Category Archives: Cajun delights/mardi gras perfect

Donna’s simply divine jambalaya and have circus, will travel 

So Big Daddy worked at Farm Bureau for 14 years and over that time we made some really good friends. We’d take trips with the company and we would get to see those friends about once or twice a year. Well, Lloyd retired from Farm Bureau a few years ago and Big Daddy has moved on, so that leaves little opportunity for those bi-yearly visits. He and LLoyd text and talk pretty often and Donna and I keep in touch via Facebook, but sometimes little face to face is the best thing. But with 4 kids, 2 dogs, their grandkids and traveling, work…it was a daunting task to make it happen. But somehow we managed. It’s a miracle!! It’s so easy to say there is no time. It’s so easy after a long week to give in to just staying home and just talk about visiting friends. That’s one thing about Big Daddy…he is not all talk. He is a doer. When he sets his head to something, it’s happening. So we scheduled it, packed up on Friday and headed South. All 4 kids and the 2 dogs in tow in the mini van. Virtually our own little traveling circus! 

This little Cajun pup loves a good road trip!

So very glad we went through the trouble. Donna and Lloyd were so welcoming and gave the kids the run of the place.  They had some other friends from Raceland visiting, Anne and Alphonse, and they talked French and cut up and my kids had a ball. They picked blueberries from their many blueberry bushes, they fed the chickens and my baby got to pick up the freshly laid eggs.  We went shopping at the local Dirtcheap store. And as when visiting any Cajun friends, you can almost bet you will eat something delicious. And boy did we. She made a jambalaya so good and put it together so fast, I just knew I had to have the recipe. 


So Donna shared with me that this is her version of her brother in law, Don’s, award winning jambalaya recipe. He makes it for cook offs, different benefits and such…the point is this jambalaya feeds a crowd and people love it!! I have had numerous friends and readers ask me for my jambalaya recipe and until now I did not really have one. Jambalaya is not something I grew up eating very often. So I really hope you all will enjoy Donna’s truly fantastic (and easy) jambalaya as much as we enjoyed our visit with them.

Donna’s Divine Jambalaya 

Serves about 10 

Stuff you need~

2 bell peppers, diced 

4-6 smalll onions, diced

2 cups celery, chopped (optional) 

4 pounds of meat (pork, chicken, sausage)*

1 can Rotel 

4 cups rice (Zatarain’s parboiled rice only!!)**

Kitchen bouquet 

8 cups chicken broth (that’s about 4 cans or two 32 ounce boxes)

*Donna used 2 packs of pork chops, 2 packages chicken tenderloins, and 2 packs of sausage) 

**Donna says regular rice turns too mushy in this recipe. And said this is the only time she uses parboiled rice lol. 

What to do with the stuff~

Heat a little canola oil in your stock pot.*** Brown the diced onion. 

While this is happening cut up your meats. She sprinkled her chicken and pork liberally with Morton’s all seasoning. No not tony’s. Yes we Cajuns do love Tony’s but we don’t add it ad nauseum to every single dish.

 Add all your pork and chicken to this and brown the meat well. Let that all cook down. At the end, throw in the sausage and brown that too. 

Pour the undrained can of Rotel into the pot. Stir in the rice and stir it around so it can soak up all that juice from the meats and veggies. Pour in the chicken broth. Pour in a capful of Kitchen Bouquet (in the condiment aisle on the top shelf almost always in every grocery store, yellow top, black bottle). Stir in some salt and pepper. She did not give specific amounts. So I always say add a little and you can always add more to taste later. 


Bring to a boil and cover. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes on low. Stir about halfway through. Enjoy!! 

***Donna used a 7 1/2 quart non stick stock pot and it worked perfectly. I’ll be getting one from amazon asap. 

Me and the lady of the hour, this is THE Donna
Big Daddy and his padnuh, LLoyd
My #4bowlinbabes and LLoyd and Donna

