced green chilies
    1 large can of chicken breast (or you can prepare your own)

    Preheat oven to 325. In large saucepan empty soup can and then pour enough milk to fill the soup can. Over medium wisk the milk in the soup until smooth and add onion, Velvetta, and green chilies. Grease a 9×13 pan and crunch fritos lightly, pour in pan and crumble chicken on top. When the cheese is melted through the soup mixure pour on top of the fritos and chicken. Back until brown and bubbling on top.

    This is a dish that heats up nicely in the microwave the next day.

  8. Phyllis R

    ROFL, I guess you better bake that instead of back it. :)

  9. Barbara M. Lloyd

    You might guess that I am one of those a pinch of this and a hand full of that kind of cooks. So, you probably will want to taste as you go along. Here’s one of my family’s favorites.


    1 quart fresh Oysters, including liquor
    1 to 2 bottles Doxy Clam Liquor (Broth)
    1 stick of real Butter
    Dash of Worcestershire Sauce
    1 tsp Paprika
    1 tsp. Celery Salt
    1 quart Whole Milk
    1 pint Half ‘n Half Cream
    Salt and Pepper to taste

    Combine Milk and Half ‘n Half in bowl and microwave until very hot…have ready to add to oyster mixture.

    In a deep pan, put Worcestershire Sauce, half stick Butter, Celery Salt and Paprika…stir until butter melts. Add to this the Oysters and Clam Liquor and bring to boiling point. Slowly add the very hot Milk and Half ‘n Half. Simmer for awhile, but do not let it come to a boil and curdle. Salt and pepper to taste.

    Many years ago an Amish lady told me the Clam Liquor is the secret ingredient. Whether you put in one bottle or two bottles depends on your taste.

  10. Barbara M. Lloyd

    Ooops, forgot to add the other half of that stick of Butter….and you don’t have to add it, but if you do, then just add it to the milk that you put in the microwave to get very hot…the Butter will melt in with the Milk.

  11. themema

    Phyllis, I think I can bake that instead of Back it. Sounds ideal for Wednesday nite cover dish at church. I hope there will be left overs to microwave the next day.

    As one who has had Momma Lloyd’s Oyster Stew, I can vouch for this one.

  12. Phyllis R

    themema, we always double the recipe so we will be SURE and have left overs. :) Barbara M. Lloyd, I am soooooooooo glad you posted this recipe. I have been looking for one that didn’t take an arm and a leg to prepare. My brother-in-law loves oyster stew and my sister can’t stand the smell of it, so I will make you recipe. I am so stoked you posted it. :)

  13. Phyllis S


    Gumbo is always a little of this and a little of that, but a must is the okra (the word “gumbo” in the African dialect is okra).

    I am going to give you another version that we use here is southeast Louisiana alot. I am sure that many of you do smoked turkeys from time to time. Boil the carcuss, covered with water, with some onions, celery, bell pepper, seasoned with the “cajun seasonings and we use a little liquid crab boil (you can now get this in any part of the country, also use in seafood “anything”), I usually boil it about 1 hour at just a boil, not rolling. Debone the meat and set aside, strain the stock to remove any stray bones, continue using the sausage and the recipe that Tori has. The smoked flavor of the turkey and sausage is awesome and a great way to used left over turkey.

    Gumbo is so easy and a great way to use leftovers. Enjoy

    Tori, we do not use alligator in gumbo, but we sure fry it or make a sauce piquante (red stew). Mommalloyd will probably tell you what else alligators are used for at our camp!

  14. Phyllis R

    Phyllis S., can I pick out the okra and it still be called gumbo? hehe I love gumbo without okra. I used to live in central Louisiana and got hooked on that stuff, but can’t do the okra.

  15. Phyllis S

    Phyllis R

    The okra usually cooks to pieces, but yes, you can do gumbo without the okra and it works well. We just like okra any way you fix it and there are so many way….

  16. Phyllis S

    Here is a really good site to go to for south Louisiana recipes. John Folse is a local chef that runs several top notch restaurants in the Baton Rouge area and has a local tv show. If you need a good recipe try this.

