Delicious Jambalaya with Chicken Sausage and Shrimp

By Jodee Weiland

When I first starting making jambalaya years ago, I used a recipe from a cookbook called Celebrate Chicago: A Taste of Our Town and  put together by the Junior League of Chicago (1996 edition). Since then I have adapted the recipe for jambalaya in this cookbook, especially after visiting New Orleans several times over the years. I wanted a healthier version of the original jambalaya, so I made some changes like using Italian chicken sausage instead of Italian sausage. With a few other changes, my version of the original recipe evolved, and my Delicious Jambalaya with Italian Chicken Sausage and Shrimp became one of our favorite dishes!

http://learnfromyesterday.comThere were more healthy choices made over time with this recipe. One change I made to this recipe was using extra-virgin olive oil instead of vegetable oil. I, also, chose to use two orange and red bell peppers instead of one green bell pepper. I added  twenty-eight ounces of crushed tomatoes instead of sixteen ounces of tomato sauce. My crushed tomatoes or puree are all tomato with no salt added. In addition to this, I use sea salt very lightly in this recipe rather than regular salt. With all the rich flavor, not much is needed really. In the end, jambalaya usually has the rice mixed in, but I serve the jambalaya over the rice, so you can decide how much rice you want. The basics of the original recipe are all there, but just slightly altered for a healthier jambalaya, and it’s delicious!

http://learnfromyesterday.comDelicious Jambalaya with Chicken Sausage and Shrimp (adapted from Celebrate Chicago: A Taste of Our Town, Edition 1996)

  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 sweet bell peppers, one red and one yellow
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes unsalted
  • 1 (16 ounce) can diced tomatoes unsalted
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne or more to taste
  • 1 pound Italian chicken sausage cut up into bite size pieces
  • 2 pounds shrimp, peeled
  • 4 to 5 cups rice, cooked



Sauté the onions, celery, bell peppers, and garlic in the olive oil until tender. When ready, add the diced tomatoes with juice (not drained), crushed tomatoes, sea salt, ground black pepper, and cayenne to this. Cover and simmer for about one hour.


Since the chicken sausage is usually cooked, there is no need to brown it. Just cut the sausage up into bite size pieces and peel your shrimp. After one hour of simmering, add the sausage into the hot mixture and stir it. Once the sausage is heated for about ten to fifteen minutes, add the shrimp and continue to heat until the shrimp warmed. Serve over rice or stir the rice into the mixture, if you prefer.

http://learnfromyesterday.comMy adapted version of Delicious Jambalaya with Chicken Sausage and Shrimp is so good, it has become a family favorite! We love to serve it over the rice, instead of mixing the rice into the mixture, but you can do it either way. Whichever way you choose to do it, you are going to love it. Serve it with a nice glass of red wine and savor all the rich flavors blended together. This dish is absolutely wonderful, so enjoy!

http://learnfromyesterday.comJunior League of Chicago. Celebrate Chicago: A Taste of Our Town. Chicago: the Junior League of Chicago, Inc., 1996. Print.


What’s for Dinner?

By Jodee Weiland

“What’s for dinner?” is a common refrain in many households. With that particular question, “What’s for dinner?” is usually directed to the person who cooks for the household. That same person either has no idea until they check what they have on hand and what they may need to get, or they know for sure what they’ll be cooking on that particular day. Either way, if you’re the person who does the cooking, you will always have those special recipes you turned to when asked, “What’s for Dinner?” on any given day!

There are so many meals for me to choose from, but here are just a few of mine:

http://learnfromyesterday.comFresh Homemade Margherita Pizza

Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Homemade Barbecue Sauce from Mom

Delicious Sirloin Meatballs with Jalapenos or Not

Salmon with Sweet Bourbon Glaze

Italian Basil Pesto…a Classic Italian Meal

Aunt Rose’s Eye of Round Roast Italian Style

Rolled Italian Meatloaf…With Spinach, Mozzarella, and Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce

Fabulous Shrimp Creole with Rice

Seared Sea Scallops with Parmesan Prosciutto Risotto

Deciding “What’s for Dinner?” is not always easy, and sometimes it takes a little creativity to make a dish that’s both delicious and healthy for your family. But the above list may help you come up with just the right dinner for your family and if not, take a look at some of the other recipes I have on the site. There are so many wonderful dishes you can make for dinner, but first you need to find the one that’s right for your family, so take a look! Once you decide, enjoy!

