Cajun Mama’s Creamy Chicken Spaghetti

So first things first.  I have told ya’ll that I am not from Shreveport originally.  I know it seems like those 2 hours North of Alex. would not make that big a difference food wise.  It does.  Chicken spaghetti is  a dish that I personally had not eaten or heard of before I came to Shreveport.  In fact, when my good friend Leia was craving chicken spaghetti during her first pregnancy, I honestly thought she meant spaghetti sauce with chicken pieces in it.  My mom made that when i was growing up.  My daddy loved it.  Spaghetti and meatballs and chicken in it.  So I thought that was what she meant when she said she wanted chicken spaghetti.  I was so wrong.  They were kind about it and thought my naivety was endearing.  So then one day, a sweet dear lady named Mama Kate sent me a local church cookbook and low and behold, it had a recipe for chicken spaghetti in it.  So I made it.  It was good but took a lot of time and at the time I was in college and didn’t have time for that.  Around this time, my mom started making chicken spaghetti and she had her own way (which is usually fantastic and better) and it was so good.  So over the years, my recipe sort of evolved and Big Daddy absolutely loves it.  Good enough of an endorsement for me.  I am quite certain everyone reading this has made chicken spaghetti before, but just in case you haven’t, let me warn you…this is one of those dishes that you will make repeatedly until you are sick of it because it is so good and easy.  My kids love this dish, but not with the Rotel so I always pull some out before I add the mushrooms or Rotel.  I always serve this with garlic bread and a nice big green salad.  MMMMMMMM!!!

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Creamy dreamy chicken spaghetti 

 

Cajun Mama’s Creamy Chicken Spaghetti

Ingredients 

1 package of angel hair spaghetti

2 cans cream of mushroom soup

2 cans cream of chicken soup

1 jar of sliced mushrooms, drained

1 can Rotel tomatoes (I use mild but use the heat you want)

1 16 oz. package of Velveeta (I use the  2 % milk kind)

1 package of boneless chicken thighs, cooked and shredded (you can definitely use a rotisserie chicken if you choose)

Directions

Cook your chicken and shred.  Set aside.  Boil your pasta according to package directions.  Drain.  Pour pasta into a dutch oven.  Pour soups, Rotel, and  mushrooms into the pot.  Cut the velveeta into chunks and add that to the pot.  Now, over low heat, stir this all together.  You will need a strong spoon for this as this concoction is hard to stir until it is well combined.  Be sure to stir frequently as the pasta starts to stick to the bottom.  Continue to stir until the cheese is melted throughout and the pasta is well combined with the soups and cheese.  I like to sprinkle a little kosher salt and cracked black pepper over the finished product before serving.

There is really nothing to it.  Hope you love this dish as much as we do.  It is such a crowd pleaser!

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Me…so excited to get the Pioneer Woman’s new cookbook on the day it was released!  I have no shame.  ha ha

Cajun MAMA side note~That picture is the REAL me.  No makeup.  Hair not straightened.  Dark marks on my skin left from my pregnancies showing.  Totally excited expression and really quite goofy and cheeseball.  Yep that’s me.  I have never been one for pretense and these days even less so.  It takes too much time and energy.  Sure, I love to get dressed up and put on my makeup when I feel like it.  When I do, the only person I am trying to impress is…me.  It makes me feel good and the mood has struck me.  Other than that, no thanks.  I am my own genuine article just like you are.  I embrace her frankly because I do not have the energy to force this into any other than its natural state.   I am a little rough around the edges at times.  I am ok with that.  I would rather be seen that way than anyone ever accuse me of being anything less than real.  In this journey we call life, I find it easiest to love me the way I am.  I cannot be like anyone else.  It is too much trouble.  So I give myself permission to like me just the way I am.  I give you  permission to.  Now…there is a bracelet that my friend tagged me in a picture of that said “hide your crazy”. lol!!  Now, I want that bracelet so I can remind myself to reign myself in when I get a little TOO authentic and real.  But no Kardashian life for me.  I am not polished.  I am not posh.  And seeing the train wreck that is the Kardashians these days, why would anyone want to be that?  Who wants to keep up with the Kardashians?  They can hardly keep up with themselves.  That is a hard lonely life they are leading.  No thanks.  I will keep being the authentic hot mess that I am, cheesing it up in the Barnes and Noble because I got a new cookbook.  There is no glamour in that, but there is peace and contentment.  So be real my friends.  Be you.  Embrace your emotions, your true self.  Love that.  It is perfect as is.