  17. nashbabe

    Pick just one? Stress, stress stress. Aw heck, cut n’ paste. :-)

    Chocolate Zucchini Cake

    Cream together in large bowl:
    1 cup brown sugar
    1/2 cup white sugar
    1/2 cup butter
    1/2 cup oil (I think you could use applesauce in exchange for the oil)

    Add the following to above and stir well to mix:
    3 eggs (six egg whites will cut down the fat a lot)
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1/2 cup buttermilk (I use nonfat plain yogurt instead. You might be able to try some nonfat or lowfat sour cream here as well…worth trying.)

    Measure the following into a sifter (I admit, I didn’t do that) and then sift into the bowl
    2 1/2 cups flour (mixing half and half white and wheat should work fine)
    1/2 tsp allspice
    1/2 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 tsp baking soda
    4 tablespoons cocoa

    Grate three zucchini, about 6 in long each, into the bowl. Stir until blended. Pour into greased, floured 9 by 13 inch pan.

    Sprinkle 1/2 to 1 cup of chocolate chips on top. (Of course I go for the cup full!) ;-) Bake for 325 degrees for 45 minutes. Be sure to test for doneness, make sure the center isn’t still gooey.


    Monster Lasagna

    I got a request for my lasagna recipe from a couple people at the Super Bowl party. I was tempted to say it was just off the back of the box, but thinking back over what I did, I guess it really wasn’t. This makes a huge lasagna (I used one of those large pasta pans from Wally World to bake/transport it), and it’s pretty dadgum heavy, so bring a strong dude with you to carry it so you can boss them around. ;-)

    One 16 oz box of regular lasagna noodles, cooked, drained, and sprayed with Pam so they won’t stick together
    Two pounds ground chicken, 91/9 (or I’m sure other items will work just fine, but I saved some fat grams this way)
    2 jars spaghetti sauce
    1 can diced tomatoes whirled in the blender and a small can tomato paste, or a big can of crushed tomatoes would probably be fine
    Italian or Pizza seasoning
    Fennel Seed (I think this is pretty good and important in italian tomato sauce type recipes)
    Salt for the ricotta/mozzarella mixture
    4 lbs ricotta cheese (I used part skim)
    4 slightly beaten eggs
    4 cups shredded mozzzarella cheese
    A whole bunch of grated or shredded parmesan
    Basil and/or parsley

    Cook ground meat until browned, in a big skillet. Reduce heat to low and add the spaghetti sauce, tomato paste/obliterated tomatoes, italian seasoning, and fennel seed, and warm the whole thing up. I also threw in some leftover rose wine because I had it around, and I think it adds a nice flavor.

    In a huge bowl combine the ricotta cheese, eggs, most of the mozzarella cheese (3 cups or so), and around a cup of parmesan.

    Spray the bottom of the pan with Pam. Put several ladles of sauce in the bottom of the pan. Top with a layer of lasagna noodles, big glops of the mozzarella/ricotta mixture, and then more meat sauce. Repeat this whole layer thing again. Then put the rest of the noodles on it and cover with meat sauce. Add mozzarella cheese, parmesan, and basil/parsley. Cover with foil.

    I put mine in the freezer then, because I made it ahead of time.

    On Super Bowl Sunday, I took it out of the freezer several hours ahead of time and put it in a 350 oven with the foil still on. All this did to the giant mass of lasagna was thaw it out, as I suspected. Then I cranked my oven up to 400ish and baked for another hour and a half or so (check on it regularly). I took the foil off the last twenty min or so.

    If you want a regular 13 x 9 size lasagna, just cut the recipe in half. If you bake it right away without freezing it, it will take 40ish minutes at 350, then remove the foil and bake maybe another 10 min.

    Or just make two at once in separate 13 x 9 foil pans. It’s not a whole lot more work to make one than it is two, and you’ll be glad when you can just pull one out of the freezer some day instead of cooking. Or you’ll have one handy to send to a friend who has a hard time, or a baby, or an illness, or just needs some blessing. You know who they are. Lasagna love, I would think, would go a long way to help many situations… *L*

    It’s best if you let it sit for maybe ten or fifteen minutes before you cut into it.

