Bisquick Chicken Potpie

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Drool worthy yet so simple…it can only be Bisquick potpie!

Here is the scenario.  You drove to Monroe and back to pick up 2 of your kids from your mother in law.  You have been up since 5 because your husband and youngest were up insanely early to go turkey hunting.  You are wiped out.  You know these little people you are raising and your biggest baby (mine is called Big Daddy) are going to have to eat something.  Ya’ll ate out last night and the budget does not allow another meal splurge (keeping it real people, that is all…no money tree growing in our yard and going out to eat with 4 kids is expensive no matter where you go).  You have some cooked chicken breasts in the fridge, so what now?  Yeah, this is not a hypothetical scenario.  That was me last night.  Ya’ll know when you are feeding a hungry bunch of monkeys that you have to think on your feet and fast.  If the natives get restless, they may rebel.  Cannot have that.  Keep them fed.  And so I do.  When mommy is tired and kiddos are hungry, Bisquick potpie is always a good fast choice.  Yes, yes, it has Bisquick in it. Bisquick has preservatives, gluten or whatever in it.  You can always take the high road and make your own…or suck it up and use the flipping Bisquick already in the pantry.  That is what I did.  I don’t tend to stand on the high ground when it comes to feeding my kids.  I like the middle ground.  It is solid, grounded in tradition and allows me to keep my ever fleeting grip on reality.  So if you are like me and love you some middle ground, keep reading.  Ok, we all here?  Alright!  This potpie is so warm, comforting, filling and fast to throw together.  Added bonus, there are veggies (canned, yes) in there.  The kids are so preoccupied with the buttery tasty crust that they actually get a veggie in their pie holes, I mean, precious little mouths.  he he he.  🙂  I am so kidding.  Unless you thought it was funny then I was dead serious.  Wink Wink!  So, if you want to know how to get a good meal on the table fast, this is the post for you. ~AMB

Bisquick Chicken Potpie

Serves 6 

Stuff you need for the filling~

1 chicken breast, cooked and cut up into 1 inch pieces

1 cup of peas and carrots (I use a small can, drained)

1 cup cooked potatoes (I use a half of a regular size can because they don’t make the small cans…get on that Del Monte)

1 can cream of chicken soup (I have used cream of celery and I rather it that way)

*For the crust~

1 cup Bisquick mix

1 egg

1/2 cup milk 

What to do with the stuff~

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a 9″ pie dish or round dish, combine soup, chicken, and veggies.  Now, in a separate bowl, combine Bisquick, milk and eggs.  Pour this over the the chicken/veggie mixture.  Pop it in the oven for about 25 minutes or until crust is nice and brown.  *I double the recipe for the crust usually because my kiddos really like it.  

 

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He loves this potpie.  His sweet smile gives it away.  He had 2 helpings.

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Double the crust means double the smiles around the table (for about 5 minutes then chaos resumes…but I take what I can get)

 

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Callie’s Ham Salad

This must be my week to try new things.  I cannot recall having ham salad before and to be honest I was a tad bit reluctant  to try it.   I love most things that include the word salad…tuna salad, potato salad, definitely chicken salad, egg salad..but ham salad?  Yes, ham salad.  Now, I know lots of people are very familiar with ham salad but not me, so forgive my innocence or what I call now…my ignorance.  Several recipes for ham salad have caught my eye, and I have kind of planned to make it, but the minute I saw this little beauty, I knew I would have to make it.   Like now.  Cannot wait.  Impulsivity reigns supreme when it comes to a recipe I see that must be made.  I may perish if I don’t make this asap.  (said in my best Southern damsel in distress voice…)  Tomorrow is another day and by God, I will make this ham salad!!!  Now,   what I love about this recipe is that it is simple and straightforward.  I like recipes that tell me how to get from a to z directly.  Shortest route here people.  No need to reinvent the wheel.  I guess because I deal with kiddo mood swings, fake illnesses, deciphering their language (mine are all at ages where nothing is as simple as it once seemed, maybe it is just me?)…so a recipe should get down to the nitty gritty pretty quickly.  If you start off and tell me that I need to cook a whole ham first before I can get a ham salad out of it…well no thank you.  I am tired, need more coffee and want ham salad.  This recipe took you straight to it.  No hoops to jump through.  This is very easy, takes few ingredients and you can double to feed a hungry bunch if you need to.  Now, this original recipe comes from a cookbook that is now at the top of my list to buy.  My birthday is coming up…hint to BD.  The cookbook is called Callie’s Biscuits and Southern Traditions and I discovered it when I came across blog lovin and this link~ http://www.thecountrycook.net/2014/01/callies-ham-salad.html?m=1.  If you have never had ham salad, I encourage you to try this recipe.  It made a believer out of me.  we ate it in a sandwich, but some people spread it on crackers.   I will be making this one again and again.  Cajun mama is a ham salad convert…spread the word.

