My Salt Free Blackening Spice

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Salt Free Blackening Spice

I use it at least 3 times a week. 

So many uses...
Fish, Chicken, Pork, Flavoring Vegetables. (think veggie tacos) 
Very versatile. 

  • 2 tbsp paprika 
  • 4 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp ancho chile powder (to taste)
  • 8 tsp ground cumin
  • 4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder

  • Mix all ingredients together and store in a cool, dry place. 
  • This mix will stay fresh for three months if sealed well.


Shrimp and Grits Recipe

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Shrimp And Grits Recipe - Donna Style

Oh. My. Gawd. 

One of my favorite recipes and happy to share with all of you. 

First, the grits. 

Savory Grits. 

  • 1 1/2 cups Water
  • 2 cups Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 cup Half and Half
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup stone-ground grits
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Bring water, and broth to a boil. 
Add salt and pepper. 
Whisk grits slowly into the water/broth mixture to prevent clumping.
Stir in the half and half.
Lower heat to medium. 
I stir frequently but that's just me.
Cook until water is absorbed, about 20 to 25 minutes. 
(or use instant and simplify it. Cooking time will be 5 minutes)
Remove from heat and stir in butter and cheese. 

Now for the delicious, mouth watering shrimp. 

Oh, I forgot I use bacon
Delicious Bacon. 
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
I take the tails off because I don't want to be slowed down getting to this dish.
  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1/4 Vidalia onions if you have them (if you don't a regular onion will do) 
  • 1 tbsp Donna's salt free blackening spice or to taste
  • Dashes of hot sauce (Only Crystal is acceptable to me)
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 cup thinly sliced scallions (if you have them)
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced

Fry the bacon in a large skillet until browned;drain the bacon.
Save the bacon fat in the pan. (Yes, I'm southern)
Add the onions to the bacon fat and cook until translucent.
Into the bacon fat and onion that is translucent, add shrimp. 

Add shrimp into bacon fat and onion mix. 
Sprinkle the shrimp with blackening spices.
I'm not a huge fan of pre-mixed cajun spice mixes. 
Too much sodium. 
I have Donna's salt free blackening spice recipe I've shared in another post. 

Cook until shrimp turn pink. (this goes fast, don't overcook or you'll have rubbery shrimp)
Add lemon juice, chopped bacon, scallions and garlic. 
Saute for 3 minutes. 

Spoon over those delicious cheese grits and grab a big spoon!


Mushroom and Goat Cheese Pasta Recipe

Pin It Now! I admit it, I love pasta.
So anytime I find a pasta recipe that is thrown together in less than 30 minutes AND includes mushrooms, sundried tomato's and goat cheese...
I'm on it!

This has become a staple in this household for the last 2 years.
Can't imagine a week going by without this combo.

One of my favorite ways to tweak this recipe is to add 3 oz jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped in with the mushroom stage. Yummmm!

Mushroom and Goat Cheese Pasta

8 ounces of dry pasta (I use Dreamfields)
Cook to al dente, drain and set aside

1 tsp olive oil 
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp dried chili flakes (or to taste)
4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup half and half

Heat the oil in a large pan.
Place the mushrooms in the pan until cook until soft.
Add the chili flakes. 

Add the chicken broth and half and half. 
Let it cook down just a bit. 
Usually around 3 to 5 minutes. 
Time to add the drained pasta. 

Now, Add crumbled goat cheese and stir, stir, stir. 

Creamy Goodness!
This dish is delicious with fresh 'parm' cheese grated on top. 


DIY Homemade Yogurt Recipe

Pin It Now! We eat so much greek yogurt in this household, I decided to try my hand at making my own. 
And what could be easier than using my handy dandy crock pot!
Set it and forget... almost. 
There's a few stages but nothing you have to babysit. 

You'll need your instant read thermometer and cheesecloth. 

Homemade  Crock Pot Yogurt Recipe

  • 1 gallon milk (I used full fat milk)
  • 1 cup yogurt unflavored or flavored (I use Cabot unflavored)
Pour the milk into the slow cooker and set it to HIGH.
Bring the milk to 180 degrees. 
Your instant read thermometer comes in handy at this step. 
This normally takes 2 hours. 

Turn off the crock pot (slow cooker) and let the milk cool down to 110 degrees. 
Use the instant read thermometer, again. 
This step normally takes about 2 hours. 

Mix a little of the warm milk into the room temperature starter yogurt. 
Gently stir into the crock pot milk mixture using an up and down, left and right motion.

Wrap a large bath towel/sheet around the crock pot and let it sit undisturbed
in a draft free, room temperature (or warmer) area for 10-12 hours or overnight. 

When you remove the lid you'll find that the milk has thickened and the whey has separated.

Line a colander with cheesecloth. 
Pour the yogurt into the colander. 

Place the colander over a bowl.
Don't worry if it all doesn't fit, let the yogurt strain until there's room enough to add the remaining yogurt, then continue to strain. 

I strain at room temperature, but some recipes state to put it in the fridge. It's up to you. 

Depending on how thick you want your yogurt, this can take several hours. Greek yogurt can take at least 4 hours. 

Once strained, you can either throw out the whey or save the whey (the clear liquid which is protein).

Your now ready to place the yogurt covered in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

I ended up with roughly 8 cups of Greek Yogurt. 

I sprinkle with granola, fruit and a drizzle of honey. 

And since my yogurt is unflavored I can use it as a substitute for sour cream, too!


My Son The Chef: Seared Sea Bass atop a Roasted Peppe...

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So Proud of My Son The Chef: 
Seared Sea Bass atop a Roasted Pepper Souffle 
White Wine Cream Pan Sauce and Grilled Asparagus

Chef Josh Lawley
Le Cordon Bleu Graduate