Chicken Potpie

There is something about comfort food isn’t there?  It seems to warm you from the inside out.  It takes the chill out of a cold rainy day or the sting off of a bad day.  Experts say we shouldn’t eat our feelings and I definitely agree, but there is nothing wrong with gathering around the table and enjoying a meal.  Or chatting with a good friend over a cup of coffee…and a slice of pie.  🙂  It is a basic human right to connect with others.  When my babies were well…babies…I could instantly soothe them by nursing them.  It wasn’t the milk that comforted them…it was the closeness between us.  I think that is the connection we have with comfort food.   Give a child a warm cookie and a glass of milk and sit there…see what happens.  Heck, give Big Daddy a warm cookie and a glass of milk and sit there…he will be more than happy to talk while the cookies keep coming.  Same thing with this potpie.  I know I call a lot of the food I post about “magical” and maybe in a way I believe it is.  Sometimes for me, the difference between a good day and a bad day is knowing I am cooking something good for my family for supper.  I can’t control how they do on their test, if they had someone to play with on the playground or if Big Daddy had a good day at the office…but a good meal?  THAT I can do.  I am a big believer in do what you can, where you are, with what you have.  I guess maybe cooking is that way for me.  I cannot control many things, but I can control whether or not my family has something yummy to eat for supper.  And by sharing that with you, I guess I am in a way trying to help you out a little too.  This world can be overwhelming, heartbreaking, scary, and many other things sometimes…the simple things will always be the things we come back to time and time again no matter how many fancy technological gadgets we have.  Sitting around the table sharing a meal is time tested.  We know that works.  Which brings me to this wonderful chicken pot pie recipe I have for you today.

Chicken potpie is one of my favorite dishes.  When I was little, I loved the Swanson potpies and as I got older I would order it at restaurants.  I finally found a recipe that fulfills my potpie desires AND now I can have potpie any time I want.  Well, anytime I want to cook one.  Bonus, one of my little girls love chicken potpie as much as her mama and she loves this recipe.  Oddly enough, this is the very first Paula Deen recipe I saw her make on her show when my friend Kylie introduced me to Paula Deen back in 2004 and i was pregnant with that same little girl.  I craved chicken potpie during that pregnancy and needed to find a way to get some.  Funny how that works.  Plus, this recipe makes two potpies if you want it to or you can freeze extra filling.  This potpie recipe makes enough for two potpies, so you can either make both and take one to a friend who could use a good meal or simply freeze the extra filling in some Tupperware for another time.   I adapted this recipe from Paula Deen’s Lady and Sons chicken potpie recipe.  I added potatoes and more carrots and peas.  Other than that, this recipe is just absolutely delicious and perfect.  Now, I followed the original recipe instructions for the dough, but I will tell you an easier and in my opinion, better way, to do the crust.  The original called for puff pastry dough, but here I will tell you how to use a basic roll out pie crust.

Perfect Chicken Potpie (adapted from Lady and Sons’ Chicken Potpie recipe)

Ingredients:

4 roll out pie crusts (Pillsbury or store brand)

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts,

salt and pepper

2 T. cooking oil

1/3 cup butter

2/3 cup all purpose flour

1 quart (4 cups) heavy cream

1/4 cup chicken base (this is typically located near the canned soups and broths on the top shelf…I tell you this because when I made this recipe the first time, I had NO idea what chicken base was and could not find it.  Chicken base (and beef) are your best friends when it comes to gravy making or in this potpie.)

1 Tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 small yellow onion, diced fine

1 1/2 cups of frozen pea, cooked

1 1/2 cups of chopped cooked carrots

1 cup diced potatoes, cooked

Pinch of nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Roll out one Pillsbury or store brand pie crust.  Lay it in a 9 ” pie plate.  (If you are prepping 2 potpies, then do the same for another pie crust).  Bake your crust(s) in your preheated oven until it is lightly browned.  About 8 minutes.  This ensures that your potpie is evenly cooked throughout.  Leave your oven on 350 degrees after you take the crust out and set aside.