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Definitely on my make again list…already.  

Ham Salad

Stuff you need~

1 lb. ham (I used a ham steak that I bought at the store.  It was a little over a pound.  That is what the blogger I got this recipe from did.  But you can use leftover ham from Easter (great idea, Laura!) or any time you bake a good ole ham.

3 stalks celery, cut into 1 inch pieces

1/2 onion, chopped

2/3 cup mayo (as always…Duke’s is my fave)

2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 sandwich sliced pickles, chopped (I used BD’s favorite kind Claussen that we already have in the house-picture below)

1 1/2 tsp. pickle juice

1 Tablespoon light brown sugar

kosher salt and black pepper to taste (slow your roll and give it a taste first.  I added salt without reading that part and it was a tad too salty for us.  But still amazing)

What to do with the stuff~

Now, she suggests just pulsing the ham and celery together for 20-25 pulses or so.  Again, I did not read all the way through and tossed all the ingredients in the food processor and pulsed it all.  I had left the pickles and onions pretty coarsely chopped and it turned out fine.  If you don’t have a food processor, you can still make this but the consistency might be a tad off unless you chop the ham silly fine.  So, as I said, my way was to throw it everything into the food processor and pulse it a few times until it was combined. Lol!  I was being a hardheaded gal today (or more so than usual…) She says after you pulse the ham and celery set aside.  In a bowl, combine other ingredients.  Add the ham and celery mixture to the mayo mixture and gently stir.    Potato potato I say.  It was dang good my way so I think any way you go, you are golden!!  And that ham salad will taste so good with a glass of iced tea and some potato chips.  Ya know…if you like that sort of thing.  And I do.  I really do.  OOH she also added a few  pieces of chopped green onion (green parts) to the finished product.  I did this as well.  Mmmmmmm….

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Yes, yes, I am a believer in the powers of ham salad.  

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Big Daddy’s and Benny’s favorite pickles 

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All set to be pulsed all together into a lovely ham salad…it was good even if I didn’t do it right

Luscious Lemon Loaf

I woke up yesterday morning with cooking on my mind.  My kiddos are on spring break, 2 of them are with their grandparents in Arkansas, one is up his daddy’s behind, and the other (my mama’s girl) has been chilling with mama.  So, frankly, I felt a little adrift. Regardless of how many kids you have, it seems like when one or two are away, things just aren’t the same.  I definitely felt their absence, though it has been nice hanging with my sweet girl and having some one on one time with her.    Anyway, I decided that I was going to cook up some stuff and this lemon loaf was one of the recipes on Pinterest that had caught my eye.  But I must say, it was originally called “white chocolate lemon bread” and frankly, it looked so yummy but the name threw me off.  Yes, I will admit I am not a white chocolate fan.  Mama likes her dark chocolate, that is all I am saying.  Always have.  And white chocolate?  Gag.  No really, gag.  But I took a risk.  I love, love, love the lemon loaf at Starbucks.  I don’t love, however, paying over 2 bucks a pop for a slice.  I mean, really?  I truly love lemon and this looked so easy, I figured what did I have to lose anyway?  Nothing.  So I went for it.  I am so very glad I did.  There is nothing white chocolate to it and this loaf tastes so close to Starbucks’ lemon loaf that it is uncanny.  Taking the risk (though with this the risk was small) was well worth it.  Don’t you love when things work out that way?  I renamed it luscious lemon loaf because even though there is white chocolate pudding mix, you cannot taste it.  This is just pure lemon delight.  And the glaze that you pour over it is simply fantabulous.  This recipe truly could not be easier and makes two loaves.  So, theoretically you can keep one and give one away.  Good luck with that.  This stuff is so good, you might consider hiding both loaves under your shirt and running like the wind.  And keeping it all for yourself.  If your family does not beat you to the punch.  It is that good.  You can see the original recipe here http://liluna.com/white-chocolate-lemon-bread.  I made it just like the recipe suggested this time, but next time I will replace the oil with applesauce and the sour cream with Greek yogurt.  I do the applesauce thing in most of my muffin recipes and it works great.  We get a little fruit boost and I can enjoy a slice or um…two…with less guilt.