Salmon with Sweet Bourbon Glaze

By Jodee Weiland

I love salmon, and when it’s served with a sweet bourbon glaze, I love it even more. Although I have eaten salmon with a sweet bourbon glaze at restaurants many times, I decided it was time to do this recipe at home. I researched sweet bourbon glaze and discovered that there are so many different ways to do this. From what I learned, I just chose what I liked best from many of them, adjusted the amounts and ingredients to my preferences, and the result was awesome. My Salmon with Sweet Bourbon Glaze is the perfect blend of some of my favorite ingredients, and it is delicious! Of course, most of the recipes use bourbon, but the amounts varied anywhere from one tablespoon to one cup. I chose somewhere short of the middle for this ingredient, and it was the perfect choice for my taste. Some had butter, and some did not. I chose to leave the butter out. Most have brown sugar in varying amounts, and I chose middle ground here, or what I thought was just enough, but not too much. Many had garlic, and I have never said no to garlic, so I included garlic as well. Now the rest of the ingredients varied quite a bit, so I decided to use what I thought would make this sweet but tangy. I chose apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and molasses. Molasses adds just that right taste of what I call “Southern” for me. The end result was bold and delicious beyond my expectations!

http://learnfromyesterday.comSalmon with Sweet Bourbon Glaze

  • 2 – six ounce pieces of fresh salmon
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup bourbon (a better quality bourbon makes for a better glaze)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 fresh garlic clove minced
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon molasses


Blend together the bourbon, brown sugar, garlic, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and molasses in a sauce pan and bring it to boil, while stirring. Reduce the heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes or until it reduce to about half and thickens slightly. It will thicken more as it sits at room temperature on the side cooling off to room temperature.


Then season to taste the salmon pieces with the sea salt and black pepper. Don’t over do the sea salt. Place the pieces on a pan to broil or grill. If broiling, broil the salmon three to four inches below the heating coil for 6 to 9 minutes depending on thickness, and until there is a slight crispiness on the top, but make sure the salmon is not overdone. If more than 3/4 inch thick, it may take longer. Watch carefully, and just before the last minute you can brush some of your sweet bourbon glaze lightly on the top of the salmon.

http://learnfromyesterday.comWhen done, remove the salmon from the oven and baste some more with the sweet bourbon glaze. If grilling, cook according to the directions for your grill, adding glaze lightly in the last minute and then again adding more glaze when the salmon is ready to be served. Any leftover glaze can be refrigerated for about a week or a little longer. When ready to use, bring it to room temperature and use it on fish or even chicken.

http://learnfromyesterday.comMy Salmon with Sweet Bourbon Glaze is absolutely delicious and has a bold flavor you will love. Salmon is so healthy for you, even adding a glaze will not take away from the benefits. Serve with a fresh vegetable, and a glass of white wine. We chose a Riesling and it paired well with the salmon. However, you choose to have this great dish, you are going to love it, so enjoy!

Fabulous Shrimp Creole with Rice

By Jodee Weiland

An old favorite here in our home is Shrimp Creole. Shrimp Creole is a dish that I first made long before I ever had children years ago. The rich flavors of Shrimp Creole have always made it a favorite of mine. Those flavors are a blend of flavors from several countries, who all found themselves in the port of New Orleans. Some of those countries were Italy, Spain, and Portugal. The savory flavors of these countries and others long ago created the delicious food selections found in New Orleans, as well as whole new languages they used to communicate among themselves, pidgins and creoles. It was when I was studying these languages in a linguistics class during a master’s program, that I fell in love with New Orleans from a distance, and later when I visited, I was in love forever. All of this gave new meaning to my Fabulous Shrimp Creole with Rice.

