Category Archives: Regional Louisiana

Easy Oven Jambalaya

A while back my coworker Kim had the misfortune of her freezer messing up.  She had to quickly cook a lot of the meat she had frozen and one of the things she cooked was this easy oven jambalaya.  She brought some to work for our lunch the next day and it was SO good!  She gave me the recipe and I cannot even tell you how many times I’ve made it since.  My husband is always asking for it, even my picky daughter loves it!

The recipe calls for Uncle Ben’s original rice.  Make sure to get that, Kim said that it does make a difference!  The ingredients do sound a bit strange for a jambalaya but trust me, this is one of the best jambalayas I’ve ever had!  You can be creative with your proteins also.  While jambalaya does typically contain chicken and sausage, shrimp would be delicious and so would crawfish (I know because I did it!).

Easy Oven Jambalaya

Easy Oven Jambalaya

Easy Oven Jambalaya
Recipe from the Barth/Cutrera Family

Ingredients:
1 can French Onion Soup
1 can beef broth
1 small can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup green onions
2 cups Uncle Ben’s Original uncooked rice
1 tbsp minced garlic
Tony’s Creole seasoning and thyme to taste
1 lb. boneless diced chicken and sliced smoked sausage (or shrimp, or crawfish)

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients.  Pour into an oven-safe casserole that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.  Cover with foil and bake for an hour and a half.

Easy Oven Jambalaya

Easy Oven Jambalaya

Praline Pecan Cream Cheese King Cake

I’ve been tinkering around with different versions of king cakes for a few years now and I’ve finally got it. It is a mix of several different recipes.

It is slightly labor intensive since it involves letting the dough rise a couple of times but trust me, it is well worth it. I’ve actually had several people order them from me but now that I work full-time I just don’t always have time.

So here it is, get your aprons on!

This makes two king cakes.

Praline Pecan Cream Cheese King Cake

Ingredients:

For the Cake
1 (16-ounce) container sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 (1/4-ounce) envelopes active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
6 to 6 1/2 cups bread flour

For the Cream Cheese Filling
2 (8 oz) blocks Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
1 egg
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

For the Praline Pecan Filling
1/2 cup of unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 cups of chopped pecans
1 cup of light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 teaspoons of cinnamon

For the Glaze
Ingredients:
4 cups powdered sugar, get the sifted 10x one
small splash of almond extract
small splash of butter extract
5 tbsp water

Method

Cook first 4 ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring often, until thoroughly mixed. Set aside, and cool mixture.

Stir together yeast, 1/2 cup warm water, and 1 tablespoon sugar in a glass bowl, let stand 5 minutes.

Beat sour cream mixture, yeast mixture, eggs, and 2 cups flour at medium speed with a heavy-duty stand mixer until smooth. Reduce speed to low, and gradually add enough remaining flour (4 to 4 1/2 cups) until a soft dough forms.
Attach the dough hook and let it knead for 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top.
Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 1 hour or until dough is doubled in bulk (I put it in my slightly warmed oven).

While that is rising, beat together the cream cheese mixture ingredients until smooth and well blended. In another bowl, mix together the praline pecan ingredients.

Punch down dough, and divide in half. Roll each portion into a 22- x 12-inch rectangle. Spread half of the cream cheese mixture over each rectangle then sprinkle half of the pecan mixture on each half. Spread it evenly over the cream cheese.

Roll up each dough rectangle, jelly-roll fashion, starting at 1 long side. Place one dough roll, seam side down, on a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat Bring ends of roll together to form a ring, moistening and pinching edges together to seal. Repeat with second dough roll.

Cover and let rise in a warm place free from drafts, 20 to 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

Prepare the glaze by mixing the ingredients until smooth but still a little thick. You may add more water but be careful not to make it too thin.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 16 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Allow to cool completely on a wire cooling rack before spooning the glaze over and topping with purple, yellow and green sprinkles or colored sugar.

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Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

“It’s gumbo weather” is a phrase you hear a lot in Louisiana.  What is gumbo weather?  Well basically any temperature under 80 degrees! We had a cool weekend last weekend and I bet you could smell roux cooking from one end of the state to the other!