Advertisements

Crawfish Fettucine…like seriously the best stuff ever 

OOk this is one of my most favorite, tried and true, best recipes. This is the one I trot out when I want to impress and  have my friends begging for more. It’s creamy, it is just spicy enough, it is fabulous. I will be honest and say I don’t remember who I got this recipe from. Maybe my friend Leia, aka Ned, the one who gave me the crawfish pie recipe but maybe it was my sister? I truly cannot remember and if you know me at all, you know how rare that is.  I have a memory like an elephant. I remember it was in college, maybe grad school, and I made it a whole bunch. Anytime my friends and I cooked supper together, this was usually one of the menu items. My friend Cara and I and her roommate Nicole would have this every other week one summer. At the time it seemed like the best recipe in the whole world and so elegant…in some ways it is still that way to me. My little girl, ADB, has loved this for a while and it is probably one of her favorites. So the tradition continues. This recipe deserves all the props it gets, I promise. It’s just that good. I don’t even know where this recipe is written down on paper! I just know it by heart. I guess all important things that have special memories attached to them are etched on your heart.  This recipe certainly qualifies. If you gave me this recipe and you read this post please give me a shout out. I love to give credit where credit is due and y’all know I love to share stories about friends who the recipe comes from.  None the less, just make this crawfish fettucine  and enjoy! This pairs beautifully with a green salad and some garlic bread. Hope y’all enjoy it as much as I have for the longest time now. Grab a good bottle of wine, make this recipe and toast to good friends, wonderful memories, and great food! Nothing better!  

Stuff you need~

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter 

1 small onion, diced 

1 medium bell pepper, diced 

2 stalks celery, diced 

Cajun seasoning (Tony’s…do I have to specify?) 

1 pound crawfish tails *

1 can cream of chicken soup 

1 can cream of mushroom soup 

16 ounces (about half of a big block) queso blanco velveeta with jalapeños (or mexican velveeta…whatever you can find)

half and half 

Cooked fettucine noodles 

What to do with the stuff~

Melt your butter in a big ole skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion, bell pepper, and celery in the butter until tender. Sprinkle in a little Tony’s at this point. I read somewhere a while back that adding seasoning at the beginning of the sautéing process tends to deepen the flavor of the seasoning. Works for me! 

Add the minced garlic and sauté another minute or two. Next add your soups and crawfish tails. 

Add your cubed up velveeta and cook over low heat, stirring frequently. Next, add a splash of half and half to make this luscious concoction that much creamier. Add a little more because it makes it that much better. Stir, stir, stir. Continue to cook over low heat until the sauce is the consistency you prefer. It will continue to thicken some after you remove it from the heat. Keep that in mind. 


Serve over some cooked fettucine noodles along side some garlic bread to sop up all that sauce the noodles forget. Best. Stuff. Ever!!!!! 

speaking of favorites from my grad school days…still love these ladies. blessed to call them friends.

New Orleans red beans and rice

Ok now I have given y’all the crockpot red beans recipe that I grew up making. Here is the link in case you need it.  Please let me say right now, I am in no way discounting this recipe by posting a new one. No siree Bob! This is my tried and true way to cook red beans. But I am not so stuck in my ways that I cannot say I love this new recipe as well.  Some of the best red beans and rice I have ever had were in NOLA so this recipe is approve painterly named.  I am loyal to a fault, but I also accept new things when they are FABULOUS. This recipe is just that…fabulous.   Knock your socks off, slap your mama delicious.  I found this recipe on the Camellia website and if you are familiar with my blog at all, you know I only use Camellia beans. Here’s a link to their recipe. I got the envie to make a new red beans recipe while big daddy was out of town a few weeks ago and as much as I hated to make them without him, sometimes the show just has to go on. But I did save him some and he was blown away. I made them again the other day and again this recipe was met with rave reviews. They are that good. Now the bad thing is that I don’t have a crockpot version of these yet but they are really not all that high maintainence. The best news is that they are even better the next day, so you can totally make them on a Sunday and then eat them on a Monday…which is only right. Mondays and red beans go together like…well…red beans and rice. So do yourself a favor and make these as soon as possible. And then let me know what you think. Oh and you’re welcome in advance. 

New Orleans Red beans and rice 

Stuff you need~

1  package Camellia red kidney beans 

1 (32-ounce) container no-sodium chicken broth

Water (if needed) 

1 large onion, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

1/2 cup chopped parsley (I use the stuff in the tube and it is wonderful) 

4 celery stalks, chopped

1-3 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound of tasso, smoked ham, or salted pork, chopped and or

1 package Eckrich skinless sausage (I used this and some salt pork bacon I found at Walmart)

1/4 cup sugar 

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon dried thyme

Hot sauce, to taste 

Tony’s seasoning,  to taste

Salt and pepper to taste (you will not need much especially if you use the salt pork!) 

What to do with the stuff~

Soak beans overnight. 

Add your soaked beans to a large stew pot and then pour the chicken broth over the beans. You should have a ratio of one part beans to two parts liquid. You add water to make up the difference. I just added more chicken broth. 

