Sunday, July 21, 2013


This is a family standby at our house, though I realized when I was making it this weekend that I don't think I had made it since moving in to our house, which was over 2 years ago! Man, time flies when you're having fun! There are tons of different versions of Paella - it is a traditional Valencian dish, which is located in Spain. It is comprised of seafood, rice, green vegetables, and spices (and apparently beans, according to Wikipedia), the main seasonings being curry, saffron, and some type of spicy sausage. I'll be honest, I've never made it with saffron, just because I don't have any on hand! This recipe is the one passed down to us from the hubby's parents, and to them by his grandma, which is kind of cool. We've adapted it from there, but in the spirit of keeping the family recipe alive, I will post it as written and share my changes below.


12 small fresh clams, 12 medium size shrimp in shells, mussels, squid, octopus, scallops, or any other shell fish
8 oz chorizo or pepperoni, sliced
2 Tbs. cooking oil
Chicken pieces (8 portions)
30 oz. chicken broth (about 4 cups)
1 medium sized onion, cut into wedges
1 sweet red or green pepper, cut into strips
1 tsp minced garlic
2 cups white rice, uncooked
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp saffron (if you have it)
2 tsp curry powder
5 oz. package of frozen green peas


  1. Clean and shell shrimp
  2. Cook sliced chorizo, pepperoni or sausage in skillet for 10 minutes, drain fat, and set aside to cool. 
  3. Heat oil in skillet and brown the chicken pieces for about 15 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove chicken and set aside.
  4. In a sauce pan, heat chicken broth to a boil. Meanwhile, brown onion, pepper, and garlic in the oil remaining in the skillet used for the chicken. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees, and set the bottom shelf to the lowest setting.
  5. Add rice and seasonings to the boiling broth. Bring to a boil over high heat and then remove from heat. 
  6. Pour rice into Paella or Pyrex pan (use at least a 9 x 13)
  7. Arrange chicken, sausage, and shrimp/shell fish on top of the rice. Scatter peas over it all. Set pan on the bottom shelf of the oven and bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes, or until rice is done. NEVER STIR!
  8. When done, remove and cover with a kitchen towel for ~5 minutes, then serve. from the get-go, I hate peppers. Of any sort. So I don't put those in, ever. For seafood, I use 1 pound of the pre-cooked shrimp and no other shellfish - I've used any size from salad shrimp to jumbo shrimp, whatever your preference is should work. For sausage I use pepperoni cut into chunks (not sliced) and increase the amount from 8 oz to 16 oz. And for the peas, I usually use around 8-10 ounces, because I like peas. And it helps break the spiciness of the dish a little bit. I usually use chicken tenders for my chicken and cook however many will fit on the top of the 9 x 13 pan (usually 6-8). Instead of draining the pepperoni after cooking and using separate cooking oil, I brown the chicken in the skillet I used to cook the pepperoni. It gets an awesome flavor from the leftover pepperoni oil, and browns pretty well. 
As for changes in the cooking process, we have found that the rice is NEVER done in the 30 minutes allotted to it in the oven. Usually it takes 45-60 minutes if followed as directed. So to combat this, we combine everything except for the shrimp, peas, and chicken in the chicken broth and boil it for ~10 minutes. Then stir the shrimp and peas into the pot and immediately put into your Pyrex pan. Place the chicken pieces on top and cook for the specified 25-30 minutes. We have found that this keeps the peas from getting mushy and the shrimp from getting overcooked and chewy. This is a hearty dish, which just the right amount of spice to keep it interesting without being too spicy for me! 
I would love to hear if you have made paella before, or what changes you would make! 

Listening to The Piano Guys currently, and getting ready to watch Perception's first episode of season 2. Happy Sunday night to me. :) 

Loaded Pretzel Cookies

Branching out from my usual Allrecipes, this fantastic find was in one of this past year's Taste of Home! Super yummy, and while it has coconut, you can't really taste it...I had a coconut-hater eat them today and LOVED them. :D Win! I recommend not measuring the chocolate can't have too many.

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 packed cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups mini pretzels, crushed
1 1/2 cup coconut
1 1/2 cup M&M's


1) Preheat oven to 350. Cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla.

2) In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together. Then slowly beat in to the wet mixture until mixed.

3) Add rest of ingredients and stir until mixed. Using about 1/4 cup per cookie, roll into a ball and put on an un-greased cookie sheet, about 3 inches apart. Bake for 12-14 minutes.

Loaded-Up Pretzel Cookies Recipe

As typical with baking, the only thing I changed was to add more M&M's...minus the ones that I had previously eaten out of the bag, I think it only added another 1/8th cup. ;) I used a cookie scooper, which I think made it a little less than 1/4 cup per cookie, and I got 36 cookies out of the dough, as opposed to the 24 that they told me I would get. These seemed to be a big hit with kids and adults - the salty/sweet mixture was a nice change from regular chocolate cookies without getting TOO far away from tradition. You really can't taste the coconut much - you could probably leave it out, but I think it adds a bit of moistness, and also some bulk. All in all, a keeper for this household!