Filling:

Cut your chicken breasts up into 1 ” cubes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add chicken and saute until cooked through. Remove from heat and transfer chicken to a plate.  (you can use precooked chicken or bake chicken breasts in the oven and then cut up)

You can use canned pea, carrots and potatoes.   I throw the frozen peas, cut up fresh carrots and potatoes into a pot with the veggies just covered with water.  I bring them to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer until the carrots and potatoes are just tender enough.  Usually about 15 minutes.  I get this going before I start cooking the chicken and the process moves along nicely.  Drain the veggies in a colander when they are tender.  Set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt butter and then slowly whisk in flour, stirring until it is the consistency of peanut butter. Do not brown it and stir it constantly for about 2 minutes or so.  Slowly whisk in the cream and continue to stir.  Add chicken base, garlic and onion and stir until thickened.  Add the cooked peas, carrots, and potatoes and nutmeg, if using.  Add your cooked chicken.  Give it a good stir to combine and then remove from heat.

Pour the filling into the pie crusts (s).  If you are only making one potpie, Pour until the filling almost reaches the top of the pie crust.  About an inch under.  Top with other pie crust and then bake in the oven until the top crust is nicely browned.  About 20 minutes.

Let it cool and then serve.  You are in your happy place.  Comfort food nirvana.  Enjoy!!!

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Comfort food at its finest…just add a glass of milk

chicken piccata stuffed mushrooms

I am a traditional girl at heart.  But then I’m not.  I love my roots but I love my wings.  I just don’t use my wings to stray very far from my roots…so to speak.  I may live in Shreveport and I have grown to love it here, my last name is Bowlin, but I will always be Aimee Marie Mayeux deep down. I like to mix who I am now with who I will always be and make this life my own.  Staying stuck in the past is never fun because then we cannot grow, change and adapt…that makes life too hard.  It is all about balance my friends.  This all carries into my cooking.  Everything Thanksgiving, no matter how many wonderful dressing recipes I come across or try, I will make without fail my Momee’s cornbread dressing.  I absolutely love it.  But also, when I make it, my kitchen kind of smells like her’s used to when we walked in on Thankgiving morning.  It is like my cousin and one of my best friends, Robin, is right there with me with a spoon and we are sneaking bites behind Momee’s back.  But I will try new things too.  I may make another dressing recipe, but it will be served alongside Momee’s recipe because any other way just feels wrong.  When I have a Christmas get together or any party, I like to mix my favorites with new things.  This recipe I bring to you today is one of those new things.  I found it in a Paula Deen Christmas magazine and made it for my ornament exchange.  They are a wonderful, flavor filled addition to any festive party spread.  I love chicken Piccata and I love mushrooms, so it stands to reason these would be high up on my list.  The capers are optional but ya’ll, I call them necessary.   I will be honest and say I don’t know what capers are…and I am ok with not knowing.  They are delicious.  The only thing I would alter about this recipe the next time I make them is to give the chicken a few pulses in the food processor.  I think it would make for a better texture for the filling and certainly make it easier to put the filling in the mushroom caps.  Also, sprinkling the tops with some panko crumbs and then brushing the tops with a little melted butter to give them a little color.  I tried these on a whim and I am so happy I did.

Chicken Picatta Stuffed mushrooms 

(a recipe from Paula Deen magazine Christmas edition)

Ingredients 

2 pounds button mushrooms (white mushrooms)
6 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup minced green onions
1 tablespoon minced capers *(it says optional on the recipe but without the capers these will not taste very picatta-ish (is that a word? Lol)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon  kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup cooked chicken, finely diced, or chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup dry white wine (cooking wine is fine)
4 oz. cream cheese (that’s half a block)
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup (half a stick) of butter, melted

Directions 

So preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Remove stem from mushroom caps and set caps aside. Dice enough stems to equal one cup and discard the rest.
Melt the 6 tablespoons of butter over medium heat in a skillet.  Saute the diced stems, green onions, capers, salt and pepper and thyme.  Saute this for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Stir in chicken and wine. Cook another 5 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Add in cream cheese and Panko and stir until combined.
Fill each mushroom cap with a tablespoon of the mixture.  Bake in oven for about 20 minutes.
Serve hot.  Get ready to watch those babies disappear.  It is truly a festival for your mouth!!  You will be the star of any get together when you set these out.