    The Easiest Meatball Recipe in the World

    First of all, if you have a potluck or a hors’ de ouevre type party coming up, and you have NO time in your busy schedule just like myself, you should consider the easiest meatball recipe on earth. Three ingredients, and two of them are available at Aldi, which means that the cost involved is low. This is by no means my original recipe, but you should try it anyway.

    Here goes…
    Buy four bags of mini meatballs at Aldi. They’ll run you less than 8 bucks and you won’t even have to make them. Also grab a jar of grape jelly there–the 32ozish size.

    Then run over to your local K-Roger or similar store and buy a couple bottles of chili sauce. It’s right there next to the ketchup, and generally available in a super cheap store brand.

    Get out your crock pot and dump the meatballs inside. The new plastic liner bags are fab for a crock pot and will make cleanup positively heavenly.

    Then mix the jelly and chili sauce together in a bowl to get the lumps out, and pour over the meatballs.

    A few hours on high, and your creation will be ready for the masses. If you have an at-work lunchtime celebration, for example, just plug it in before you start the day and things should be bubbling merrily by lunch time.

  18. trishARKANSAS

    My comfort foods tend to be breakfast foods. So here’s a great recipe for an Arkansas favorite that will make your lips smack so hard your tongue will slap the back of your head.

    3/4 CUP OF SUGAR



  19. tori

    YOU GUYS!!!!!!
    You are so totally coming through! Why didn’t I think of doing this before?
    I am seriously going to make ALL of these– I am having so much fun, keep ‘em coming!

  20. Phyllis S

    This is a recipe that I have had, do not where it come from but oh so good. You can substitute shrimp for crawfish, just not as good, (but them again I am partial to crawfish). Also instead of serving over angel hair pasta, try either frying or grilling catfish and serve the “Alexander” over the fish…Oh My how good is that!

    Crawfish Alexander

    ¼ stick unsalted butter
    2 T. all-purpose flour
    ¾ c. heavy cream or whipping cream
    ¼ t. granulated garlic
    ¼ t. Cajun seasoning
    1 T. salted chicken stock
    ¼ c. mushrooms
    ¼ c. green onions, coarsely chopped
    1 oz. brandy (optional, personally no)
    ¼ c. crawfish tails, cooked
    ½ lb. angel hair pasta, cooked

    Melt butter in a heavy sauce pan. Stir in flour and blend thoroughly. Gradually whisk in cream and continue to stir over medium heat until sauce is smooth and thick. Add all other ingredients, except pasta, and continue to whisk approximately 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Makes approximately 1 cup of sauce and serves 2.

  21. tori

    Phyllis, I love crawfish so much– this sounds great. I bet it would also be incredible spooned over the top of a perfectly grilled steak…

  22. gracelynn

    This is a recipe that I made a lot when my mom was in the hospital last year. Dad had to have something to eat days and absolutely refuses to use a microwave (don’t ask!) so I made plenty of this chicken salad and he had the leftovers to eat for lunch. We love to eat the Finnish bread with it instead of crackers so I always try to have a loaf of it ready. It takes a little time to make the bread but it is worth it.

    1/3 cup mayonnaise
    2 tbsp. milk
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/4 tsp. pepper
    1/4 tsp. dried tarragon
    2-1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken
    1 cup seedless red grapes, halved
    1 cup tiny frozen peas, thawed
    2 large peaches, peeled and chopped
    1 cup pecan halves, toasted
    Lettuce leaves (OPTIONAL)

    Stir mayonnaise, milk, salt, pepper and tarragon until smooth. Add chicken and toss to coat. Stir in grapes, peas, peaches and pecan halves. Let chill if necessary. Serve in lettuce lined bowl if desired.

    One (1/4 oz.) pkg. active dry yeast
    2 cups warm water (approximately 110-115 degrees)
    1 cup whole-wheat flour
    1/4 cup butter, melted, divided
    1 tbsp. brown sugar
    2 tsp. salt
    4-1/2 to 5 cups all purpose flour

    Dissolve yeast in water. Add whole-wheat flour, 2 tbsp. butter, brown sugar, salt and 2 cups flour; beat until smooth. Add enough flour to form a soft dough. Using a floured board, knead dough until smooth and elastic (approximately 7 minutes). Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled (approximately 1 hour). Punch dough down. Shape into two 6″ rounds. Place on a greased sheet and cut slashes in the top with a knife. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled (approximately 40 minutes). Bake at 400 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with butter.

