Some of you already know but I thought today is the right time to make my big announcement. I accepted a proposal in early January. I have been “engaged”, getting all my ducks in a row, my thoughts organized and all the other nitty gritty taken care of… So as of today, I’m getting married. Married to writing my cookbook! Yep! I’m writing a cookbook. It’s been my life long dream to do it and my dream is finally becoming reality. I am so thrilled! It’s going to be a lot of work considering I have a real “job” but I’m fully committed to the next year to year and a half to get this done. There is going to be a lot of cooking going on, a lot of parties, a lot of time in front of my desk, a lot of ideas flowing and a lot of everything else I am sure. I can’t wait for the challenge. So now, I am fully committed because all of you know now. My virtual accountability partners!
If you spend time on my website, you will notice some changes to the layout and flow. This has been a big part of my engagement. Getting my website to flow in a more cohesive manor so it’s easier for visitors to navigate the site. First off, I got a new logo which is more of what my theme is and doesn’t pressure me to write about lifestyle stuff. Of course, I’ll throw in occasional activity or two but this will allow me more time to write my book and work on new recipes. Plus, I needed a change and I think this new logo represents more of who I am without being so different that I loose my image that I have developed over the past three years.
We (my behind the scenes guy who is a wizard at figuring stuff out that I am clueless about) put some cool features on the site that make it easier to navigate and look up past recipes. This is really huge and I can’t believe it didn’t work this way before. Anyway, we left “breadcrumbs” above each recipe. If you click on the “breadcrumb”, it will bring you to similar recipes within that category. This is something that Google loves but also gives the visitors other options for recipe ideas that they my otherwise miss.
Another cool navigation tool is on the home screen below the logo, we added two new categories. Recipes and Special Occasions. These are both drop down menus that will allow you pick what you are specifically looking for. It’s pretty slick and I think it works well.
The other massive changes are on the back end that no one will ever see. Which is good. It took a lot of time but hopefully will contribute to better SEO (search engine optimization) among other things. You will also notice a difference in my photos. I have had a crash course in photography and now am shooting all my pictures in a RAW format. This allows for better editing within lightroom/photoshop (which I also had to learn how to use) and it gives me the option to use my photos in my book because the file size is so huge that it can be used for photographs when the book is published. Whew! I have been busy.
So that’s my story. It’s going to be a busy year. I plan on continuing the blog with new recipes weekly. So don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere. I know many of you make a lot of my recipes and if you are interested in being one of my recipe testers, send me a private message and I’ll get you on the list. It will be fun to test unpublished recipes and be part of the process! Wish me luck!
So now onto this weeks recipe. Jambalaya. I seriously can’t believe that Fat Tuesday is next week and that Mardi Gras festivities have begun. I had to make something to celebrate this very important occasion… It had been years since I had a big hearty bowl of Jambalaya and it sounded good to me this week. I love that it is a seriously flavorful one pot meal that comes together pretty quick! Whats better than a big steamy bowl of the holy trinity, andouille sausage, chicken, rice, shrimp and spicy Creole seasoning? Not much in my book. Make sure that you give this recipe a try for Fat Tuesday or for any Mardi Gras event that you may have planned. A cold beer is a necessity with this Jambalaya, just saying!
Enjoy! Laissez les bon temps rouler!
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup onions, diced
- 1 cup green pepper, diced
- 1 cup celery, diced
- 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
- 1 large jalapeno, minced
- 1 pound Andouille sausage, sliced into ¼ inch rounds
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, diced
- 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 tablespoons creole spice mix
- 1 cup long grain rice
- 2 ½ cups chicken broth
- ½ pound langostino or 80/20 shrimp (remove shells and cleaned) cut in half
- ¼ cup chopped parsley (optional)
- Green onions for garnish
- Louisiana Hot Sauce
- [br][b]For the Creole Spice Rub[/b][br]
- 3 tsp Cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp Lowry’s seasoned salt
- 2 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- In a large saute pan that has a lid, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, green pepper, jalapeno, celery and garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Add the sausage, chicken, bay leaf and the creole spice mix. Stir to combine well and continue to cook for another 10 minutes.
- Stir in the tomatoes, rice and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover stirring occasionally to keep the rice from sticking. The rice will cook in about 20 minutes or so. In the last 5 minutes stir in the parsley and the shrimp or langostino.
- Serve with sliced green onions and hot sauce if desired.