Chicken cordon bleu bubble up

Ok now I have been hearing about bubble ups for a while now. When I see them on Pinterest I think they look good but I am always so distracted by other recipes that I don’t ever make any of the recipes. Well Big Daddy has been out of town this week and I have been looking for quick and easy recipes. I searched for bubble up casseroles and found this little gem. I am now a total and complete bubble up concert. I cannot wait to try all of them! I love anything cordon bleu. I like the name cordon bleu. It sounds fancy even though it usually just means with ham and Swiss cheese. But I often wonder…the Cordon Bleu cooking schools…do they cook lots of stuff with ham and Swiss cheese? Where does that name come from? I will have to google it. I found the recipe on Pinterest and it is from the Plain Chicken blog. Anyhow, I adored this recipe. My sweet sugar cookie aka Kayla Ann loved it too. The other kids just were not interested but they did not hate it. I sent the leftovers to the kids’ teachers and they all liked it and rated it “yummy”. So it’s a safe bet that unless you hate ham and Swiss cheese (bless your heart) then you will likely love it. Give it a whirl friends! Jump on this bubble up train. I am now obsessed with finding new bubble ups and creating my own. Have you tried bubble ups before? Let me know. Now let’s get this bubble up…bubbling, shall we?~AMB

Chicken cordon bleu bubble up (from plain chicken blog)

serves 6

Stuff you need~

1 can Pillsbury Grands jr. Biscuits, quartered
2 cups Swiss cheese, divided
1 (15 ounce) jar Alfredo sauce (I used Bertolli)
2 cups cooked chicken (to make it crazy easy just get a rotisserie chicken)
1 cup diced ham (I bought the packaged diced ham but this is a great way to use leftover holiday ham or Sunday ham)

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stuff you need

What to do with the stuff~

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

In a medium mixing bowl, add the quartered biscuits. Just cut them into 4 pieces using kitchen shears. Like this…

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Ok now, just pour in your Alfredo sauce, ham and 1 cup of Swiss cheese.

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lovely pictures just for you. My lovely assistant, Madame Toot, helped me out

Now, just gently fold the biscuits and sauce/cheese/ham together. You want to coat the biscuits. Ok, now, add in your chicken.

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Now pour all of this deliciousness into your prepared baking dish. Sprinkle remainder of Swiss cheese over the finished product. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until the cheese is all melty, the biscuits done and the casserole is all bubbly.

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bubbly…cheesy…delicious (not the best pic but you get the point right?)

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Lisa’s elegant beef tips, bringing home a baby and and a fairy godmother

I have told y’all about my good friend Lisa. She is the mother of my babysitters, April and Alaina. Now, these girls rarely babysit for us anymore as they are both away at college. These days, when they babysit it is more like spending time with my kids because they miss them and cannot take not seeing them another minute. We have been together so long that it supersedes any definition. We are family. We spend holidays together. We love each other. And Lisa is at the helm of our ship. She is the most fabulous. She is an excellent cook and southern woman extraordinaire.
Back in the day, when I was a mom of 3 little kids and pregnant with baby Lucas as we called him…April and Alaina babysat for us a lot. I was a needy person if there ever was one. I was tired, pregnant, and just likely a hot mess. Big Daddy worked all the time and I needed help. So no wonder, those sweet girl and their mama were there. Sometimes daily. Thank God. So when I went into labor with Lucas a month early, they were right there during the following days, taking care of kiddos, cleaning the house, and waiting for us when we got home from the hospital. And the house smelled so wonderful because these beef tips were cooking away in the crockpot. I still have the piece of paper the girls had written the recipe on as Lisa called it out over the phone, I suppose. I pulled it out yesterday to make these beef tips and I just smiled. I will never forget when Lisa was leaving my house that day we got home from the hospital. She came to get some baby Lucas snuggles and pick up the girls (so long ago they could not drive yet…crazy business folks). She was walking to her car and I said “thank you so much for everything” and she said and I quote “well Mrs. Aimee (that is what the girls call me and she does too…even now…) everyone needs a fairy godmother and I may as well be yours.” I knew then that woman would be my friend for life. I was not wrong. Her recipes are divine and these beef tips are no exception. Try them. But I have to say, her friendship is the best. ~AMB

Lisa’s elegant beef tips

serves 8

Stuff you need~

1 (3 pound) chuck roast, cut into chunks, fat removed
1 cup sherry cooking wine
1 cup chopped celery
1 can sliced mushrooms, drained (I used the larger sized jar)
2 packets of beefy mushroom soup mix
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 soup can of water
Cooked rice

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ready to go

What to do with the stuff~

Whisk together the soup, water, soup mix and cooking together. Stir in the celery and mushrooms. Finally, stir in the cubed up beef. Cook on low for 6 hours or until beef is cooked through. I will be honest and say I put mine on around 11 and they were cooked by 3:30 when I got home from picking the kids up. It depends on your crockpot and anywhere between 4 and 6 hours is normal. Just check them if you don’t know.