  23. meb

    So many good recipes I can’t wait to try. Here’s two more to add to the collection.

    Oven Baked French Toast (assemble the night before, bake in the morning)

    1 loaf challah or other good dense bread
    8 eggs
    3 cups 1/2 & 1/2 or milk
    Vanilla (I just pour – maybe a teaspoon or two)
    1 8oz block cream cheese

    Combine eggs, 1/2 % 1/2 and vanilla, mix well. Cut bread into cubes. Pour egg mixture over bread, tossing well to cover all the bread pieces. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Cut cream cheese into bite size pieces and scatter across top of bread mixture. Cover with foil and put it in the refrigerator over night. Next morning, take it out, uncover, let stand about 10 minutes while the oven ins preheating to 375. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with warm maple syrup.

    And now for something a little healthier…
    Kate’s Vegetable Minestrone

    1 tablespoons olive oil
    2 ribs celery, chopped
    1/2 onion, chopped
    2 cups peeled, sliced carrots
    1/2 lb fresh green beans
    1 14 oz. can vegetable broth
    1 14 oz. can chicken broth
    1 14 oz. can beef broth
    1 14 1/2 oz. can Italian chopped tomatoes
    1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
    1 14 oz. can chick peas
    1 1/2 teaspoon. dried Italian seasoning
    1 teaspoon minced garlic
    1/2 c pasta (I use ditalini, but you can use any small noodle)
    salt and pepper to taste

    Heat oil in a large dutch oven. Add celery and carrots, sauté 3 minutes. Add green beans and stir. Pour in broths, tomatoes with juice, tomato sauce, chick peas and pasta. Stir well to prevent anything from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Cover pot, raise heat to high and bring to a boil for 5 to 6 minutes. Once boiling, uncover, stir well again, add seasoning, and garlic. Turn heat down to a simmer, and cook until all vegetables and pasta are tender.


  24. rockin robyn

    Wow Tori that looks awesome! The pic stirred my appetite.

    O.k. here goes! I’m not polish by any stretch of the imagination but I love to make these as winter comfort food.

    They are sometimes called “pig-n-blanket”, they are sometimes called “stuffed cabbage” but they are Halupkies!
    (Pronounced “ha-loop-keys”)

    1 head of cabbage (about 3 lbs.)
    1 lb. ground pork
    1 lb. ground beef
    1 Tbsp. salt
    1/2 tsp. pepper
    1 can Campbell’s Tomato soup
    3/4 cup uncooked rice
    1 onion, chopped

    Place head of cabbage in a pan of water and let boil for 5 or 10 minutes to soften leaves. Separate leaves (careful not to tear any. The bigger leaves the better to work with). Allow to drain until you are ready for them. Take that can of tomato soup and pour into separate pan and add a can of water to that. Stir together over warm heat. Do not allow to boil. Set that aside until you are ready for that. Mix meats together and brown slowly on stovetop – just enough to take the “raw edge off”. Drain grease off. You don’t want to fry it all up or it will be too dry. Wash rice, drain, add to meat. At this time you mix in the chopped onion too and the salt and pepper into the meat and mix well.

    Now comes the fun part. Those leaves that you were draining… Grab a leaf and lay it flat. Take a handful of meat mixture and shape it into an oblong ball. Place it in the center of a cabbage leaf and fold the ends in. “Wrapping the meat up in the leaf.” Make sure you don’t put “too much” meat in one leaf. Place rolls side by side in pot or roaster. Now take that tomato soup and pour it over top of the rolls and add enough water to cover. Cook 1 and 1/2 hours.

    But when I am too lazy to tackle all these great recipes and the snow is falling or the wind is howling or ‘both’, nothing beats a bowl of Campbells tomato soup (with milk added instead of water) and a toasted cheese sandwich (wheat bread). And…. and….. you dip the toasted cheese sandwich in the soup… m m m good!