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I am telling you…these are delish!!

 

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I am a little older now, but this girl still lives in my heart…try new things, but always keep your favorites close.  I think I wore that dress out.  I loved it!

Cajun Mama Special Potatoes

Pregnancy can do some crazy things to a woman.  4 pregnancies in 5 years can really do some stuff.  Those 5 years were full of many things.  Joy, tears, worry, excitement, anticipation, love, laughter, tears, snuggles, cravings, chaos and oh yeah…potatoes.  Not just any potatoes my friends…my SPECIAL potatoes.  These special potatoes were an evolution of sorts.  This recipe came about long before Cajun Mama Cooks and back when I didn’t cook as much as I do now.

I have always loved twice baked potatoes and in college I used to buy the…gasp…frozen kind.  I know.  Yikes!!  But I liked them.  And then we got married and I started cooking more.  Money was tight and I figured I would give it a try making them on my own.  So I would bake potatoes and scoop them out and make the filling and then put it back in.  They were pretty good but then I got pregnant and then pregnant again.  And again.  My morning sickness was constant and severe and potatoes seemed to make me feel better.  I wanted to swim in a big ole bowl of stuffed potatoes.  Big Daddy really got into grilling and we loved those potatoes with whatever he grilled, but all that scooping and filling was not my bag.  Plus with a bunch of little precious darlings/minions running around, who had time for that?  Not me.  So one day, I was going to make mashed potatoes so I peeled and cut up a bunch of potatoes and boiled them.  But being an impulsive, hungry, pregnant (again) woman…I decided to make what is now affectionately known as my special potatoes.  Oh ya’ll…they are so good.  The beauty of these potatoes is that they are the perfect side dish.  They are laid back enough for barbecue but pretty enough to go on the side of prime rib roast.  They go so well with either.  Or maybe I say this because I have found a way to cook them all year round, regardless of the season.  Oh well…they are really good and 3/4 of my kiddos love them, making them miraculous potatoes in my book.  And I have picked up a few short cuts and tweaked this recipe a bit to where they are almost perfect.

My old neighbor and dear friend , Stacie,  LOVES these potatoes and when I made them I would  bring her some leftovers to take for her lunch at work the next day whenever I could.  She is still my loyal and wonderful friend  after all these years, even though she has seen me through 2 pregnancies and been there with all 4 kids crying at the same time…so maybe these are magical potatoes.  She still comes around even though we have moved.  They really are that good.  So give them a try and at the very least your kids or husband/wife or both might just go into a carb coma after they eat a bowl of these.  You will get some quiet time.  Magical potatoes indeed.  No really, make them.  You will be so happy you did.

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I want to grab a big ole serving spoon and gobble them up!!!

Cajun Mama’s Special Potatoes

Makes about 8-10 servings, depending on size of serving.

Ingredients

1 package of Ore-Ida steam and mash potatoes (found by frozen french fries) cooked according to package directions

OR

6 medium sized potatoes, peeled, diced and boiled until tender then drained. (I use the steam and mash whenever possible.  If you have not bought these before you should try them…takes all prep work out of mashed potatoes but they are real potatoes…not boxed)

8 oz. sour cream

1/2 stick butter

2 green onions, chopped (green parts only)

5 slices of bacon, fried and then crumbled ( I have used real bacon crumbles before when pressed for time…just keeping it real folks. 🙂

kosher salt and black pepper

Tony’s seasoning

2  cups cheddar cheese, evenly divided

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish.