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cutting into that roast (it is more economical to do it this way but stew meat is convenient so do what works for you)

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whisking the soups and wine together

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add the celery

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it’s go time

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so good

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my two angels several years ago with baby Lucas(that was their baby and he still is)

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my fairy godmother and 3 year old Lucas

Crockpot chicken and gravy and welcoming Fall

I know we all love a good crockpot recipe. We also love a good crisp Fall day. First off I want to say “Happy Fall y’all!!!!” There is a slight chill in the air and it is so welcome over here. Now, I know the other side of all this is that for some of y’all this means a little fall and then here comes the power outages, freezing cold and snow, snow and more snow. But for today, we will enjoy this lovely Fall weather and a deliciously easy crockpot recipe. I am waiting in the Starbucks line for my triple shot pumpkin spice latte. It seems appropriate. This recipe was a big hit in our household. I found it on http://www.thecountrycook.net. I served it with a side of steamed broccoli and served the gravy over rice along with some Sister Schubert rolls. My little lamb chop aka Pappy aka Lucas (yes they have a million nicknames) loves those rolls. I really hope you and your family enjoy it as much as we did. Madame Toot happily exclaimed in her sweet little voice “yum! This tastes like Thanksgiving!!”
Get inspired my friends. Enjoy this new season rolling in because all too soon it will change. Break out your crockpot and make life easy on yourself. Let supper cook itself so you can sit outside and watch the leaves fall and the kids run. Or just sit there and enjoy this day for the beauty it is. Enjoy the moment because truly it is all we have promised. ~AMB

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a little glimpse of Fall in our hood

Crockpot Chicken and Gravy

Stuff you need~

1 pound chicken breasts
2 packages (0.87 ounce) dry gravy mix
1 (10.75 ounce) cream of chicken soup
2 cups water
1/2 cup sour cream (optional but definitely recommended)
Kosher salt, black pepper and garlic powder

What to do with the stuff~

Season chicken busoms with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
In your crockpot, whisk together the dry gravy mix, water and cream of chicken soup until fairly smooth. Now lay the chicken busoms in the crockpot. Cook on low about 4 hours (mine cooks fast so it takes less time so do what works for your crockpot). Remove chicken breasts with slotted spoon onto a plate. Shred and then set aside. Whisk in the sour cream. Return shredded chicken to it’s lovely gravy. Now spoon over mashed potatoes, cooked white rice, or cooked noodles. Easy at that. Delicious chicken and gravy and Fall has arrived! Ahhhh!!

Most of all…

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my friend Liz posted this on Facebook this morning and I figured I would share.

Mrs. Mona’s taco salad and really good slumber parties

So I went to a Catholic school in Alex. (For those who don’t know that Alex is slang for Alexandria aka Elic aka A town.) called St. Francis Cabrini. If I must say, it is likely one of the best elementary schools that ever existed. When I was there it went to 8th grade but now I am pretty sure it is only 6th. Anyway, every class was small. So that made each grade relatively small. So mostly everyone knew everyone, every parent knew the kids and parents. It was just awesome. I cherish every moment at that school. And now, thanks to Facebook, I get to be in touch with my friends from Cabrini still. And thanks to the tight bonds we formed there, we are pretty close for people who rarely see one another, if ever. So naturally we had slumber parties as all little girls do. Mrs. Mona is my friend Staci’s mom. She was always the nicest, most even keeled mama and always kept her cool. She is also an excellent cook. For one of Staci’s slumber parties…5th grade I think? Mrs. Mona made this taco salad. I fell in love. I can still remember thinking what a delicious treat that taco salad was. She introduced me to taco salad, monkey bread, and 7 layer dip. I have told y’all my daddy is a rice and gravy man, my mama aims to please and that’s what she made. Now a days, she makes a much wider variety of stuff and ole Steven (my daddy) is just glad to have something to eat. I imagine he would tear up this taco salad! Mrs. Mona was certainly influential to me as a cook, if I look back at it. She is a great lady and I am so blessed to know her and her precious daughter Staci. We went to school together from 2nd grade until high school. One of those friends. Always and forever somewhere in my existence and I am so grateful. Now, when I was in college , BBM (my mama) gave me an heirloom recipe cookbook that allows you to add recipes and special stories to it. I thought of all the recipes that were my favorites, Momee’s cornbread dressing, Shrimp mold, Nana’s Neiman Marcus bars…and mrs. Mona’s taco salad. So I called her up and she gave it to me. Right then and there. Little did either one of us know that one say I would have a blog and add this recipe to it. I guess it many ways, this blog is a super fabulous version of my heirloom cookbook. This is the actual page from the cookbook..
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pretty cool…

So now, I will give you the recipe and you can have it. Straight from Mrs. Mona Roy’s kitchen…to mine…and to yours. Now, I just need to get mrs. Mona to agree to host another slumber party. Staci, you think she is up for it? Can we bring the kids? Thank you Mrs. Mona for the awesome hospitality, the delicious food, and the recipes. Oh and giving birth to a lifelong friend of mine. ~AMB

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a picture from one slumber party at Staci’s in high school. So much fun. Also so much hair. Love you girls!