Luscious Lemon 

Stuff you need~

1 box of lemon cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)

2 small boxes instant white chocolate pudding mix

4 eggs

1/8 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 2 Tablespoons)

1/4 cup of oil

1 cup sour cream

zest of one lemon

For the glaze:  Mix 1  1/2 cups powdered sugar, juice and zest from one lemon.  Add more lemon juice if it was too thick. I used a big lemon and had plenty.

What to do with the stuff~

Mix cake mix, pudding mix, oil and eggs in a bowl with a beater (or your standing mixer) until well combined.  Now, add sour cream, lemon juice and lemon zest.  Use a spoon to mix at this point.  Pour batter into 2 greased loaf pans.  I used a regular size loaf pan and then a pan with 4 little mini loaves.  They were the cutest little things!!

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.  If you go the mini loaf route, bake for about 15 minutes.  Let them cool completely.  I removed mine from the loaf pans at this point and set them on a baking sheet or plate.  Now, poke holes in the loaves and drizzle the glaze all over them.  Get ready to curse me and thank me all at once.  You will want to do both.  It’s ok.  I still love ya.  Image

Big ole zested lemon 

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awww…look at those little darlings…so tiny and cute.  I could just eat em up.  he he 

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Sweet tart lemony glaze…so pretty

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Love, evolution and Cajun Mama’s coleslaw

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sweet tangy coleslaw. I love you.

Yes.  Yes.  I know.  Coleslaw?  What in the world?  This chick posted about potato salad yesterday and now she is posting about coleslaw.  Yes I am.  But hear me out.  All coleslaw recipes are not created equally.  Even in the great state of Louisiana, there are major differences in our coleslaw recipes.  I never knew this.  But ya’ll, and I am not exaggerating, I had NEVER been to Shreveport before 1994.  No I am not lying.  I am dead dang serious.  I came up here with my mom to see BD’s mom when she was sick (back when he was just Clay, my childhood friend.  Before the whole falling madly in love, marriage and 4 kiddos thing) and I remember passing a Home Depot and thinking “wow!  This is not a little podunk town.  They have a Home Depot!”  Please keep in mind that I am from Alex. and we did not have a Home Depot at that time.  Not sure where I got my notions from.  I was 19 and living in BR and going to LSU and thought I was hotsy totsy.  This was August and please keep in mind that by the next January, I was a  Northwestern demon and that was that.  So, I was a drifting college student who did not know Shreveport was a big city.  Anyway, as far as I know, when you live in Central Louisiana (at least when I was young), you took field trips to one of 3 places if you got out of town.  Houston (back in the day we went to Astroworld), New Orleans, or Natchitoches.  So as far as I was concerned, LA stopped after Natchitoches.  How ironic that I now live in Shreveport, right?  And I love it here.  Go figure.  My whole life seems to be a lesson in irony.  Or maybe I protest too much and try to run the show and God likes to show me in funny little ways that he is the boss and I will enjoy the path he chose. ( I am NOT dating some country boy in Keithville!!  Nope, I dated him and married him.  Thank heavens God knows what he is doing and has the power!) Either way.  I know I am where I am supposed to be, coleslaw differences aside.  Oh yeah, I am supposed to be talking about coleslaw.  Blogging ADD is no joke.  Excuse me when I go off on my trips down memory lane.

Ok, so before I was a Shreveport gal, I only knew of one kind of coleslaw.  And we never ate it with BBQ.  Never.  Seriously, not ever.  At least not in my family.  The main times I can remember eating coleslaw was with grillades and rice and gravy and maybe fried fish or at a boucherie.   my cabbage is not shredded fine enough.  It is a work in progress, just like my potato salad.  I had a friend who is from Alex. and has roots in Avoyelles like me (Denee I am looking at you) and she asked me to post a recipe.  So, I will do my best.  It definitely takes me back.  And I have to say, while mayo based coleslaw had its day in the sun for me…I think I prefer it this way.  Just not with grillades.  Please note, I will make adjustments to the recipe as I get better at making it.

