Category Archives: Freezer-Friendly

Smoked Pork and Black Eyed Pea Gumbo

Cochon and Cochon Butcher in New Orleans are two yummy restaurants.  A few years ago before I had eaten there, I looked up their menu online and was interested to see that they had some recipes posted.  One was for a black-eyed pea gumbo.  I was intrigued and saved the recipe.

Over the last few years I always thought about making that recipe, but it always seemed like something my guests would be weirded out at.  Finally I decided to just make it and see what happened.  I got all the ingredients before actually reading the recipe, and seeing that the pork was to be smoked.  My husband was at work and the weather report was calling for rain the next day, so if it was going to be smoked it was going to be me doing it.  After consulting with both my dad and my husband on the phone (many phone calls!) I was proud to say I smoked the meat all on my own.  I used pecan wood and a Hunters Game Rub from the Baton Rouge company Red Stick Spice.  I was so excited by the great smoke ring the meat had.

And my guests?  Loved it.  In fact, the guest that was the most skeptical asked for the recipe!  It had a ton of flavor and wasn’t hard at all to make – instead of smoking the meat you could always go to a bbq joint and get some already smoked pork.  I’m sure the original recipe intended for you to use fresh black eye peas and greens, but I just didn’t have the time and the canned worked just fine.  There was not a whole lot of black eye peas, if you want more of that you can use two cans.

Smoked Pork and Black Eyed Pea Gumbo

Smoked Pork and Black Eyed Pea Gumbo
Recipe adapted from Cochon

Ingredients:
1 cup oil/bacon grease
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 slices bacon
1 carton chicken broth
1 carton beef stock
1 can chicken broth
1 can beef broth
1 package frozen seasoning blend
1 spoon minced garlic
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp thyme
2 tbsp file’ powder
4 tbsp Creole seasoning
1/2-3/4 tbsp salt
6 cups water
1 can black eye peas, rinsed and drained
1 can turnip greens, liquid drained (I used the Glory brand seasoned greens)
3 lb. smoked pork butt, cubed
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 package sausage, cut into small rounds

Method:

In a small skillet, cook the four slices bacon until crisp.  Set the bacon aside and pour the bacon grease into a 1 cup measuring cup.  Add vegetable oil to the bacon grease, until it makes 1 cup oil/bacon grease.  Pour the oil into a large stockpot and heat over medium heat.  Once the oil is hot, add the flour and make a roux – you want it to be the same brown as a paper bag.  Stir often, getting the corners of the pot to prevent burning.

Once the roux has reached the desired color, add your seasoning blend and minced garlic.  Cook, stirring often until the vegetables are tender, thenadd the water to break up the roux.  Once it comes to a slow boil again, add the rest of the ingredients.  Crumble the bacon and add it in as well.  Simmer a few hours, stirring occasionally.  Skim the oil off of the top then taste for seasonings.  Serve over rice or potato salad, or bot

My Smoked Pork Butt :)

Smoked Pork and Black Eyed Pea Gumbo

Check out the smoke ring!

Christen’s Spaghetti & Meatballs, Slow-Cooker Style!

One of my favorite foods is spaghetti with red sauce.  I could eat it every day and probably not get tired of it.  But I know James would so I try to limit my cooking it to once a month or so!

As you know I have a deep love for my crockpot, so I figured why not try to make my spaghetti in there?  When I make meatballs, I like them to cook in the gravy a long time, that way they aren’t all tough like they are if you cook them in a skillet first.  A slow-cooker seemed the perfect solution for this, and it worked great.  You simply dump all the ingredients into the slow cooker and mix it up well, assemble your meatballs and plop them into the sauce and let it cook.  Couldn’t be easier.  I’m thinking this would be easily assembled the night before even.  I’ll definitely be cooking them this way more often (well as often as he lets me!).

