Category Archives: Sides

Granny’s barbecue rice…

New recipe up on my new website! I would love for you to check it out. Also, take a minute and subscribe so you don’t miss any new recipes coming out of Cajun Mama’s kitchen! Thanks so much for reading!!
http://cajunmamacooks.com/2014/07/13/grannys-barbecue-rice-and-a-side-of-granny-love/

Crawfish stew, cheesy potatoes and my sister is awesome

I believe I have told y’all before that I have 3 sisters. I am the oldest of 4 girls. It is something about me that defines me as much as I am Catholic, I am Cajun, my name is Aimee Marie. Their names are Jenny, Lisa, and Claire. They are all beautiful, spectacular, smart women. It’s crazy for me say that. My little sisters are now grown women. Jenny is 5 years younger than me and has always been my partner in crime. She is beyond gorgeous and has always been wiser than me in the ways of the world. Even though she is younger, she takes care of me sometimes. She is so much fun and loves to laugh. She can be my challenger, my support, my sounding board, my soft place to land and my protector. I really cannot go into how much our relationship means to me for fear of bawling like a baby. I have not had enough coffee for all that. I will say now that she has kids it is even better, because it is like she has multiplied. She is a teacher now, has 3 kiddos, is married to a man from Bazille (my precious brother in law Matt) and has a wonderful family by marriage. They are hardcore coonass, just like our family. In fact her sister in law once told me that I may as well be from Texas living all the way up in Shreveport. Yeah, they wear their Cajun with pride.

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our daughters look so much alike it is crazy business. It makes me smile. Big. And they love each other a ton.

Jenny’s mother in law, Mrs. Georgie, gave Jenny an awesome recipe for crawfish stew at her bridal shower several years ago. I was not made aware of this or somehow missed this fact because I had a baby with me who cried during most of the shower. But truthfully, it would not have done me much good until recently because I was up to my ears in baby until a few years ago. All in God’s timing and that includes recipes too I suppose. But thankfully, a few months ago I put a picture of Tony’s instant roux in the can. Several people commented that no way would they use that (Jennifer and Amanda I am looking at you both. Ha ha!!) but here comes my sister saying she uses it in her crawfish stew. I am all what is this crawfish stew you speak of sister? She sends me the handwritten recipe in Mrs. Georgie’s handwriting (that’s her mother in law). She also tells me to make these devilish sounding cheesy potatoes to go with it.

Jenny has always had a knack for knowing what would taste good. I think it is her adventurous nature that allows for this. She is not afraid to try things. She is as adventurous as I am cautious. She turned me on to baked sweet potatoes with butter, cinnamon and Tony’s. Oh yes and don’t knock it till you have tried it. When we have boiled crawfish she makes the best dipping sauces, hands down. She also has a knack for doing fantastic hair. She has this long beautiful hair that I cannot even imagine dealing with having 3 kids much less making it look lovely and glamorous. (Hush jenny you know it’s true!) Jenny used to give her best friend hair trims when they were probably 11 or 12 and I tell you she did a good job!! She is very special to me as you can tell and I am so proud she shared this recipe with me.

I cannot say I have always been the best sister in the world. I have often times been caught up in being a mom or had my head so far up my butt I could not see anything else but sick kids, dirty diapers, and breast milk. I think mostly she understands. I am definitely grateful for the connection we will always have. And recipes are just one of the many things that connect us. Our memories and stuff we laugh hysterically about that no one else would get as well. Even though she is 5 years younger, she teaches me so much. Like leftover crawfish stew can be served over grilled steaks the next night and that these cheesy potatoes are amazing with crawfish stew. Also, that laughter and tears have a place on the same page. And that most importantly, a sister is forever, no matter what. Your sister is someone who you can always come home too, no matter what has happened or what has been said. I hope she feels the same. Home is wherever your sister is.

I hope you will give Mrs. Georgie’s crawfish stew a try and whip up a batch of these cheesy potatoes. Don’t let this recipe intimidate you. Cajun cooking for the most part is not fancy. If you has ever hung with a Cajun gal, or cajun folks, you know that there is no room for pretense. Just fun. And laid back chats. We just want you to eat and enjoy yourself. Anyone can make this meal. So do it! For now, I have to be going, I need to call my sister. Cause she is sort of awesome and I miss her.~AMB

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back before we were Mrs. Or mommy. Getting a good picture was quick and easy

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now it is difficult to take a picture without some sort of circus drama ha ha

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isn’t she just beautiful?

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our whole circus, I mean crew.

Mrs. Georgie’s crawfish stew

Stuff you need~

1 stick butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
3 heaping teaspoons of Tony’s instant roux
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 can of chicken broth
1/2 can of water
1 pound crawfish tails

What to do with the stuff

In a Dutch oven or medium size sauce pan, Sauté onions and celery in butter until almost tender. Add the garlic and continue to sauté for about 2
minutes letting the garlic flavor work itself through the onions and celery mixture. Add the crawfish tails, cook for about 5 minutes. Add the instant roux, stirring continuously. Whisk the broth and water into the roux mixture. Let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until it thickens a bit. Sprinkle in some Tony’s seasoning to taste. Serve over rice. You can garnish with sliced green onions (my fave!) and some chopped parsley if you want. Serve with some of the cheesy potatoes on the side (recipe to follow), a nice green salad and some garlic bread and you have yourself a nice meal fit coonass royalty!!
*Jenn’s side note-always double this recipe because it is amazing and people cannot get enough of it. Also any leftovers are delicious over a grilled steak the next night. Don’t argue…my sister is always (almost) right.