  25. themema

    Now, who is it that I have heard that just loves Chocolate Gravy?

    Phyllis, I think you should tell the story of your alligator on a bed of something that was not lettuce. l o l. Tori can have a field day with that one. And I’ll laugh all over again.

    rockin’robyn~~ I am a fan of Cambell’s tomato soup. And i love grilled cheese sandwiches. But what I really like for a cold day’s treat is hot Cambell’s soup, with chunks of cheese dropped in the bowl with it.

    And now, maybe Barb will tell us what she puts chunks of cheese in that her family loves.

  26. Phyllis S

    “Cajun” food is a simple fare, it is derived by simple people, living off the land and sea. They cooked with leftovers, ingredients that was from their gardens, beef or pork they raised or seafood they caught. Cajun food is usually a quick and simple meal, so enjoy another recipe.


    Here is another crawfish recipe. Quick and wonderful on a cold winters day.

    Hobnobber’s Crawfish and Corn Bisque
    1-1/2 cup chopped onions
    1 pound butter
    ¾ cup flour
    2 pounds crawfish tails
    3 15oz cans whole kernel corn
    4 quarts half and half
    1 cup pecorino romano cheese
    3 tablespoons chicken base
    1 tablespoon salt
    1 tablespoon garlic powder
    1 tablespoon black pepper
    2 bunches green onion
    1 cup milk
    Sauté chopped onions and butter on medium heat for 5 minutes or until translucent. Do not brown.
    Add 2 pounds crawfish. Turn heat to high and sauté for another 5 minutes.
    Stir in ¾ cups of flour, mixture will become thick. Add half and half and corn with liquid from can. Reduce heat back to medium and beat with wire whisk.
    Add seasonings, cheese and chicken base. Whisk occasionally until mixture thickens to desired consistency, about 10 minutes. If mixture becomes too thick add milk to thin out.
    Serve hot, garnish bowls with green onion and serve with french bread.
    Makes about two gallons

  27. Phyllis S

    Ok, themema here is an alligator story (sad but true)

    Thru many prayers and tears, my husband and I raised three sons and with God’s guidance we have all survived. BUT, let me tell you about a time when murder was a definite prospect.

    We have a camp on the river that is a second home to us. On one particular night the boys and a couple of their friends decided to go frog hunting. To make a long story short, let just say that they had no luck finding frogs that night, but were successful in landing a 4’ alligator. 3 teenage boys and their friends with a 4’ alligator, just remember the word “murder”. Sometimes in the wee morning hours, as I was enjoying a wonderful dream, someone tapped me on the shoulder and said “Mom, Mom, wake up”, as I turned over to see who needed me, I wrapped my arm around a wet 4’ alligator in my bed where my husband should have been. Needless to say I came out of the bed with fire in my eyes, to a wail of laughter , hoops and hollers and unquestionable murder on my mind, only to find my husband on his knees with uncontrollable laughter . When I finally pulled myself together and realized what fun they had a Mom’s expense, I too had a smile on my face (notice, I did not say, laughter ). This story is told quite off when the boys are together, you know I love to hear it now 15 years later, but at the time three obituaries was not out of the question.

  28. Chubs

    OK that does not look very good to me. Of course I am a pro-shrimp. They should live not die.

  29. tori

    Phyllis, the alligator story is hilarious! My girls would love that so much!

    Chubs– Don’t worry, I only ask for volunteers. I ask the bag of frozen shrimp if anyone has any objections to being part of my gumbo, now’s the time to speak up, and if I don’t hear anything, they go in the pot. So, you know, they’ve had their chance.

  30. LindaB

    When we were in L.A. years ago, we ate at this fancy smancy restaurant called Lord Charley’s. They served a corn chowder to die for and I asked the waiter if the chef would share the recipe. He brought out a type written recipe card with the chowder recipe on it! We’ve made it often and it’s a cold weather treat. It’s definitely not diet food, but who cares when you’re stuck in the house with blizzards and ice storms outside?


    1/2 c. chopped onion
    1/2 c. chopped celery
    1/4 c. chopped green pepper
    1/3 c. chopped bacon

    Brown all in dutch oven. Add….