Slow-Cooker Spaghetti and Meatballs

Slow-Cooker Spaghetti & Meatballs
My own recipe

Ingredients:
Sauce
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
4 small cans tomato sauce
2 small cans tomato paste
A couple of dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1/4-1/2 cup red wine (optional)
1 tsp white granulated sugar
4-5 fresh basil leaves, chopped (or 1-2 tsp dried Italian seasonings)
2-3 fresh stems of thyme
1 tsp oregano
2 bay leaves
seasonings to taste:  Tony’s, garlic and onion powders, salt, red pepper flakes
Meatballs
1 lb. ground beef
1 egg
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp Italian seasonings
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

spaghetti noodles for serving

Method:

Spray the crockpot dish with nonstick spray.  Add all of the sauce ingredients to the dish, mix well.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix the meatball ingredients just till mixed.  Don’t over mix, or they’ll be tough.  Place them into the crockpot, sinking them down into the sauce.

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.  When done, taste for seasoning, remove bay leaves and thyme sprigs, then serve over pasta.

 

Crockpot Lentil Soup

I’ve never been a big fan of beans so lately I’ve been trying to “train” myself to like them.  It’s working.  I’m now a fan of black beans, so I figured I’d branch out some and bought a package of lentils.  I see lots of recipes for lentils, so after looking through some I decided to go with a crockpot recipe.

This was super easy to make, you just throw everything into the crockpot.  It is very hearty, despite being a meat-free soup.  If you’re wondering, lentils are very earthy, they sort of remind me of black-eyed peas, just with a different texture.  In fact, this soup reminded me a lot in taste of the black-eyed pea soup I make.  My husband was skeptical he loved it, so did my three-year old daughter.  It makes  a ton, so you can freeze some for a rainy day!

Crockpot Lentil Soup

Crockpot Lentil Soup
Recipe adapted from I Was Born to Cook

Ingredients:
1 pkg dry lentils, rinsed and drained
1 can sliced carrots, with juice
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp Italian seasonings
2 bay leaves
7 cups chicken broth
3 cups water
2 cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
6-8 shakes of hot sauce

Instructions:

Place all ingredients in a crock pot.  Cook on LOW for 12 hours or HIGH for 5-6 hours.  Discard bay leaves and serve.

Andouille and Swiss Chard Turnovers

I don’t know what it is, but I really love Swiss chard!  When flipping through Louisiana Life magazine, I spotted a recipe for andouille and Swiss chard turnovers and couldn’t wait to make them.

I decided to make them to go along with our vegetable tortellini soup.  My 3-year-old daughter “helped” me (and I use that term loosely) and they were surprisingly easy to make.  I had never made any sort of hand pie but the process wasn’t bad at all.  They were a great accompaniment to our soup and the rest my husband enjoyed for his breakfast!

Andouille and Swiss Chard Turnovers

Andouille and Swiss Chard Turnovers
Recipe from Louisiana Life, May/June 2011

Ingredients:
filling
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 lb. andouille, chopped
1 bunch Swiss Chard
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
coarse salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
cayenne pepper, to taste

dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup shortening - I used the butter flavor one
7-8 tbsp cold water
2 tbsp milk (for the glaze)

Instructions:

Filling

  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the onions and garlic.  Saute’ until soft and beginning to brown - about five minutes.  Add the andouille.
  • Discard the large stems from the Swiss chard and chop the leaves into large chunks.  Wash in a colander and add the wet chard to the skillet, cover and cook until wilted, about five minutes.
  • Remove cover and cook until the liquid has evaporated.  Add the cheese and seasoning and remove from heat to let the filling cool.

Dough

  • Mix the flour and salt in a bowl.  With your fingers or a pastry cutter, mix in the shortening until you have a coarse mixture.
  • Drizzle in water, mixing with a fork until it forms a dough.  Knead a few times and cut the dough in half.  Form each half into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least thirty minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 425.  Roll the dough out onto a floured surface until it is 1/8 inch thick.  Cut 4-inch rounds, rolling out the scraps when needed.  You need at least 18.
  • Place a spoonful of filling onto a round.  Lightly moisten the edges of the dough, then fold over and press the seams together.  You can also press with the tines of a fork to create a crimped edge.  Place on a baking sheet and repeat with the other rounds.
  • Before baking, lightly brush milk on top of the dough.  Bake 15-18 minutes, until golden.