Bring the beans to a rolling boil over medium high heat and then reduce heat to a low simmer. Let the beans simmer on low for an hour or two, until beans are tender. I just let them simmer for 2 hours on very low heat and gave them a stir from time to time. Beans tend to stick at times.

Now while the beans are simmering on low heat…you are going to add your cut up salted pork meat of choice to a warmed skillet. 


now that’s some pretty fat…things Cajun women say

You are going to cook this meat on medium low hear until it is nice and browned and you have rendered all the lovely fat from it. Oh yes I said that. It’s a beautiful thing when you can say the words render the fat because that means something is about to taste extra wonderful. Once the meat (I used salted pork bacon and it was just so wonderful), and perfect. And yes I do know I am discussing salted pork bacon. You’ll see. Now set that browned meat aside. I sautéed my sliced sausage at this point so do that if you are using sausage. My kids have to have their sausage in their red beans. Then set it aside as well.  Now you will add your chopped onion, celery and bell peppers to this skillet of rendered fat. Now sauté them until tender. Add your parsley and garlic towards the end and get them in the mix. 

Now you will add the sautéed veggies and  the browned salted pork and sausage to your beans that have been simmering. Also toss in the bay leaves and sugar (if you trust me…you will add it. It is the icing on this cake). Add the dried thyme I used dried oregano because that is what I had. Ah improvisation is a beautiful thing!! Please add your salt sparingly. I added maybe a teaspoon and that was for a double batch. The salt pork and sausage adds so much salty flavor. 

Now continue to let those beans simmer to let all of those flavors combine. You can let them simmer for another 1-3 hours. Just make sure you stir them from time to time. Now Momou always told me to smash a few beans up against the side of your pot with your spoon to make them a little creamy. I do this a few times and the beans have the perfect consistency. Momou is wise yeah Cher!! Serve over rice alongside some cornbread and you will know my truth!!! So much yum in one pot of beans!! 

do you hear angels singing?

Crawfish pie and lessons in white pepper and loyalty 

I am a big believer that God brings people into your life for a reason. Not everyone is meant to stay forever but some are. And that’s when it gets good. As most of you know, I am a Shreveport transplant and when I arrived on the scene in North Lousiana, I knew no one but Big Daddy, his brother, and his daddy. That’s all. One of the first people I met was Leia. She was about 16 and I was about 19. We met in passing one day and that was it for a while.  In fact, the first time I met her as a matter of fact, I was pretty sure she did not like me much. Remember, I was an outsider. Somehow though, as time went on, Leia took me under wing and made me her friend and the rest as they say is history. Well, not really…a couple of things have occurred between now and then. Couple of weddings (I was in her’s, she was in mine), some graduations, jobs, couple of babies, life…we have stuck together through it all. I lived with Leia, who I call Ned and she calls me Ned (don’t ask) one summer and we loved to cook in the tiny little kitchen of her first house. Big Daddy was working out town that summer, and at the time I missed him terribly, but looking back, I am so glad to have had that time with her. She was expecting her first baby at the time and that baby is now a college student. That tells you how far back we go. If there is anyone on this a Earth I don’t ever question, it is Leia. She is always in my corner and I am pretty sure she knows I have her back no matter what she is up against. She is a tough cookie and I am just glad to have her on my team. I would not want her as an enemy. She is part sweet southern belle mixed with fierce badass and it equals one amazing friend. Sister knows how to take care of business. Need someone to plan one heck of bachelorette party? She’s your girl. There’s no end to the power of Ned and those who are lucky enough to have her in their lives would do well to remember that. There is no end to the power of Ned. 

 

Me and Ned, circa 2001, at my bachelorette party .
 
Now this crawfish pie recipe…it’s pretty special. And delicious. I had never had crawfish pie before I tried this one, so of course, it was love at first bite. Even though it is a Cajun delicacy, the recipe could not be easier to prepare. As I made it the other night, I giggled to myself how much I have learned in the kitchen since those days. I was probably 20 at the time, and I had no idea about white pepper or if there was a difference between white and black pepper. Nor did I bother looking for white pepper at the store. I probably thought it was a typo. Now, of course lessons have been learned in and out and the kitchen and I have a jar of white pepper in my seasonings cabinet. Ned and I have learned some other lessons as well. Lessons like…life  can be hard, but it’s a lot easier when you have a good friend always there. And that some people are always loyal, even if you don’t talk to them everyday. Some friendships begin and don’t ever end. Thank God. Love you Ned, thanks for the crawfish pie recipe and for all the love and loyalty. 

