Chicken & Sausage Gumbo Recipe

It seems that at least two or three times per week this Fall and Winter, there’s been a big ole’ pot of soup or stew bubbling away on the stove. One of our favorites is a spin on chicken and sausage gumbo recipe that I got from Martha Stewart. It is so hearty and full of flavor–you just want to eat bowl after bowl! The good things is that it utilizes a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, which saves on time and makes this an easy dish to make even on a weeknight. I did tweak this recipe quite a bit by sauteing the sausage, adding twice the amount of chicken stock, replacing the okra with green beans, and a few other changes to the cooking process. The recipe below makes a huge batch–enough for two nights of dinners, which is perfect because this is definitely one of those soups that taste even better the second day. Adapted recipe provided below–hope you enjoy! 

 

 

Chicken & Sausage Gumbo

Ingredients

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 red bell pepper (ribs and seeds removed), chopped
1 green bell pepper (ribs and seeds removed), chopped
1 large white onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 lb. green beans, cut into 1 pieces
8 ounces smoked (precooked) andouille sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced 1 inch thick
1 rotisserie chicken (about 2 1/2 pounds), skin and bones removed, meat shredded (about 4 cups)
8 cups chicken stock

Directions

Prep your ingredients…

 

 

In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, saute the andouille sausage until some of the fat has rendered down and the sausage is golden brown. Remove from the pot and set aside.

 

 

Add the vegetables to pot and saute for about 5-6 minutes. Remove from pot and set aside with sausage.

 

 

Add the oil and heat over medium heat. Add flour, and cook, whisking constantly, until pale golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the vegetables and oregano; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

 

 

 

Stir in the vegetables and oregano; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

 

 

Add 8 cups chicken stock; stir in sausage and chicken. Bring to a boil and then turn heat down to low and allow to simmer until vegetables are tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; if needed. Serve with thick wedges of cornbread.

 

Cabbage Soup Diet Results, Tips, & Recipes

As you guys know, I did the Cabbage Soup Diet a couple of weeks ago and lost 5 pounds after the seven days. I was afraid that after getting off the diet; I would immediately gain the weight back. The good news is that I kept all of the weight off last week AND I lost another 2 pounds. I basically focused on keeping my calorie range between 1200-1500 per day and I ate mostly lean protein, veggies, and fruits. I did splurge on Friday night with pizza, but it was homemade pizza made with whole wheat flour and topped with veggies and cheese. What I loved and I completely attribute to being on the Cabbage Soup Diet the previous week is that I didn’t really have any cravings and I was also able to stay away from nighttime snacking, which is always my undoing. I think the Cabbage Soup Diet helped me to “detox” so to speak. So, anyway–today I wanted to share some of the things that helped me get though the seven days of the Cabbage Soup Diet.

Cabbage Soup Diet Tips:

Make your soup the night before you are beginning the plan. Make a batch that’s big enough to get you to the halfway point of the week (Day 3 or 4). Take your time making the soup (Cabbage Soup Recipe). When your first batch is finished, make the second batch a little different. Try using different spices, vegetables, or anything that will make the soup more palatable because at this point; you will be sick of the soup. One thing I did was to blend the soup. This really helped change the texture and felt like I was eating something a little different.

 

 

 

On Day 1 you can have cabbage soup and all the fruit you want except bananas. Make sure to have a good variety of fruits that you like on hand and ready to eat. Another thing is that you can spice it up by roasted or grilling fruits like peaches, nectarines, pineapple, etc.

On Day 2 you can have cabbage soup and all the low-calorie vegetables you want (except beans, peas, or corn) and a baked potato with butter for dinner. Get creative with your veggies. The same goes with Day 3, which is fruit and veggies day (no starchy vegetables or bananas allowed though). I made a huge stir fry and added a little low-sodium soy sauce.

 

 

Another idea–spaghetti squash topped with a homemade tomato sauce. Or, roast a variety of veggies for lunch or dinner. 

 

 

I really liked Day 4, which is cabbage soup, up to eight bananas, and two glasses of skim milk. At night, I made myself a banana smoothie as a treat. I did cheat a little by adding a tablespoon of cocoa, but it only has 10 calories so I didn’t think it was a big deal. The smoothie was really thick, which really made it the consistency of ice cream instead (even better!).

 

Banana Chocolate “Ice Cream” Recipe

Ingredients:

2 large frozen bananas, broken into pieces
1 cup skim milk
1-2 Tbsp cocoa
1-2 packets Stevia or zero calorie sweetener of your choice

Directions: Put all of the ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth and the consistency of soft serve ice cream.

 

The key to this diet is to be creative or you will quickly become bored! Good luck!

Cabbage Soup Diet Review & Recipe

If you’ve ever been on a diet, then you have probably heard of the Cabbage Soup Diet. It has literally been around for ages and still gets talked about today. I remember hearing about it for the first time when I was in high school. So what is the Cabbage Soup Diet? It is a 7 day diet that promises up to a 10 pound weight loss by the end of the week. It’s a strict diet with a short list of allowable foods that change every day. What doesn’t change is the cabbage soup, which you are encouraged to eat in copious amounts throughout the week. It is not a long term diet plan at all and should not be followed for more than 7 days at a time. It is intended to be used as a jump start to healthy eating.

Cabbage Soup 7-Day Plan
Day 1: Cabbage soup and all the fruit you want except bananas. Drink unsweetened tea, black coffee, unsweetened cranberry juice, or water.
Day 2: Cabbage soup, all the low-calorie vegetables you want (except beans, peas, or corn), and a baked potato with butter for dinner.
Day 3: Cabbage soup and a mixture of the above fruit and vegetables (except bananas and potatoes).
Day 4: Cabbage soup, up to eight bananas, and two glasses of skim milk.
Day 5: Cabbage soup, up to 20 ounces of beef, chicken or fish, up to six fresh tomatoes, and at least 6-8 glasses of water.
Day 6: Cabbage soup, up to 3 beef steaks, and unlimited vegetables.
Day 7: Cabbage soup, up to 2 cups of brown rice, unsweetened fruit juices, and unlimited non-starchy vegetables.