Andouille and Swiss Chard Turnovers

 

Slow Cooker Pear Butter

Since my friend Tiffani brought me so many pears, I didn’t want to do them all with the one Pink Pears recipe.  Since pears are so similar to apples, I figured I’d do a pear butter, like the apple butter recipe I did a couple of years ago.

It worked out beautifully.  Not only is this a simple recipe, but it makes your house smell awesome and like Fall.  And when the temps are reaching 110, you like to have the delusion that Fall is right around the corner!

Crockpot Pear Butter
Adapted from A Year of Slow Cooking

Ingredients:
10 ripe pears
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar (I used my sugar from Cora Texas sugar mill)
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 TBSP vanilla

Method:

FYI:  This is really a 2-day process!  I started in the afternoon and had it timed so that I could set the crockpot timer for the second time right before bed, so it would be done in the morning.

Peel your pears.  Quarter them and remove the core.  Place in a crockpot sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.  Add vanilla, cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours.

When the 8 hours is up, mash with a fork (this is really easy, they’re so soft so it doesn’t take much at all!).  Stir in the sugars, cinnamon and cloves.  Cover again and cook once more on LOW for 6 hours.

If you want yours to be super smooth, you may use an immersion blender or something like it to puree.  But I thought the slightly chunky texture was nice.  You may store in the fridge or can it.  The Ball website has great information and tutorials on how to can, if you’ve never done this before.  You only need to process this in the water for 10 minutes.

Slow Cooker Pear Butter

Pesto Palmiers

I love appetizers.  I could completely do without meals and just have snacks.  But that wouldn’t be very good for me.  So anytime I’m going to a party or get together, I’m so excited because there are usually appetizers.  And if I’m bringing something to contribute, it’s usually an appetizer.

The pesto palmiers I saw on Confections of a Foodie Bride sounded like something that would be fun to snack on at a recent Ladies Night Out at an art studio.  A group of friends got together and had a couple of art instructors walk us through how to paint a picture and at the end of the night, we each had a work of art!  There were several breaks while we had to wait for paint to dry so we all brought snacks and drinks.  The palmiers were perfect, they were SO simple to make and can be eaten in just a few bites.  What is so great about these is that they can be made way in advance and frozen before the baking part.  That way you just slice and bake!  Also, it’s very versatile, you could fill them with just about anything!  They were a big hit!

Pesto Palmiers
Recipe from Confections of a Foodie Bride

Ingredients:
1 pkg puff pastry, defrosted
1 jar (or recipe) traditional basil pesto
Shredded Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 tbsp water

Method:
On a lightly floured surface, with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out one sheet of the puff pastry to a 12×12 square.  Spread a light layer of pesto all over it, but leaving a 1/2 inch border free of pesto all around.  Sprinkle lightly with cheese.  Make light indentions along one side of the dough at a 3-inch mark, 6-inch mark and 9-inch mark.  Gently fold the top side down to the three-inch, then the six, then the nine.  Repeat with the bottom half, folding up (see Confections of a Foodie Bride for pictures).  Fold the top half over the bottom half, then repeat the whole process with the other sheet of pastry.

Once they’re both done, place them on a baking sheet and pop in the freezer just long enough to harden (or you can wrap them and freeze to bake at another time).

Preheat oven to 375.  In a small bowl, whisk the egg and water together.  Once the dough is firm, cut each one into 1/2 inch slices.  Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat and lightly brush the egg mixture over the tops.  Bake 8 minutes, flip them all over and bake another 8-10 minutes or until golden.  Makes 48.

Pesto Palmiers

Peach Ice Cream

One of the ice cream recipes I’ve been wanting to try from my “ice cream bible” The Perfect Scoop is peach ice cream.  We’ve got a couple of peach trees that actually have peaches on them this year so I’ve been eagerly anticipating their ripening.  Well I lucked up because my mom called and asked me to bring my ice cream maker to their house when I visited because they had a ton of peaches and wanted to make ice cream.  Score!