Cook your potatoes, whichever kind you decide to use.  While they are still hot, dump them into the bowl of your stand mixer or a large mixing bowl.  Add sour cream.  You can add more or less depending on your taste.  Add salt and pepper and tony’s, about 1/2 tsp. of each.  You can more later to taste if you wish.  Mix on low speed until well combined.  Add more salt and pepper, tony’s  or sour cream if you want at this point. Add green onions, crumbled bacon  and 1 cup of the cheddar cheese and mix until this is all combined.

Taste for seasoning and add to it if you wish.  Add in some Tony’s at this point too.  Again, according to your tastes.

Transfer the potatoes to your greased dish.  Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup of cheese.  Bake for about 25 minutes or until cheese is melted and all bubbly.  Serve on the side of whatever meat dish will ultimately pale in comparison to these special delicious wonderful fantastic potatoes.  I really love these potatoes if I have not made that clear.

Hope ya’ll love them as much as I do.

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

Yes…you read that title correctly.  Chocolate bourbon pecan pie.  And it is every bit as delicious as you would imagine.  It is Thanksgiving and Christmas and all good things rolled into one.  It is traditional pecan pie but so much more.  I came across this recipe one lucky day…before pinterest. Shocking I know!!  I gave it a try that Christmas and we were blown away.  Friends who came to Christmas dinner wanted to take an entire pie home.  It is that good.  The best thing about this pie is that it is easy to prepare and yet it tastes so fabulous it seems as if you have spent hours preparing it.  This pie will have people beating down your door to be friends with you, get you into the best holiday parties, heck it is so good they might throw  a party in your honor!!  Ok…I may be embellishing a little but I assure you making this pie for your friends and family can’t hurt anything.  Oh it is so good.  So give it a try.  I promise you have totally got this!  So get to baking…Cajun Mama says so.  Sorry…I know that was bossy…but I like to pretend ya’ll listen to me…the people who live in my house with me certainly don’t.  I am pretty sure they hear a series of dolphin squeaks when I speak.  Ha ha!  But really…sigh.

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

(From Southern Living Nov. 1998)

Yields  one 9 inch pie

Ingredients 

1/2 package refrigerated pie crusts

4 large eggs, room temperature

1 cup light corn syrup

6 tablespoons butter, melted

1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

3 tablespoons bourbon

1 tablespoon all purpose flour

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lay pie crust in a 9 inch pie plate, taking care to fold edges under and crimp

Whisk together eggs, light corn syrup, and the following 6 ingredients until mixture is smooth.  Stir in chopped pecans and chocolate chips.  Pour into pie crust.

Bake on the lowest oven rack for 1 hour or until set.  Mine took exactly an hour and then I let it cool for about 45 minutes and it was perfectly set.

ImageYeah…it is even better than it looks.  Promise.

PW’s meatloaf and BB’s honey carrots

I love meatloaf.  I love meatloaf sandwiches.  I am speaking out today on behalf of meatloaf lovers everywhere.  This post is for you. My mama always made cheese stuffed meatloaf and I always loved it but when I moved out, I could never quite make it as well so I found other recipes and tried them out.  They just didn’t hit the spot.  Then I had kids and meatloaf making kind of went by the way side for a few years.  Then they got a little older and my oldest and my pickiest eater loved meatballs, burgers, and hamburger steak so I had a hunch he might like meatloaf.  I found a Paula Deen recipe and he loved it.  Definite winner.  Sadly, when we moved last year, I lost the magazine that the recipe was in and I have tried to find it again but I can’t.  I have googled it, searched pinterest for it.  Nothing.  To be honest, he loved that recipe, but I could go either way on it so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to branch out and find some new meatloaf recipes.  Boy did I find a good one.  Oddly enough, I have Pioneer Woman’s cookbooks and I know I have seen this recipe but I never made it until Big Daddy told me he had a hankering for meatloaf the other day.  So I set out and sure enough…this recipe came up when I googled best meatloaf recipes.  Yep, apparently google knows good meatloaf.  Big Daddy almost made himself sick on this meatloaf.  I am not lying.  It went so well with some mac and cheese and BB’s honey carrots (as my kids call them and BB is what they call her).  Now, my oldest did not try it.  He decided to pass, which is not unusual for him with a new dish.  The majority of the fam liked it so I considered it a win.  I think he found the bacon on top off putting.  None the less, whether or not you or your family care for meatloaf, if you are just wanting to experiment and are wanting an awesome meatloaf in your repertoire, this is a great place to start.  Oh and the leftovers make a delicious sandwich for lunch the next day.  Can’t beat that.