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this is what the can of instant roux looks like (warning…some
People make take offense to you using this. Ignore them. Momou is all about a shortcut. I think all smart cajun women are!!

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Oh yes! My sister is the smartest woman alive!!

Jenn’s cheesy potatoes

Stuff you need~

1 small bag of red potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 8 ounce block of Velveeta
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup)
6 slices of bacon, cooked until crispy and then crumbled
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
Sliced Green onion for garnish

what to do wit h the stuff~

In a large pot, boil your potatoes (or as voice text puts when I say it “ball your potatoes.” Seriously) in some salted water. Boil until they are tender and you can easily stick a fork in them. Drain and set aside. In a large pot, sauté the onion in the butter. Add the cubed up Velveeta and stir frequently as it melts. Add bacon and green onions (if you love them like I do). Now stir the tender potatoes into the cheesy golden sauce. Stir gently until those potatoes are coated with that luscious cheesy bacony (is that a word?) sauce. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. So damn delicious. Enjoy!!!

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the picture does not do them justice

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No words. So good.

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Jenn and Mrs. Georgie at Jenny’s bridal shower. May 2005. That baby is my sweet Kayla Ann.

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the actual handwritten recipe. Awesome

Keep calm and make macaroni salad

So I like to fancy myself a Southern girl at heart. Everything looks better with a monogram on it, I love my hydrangeas, and Gone with the Wind is a wonderful movie. None of that may truly make me Southern (though I am by birth and I am proud of it!) but there is such a thing as being Southern at heart. Which I imagine if you follow my blog or Facebook page, you are Southern at heart simply because the majority of recipes I serve up on here are good ole fashioned Southern delights and you probably like to eat some good food!!)
Well, the lovely recipe I have for y’all today is a true Southern dish. Macaroni salad! Oh yes. But friends, not your grandmama’s macaroni salad. No siree Bob. This is macaroni salad for today’s sophisticated Southern palates. It is sweet, creamy and has a little kick. I have always wanted to like macaroni salad. Something about it just draws me in. It is just so…Southern….sitting there in the grocery store deli case alongside the fried chicken (we love the fried chicken at our local Brookshires…it’s fab). It is simply perfect at a potluck and is just always a great summertime side dish. I have to admit I have bought some macaroni salad from our local grocery store. Now, it was not horrible but it just always left me wanting…more. That I can recall, macaroni salad is not a dish my family made often, if ever at all, so I really have no way to gauge what really good macaroni salad is. But I knew that there had to be a great recipe for it somewhere. I have tried several recipes for it, but again, they just left me wanting more. Well friends, I do believe I have found…more. I googled best macaroni salad and first result was a macaroni salad recipe from none other than the lovely Pioneer Woman…y’all know it’s good. Here is a link to that post http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2012/06/the-best-macaroni-salad-ever/. Of course, it was crucial to me that I share it with my peeps, my homies, my friends on my blog. So that is what I am doing today. I hope you will give it a go. Keep calm and make good macaroni salad. Ha ha!!! I need a Tshirt that says that! ~AMB

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that’s all I’m saying lol!

Be all end all Macaroni Salad (my name for it…)

serves a bunch of folks

4 cups of macaroni noodles, cooked al dente
1/2 cup diced sweet and spicy pickles *
4 roasted red bell peppers (the jarred kind)
Black olives, chopped fine**
3 green onions, sliced (green parts)
1/2 cup mayonnaise (Duke’s…always, at least in my kitchen)
1 tablespoon Red wine vinegar
3 teaspoons sugar
1/4 Milk
Plenty of black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
Pickle juice (secret ingredient!)
aside.
*(you can buy some or make my recipe for them https://cajunmamacookinblog.com/2013/10/23/cajun-mamas-candied-pickles/) I bought some from target because I was trying to make this last night but I will be making a fresh batch of those babies soon!)
** (to save time, I bought a small can of the chopped black olives and it worked great! Excellent time saver!)