Peach ice cream is just classic, there’s not much else to say about it.  This is a great and easy recipe that everyone enjoyed!

Peach Ice Cream
Recipe from:  The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

Ingredients
1.5 lbs ripe peaches
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
a few drops of fresh squeezed lemon juice

Method:

Peel your peaches.  Mine were very ripe so they were easy to peel, otherwise you could make an X in the bottom of them and put them in boiling water for twenty seconds.  Discard the pits.  Cook the peaches with the water in a small nonreactive saucepan about ten minutes, stirring once in a while.

Remove from heat, mix in the sugar and let it cool off to room temperature. 

Add the heavy cream, vanilla, sour cream and lemon juice and puree with a blender or immersion mixer until it’s somewhat smooth, some small chunks are ok.  Cover and refrigerate until well-chilled.

Once chilled, freeze per your ice cream maker’s instructions.

Peach Ice Cream

Baked Creamy Chicken and Bean Taquitos

It seems like there is always an “it” recipe going around the blogging world.  For a while it was white chicken chili, then creamy taco mac (both are delicious) and now it seems to be creamy chicken taquitos.  I’ve heard enough people rave about it so I finally gave it a try.

The recipe called for corn tortillas.  I did use them and really was not a fan.  I generally do not like corn tortillas, just not big on the texture.  Plus they were hideous, they all split down the middle.  But the flavor of the filling was great and I had a little leftover so I tried the rest of it in flour tortillas and it was GREAT!  I also added a can of black beans just because I like them.  I’ve heard people say it’s a great recipe to double up on and freeze the extras (before baking) so next time I will definitely do that!

Creamy Chicken and Bean Taquitos
Recipe adapted from:  Pink Parsley, originally from Our Best Bites

Ingredients:
3 oz. softened cream cheese
1/3 cup salsa verde (I used the small can found with the Mexican food)
juice of half a lime
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tbsp green onions, chopped
2 cups cooked shredded chicken
1 can low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed well
1/2 cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese (I used Cabot brand)
1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
small flour tortillas
Salt and black pepper to taste
Optional side dips:  Salsa, sour cream, quick guacamole (need 1 avocado and the rest of the can of salsa verde)

Method:

Preheat oven to 425.

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients (except for the tortillas) and mix until well-incorporated.

Place some filling along the lower third of the tortilla and roll tightly.  Place seam side down in a baking pan (you may want to spray it with nonstick spray).  Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling.  Bake (watching closely) until turning brown, about ten minutes.  Remove and serve with your dips of choice.

To make Pink Parsley’s quick guacamole simply mash the pulp of one avocado and mix in some of the remaining salsa verde, to taste.

Creamy Chicken and Bean Taquitos

Fresh Mint Ice Cream with Andes Chips

Yay, it’s that time of year again where homemade ice cream is the thing to do!  I know I have already said that I’m not a huge ice cream person, but I do love to make it.  It’s just fun to make something homemade from scratch.  But I do enjoy ice cream in small amounts and my favorite flavor has always been mint chocolate chip.  It’s just so refreshing, how can you not love it?

I had some mint leftover from when my parents visited (my dad made mint juleps) so I wanted to use it before it went bad.  I made this ice cream and it is my favorite type – French-style, which means an egg/custard base.  It did dirty some dishes but really, it wasn’t hard.  It just takes time.  And really, it’s worth it to spend the time because you’re using fresh REAL ingredients.  I looked at a packet of mint chocolate chip ice cream mix at the supermarket and the ingredient list was full of things you couldn’t pronounce.  Why do it?  And I bet mine tasted better – my daughter even said “this ice cream yummy, Mommy!!”

I just thought this was a fun picture of my ice cream maker in action!

