Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Shrimp and Okra Gumbo with Creamy Yogurt Grits

This meal was really tasty! Much more so than I even expected - and I have to say, Jordan wasn't too excited about it. But with so many vegetables and since it is a classic southern dish, I really wanted to try this Cooking Light version. We loved it! It also reheated really well (with a little added cream in the grits so they would become smooth again) and we ate this again last night for dinner. Okra is really in season now so I have seen it at the farmer's market downtown, but I actually got this okra from Walmart and it tasted great! This is the first time I have cooked with okra, so I was a little weirded out by the texture - when you slice it, it's actually kind of sticky and it has this stuff - I can't even explain it - that is stretchy and silky coming out of it. So, needless to say, the weirdness cooks out and I thought the okra was great! YAY - another vegetable we both really like! I cut up all the vegetables earlier in the day so we could go for a run and I could make this in under 30 minutes before Jordan had band practice.

Here is the recipe - let me know if you try it!

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups gumbo and 1 1/2 teaspoons parsley)


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 10 tablespoon fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 4 ounces smoked ham, chopped (I couldn't find the smoked ham, so I got a 1/2 lb ham steak from Walmart for $2.50 and I'm using the rest in omelets.)
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 2/3 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 pound fresh okra pods, sliced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper (I didn't have this so I used crushed and it worked great)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained (I didn't use the whole can since Jordan hates tomatoes)
  • 3/4 pound peeled and deveined large shrimp
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3/4 cup quick cooking grits
  • 1 cup fat-free Greek-style yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp (kosher) salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper


1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour; cook 1 minute or until lightly browned, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add broth; stir with a whisk until thick. Pour into a bowl; set aside. Wipe pan clean with paper towels.

2. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in pan over medium heat. Add onion and ham; cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add bell pepper and next 4 ingredients (through okra); cook 5 minutes or until vegetables are almost tender, stirring occasionally. Add broth mixture, water, and next 6 ingredients (through tomatoes). Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in shrimp; cook 4 minutes or until shrimp are done. Sprinkle with parsley.

For the grits: Bring 2 and a half cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Then gradually whisk in the grits. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 8 minutes or until thick. (It only took me 5 at the most). Stir in the yogurt (I actually didn't have enough so I added a little half-and-half and it seemed to do the trick), salt, and pepper.

On a plate, spread some grits onto a plate and top with gumbo. ENJOY!

Nutritional Information (just for the gumbo - grits add about 150 calories)

10.5g (sat 1.4g,mono 4.4g,poly 2.8g)

Adeena Sussman, Cooking Light, APRIL 2010
Here is my picture of the veggies cooking - they were soo good!

and THIS, is the picture of the hunk of meat Dan and Jordan smoked this weekend.

I know - it's 9 pounds of meaty goodness. This was smoked for 9 hours, forcing us to have dinner at 9:30pm! It was well worth the wait!


Saturday, September 25, 2010

thunder valley

Last night, Jordan and I and Dan and Kelsey went to Thunder Valley in Salem. I wish I had taken pictures because it was probably really funny to see four people in their mid-twenties playing laser tag against 10 year old kids. I felt pretty bad when we beat 6 kids 10,000 points to 1,900. After a game (on a horrible course) of putt-putt, and spending our 40 tokens in the arcade as fast as we could before the place closed, we left for Red Robin, and Kels and I both got car sick. :( It was a good night - I love getting to experience all that Southwest VA has to offer, especially now that I'm getting so nostalgic about leaving.
I am planning to try to catch up on posting about this summer, but that will have to happen gradually. Today we're smoking meat and watching the game while preparing for the missions conference our church is having tomorrow. Go Hokies!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

look what we got in the mail!!!!

We have officially been invited to work in Australia! We are sponsored!! YAY!
Now we just have to get that darn visa. :)
And look at those amazing pictures on the stamps! No wonder people think we're going for vacation instead of ministry!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

dinner tonight!

I thought I would post this recipe because it is one that I made during the first few months we were married, loved it, and for some crazy reason I keep forgetting to make it again. What is wrong with me sometimes? It has been on my list of notes to remember to fix for probably two months, and then has traveled around the pages of my agenda for the past week and tonight is the night - it will be made. And it better be as good as I remember.

So, here it is:

Rachel Ray's Chicken with Leek and Lemon-Poppy Muffin Stuffin' with Pucker-Up Pan Gravy Broth (WHEW - quite a title!)
4 Servings

2 medium leeks
2 tablespoons EVOO, twice around the pan
4 tbsp unsalted butter
2 celery ribs
4 lemon poppy seed muffins
3-4 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves stripped and chopped
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp poultry seasoning
2 cups chicken stock
8 chicken breast cutlets
Salt and Black Pepper
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
A handful of fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish (I'm just going to use more thyme cause I love it)

Cut off the tough tops of the leeks, leaving 3-4 inches of greens. Trim the root ends and half the leeks lengthwise. Thinly slice the leeks into half moons and transfer them to a colander. Run the leeks under cold water and separate all of the layers, freeing the sand and grit. Drain the clean sliced leeks well. **In case you are like me, and you didn't know what leeks were until this recipe - they are like giant spring onions! They are sold in bunches of 2-3 at Walmart.

Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium to medium high heat with the EVOO and 2 tbsp butter. When butter has melted, add the leeks and celery. Saute the veggies for 5 minutes, then crumble the lemon poppy seed muffins into the pan. Toast the muffin crumbles with the veggies for 3-4 minutes. Season the stuffing with the fresh thyme, lemon zest, and poultry seasoning. Moisten the stuffing with up to 1 cup of the chicken stock and reduce the heat to low.

Here is the finished product of the stuffing...and then I got so excited I didn't take any more pictures. :)
While the stuffing works, heat a second skillet over medium high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, then transfer it to a platter and cover it with foil to keep it warm. Add the remaining 2 tbsp butter to the pan and when it melts sprinkle the flour into the pan. Stir and cook for 1 minute, then whisk in the remaining cup of chicken stock. Cook for 2 minutes, or until thickened. Whisk in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

Pile up the stuffing on 4 plates, Top with 2 chicken cutlets and ladle gravy over the top. Garnish with something green :)

I'm serving it with a green salad with lots of veggies. Maybe if I get crazy I'll post a picture of it tomorrow on the blog!

-From Rachel Ray's Express Lane Meals-