I love southern foods!  Gumbos, Jambalaya’s, Fried Chicken, Biscuits n’ Gravy, Creamed Corn — you name it and I love it!!!  There is nothing better than a rich n’ hearty flavors you find in southern cooking!  Anytime I heard the word “creole” I immediately begin to think of the deep south and begin to think of gumbo!  My mouth starts to water and my stomach begins to grumble!  I am sure everyone has had their fair share of gumbo and if you are like me you will find that you crave a thicker and heartier gumbo.

This is my favorite gumbo recipe that is sure to make even the largest gumbo-opposer quickly switch sides! This recipe, does not use tomatoes.

Since it is already the end of March I figured we would be over the winter cooking favorites like stews and gumbos but sadly we aren’t!  Looking forward in the forecast, I am not sure when we will even begin to see temperatures in the 60’s let alone 70’s.  Let me telling you — it’s depressing!  However, it has given me a great opportunity to make some of my favorite winter meals a few last times.

This recipe is a mix between a gumbo and a jambalaya — and is one of my favorite gumbo recipes.  It is light and refreshing while also has a depth of rich flavor which you expect from creole cooking.  You can make this gumbo as spicy as you like or as mild as you wish.  The recipe below is for a more mild flavor but you can always spice it up by adding some red pepper flakes, hot sauce, or additional cayenne pepper.

This gumbo also tastes amazing a few days after making it — after the flavors have had time to meld together — so it makes amazing leftovers!  

Gumbo-laya | A Taste of Meghan's Kitchen

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4 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 pound Spicy Andouille Sausage, sliced
1 pound Chicken Tenderloins, cut into bite sized pieces
3 Celery Stalks, diced
1 Large Onion, diced
1 Large Green Pepper, diced
2 Bay Leaves
1 teaspoon Creole Seasoning
½ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
4 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped
1 ½ tablespoon Tomato Paste
½ pound Okra, sliced into ¼” think slices
1 (28 ounce) can Diced Tomatoes with juice
2 cups Chicken Stock, hot
½ pound Shrimp, medium sized, peeled and deveined

In a large stock pot or a Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of the Olive Oil over medium-high heat until the oil is hot. Once the oil is hot add in the sliced Andouille sausage and it to brown, stirring frequently. Once the sausage is well browned, which will take approximately 5-8 minutes, remove the sausage from the pot and set it aside.

Immediately and the chicken pieces into the pot and lightly sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Allow the chicken to brown in the oil for about 3-5 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot, adding them to the bowl with the sausage and set back aside.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil along with the diced celery, onion and bell pepper. Allow the vegetables to sautee for about 5-8 minutes until they become soft and tender. Once the vegetables are tender add in the bay leaves, Creole seasoning, cayenne pepper, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon of black pepper. Stir the vegetables to combine. Add in the chopped garlic and allow the mixture to cook for 2-3 minutes until you can begin to smell the garlic. Add in the tomato paste and allow the mixture to cook for two minutes in order to cook the “raw” tomato flavor out of the paste.

Once the tomato paste has cooked, add in the sliced okra, the diced tomatoes along with the juice, the hot chicken stock, browned sausage and the chicken. Stir well to combine. Over medium heat allow the mixture to come to a gentle simmer; and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes has elapsed, lightly sprinkle the shrimp with some salt and pepper and add the shrimp into the pot. Simmer the mixture for 2-3 minutes longer in order to cook the shrimp.

Serve over rice!

Source: adapted from The Cozy Apron.

Lemon-Peppered Tilapia with Creamed Corn

This past weekend I had my last long run (15 miles) before my upcoming half marathon on October 30th. Because we’re training and running as a family I decided to go spend Friday night as my parent’s house so we could all do our long runs together Saturday morning. Being at my parent’s house is great for the company; however, to someone who needs “technology” it is like walking back into the stone age since they have no internet and cell phone signal is sparse!

Mom must have been searching for something in a magazine, because she had about 20-30 magazines spread out all over the place. Seeing I was board mindless I picked up an older copy of Every Day with Rachel Ray and started flipping through it. As I was flipping, on the cover of a small three page insert was this recipe for Herb Grilled Tilapia over a bed of Sweet Creamed Corn. Hum, I thought immediately! Tilapia is literally my FAVORITE fish to make and eat and I have never thought of combining it with creamed corn!

So, as I was walking through the supermarket Sunday evening I noticed that Tilapia was sale and I knew exactly what I was going to do with it! I didn’t have the exact recipe (if any) that was in the insert; so I cooked the Tilapia my favorite way and used a new creamed corn recipe I had been wanting to try!

The combination turned out great! The tang and bite from the lemon-peppered fish with the sweetness of the corn work extremely well together! Besides making these two dishes together, you could separate them and both would work well with tons of other sides or main dishes! Enjoy!!

Lemon-Peppered Tilapia with Creamed Corn
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2 Tilapia Fillets (cleaned and dried)
Lemon Pepper Seasoning
Olive Oil Baking Spray

For the Creamed Corn:
1 Bag Frozen Sweet Corn
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoon Flour
1 1/4 Cup Heavy Cream
4 Tablespoons Butter

For the creamed corn: In a microwave safe bowl, heat 2 cups of the sweet corn for 1 minute on high in the microwave. In a food processor, puree the 2 cups of heated corn. In a large or medium sized stock pot add the pureed corn, the remaining whole kernelled corn, the sugar, flour, heavy cream and the butter. Over medium heat bring the mixture to a light simmer while stirring. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring the mixture often.

For the tilapia: Heat a medium sized sauté pan over medium heat until hot. Lightly spray the pan with the olive oil baking spray. Lay the tilapia in the pan (you should heat the fish sizzle), and lightly sprinkle with the lemon pepper seasoning. Cook the tilapia for 3-5 minutes per side, depending on the size of the fillets.

Source: Original dish inspired by Every Day with Rachel Ray, Tilapia is Meghan’s Original and Creamed Corn adapted from The Neely’s

Shrimp Scampi

One of my favorite foods to cook is seafood! Seafood is full of protein and once you get the hang of it, most seafood is very easy and quick to cook. For the past few months I have been buying jarred scampi sauce from the supermarket; however, last night as I was about to make shrimp scampi I realized I was out of scampi sauce. After a few moments of standing there thinking of what I was going to do, I realized how easy making my own scampi sauce has to be! So, I decided to “wing it”.

I must say, I loved the results!

Shrimp Scampi
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24 Raw Shrimp, peeled, deveined, washed & dried
6 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Chopped Garlic
1 Teaspoon Dried Parsley
1/8 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
1/8 Teaspoon Salt
Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt and heat up the butter and olive oil. Once the butter and oil is hot, add in all the seasonings. Sauté the seasonings for 1 minute and then add the shrimp to the skillet.

Sauté the shrimp for 5-6 minutes or until the shrimp are pink and fully cooked.

Serve over the pasta of your choice, if so desired using the sauce with the shrimp as your pasta sauce!

Source: Meghan’s Original