Creole Skillet Meal with Andouille Sausage

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything for the blog, but don’t for a second think that means we haven’t been cooking.  I could tell you I’ve been too busy to get around to the blog, but the reality is that I’ve been spending a majority of my time on the couch watching TV. The summer is only going to get busier as we roll into wedding season, and I promise I won’t forget about the blog. It seems like we’ve got a trip planned every two weeks, but no complaints. Even if the travel is exhausting, I know we wouldn’t give up these memories for the world. On that note, let me share with you a fast and easy recipe that is perfect for when you’re short on time. It’s one skillet, which means less time on dishes, and more time watching Netflix. I think that’s something we can all get behind. Get ready to dig into this Creole Skillet with Andouille sausage, rice, and beans.

Creole Skillet Meal with Andouille Sausage

Here is everything you need: Sausage, rice, beans, bell pepper, and onion.

Creole Skillet Meal with Andouille Sausage

There are a couple ways to adjust this recipe. You can go heavier on the rice and cut back on the veggies, or vice versa. We lean towards more veggies than carbs, strictly for weight/health reasons. If I could just eat a bowl of rice, I would.

Roughly chop two green bell peppers, and add to the skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Creole Skillet Meal with Andouille Sausage

While the bell peppers are cooking down, roughly chop one onion and add to the skillet.

Creole Skillet Meal with Andouille Sausage

Continue to let the peppers and onions cook down. During this time slice the andouille sausage into ¼ inch pieces and add to the skillet. Mix this all together and again, continue to cook. You want to cook the mixture until the peppers and onions are softened, but not soggy and the sausage is hot. I use pre-cooked sausage, so I don’t need to worry about cooking it through, but just getting it to heat.

Creole Skillet Meal with Andouille Sausage:

Add one can of drained and rinsed kidney beans. Mix it together and sprinkle in a tablespoon of creole seasoning. Isn’t it pretty and colorful?! Looking at these pictures after the fact is just making me hungry.

Creole Skillet Meal with Andouille Sausage

Creole Skillet Meal with Andouille Sausage

Add your cooked rice and mix. It is easiest to start the rice before everything else, because it can be left in the pot until you need it. I guess I technically lied about it being one skillet. One skillet and whatever you cook the rice in. It’s an ALMOST one skillet meal. Sorry you guys…

Creole Skillet Meal with Andouille Sausage

Mix everything together and season with 1 teaspoon of chili powder and ½ teaspoon of garlic powder. Salt and pepper to taste, but know the creole seasoning already contains a lot of salt.

Now serve it up! I told you it was easy. You just keep adding one ingredient at a time to the skillet until you’re left with a flavorful and well rounded meal. Hope you enjoy this dish as much as we do!

Print Recipe
Creole Skillet with Andouille Sausage
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
people
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
people
Instructions
  1. Roughly chop two green bell peppers and add to skillet with two tablespoons of olive oil at medium heat
  2. Roughly chop one onion and add to skillet
  3. Slice andouille sausage into 1/4 inch pieces and add to skillet
  4. Drain and rinse one can of kidney beans and add to skillet
  5. Add creole seasoning to skillet mixture
  6. Add rice cooked to package instructions
  7. Add chili powder and garlic powder.
Share this Recipe
Slow Cooker Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork

Slow Cooker Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork

With a name like Baja to Bar-b-que, it’s about time I gave you a BBQ recipe. This weekend we busted out the crock-pot and made Slow Cooker Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork. It’s one of the hubby’s favorites and is insanely easy to make. You dump it all in the crock-pot and forget it. Six to eight hours later you’ve got sweet, tender, falling apart pulled pork. The hardest part was trying to keep Caleb from removing the lid to look/smell/stir it. JUST LEAVE IT. The more you open the lid, the longer you have to wait for delicious BBQ. So, while I know it’s hard to resist the smell, just leave it alone and keep yourself occupied with other things. Clean the house, do laundry, mow the lawn, OR you can read a book, paint your nails, and watch Netflix. I chose the latter. Without further ado, here is one easy, mouthwatering, bbq recipe to add to your rotation. I promise it will be a repeat.

Slow Cooker Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork

Here are the ingredients. Pork shoulder aka pork butt aka Boston butt. I have no idea why it has so many names, but I promise they are all the same cut of juicy, fatty meat. To the pork, add onion, bbq sauce, and glorious Dr. Pepper. The combination of citric acid and sugar in the soda help make the meat tender and sweet. And if you’re thinking to yourself any “cola” will do, you’re wrong. I can’t explain why, but it’s just not the same.

Slow Cooker Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork

Salt and pepper the pork and place it in the slow-cooker.

Slow Cooker Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork

Add the onion.