Over the years, I’ve tried the diet a couple of times and always gave up around day 3. However, after a holiday season spent eating way too many treats and a very sad end to the year, I have been feeling like I needed a detox and a jump start to my weight losss goals. I decided to once again try the Cabbage Soup Diet. I started last Monday and finished the plan this past Sunday.

My Results:
I lost 5 pounds, which for me–a very slow loser–is a huge amount to lose in one week. Granted, some of that is probably water weight, but that’s ok because I was surely retaining a lot of unneeded water after over indulging over the holidays, etc. I’m just happy to see the number going down, which gives me the motivation that I need to continue on the right path.

The Good:
After the seven days, I feel much more in tune with my body and able to assess whether I am actually hungry or just bored. I was able to cut out late night snacking and eat smaller portions than what I was eating before beginning the diet. I feel much lighter and ready to start a long term healthy eating plan now.

The Bad:
It is definitely a boring diet–especially on the non-fruit days. By Day 4, I couldn’t stomach anymore cabbage soup. It wasn’t the taste, really. The soup is actually quite good. It was a combination of the smell of the soup, which is very sulfury due to the cabbage and also eating anything for that many days in a row is very difficult. I powered through though and had the soup all the days except Day 7.

Speaking of soup, there are many versions of the Cabbage Soup on the internet. All of the recipes that I read said to dump a bunch of vegetables into a pot and cover with water and some seasonings. However, as in any soup, I find that it really pays off to put a little love into it by sauteing the vegetables first to develop a better depth of flavor. So I tweaked the recipe to my own taste and it turned out really delicious–even Mike liked it. I made two batches–one at the beginning of the week that was broth based and a second version at the middle of the week that included canned tomatoes. Recipe is provided below.

Cabbage Soup Recipe


Ingredients:
1/2 head cabbage, roughly chopped
2 large onions, chopped
2 green peppers
4 stalks celery
6-8 large carrots, sliced
1/2 pound green beans, sliced on diagonal
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley, roughly chopped
Quart of chicken stock (I use Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base to make my stock when I don’t have homemade on hand.)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Cooking Spray
OPTIONAL: 16-28 ounces canned tomatoes, chopped

Directions: Spray a Dutch oven or large stock pot with a little cooking spray and saute the mushrooms until they are golden brown.

Remove the mushrooms and add the onions, green peppers, carrots, and celery. Saute for 5-7 minutes until vegetables are softened.

Add the cabbage, mushrooms, green beans, parsley, salt and pepper to the pot and cover with chicken stock. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn burner down to low and allow the soup to simmer for 20-30 minutes or until vegetables are just tender (not mushy).

For version 2 of the soup, add the canned tomatoes when you add the stock. Serve hot with a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Tune in later this week for some Cabbage Soup Diet tips and tricks that helped me survive the week without completely losing my mind! 

Comfort and Warmth in a Bowl: Homemade Chicken and Dumplings (Recipe)

There’s nothing quite as comforting as a bowl of hot soup on a cold winter night. One of our favorites and a classic is chicken and dumplings.

If you plan ahead, it can actually be quite easy to make chicken and dumplings by using the left over roast chicken from the previous night’s dinner. If you don’t have leftover chicken, then get a whole cut up chicken (or cut it yourself), brown the leg, thigh, and breast pieces, and then poach in water for about 30 minutes or until cooked through .Once it’s done, remove the skin, take the chicken off the bone and it’s ready for your stew. We usually do the latter though and buy an entire chicken just for the dumplings. I’ll brown and poach the chicken the night before and I’ll use the rest of the chicken pieces to make a homemade stock. Of course you can also use a low sodium store bought chicken stock as well. The real key to chicken and dumplings though are the dumplings. If you over mix the dumpling dough, you will have dumplings that are dense rather than soft, pillowy dumplings that melt in your mouth. The recipe below uses sifted cake flour so it really helps to lighten the dumplings. Try it and let me know what you think!

Chicken and Dumplings


Ingredients

  • 1.5 pounds diced chicken leg, thigh and breast parts,  (roasted or poached)
  • 2 teaspoons butter 
  • 1.5 quarts chicken stock, heated (homemade stock recipe)
  • 3 celery stalks, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 carrots, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 6 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry 
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Dumplings:

  • 2 cups cake flour 
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh Thyme

Directions:

  1. Saute the onion, celery, carrot and thyme in the butter until soft and onions are translucent (about 10 minutes). Add the flour and stir for about 2 minutes until flour is absorbed. Add the sherry.
  2. While constantly stirring, add the hot stock one ladle at a time and stir for a few seconds until combined. Continue adding the stock one ladle at a time until all of the stock has been added in. 
  3. Add the chicken, bring to a simmer, and cover while you make the dumplings.
  4. Sift the cake flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the fresh herbs. Add the melted butter and milk to the dry ingredients. Gently mix with a wooden spoon until mixture just comes together. The dough will be wet and it will be lumpy–it’s ok. You want the dough to just come together. Do not overmix or your dumplings will be dense!
  5. Add in the frozen peas, stir, and bring the stew back up to a simmer.
  6. Using a teaspoon, drop heaping mounds of the dumpling batter into the simmering stew. Cover and simmer until dumplings are cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. Do not open the pot until 15 minutes have passed or you will release the steam that is needed to cook the dumplings.