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Lovely cabbage…

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Straight forward, simple, uncomplicated.  Perfect.

Cajun Mama Coleslaw 

Stuff you need~

A head of cabbage

1 cup vinegar

1/2 Cup sugar

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper

yes, that is it…don’t make it too complicated

What to do with the stuff~

Ok, cut the bottom hard part off of the cabbage.  You don’t need that.  Now cut the head of cabbage in half and in half again.  Now, here is where I have some adjustments to make.  Taking a good heavy knife, shred the cabbage very fine, into little ribbons.  If I had to give a measurement, I could say a 1/4″ thin strips.  Fine.  But really, it is not the end of the world if it is thicker.  Again, work in progress.  Add the cut cabbage to a colander and wash well.  Let it dry or get some paper towels and soak up the excess moisture.  Ok…now dump the washed cabbage into a bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk together your other ingredients.  Adjust accordingly to suit your family’s taste.  Pour over the cabbage and then toss the shredded cabbage with the vinegar mixture.  Let it sit in the fridge for about an hour if at all possible to let the flavors soak into the cabbage. You are ready to go.  Sweet, salty, crunchy, tangy…all the good stuff together.

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BD and I…circa 1978…he was my best friend.  We ate vinegar based coleslaw and loved being together.

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Circa 1996…finding our way…in love and coleslaw.  We were evolving. 

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Circa a month ago…still straightforward and not fussy as this coleslaw recipe.  He is still my best friend.  Gotta love evolution.

Potato Salad with almost everything, paquing eggs and things Cajuns do

A few years ago, a friend of mine who was born or raised in Shreveport, called me and said “I have to ask you a question”.  It was Christmas time  and they had gone to her husband’s Christmas party and it had been catered by a catering company from South Louisiana.  She says “The food was good.  They served jambalaya and gumbo and…and…potato salad.  No barbecue. Did they get confused?”  I laughed first and then told her that Cajuns eat potato salad with nearly everything.  Etouffee…potato salad.  Chicken fricassee…potato salad.  Rice and gravy and..yes, potato salad.  This falls under the list of things that I never considered abnormal.  Actually, I never considered it at all.  I love potato salad with most stuff and thought my family must like it this way.  Nope.  Apparently it is a colloquial thing.  I will not say it is a “Cajun” thing or a “South Louisiana” thing.  I have had some people say “you are from Alexandria and that is not South Louisiana.”  Fair enough.  I have had people say “Alexandria and Marksville are both considered Central Louisiana”.  Ya’ll…I am not going to claim to know.  I think being Cajun is more a state of mind.  I know people who live in Baton Rouge who don’t consider themselves Cajun.  I have explained before that my family are first generation Alexandrians.  This means, my parents were both born and raised in Avoyelles Parish (Marksville by the way of Blue Town and Broulliette to be precise) and moved to Alex. after getting married.  So, we did most things, cooked most things, adhered to the customs that their families adhered too.  So, I will not claim to know why we eat potato salad with more things than not.  I don’t know where this comes from.  I just know that I grew up thinking it was just what you did and I love me some potato salad and I never questioned it.

