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Guest: Jambalaya, Fruit Salad and Mini-Cheesecakes

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“Until you make peace with who you are,
you’ll never be content
with what you have.”
Doris Mortman

sue photo 12

I am so thrilled and honored to introduce you all to our next Guest, the wonderful Sue,  a freelance writer who writes for her local paper, magazine, and has several food columns in different publications.  So treat yourself and follow her

seasonal plate
Put a little ‘kick’ into your cooking with a satisfying flavorful shrimp, meat, and rice dish Jambalaya.  A winter salad is a perfect complement to this spicy dish. And who can resist a decadent chocolate dessert topped with fruit filling and whipped cream?

Cook’s Notes:
Jambalaya is a Louisiana Creole dish of Spanish and French influence. It originated in the Caribbean Islands. It’s a staple dish of New Orleans.
You will need to add more chicken broth on the second day to serve the dish since the rice absorbs the broth.
Using a rotisserie chicken is always a good option.
Shrimp can be substituted for chicken. Recipe serves eight.

1 box Zatarain’s New Orleans style Jambalaya Mix
2 large chicken breasts or 2 cups cooked shrimp, thawed
2-3 cups diced Andouille or smoked sausage
2 TB. olive oil
1 can low sodium chicken broth (14.5 oz.)
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes (basil, oregano, garlic)
3 oz. tomato paste
2 cups of water
¾ cup each onion, mini red and yellow peppers, celery, diced
2 garlic cloves minced
½ tsp. Cajun seasoning
½ tsp. sugar
1 tsp. each dried parsley flakes and basil
1 bay leaf

If using chicken breasts cook at 325 degrees covered for 45 minutes.
Add in sausage the last 20 minutes or pan fry sausage until browned.
Cool and dice both meats-set aside.
In a large skillet sauté onions, celery, peppers, and garlic.
Add in water, broth, spices, jambalaya rice mixture, tomato paste, canned tomatoes, sugar, bay leaf, and diced meats
Simmer 45 minutes on low heat covered.
Add in cooked shrimp last 15 minutes of cooking time.
Remove bay leaf before serving.

Winter Fruit Salad with Ginger-Lime Syrup
Cook’s Notes: Recipe serves four.
Wisk together
1 tsp. minced lime zest with 2 TB. each lime juice and pure maple syrup and ½ tsp. grated fresh ginger
Gently Toss
4 kiwis, peeled and halved
4 clementines, peeled and segmented
2 oranges, peeled and segmented
2 Bartlett pears, cored and diced
¼ cup pomegranate arils or dried cranberries
Mix all together

mini cheescake2
Black Forest Mini-Cheesecakes

Cook’s notes: When a small bite will do.
Basically, it’s three incredible desserts in one, chocolate, cheesecake, and pie.
Doesn’t get much better than that, right? Enjoy!
The recipe makes 1 dozen.  Be sure to use quality chocolate for this recipe. You will need 12 foil cupcake liners.  I used a jarred variety of cherry fruit filling rather than canned.

Cookie Ingredients:
15-18 Oreo cookies
3-4 TB. melted butter

Cheesecake Ingredients:
2/3 cup sugar
2 TB. cocoa powder
1/8 tsp. salt
12 oz. cream cheese (1½ pkg.) softened
3/4 cup bittersweet or semi-sweet chips, melted and cooled slightly
1/4 cup each heavy cream and sour cream
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
Optional 1 TB. Kirsch (cherry brandy), fruit brandy or apple juice

Topping Ingredients:
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 TB.  powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 jarred cherry pie topping

Cookie Crust and Cheesecake Filling Method:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Use a food processor to finely grind cookies. Stir in butter to mix. Line a standard-size muffin tin with foil liners. Divide cookie crumbs among 12 liners, about a heaping tablespoon.  Pat down crust and bake 4 minutes. Set aside.
In a small bowl stir together sugar, cocoa powder, and salt.
In a mixing bowl add softened cream cheese, sugar/cocoa mixture, melted chocolate, heavy cream, and sour cream. Beat until combined. Add in eggs one at a time, vanilla, and Kirsch if using.
Tap bowl on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles.
Divide batter among foil liners (they will be full almost to the top). Tap the pan a couple of times to make sure there are no air bubbles.
Bake 15 minutes or until the centers jiggle just slightly.
Cool for an hour and refrigerate.

Topping Method:
In a chilled bowl with chilled beaters, beat cream, powdered sugar, and extract.
Add cherry fruit filling and topping just before serving.

Sue’s Bio:
At Sockfairies, I blog about food, post book reviews, travel adventures, photography, and The World According to Bella, dog stories, finding creativity with DIY ideas. I am passionate about diverse children’s literature, poetry, books,  education, and exploring new things and places.
I am the president of an arts council in my area and chair of a summer book festival.

Now that you know a bit more about Sue, please follow her via her



  • Make tomorrow more amazing than today!
  • Just believe in yourself and dream big.
  • Do not give up on your hopes. Take care always.


I, Esme Slabbert, am the author and creator of this site, EsmeSalon. It is unlawful to re-use any content from this blog, without my written permission. Please contact me should you wish to discuss it further.


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23 thoughts on “Guest: Jambalaya, Fruit Salad and Mini-Cheesecakes”

  1. HI Esme, thanks for sharing Sue’s Jambalaya recipe. Having never been to the States I haven’t tasted this dish as yet. I have seen it on some cooking shows. I like the idea of the fruit being the side dish to compliment the spicy? Cajun spice mix. It does have chilli in the mix doesn’t it?
    Have started to think about my post for you Esme. Wedding is over and things are settling a bit. Louise

    • Hi Louise. As far as I know, you can make your own Cajun Spice mix: Stir together salt, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper, onion powder, cayenne pepper, oregano, thyme, and red pepper flakes until evenly blended. Store in an airtight container.
      Having said that, I am sure you should find it in a store. As I am not a person to eat spicy food, I am for sure not the person to ask. I am sure Sue will see this comment and respond back to you.

      I am sure the wedding was a feast and an awesome. Thanks for the heads up on your post. Just email me the information, and if you need anything else, we can talk via email. I look forward hearing from you.

  2. I’ve never actually had Jambalaya before- I’ll have to give it a go :). I would love one of those cheesecakes right about now!


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