Fabulous Shrimp Creole with Rice is a wonderful dish, which starts out with what some call the trinity: onions, celery, and garlic. Sauteed in olive oil, these three ingredients are only the beginning of this delicious dish. Add in the tomatoes, various seasonings, shrimp, and green peppers, you will create a dish do full of rich flavor, it will soon become a family favorite. It is definitely a family favorite for us, and we enjoyed it every time we have it.

Fabulous Shrimp Creole with Rice

  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 3/4 cup celery chopped
  • 2 fresh garlic cloves minced
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 – 15 ounce can organic diced tomatoes
  • 1 – 15 ounce can all natural crushed tomatoes or tomato puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon or to taste sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 shakes bottled hot sauce or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch plus one tablespoon water
  • 1 pound large shrimp deveined with shell and tail removed
  • 1 medium sweet pepper chopped
  • cooked rice for each serving

Cook the onion, celery, and garlic in heated olive oil. Cook over a low to medium heat until tender. Do not brown. Add tomatoes, salt, sugar, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce. Blend this mixture together and simmer uncovered on low heat for about 30 minutes.

http://learnfromyesterday.comOnce done, add the cornstarch plus one tablespoon water to the mixture. Stir together and then add the shrimp and green peppers. Bring to a low boil, cover, and simmer for five to ten minutes longer until cooked. Serve with rice.

My Fabulous Shrimp Creole with Rice is so delicious and will soon become a family favorite in your home. Serve this dish with a red wine and a crusty bread. The flavor is so wonderfully rich and will leave you pleasantly satisfied. Eating this Fabulous Shrimp Creole with Rice for dinner is like bringing a little bet of New Orleans into your home. Take your time and savor the flavors, and enjoy!


Tilapia with Spicy Fresh Balsamic Tomato Salsa

By Jodee Weiland

When baking tilapia, your options for adding flavor are unlimited. One way to add flavor is to cook the tilapia with a sauce or seasonings. Another option is to add a sauce or salsa of some sort when serving the cooked tilapia by spooning it over the fish. Either way, changing the taste is limited only by your own imagination. With a garden of fresh tomatoes, green onions, peppers, and more, I decided to serve my baked Tilapia with Spicy Fresh Balsamic Tomato Salsa.

My fresh tomatoes consist of a variety of different types. For this dish, I chose Roma tomatoes and yellow cherry tomatoes. I decided to add some green onions for flavor along with a small Dragon Cayenne pepper to add a little more flavor and kick. Of course, if you don’t like spicy, then you can always make the recipe for the fresh balsamic tomato salsa without the pepper. Either way, it’s a delicious salsa full of flavor and will take your baked tilapia over the top in taste!

http://learnfromyesterday.comTilapia with Spicy Fresh Balsamic Tomato Salsa 

3 to 4 tilapia fillets
5 to 6 Roma tomatoes diced
4 to 5 yellow cherry tomatoes halved
2 green onions sliced
1 small Dragon Cayenne pepper (optional)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (plus some to mist baking dish and fillets)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Use olive oil spray on rectangular baking dish. Rinse fillets, but if they are frozen, it is not necessary to thaw them. Then arrange fillets in the baking dish. Spray a light mist of olive oil on top of each filet. Place baking dish in oven and cook for 15 to 17 minutes. While the fish is baking or before, prepare and mix together the tomatoes, green onions, pepper, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Season it with sea salt and black pepper to taste. When the fillets are done baking, put each fillet on a serving dish and then spoon the tomato salsa generously over the top.

My Tilapia with Spicy Fresh Balsamic Tomato Salsa is not only delicious, but healthy as well. Full of robust fresh flavors and a great taste, your family will love it. Serve it with a side vegetable and a light white wine to complement the meal. This is an easy and quick meal to prepare, but it will taste wonderful and will satisfy you without being a heavy meal. Give it a try, and enjoy!