Slow Cooker Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork

In a bowl, mix 12 ounces of Dr. Pepper and ½ cup of BBQ sauce into a slurry. Pour the mixture over the pork and set the crock-pot on low for 6-8 hours or until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees. We set ours to 6 hours for two reasons. First, our crock-pot tends to run very hot, and has burned dishes in the past. Second, this is a 4lb pork butt. If it was closer to 5 or 6 pounds it would have needed the extra time. Low and slow is the name of the game.

Slow Cooker Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork

6-8 hours later, return to this. It is worth the wait. Remove the pork shoulder/butt  from the slow cooker and start shredding it with your handy-dandy meat claws. If you don’t have meat claws, two forks will work fine. You just won’t look as cool as my wolverine husband.

Slow Cooker Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork

Once the meat is shredded you can add it back to the juices, or drain the juices and mix in your bar-b-que sauce. We return the pork to the juices to keep in juicy and moist. Serve with a slotted spoon to drain the extra liquid and keep your bun from getting soggy. Add exactly the amount of BBQ sauce you want on your sandwich.

Caleb’s buns of choice are Hawaiian sweet rolls, which leaves you with pulled pork sliders instead of a sandwiches, but they’re tasty so I have no complaints. Load up your plate with all the fixin’s, role up your sleeves and dig in. Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork

 

Print Recipe
Slow Cooker Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork
Slow Cooker Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 6-8 hours
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 6-8 hours
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Slow Cooker Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork
Instructions
  1. Salt & pepper the pork shoulder and place it in the slow cooker
  2. Slice onion, and place on top of pork in the slow cooker
  3. Mix bar-b-que sauce and Dr. Pepper together, and poor mixture over pork and onions
  4. Cook for 6-8 hours on low or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees
  5. Remove pork from slow cooker, shred, and return to slow cooker
  6. Serve with bar-b-que sauce
Share this Recipe
Baked Turkey Meatballs

Baked Turkey Meatballs

Can we take a minute to talk about food photography? Because it’s a thing people specialize in, and I am not one of those people. I was reading up on how to make my blog/recipes more appealing and the general consensus was “Take great photos of your food!” Well, duh. So I began researching “food photography for bloggers” and HOLY COW. These people go all out you guys. Not only are they using fancy DLSR’s and lighting contraptions, but they’re using accessories and “styling” the shots like it’s the cover of Food + Wine magazine! They dedicate hours to making the recipe and getting the perfect shot in the perfect lighting. I get it. The people that do this well have incredibly successful blogs and Pinterest pages, and maybe one day I’ll get there.

You want in on a secret?  The recipes and photos I’m sharing were my meal that day, and I sat down and ate them as soon as they were finished. The whole idea of spending 30+ minutes to get the perfect photo of my pasta and letting it get cold just makes me sad. It’s too tasty to let that happen! By the time the food is ready I’m over taking photos and just want to sit down and eat. Perhaps food photography will become quick, and second nature in the future, but in the mean time you are stuck with photos from my mediocre smart phone and a promise that my food is delicious. That’s going to have to be good enough for now.

Baked Turkey Meatballs

Today’s recipe is baked turkey meatballs. They are easy to make, healthy, and pack a big punch of flavor. These meatballs are healthier than traditional meatballs for two reasons. First, they’re made with ground turkey instead of sausage or beef. Second, they’re baked and not fried. Baking the meatballs also saves you time because you don’t have to babysit them on the stove top. You just stick them in the oven and forget about them until your timer goes off.

Baked Turkey Meatballs

Start off by taking the ground turkey, Italian seasoned breadcrumbs, parmesan, onion, garlic, an egg, milk, ketchup, dried basil, dried parsley, and of course salt and pepper and toss it into a large mixing bowl. Now mix it all together with your hands (I recommend removing any rings before doing so) until the ingredients are evenly distributed and the turkey holds together.

Baked Turkey Meatballs

After it is mixed, start forming the meatballs. My hand rolled meatballs are roughly 1 ½ inches, but we’re just eye balling the size here.  Place the meatballs on a non-stick baking sheet (or spray a regulars baking sheet with non-stick/olive oil) and drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 – 20 minutes.

Baked Turkey Meatballs

If you don’t feel like getting your hands dirty (even though the probably already are) you can use a 1 inch ice cream scoop. The scoop will give you consistent and uniform meatballs. I form my meatballs by hand because I only own a giant ice cream scoop, and because I like to believe this is how they do it in Italy which makes my meatballs more authentic. We can pretend, right?