    1 1/4 qts. chicken stock (homemade if you like)
    1 t. salt
    1/4 t. white ground pepper
    1/2 t. thyme


    1 lb. potatoes (red are best) peeled and diced and added to above mixture
    15 oz. frozen corn

    and simmer for 1/2 hour.

    In separate pan melt 2oz. of butter and add 2 T. flour. Then add 1 qt. OF half and half and whip smooth. Add to soup and cook 10 min. to blend flavors.

    (My note: I often add chopped cooked leftover chicken to this soup to add some protein and make it more of a meal. And we drop some grated cheese to the top before serving. It’s delicious chowder! The corn adds sweetness, the bacon adds a smokey flavor, and the creaminess makes it prime comfort food! I usually make homemade yeast rolls in my bread machine to go along with this soup.)

  31. Barbara M. Lloyd

    Oooooh, that sure sounds yummy, Linda. I love corn and crab showder….except it’s not on my diet at the moment.

    Okay, Phyllis S, I’m glad you came through with that story because Betty had prompted me to tell it…coward that she is….and you tell it the best.

    Betty, I guess the cheese recipe you want me to tell is the very simple coffee-cheese. My dad and my husband’s dad used to have this for breakfast. All we do is cube longhorn cheese in a large coffee cup, pour boiling coffee over it, then put the saucer on top to let the cheese steam and melt. After a few minutes when the cheese is melted to where it is soft and stringy, you put this on toast, one dip at a time, and eat it. When the cheese is gone, you may drink thecheesy coffee. My family absolutely loves it. But you do have to use the right kind of cheese.

  32. h2omamma

    I have so many favorite recipes it inspired me to start a food blog:

    Some of my recent favorites: Chicken Fingers with Apricot Sauce, Oven Braised Short Ribs with Fennel (YUM), and Orzo with Feta & Avocado!!

  33. tori

    OMG, h2omamma– what a great site!
    Hey everybody– go right over there and check it out. I’ll wait.
    SEE? Isn’t it great?!

    Please tell me that is a picture of your real kitchen…

  34. Barbara M. Lloyd

    Gracious, it is impossible for me to make a small amount of soup, so I always make a huge pot and the kids come and take containers full of soup home with them. So, I will try and give you this recipe….and perhaps you can cut it down to your size.


    In a very huge pot put the following:
    4 lbs. Beef Cubes
    Enough water to cover, and then some
    Pinch of Basil
    Pinch of Rosemary
    2-3 tablespoons Beef-flavored Granules
    Salt and Pepper
    2-3 lrg. cans Diced Tomatoes
    Cook until beef is almost tender

    1 small head of cabbage, chopped medium pieces
    1 large Rudabagga, chopped
    1 large onion, chopped
    Continue cooking for awhile

    2 very large pkgs. Frozen Mixed Vegetables
    3 pkgs. Frozen Ford Hook Lima Beans
    1 pkg. Frozen Okra
    Cook on low heat until vegetables are done

    The nice thing about soup is it can be put into containers and frozen. I have tried to give measurements up to and including the number of bags of each vegetable. But, please know I add and take away as I see fit (my grandmother’s expression) and you can make adjustments according to your family’s likes. In my family, for example, my daughter and I like more vegetables than the boys do. Also, you can add mushroons and any other vegetable that you like.

    2 large pkgs. Frozen Vegetable Mix for Soups (assort. vegs.)
    3 pkgs. Frozen Ford Hook Lima Beans
    1 pkg. Frozen Okra
    1 pkg.

  35. tori

    Momma Lloyd, this looks good! I am giving your oyster stew recipe to my mom, she loves it!

  36. LindaB

    I’d LOVE to have that kitchen!!! So beautiful! And I’d love to have marble countertops! Someday. After the financial crisis in the country is over, and if we have anything left.

    Tori, how ’bout a picture of YOUR kitchen! That would be interesting to all of us, I bet! The scene where all your cooking adventures take place! We’ve seen your dog’s dishes, their doggie door, them sitting in a chair, and lounging on the deck. What about where YOU, the master chef, lives and works?

  37. tori

    Linda– as soon as I get my marble countertops… Oh, and vaccum.

