Chicken Okra Gumbo and Toasted Grain PilafI have no history with gumbo. My expectations are modest, because my experience is slight. When I saw the recipe for “Chicken Okra Gumbo,” from Magic Menus for People with Diabetes, by the American Diabetes Association, I saw an opportunity to use fresh okra and Old Bay Seasoning. I took up the challenge (actually, it was quite easy to prepare). This was a modestly seasoned dish that everyone enjoyed. I sauteed the chicken, okra, tomato, and onion for 9:00, and added 3 1/2 tsp. salt to the combination. The gumbo did not get as thick as I expected it to, but it turned out to be perfect when combined with my side dish.

I also made the “Toasted Grain Pilaf,” from, halving the recipe and using 1 cup of millet as my grain. Millet is that lovely “birdseed” grain, that ends up being too pasty if you don’t cook it with enough liquid. So my combined dishes improved each other: the extra liquid in my gumbo really enhanced the pilaf. It was as satisfying to eat as couscous, but tasted a bit nuttier. I used vegetable-bouillon stock. I chopped my sun-dried tomatoes, then microwaved them in a bit of water for 2:30, rather than soaking them in boiling water. I used half a yellow squash and 2 Tbsp. green bell pepper. I needed to add 2 tsp. salt to this pilaf. Do keep this dish in mind when you have a nice saucy dish to pair it with.

RECIPES: combine a saucy gumbo with a pasty pilaf
you’ll need an hour or more to pull this meal together
Old Bay is a hodgepodge of mellow spices and millet is a nice, nutty grain

Next time, I want to prepare a sexy meal. I’ll make the “Caper-Rosemary Tuna with Herb Salad,” from Bön Appetit’s August 2008 issue, along with “Roasted Pesto Beets,” from All Recipes. I hope this is fun! Come back to my site on Tuesday, November 25, to see what happens.