So today, I am going to tell ya’ll how I make my potato salad.  I imagine most of ya’ll have a potato salad recipe, but some of you may not.  Maybe you need a little potato salad inspiration.  I know my Momou and Momee made very similar yet distinctly different potato salads.  I liked them both and now my potato salad combines the best of both worlds.  My favorite potato salad memory is the colored eggs that ended up in the potato salad on Easter Sunday.  We would paque eggs and the loser eggs would be peeled and then put in the potato salad.  I always thought it was fun and colorful as a kiddo.  I know that potato salad always tasted so good with the cuchon de lait and dirty rice.  Bring on the colorful potato salad.  For those who may not know what paque (pronounced “pock”) eggs means…that is where you hold a dyed Easter egg in your hand and someone else does the same and you knock the tops of the eggs together.  If you crack their egg, you win and vice versa.  It was good Easter fun I tell you.  My kids love to paque some eggs.  Anyhow, back to potato salad.  Momou’s potato salad was always a little more yellow than Momee’s.  Her potatoes were always a little more substantial where as the potatoes in Momee’s were a little softer, a little more mashed.  Her potato salad usually had some pickles or pickle relish in it.  Momou’s had more pepper in it.  Mine falls somewhere in between the two and I tend to add Tony’s to mine, like my Daddy does.  I remember making potato salad in college and after we got married and BD would always say “yeah, something is missing. It is good but…”  Finally at 38, I think I am close to getting it the way we like it.  But we have much higher expectations for potato salad I do believe.  As I type this, I realize how much thought and effort seems to be put into it.  I guess when you eat something so frequently with so many main dishes, it should be good!!  Maybe it is just me?   Forgive me if I am taking liberties by preaching potato salad to ya’ll.  I do so love it and feel sad for anyone who might be at a loss about how to make it.  Or God forbid, buys it from the store?!!  I must stop that now.  If I can save one person from store bought potato salad, then my work here is done.  Namaste.  Peace on Earth.  Homemade potato salad for all!!!

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Posed at Momee’s house, right before or after I hunted some eggs.  I bet I paqued a few that day

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Another Easter Sunday at Momee’s…my parents and me and all 3 of my little sisters…I bet we ate potato salad with colored eggs in it that day

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Easter Sunday at Momou’s…Ben’s first Easter and his intro into paquing.  Pretty sure Momou won that match.

Cajun Mama’s Potato Salad 

Serves about 8 or 6 hungry Cajuns as the saying goes

Stuff you need~

4 medium size potatoes (I typically use Idahoan potatoes), washed and cut into equal sized pieces

4 eggs

salt and pepper

Tony’s

mayonnaise

mustard

What to do with the stuff~

Cut your potatoes into equal sized pieces.  I usually half the potato and then quarter the halves.  I peel the potatoes after they are boiled rather than before.  That is what my mom and dad did so I do the same.  Put your cut up potato pieces and the eggs in a pot and cover them amply with water.  Bring them to a boil and then reduce heat as needed but keep them at a low boil until the potatoes are fork tender  (for me typically about 20 minutes, give or take). You may prefer the potatoes to be less tender, so just use your judgement.   When you feel they are ready, drain the potatoes and eggs in a colander.  When you can, place the eggs in a bowl of cold water.  Peel the eggs.  Peel the potatoes.  Add both to a medium size bowl.  Now, add about 1/2 cup of mayonnaise and start out with a few squirts of mustard.  Ya’ll, I wish I could be more precise but I go by how it looks (and tastes).  Definitely add in some kosher salt and pepper as you stir.  Stir in more mayo and mustard (gradually) and salt and pepper (a little Tony’s).  Continue to do this until you feel it is just right.  Or close.  It is definitely a trial and error process, or at least it has been for me.  When the potato salad is dressed and seasoned to your liking, sprinkle a little more Tony’s over the top for presentation.  Yes.  It is good.  Yes, it will go with almost anything.  Well…as far as I am concerned.  And it always tastes better with colored eggs on Easter Sunday.  Enjoy!!!

 

 

 

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I love some Dukes mayo in my potato salad (I prefer it to Hellman’s)

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It’s getting good…love it when the potatoes are still a little warm 

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Whatever the question…potato salad is a good answer

 

 

Dianne’s Quick and Easy Crawfish Étouffée

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Big Daddy and his mama circa 1993(photo property of Lyndy Hartley Doskocil)

