Welcome to my blog, I'm Ricki! I always wanted to share my love for fashion and beauty and a few other things so I finally took the leap and did it! I am almost 40, a wife, mother of 4 and work in progress! I hope to show you with all that life brings your way, you can still be stylish and beautiful! No matter your age, shape, size, budget or imitations I hope to show you that you can always be the best version of you!
It’s the holiday season and in the south that means we make gumbo! Now I am not here to debate what is right or wrong when making gumbo. I know there are some gumbo snobs but I truly believe that how you make your gumbo is a personal preference. It’s however you & the people you love like it! My mother made gumbo routinely growing up but it was not considered authentic because it was not made of a roux even though we still loved it. Roux’s can be intimidating AF!!! Ask me how I know! A roux is when you mix an oil or butter with flour over heat until a certain color and consistency is achieved. A roux can be as light as peanut butter or as dark as chocolate! The tricky part is getting it to the color you desire and NOT burning it! This takes time and patience which I don’t always have. After burning my roux several times I almost gave up making a more authentic gumbo until I discovered you can purchase a already pre made roux or mix in your local grocery store!!! And even though now I can successfully make a roux it is not something I need to know how or want to take the time to do. There are many rouxs in the store to choose from. The ones I have tried it the Tony Cachere’s mix (this is the first one I tried and use often) and a pre made one in a jar made by Kary’s. I prefer the Tony’s because I like that I am actually cooking it but sometimes it’s not the easiest to find so I will use the Kary’s in a pinch. So now that we have discussed how I cheat when making gumbo, let’s make some!
2-3 pounds of chicken (I prefer a mix of boneless skinless chicken breasts and thighs with drumsticks. This allows me to have the flavor that dark meat brings without too much fat, but you can use whatever you prefer. Even a whole chicken will work)
2-3 cups of onions, green bell peppers and celery chopped (this is referred to as the holy trinity of Cajun/creole cooking. I use more onions and bell peppers than celery because that’s what my family prefers. You also can use a shortcut and purchase Mirepoix mix which can be found in your frozen vegetables section of the freezer)
1-2 containers of Tony’s Roux mix (depending on how much gumbo you’re making)
1-2 sticks of butter
1-2 pks of frozen okra
1-2 lbs of sausage sliced (the traditional sausage is Andouille, I used Zummos)
10-12 cups of water (you can use a combo of chicken broth but watch for the salt!)
3-4 pounds of peeled, deveined shrimp
3-4 pounds of crab (we used snow crab because that’s our preference but the traditional crab to use is blue crab. You can also just add crab meat)
Various seasoning- I used Tony’s seasoning salt, 2 chicken bouillon cubes, onion and garlic powder, old bay, & gumbo file’)
1 tbsp of oil (your choice)
I start my gumbo by heating my pot on medium high heat, adding the tablespoon of oil and the sausage. Again I’m trying to avoid having to skim fat off the top of my gumbo so that is why I use this method plus in my opinion it adds flavor. Once my sausage is cooked I remove to a paper towel and then drain all but about a teaspoon of fat. Turn stove to medium heat and then add your stick of butter and then your veggies. Cook veggies til softened. While veggies are cooking prepare Roux mix according to directions. I prepare mine in a separate bowl and then add to my veggies. This allows it to cook with my veggies for more flavor. You will need to make sure you cook your roux for about 5 minutes or so until no longer lumpy. I also taste mine to make sure there is no flour taste. It won’t taste like much but it should NOT taste like raw flour! Also make sure you DO NOT leave the pot while doing this! At this point you can add more roux depending on how thick you like your gumbo to end up. Once your roux and veggies have cooked enough add your water, chicken, sausage and seasonings (except gumbo file’) and bring to a boil on medium high heat. You will need to check back to stir occasionally so nothing is burnt at the bottom of your pot. Once boiling turn stove to medium heat and cook for about an hour or until chicken is tender. You can remove the chicken and bones and skin and shred and add back in. I usually shred it in the pot and remove any bones but most of the time the chicken will start falling apart on it’s own. Add your frozen okra and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes. At this point you can taste for any more seasoning and add if needed. You now have prepared chicken and sausage gumbo! But we love to add seafood! I add my crab and cook for 10-15 more minutes and then my shrimp for another 10 minutes. Once the shrimp are pink you are through and you have made an easy and delicious gumbo!
