Sunday, January 10, 2010

Recipe #5: Sweet Potato Fries, & #6: Blackened Cajun Catfish, & #7: Dirty Rice

Wow, what a day. Today I tried three new recipes- gotta love Sundays!

My latest obsession is sweet potatoes, which is good because of all the health benefits. According to Wiki, sweet potatoes are rich in complex carbs, fiber, beta carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. And they're so good, nearly a candy with a good cinnamon or brown sugar seasoning. Today I made sweet potato fries using a recipe from my Sandra Lee cookbook.


2 large sweet potatoes (peeled, or leave the skins on for more nutrients)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice mix (McCormick)
1 tablespoon chili seasoning, or chili powder


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.

Cut potatoes in half lengthwise, then cut into 1/2-inch thick fries. In a large bowl, combine sweet potatoes, oil, and spices. Toss until potatoes are thoroughly coated. Spread in a single layer on the baking sheet.

Bake fries for 30-35 minutes, turning once to evenly cook.

The result, with the reubens I made to go with them:


One main ingredient that I always hesitate to work with is flaky fish, because I worry that I'm going to ruin it because it's so delicate. I decided that practice makes perfect though, so it was time to try fish again, especially because of the health benefits. I picked out a recipe from my Sandra Lee cookbook for Blackened Cajun Catfish, and its side Dirty Rice. The result was absolutely amazing and already one of my new favorite meals.

Blackened Cajun Catfish


1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, smashed
2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon poultry/chicken seasoning
1 pound catfish fillets (this is about 4 fillets)
1/2 cup white wine
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or Real Lemon
1 teaspoon (or more...) of butter


In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-low heat. Add garlic cloves and cook until golden brown. Remove; discard garlic cloves. Remove skillet from heat. In a small bowl, combine Cajun and poultry seasonings; set aside. Rinse fish and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle both sides of fish with seasoning mix. (Note: I rubbed the seasoning onto both sides of the fish by hand to make sure they were well coated.)

Return skillet to medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add fish, presentation side (the side against the bone) down. Cook fish for 5 minutes per side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Transfer fish to a plate.

Deglaze pan with white wine and lemon juice. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Swirl butter into sauce. Pour over fish. Serve fish over the dirty rice.

Definition: Deglazing: using a liquid to remove cooked-on residue from a pan

Dirty Rice


1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup finely diced onion (or more to taste)
1/4 cup finely diced celery
1/2 green pepper finely diced
2 1/3 cups chicken broth (OR 1 3/4 cups for quick cook rice!!)
3/4 teaspoon poultry/chicken seasoning
1 box (6oz) long grain and wild rice mix, Uncle Bens


In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and pepper to hot oil. Cook until vegetables are soft but not brown.

Add broth (2 1/3c for regular cook, 13/4c for quick cook) and poultry seasoning; bring to boil. Add rice and seasoning packet. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 25 minutes (or remove from heat for 5-10 minutes if quick cook). Fluff with fork and serve.

(Note: I bought the quick cook rice without thinking and had to adapt, which led to slightly soupy but still amazing- and strainable- rice.)

The result:

Wow, I can't say enough about this dish. It's moist and full of flavor. I enjoyed the challenge... not that it was THAT hard.

This cookbook by Sandra Lee is really getting a workout. If you're interested, it's Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Fast-Fix Family Favorites.

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