I made a few additions to this recipe and I have a few suggestions for what I will do next time, but this recipe can be found on The Pioneer Woman’s website/blog and in her cookbook.

Pioneer Woman’s favorite meatloaf 

2 lbs. ground chuck

1 cup whole milk

6 slices of white sandwich bread

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 tsp. seasoned salt

3/4 tsp. Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup flat leaf parsley (I omitted this as my kids tend to find any “green stuff” in their meat off putting)

*I add some Mexi-cajun seasoning to mine.  My friend Shelley makes it and it is so good.  I put about 1/2 tsp. in my meat

4 whole eggs, beaten

10 slices thin (not thick cut or center cut) bacon

1 1/2 cup ketchup

1/3 brown sugar

1 tsp. dry mustard

a few shakes of Tabasco or LA hot sauce or to taste

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium size bowl, pour milk over the bread slices.  Allow the milk to soak in for a few minutes.  Prepare your 9 x 13 baking dish by covering the bottom and sides with aluminum foil. Trust me on this. If you have a rack that fits in your baking dish or pan, use it.  It will allow the fat to drip down.  Again…trust me.

In a separate bowl, add your ground chuck, Parm, seasonings and milk soaked bread.  Pour in the beaten eggs.  With clean hands, mix the ingredients until well combined.

Lay bacon slices over the top.  Tuck the ends of the slices under the meatloaf.

Make the sauce:  add ketchup, brown sugar, dry mustard,and hot sauce in a mixing bowl.  Whisk this together.  Pour 1/3 of this mixture over the top of the bacon.  Spread with a spoon.

Bake the meatloaf for 45 minutes and then pour another 1/3 of the sauce over the top.  Bake for another 15 minutes.  Slice and serve with the remaining sauce on the side.

BB’s Honey carrots (an all star side if there ever was one.  Tasty and sweet, but still carrots and your kids are eating carrots so that makes them healthy…ish…healthier than say french fries…so score one for you!!  And they have honey for the main ingredient and how can that be bad?)

Stuff you need~

1 pound bag of carrots, peeled and sliced

1/2-1/3 cup of honey

2-3 Tablespoons sugar

1 Tablespoon butter, optional (this just makes them a little richer but not necessary at all)

Add carrots to a medium sauce pan.  Cover with water plus a little more.  Add honey and sugar and butter if you are using it.  Bring to a boil uncovered.  Reduce to a simmer, cover and let them cook until fork tender and some of the water has evaporated out.  Perfect.  These goes great with baked chicken and rice and gravy as well.  Just saying.  Enjoy.

 

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Is your mouth watering?  Mine is and i just ate the rest last night.  You won’t be disappointed.

5 ingredient white chicken chili

Hey ya’ll!!  It has been a little bit of a chaotic week so I have not posted yet and I apologize BUT I am going to make it up to ya’ll by posting a crazy yummy recipe.  I put this one in my column in Red River Moms a few months back and I have gotten lots of good feedback.  I think ya’ll will like it and best thing is it only requires 5 main ingredients.  You can add the optional toppings but the basic recipe calls for 5 things!  I figured since many of you do not get an issue of Red River Moms, you might not have seen it.  You can always view the issues of Red River Moms online though at http://www.shreveporttimes.com/section/redrivermoms if you want to.  Just a little FYI for you in case you are interested.  But just in case, I am going to post this deliciously easy and real recipe for you here today.  It is a soup recipe.  Ya’ll know I love soup and this one is a WINNER!!! 

