Friday, September 12, 2014

Oh my gosh, blog, how I've missed you! It's been far, far too long! It seems about time to get back in the swing of things, inspiring, cooking and finding the simpler things in life. With that, I came up with this "amazebowls" recipe!



This morning I had a brainchild coming, I could feel it, sense it, smell it in the air. We had fall today, in West Texas in early September, that is too soon. It's still supposed to be in the 80's, not gloomy and certainly not raining all day! But, while sipping my Chai Tea, it came to me...."Stick to your bones, hearty goodness...it's going to be raining all day...football tonight....?!" I couldn't quite pin point it, I skimmed dozens of "shrimp and grits", "chicken stew", "chicken and okra" recipes...Nothing was quite perfect. I also kept coming back to one of the most phenomenal breakfast's I ever had at Brown Sugar Kitchen where I had Shrimp and Grits (I've made the recipe at home, and good Lord, it's amazing!). I just decided I'd make the perfect dish, with what I had, and what I wanted to put in it, alright?! Oh, and the real kicker --I wanted it to be fast, easy, fairly full of vegetables, ready when we got home from work, with little to finish, when our guest arrived. Is that too much to ask?  New dish, passes the crock pot test and fast. Y'all should love me for this one! Oh, oh, oh!! I even used dried peppers and frozen veggies in this, given the time, I would have opted for fresh, so I can imagine it would be even better!

Amazebowls Cajun Gumbolaya Chicken and Grits (where all the finer things meet and mingle)
Serves 6-8 hungry individuals

Ingredients:

Cajun gumbolaya chicken, in crock pot 
- 2 1/2 lbs organic chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup bacon bits
- 1/4 cup dried red peppers. Use fresh if you have the time, 1/2 -3/4 cup for sure.
- 2 cans organic, diced tomatoes
- 2 cups frozen sliced okra
- 1 small package of sliced mushrooms
- 1 cup carrots
- 1 small onion
- 3/4 cup sliced celery (I always save the tops of stalks & leaves for stews, and this is the perfect use for them, because it adds so much flavor!)
- 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 4 T Butter (how much better does that sound than 1/2 cup?!, I know, right!)
- 3/4 head of garlic (elephant garlic is so much easier, just fyi)
- 1 t paprika
- 1/2 t cayenne pepper
- 1 t cumin
- 1 T black pepper
- 1 T salt
- 3 bay leaves
- 4 T dried parsley

Grits:
- 2 cups organic old fashion grits, cooked to time as indicated on package
- Use chicken broth for water, my package suggests the broth for my flavor.
- 4 T butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup cream
- 3/4 grated white cheddar (*or close enough) cheese
Grits are cooked separately just before you are ready to serve your dish.

Just a disclaimer, I am all about making a recipe yours. I give suggestions, but do what you think is going to be best for your taste. *Cheese, come on, it's ALL good, use what you have!

Directions:
Combine mushrooms, onion, carrots and garlic in a food processor. Chop until small pieces remain. In a crock pot, combine all ingredients, including chopped vegetables, and chicken. Cook on low 6-8 hours.
About 30 minutes prior to serving, boil amount of water indicated on grits package. Season with, 1 T garlic powder, 1t pepper, 1t salt, cheese and cream at completion.

Dish up the goodness!!!!
Best served in wide, shallow bowls. Layer grits, followed by chicken mixture. Prepare to have mind blown. Yep, remember there are vegetables and organic chicken in it!

Yes, yes, even me, who almost always opts for the organic or natural version of foods stoops to buying real bacon bits. Why, because life is too short not to have great good, and when I'm pressed for time, a bit of bacon goes a long way. I don't always have the luxury of cooking uncured, natural bacon. I think I'd weigh 200 lbs!

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