Mrs. Mona’s taco salad

serves about 8

stuff you need~

1 pound ground beef (I used lean)
1 (8 ounce) jar taco sauce (I used Taco Bell brand and bought 2 jars so I would have extra)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 head of lettuce, shredded
3 tomatoes, chopped
1/4 pound shredded cheddar (about 1-2 cups)
1 can kidney beans, drained (optional, this is my addition)
2 cups crushed corn chips

What to do with the stuff~

Chop up your lettuce. I just put it on a cutting board and just sliced and chopped. There’s no exact science to it. I would say freestyle works. You want bite sized pieces…not huge chunks.

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Rinse the chopped lettuce well in the colander.
Now slice and dice your tomatoes.
Ok now, in a large skillet, brown ground meat. Drain. Stir in taco sauce. Now, give it a taste and then add some salt and pepper. I also added some MexiCajun seasoning (a friend of mine from Alex. Actually created it and it is amazing!

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love some MexiCajun seasoning!
Here is a link to purchase if you are interested. It is really delish! http://mexicajun.myshopify.com/) as well as a little cumin. Just add and then taste. You might want more kick! Ok, next I drained my beans well in a colander. Then added to the beef mixture. Like so…

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Ok, now at this point, your lettuce should be rinsed and drained. So pile that lettuce in a big ole serving bowl. Throw your beef and bean mixture on top of that. You are amazing. You are doing great! Ok, now add the tomatoes on top. Sprinkle all that shredded cheddar on top of it all. Yes. Like that. Now crushed corn chips have arrived at the party. It is their time. I just crush and sprinkle. Crush and sprinkle. Add more or add less. Mrs. Mona won’t mind. She is cool that way.
Then it will look like this…

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Now, I poured some more taco sauce all over the whole thang to just kick it up a notch. It’s all good. Toss it well and then serve. Next time I will add some black olives to mine. Madame Toot insisted on a dollop of sour cream. She was not wrong. It was yum!!!
*Mrs. Mona said serve immediately. She was right. It serves a crowd so make it for a crowd. Leftovers do not do well with this dish. If you have a big slumber party of gals or guys, pretty sure you won’t have to worry about that. Enjoy!! Hugs and kisses to Mrs. Mona and Staci from Shreveport!

Crave worthy chicken noodle soup

So here is the deal with the chicken noodle soup. Madame Toot (my 7 year old) was not feeling well. I took her to the doctor and indeed, she has strep throat. I have always read chicken noodle soup is the Jewish Penicillin and that studies have shown that the components of chicken noodle soup are very good for sick people. Something about the salt and warmth and some other stuff I forget because I am tired and lots of stuff happens that overrides the results of a study I read 2 years ago. None the less, I am going to be real honest and say, I have always just opened chicken noodle soup from the can when my kids were sick. Not the fancy Progresso kind, but the good old Campbell’s kind. That is what BBM (Bernie aka mama) did for me when I was sick and it was perfectly fine. But yesterday after we left the doctor, we ran by Target to get her prescription filled and I decided I would make a big pot of chicken noodle soup. Without an old family recipe to turn to, I turned to google. And google brought up quite a few and I chose the one that looked the tastiest and hoped for the best. This is one of Paula Deen’s Lady and Sons recipes. It is the best chicken noodle soup I have eva had y’all. It was so good I cannot even stand it. It is so good that it is real early in the morning and I want to have a bowl right now. It is chock full of veggies, chicken and has a flavor that you cannot beat. You will likely love it. I bought a loaf of crusty French bread and it just completed this meal. I am putting some in freezer safe containers and freezing some so I will have some of this on hand the next time I need a fix or one of us gets sick. We are not Jewish, but we will gladly take a dose of their Penicillin. Good thing because I am allergic to the regular Penicillin. Hope you enjoy this chicken noodle soup! You absolutely do not have to be sick to enjoy a bowl of this luscious concoction.