Crawfish Pie 

Stuff you need~

1/2 stick of butter 

1 pound crawfish tails 

2 pie crusts 

1 medium onion, chopped fine

1/2 bell pepper, chopped fine 

2 stalks celery, chopped fine 

1 can cream of mushroom soup 

8 ounce tomato sauce 

1 cup breadcrumbs 

1 egg, slightly beaten 

1 cup milk 

1/2 cup white wine 

1 teaspoon salt 

1 teaspoon black pepper 

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper 

1/2 teaspoon white pepper 

1/2 teaspoon thyme 

What to do with the stuff~

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a  large skillet or sauté pan. Sauté onions, bell peppers, and celery in melted butter until they are tender. At some point before the veggies are tender, sprinkle in the salt, pepper, red pepper, white pepper and thyme. This way the seasonings can get in there and really make their mark and have plenty of time to infuse the filling with their delightful spiciness. Yes I wrote that…delightful spiciness. 


 

Next stir in your cream of mushroom soup.   

Add the tomato sauce and give it a good stir   
Next, stir in the crawfish tails and white wine.  All together…mmmm. Just. So. Delicious. Add the milk, beaten egg* and the breadcrumbs. Either make your own in a food processor with some white bread or use plain breadcrumbs. I only had garlic and herb breadcrumbs this time and  I found it threw the flavor off. Still good but not as good as I remembered. So next time, plain breadcrumbs it is. Stir them in and let the mixture simmer over low heat.  

Stir the mixture frequently as it is simmers. Now,  take one of the pie crusts and lay it in the bottom of your pie plate. Prick it a few times with a fork and pop that baby in the oven for a few minutes. You just want to slightly brown the bottom pie crust. Now, feel free to be a real show off and make your own pie crusts. If that is your fortay, rock on with your bad self. As for me and my house, we will use store bought pie crusts. I own it. If someone wants to offer to come give Cajun mama a pie crusts baking lesson, let me know. As I have mentioned before, I am baking challenged. I can do it, but homemade pie crusts are not something I aspire to. 

Finally, pull that prebaked bottom pie crust from the oven. Now pour that savory filling into the pie plate until it is piled high. Yum!!! Cover the filling with your second pie crust and pinch to sort of seal it around the pie plate. Yes! Crawfish pie! You made that! Work it! Hold on now, you got to put it back in the oven to brown your top crust. Here is my crawfish pie before I popped it in the oven. 

see I even mess up a store bought pie crust …it still tasted so good
 

Bake it for about 40 minutes until your pie is golden brown and your kitchen smells like the most heavenly Cajun restaurant you can imagine. Let the pie sit for about 30 minutes before serving. Serve along side a nice green salad or potato salad. Or both if you are Cajun! Here is my potato salad post if you want to check it out 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/. 

You are all set!!! Hope you enjoy this truly unique and tasty dish!! 

*you may want to temper the egg. I don’t remember doing this back in the day when I made this dish all the time, but maybe I did not realize the difference. Here is a post that tells you about how to temper an egg…http://www.tablespoon.com/posts/how-to-temper-an-egg/e838d2ab-8509-4db0-bf67-8539a3aa1b06. 

Copycat boudin king cake

So about a week ago a picture came across my Facebook newsfeed about a boudin king cake. I was all like “hold the phone! A king cake with boudin in it?! Mama needs that!!” So I read the little blurb about the king cakes and the man behind the idea. So let me make sure you all hear me…this boudin king cake is NOT my idea. This is a copycat recipe that I came up with from the description that was in the blurb. I did email the guy asking how to buy one at cake@boudinlink.com as the article suggested. He responded quickly saying he could not handle all the orders and was turning the recipe over to a local bakery to make them. He said he would get back to me. Here is a link to the original article so you can read all about it http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/entertainment/food/2015/01/23/bites-boudin-king-cake-steens-cracklin-now-available/22218135/. But once you tempt a Cajun with boudin king cake, you cannot say “I will get back with you” because well…the damage has been done. It’s out there. Boudin. Inside of dough. It’s all I could think about. I was obsessed. So luck would have it, we were already headed down to Baton Rouge last weekend and my favorite place in the world is on the way. Yeah. Borques. We went on down to Baton Rouge because Big Daddy and several other Farm Bureau agents were being honored for being part of the 200 auto club. That’s an amazing achievement and I was happy to drop them kiddos off with their BB and Poppy in Alex. And head south. A night out at a hotel?! Sign me up! And we got to stay in the Renaissance Hotel that has the wallpaper in the bathroom I have been dying to get my hands on! No really, I have emailed the company who makes it. A friend stayed there and posted a pic on Facebook and I have been pining after it ever since. So I was stupid excited to stay there. Big daddy was like “yeah ok you want to stay here because of the wallpaper in the bathroom…whatever makes you happy babe.” (I know in his head he was like “I married a crazy lady.”)