I couldn’t believe that my gumbo recipe wasn’t on my blog.  I still can’t believe it.  I have several other versions of gumbo but this is a basic traditional version.  I opt to use chicken broth and stock to make it richer and more flavorful.  I’ve heard we are supposed to have a cold winter, so better keep the recipe handy!

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
A Cooking With Christen Original

Ingredients:

1 carton chicken broth
1 carton chicken stock
1 can Rotel diced tomatoes
1 bag frozen cut okra, cooked down (I cook it in oil until it’s not “slimy” anymore)
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
1 pkg boneless chicken thighs – raw and cut up (I try to cut some of the fat off)
1 pkg smoked sausage or andouille, cut into bite size pieces
1 cooking spoon full of Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. Garlic powder
1 tsp. Onion powder
1 tsp. Chili powder
½ tsp. ground cumin
1-2 bay leaves if you have some
Salt & Tony’s – season to taste
½ cup oil
½ cup flour

Note:  I have never actually measured my seasonings so just do taste tests and add until it tastes good.

Method:

Make a roux:  heat oil in large stockpot.  Once hot, add flour and stir constantly until it’s the color of a brown paper bag.  It’s time consuming but it’s the key.  Make sure to scrape the sides and corners of the pot.

While you’re making your roux, put your sausage in a microwave-safe bowl and add water just till the sausage is covered.  Microwave for about 8 minutes.  Drain in the sink into a colander and rinse well.  You want to get some of that fatty grease out.

Once your roux is brown enough, add onion, bell pepper and minced garlic, cook until veggies are soft.  Add Rotel, chicken broth and chicken stock, stir well and let heat up again to a slow boil.  This is a good time to start adding the rest of your dry seasonings and Worcestershire sauce.

Once boiling again, add chicken, sausage and okra and let simmer about an hour and a half or until chicken is cooked through.  The longer you let it cook, the better it will taste.  If it looks too thick, you can add more chicken broth or water

Check seasonings and add anything you find it might be missing.

Serve over rice or for the traditional southern Louisiana version, serve over potato salad.

 

 

Cajun Empanadas (Boudin-Stuffed Empanadas)

We really do not go out to eat often.  There was a time when we did, but now with a child, a mortgage, tuition…well there are just more important things to spend money on!  When we do go out to eat we like to go somewhere GOOD.  A local restaurant serves food made from local ingredients, and we love going there.  Not only is it delicious and a fun night out, but we also like supporting local businesses.

As food nerds, we like to try to figure out how they make things and try to recreate them at home.  One thing we did that with recently was the Cajun empanadas.  It was one of those meals that just made you go “mmmmm” with your first bite.  They were made of puff pastry filled with smoked boudin, and you dipped it in buffalo queso.  I never would have thought to combine those things but oh my, was it amazing!  We bought two different boudins from Guillory’s, the regular smoked and jalapeno smoked.  The regular smoked were just kind of plain tasting, but the jalapeno ones were just right, without being too spicy.  These would be fantastic if you made them smaller as an appetizer I think.  Here is what we created:

Cajun Empanadas

Cajun Empanadas

Cajun Empanadas

Ingredients:

1 pkg. frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 lb. GOOD smoked boudin (the best locally is the jalapeno smoked boudin at Guillory’s in Pineville), removed from casing
1 egg
queso for dipping

Method:

Preheat oven to temperature recommended on the puff pastry box.  On a floured surface, roll the thawed pastry out to thin it out.  Using a bowl, cut out round shapes, whatever size you want.  Fill halfway with boudin, then fold one half over the other and seal.  You may need to rub a little water on the dough to make it seal properly.  Take a fork and crimp the edges.  Place on a baking sheet and repeat with the remaining ingredients.  Before baking, whisk egg and a little water together and lightly brush on top of each empanada.  Bake until golden brown and flaky.  Serve warm with warmed queso to dip it in.

 

Boudin Dip

A while back I was texting with my friend Amy about different appetizers and she mentioned that she had made a boudin dip. Well I love boudin and you know I love dip so I was intrigued and HAD to know more! She told me what all went into it and I couldn’t wait to try it.