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that’s a sick baby girl

Chicken Noodle Soup (adapted from Lady and Sons)
serves 8-10

Stuff you need~

for the stock:

1 (2 1/2-3 pound) whole fryer (or equal amount chicken parts)
3 1/2 quarts water
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic minced (1 1/2 teaspoons of the jarred stuff)
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons italian seasoning
3 chicken bouillon cubes
4 bay leaves
Kosher salt and black pepper

for the soup

2 cups celery, diced, including leafy green parts
2 cups carrots, sliced
8 ounce package mushrooms, sliced
2 1/2 cups uncooked egg noodles (I used the medium size and really liked them. The wide ones just freak me out…not sure why)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/3 cup cooking sherry
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Seasoned salt to taste (optional)
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

What to do with the stuff~
First off, let’s get this stock going. You will feel very much like Martha Stewart or a pioneer woman as you do this. I enjoyed it and really felt like I needed to be in the creek rinsing our laundry. Except I was super glad to just wash it in our washing machine. You know what I mean…something about making a stock just feels…homey.
Ok, now add 3 1/2 quarts water to your stock pot. Thoroughly clean your chicken or chicken parts. Cut up your chicken if you want to. I do not cut up chickens. I have issues and something prevents me from being able to carry out that task. (Not so pioneer like right? Whatever I gloss over that stuff. 😜) add your chicken or chicken parts to the stock pot. Add in remaining ingredients for the stock and bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Allow to cook until the chicken is cooked thoroughly. I let mine cook on super low heat for 2 hours or so. But I had a whole fryer in that pot. It will take about an hour with chicken parts. My chicken meat was falling off the bone.

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you done made you some stock Cher!

Remove the chicken from a pot to a large plate. Allow to cool. Using a slotted spoon, remove onions and bay leaves and discard. They are no longer necessary. Debone your chicken and discard the bones. Don’t need them either. Set aside deboned chicken meat.
for the soup

Bring your stock back to a boil. Add in your carrots and let them cook for about 5 minutes. Now stir in the celery and let it cook for about 10 minutes. Stir in your noodles and allow them to cook al dente. This means they are done but not mushy. Now stir in mushrooms, parsley, rosemary and sherry. If you are using the heavy cream and Parm (which I suggest) add those in. Stir in your chicken meat and seasonings. Give it a taste before you add anything and then add accordingly. I allowed mine to simmer on low heat for another 30
Minutes to let those flavors hang out and come together to bring us chicken noodle soup perfection.

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carrots, mushrooms and noodles…oh my!

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delicious perfection

Golden Oreo dirt cake

At some point in my childhood Momou discovered dirt cake. Such a novel idea at the time and she was the queen of the dirt cake. It’s funny because now dirt cake is far from a novel or creative idea. Since the invention of Pinterest, it’s hard these days to really come up with inventive ideas since it seems as if everything has been done. But back in 1990, when Momou discovered dirt cake, it was the bomb. I can recall either her or one of my aunts making it for a family gathering and serving the dirt cake in a clean flower pot with gummy worms sticking out of the top. Talk about impressive. I bet money that Momou would be a Pinterest queen if she was shown how to use it. And I bet if given the chance, she would whip up a mean dirt cake for her fellow nursing home residents. Sister can work it!! So this dirt cake is just a slight variation on the typical dirt cake. It uses golden Oreos instead of regular ones. With the recent introduction of caramel apple Oreos and pumpkin spice Oreos (which I still can’t find)…you could make this a Halloween dirt cake and really take it over the top. I am thinking food coloring, tiny tomb stones and little skeleton heads all over the top. The possibilities are endless!! This dirt cake is an excellent birthday cake alternative for my friends who have kiddos who don’t do regular cake/chocolate (I am still not sure that is at all normal…lol. But I have several friends whose kids do not eat cake or chocolate.) One of my kiddos is a real vanilla lover so I figured she would enjoy it. She did. It is such a smooth dessert with a good crunch from those cookies. It tastes better after it sits for a few hours in the fridge. So if you have never made dirt cake, here is your chance. It is a breeze to whip up and it makes a good bit! You can serve a bunch of party goers when this dessert. Whip up a batch today!!

Golden Oreo dirt cake adapted from http://www.thecardswedrew.com

Stuff you need~

2 (8 ounce) small tubs cool whip
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese , softened
2 (5.9 ounce) packages of instant vanilla pudding
4 cups milk
2 packages of golden Oreos