I serve my gumbo over rice with semi-homemade garlic bread. I shared a quick video on how I make Cheater gumbo and the garlic bread on Instagram so make sure you are following me @severalpeoplesmama and make sure you tag me if you try this. I also want to thank everyone that has followed me, reposted or shared my content & recipes and tried them! It is my hope that I have made feeding you and/or your family easier! I also pray that everyone is healthy and safe leading into this new year and you are blessed with your heart’s desires! Please look out for so much MORE coming from me in 2021! Happy New Year!!!
Hi y’all! Tomorrow December 13th, 2020 I will be hosting another free cooking class on Instagram Live and we will be making another easy delicious meal! I will go live at 2:30 pm CST and below if the recipes for what we’ll be making! Hope to see y’all there for some fun!!!
Ingredients for Steak Bites:
2-3 boneless steaks (I prefer Ribeye) – cut into 1 to 1 ½ inch cubes 2-3 tablespoons of butter 2 tablespoons of olive oil 1 onion sliced into half moons 1 ½ cups of sliced mushrooms Steak Marinade – Use any from your local grocery store, however if you use A-1 steak sauce use sparingly as it can be salty Seasonings – You can use any steak seasonings you prefer, I used Tony’s Creole Seasoning, garlic and onion powder, garlic and herb seasoning and Montreal Steak seasoning
Ingredients for mashed potatoes
4-5 Russet Potatoes 1 block of cream cheese at room temperature Garlic powder, Salt, Dry ranch dressing mix, Pepper ½ cup of grated Parmesan cheese 1 stick of butter ½ cup of heavy whipping cream (can also use half & half or milk)
For Steak Bites: Take cubed steak and season with preferred seasonings and add steak marinade to a gallon zip loc bag. Refrigerate at least one hour. Set out on counter at least one hour prior to cooking. Heat olive oil and butter in skillet or pan with non-stick coating on medium heat. Once pan is hot add onions and mushrooms and sauté until semi soft and remove from pan. Turn heat to medium high and add steak. Sear steak bites on both sides and then turn heat back to medium low and add back onions and mushrooms. Let simmer in pan for about 5 more minutes and then turn off pan but do not remove from burner.
For Garlic Mashed Potatoes (Instant Pot): Add potatoes to the instant pot and fill with enough water to cover. Set on manual for 12 minutes and don’t forget to set vent to sealing. Once done perform quick release (set vent to venting to release steam). Open instant pot and drain water from potatoes. Can place back in Instant Pot (make sure it is turned off or it will keep cooking! Ask me how I know!) and then add cream cheese, butter, seasonings and mash. Add grated parmesan cheese and mix well. Add heavy whipping cream gradually depending on how thick and creamy you desire.
We woke up to frost and weather in the 40s and 30s here in Texas and I knew it was the perfect time for oatmeal! But I didn’t want the instant kind & I also didn’t want to stand over the stove so I whipped some up using my Instant pot! Dang I love that thing! Let’s make oatmeal!
2 cups of old fashioned rolled oats
3 1/2 cups of water
A pinch of salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup of brown sugar
Add ins (after cooking) butter, milk or half and half, heavy whipping cream, coffee creamer (trust me it’s good!), fruit, nuts, Er cups
Add oats, water, salt and brown sugar to your pressure cooker and stir. Place lid on and make sure it is on sealing and set on porridge function for 6 minutes. Let it naturally release for about 15-20 minutes and then release rest of pressure and your oatmeal is ready! Add to bowl with your add ins.
This oatmeal was delicious and perfectly cooked. We loved it with the apples and pecans. Next time I’ll add bananas but the possibilities are endless! This is the perfect way to cook a larger portion of you’re cooking for a family and start their morning off with something warm and delicious! As always if you make this be sure to tag me on Instagram @severalpeoplesmama
Birria Tacos on Taco Tuesday! I think I timed this post perfectly. Except it’s the week of Thanksgiving. And while I do want you to make these tacos (like for real, they slap as those several people say) they are work and I wouldn’t suggest you make them this week. But definitely next week! So let’s make Birria Tacos!!!
1 medium size beef Chuck roast and 2 beef shanks. Make sure you at least get the beef shanks with the bone. That helps with flavor. This was about 3 lbs of meat total.
6-8 dried chilies (I used Ancho and Guajillo, I couldn’t find Pasillo but I would use that as well.
