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Keisha Pittman McKinney: Mama Sue’s Kitchen Cabinet Gumbo

Whether you are the Pioneer Woman, a contestant on the Worst Cooks in America, or just trying to get culinary in a small south Arkansas town, nothing makes dinner easier than a “cabinet creation.” Growing up, I always dreaded “clean out the fridge” buffet night. I would offer to help my mom get the meal ready because that left me first in line to pick out the remains of my favorite meal of the week. Thus leaving the mushy stuff that I didn’t like for the slow pokes who weren’t listening when the dinner bell rang!

On the contrary, I LOVED nights when my mom just winged it. She was (and still is) the queen of creativity in the kitchen. She taught me how to make incredible meals on a tight budget. She can always remake leftovers in to a new creation.She can take parts of two different meals and if you don’t pay attention, you think she has cooked a fresh dish 3 nights in the same week! It’s a not-so- secret talent and it’s been fun as we have added son-in- laws to the mix at our holiday table to watch their amazement at her dinner creations.

What she does best is always seek to be present with her people. Doing this takes lots of preparation. Mama will cook the week or weekend before we come and have meals ready in the fridge or freezer that we just have to bake and eat. (That leaves us more time for shopping, craft projects, window shopping, bargain hunting, cashing in coupons, and more shopping – all the essential things for time with your mama!)

She is also really great at her own “semi-homemade” treats. She will have the meat or cooked parts ready and just stir it all together at meal time. That’s exactly what happened with today’s dish. On their own, any of these ingredients are just fine. But, together, they are magic! And if a Cajun likes anything, it’s the magic that happens in a slow, stewed gumbo.

KEISHA MCKINNEY: Mama Sue's Kitchen Cabinet Gumbo

Ingredients

  • 2 Chicken breasts (fresh or thawed)
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Cajun Seasoning
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 14.5-ounce Margaret Holmes Okra, Tomatoes, and Corn
  • 1 14.5-ounce can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1-2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 27-ounce cans Margaret Holmes Red Beans and Rice
  • “soppin” bread – frozen garlic bread recommended

Instructions

  1. Place the chicken breasts in crockpot with 1 Tablespoon Cajun seasoning and 1/2 cup water.
  2. Cook on low for 4 hours. Remove chicken to cutting board and dice in to cubes. Return chicken to crockpot and add canned veggies, tomatoes, and 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning.
  3. Cook for 2 more hours on LOW. A few minutes before serving, add shrimp (chopped to desired size or left whole) and canned red beans and rice.
  4. Stir together and serve hot with any sort of bread to sop up that goodness!

Notes

In case you are wondering, we are Texans, not Cajuns…therefore we let the people who know what to do, do it and we take full advantage of what comes our way!

http://arkansaswomenbloggers.com/keisha-mckinney/

Keisha Pittman McKinney Big Pitt Stop #ARWB Keisha (Pittman) McKinney is settling in to her new married life in South AR after she #becamemrsmckinney.  A Digital Media Director by day for a church in Northwest Arkansas, Keisha is remembering what its like to plan ahead for shopping trips to “the city,” getting resourceful at her small town Walmart and creating online shopping personas everywhere.  She blogs @bigpittstop about daily adventures, cooking escapades, #bigsisterchats and the social justice cases on her heart.

Follow Keisha:
Blog –bigpittstop: new journey, new normal, new you –  http://www.bigpittstop.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/bigpittstop
Twitter – https://twitter.com/bigpittstop
Instagram – http://instagram.com/bigpittstop#
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/bigpittstop/
Periscope – @bigpittstop

 

Jeanetta Darley: High Okra {Foodie Friday}

A bumper crop of okra

August in Arkansas and it’s hotter than hot.  The past two summers spoiled us with the frequent rains and cooler temperatures.  The lack of water and brutal sunshine can take its toll on farmer’s crops as well as a home garden.  But you can always count on okra to shine in the face of hot dry weather.

Unless you have spent much time down South, you may not be familiar with this green slender pod-like vegetable.  I am an okra lover.  Give it to me anyway I can get it.  Fry it. Pickle it. Slice it up and add it to curry, gumbo or stew.  Roast it on the grill.  My son and I recently took a bite of it raw just to see what it was like.  And it wasn’t bad at all! 

At the moment, I have bags of okra falling out of my refrigerator every time the door is opened.  I’d like to be pickling it but I haven’t found the time.  Right now I am simply washing and freezing the okra.  Because this okra will likely be coated and fried or added to another dish, I slice the pods into 1-2 inch lengths and freeze them in large gallon bags.  

So when you come across a great deal on okra at the farmers market or your own garden is producing a bumper crop remember these easy storage tips.  You can also try this great recipe that highlights some other great farmers market or from the garden finds.