What to do with the stuff~

In a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of your standing mixer, add your softened cream cheese and cool whip. Mix until well combined. Now add the pudding mix and a little of the milk at the time, mixing after each addition (trust me it will slosh all over the place if you add it all at once). Mix until smooth and well blended.
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Ok now for the fun part! We are gonna crush some Oreos! It’s a mini arm workout and an aggression reliever at the same time. Not that I have any er aggression. No, not me. I have 4 kids between the ages of 6 and 11 but I am as a calm as can be. If you know me well you know I am lying, but if you believe me then let’s just continue that for now. 😜
Add a package of Oreos to a gallon size ziploc. Close tightly. Take a rolling pin or a hammer and get after crushing those Oreos. It’s good fun! Flip the bag over and crush some more. Do the same thing for the second package.
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Now, I made this in a trifle bowl. If you don’t have one, you can buy one as they are pretty cheap and you will get some good use out of it, or you can use a plain ole big bowl. Whatever you want. Do your thing.
Add half of the first bag of crushed Oreos (or 1/4 of the crushed Oreos) to the bottom of your serving bowl. Now, smooth 1/4 of the pudding mixture over the top of the Oreos. Now, sprinkle the other half of the first package of the crushed Oreos over this. Then another 1/4 of the pudding. Continue 2 more times. Oreos then pudding. You should end with crushed Oreos on the top. It should look like this…

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ain’t it perty?! Yum!!

Dr. Boudreaux’s Carencro Gumbo

So I imagine everyone and their mama would think anyone called Cajun Mama would have a gumbo recipe that starts out with a roux. Painstakingly stirred and browned to perfection just like her mama taught her. They would be wrong in my case. My mama does make a mean gumbo and she loves to make it. It’s an all day affair and I can recall the smell of her browning and sometimes burning the roux. I can hear her cussing under her breath as she had to dump out one batch and start another. That was when I was younger and so was she. She got the hang of it though. To tell you the truth, growing up, gumbo was not my favorite. I don’t care for any dish made with a real heavy roux. It’s just not my thing. Maybe I have seen too much and it’s not worth it to me? Yes, I make chicken fricassee, and I do love it, but I can only have that on occasion. Now, I remember my mama starting her roux in a pot. I can also recall her learning to start a roux in the microwave, and that is how she usually does it today. She was also not afraid to use a jarred roux. And neither was Momou. The women I come from are nothing if not practical. They are all about a shortcut if it means preparing a good meal for their family faster. Grandpa wanted to eat at a certain time for lunch and dinner and Momou was always trying to keep him fed on time. Same thing with my mama. She had 4 kids, went through nursing school, worked as a nurse after she graduated and still cooked pretty often. Almost every night. So, when she made a gumbo on Saturday or Sunday, she was certainly about the easiest fastest route from a to b.
Speaking of being practical, I have a funny story. I can distinctly remember Momou coming to our house to sleep (as she says “my baby momou is coming sleep this week.”) and having homemade rolls ready when we got home from school. The woman amazed me! Wow! Then one day, I guess I was 13 or so, I was inhaling my second roll, she let me in on one of her secrets. She was no longer making her own dough and was using packaged frozen dough. Had been for a while, since she discovered it, and never looked back. She’s smart and savvy! Anyhow, the women in my life are hardworking, practical, and smart. So if that meant using jarred roux, frozen dough, or frozen meatballs…and they have no shame in their game. I am proud to say they taught me much of what I know. So some might be put off by jarred roux or a gumbo that does not start with a REAL roux?! That’s not cajun! I call bs. Being cajun is about enjoying life, raising your family, feeding your family, and living. That does not have to include so much tradition that you cannot use a shortcut if it gets your food on the table faster. 😉 In my family, no one questioned the authenticity of the recipe we just tasted how good it was and felt the love that was in that plate of food. So no roux snobbery allowed here. Give it a go if you want a delicious gumbo that does not involve standing over a pot stirring a roux. But this recipe is not about that. If you have never made your own gumbo, this is a great one to start with.
My good friend Betsy’s husband, Matt, gave me this recipe several years ago when he was doing his residency here in Shreveport. He is from Carencro…well he grew up in Scott and then they moved to Carencro at some point. But I like Carencro in the title…it has a nice rhyming sound to it. But for posterity’s sake I want to have all information as correct as possible. I am from Alex. but my parents grew up in Marksville (Broulliette and Blue Town to be exact.) These things matter and far be it from me to get it wrong. They were not from Hessmer, Effie, Fifth Ward or Pollock. Got to get the locale right! Anyhow, this recipe came from someone in his family. This is easily our favorite gumbo recipe. I have made it my mama’s way but my family prefers this way. It is not as heavy and has more of a broth like consistency. Growing up, I went to a Catholic school and I always loved their gumbo. It would make my mama crazy that I preferred their gumbo to her’s. Don’t get me wrong, I would gladly take a bowl of Bernie’s gumbo (that’s her name…Bernie aka Bernadette Broulliette Mayeux aka BBM aka Bernadette from Broulliette as Momou likes to call her) as she is a gumbo cooking queen, but this recipe here is one I don’t mind cooking time and time again. I hope you will give this recipe a try some day soon. The cold front came in last night and LSU was playing tonight and that just screamed GUMBO!!! I baked up a few sweet potatoes and we are good to go! Yes sweet potatoes. In the bowl of gumbo. Now, some people like potato salad in their gumbo and I certainly am no different. But I usually do potato salad with seafood gumbo. If you have never tried either with your gumbo, you must try at least one when you make this recipe. Here is the link~ Potato Salad with almost everything, paquing eggs and things Cajuns do | cajunmamacookin’s Blog
https://cajunmamacookinblog.com/2014/03/18/potato-salad-with-almost-everything-paquing-eggs-and-things-cajuns-do/. It may sound strange to some, but where I am from it is pretty normal. And so delicious! Let me know what you think. ~ AMB