1-2 Chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
1 clove crushed
3 tbsp of Mexican Oregano
3-4 bay leaves
1 pinch of ground cinnamon
1-2 tsp of onion and garlic powder
2 tsp of seasoning salt (I used Tony’s)
2 tsp of all purpose seasoning
1-2 tsp of black pepper
3-4 tbsp of beef bouillon (powder form)
2-3 cups of beef broth
1-2 cups of water
1 large carrot, cleaned and chopped in quarters
1 block of mozzarella cheese, shredded (don’t use the pre shredded stuff)
2 medium size white onions chopped
6-7 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch of cilantro chopped
1-2 limes cut in wedges (optional)
1-2 tbsp of vegetable or olive oil
Start by seasoning your roast and beef shanks with seasoning salt, garlic and onion powder, beef bouillon & all purpose seasoning. Set aside. Next cut open your chilies and remove seeds and stems. Place in a pot with enough water to cover and boil. After boiling for about 5 mins, turn off heat and let chilies steep in water for about 20 mins. While chilies are steeping set your pressure cooker on the sauté function. Add oil and sear your beef. Make sure to wear one at a time, you want brown not for the meat to steam. After searing turn off and return all the meat to the pressure cooker.
Remove chilies from water and add to a blender. Add 1-2 Chipotle chilies and 1 cup of water. Blend until it forms a paste/liquid. Strain over meat in pressure cooker with a mesh strainer so none of the skins that may have not blended well get added. To pressure cooker also add minced garlic, 1 onion chopped, more beef bouillon (I used about a tablespoon), carrots, oregano, pepper, bay leaves, clove, cinnamon, beef broth and enough water to cover the meat. Set pressure cooker on high pressure for 35 minutes. Once done let it naturally release which will take about another hour. Once all pressure has released, open the lid and you should have tender meat. Remove meat and shred in a boil. Taste your beef and broth and add additional seasoning if necessary. Skim fat from broth and add to a separate bowl.
To make the tacos dip the corn tortilla in the skimmed fat and add to a skillet on medium heat. Fry the tortilla for about 1-2 mins in the pan. Then add meat, cheese, onions and cilantro to one side of the tortilla and fold over. Once cheese is melted, flip taco and add more skimmed fat, these should be wet tacos. Add to a plate and then repeat with other tortillas. You can add more onions and cilantro if you like. Pour broth in a bowl and add onions and cilantro. Dip taco in broth and enjoy!
Because there were so many steps I made a video to accompany this post on Instagram. Make sure you are following me @severalpeoplesmama to watch the video on IGTV! If you make this please tag me, I love to see how you make it!
I’ve been trying to make this soup for weeks and I’m so glad I finally did! Instapot Bacon Cheeseburger Soup is easy, doesn’t require a lot of work (use real bacon bits instead of cooking some and save yourself even more work) and was delicious and filling. Perfect for a cold fall or winter day. Let’s cook!
1 1/2 pounds of ground beef
1/2 cup of chopped onions (I buy frozen from Kroger)
1/2 to 1 cup half and half
6 slices of uncooked bacon chopped (or use bacon bits)
Seasonings (you will season to taste)
Velveeta (I used a 1/4 of a 16 oz block)
1 cup Colby Jack cheese shredded
2 cups chicken broth or beef broth
1-2 cups of water
1 package of frozen southern style hash browns (cubes, or you can use the potatoes ‘o brien)
Your favorite cheeseburger toppings such as tomatoes and pickles
Set instapot on the sauté function and spray or oil pot. Add uncooked bacon and fry til crispy. Remove bacon and bacon fat. Add grown beef and cook til almost brown. Add onions to cook with beef until completely brown. Drain fat and add seasonings. Don’t overseason as you can add more later to taste. Turn off sauté function. Add velveeta cheese, bacon (reserve a little to top your soup later) frozen hash browns and then add broth and water (if needed) making sure it’s enough to cover the ingredients. Place lid on the Instapot and set on high pressure for 10 minutes. Make sure valve is set to seal. Once done go ahead and turn valve to vent for a quick release. Once pressure is released remove lid and mash potatoes. Add more cheese and then half and half. Stir and taste to see if more seasoning is needed. Serve with cheeseburger toppings.
I made a short reel on Instagram to show exactly how I made this soup so make sure you are following me @severalpeoplesmama to watch! Also tag me there if you decide to make this recipe! I definitely think you should!