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Naughty brownies

Now the original name of these brownies is “slutty” brownies and “lady of the night” brownies.  I am really not sure where that name comes from unless it is the fact that you feel downright bad about yourself for making them let alone eating one.  I didn’t not let such a notion stop me.  I mean…chocolate chip cookie dough, double Stuf oreos and brownies?  Umm…sounds like a dream come true to me. But truthfully, these things are sinful so I can kind of see why such a name.  But for the sake of any aunts, uncles, friends’ parents from elementary school who might follow my blog I am going to call them Naughty brownies.  Also, my 10 year old gets on my Cajun Mama facebook page from time to time and also reads my blog, and I really not ready to answer questions about that name.  And they are naughty, so this name is appropriate.  Anyway, Big Daddy was going to the store this morning to get some stuff for his boat and he asked if I needed anything.  I said yes, 2 packs of double stuf oreos.  He immediately got a worried look on his face and asked if i was ok. He knows that Oreos are my weakness and a bad day could send me into the position.  Hunched over a glass of milk dunking oreo after oreo.  I told him I was fine.  I am making brownies.  He didn’t ask any more questions.  He just went and then came home with a pack of double stuf Oreos and then…gasp a package of Mega stuf Oreos.  Seriously?  Who knew they made those.  Luckily my kids love oreos too, so between putting them in the brownies and my kids’ attacking them like a pack of starved gorillas…no worries about having them around the house.  Ok…I made these brownies once before when I first found them on Pinterest.  I don’t think I cooked them long enough and the batch was too small so I kind of felt meh about them.  That was before Cajun Mama.  I felt like it was my responsibility to try them again and report the results to you all.  So…it was tough but I muddled through.  I took one for the team.  ha ha ha! 🙂  Much better results this time with a few changes to the recipe.

Also, this is NOT my brainchild.  I wish I could claim ownership of such a devilish concoction, but I am not a genius.  i do not know where this originated from but I will give you my take on it and i made some changes so to whomever came up with this recipe…my hat is off to you!!

Naughty Brownies

Ingredients

One recipe of Nestle Toll House cookie dough (off the back of the nestle toll house semi sweet chocolate chips package)

one package of Double Stuf Oreos

One family size package of Betty Crocker chewy brownie mix

Directions

LIne one 13 x 9 baking pan with parchment paper.  Leave some sticking out on each side so you can use it for handles to lift the brownies out the pan later.  Trust me.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Make cookie dough according to Nestle Tollhouse directions.  Press cookie dough into pan.  Lay enough Oreos on top of cookie dough to amply cover the cookie dough.  Like this…

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Next, make your brownie batter according to package directions.  Pour brownie batter on top of Oreos.  Make sure you spread it evenly over the Oreos and cookie dough.  Pop your pan in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes.  Check them for doneness and continue to cook in 10 minute increments until done.  You will know they are done when the brownies start to separate from the parchment paper and you don’t see any gooey brownie dough when you look at them.  Mine took about 50 minutes to be done.  I made a bigger batch than what the original called for and they cut much better and more evenly.  Plus more to share.  Win!  This batch turned out perfectly.  I let them cool for about 30 minutes and then I took each end of parchment paper and put that on a cutting board.  I then used my beloved Pampered Chef spatula and cut them into squares while simultaneously shooing little hands away until I was done.  Seriously…little people and big men come out of the woodwork when these are done.  Proceed with caution.  So. devilishly good.  Also these would be precious with the seasonal oreos (thought they will not be double stuf) for a little added color.  Hope you enjoy them.