2015/01/img_2148.jpg
it has Cajun colloquialisms written on it! I need that!

2015/01/img_2152.jpg
me and my main squeeze all gussied up to celebrate!!

2015/01/img_2149.jpg
so proud of Big Daddy!! He works for a great company that rewards their agents for their hard work.

Ok…so we had our night out and then it was time to head home to have lunch at my mom and dad’s. Bernie made smothered chicken and rice and gravy. My favorite! My mom is an amazing cook I must say. So we headed north but on the way home Big Daddy surprised me with a detour through Port Barre to go to Borque’s Supermarket. You can check them out online at http://www.bourquespecialties.com. I truly love this place and it always feels a little like going home. Funny thing is, while we were there getting our boudin, I tell the woman at the counter that I was making a copycat boudin king cake and she says she had just answered a phone call from someone asking to order one. She said the person calling thought they had them. Lol!! But they do have boudin dip in case anyone wants to know that. That place is my Disneyland.

2015/01/img_2150.jpg
oh that’s a happy sight to me

2015/01/img_2151.jpg
me with my loot. Some boudin for the king cake (and a few links for the road!), some cracklins and a Mr. Pibb. I was a happy girl!!

So we made it home with our posse in tow. I love getting away but I sure do love coming home, especially to these little faces…

2015/01/img_2165.jpg

Ok…to get to this copycat recipe. The one I made was not hard and I am sure a very simplified version of the original. I do not claim that mine tastes like the original. I am just trying to figure out to get some since I could not order one. This recipe is not hard and requires few (though specialty) ingredients. I did not use steen’s syrup because I had some Lambert’s cane syrup from our summer trip to the beach. Also, I used frozen store bought dough because I don’t do yeast. If you have been reading along , you are aware that I summon a demon when I try to use Yeast.
This boudin king cake was off the chain and I can only imagine how the original recipe must taste. But…for a Cajun girl living in Shreveport, this recipe will definitely get me by. If I make another one, I will head to Bergeron’s Boudin and Cajun meats. We got one in Shreveport a few years ago and while my heart belongs to Borque’s, I am totally down with the saying “if you can’t be with the one you love, honey love the one your with…” Especially when it comes to boudin. They have cracklins too so that’s a good option for those too. If you are so inclined, try your hand at this culinary delicacy. It’s just in time for Mardi Gras season!!

Copycat Boudin King Cake

stuff you need~

One roll of frozen dough (it comes in a package of 3)
4-5 links of boudin
Cane syrup
A few cracklins run through the food processor

2015/01/img_2153.jpg
the dough I used

what to do with the stuff~

Night before, take the dough out of the freezer. Lay it out to defrost.

Ok…the next morning…preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle a bit of flour on a rolling mat.

2015/01/img_2154.jpg

Next roll it out into a semi square. I was not picky here, I just kind of made sure it was big enough to encompass all the boudin. I would say about 6 ” by 12″ or round about. Cut a slit in the boudin and scoop out all the boudin.

2015/01/img_2155.jpg

Lay all that boudin in the middle of your rolled out dough. I laid the boudin almost the length of the dough. Next time I will likely use a link or two more.

2015/01/img_2156.jpg

Now, bring the dough at the top toward the boudin. And then roll again.

2015/01/img_2137.jpg

Roll towards you until you have a roll of dough. And then bend it into an almost closed circle. Like the shape of a King cake.

2015/01/img_2136.jpg

Next lay your king cake on a baking dish. I used by Pampered Chef baking stone and it did not disappoint.

2015/01/img_2157.jpg

Slip it into your preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes. While it is baking, place your cracklins in your food processor. I just tossed the whole cracklin (several of them) in the processor. It made a lot of noise but it did a good job at knocking the crumbly parts off and processing them into bits. I pulled the still solid parts out and then pulsed a few more times. You don’t need a bunch of the cracklin crumbs.

2015/01/img_2159.jpg

Now, after the first 20 minutes of cooking, pull your King cake out and baste with the cane syrup. Really coat it well. Your King cake is depending on you!!

2015/01/img_2161.jpg

Bake another 20-30 minutes or until the King cake is well browned and that cane syrup is sticky and baked to a nice golden brown. Pull from oven and sprinkle those tasty cracklin crumbs all over the cake. Hot damn we did it!!!

2015/01/img_2162.jpg