One Pan Jambalaya with Shrimp and Sausage

snow dog

It snowed today…again. And in the last 2 weeks school has only been open for 2 days. In other news, Travis built what he calls a “snow dog”. Which of our dogs does it resemble the most?

Randolph and our house

Our house from the road. Usually a pretty tropical scene but…ahhh…not today. But the boys had fun playin’ while I watched from the warmth of the passenger seat. We went for a drive to the oceanfront, had lunch at the only place open (which wasn’t a bad choice, my grilled chicken and bacon salad was delish) and worked from home. Travis made the snow dog around 5pm and I spent just enough time out there to take a couple pictures. Then I came in to start up dinner:

Kentucky bourbon sausage

onions, peppers, garlic and rice


jambalaya served up

One Pan Jambalaya with Shrimp and Sausage

  • 1 package (4 links) Niman Ranch Kentucky Bourbon Uncured Sausage (the best, they can be found at Whole Foods)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and diced
  • 7-8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup organic jasmine rice
  • 1 – 28 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2-3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons organic Worcestershire sauce (because no HFCS)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups frozen okra, defrosted
  • 1 pound bag uncooked frozen shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


  • Start by slicing the sausage links. I like them pretty thin. Heat a large, high sided, non-stick skillet on medium high heat and the sausage (without any oil). Let it cook for a few minutes without turning so they get color and brown bits start forming (see above). Stir to brown on both sides. Using a large spoon, remove the sausage from the pan and place in bowl. Reserve.
  • Turn the heat down a bit and add the EVOO, onion and pepper to the same skillet. Add salt and pepper. Cook until the onion is translucent and then add the garlic. Cook garlic for 30 seconds and add rice stirring to coat the rice with any pan juices and toast it a bit. Add tomatoes, chicken stock, spices and bay leaves and cook on low for 30-40 minutes.
  • Remove lid, stir, and add a bit more chicken stock if needed. I don’t like it dry but I also don’t want jambalaya soup! Add shrimp, sausage and okra and cook until shrimp is just done. Do not overcook shrimp or they will be rubbery (yuck). Check for seasoning, add more salt and pepper if needed, and remove bay leaves.
  • Serve up. If you like it spicy you can add a dusting of cayenne pepper or a dash a hot sauce on top!

**Easy defrost tip for the shrimp and okra: Place the shrimp in a large colander and rinse with water. Put the okra in a separate smaller colander and also rinse with water. Let them both sit out at room temperature while the rice is cooking and they should be ready to go once you need them!

Halibut with Basil-Mango-Avocado Salsa

I went to the store yesterday with cod on my grocery list but the halibut was on sale…endofstory. Just kidding, another selling point was the fact it was wild caught and sustainable. Halibut is awesome when paired with a little sweetness and it loves when you shower it with citrus. Toss in some fresh herbs. Avocado. Tomato. Done. mango avocado salsa For the halibut: season both sides with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, get a pan really hot and add a splash of EVOO, then sear the fish for about 3 min per side. I made a bed of plain quinoa, then added the halibut and topped with plenty of the salsa. We ate all of the salsa between 2 people so if you are feeding more…make MORE 🙂 halibut with mango avocado salsa

Basil-Mango-Avocado Salsa

  • 1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and cut into a large dice
  • 1/2 cup frozen diced mango, thawed
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 4-5 large fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons snipped chives (I use kitchen shears…easier than a knife!)
  • 1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Toss together in a small bowl and enjoy outside!

Based on this recipe from Bon Appetit.

Roasted Pork Loin Roast

Roasted roast. It’s a roast that was roasted. I shouldn’t be writing at-all-ever.

pork loin roast

I’m also giving you a recipe that you won’t be able to exactly recreate because you can’t buy this spice. Unless you live in or near Richmond, VA and go to the South of the James farmer’s market at Forest Hill Park…in THAT case, yes.

It’s a mix of locally grown, dried herbs and salts. Lavender, rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, lemongrass and sage! The last ingredient is LOVE…awwww! ***sticks finger down throat but then smiles***

spice mix

When the roasted roast was done and sufficiently rested, I sliced it and topped it with the onions and pan drippings.

pork loin roast

Roasted Pork Loin Roast

  • a 1.75-2 lb. pork loin roast
  • 2 teaspoons of a dried herbs mix (lavender, rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, sage, lemongrass, Himalayan pink salt and sea salt)
  • 1/2 cup white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • 1 medium to large onion, halved and sliced


  • Preheat oven to 350 degree. Salt and pepper the roast on all sides. Heat a large oven proof saute pan over medium to medium-high heat. Add EVOO and pork roast. Once it’s seared to a nice golden brown on one side flip it over and add the onions and wine. Sprinkle the dried herbs all over the pork and the onions. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the internal temp reaches about 145 degrees. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

Before I talk about tomato soup let me show off another glorious bowl of overnight oats. Same basic recipe as before but I stirred in thawed frozen blueberries and added some sliced almonds on top. I could eat these everyday but Travis’ reaction to his second bowl in a week was, “Porridge again? I like my smoothie action.”

blueberry almond overnight oats

I love being able to use of TONS of what’s growing in my garden all at the same time! I think I overdid it planting cherry tomatoes because I have them coming out of my ears. In the past 2 weeks I have made gazpacho, a large version of a caprese salad with halved cherry tomatoes, basil and mozzarella all tossed in a homemade balsamic vinaigrette (that we shared with 8 friends) and we have eaten plenty of tomatoes sliced in sandwiches. My son and I picked another couple pounds of tomatoes yesterday and I was pretty excited to try a cooked version of my tomatoes.