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Aren’t they lovely?  These taste even better than they look.  Promise 

Cajun MAMA side note…So I woke up too early this morning.  Big Daddy had woken up and then my little bull followed suit.  Little Bull wanted a pot pie from the freezer of all things for breakfast.  So BD heated it up for them.  He had no way of knowing that Cookie loves potpies and i had bought that one for her.  She of course woke up this morning and decided she HAD to have it for breakfast.  That is how I ended up at Walmart at 7 a.m. in the frozen food aisle buying another potpie.  So naturally, me being the talkative Cajun I am even without coffee, I share this with the sweet checkout lady.  She gives me a knowing look and tells me “honey.  stop spoiling them children.  They gonna always expect you to do this stuff for them.” I took her words to heart.  She went on to tell me she knows what she is talking about as a 53 year old experienced mom.  I have no doubt she does.  I also have no doubt I probably go too far to please my kids sometimes.  I find it hard to see the line sometimes.  I often wonder if I am the only one.  Am I too self indulgent?  Then I see someone else doing something for their kids and I realize no…I am a mom.  Moms do those things.  Do our kids take us for granted?  Sure.  They are too young to understand why we do it…they just know we do it.  Was going to WM at 7 a.m. on Saturday morning to replace that potpie too much effort for my child who is already struggling to find her place and identity?  I don’t think so.  I want her to know she is worthwhile.  I want her to feel valued.  It is the same reason we moms and dads do any of the stuff we do.  Because we are laying the foundation for their tomorrow.  Does it ensure their love for the long haul?  Maybe.  I don’t know.  All I know is that I cannot give her everything.  I won’t. I cannot give her a pony.  I cannot order everything she wants from the PB Teen catalog.  Even if we could afford it, I would not.  That is not realistic.  I am limiting what Santa brings this year because all that excess is unnecessary and eventually setting me up for having to give more and more.  But I CAN go replace a potpie that was her’s and that I bought because she loves them that got eaten.  I can do that.  I try hard to live my life doing what I can with what I have where I am.  That is all I can do.  Same reason on Saturday when I am too tired to really care, I make trashy brownies, cajun bean and ham soup, a cheese dip for the game.  If it is the small things that become the big things, then I think I am going to make it.   We all will.  Those things I can do.  ~AMB

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Tina’s corn chowder

So this morning I was reading a post on Christy Jordan’s Southern Plate facebook page and there was a picture of a chowder recipe that lured me in.  All focus was lost and I knew I had to have some.  After I dropped the kiddos off at school, I ran to the grocery store to pick up some supplies.  I came home and got the chicken and dressing going and got it in the crockpot (another post for tomorrow) and then started on this corn chowder.  I know, I know…I was already making the chicken and dressing, why bother with corn chowder?  I told ya’ll about my cooking ADD..or maybe I have only talked about on my Cajun Mama facebook page?  Either way, I am pretty sure I have ADD when it comes to cooking and cleaning.  So when I saw that picture, my ADD kicked in big time.  I had to cook the chicken and dressing because my Sugar Cookie (oldest daughter will now be known as such) is a Thanksgiving dinner food freak like her mama.  So, yeah, I bought a can of cranberry sauce in October.  When we do it, we do it well.  So I figured I would go on and get supper going for tomorrow night.  Nothing wrong with being prepared, which I rarely am, so I may as well enjoy it.  So I have not finished the chowder yet, but I have it mostly done and I tried it.  Christy Jordan was right…it is FANTASTIC!!!!  The list of ingredients seems a little long, but most of it is stuff you most likely in your pantry.  

Tina’s Corn Chowder (from Christy Jordan’s Southern Plate)

Ingredients

1 onion, diced

2 T. butter

2 large red potatoes, cubed 

1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped

1/2 tsp. paprika

3 cups frozen corn

3 cups milk, divided

1 medium green bell pepper, chopped

1 can of chicken broth 

2 tsp. dijon mustard (I used creole mustard and it turned out great)

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

4 green onions, chopped

1/2 cup flour

Instructions

In a large stockpot, saute onion and bell pepper until tender. Add broth and chopped potatoes.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat, stirring occasionally.  With lid on, simmer for about 15 minutes.  Stir in jalapeno, mustard, salt, paprika, and red pepper flakes.  Next, add corn, green onion, and 2 1/2 cups of the milk.  Bring to a boil gradually, stirring from time to time.  Reduce heat and allow simmer.