Unfortunately I did have to wait a while, I just didn’t have anything to make a dip for. Then came Mardi Gras. I was so excited to make it and let me tell you, it didn’t disappoint! This dip is delicious and SO easy! But be forewarned, it makes a LOT. I ended up letting the guys eat the leftovers at their poker night. Problem solved. But before I did that, I was brainstorming and was thinking this would be great stuffed in chicken breasts. Just a thought.  Alternately, if you want to make a smaller amount, maybe just buy one of those small tubs of dip (if you’re a dip junkie you know what I mean) and just use three links of boudin.

I served the dip with the Town House crackers that are pretzel on one side.

Boudin Dip

Boudin Dip

Boudin Dip
Recipe from Amy D./Kim M.

Ingredients:
Six links boudin
One large tub French Onion Dip (get a good one, no cheap junk)
green onions
crackers for serving

Method:
In a large skillet/pot, boil the boudin as per package instructions. Remove from water and allow to cool a few minutes until okay to handle. Cut a slit in each link and scrape the filling into a large bowl. Mix with one tub of onion dip and green onions. Taste for seasonings (it will depend on your boudin if you will need to add additional seasonings or not). Serve warm.

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!

Shrimp Butter

I was recently one of the hosts for a baby shower for one of my best friends, Morgan.  I was in charge of food, really it was just snacks since it was mid-day.  I wanted the food to be a little “nicer” than the done-to-death cheese trays and frozen and defrosted appetizers.  Morgan loves shrimp so when I saw a recipe for shrimp butter, I was intrigued and knew she would like it.

I had no idea what this would taste like, so it was a bit of a gamble making it for the first time to serve to a bunch of people.  But it was great, and it tasted just like what it is – butter with shrimp in it.  I know that doesn’t SOUND good, but trust me.  It was good stuff!

Shrimp Butter

Shrimp Butter
Recipe from Elizabeth’s Edible Experience

Ingredients:
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 lb unsalted butter, softened
1 pound shrimp, peeled, cooked and finely chopped
3 tbsp grated onion
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp pepper

Method:

In an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together until fluffy and well-mixed.  Add the rest of the ingredients and beat until combined.  Serve either on pieces of toast points or in a bowl for people to serve themselves.  (Note:  don’t use butter crackers, as they mask the flavor too much.  I used Melba Toast.)

Crawfish Etouffee

Happy 200th Birthday, Louisiana!  I’m truly proud to live in this great state.  Sure, it gets a bad rep sometimes but the residents know better.  In honor of this monumental birthday, my post today is a classic Louisiana dish, crawfish etouffee.

Crawfish Etouffee

Last week we had a crawfish boil, and I always look forward to cooking something yummy with the leftover crawfish tails.  Unfortunately, we were all piggies and I only had about a cup of leftover tails!  I needed something that could stretch so I went to the classic dish, Crawfish Etouffee.  Somehow, despite eating it millions of times, I had never made it myself.  I looked through some of my favorite Southern cookbooks for the perfect recipe and found it in My New Orleans by John Besh.

Chef John Besh with James

Chef Besh is one of my husband’s favorite chefs.  We were fortunate enough to meet him at a food blogger conference last year and I must say he is the most down-to-earth nice guy, we just loved him.  He even took a few minutes to talk hunting with James!  His recipe was pretty easy to make and the end results were great.  We ate some over white rice and some over some leftover fried catfish.  If you’re using leftover boiled crawfish, save the seasoning until the end because your tails might already be spicy.  I also added a little cornstarch mixed with cold water in for thickening, as James likes his etouffee to be fairly thick.  Next time you find yourself with some crawfish tails, here’s the one to try!

Crawfish Etouffee
Recipe adapted from My New Orleans

Ingredients:
3 tbsp canola oil
3 tbsp flour
1 small onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
half a red bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 small tomato, seeded and diced
1 quart seafood stock
3 tbsp butter
1 lb. peeled crawfish tails (or however many you have!)
2 green onions, chopped
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
2 dashes Tabasco sauce
salt, pepper and creole seasoning to taste
white rice for serving
cornstarch for thickening, if needed

Method:
In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the flour to make the roux and stir constantly so it doesn’t stick or burn.  You want the roux to reach a deep brown color, similar to a paper bag.  (A silicone spatula works great for reaching in the corners of the pan.)   Once the roux is browned, add your onions and cook until they have softened and caramelized.  Next add in the celery, bell pepper, garlic, thyme, cayenne and paprika – cook until soft and fragrant.

