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The great thing about Jamalaya is that it has a few basic ingredients and the rest of it, you can just make up as you go. But here's what I do, some of the time, kind of, in a general sort of way.


Chicken for filling (click to see recipe) (chunked or shredded)
1 pound smoked sausage (or andouille or other sausage) (halved and sliced)
1 pound uncooked shrimp (thawed if frozen, peeled & deveined)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion chopped
2 celery stalks (chopped)
2 carrots (chopped)
1 green bell pepper (seeded and chopped)
4 cloves of garlic (peeled and chopped)
3 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
Reserved liquid from Chicken for filling
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
2 bay leaves
4-6 cups water or chicken broth
4 cups long grain white rice - or - 3 - 3 1/2 cups brown rice
Salt (to taste)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

You will also need:

Stock pot with lid
Hefty spoon


First prepare the Chicken for filling while reserving the cooking liquid (which is a beautiful deep red color) in a separate bowl and discarding the aromatic vegetables.

In the same stock pot, saute the sliced smoked sausage until it has a nice browned color on both sides. Remove from stock pot and set aside in a separate bowl.

Still in the same stock pot, heat olive oil and add onion, celery, carrots and bell pepper and cook until onions are beginning to soften. Add garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant (30 seconds-1 minute). Next add the reserved cooking liquid from the chicken while scraping up the bits from the bottom of the pot. Then add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaves and 4 cups of water or broth. Then add your rice (I suggest a little less brown rice as it seems to absorb more liquid and takes longer to cook than white). Bring to a boil.

In the meantime, preheat your oven to 325. Once the rice is boiling and your oven is hot enough, cover and put the whole thing in the oven. Bake for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make sure that your shrimp is peeled and deveined. After the 15 minutes, add in your shrimp, sausage, chicken, and more liquid as necessary.

Here is where some options come in.

-If you are serving immediately, I'd suggest to continue to bake until the rice is fully tender, but you still want a little bit of liquid.

-If you are taking this with you somewhere like a potluck where it could potentially be in a crock pot for a while, I'd only cook until the shrimp is done then remove it from the oven (so just a few minutes). That allows the rice to continue to cook while it is in the crock pot and prolongs the time before it just becomes a sticky over-done rice mess.

Remove bay leaves and garnish with parsley before serving.

Made with brown rice:

Made with white rice:

Chicken for filling

This is a great way to cook chicken that you'll use in another dish. You can use this in tamales, jambalaya, enchiladas, chile rellenos or any number of things.


4 chicken thighs
1/2 cup Paprika*
2 tablespoons Chili powder*
2 teaspoons Dried oregano*
1 teaspoon Celery salt*
1 teaspoon Ground cumin*
1 teaspoon Ground coriander seed*
Kosher salt*
Ground pepper*
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
2 celery stalks (cut up)
2 carrots (cut up)
1 onion (peeled & quartered)

* Don't hold me too much to these amounts. I just dumped some in until it looked about right. I didn't measure a single THING.

You will also need:

Medium bowl
Stock pot or dutch oven
A little wine to deglaze if you have it


In medium bowl, combine paprika, chili powder, oregano, celery salt, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Rinse and pat the thighs dry with paper towels. Toss in the spice mixture to coat fully and allow to sit for about 30 minutes.

Heat oil in stock pot or dutch oven over high heat. Once hot, reduce heat to medium-high, add chicken skin side down and cook for approximately 3 minutes. Turn chicken over and cook for 3 additional minutes.

If you have some white wine sitting around that nobody is drinking, splash just a little (1/4 cup or so) in to deglaze all the spices cooked to the bottom of the pan. Allow that to simmer and reduce for a few minutes. Add enough water so that the chicken is not quite completely covered up. Throw in your aromatics (celery, carrots & onion), bring to a boil, cover and place in a 350 F oven.

Cook for 20-30 minutes, until chicken is done and easily comes away from bones. Remove from oven, remove chicken from liquid and allow to cool before removing from the bone. Reserve the cooking liquid to use in another dish as needed.


The spice mixture. Like I said, I dumped some stuff in & didn't measure anything.

Stir the chicken until well coated in the mixture. It's kind of hard, but they need to be well coated.

Once you add the thighs into the pot skin side down, you can pour what's left on top so that all the spice mixture is used. Flip after 3 minutes or so.

Throw in some aromatics and some water & stick that thing in the oven. Don't think about it again for a good while.

The result is very flavorful chicken that will stand up to being shredded and used in a myriad of ways. I bet you could even just do some shredded chicken tacos if you wanted.

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

This recipe was inspired by a recipe that a friend gave me. I had to do some work to perfect my technique and tweak the ingredients.


1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter (room temperature)*
3 cups sugar
8 ounces (1 block/package) cream cheese (room temperature)*
6 eggs (room temperature)*
3 tablespoons vanilla
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

*I am absolutely serious about the room temperature thing with these ingredients. Plan ahead and set your butter, cream cheese and eggs out on the counter well in advance (like a couple of hours).

You'll also need:

Bundt pan
Butter for greasing the pan
Stand mixer & paddle attachment


Butter your bundt pan FIRST.

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder.

Cream together your (room temperature) butter and sugar until fluffy. Scrape down the sides of your bowl. Add in the (room temp.) cream cheese and continue to beat for a minute or two. Again, scrape down your bowl.

Add in your (room temp.) eggs one at a time and beat well in between and scraping down the sides of your bowl and paddle attachment as needed. After all eggs have been added and well beaten to add plenty of air to the batter, add the vanilla and mix well.

Add the flour mixture a little at a time and mix until well combined.

"Pour" the batter into your prepared bundt pan. The batter will be very thick and you will likely be spooning it more than pouring it.

Bake at 325 F for 80 - 90 minutes (almost 1 1/2 hours) until toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10-20 minutes and then turn it over on to a cooling rack to continue to cool completely.

I hear that this type of cake freezes great, but ours never lasts long enough to find out.


When you cream until fluffy, beat it until you think it looks smooth, and then go a little longer. You really have to work the air into the butter & sugar to get a nice even texture later.

After everything is added, the batter is quite thick and almost fills the bundt pan.

Once it's done, it rises just a little past the top of the bundt pan, but it will deflate just a bit as it cools.

The resulting cake is beautiful and delicious.

Sourdough Pizza Crust

adapted from the Sourdough Pizza Crust recipe at Sourdough Home

This is a great way to use extra starter if you have it.


1 1/2 cups sourdough starter
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt

You will also need:

Bowl for mixing
Wooden spoon
Extra flour for kneading & shaping crusts
Rolling pin
Olive oil to brush on crusts
Pizza or other flat stone or rimmed baking sheet

In a bowl, mix ingredients together well using a wooden spoon. Turn the dough out on a flat surface and knead just a little bit using. You're not looking necessarily for the amount of kneading that a loaf of bread requires. Just make sure that your ingredients are well combined and the dough is smooth and homogeneous.

Set aside in a lightly oiled bowl and allow to rest and rise a bit.

Punch down and begin forming your pizza crust using extra flour a little at a time as needed. I roll mine out because we like them very thin. And I tend to make small ones so that our family can have individual pizzas... oh and because that's all that will fit on my rectangle stone.

Preheat the oven to 400 F and also allow your stone to preheat. Place rolled out crust on to hot stone, being very careful to not burn yourself. Brush with a little bit of olive oil on top.

To pre-bake your crust, bake it for about 4 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. The crusts may be frozen and used at a later date. Just thaw and brush with a little bit of olive oil before topping.