5 ingredient White Chicken Chili (I found this at http://www.gimmesomeoven.com)

servings 2-4 

Total cook time 15 minutes (this includes prep)

Ingredients:

6 cups chicken broth (I use reduced sodium)

4 cups shredded chicken (you can use rotisserie or you can bake 3 chicken breasts or about 1 lb. and shred that…either is great)

2 15 oz. cans of Great Northern beans, drained 

2 cups Salsa Verde (she gives you a link to make your own…but I bought mine at Brookshires.  It is near the other picante sauce and salsas…Ethnic foods aisle)

2 tsp. ground cumin 

optional toppings: diced avocados, chopped fresh cilantro, shredded Monterey jack or cheddar cheese, sour cream, crumbled tortilla chips (I made my own and I will tell you how below)

Instructions:

Add chicken broth, shredded chicken, beans, salsa, and cumin to a medium saucepan or small stockpot.  Stir to combine.  Heat over medium high heat until it comes to a boil.  Lower heat and let it come to a simmer, cover.  Let it simmer for at least 5 minutes.  Serve warm with which ever additional toppings you like. 

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So hearty and flavorful…perfect for a chilly fall night

Homemade tortilla strips

Now, this is very simple.  Preheat your oven to about 325 degrees. Get you some corn tortillas.  I take about 5 at a time and cut them longways into strips and then cut the strips in half.   Spray a baking sheet with some cooking spray.  Lay your strips on the baking sheet.  Bake until the strips are crispy.  About 10 minutes give or take.  Remove from oven and let them cool.  Voila!  You made your own tortilla strips!!  Yay you!!!

Cajun bean and ham soup and a side of fire

I really enjoy Mandy at South Your Mouth’s blog so much.  She is sassy, knows good food, and is best of all Southern as all get out.  This chick knows her stuff.  So a few weeks ago, she posted a recipe for cajun bean and ham soup.  I was intrigued.  The picture made my mouth water.  I have had friends who have made the 15 bean soup with the packaged 15 bean soup mix.  I have certainly noticed the package in the store when I was there picking up my Camellia red beans but I typically pass right on by.  Well I read her blog post about the cajun bean and ham soup and noticed she mentioned that this recipe calls for the CAJUN 15 bean soup mix and that many people have a hard time finding the Cajun variety.  I was in Brookshires a few weeks ago and I was getting my red beans and I noticed the 15 bean soup mix.  Then right next to it, I saw the Cajun 15 bean soup mix.  I thought “score!!!” and I picked up a package.  I figured why not and I would cook them and blog the recipe soon anyway.  I had mentioned we went to my inlaw’s last weekend.  Granny made a ham (is there any thing better than baked ham?) and naturally I asked her “hey, what are you going to do with your ham bone?”  What?  That is a perfectly normal question to ask someone.  Isn’t it?  LOL!!!  Give me the ham bone and no one gets hurt!!!  She told me I could take the ham bone home no problem.  So operation cajun bean and ham soup was ready to launch.  Elusive cajun 15 bean soup mix?  Check.  Ham bone?  Check.  Houston we have lift off!  Yesterday morning, I knew the day had come.  I cooked those bad boys nearly all day in my big ole red Lodge Corner dutch oven with that ham bone right along with it.  Ya’ll.  LSU won and this soup was a winner.  Yesterday was a GOOD day.  Best part is that there is plenty left over for us to eat this evening.  Big Daddy’s aunt is visiting today and we are taking the kids to Dixie Farms today for a little Fall fun in the corn maze and pumpkin patch.

Now let me give ya’ll this tip.  Best thing in the world is to bake a ham one day and have that for supper.  And then the next day make this soup or a batch of red beans and rice the next night.  You can do all sorts of things with a ham and eat on that thing for several days.  That’s a trick my mama taught me.  Anyway, let me stop my yapping and give ya’ll this recipe so I can go get ready.