Some of you might ask “who is Dianne?” and some of you already know. What a lady. Such a great lady. Dianne Hartley Bowlin was Big Daddy’s mama. She passed away in 1994 and we miss her everyday. She was a spirited and strong lady full of conviction and a loud laugh that was contagious. She had beautiful brown eyes and a little button nose that I am so glad my girls inherited. She was a beautiful spirit that lives on everyday in so many ways.
And her recipes of course are one of those ways. She ended up a social worker but got her degree from NLU in home economics and she loved to cook. See, she passed before Big Daddy and I got together, but I knew her all my life. It’s a long story and one that I am proud of but it is an emotional story that is a blog post in and of itself. So, let’s just say, she was a part of my life since I was little and by the grace of God, she still is. Because I married her son and gave birth to her grandkids. She is known as Mammaw Dianne to them and she is very much a presence in their lives. My father in law remarried and I love my mother in law. Aka Deb aka Granny. None of this takes away her part in our lives. But to tell about this recipe, I must tell of Dianne. She had many great recipes, ones that I will share as time goes by but this is by far my favorite. It represents her in so many ways. Spicy, no fuss, practical and yet absolutely perfect in it’s simplicity. It is not an old Cajun recipe. I actually have no clue where it came from. I remember getting it when big daddy and I started dating and I fell in love (with him and this recipe). You make a potato salad and some French bread and just go on and you will be just right. With the Lenten season upon us, this is a great recipe to have. It is perfect for company or just to make for the fam on a Friday night. Please don’t judge this recipe by it’s surprise ingredients. They somehow end up making a truly delicious étouffée. Trust me on this one, ok? Dianne would be proud and I believe she is up in Heaven laughing her big laugh at the thought of a blog post all about her.

Dianne’s Quick and Easy Crawfish Étouffée

Serves about 6

Stuff you need~

1 stick of butter
1-12 ounce bag of seasoning blend
Tony’s to taste
2 cans Golden mushroom soup
1 can cream of mushroom
1 pound of crawfish tails (fat included…Good night do not forget the fat!!)
A bloop of ketchup
A bloop of mustard (I had to put that because the original recipe had that in it. Bloop. A squirt. And yes ketchup and mustard. I don’t know why but it works. Just go with it.)

What to do with the stuff~

In a large deep skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the seasoning blend and sauté until the veggies are tender. Add a little Tony’s at this point but don’t over do it. Now stir in the soups and let this cook on low heat for about 10 minutes or so to let the soups and seasoning blend get comfortable together and flavors blend. Stir in the crawfish tails. Now squeeze in the ketchup and mustard. Let it cook for about 5 minutes and give it a quick taste. It may need a little more ketchup and mustard. I usually add 2 bloops of each. Lol at bloops. That’s the funniest word! Ok anyway, let the étouffée simmer for about 20
minutes while the flavors blend aka the time while the rice finishes cooking. Give it another taste and add a few shakes of Tony’s if you think it needs it. Serve it up over rice and let the good times roll. Don’t forget your potato salad and the French bread. Ooh Cher, it’s gonna be good yeah!

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bloop!

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pretty little veggies getting all tender

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bloop bloop bloop

Homemade dinky doozies

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All you need to make this yummy copycat recipe.

My oldest son LOVES cookies. Chocolate chip cookies. He loves cookie cakes. Specifically cookie cakes from Great American Cookie Company. He loves anything from there actually. So, we were pondering the other day how to make dinky doozies (he calls them double doozies…I am not sure why I think it is dinky doozies…were they called this back in the 80’s?) Anyhow, today I figured I would see if I could create these wonders at home. Cookie dough? Check. Vanilla icing? Check. What’s that you say? Did I make this stuff homemade ? Negative ghostwriter. Not when the good folks at Duncan Hines and Pillsbury do it so well! I wanted to see if I could whip these up and I think I did pretty good. No. They are not exact replicas, but they are very good. And I didn’t break the bank to make them. In fact, I did not even have to go to the store. I had the stuff at home.
This could not be more simple. So just get the stuff and make up a batch of dinky doozies/double doozies and get ready for the sugar rush.

Homemade Dinky Doozies

Makes about 6 dinky doozies

Stuff you need~

1 roll of chocolate chip cookie cough (I used Pillsbury)
1 container of vanilla buttercream icing

What to do with the stuff~

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line your cookie sheet with a silicone baking mat (these things are awesome and I highly suggest getting one or two if you bake). Using a medium cookie scoop (or spoon), fill a scoop with dough and place each scoop about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. One regular sized roll of dough got me about 12 cookies. (Considering I may have had a bite or two….er…I mean Toby the dog did it). Bake for about 10-12 minutes. Really, use your judgement and how soft your family likes their cookies. We are soft cookie people here. But not too soft as you want the icing to have a substantial base.
Now, once cookies are done, set then aside to cool. You want them Cool because you want the icing to stay the right consistency rather than melt. Make sense? Ok. Once they are cool, turn the cookies over so that the flat side is facing up. Now, just spread some icing over the flat side of the cookie. Like you are making a sandwich and spreading icing on it. Lol. Like so…

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Now, take another cookie and put the flat side up against the other side of the icing. So icing should only be touching the flat sides. It is icing sandwiched between two cookies. Yeah, that’s right. Pure evil. Cue evil laughter. Muahahahahahah!