Add the tomatoes and seafood stock to break up the roux and increase the heat to bring it to a boil.  Once it’s reached a boil, decrease the heat and let simmer for five minutes, stirring often so it doesn’t stick.

Lower the heat and stir in the butter, then the crawfish tails, green onions, Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces.  Taste for seasonings, then season with salt, pepper and creole seasoning as desired.  If you want your etouffee to be thicker, mix a tablespoon of cornstarch with a small amount of cold water and add it to the pot, then increase the heat.

Once done, remove from heat and serve hot over rice.

Louisiana Crawfish Boil

Praline Coated Oreos

Happy Mardi Gras, ya’ll!  :)  Today is Fat Tuesday and in its’ honor I bring you a special treat – praline coated oreos.  I spotted this on Pinterest recently and after checking out the attached recipe, I decided to do it my own way.

I’m kind of weird about my pralines.  I don’t like those hard, dark-colored ones.  The pralines we (my mom and I) make are soft and creamy.  So rather than try someone else’s recipe and risk being disappointed, I stuck with what I know.  These were pretty simple to make, just make sure you let your praline “sauce” (for lack of a better word) thicken some.  I did some before it really thickened and they were a sticky mess.  Still tasted good though!  But the ones I did once it thickened were perfect.  So make sure to reach that soft ball stage and beat a little!

Note:  do not attempt pralines on a rainy day!

Praline Coated Oreos

Praline Coated Oreos

Ingredients:
1 stick butter
3 cups white sugar
1 can evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 pkg oreos
chopped pecans for topping – I used honey sugared pecans for a little extra fun

Method:

In a large heavy-bottomed pot, bring the butter, sugar and evaporated milk to a boil, stirring well to incorporate.  Continue stirring often until it gets to the soft ball stage, then remove from heat and add the vanilla.  Start whipping the liquid until it thickens some, then quickly begin dipping the oreos and placing them on waxed paper.  Make sure no kids are around because this stuff is HOT!

Before they start to harden, sprinkle the chopped pecans on top of each cookie.

Praline Coated Oreos

 

Lightened Up Crawfish Fettuccine

As you probably read in my last post, my brother-in-law (hubby’s brother) is getting married soon and last weekend was the bachelor/bachelorette party.  The guys went to Dallas for some surprisingly tame fun (or so they say – wink, wink).  Us girls stayed here in town and did a painting class then had a lingerie shower for the bride at my house.  When I started planning out the food for the shower, I was looking at it as a big chance to cheat on my diet.

But for once, I’m doing really well on this diet.  I mean hey, it’s February 1 and I’m still ON IT!  That’s a record breaker right there!  I stuck with the basic bones of the menu, but looked for lightened up versions of the recipes.  The recipe I found for crawfish fettuccine was fantastic, a few of the guests at the shower were feeling guilty for getting seconds, until I told them that it was a lower-calorie version.  Nobody could believe it.  So if you’re looking for a nice dish to celebrate a special occasion, or just because it’s a Friday, then here ya go.  I think this would be equally delicious with cooked shrimp or chicken as the protein.

Crawfish Fettuccine

Crawfish Fettuccine
Recipe from The New Holly Clegg Trim and Terrific Cookbook

Ingredients:
1 lb fettuccine pasta, cooked and rinsed under cool water
1 lb. crawfish tails, rinsed
1/4 cup margarine
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1.5 cups skim milk
1.5 lb. light Velveeta
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • In a large pot, melt the margarine and saute’ the onion, bell pepper and garlic until tender, about five minutes.  Stir in the flour until mixed and allow to cook for a minute or so, stirring constantly.  Slowly whisk in the milk, stirring until smooth.  Add the cheese, stirring until evenly melted and then add the crawfish, parsley, salt, cayenne and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Taste for seasonings then add the pasta, tossing to coat.   Transfer to a baking dish coated with nonstick spray and bake for 15 minutes, or until heated through.
  • Serve immediately.

8-10 servings at 378 calories each.