Funny looking okra jeanetta

High Okra: Okra, Tomato and Purple Hull Peas
Serves 6
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Prep Time
32 min
Cook Time
2 hr 5 min
Prep Time
32 min
Cook Time
2 hr 5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/4 pound strip bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  2. 1 cup onion, diced
  3. 1 1/2 tablespoon garlic, chopped
  4. 3 cups fresh okra, cut into rounds
  5. 1 cayenne pepper, sliced
  6. 1 sweet banana pepper, sliced
  7. 2 cups cooked purple hull peas (recipe follows)
  8. 2 cups diced Roma or paste tomatoes
  9. Salt
  10. Pepper
Instructions
  1. In a large sauté pan, cook bacon until crispy. Remove bacon and set aside.
  2. Sauté onion and garlic in bacon drippings until soft.
  3. Add okra and peppers and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add purple hull peas and tomatoes and cook an additional 5 minutes.
  5. Season with salt, pepper and toss in reserved bacon.
Black-Eye Peas
  1. Add peas to a large sauce pan and cover with water.
  2. Add the onion, bacon, bay leaves, and black pepper. Over high heat, allow to come to boil then reduce to simmer and cook for about 45 minutes or until beans are firm but cooked.
  3. Season with salt.
  4. Let the peas stand in liquid for 15 minutes before draining.
Arkansas Women Bloggers http://arkansaswomenbloggers.com/
Headshot-Jeanetta Darley

 Getting to Know Your ARWB Foodies

Jeanetta Darley
So I Was Sayin’

What food reminds you of childhood?
Rice crispie treats

What is your favorite international cuisine?
I love it all; why pick?

What is always in your refrigerator at home?
Beer

What is your most used cookbook?
Better Homes & Gardens red checkered cookbook

What is your favorite kitchen gadget?
My canner.

Do you have a favorite food indulgence?  
 Not really because I don’t deny myself much. Everything in moderation.

What is your go-to ingredient that you use time and time again?
.Onions

What is your favorite food meal to cook at home?
Fried egg sandwich

What is a cooking tip that you would like to share with beginning cooks?
Just try it. If it flops throw it out or feed it the chickens and try again.

When you’re not cooking, what are your favorite pastimes?
Art

What else would you like us to know about you?
I’m honest. I usually only bite my food. I love Jesus but I drink a little.

Jeanetta is a crocheter & coffee addict, chicken keeper & goat wrangler, a farmer girl & maker of drunk jellies. You can find her online at So I Was Sayin’ or on twitterpinterest  & instagram . You can also follow her on Periscope (Jeanetta) and join with her for #Arkanscopes. Catch her session with Kellee Mayfield  (@DeltaMoxie) on Periscope at #AWBU.

Dishing It With Chef Matt McClure {Foodie Friday)

 By Debbie Arnold

matt mcclure

This year’s Foodie Friday preconference of #AWBU featured four outstanding speakers, including Chef Matthew McClure (@matthewrmcclure) of The Hive at 21CBentonville. He encouraged all of us  to eat seasonally and eat locally. Much of his menu at the restaurant is determined by the produce he procures from local vendors and farmers. We were treated to two of his favorites during his presentation which we devoured on the spot.  He graciously agreed to share his Roasted Chicken with Garam Masala Spice and OkraTouille recipes with us.

He brought along a little friend to help with the presentation.

penquin

We might have been tempted to lick the platter!

We are especially thankful to Taste Arkansas for sponsoring Foodie Friday and supporting ARWB. 

spoons2

 

How to cut up a chicken into 10 pieces.

Roasted Chicken with Garam Masala Spices
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For the spice
  1. 2 star anise
  2. 2 guajillo pepper
  3. 1 cinnamon stick
  4. 1 teaspoon mustard seed
  5. 1 teaspoon anise seed
  6. 1/2 teaspoon pink peppercorns
  7. 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  8. 1 teaspoon cumin
  9. 1 teaspoon coriander
  10. 1/2 teaspoon cloves
For the Chicken
  1. 1 whole chicken cut into 10 pieces
  2. 1/4 cup garam masala spice mix
  3. 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  4. 2 teaspoons sugar
Instructions
  1. Toast the spices and then grind into a fine powder.
  2. Massage the chicken with all spices, salt and sugar.
  3. Roast the chicekn in a 375 degree oven for 25-35 minutes until done.
  4. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes.
Arkansas Women Bloggers http://arkansaswomenbloggers.com/
 matt mclure chicken lindsey march

OkraTouille
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Ingredients
  1. 1 yellow onion, diced
  2. 1 pint chopped tomatoes
  3. 1 cup summer squash, diced
  4. 1 pint fresh okra, sliced 1/2-inch thick
  5. Aleppo pepper
  6. salt
  7. canola oil
Instructions
  1. Stew the onion with oil and salt until translucent.
  2. Add chopped tomato to onions and continue to stew until they are completely cooked through and tender.
  3. In a cast iron pan, begin to sear the squash and okra over medium-high heat in canola oil; do not overcook. Allow the squash to cook until it is golden-brown but not mushy.
  4. Repeat this process until all of the squash and okra are cooked and added to the stew.
  5. Once the stew is built, simmer over low heat for 20 minutes to allow the flavors to blend and to thoroughly cook the okra.
  6. Finish with a generous pinch of Aleppa pepper.
  7. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
Arkansas Women Bloggers http://arkansaswomenbloggers.com/

debbie headshotDebbie Arnold serves as a co-administrator for Arkansas Women Bloggers and pontificates and eats at Dining With Debbie.  She and her Hubby split their time between Central and Northwest Arkansas.  She loves to cook, develop recipes and have play dates with her two perfect grands.  Mostly, she has play dates with the Perfect Ones.  If you’re interested in writing for Foodie Friday, she’s the one to contact.

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