Dr. Boudreaux’s Carencro gumbo

stuff you need~
*I always double this recipe as it is always better the next day

Cooking oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 teaspoon of minced garlic
2 (14 ounce) cans chicken broth (I use reduced sodium)
1 package andouille sausage, sliced (I usually do a half pack of andouille and a package of Eckrich skinless sausage to kind of break up the andouille flavor.
1 package of boneless chicken thighs, fat removed and diced into bite sized pieces
1 capful of Kitchen Bouquet *
1 packet onion soup mix
3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 teaspoon gumbo file
1 cup sliced green onions

*I have had people ask me where to buy kitchen bouquet. All grocery stores have it and it is typically found on the condiments aisle. Usually near the Worcestershire sauce. Lots of times it is on the high shelf. Here is a pic of the bottle if that helps…

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What to do with the stuff~

In Dutch oven or big ole pot/gumbo pot, whatever you it’s all good as long as it can hold it all, heat a little cooking oil over medium heat. Now, add your sliced sausage to this warmed up oil. Brown the sausage for about 5-7 minutes. Like this…

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Ok now, pour in your chicken broth and bring it to a boil. reduce heat and let it simmer for about 45 minutes. Next, toss in your diced onions, bell peppers, and celery (aka the Holy Trinity of Cajun cooking ma petite) and throw in your garlic. Let this all simmer for another 45 minutes.
*Don’t get in a hurry my baby…we gonna be here a little while. And I can tell you this mop tit (ma petite said as Momee said it 😉) you can make this a day ahead or start it a day and then finish it or eat it later…this makes it taste that much better. The flavors have a little to time to party together and the mingle and it’s just better…so do what works for you! *
Ok now….after the 45 minutes is up on the veggies simmering, stir in your chicken thigh meat and the onion soup mix. And…you guessed it…let this simmer another 45 minutes. Now, this time before your 45 minutes are up, in a microwaveable safe bowl, whisk together the 3 tablespoons of flour and 3 tablespoons of oil. This is gonna make our roux. (See it has a roux!!)

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Place the bowl of flour and oil in the microwave and cook for 30 seconds. Stir, stir, stir. Cook another 30 seconds. Stir some more. Another 30 seconds. Ok…now carefully remove the bowl from the microwave.

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Now stir in your gumbo file. It looks like this for those who might not know…

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Now add a little of this roux to the gumbo and then stir. Be careful as it is will pop and hiss and you think something is about to jump out at you. Add a little more and stir after each addition. It’s gonna thicken that gumbo right on up.

Stir in your kitchen bouquet and green onions. Let this all simmer on low for about 30 minutes. I also add more green onions at this point, but I have a problem in that I love green onions…so that may not suit you. Serve over some fresh cooked rice and if you are so inclined some fresh baked sweet potato scooped right into the bowl. (On the side will work too) or a nice dollop of potato salad is good as well.
It’s all good mais Cher! Now, see…you made a gumbo. Aren’t you proud?! Go put your feet up and enjoy that little cool front or watch the game. I am sure the Tigers or the Saints or playing. Or one of those other teams. 😉

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stop it now. This stuff is so good

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this is Matt, the good surgeon with the best recipes!! (He is on the left…Big Daddy on the right)

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talk about good! Enjoy!!

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the gumbo cooking queen aka BBM aka Bernie with some of her grandkids.