Baked Turkey Meatballs

When the meatballs are finished, transfer them to a sauce pan of simmering marinara sauce. Sometimes I make it from scratch, sometimes it comes from a jar. Tonight it came from a jar. Add a garlic clove and some dried basil for a little extra flavor if you go that route. Cover the pan and simmer for approximately 10 minutes. The meatballs give the sauce a little extra flavor and vice versa. While the meatballs are simmering in the sauce, cook your spaghetti according to package directions. Serve it up and enjoy!

Baked Turkey Meatballs

Print Recipe
Baked Turkey Meatballs
Baked Turkey Meatballs
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Baked Turkey Meatballs
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl mix all the ingredients (except for the olive oil) by hand until evenly combined.
  2. Form the meatballs using hands or 1 inch ice cream scoop and place on a large baking sheet evenly spaced. Drizzle with olive oil and back at 400 degrees F for 15 -20 minutes or until cooked through.
  3. Transfer meatballs to large saucepan of simmering marinara. Simmer for approximately 10 minutes.
  4. Cook spaghetti according to package instructions, drain and serve.
Share this Recipe
Asparagus Pesto Pasta with Sundried Tomato and Sausage

Pesto Pasta with Asparagus, Sundried Tomato, and Sausage

Spring is nearly here and I don’t know about you, but I’m so excited. Spring to me means warm weather, delicious produce, beautiful flowers, and allergies. Not so excited about the last part, but I’ll take what I can get. Along with preparing for the vast amounts of pollen, I’m also preparing for wedding season! In a few weeks I’ll be standing beside my best friend when she says I do, and a few months ago she was standing beside me when I did the same!

Asparagus Pesto Pasta with Sundried Tomato and Sausage

Today’s recipe feeds a crowd and is so easy to make. We turned to this recipe when we had a houseful of family before our wedding. Pesto Pasta with Asparagus, Sundried Tomato and Sausage. The name is long, but the dish is quick, and it’s great for feeding lots of hungry guests, or for feeding 2 people and providing a week of leftovers. This recipe is inspired by an old recipe from Damn Delicious that I first made in college. You can see the original here http://damndelicious.net/2012/07/21/pesto-pasta-with-sun-dried-tomatoes-and-roasted/ . Since then, we’ve made a few adjustments. Feel free to make a few additions of your own!

Asparagus Pesto Pasta with Sundried Tomato and Sausage

Here’s the cast and crew, minus the sausage:  asparagus, s­­undried tomatoes, basil pesto, artichoke hearts, and pasta.  You can use any kind of pasta you like. I prefer shells because they’re like little flavor pockets that catch all the delicious pesto and cheese. You are welcome to add “flavor pockets” to your vocabulary.

Asparagus Pesto Pasta with Sundried Tomato and Sausage

Pre heat the oven to 425. Chop off the woody ends of the asparagus and arrange on a baking sheet. Lightly coat the trimmed asparagus with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. While the oven is preheating, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. It should take approximately the same amount of time for your oven to reach temperature and the water to reach a boil, meaning your asparagus and pasta should be done at about the same time. It’s all about efficiency here people!

Asparagus Pesto Pasta with Sundried Tomato and Sausage

While the pasta is boiling and the asparagus is roasting, you’re going to cook the rest of the ingredients. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and add your sliced sausage.  Cook it for a couple of minutes or until it starts to brown.  Here is where you get a little freedom. We use pre-cooked andouille chicken sausage. It is a heck of a lot healthier than regular pork andouille and still very flavorful. Feel free to use Italian sausage, pesto sausage, or no sausage at all! This recipe has lots of veggies and can stand on its own without meat.

Next, julienne the sundried tomatoes and add them to the pan of sausage. Drain the can of artichoke hearts and add to the pan as well. Technically, none of this food NEEDS to be cooked. It’s not raw. But we do want to mix the flavors and bring it to temperature so it’s hot enough to eat. It all shouldn’t need more than 5 minutes on the stove.

Asparagus Pesto Pasta with Sundried Tomato and Sausage

When the pasta is done cooking, drain it and return it to the pot. When the asparagus is cool enough to handle, chop it into 1-2 inch bites and add it to the pasta along with the sausage mixture. Basically you just dump everything into the pasta pot.

Asparagus Pesto Pasta with Sundried Tomato and Sausage

This is the finishing touch. Please ignore my blurry picture. I was really excited to eat and snapped it on the go. Mix in your pesto. If you have a small jar, I just dump it all in. Since I’ve got a Costco size jar, I used 3 heaping tablespoons or approximately ¼ cup. You can make the pasta as pesto-y as you like. Last but not least, add the best part. THE CHEESE. Sprinkle in some shredded parmesan and mozzarella to taste. V’oila! You’re done!