While that is simmering, combine the flour and milk in a medium sized bowl.  Whisk together.  Gradually add this mixture to the stock pot.  Bring this to a boil, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes or until mixture is bubbling and begins to thicken.  

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This is the chowder before i stir in flour/milk mixture.  

Look at those colors!!

Apple Pie Enchiladas

If you are looking for a really complicated dessert that requires a bunch of ingredients that leaves you disappointed after a ton of work…this is not the post for you.  If you are looking for a very easy dessert that requires very few ingredients and everyone will LOVE…keep reading.  I ran across these on Facebook a few months ago, before I started blogging I think.  I made them.  They were gone within an hour.  I knew ya’ll needed this recipe.  Now, I will add that Bluebell homemade vanilla ice cream is just a must.  It just pushes this dessert from very good to completely fabulous.  It is comfort food and dessert all rolled into one.  

Apple Pie Enchiladas

Ingredients

1 21 ounce can of apple pie filling 

6 flour tortillas (I use fajita size)

1 tsp. ground cinnamon (I will tell ya’ll that I used roasted saigon cinnamon.  A man told me about this in the spice aisle the Saturday before Easter in Kroger a few years ago…yes I have the memory of an elephant which is a blessing and a curse)

1/2 cup butter 

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar 

1/2 cup water 

Directions

Spoon 1/4 cup apple filling down the center of each tortilla.  I used a 1/4 measuring cup to do this but you can just eyeball it and use a spoon.  Lay each enchilada seam side down in prepared 9 x 13 baking dish.  Set aside.

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While you are doing this, you can have your butter melting over medium low heat in a small sauce pan.  After butter is melted, add sugars, cinnamon, and water.  Bring this mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 3 minutes.  Ladle the sauce evenly over enchiladas and let stand for 45 minutes.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Allow to cool for 5 or 10 minutes but serve the while warm with a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream (Blue Bell is what we keep around but feel free to use your favorite kind.).  

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Make apple pie enchiladas tonight…you can thank me later

Cajun MAMA side note…people ask me all the time if my kids actually eat what I cook aka what I write about.  Yes and no.  Remember I have 4 kids.  4 kids with VERY  different taste buds, personalities, views, feelings…and the list goes on.  Sometimes one or 2 eat what I make.  Sometimes only 1 kid eats what I make.  When there is a blue moon, all 4 kids eat what I make and like it.  When the a full moon on Friday the 13th in a Leap year comes, they all LOVE it.  My point is…it is rare.  There are different schools of thought on this topic.  It can get kind of heated.  I suppose the reason why is that feeding and nurturing our children’s bodies is important to us as moms and dads.  We want to nurture them from the inside out.  When I was nursing them, I had to trust them to know what they needed and when they were full.  They were in charge.  i barely pumped so I just had to rely on their instincts and mine to know they were getting what they needed.  They always did.  Things changed when they got on baby food and solids.  My oldest was the pickiest of all picky eaters.  He has gotten somewhat better as he has gotten older or “more manly” as he calls it, but still his cautiousness as a person carries over to his willingness to try new things, including foods.  I don’t take this as a personal affront to me or my cooking.  I take this as a sign that he knows what he likes or what he is comfortable with.  I have been worried about him eating enough.  i have followed him around with food and begged him to eat, despite the fact that every magazine article and parenting book said not to do that.  Once I realized he was thriving and growing in spite of me…I kind of backed off.  My other kids have gotten increasingly better or more comfortable trying new foods and my youngest pretty much eats anything.  They tend to grow and thrive and life goes on.  Thank heavens.  Fighting and fussing over food is not worth it.  At the same time I am not going to not cook what I am interested in cooking or cater only to them.  We would candy with a side of hot dogs with a sno cone every night.  So we declared a truce.  I do my best to incorporate their favorite meals into my planning a few days a week.  But when I cook something new and they do not want to try it or do not like it, they eat something easy like cereal or waffles with fruit.  It works for us.  They are all growing up to be fine strong happy healthy human beings who most importantly have a voice about what they like or don’t like.  They are encouraged to try new things, but sometimes they are just not ready.  I am growing up as a mom with 10 years under my belt and I see that it usually all works out.  I am learning to trust myself.  Most importantly, I have learned to trust them.  