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No words. Other than get a glass of milk and go!

Crispy cajun shrimp fettucine

Oh boy.  Another crazy week down on the books in our house.  What concerns me about this is that every single week for the past month or so has been this way.  Which leads me to ponder the scariest thing of all…is this just our norm now?  When did the shift occur?  It seemed like we were just going along, grooving to a nice little family rhythm and then wa bam…every week is a crazy week. One would think that when someone gives birth to 4 kids in a little under 5 years, a certain amount of chaos is expected.  I guess I did.  I mean, it was mayhem when they were all little.  Mayhem I tell you.  But this is mayhem in a different, no one is wearing diapers, nursing, taking a bottle, and everyone can walk and talk kind of way.  I am pretty dang sure that the walking and talking are causing a majority of the problems.  Yes, the children I once dreamed of all being mobile and verbal have all joined together to create a little army of monkeys that will surely destroy my house.  And what is left of my sanity.  Sigh.  Yes, we are at the stage where they fight.  A lot.  Over who sits up front in the car, who is on whose profile on the 3ds, Minecraft, who gets to be player one on Mario.  Who gets the last piece of gum.  The list goes on.  And on.  Factor in the time change, and I have never been so glad to see a week end in all my life.  Or did I say that last week?  Yeah, these are wild times for sure.  I think with a little more sleep I might be able to accept all of this more gracefully.  With acceptance comes peace.  Sometimes, we have to bow down and say “this is just where I am in my life” and not only get through it, but enjoy it.  All of these 10 1/2 years of mothering have taught me a thing or two, one being is that no child ever stays in a stage forever.  Good or bad.  So, no matter how unbearable the sleepless nights seem, they don’t last.  No matter how bad the refusal to eat seems, it won’t last forever.  No matter how cute that baby stage is, it won’t last forever.  No matter how much they seem to fight over every single detail, it won’t last.  Around the corner is another cute stage or something else equally annoying.  So, what I decided long ago to do is try to laugh, drink more coffee (or wine), take some pictures and accept what is and call on God for restoration or faith when it seems as if all else is failing.  Because no matter what happens, raising these God given gifts is a blessing.  I am one lucky mama.  I may want to cry in frustration one minute, but coming soon is a hug, a sweet smile, a giggle, or a cuddle to make it all better.

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Just a stage mama…the smiles and the frown (my little one is not a fan of mom taken pics these days)…

Now, I know ya’ll have to know I am moving on to a recipe at some point.  And my blabbering about motherhood fits in there somewhere.  Somewhere in the midst of our (crazy) weeks, I came across a recipe that I filed away to make later.  One of my kiddos’  teachers told me she had made it and it was amazing.  I considered that a sign from God that this crispy cajun shrimp fettucine needed to be made.  Not to mention, Lent arrived and my meatless meals files needed some revamping and spicing up.  This recipe did the trick.  Not sure if  you do meatless meals once a week or if you are Catholic like me and try to stay away from meat on Fridays, but either way, this is one delicious little gem.  Growing up in my house, Lent was an excuse for my parents to cook all the things they didn’t get enough of all year like.  Goo fish, gar balls, cappel in tomato gravy, fried fish and sometimes, sometimes if we were lucky crawfish etouffee or fried shrimp.  Nothing like this recipe I have for you today.  This is one amazing shrimp pasta recipe and you have to try it.  It is easy to make, comes together in a flash and has flavor to spare.  I made a few changes to the recipe, but you can find the original recipe here:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Recipes/522004091198543

Crispy Cajun Shrimp Fettuccine

Stuff you need~

1 box of fettuccine noodles, cooked according to package directions

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 Tablespoon butter

16 jumbo shrimp (I bought a bag of jumbo shrimp frozen from Kroger and used that)

1 Tablespoon Tony’s seasoning or your favorite cajun seasoning

2 Tablespoon flour

2 cups chicken broth

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

What to do with the Stuff~

Cook pasta according to directions.   Clean and peel shrimp, removing tails.  Pat them dry with a few paper towels.  On a large baking sheet. lay shrimp out and coat with the cajun seasoning.  Now, sprinkle the flour over the shrimp.  Using your hands, make the flour gets on all the shrimp.  This is part of how they get crispy.