Fresh Mint Ice Cream with Andes Chips
Recipe from:  The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

Ingredients:
1 cup whole milk (I used 2% and it worked fine)
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
pinch of salt
2 cups lightly packed fresh mint leaves (washed really well)
5 large egg yolks
Andes mint baking chips (or chocolate chips would work also)

Method:
Warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup of cream and salt in a small saucepan.  Once it’s warm, stir in the mint leaves then cover and remove from heat.  Allow to steep for an hour.

Strain the mint mixture through a mesh strainer into another saucepan.  Get all of the cream out of those mint leaves, then discard them.  Pour the rest of the heavy cream (1 cup) into a large bowl and put the strainer on top.

Heat the mint flavored mixture back up and lightly beat the egg yolks in a separate bowl.  Add some of the warmed milk mixture a little at a time to the egg yolks, beating (do it slowly so the egg yolks don’t cook) to incorporate.  Once all is mixed together, add it back to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a spatula/scraper until the mixture is thickened on the back of the spatula.  Pour this custard through the strainer and stir into the cream in the bowl.  Set in an ice bath and stir until it’s cooled off.  Refrigerate until completely cold.

Once it’s cold, freeze per your ice cream maker’s instructions.  Once it’s starting to resemble ice cream, add however much of the chocolate chips and let it mix in.  Freeze until ready to serve.

Fresh Mint Ice Cream with Andes Chips

Cajun Boudin Blanc

It was recently my husband’s and my anniversary and rather than getting traditional gifts, we like to get stuff that the other actually would really want.  This year I got my husband a meat grinder and sausage stuffer attachment for our stand mixer (we call it Sir Mix A Lot) and my hubs was really excited about his gift.  I also got him a cookbook about making his own sausages. 

Since we were having a bbq for Easter, he decided to try out his new equipment and make homemade sausage for the get together.  After looking through the cookbook, he picked a recipe for boudin.  Boudin is a sausage casing filled with spicy rice and meat mixture, similar to a rice dressing.  It’s delicious!  Lots of people cook it in a crockpot but we like it on the grill so it gets crisp. 

It took a while to make and filling the casings is DEFINITELY a 2-person job, but it is worth it because the end result was delicious!  This recipe made just under five pounds.

Cajun Boudin Blanc
Recipe from:  Home Sausage Making by Susan Mahnke Peery & Charles G. Reavis

Ingredients:
3 lbs. boneless pork butt, cut into 2-inch chunks (include some fat) – we had to use a bone-in pork butt
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme or 1 tsp fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp butter
1.5 cups long-grain white rice
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup green onions, finely chopped
9 feet small hog casing
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Cajun seasoning to taste

Method:
Bring a saucepan of water to a boil.  In a pot combine the pork, 1 tsp salt, black pepper, thyme and bay leaves.  Cover with the boiling water and simmer for two hours or until the pork is cooked but so tender its falling apart.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat and refrigerate.  Strain the broth and set it aside.

In a large heavy saucepan, melt the butter then add the rice, onion and green onions and saute until the rice is translucent.  Add  2.5 cups of the reserved broth and cook covered over low heat until the rice is tender (any leftover broth should be refrigerated).

Prepare the casing:  Cut off about 4 feet of casing and rinse it under cool water to remove any salt.  Place in a bowl of cool water and let it soak about thirty minutes before rinsing again under cold running water.  Hold one end open under the faucet and let the water run through the insides of the casing to flush out any salt on the insides. 

Soak the casing again in cold water with 1 tbsp white vinegar to each cup of water.  When  you’re ready to stuff, rinse well and drain.

Using the coarse disk for the meat grinder, grind the meat into a large bowl.  Add the cooked rice mixture, the remaining salt and the parsley, cayenne and crushed red pepper.  If it seems dry, add some of the reserved broth and mix well.  Taste for seasonings – we added just a little Cajun seasoning (Tony’s) at this point. 

Stuff into the casings per the manufacturer’s instructions, and prick air pockets occasionally,  Twist off into 20-inch links as you are stuffing it.  Refrigerate, covered for up to three days.  Cook either on the grill or covered by simmering water for 15 minutes.

Cajun Boudin Blanc