Here are the tomatoes before going in the oven…

chopped tomatoes

This soup is so flavorful! I made it with tons of halved cherry tomatoes with a few larger tomatoes…all from my garden. In the early afternoon I prepared the tomatoes, roasted them and then let them cool completely.

roasted tomatoes

Then I blended all of them with my Vitamix. Because the recipe doesn’t tell you how to slice or dice the basil after I transferred the tomato mixture into the soup pot I blended the basil with some of the chicken stock and then added that to the soup. After the soup was done I used my immersion blender to puree the onions to make it completely smooth. I didn’t strain it as instructed.

raosted tomatoes in the Vitamix

Roasted tomato basil soup with some basil to garnish!

roasted tomato basil soup

After we each had a good sized bowl with dinner there  was still enough leftover to fill an eight cup container!

Leftover roasted tomato basil soup

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

  • 3 pounds tomatoes (I used cherry and roma varieties)
  • EVOO
  • 1 large vidalia onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 – 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss together the tomatoes, drizzle extra virgin olive oil over and salt & pepper. Spread the tomatoes in 1 layer on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes.
  • In an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, a little salt and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Add the canned tomatoes, thyme, salt and pepper. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet to a Vitamix or high speed blender and blend until smooth. Add mixture to soup pot. In the same blender container add basil and about a cup of the stock and blend until mostly smooth. Add to soup along with the remaining stock. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes.  Serve hot or cold.

Slightly adapted from Ina Garten

Classic Summer Basil Pesto

The tiny, sweet basil plants I put in the ground in early May have gone crazy with all the rain we’ve had this summer in Richmond! The basil in this basket is only one of my three plants!

Sweet basil from my garden

I visited my little sister Angela’s house last week and she made us a grilled cheese panini with sliced tomatoes and basil…that she had purchased from the store. The sandwich was amazing (I need a panini maker) but I did remind her that I have tons of basil growing and next time to have me bring some over 🙂

homemade pesto

I had enough basil to make 3 batches of this recipe. I washed the basil on the stems and then I placed the picked leaves in a colander as I was working. Some recipes call for the leaves to be dried first but I didn’t find this step necessary. 

I was able to freeze 11 one half cup containers of pesto for later use!

Classic Basil Pesto

  • 2 1/2 cups basil, packed
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2/3 cup EVOO
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, shredded
  • 1 heaping teaspoon kosher salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper


  • In a high powered blender place basil, garlic and pine nuts. Stream in EVOO while blender is on low setting. I had to turn off the blender and scrape down the sides a couple of times to help it along. Once blended add in cheese, salt and pepper and blend until just combined. 

Pasta, Pesto and Peas

It’s Labor Day weekend! School starts, pools close (at least in Richmond they do), and the days get shorter (BOO!!). I do love fall and all the holidays leading up to Christmas. This fall my sister Angela is expecting her 2nd child..another boy…so that’s also something to be very excited about!

While I was cooking Devin came in the kitchen to make a sandwich. Our dog Walter waited close by with the hopes that Devin might share:


I made this pasta to take to my cousins housewarming party last weekend. It’s unique and always a hit…a couple of people asked me for the recipe and a few others made a point to tell me how much they liked it. It’s usually a great way to use some of the tons a fresh basil I have however, my blender is broken and I couldn’t make any fresh pesto so I had to buy some. I need to remedy my broken blender situation soon because I have lots of basil that needs to be broken down into pesto and frozen 🙂

Pasta, Pesto and Peas

From Barefoot Contessa

  • 3/4 pound fusilli pasta
  • 3/4 pound bow tie pasta
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups pesto (I didn’t measure it but used the entire package that you see pictured above)
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (don’t leave this out!!)
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise (I used Vegenaise)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  • Cook the pasta together in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and toss pasta with a couple tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and let cool to room temperature.
  • In a food processor fitted with a steel blade puree the pesto, spinach and lemon juice. Add the Vegenaise and puree to mix. Add the pesto mixture to the cooled pasta and then add the Parmesan, peas, pine nuts, salt and pepper. Mix well, taste to be sure the seasoning is right and serve at room temperature.