Shrimp coconut curry and things I love

I love Thai food. I am not sure how that love came about, but it is a done deal now. Thai food makes me happier than a pig in the mud. It is the yin to my yang, Thai food completes me. I could wax on rhapsodically about Thai food and the happy feelings it brings about in me…but I will just say I ❤️ Thai food and leave it there. But ooh I might need a bumper sticker that says Cajun Mama ❤️ Thai food for my mini van. Or would that be a little too much?
Anyhow, the other morning, I was on Pinterest, pinning some recipes and I decided to look up curries. Why? You might ask. Well I will tell you. I am a chronic rereader of books. I love to read and once I fall in love with a book, I tend to reread it over and over. It’s a problem but who am I change it? Some of my favorites include The Help, Cane River, and the Shopaholic Series. The whole series. My sister Claire got me hooked on those when the first one came out and I still love them. I have them on my Nook and I tend to reread at least once a year. And in the first one, in an attempt to save money, Becky tries to learn to make her own take away curry. Being from Alex by the way of Marksville and having a daddy who wanted his rice and gravy, there was not much curry on the menu. And frankly, I bet I would not have eaten it back then. My kids were not overly thrilled last night and they dined on the house cereal and milk in protest. Anyway, after reading Confessions of a Shopaholic for the umpteenth time and reading about Becky’s curry cooking debacle, I decided I had to give curry a go. I was curious! I needed to try this. I mean curry is all up in Thai and I love Thai …I need to try this. Enter in Pinterest. Now, of course I come across several curry recipes but I finally see one for coconut shrimp curry and whose blog is it on? Another one of my faves! Pioneer Woman! Her recipes are always a pretty safe bet and knowing I had her leading the way, I decided to make a go of it. My friends, this recipe is really easy to prep and not intimidating at all. You can totally do this and you should. It cries to be made. BD LOVED it and I did too. Your kids might not care much for it, but that is because it is called curry and it has a curry smell. If they had tried it, they would likely have loved it. Well, not my Sugar Cookie aka Kayla Ann…she is allergic to fish and we are pretty sure shrimp or shellfish (long story) and since we want to keep her alive, we keep her away from all seafood as a rule. Anyway, this curry recipe is super simple and the end result is some kind of yum. Try it…unless you are allergic to shrimp or shellfish…don’t do that. 😁

Coconut Shrimp Curry

Stuff you need<

Basmati rice, cooked according to package directions (you can use plain old white rice, but basmati rice is incredibly fragrant and just adds to the lusciousness of this dish)
1 pound medium size shrimp
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, diced fine
1 clove of garlic, diced fine (or 1 teaspoon of the jarred minced garlic)
1 can coconut milk (I like the taste of Thai brand)
Curry powder(I have the McCormick brand and it was just fine)
Honey
Kosher salt
Fresh basil leaves (trust me)
Juice from one medium sized lime
Sriracha sauce (just the sight of that bottle makes me happy. I have issues.)

What to do with the stuff~

Get your rice cooking in a rice cooker or a pot on the stove. I made 1 1/2 cups and that was about right. In a large skillet, melt your butter. Toss in your shrimp and cook until they are opaque or as I call it…lovely cooked shrimp color. There is a fine line between cooked just right shrimp and overcooked shrimp so kind of watch them. For medium size shrimp, a few minutes is really all it takes. Now, remove those pretty opaque cooked just right shrimpies and put them on a plate. Set aside. I have to hide them at this point because big daddy starts sneaking them.
Ok, add a little more butter if you need to and add the onions and garlic to the same pot. Stir and cook until the onions are tender. Now, you are going to sprinkle a nice amount of curry powder over the onions and garlic. Stir to allow that curry to release all it’s goodness and flavor. I would say about 1 tablespoon at this point. Ok now, open that can of coconut milk and pour it over the onions. Yes it smells like heaven. Curry Thai heaven. Yum!!! Stir in a little more curry powder so that the coconut milk takes on a nice light brown color. Like this…

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Now, stir in some honey (about 2 tablespoons) for some sweetness. Squeeze in the lime juice. See where we are going here? Oh yes somewhere lovely. Thai town, curry ville, my happy place. Ok, now at this point I added a few squirts of Sriracha sauce. If you have never used this stuff before, use sparingly at first. It is some good stuff though y’all. Used to it could only be found in certain stores, but now it is pretty much in every store on the ethnic foods aisle. Buy some. It’s awesome sauce.
Now, stir in a little kosher salt. And let all this loveliness simmer for a few minutes. Feel free to add more honey, lime juice, Sriracha sauce, and salt to get it to taste just right. Sprinkle in more curry powder if necessary. Clip some of those fresh, fragrant basil leaves and kind of give them a little chop and stir them into that lovely curry sauce. It will taste sweet and savory at the same time, which in my humble opinion, is the beauty of Thai food. Now, stir your shrimp into this luscious concoction. Serve over cooked rice. Garnish with a little extra basil. Just beautiful, ya’ll. Heaven in a bowl my friends. Heaven in a bowl. Thank you PW for your guidance in my first attempt at curry cooking. Y’all can check out her post with the most here–http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2014/07/coconut-curry-shrimp/.
Hope y’all enjoyed our little foray into curry cooking. Next up…Momou’s chicken fricassee and sweet tomato gravy (exotic in it’s own right) , coconut curry soup and also…paella. Stay tuned. Every day is an adventure and I am so glad you are on this journey with me! ~AMB

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that’s the stuff (as my friend Lisa loves to say)