Cajun Mama’s Candied Pickles

If someone had told me a few months ago that I would be writing about the awesomeness of pickles…I would have called them crazy.  I mean, what kind of loon writes about pickles?  A pickle freak?  This weekend we went up to my inlaw’s lodge for a little R&R.  Much needed I can say that.  It was wonderful as always with an added twist.  Pickles my friends.  Yes, pickles.  Not just any pickles.  Sweet candied pickles with just enough heat to make them interesting.  Like me.  ha ha ha!!  Apparently all friends and family and lodgers know about these pickles except me.  Not sure what the deal was or if I have been purposely left out of the pickle loop (I am looking at you Debby!!  :)) or maybe because in the past I was pregnant so much I ignored pickles for everyone’s sake??  I really don’t know.  What matters is that I know now.  And they have been coined Cajun Mama’s Candied Pickles.  And a star is born.  I thought about keeping this recipe to myself.  But my sweet mother in law was so kind to share with me and I know the right thing is to share with my friends.  Now this recipe makes a huge batch of pickles but remember my mother in law runs a lodge and part of that is cooking meals and she serves these bad boys with supper every night.  I made the big batch recipe because I plan on sending samples to different friends just to get feedback.  And to get people hooked.  Mwahhahahahaha! (that’s my evil laugh if you don’t know).  I am sure you can cut the recipe in half if you want to, but truthfully the pickles last for a long time in the fridge so just make the whole batch.  Trust me, these pickles will be your new addiction.  We had them last night with our chicken and dumplings, purple hulls and cornbread.  Went just fine believe me.  

Cajun Mama’s Candied Pickles

Ingredients

1 gallon jug of hamburger slices (pickles)

6 tsp. garlic powder with parsley flakes

6 ounces of Louisiana hot sauce

4 pounds of sugar (yes, 4 pounds. Hence the name candied…)

Directions

Drain the pickles in a big colander.  No need to save the juice, but you do need to save the jar.  In a huge bowl, add your sugar (all 4 pounds…go on.  Just do it.  Yes, its so bad but so good), hot sauce,  and garlic powder.  My mother in law (aka Deb as I will refer to her from here on out) said to just stir it all up by hand.  I will warn you that it gets very sticky.  Push through this.  Just get it the sugar mixture mixed up a little.  Add in some pickles and  then mix by hand.  Add more pickles and continue to mix by hand until all of the pickles are mixed in.  Get those pickles in that juice friends.  Try to not lick your hands…but you will want to.  The juice is addictive.  

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Now what I did was just cover my big silver bowl well with saran wrap and store them in our outside fridge over night.  I had a rough evening last night and ended up being kind of bossy to Big Daddy and made him stir the pickles a few times in the evening. Then this morning, I transferred the pickles and that yummy juice back to the big jar.  

 Ok, ok…truth…I was more than a little bossy.  I would have given Hitler a run for his money.  As a Cajun MAMA side note let me give ya’ll a good piece of advice.  Don’t try to do it all.  You can not be it all to everyone.  You cannot push yourself until there is no more.  I mean you can, but you will eventually be setting yourself up for disaster.  As a stay at home mom, you would think I would have plenty of time to get everything done…you would be wrong.  As moms and dads, there is only so much of us to go around.  Heck as friends, daughters, sons, cousins, siblings…whatever your role…there is only so much of you to go around.  I know better and still yesterday I fell prey to the “just a little more”  mentally.  Everyone in my household lost with me in that state of mind.  I never sat down, did not enjoy my family, turned into a screaming frustrated banshee by 6 p.m. and was just in general ticked off.  That is no way to live.  Sure, life with kids, 4 kids, however many you have, 2 dogs and a cat and a husband…homework, suppertime, bath time (aka the Shamu halftime show in our house…geez Louise they make a mess), life is chaotic and overwhelming.  But when I try to throw in a bunch of extra stuff…I start to backslide.  Maybe it is just me.  I don’t know.  I just know that I should have just left it at making supper and making pickles.  The pickles turned out fabulous.  I am eating some as I type.  These computer keys are getting sticky.  🙂

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Love these pickles!!!!  

