A hint of things to come and Chicken Gumbo over Rice

Happy Friday!

I’m still resting my leg and am feeling much better. I would certainly prefer to be working out but I guess taking it easy during the first week of marathon training is better than missing multiple weeks of training. I’ve got 13 miles on my running schedule tomorrow and I would LOVE to get out and run but, I’ll be sleeping in. Sleeping in on a Saturday? That NEVER happens! Of course, in my world, sleeping in means up by 6:30 or 7:00. Probably doesn’t count so much as sleeping in, does it? πŸ™‚

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Besides Saturday, do you know ELSE what tomorrow is? Hold on to your hats, people, because tomorrow is … drumroll, please … I Love Reese’s Day! Best. Day. Ever. Seriously. Peanut butter and chocolate is one of the best food combinations EVAH! It’s the little things in life that make me happy. πŸ™‚ Hint? Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog. You do NOT want to miss it. Unless you don’t like peanut butter and chocolate. Then, you might want to go to the doctor’s office because there is something wrong. Perhaps you’re sick. I hope you’re not contagious.

Dinner!

You all know how much I love my crockpot. Did you know that I have four of them? Four! Okay, 2 are in the “donation” box in the garage that will hopefully make it to the thrift store before my hair turns gray but still … I could use them if I needed to! You never know when a football team is going to drop by and you might be in charge of making dinner. Oh wait, maybe I should reconsider donating them? Nah…. Anyway, I use my crockpot so much that sometimes I wonder why I even put it away. I really should make a permanent home on the counter for it. Maybe I could use the spot where the Keurig is? Bahhahahahahaha! Um, no.

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Anywho, I found this awesome recipe for gumbo – you even make the roux! – in one of my Crockpot cookbooks and decided to give it a try. It does require a few extra minutes of prep in the morning so be sure to plan for that. I imagine you could do the prep work the night before and then refrigerate until the morning when you put the crock in the base and fired it up. If you opt for that, make sure you factor in the “heating up” time to your cooking time. You may need closer to 9 hours. I would add the okra the morning of just to prevent it from getting mushy overnight. I used frozen okra – just dumped it in from frozen – and it didn’t get mushy or anything, which is something I was afraid of. I’m not sure how fresh would work out but regardless, if you prep the night before, I recommend holding off on the okra until you’re ready to press go.

This turned out really well! So delicious and perfectly cooked and, like I said, the okra was not soggy or mushy at all! Don’t be afraid of the jalapeno; this was not spicy in the least. If you do want a kick, either increase the number of jalapenos and include the seeds or pass the hot sauce at the table. I’m so glad that it makes 6 servings because that means leftovers for lunch. WIN!

This Middle Sister wine happens to go really well with the gumbo. I know because I’m a smarty pants. πŸ™‚

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Chicken Gumbo over Rice
Makes 6 servings

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4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 pound Italian sausages, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup diced green bell peppers
2 tablespoons minced jalapeno or serrano peppers
1 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen okra, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups cooked white or brown rice

1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in skillet over medium heat until hot. Brown and crumble sausage until no pink remains, about 10 minutes. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate with slotted spoon to drain excess fat.

2. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in skillet. Add flour and continuously stir with a whisk. (NOTE: DO NOT WALK AWAY FROM THE PAN OR THE FLOUR WILL BURN AND STINK AND YOU WILL HAVE TO START ALL OVER.) Cook until flour becomes dark brown but not burnt. Add chicken, onions, celery, bell peppers, jalapeno peppers and paprika. Cook and stir 7 to 8 minutes, or until vegetables soften. Transfer to a 4-quart slow cooker.

3. Add drained sausage, okra, broth, and wine. Cover; cook on LOW 7 to 8 hours or on HIGH 4 to 6 hours. Serve over cooked rice.

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