Momou’s eggplant dressing

Now this stuff right here is some of the best stuff you will ever put in your mouth. My mama makes some of the best dirty rice aka rice dressing you will ever eat but there is some ingredients in her dirty rice that might scare some of y’all off. It is true dirty rice. This eggplant dressing is kind of sort of like the rice dressing except the eggplant replaces all the “dirty” stuff. I will eventually work y’all up to the rice dressing but let’s start y’all off on this delicious eggplant dressing. Several years ago, Momou had asked me and my sisters which recipes we would like her to write down for us. I am so glad I asked for her to write this one down. It is truly a one of a kind, cajun mama cooks recipe. I made it last night and Big Daddy said he could make a meal out of this dressing. It really is so good. If you have some eggplant from your garden or if your friend gave you an eggplant or two, this is an excellent way to use it up. Now Momou used to cut the eggplant in half and somehow cut out of the meat and saved the hollowed out eggplant halves and then add the eggplant dressing to that. It made quite the presentation I tell you. Momou has it going on.
I hope you will give it a chance. It may sound different, but it is worth making. I am pretty sure you will agree.

Eggplant Dressing

Stuff you need~

1 pound ground beef
1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 medium eggplant, peeled and diced
3 cups of cooked rice (more or less to taste)
Salt and pepper

What to do with the stuff~

In a large skillet or Dutch oven, brown the ground meat until no longer pink. Stir in the onion, bell pepper, garlic and eggplant. Cook down until the veggies are all tender. Now, stir in the cooked rice, adding a spoonful at a time and stirring after each addition. I just add rice until there is a good rice to meat and veggie ratio. Also, when the liquid is all soaked up with the rice. Add good ole salt and pepper to taste. Serve it up and ENJOY!

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peeling the eggplant

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Adding in the veggies…they will cook down

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before adding the rice, the veggies all cooked down. That is some good stuff right there

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ah yeah…so good. Thank you Momou!

Bringing on Fall with one of my favorite meals…post by post

We went to Arkansas this past weekend so BD and the boys could go dove hunting with my father in law. It’s become a tradition for our family and this year was no different. My big boy turned 11 and his birthday is typically right after Labor Day and usually this all falls on the same weekend. Not this year, as some years it is a little different. BD also has a birthday in September, so that makes this a really fun time when we go up to the lodge. This weekend, there was an LSU game and a Saints game on TV. Also, the temps were in the mid 60’s in the mornings and all I can say is Fall is coming y’all. That makes me happier than words can say. Every year when we go for dove hunt/Labor Day/birthday celebrations, my mother in law Deb always has a lab with new puppies. This year was no different and those pups are the sweetest sight to see. All in all it was a good weekend and September is in full effect. Since Fall is approaching quickly, my mind has turned to cooking delicious soups and stews and another family fave…roast. Roast and all the trimmings. So I decided that I wanted to make a post of all the things I make when I cook a roast. That way y’all have an entire Sunday supper to make if you are so inclined. When I do it, I do it right. What I love most about this meal is that it combines some of family favorites from both sides of the family.
I can remember when my daddy would come home from dove hunting or squirrel hunting, he would also stop at momou’s on the way home from the camp and have lunch at her house. He would always bring home leftovers. This meal here (sans the cornbread…she made rolls usually) is very similar to what he would bring home on a plate wrapped in foil. Oh the smells and yummy tastes. Her rice and gravy always was the best and I would imagine if she was not in the nursing home, it still would be if she made it. So on a Sunday, I always like to make a big toodoo (as she would say) and really cook a big Sunday lunch or supper. So if these fall temps get to you and you get the notion to do it up right, these recipes right here are all you need. Throw in some petite pois, a pot of rice, and some sweet tea and you are at Momou’s! Or the lodge. Both wonderful places to be. Bring on Fall!

Deb’s pot roast…the last roast recipe you will ever need | cajunmamacookin’s Blog
https://cajunmamacookinblog.com/2013/06/17/tonight-is-a-roast-night/

Alayna’s best ever cornbread | cajunmamacookin’s Blog
https://cajunmamacookinblog.com/2014/08/30/alaynas-best-ever-cornbread/

Potato Salad with almost everything, paquing eggs and things Cajuns do | cajunmamacookin’s Blog
https://cajunmamacookinblog.com/2014/03/18/potato-salad-with-almost-everything-paquing-eggs-and-things-cajuns-do/

Momou’s mac and cheese | cajunmamacookin’s Blog
https://cajunmamacookinblog.com/2013/11/25/momous-mac-and-cheese/

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that’s a bunch of sweet, full and fat puppies

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my 11 YEAR OLD (!!! How did that happen?) back from the hunt

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watching the sunset on the Arkansas River on our trip to BLL

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Toot has been getting sewing lessons from aunt Kathy (deb’s sister)

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My Cookie walking the dogs around BLL

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my baby (not so little anymore) giving mama dog Abby some attention. 😉