 

Slowcooker Caramel Apple Cider

Holy cow friends, this is one delicious recipe.  I have had this one for a while, just waiting for semi fall like weather to get here.  I needed to get my recipes turned into my editor for my Red River Moms column and since we are working on the November issue, I figured it was a perfect time to try it to test it out for my column.  Well I was not disappointed.  So. dang. good.  While it is cooking, it makes the whole house smell so inviting and tastes like Fall in a mug.  It is a copy cat Starbucks ecipe that I came across on Pinterest and I thought it sounded yummy.  I have never ordered it at Starbucks and actually  just noticed it for the first time on the menu the other day.  First sip and I was hooked!!  It warms in the crock pot making it fuss free to boot!!

You will need a small crock pot for this.  I used my 4.5 quart and it was a little too big.  It still worked fine though so if that is what you have you can use it and if you are making it for Halloween night or for guests arriving on a (hopefully) chilly Thanksgiving morning, this could and should be doubled and the 4.5 quart size would actually be perfect.

Slowcooker Caramel Apple Cider (adapted from crockpot 365 blog) 

Serves 4 but can easily be doubled

4 cups apple cider

3 Tablespoons caramel syrup (the ice cream topping…like Smuckers)

1/2 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

whipped cream in the can for topping and extra caramel syrup for drizzling

Directions

In a 2 quart slow cooker, combine all ingredients except whipped cream.  Whisk all ingredients together until good and combined.  “Cook” on low for around 4 hours.  Ladle into mugs and top with a good dollop of whipped cream and drizzle a little caramel syrup on top for good measure.  Now…call me crazy…but next time I am going to sprinkle a little fleur de sel (flaky salt) on top.  Because I am a sucker for salted caramel anything.

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Fall in a mug my friends!!!

Crockpot Italian Beef sandwiches

One of the first blogs I began following and paying attention to was Passionate Penny Pincher or PPP.  I really love her money saving  tips and I really love the recipes she puts on her blog.  i found this one last year and have made it time and time again.  This recipe requires very few ingredients and has so much flavor.  I really think if you give this recipe a try, you will be hooked!! Oh and the website address for the PPP website is http://www.passionatepennypincher.com.  Check her out.  She seems like a lovely person and has so much to offer.

Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches (from Passionate Penny Pincher)

Ingredients:

2-3 pound chuck roast

1 jar pepperoncini peppers

1 packet McCormick Au Jus gravy mix

hoagie buns

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The roast is in the slow cooker already, let the cooking begin!  Will post a pic of the final product later this evening!!

Directions:

place your chuck roast in your slow cooker.  Dump the jar of peppers and the juice on top of the roast.  Do not add any water.  Cook on low for 6-7 hours.  After it has cooked for 6 hours, remove roast from the slow cooker and put it on a plate.  Remove the peppers with a slotted spoon and throw them away.  Whisk in the au jus gravy mix into the liquid in the slow cooker.  Shred the roast and then return it to the slow cooker.  Let it cook on low for another 30 minutes or so the yummy liquid and the roast can mingle.  Now how I serve them is use a slotted spoon to spoon the meat onto the hoagie buns.  We eat them undressed and they are delicious that way, but feel free to serve fully dressed with lettuce, tomato, dijon mustard, and mayo.  A little provolone cheese melted over it would be lovely as well.  Oh let me not forget the most important part!!!  Ladle some of the yummy liquid/juice/gravy into a individual small bowls for dipping.  MMMMMMMMMM!!!