  38. LindaB

    LOL Well, don’t make it too long………..I’m fading fast here!

    I was hoping yours was as messy as mine and I’d feel better about myself! If I showed you a picture of my kitchen tonight, you’d say, “Gee, I didn’t know Katrina reached all the way to Michigan!”

  39. Barbara M. Lloyd

    Well, my goodness, you don’t even have to come into my kitchen to see a mess….you can just look at the way I left that last soup recipe in a mess…the whole thing was probably too vague anyway. That’s why my daughter says she likes to watch me and then write down her own amounts. Tori, I bet your mom cooks the way I do. If so, you girls better start paying attention and then writing down the amounts, as you see them going into the ot.

    My daughter is a gourmet cook and she makes savory dishes but can’t repeat them exactly because she creates as she goes along. For Christmas, I gave her an empty recipe book for her to write down her measurements as she goes along. And, I believe in miracles.

    Back when I could see, our youngest son would often say, “I want that recipe sometime, mom.” So, I bought one of those blank recipe books and everytime he said that, I wrote that recipe in this book that I dedicated to him. He and his wife have it today and they enjoy it. I bet Madi and Char wouild really appreciate receiving books like that from you one day, Tori.

  40. meb

    One more soup recipe. This one doubles, triples, quadruples easily.

    Taco Soup

    1 lb ground turkey, chicken, beef, or soy crumbles
    1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
    1 can corn, drained
    1 small can diced green chiles
    1 large can petite diced tomatoes
    1 packet taco seasoning

    In a large dutch oven or soup pot brown whatever meat you have chosen. Add taco seasoning and stir to blend. Add beans, corn, chiles and tomatoes. Mix all ingredients then add just enough water (I usually use about 1/2 a can of whatever can is handy) to thin to the consistency you want. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.

    Serve with shredded cheese and corn chips or doritos. It tastes even better the next day after the flavors have all had a chance to blend together. It also freezes well. If you want you can add additional or other kinds of beans, just depends on what you like.

  41. meb

    Oh yeah, and if anyone can get their hands on the recipe for Lobster Bisque from the Hickory Steakhouse at the Opryland hotel please share that. I’d go there just for that soup.

  42. teegees

    Okay, I have been copying and pasting these recipes like a crazy woman! I made Anne’s Chicken and I don’t know who Anne is, but God Bless her! It was fabulous and soooo easy. Just perfect for a cold winter night. We served it over penne pasta and classy people that we are, wolfed it down while watching American Idol. I’ll think of something to contribute, I don’t want to just take, take, take…

  43. tori

    Oooh, teegees, I had my eye on that one, too! So glad to hear a personal recommendation– the penne pasta sounds like a really good idea…
    (Char has her eye on the fried potatoes and hot dogs, chocolate gravy is one of Russ’ all time favorites in the world, Madi wants to try the peachy chicken salad, and I’m looking at the brunswick stew, the chocolate zucchini cake, the halupkes… ok, basically there hasn’t been one single thing posted that I’m not interested in!)

  44. MostlySunny

    I’m back…did you miss me? (you don’t have to answer that!). I was in Huntington, WV (“We Are Marshall”), up a holler…no wi-fi in the holler. So my comments here are in response to a couple of your previous blog entries.

    August 14 – “One Last Look”…we got “that call” last Sunday (1/25) at 6:00 am…my father-in-law, my kids’ granddad, would be celebrating that Sunday and ever day after that in the presence of Jesus. As the shock wore off, we saw God’s graciousness and mercy and love; and we saw the body of Christ kick into action. What an awesome thing; and to be the recipient of all of that was quite overwhelming and humbling.

    So we got back home on Friday afternoon, totally exhausted and emotionally spent. The previously planned Super Bowl party would be at our house on Sunday evening. Looking forward to a housefull of laughter and “terrible towels” (the Pittsburgh Steelers “flag”. Oh, yes, and by the way, we are now being called “Six-Burgh”. We’re excited! Big parade on Tuesday. Totally nutty here.)

