Happy Valley Chow

gour-mand (noun): one who is excessively fond of eating and drinking

Filtering by Category: "Spicy"


My mother went on her annual mission trip to Mississippi to help build houses. She was kind enough to bring me home a really simple and delicious jambalaya mix (Cajun King) that I decided to try out the other night. I decided to do a andouille sausage, shredded chicken and shrimp jambalaya. She also got me a bottle of Slap Ya Mama cajun seasoning, that I tossed the shrimp in. It turned out really great and it made for a quick meal. Not to mention that I got to use my enamel dutch oven again, which I'm starting to fall in love with...not as much as my girlfriend :). I'm not sure if they sell this stuff in chain grocery stores or not, but you can always order online if you so choose.

The name speaks for itself :)
  • 1 - 1.25 oz pkg Cajun King Jambalaya Seasoning Mix
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 andouille sausages, sliced
  • 1 lb chicken breasts, cooked & shredded
  • 1/2 lb shrimp
  • 1 cup Uncooked white rice, not instant!
  • 1 - 8 oz. can Tomato Sauce

Re-hydrate seasoning mix by combining it with 1 3/4 cups of water, stir until well blended. 

Melt butter into a large enamel dutch oven (or whatever pot you like, but dutch ovens work great for this dish). Add in the sausage and brown, scrapping the bottom of the pot to remove the chips of deliciousness. Add in the rice and saute until brown. After the rice and sausage has sauteed for a few minutes, add in the re-hydrated mixture and tomato sauce, stir to incorporate and bring up to a simmer. 

Cover and cook for 15 minutes (Don't remove the lid until 15 min has gone by!!) After 15 min, stir in the shredded chicken and shrimp, return lid and let simmer for another 15-20 min until shrimp is cooked. Enjoy!

Charred Cajun Bruschetta

If you haven't gotten the hint yet...I like spicy. I like to take recipes and give them a little cajun/southwest flavor. Like bruschetta for example, it's such a classic italian appetizer that tastes delicious the traditional way, but it's also a recipe that you can have a lot of creative freedom with to make it into something different. So by charring all the vegetables under a broiler adds in a little smokey flavor, adding in some jalapeno gives it some heat, and using cilantro and lime juice gives it some of those southwest flavors. Figuring out what flavors makes you tick when trying to take your cooking skills to the next level is important. Once you figure out your "voice" in the kitchen, you can take any classic recipe and really make it your own.

  • 2 Lbs Roma tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 red onion; halved with skin removed
  • 3 Jalapeno's, halved and seeded
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus some for drizzling
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • Kosher salt & black pepper, to taste
  • French Baguette
  • Fresh Mozzarella; sliced

Set broiler to high.

Place tomatoes, jalapeno's and red onion skin side up on a baking sheet lined with tin foil. Drizzle all the vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Place pan 4" below the broiler and broil for about 6 minutes, until darkly roasted. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Once the vegetables are cooled, dice them and mix them all together in a zip lock bag. Add in the minced garlic, cilantro, olive oil, salt and pepper (to taste). Mix all the ingredients together until incorporated.

Slice baguette into 1/4" thick slices on the bias and toast them in the oven. Once toasted, top with sliced mozzarella and the charred vegetable mixture. Serve as a side with the Cajun Sweet Potato Soup.  


Cajun Sweet Potato Soup

I have been in a soup kind of mood lately, as you can tell with my back to back soup posts. Since I didn't have time to celebrate Mardi Gras last weekend, I decided to honor it this past weekend with this delicious Cajun Sweet Potato soup. It's creamy, sweet and has a nice kick of heat at the end with the hot sauce and sausage (in my case chorizo). Then for the side I made a Charred Cajun Bruschetta. Bon Appétit!

  • 1 Lbs Andouille or Chorizo sausage
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 6 Tablespoons all-purpose flour 
  • 1 large onion; diced
  • 1/2 red pepper; diced
  • 4-5 ribs celery; diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic; minced
  • 1.5 quarts chicken stock
  • 2 large sweet potatoes; diced
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup spinach; chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley; chopped
  • 1/4 cup chives; chopped
  • Hot Sauce; to taste
  • Salt & Pepper; to taste

In a large stock pot, brown sausage links until cooked through. Remove, wrap in tin foil and reserve.

Add butter to the pot and melt, add flour in with butter and whisk to make a roux. Add in onions, celery, red pepper and garlic, saute until soft. Once vegetables are soft, add in warm stock and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add in sweet potatoes, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender.

Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Return soup to the stock pot and mix in cream, chives, parsley, spinach and hot sauce (to taste). Dice sausage links into large chunks and mix into the soup. season with salt and pepper (to taste) and serve warm. 


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