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Finished product…cue yummy noises

Southern Peppered Milk Gravy

Southern peppered milk gravy aka Pan dripping gravy aka that stuff you smother your biscuits with…the stuff you put on top of chicken fried steak and chicken fried chicken.  The stuff you would like to just take a bath in if only the pot was big enough.  No?  Just me?  Oh well..fair enough.  This stuff is seriously good and the epitome of Southern traditions.  I am ashamed to admit that I used to make country gravy out of the packet.  Never again, my friends.  Never again.   It really could not be easier to make pan dripping gravy.  I am not going to give instructions on making chicken fried chicken in this post.  I will later…but I am pretty sure you know how to fry.  If you really want the recipe for chicken fried chicken…let me know.  The key here is the pan dripping gravy.  You would think that the gravy would be the accessory to the cute outfit.  Um…no. The pan dripping gravy is the star of the show.  So I am using my time today to tell ya’ll how to make proper southern peppered milk gravy.

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I made gravy!!!  Real, Southern as all get out, milk gravy!!!  

Southern Peppered Milk Gravy (from Deep South Dish blog)

What you need:

pan drippings equal to 1/4 cup (whatever you fried, save some of the drippings and add in about 2 T. of bacon grease that you save from frying gravy…yeah this is not a health conscious recipe.  Life is short…make the gravy)

1/4 cup seasoned flour (so save the flour you used to dredge your meat in)

1 1/2 cups of milk (I prefer whole milk whenever possible)

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Ok…using a cast iron skillet is optimal here.  It’s fine if you choose not to or don’t have one, but I have found this definitely yielded the best results.  A small skillet is just fine.  So when you are almost done frying your meat or when you are ready for gravy I should say, spoon your reserved pan drippings in your skillet along with the bacon grease.  All together this should come to approximately 1/4 cup.  A little more won’t hurt.  This makes a good amount of gravy so no worries about doubling.  Over medium heat, warm the drippings and then start to sprinkle the reserved flour into the grease.  Whisk the flour dripping mixture as you sprinkle in the flour.  Stir constantly until it turns a pale blond shade.  Slowly whisk in the milk until it is fully blended with the dripping/flour mixture.  Whisk over medium heat as it begins to thicken.  Once mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat to low and let gravy simmer for a few minutes.  Add more milk if you want to get a thinner consistency.  Taste your gravy and then season to taste with salt and freshly ground cracked pepper.

Buh bye white gravy mix from the packet!!! As Big Daddy says, “It’s all about the gravy with you!!” Dang skippy!  Cajun mama is no fool!!! Enjoy!

Crockpot Chicken Burritos

You know those days when you want the comforting and familiar?  Today is one of those days.  This week I have been so pleasantly surprised by how great the new crock-pot recipes we have tried have been.  Seriously impressed ya’ll.  But today I woke up and looked around and feel like my house and chores have been neglected.  I know I need to get it together.  Being a stay at home mom is a job.  It is my job.  So no matter what you do for a living, I know you take it seriously and I do the same.  Laundry needs to be done, dishes, in general straightening.  And today is one of those days where I know I need to cry uncle and remind myself that I can’t do it all.  So instead of blogging about a recipe that I have not tried yet today, I am bringing you one of my all time favorite crock pot recipes.  It not only makes itself but it is pretty nutritious too.  Also it is very versatile and it can be as kid friendly as you want it to be.  It requires only a few ingredients that you most likely have and is just so darn good.  Everyone I have ever given this recipe to has raved about it and it has become a regular on their menu line up.    I hope you will try it out.  I am going to blog this recipe while I drink my second cup and then I am going get busy on this house.  Time to kick it into gear.  If I don’t do it, it won’t get done…ya’ll know what I mean!!

Crockpot chicken burritos (from Gooseberry Patch Slow Cooker Recipes)

Ingredients

6 chicken boneless, skinless chicken breasts (typically like 2 pounds)

1 can black beans, drained

1 can whole kernel corn, drained

1 16 oz. jar of salsa or picante sauce

tortillas

burrito fixings~shredded cheese, sour cream, diced onion…

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This is a picture of it when it is about to start cooking.  

