Funny thing about how friendships transpire. Especially friendships between mommies. You meet so many times, over and over, again. Usually in a rush. Frazzled. Looking for one kid while nursing another. Then you factor in personalities, the time it takes to develop a friendship and it is a wonder mommies ever make friends. We see the same people all the time, yet it seems hard to establish a good friendship. But sometimes, you get lucky. Even after several awkward run ins and very different personalities, you get lucky enough to get a glimpse of her. You know who I am talking about. The woman she is. Actually, the girl. That person she was before she had 1,2,3,4 kids and was exhausted. And you really like her. And your kids just love one another. And because you are both displaced Central and South Louisiana girls living in Shreveport, you form a close bond and form some sort of pseudo family. That is what happened between my very dear, probably one of my best, friends, Betsy. I won’t go in to much more of our back story, as it is long, but what you need to know is how very much I love her and that even though they now live in South Louisiana and we don’t talk as much as we used to (every day, numerous times) she is always with me in some form or fashion. I am so grateful for our friendship and that we still remain very much a part of one another’s lives. One thing we bonded over was recipes. Betsy loves to eat. She will tell you that. I am pretty sure she has a hollow leg, but that chick likes good food. Her husband is a man of several talents. Surgeon during the week and on the weekends he becomes super dad and chef extraordinaire. I am not sure if every surgeon knows their way around a kitchen like he does and comes with awesome recipes like he does…but this guy has it. So of course, friend wise, I hit the double jackpot. So one day when Betsy was preggers with her fourth baby and we worked together at a local Mother’s Day Out, she brought out two Glad containers full of something so delicous I could not even stand it. Pastalaya. Say what? Yes, you heard me. Take out the rice from jambalaya and add in pasta and you have this amazing dish. Matt had made some and she wanted to share. I told ya’ll she is a good friend. I wanted this recipe. I needed it. I was forcefully driven to get it. Make it. Could I? Did I dare? Could I recreate the deliciousness that was Pastalaya? Well, I was dang sure going to try. So, I did. And it was so good. So now, even though we are miles apart, when I want to make this dish, I pull out the food stained sheet of paper with the recipe Matt wrote for me in his handwriting. And I feel a little closer to them. I miss her, them, still terribly. It is not the same but it is still there. Good friendships never die. They are solidified in memories and smiles and good times and if you are lucky, some really delicious recipes. So, today I share not only a recipe for Pastalaya with you. I share the joy, good times, and memories that come along with it. Even still, when our two families are able to get together (that would be 8 kids and 4 adults), we enjoy good food and more love and laughter than our hearts can hold. It took us a while to make that connection, but thank heavens, it stuck. I hope that you make it for some people you know really well or hope to get to know better…I can’t promise it will create an Aimee/Betsy bond, but it dang sure can’t hurt. Special friends, like really special recipes, don’t come along that often, but when they do…you should hold on to them. ~AMB
Two of our sweet girls on Halloween 2011
Our boys, Halloween, same year
Our collective bunch 2013…that’s a lot of kiddos…and a lot of love
I love her…that is all. She is better than pastalaya.
Stuff you Need:
1 pack bacon
1 pack andouille sausage
1 pack boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 cans chicken broth (I use reduced sodium)
2 cans cream of mushroom
1 onion, chopped
1-2 tsp. Kitchen Bouquet (this can be found near the condiments usually)
a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
Tony’s seasoning, to taste
12 oz. of UNCOOKED thin spaghetti
What to do with the stuff:
Cut your bacon, sausage, and chicken thighs to bite size pieces. Cook on medium high heat in a large pot. Add a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce and a few shakes of Tony’s while the meat is cooking. When the meats are almost cooked, stir in chopped onion. Let this cook for a few minutes until onions are tender and meat is completely done. Now, stir in chicken broth. Let this sit for 5 minutes. Stir in a teaspoon or two of Kitchen Bouquet (Matt always says a cap full of so) to darken. Next, stir in the cream of mushroom and let this all sit for about 5 minutes. Now, you are going to add the uncooked pasta and let this all cook on a low fire until the noodles are tender. I give mine a few quick stirs during the cooking process to make sure nothing is sticking. Serve with a lovely green salad and some garlic bread. Let the inner Cajun in you rejoice!!!
*I am making this dish this weekend, so I will take a nice photo to post for ya’ll!!!