Cajun bean and ham soup (adapted from South Your Mouth blog)

Ingredients

1 package Cajun 15 bean soup mix  (I found mine at Brookshires…I will check other stores and let ya’ll know) *

1 big ole ham bone

8 cups of water

2 cups chopped ham

Directions

Now I started out by bringing the beans to a  boil (don’t add the packet of seasoning just yet) and then reducing heat so they are simmer for about 30 minutes on their own.  I then added the hambone and continued to simmer them for about an hour.   Then I stirred in the seasoning packet, put on the lid and let them simmer for about 3 hours.  Stir from time to time to make sure they are not sticking.  After about 4 hours, remove the ham bone and trim away all the extra meat off the bone.  Add this meat back to the pot along with the additional 2 cups of chopped ham.  Give it a good stir to get the ham good and mixed in.  Put the lid back on and continue cooking on low for another 2 hours or until beans are tender.  Remember to stir from time to time to ensure the beans don’t stick.  Serve over some rice with some cornbread and you are set.  Perfect meal for football watching on a lovely fall evening.  Enjoy!!

*If you cannot find the cajun 15 bean soup mix, you can use the regular 15 bean soup mix which should be fairly easy to find.  I will be honest and say I debated on whether or not to put in the seasoning packet because they tasted so good without it.  Mandy mentions in her post that she could not find the cajun 15 bean soup mix where she lives and she came up with her own seasoning blend to add to make it very close.  She adds  1 tsp. granulated garlic and kosher salt, 1/2 tsp. each dried oregano, dried thyme, onion powder and black pepper and 1 bay leaf.

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Words cannot express how delicious these are…

A side of Cajun Mama…On the way home from dropping the kids off at school yesterday, I heard the song We Didn’t Start the Fire by Billy Joel.  Big Daddy always picks on me because I listen to the words of songs too closely and naturally I did the same thing this time.  I have heard that song dozens of times, but have not really paid attention as an adult.  Back in high school, I liked that song.  As an adult, I love it.  It has a whole new meaning.  We didn’t start the fire.  It was always burning since the world’s been turning…for some reason on a rainy Halloween day, those words gave me peace and comfort.   I am not a girl to speak of political things in mixed company.  My daddy taught me this from a very young age.  I remember asking him who he was voting for in a presidential election at dinner one night and he looked at me and said “my baby that is not something you ask people.”  Boy in the age of Facebook and everyone feeling free to air their political beliefs, I am really glad he took the time to raise my awareness of that.  This side of Cajun mama is NOT a political statement.  It is simply me saying that the words of that song or the We didn’t start the fire part gave me comfort.  Let’s face it, whatever side you are on, things are looking pretty scary these days.  It is hard to know which way to turn or who to believe.  Those words spoke to me yesterday.  We didn’t start the fire…it has always been burning.  Look at our grandparents and great grandparents (I had the pleasure of knowing some of mine and I am blessed for that)…they survived so many things in their time.  Still here to speak about it.  My Momou is 92 years old.  She has seen the fire.  She still has fire in her eyes.  She stayed her course.  Raised 5 kids, cooked meals, celebrated holidays and I think she has close to 20 great grands, as she calls them.  Steadfast and sturdy and continuing on.  The smart ones discuss the fire.  The wise ones continue with what they are doing and let that fire burn.  There is cooking to be done, dirty kiddos to be bathed, boo boos to be kissed, and laundry to be done…no time to concern myself with that fire.  I see it.  Oh yeah, just like Momou did, but it won’t stop me from doing what needs to be done or steal my joy as I do it.  The fire will continue to burn on and on after we are gone.  In this world where we preach about doing good for others, thinking of others not ourselves, it is still very easy in the dark of night or the first light of day when we are watching the news to think that surely this may soon be the end of us all.  It won’t be.  Just like cajun mamas before me were cooking red beans and rice long before any of us, we will endure and survive.  Life will go on and there is always hope.  The fire is burning and as adults we feel the heat more and more every day…that does not mean it begins and ends with us.  As Billy Joel says, it will still burn on and on and on.  While we are on this Earth, we may stoke the fire, add to it our fuel, but we didn’t start it and we are not going to put it out. ~AMB

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My girls and our beloved Momou…what fire?  🙂