Pizza Night

Travis worked hard today and when I asked what he would like for dinner he listed about 10 different possibilities but I stopped listening at his first choice…PIZZA! I bought some yummy looking all-natural, hormone free cheese which was a blend of mozzarella, parmesan, asiago, provalone and romano. A fun twist from the typical mozzarella! I had good intentions of trying to make pizza dough (for the first time) but the day got away from me so I went with a family favorite and local Richmond business, Pizza Tonight.

The Pinot Grigio is for me…not part of the pizza prep 🙂

The sauteing chicken breast, cut into strips and seasoned with salt and pepper.

The BBQ chicken pizza before baking.

Devin, slicing up the BBQ chicken pizza.

Pesto Chicken Pizza, all sliced up. Our favorite way is to cut the pizza into little squares.

These two pizzas are fun to make in the same night because you get two very different pizzas with very similar toppings!!

BBQ Chicken Pizza


  • 4-5 tablespoons of your favorite bbq sauce
  • very thinly sliced red onions
  • sauteed chicken breast
  • cheese


  • Stretch pizza dough out according to package directions. Top with sauce first, then onions, then chicken and end with cheese.

Pesto Chicken and Tomato Pizza


  • 2-3 tablespoons pesto sauce (I used homemade)
  • very thinly sliced red onions
  • sauteed chicken breast
  • thinly sliced roma tomotoes
  • cheese


  • Stretch pizza dough out according to package directions. Top with pesto first, then onions, chicken, tomatoes and end with cheese.

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

This. Is. Excellent. Chicken. Well, don’t make fun of me…it’s true! I would usually never make something like this. It’s been a handful of years since I have even attempted a stuffed chicken breast recipe. But the rain outside and the empty propane tank meant that I couldn’t grill without 1) a run to the store for a refill propane tank and 2) and boyfriend willing to get wet while turning chicken. It was just by the luck of those two hurdles on my Friday evening that I ran across this recipe from Cooking Light magazine. I exaggerate not when I tell you that it is DELICIOUS!!

The recipe called for a couple tablespoons of chopped basil. The only basil I have that is ready for a small harvest is my purple basil so I picked a few leaves to try in this dish. Isn’t it dark and beautiful??!!

Halfway through cooking I was almost jumping up and down in excitement that the goat cheese-y goodness wasn’t leaking out!

I am not a food photographer (yet) but here is the finished, lovely stuffed chicken and some braised swiss chard that I made to go along with it.

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

(Adapted from Cooking Light)


  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/3 cup shallots, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped, fresh basil
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock


  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet. Add shallot, garlic and sugar. Cook for about 4-5 minutes until soft.
  • In a bowl combine goat cheese, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, sun-dried tomatoes,   basil, the cooked shallot and garlic mixture, salt and pepper. Stir.
  • Prepare the chicken breasts by slicing the thick part of the breasts into a pocket. (the breasts I used were on the small side) Fill with a couple tablespoons of cheese mixture. Close with a toothpick or 2 per breast.
  • Using the same pan the shallot and garlic was cooked in, add another tablespoon of olive oil and place the stuffed chicken breasts in. Season with salt and pepper. Cook on 5 minutes per side. Add 1/2 cup chicken stock and 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and cook (flipping two more times and basting with pan juices) for another 15 minutes until done. Enjoy!

Rassawek Wine and Heritage Festival

Travis, Devin and I met my mom and brother Isaac today to check out a wine festival in the country today at Rassawek Vineyard. It was a beautiful day…78 degrees, sunny, cool in the shade…it just couldn’t have been any nicer. The event was a on simply gorgeous property off of Route 6 in Goochland County. There were horses, old cars and farm equipment on display, local handmade goods for sale, live music, good food and of course wine tastings! Not just wine tastings from the vineyard that sponsored the event but also from 9 local wineries! Travis got to drive an old antique (like 1920’s old) Ford truck that was was for sale. He showed a little interest and the owner let him take a spin. We had yummy smoked barbecue, fresh churned ice cream and sangria to wash it all down. It was fun to meet the vendors and others who have so many interests and talents!

I don’t have any pictures because my phone has no service out there (thanks Sprint!!) and I haven’t been able to locate the battery charger for my digital camera but I did grab a couple of cool items I wanted to share here. I do wish that I had a group shot of us to share! Next time!

The first are some herb mixes from Forrest Green Farm. I tasted the ranch dressing and was hooked! All you do to make it is mix 1 tablespoon of herbs from the packet with some buttermilk and a little sour cream. Give it a shaky-shake and it’s done! All of the contents of the packets are grown on their farm and they are all organic.

I also got a bag of buckwheat flour. The vendor had 100 year old equipment that was milling it right there for us to watch. How cool is that??!!

Lastly, I got a planter made of handmade pottery for $15! The lady that made the pottery had tons of different pieces out and was also working on new stuff and doing demonstrations. I was so excited about it that I forgot to get her card! I hope that I run into her again so I can give her proper credit for such beautiful work. When I got home this evening I planted some Greek Basil that had been stuck in an ugly temporary pot. It’s too pretty to put outside!! 🙂