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Getting these babies all ready for cooking.

Heat the olive oil and butter over medium high heat.  Add the shrimp to the heated skillet.  Cook over for 2 minutes on each side. Remove from skillet and set aside on a plate.

Pour the chicken broth and heavy cream into the skillet.  Bring this mixture to a boil, whisking frequently.  Reduce heat once it has come to a slight boil, allowing it thicken up.  Just a few minutes should do.  I added about 2 tsp. of Tony’s to this mixture and then added the shredded Parm.  Stir in the cooked pasta and what is left of the crispy delicious shrimp (you will nibble on them because they are tasty and perfect and irresistible.  Definitely going with double the shrimp next time).  Serve warm.  Hint:  This is even better the next day when the flavors have had a chance to mingle and get to know one another.  Yeah, it is a delicious party the next day.  I served this with a salad and garlic bread and it was sheer delight.  Mouth watering delight.  Mmmmm.

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Big Daddy came around at this point and ate half of these babies.  Yeah, I will double the amount of shrimp next time. 

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Scrumptious I tell you!!!  I love Lent!

Pea and asparagus casserole and coming home

This recipe is not fancy. It is not new. It isn’t famous or even the most popular with any crowd. Except maybe my family. It calls for simple ingredients and goes great with roast and rice and gravy. In fact, this casserole is one I make any time I make a roast or bake a chicken.
You see, I was up all night with a sick kiddo. We came to Arkansas to spend time with our family and to just get away. Little did I know, a stomach bug did not get the memo and came along with us. Sometimes, I guess the best laid plans go wrong. And you just have to roll with it. And be happy anyway. Because to be frustrated and annoyed about what is means nothing good will come of it. I am from the school of thought that some days you just have to fake it until you make it. So today, I will post a recipe that I know like the back of my hand and just get it out there to y’all. Also, the comfort of knowing a recipe like this and knowing how great it goes with certain main dishes is immeasurable. We left town Friday and I was so excited to get away. I needed to get away from the mundane daily life. Not that it is a bad life, but I wanted to shake things up. We headed to the lodge in search of some R & R with our family. And we did have a good time. It was relaxing. The kids ran wild and wore themselves out (one of them ran until he was sick). And there is just something about walking out the front door and seeing this view.

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Kiddos up all night sick or not, this is breathtaking and does not get old. But as the saying goes, no matter where you go, there you are. This holds true even at Bayou LaGrue Lodge aka my happy place. So after a miserable night, I was ready to get my little herd back home. So just like I love trying new recipes and discovering new recipes, some recipes are just like coming home to what you know. Comforting, nothing new, same as always recipes. This pea and asparagus casserole is that way for me. Like an old pair of shoes, that beat up old sweatshirt, or returning back to the same old, same old…homework, carpool, mess…comforting all the same, even though some days I just want to get away. It is always so wonderful to know recipes like these are just waiting. One must appreciate these recipes for what they are. This one has been on the table for many of our family meals. I don’t know where my mom got the recipe, but I know it is a great one to have. I hope someday when you are looking for a new tired and true classic, you will give this a try. It’s a real gem. ~AMB

Pea and asparagus casserole

Stuff you need~

1 can Lesuer peas (petite pois or silver can peas as I tell Big Daddy when I send him to the store)
1 can asparagus spears and tips
1 can cream of mushroom soup
4 slices Kraft singles (that is what we use and to me it isn’t the same with cheddar)

What to do with the stuff~

Spray a 1.5 quart round or oblong casserole dish with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lay out 1/2 of the can of peas on the bottom of the casserole dish. Layer 1/2 the can of asparagus over the peas. Now, spread half of the can of cream of mushroom over the asparagus tips. Place two pieces of the cheese (kind of torn into smaller pieces) over the cream of mushroom. Repeat the whole process, starting with peas and ending with cheese. Place, uncovered, in preheated oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes or until cheese is all bubbly and kind of browned. What you will have is a casserole dish full of bubbly, creamy, cheesy peas and asparagus. Side dish of my dreams!

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Never gets old I tell you.