    Anyway (anyhooo…), this brings me to a response about the January 14th blog “People who dress their Dogs in clothes are Stupid”. What do you then call “People-who-dress-their-newborn-baby-in-dog-clothes-because-that’s-the-only-thing-with-the-Steelers-logo-on-it-that-will-fit-the-baby”? Yes, they were at the party, and she (the baby) was adorable! I have a picture somewere…

    Now to January 23rd – “Women Friends”. The USAirways plane crash landing in the Hudson River. I called my friend whose husband is a USAirways pilot. Her shakey voice response was “Yes, he flies that type of plane, Yes that’s his route, No, I haven’t heard from him yet.” So I sat with her for 2 1/2 hours, watching the news, talking about everything else unter the sun, until we did hear on the news who the pilot was (and saw a picture to confirm. She didn’t hear from her husband for another couple of hours (he was in the air doing his job; when he landed, why all the phone messages from all these people? Oh. “Honey, I’m OK. I know Sulley and this doesn’t surprise me one bit.”)

    This friend was the first one with some delicious chicken soup (sorry, no recipe) and a hug that needed no words when she heard about my father-in-law. She’s been there. She knows. And I know that she knows.

    Thanks for all the good stuff you post that makes us laugh and cry and just say “Hmmmm, I never thought about that before.”

    God is good no matter what…

  45. tori

    Welcome back, MostlySunny– I am so, so sorry to hear about your father in law. Bless those sweet souls that rallied around your family.

    OMG, the pilot story is unbelievable! I love that they had the crew of the plane on the field at the SuperBowl.

    Thank you for your kind words, and thank you for reading and commenting. (And also? See if you can get that chicken soup recipe…!)

  46. MostlySunny

    Potato Soup

    Cook 1 lb. of bacon or saugage; drain and set aside.

    Saute together:

    1 C chopped onion
    1 C chopped celery

    Set that aside while you do the following:

    Melt 2 T butter or margarine
    Stir in 1/4 C flour to make a paste
    Quickly add 3 C chicken broth

    Stir or wisk until it is smooth. Then add:

    2 C milk
    1 can evaporated milk
    Cooked bacon or sausage
    Sauted onions and celery

    While that is heating up on medium heat (don’t boil), peel and chop into bite-sized pieces, 5 C of potatoes.

    Add the potatoes to the pot and continue heating until potatoes are soft (about 30 minutes).

    Adjust amounts of everything to your taste.
    I don’t use chicken broth; I use chicken boullion cubes – about 6-8 or 10 for flavor and about 4 C of water. Pepper if you’d like; parsley flakes for color if you’d like. Chopped up carrots if you’d like. Add corn for a corn chowder if you’d like.

    Obviously, this is a very versatile recipe. I must say, it’s yummy! Enjoy…

    Weight Watcher points – probably a week’s worth.
    Calories – you probably don’t want to know.
    What it will do to your waist – add to the pooch!


  47. MostlySunny

    BrownEyedGirl – I’ve had that chicken recipe for years!! It’s a favorite “Sunday lunch” and “company” dish. I’ll have to see what the title is on my recipe; I know it didn’t come from Anne.

  48. MostlySunny

    LindaB – my Potato Soup recipe sounds like your Corn Chowder recipe from the fancy-schmancy restaurant. It’s definitely a winner!

  49. jonny

    OK, I hope you ladies don’t mind a guy posting here… Having lived in Finland just over 16 years now, I’m more than a little curious as to what “Finnish Bread” is. It didn’t resemble anything I’ve had over here, but would be cool to make with some friends and see if it hits a responsive chord with them = ) For health reasons, a few years ago I had to give up frying food. Not easy for a bachelor who likes to fix something quick & easy. Also, I had to pull back on beef & pork. Grateful for some of the chicken recipies & the backed French Toast!! I’ll try the backed French Toast as the recipie suggests, but may also try it with cinnamon too. And thanks so much for the aligator, and the baby wearing a doggie outfit stories! I hope I didn’t wake my neighbors up in my response to them = ) Peace! Oh, and my fave comfort food to make in cold weather, especially when missing the US of A a bit, would be pancakes, aka griddle cakes, aka flannel cakes, aka flaplacks, but I’m sure everyone has a decent recipe for them already = )

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