Directions

Pour corn, black beans and salsa into the crockpot.  Lay your chicken breasts on top of the mixture.  Put the lid on the slow cooker and then cook on low for 5-6 hours or high for 7-8 (depending on your crockpot).

Remove chicken breasts from the slow cooker and shred them with two forks.  Return chicken back to crock pot and give it a good stir so the chicken and black beans, corn and salsa can get good and comfortable together.  You can serve right away or let it sit in the crock pot a while.

When you are ready, spoon some of the filling into your warmed tortillas and add shredded cheese and sour cream if desired.  Now the beauty of this recipe, is that it is so versatile.  You can serve it over rice, baked potatoes, or tortilla chips like nachos.  Make it your own.

Crock-pot Beef Stroganoff

So for those who don’t know, I am a “stay at home” mom.  You would think that this would leave plenty of time to cook lovely homemade nutritious meals every night.  It doesn’t.  That is what they tell you in the recruitment brochures, but they lie.  Don’t buy it girls.  It’s all lies!  Lies I tell you.  If you are a stay at home mom with a new baby, cooking a meal every night is not that easy.  Unless you are an octopus.  I am not.  If you are a stay at home mom with a bunch of little darlings underfoot every day, like I was not that long ago (4 under 5 at one point) it really doesn’t get much easier.  Someone is always falling, fighting, crying, needing to nurse, and on and on.  I realized the other day that we ate out or got takeout a whole bunch more when my kids were younger.  My point in saying all this is leading up to something…promise.  I tend to ramble.  I am Cajun remember?  I like to talk.  ha ha!!!  Ok anyway, I was “home” more when all the kids were home and I still didn’t have time to fix a meal many days.  If I did, I was out of something or forgot to defrost the meat.  Mommy brain and exhaustion (dynamic duo) can do that to you.  So…you would think that now that my kids are all in school…4th grade, 3rd grade, 1st grade and kindergarten that I would be able to lovingly prepare healthy and delicious homemade meals each night.  Yeah…I would like to tell you that I do.  I would love to tell you that it all comes together flawlessly each day.  Um..no.  Sure, I do cook.  Obviously I do.  I do a lot better with planning my meals these days, unless my cooking ADD kicks in.  BUT, you can plan all day, but the best plans can go astray when dealing in the world of kiddos.  Carpool. Homework.  Yeah, if I don’t get supper started before the monkeys, I mean darlings, get home, it is going to be a long night.  Or somebody is eating oatmeal.  I’m serious.  So…in theory I started this crock pot week for “ya’ll” but it was mighty fine to have supper cooking while I went about my daily business of eating bon bons and watching soaps.  bahahahaha!!  I wish.  🙂  So I thought to myself as I was serving up those bowls of potato soup how nice it would be for my friends who work outside the home to have a good meal fixed when they get home.  Especially if you have kids and after school activities.  This just spurred me on.  Especially after that potato soup was a WINNER!!!  I have really high hopes for this beef stroganoff so we shall see.  It is cooking right now so no pics yet, but again I will update.  I really hope ya’ll are with me on this crock pot revolution…I need another crock pot though.  

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Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff (from The Crockstar blog…I love that name!)

Ingredients

2 pounds cubed stew meat (I cut up a 2 lb. chuck roast into cubes)

2 cans Condensed Golden Mushroom soup

1 large onion, diced

3 Tablespoons Worcestershire 

1/2 cup water

8 oz. cream cheese 

salt and pepper, garlic powder, whatever seasoning you like….but I would wait until it has cooked a while to add)

egg noodles, cooked to your liking 

In a medium size bowl, whisk together the soups, water, Worcestershire.  Pour into the slow cooker.  Now add your meat.  Cook on low for 6-7 hours (it says 8 but mine never takes the full 8 hours)…turn the crockpot on high and cut cream cheese into cubes and stir it in.  Put lid back on and cook for about 10 minutes or until the cream cheese is combined.  

Serve over egg noodles.