Asparagus Pesto Pasta with Sundried Tomato and Sausage

Easy, isn’t it? The whole meal takes 15 minutes including roasting the asparagus and cooking the pasta. An easy week night dinner you can throw together in no time at all. This was a BIG batch Caleb and I just made. It easily feeds 6-8. Granted, we used a whole pound of sausage and a whole pound of asparagus. It’s an excessive amount of food for two people, but we also had lunch to bring to work the next couple days. If you don’t have plans to feed an army, feel free to cut the pasta, sausage, and asparagus in half for a more reasonable amount of food. Happy cooking!

Print Recipe
Pesto Pasta with Asparagus, Sun-dried Tomato and Sausage
Yield: 6-8 Servings Prep Time: 5 Cook Time: 15 Total Time: 20
Asparagus Pesto Pasta with Sundried Tomato and Sausage
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
people
Ingredients
Asparagus Pesto Pasta with Sundried Tomato and Sausage
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Arrange trimmed asparagus on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 8-10 minutes or until crisp but tender. Wait until cool to cut into 1-2 inch pieces.
  2. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and return to pot.
  3. Heat olive oil in large pan and add sliced sausage. Cook for approximately 2 minutes or until you notice light browning. Add sundried tomatoes and drained artichoke hearts to the pan and cook for approximately 3 minutes or until heated through.
  4. Add sausage mixture, asparagus and pesto to the pot of cooked pasta and mix. Add parmesan and mozzarella to taste. Serve immediately.
Recipe Notes

Use this section for whatever you like.

Share this Recipe

Pantry Essentials

 

Pantry Essentials: The ingredients every home cook needs on hand

One of the best ways to save money and time when it comes to your meals is to make sure your pantry is stocked with starter ingredients. So before we begin, let’s make sure you have the basic building blocks in your pantry. Here are a few ingredients to always keep in the kitchen. Adding any combination of them to your standard protein/carb/veggie combo will elevate your meal from “meh” to “mmmmm!”

 

 

Fats

  • Butter
  • Olive Oil

Everything needs a little fat. So unless you plan on boiling your food (only acceptable if you are poaching an egg or blanching vegetables) you’re going to need something to cook it in. Regardless of if you cook it stove top or roast it in the oven, adding butter or olive oil adds flavor, keeps food moist, and stops it from sticking to your pan. Just don’t go overboard and your meal will stay healthy.

 

Spices

  • Salt & Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Cayenne
  • Chili Powder
  • Cumin
  • Paprika
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme

Salt and pepper should be obvious, but having the rest of these spices allows you to create endless flavor combinations. These spices are also the building blocks of Mexican and Italian flavors. I’ll be sure to give you my recipes for a standard taco seasoning and Italian seasoning soon! Making your own is so much cheaper and healthier than spending $2 on a pre-mixed seasoning packet with a zillion grams of sodium.

 

Produce

  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Lemon

Looking to add instant flavor to your dish? No matter what kind of food you are making, onion and garlic will only make it better.  Sautee them in butter or olive oil and you’ve got the beginning of any sauce, pasta, etc. You get my point. Want to make it even better? A squeeze of fresh lemon juice will add burst of freshness and a bit of acid to balance the rich flavors. You’ll be hard pressed to find a recipe of mine that doesn’t contain one of these three ingredients.

 

Protein

  • Eggs
  • Chicken (I prefer Chicken thighs, but we regularly use Chicken breast too)

Do we only eat poultry in this house? Of course not. I’m married to a Texan for goodness sake! But we always have eggs and Chicken, because both can be used to whip up an easy and nutritious meal in no time at all. If you have both of these in your fridge, you will always have a fast, nutritious meal at your fingertips. Rotate beef, pork, or seafood into your weekly menu to keep things interesting.

 

Starch

  • Pasta
  • Beans
  • Rice/Quinoa

If you have pasta in your pantry you can make a meal. Period. It is one of the most versatile starches. Have veggies that are going bad? Give them a quick sautee and you’ve got pasta primavera. Toss spaghetti in butter and cheese for cacio e pepe. Sounds fancy right? The point is pasta lets you make a “kitchen sink” kind of meal. Toss in whatever you’ve got and you’re golden. Keep a couple cans of black beans, kidney beans or chickpeas on hand to beef up a dish. Throw them on top of a salad. Mix them with rice for Cajun flare. They can even stand alone as a soup. Last but not least is rice or quinoa. Either one can be easily prepared on the stove top or in a rice cooker. Eat them plain with stir fry, or get creative with ingredients to make a risotto or dirty rice.  All three ingredients can stand alone as the main dish, or play a supporting role as a side.

 

Have you got all this? Good! Then you’ve got a happily stocked kitchen. Use these ingredients to throw together a simple meal or build upon them with other ingredients to develop more complex flavors. I’m excited to show you how I use these ingredients on a daily basis. Am I missing something? Tell me what I’m missing in the comments below.