What to do with the stuff

Boil your macaroni noodles. Drain them in a colander and then run cold water over them. You want them cool when you add the rest of this stuff.
Chop the roasted bell peppers, green onion, olives (if you didn’t buy the already chopped ones, show off! :)), and pickles. Set aside.
To a medium size bowl, add your mayo. Whisk in the red wine vinegar, sugar and a sprinkle of kosher salt. Add a little black pepper for good measure. Now add a little milk and whisk. Ok now, add a healthy splash of pickle juice to this mixture. Mmmmm. Whisk it good. When a problem comes along, you must whisk it. Oh sorry I got lost in my 80’s music.
Now, add your cold macaroni noodles to a large bowl. Now stir in 3/4 of that sweet and tangy mayo mixture. Give it a nice stir to coat those darling noodles with that sauce. Mmmmm. You can add the rest later if you desire.
Now stir in the chopped olives, red peppers, green onions, and pickles. Give it a good stir. Now splash in a little more pickle juice if you are so inclined (and I was) and stir gently until well combined. Make adjustments according to your taste. Now, naturally this is better if you let it sit in fridge covered overnight but feel free to have some almost immediately. It’s all good. Literally…all so good!! We served this with some magnificent grilled chicken breasts (that recipe will be coming up soon) and grilled corn on the cob. Oh and baked beans. Because my kids and BD are southern too and they likes them some baked beans. It was yum-my!!!!! Enjoy!!!

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ready for that macaroni salad

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I found these Wickles at Target. Quite tasty!

Perfect Potatoes Au Gratin ala Pioneer Woman

I love potatoes.  I love baked potatoes.  I love boiled new potatoes.  I love garlic mashed potatoes.  Need I go on?  No?  Ok.  I am pretty sure by making this statement, I lose just a little more standing in my family. Growing up we had potatoes every once in a while.  My daddy liked his rice and gravy with his meat.  Period.  Now, when my mom fried chicken she would make “creamed” potatoes as she calls them. And of course the obligatory French fries with the fried fish on
Fridays, especially during Lent. For the most part, potatoes were a stranger at my mama’s dinner table in straight up potato form. I can distinctly remember declaring at some point in high school that I would NEVER, EVER God as my witness make rice and gravy once I left home. (It was all very dramatic and full of southern teen angst at the least). Luckily that is not true and I got some sense as I got older. Rice and gravy has its lovely place on our table because it for dang sure deserves a spot.  I mean…Cajun Mama…duh.  Rice and gravy.  Also, it is good to remember that we ate a lot of potato salad so I guess potatoes would be redundant on the side of your meal.  But when I say l love potatoes, I mean I like potatoes with my cheese.  Lol!!!  Cause me likes my cheese.  Creamy, cheesy, decadent potatoes.  Those are my favorite.  This recipe I am posting today is exactly that.  Oh my.  Just potato perfection my friends.  Equally at home along side a grilled rib eye or a plate of barbecued chicken or ribs.  This au gratin potato recipe requires minimal ingredients and you probably have the majority of them in the pantry or fridge.  It is super simple and quick to whip together.  Versatile, easy to make, and just a few ingredients are all things that make a recipe perfect.  Oh it has to be delicious. This one is it!!  You and your family will absolutely love these.  Trust me on this one.  I found this recipe one day when reading through one of my Pioneer Woman cookbooks…it is her second one I do believe.  When I read through the recipe I felt like I had won the recipe jackpot!!  I made them over and over again for a few weeks. Yes they are carbs and they are worth every bit of the indulgence. I hope you feel the same when you try them. In fact, next to my special potatoes, which you can find here https://cajunmamacookinblog.com/2013/11/12/cajun-mama-special-potatoes/ ..this is probably my favorite potato side dish.

 

Potatoes Au Gratin

Serves 8

Stuff you need~

 

4 russet potatoes, scrubbed clean
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons flour
4 cloves of garlic, minced or 2 tsp. of the jarred garlic (I am not above this)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (recipe calls for sharp, but I encourage you to use what you have)

What to do with the stuff~

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Smear the softened butter all over the bottom of an 9 x 13 baking dish. Next start out by slicing the potatoes, then cutting into strips and then dicing them into cubes.

Now, in a medium size bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, milk, flour, minced garlic, salt and pepper.
Layer 1/3 at the bottom of the buttered baking dish. Next, pour about 1/3 of the milk mixture over the potatoes. Give that a good stir. Next, layer some more potatoes and then more milk, about 1/3 of each. Do this until the potatoes and milk are all used up. Cover tightly with foil. Bake in preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle shredded cheese over the piping hot potatoes. Return dish to oven, uncovered and bake until cheese is all bubbly and yummy looking. Heaven in a baking dish I tell you right now.

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this is the hardest part and it isn’t hard

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glorious shredded cheddar…get in my potatoes!

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this is what makes this dish the creamy perfection that it is

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I minced my own garlic this time

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getting ready to go into the oven

Nichole’s Mexican cornbread with crawfish and finding the extraordinary


I am glad to be back on the blog today.  I took a few days off and somehow just got focused on living life and a week passed me by.  I have been cooking up a storm, just doing it off the blog I guess.  Good thing is that I have quite a few recipes that I have tried out that were definite wins.  I figured I would share with ya’ll a few pics to show what we have been up to over the last week.  They say time flies when you are having fun and if that is indeed the case then we have been blowing up the fun cause a week and a few days went by like a flash. We went to Arkansas for the opening weekend of turkey season and to celebrate Easter with my in laws at Bayou LaGrue.  We took the kids on a staycation at Margaritaville, we swam, we danced, we laughed, we giggled, we took silly pictures, the kids fought, I fussed, there was laughter, tears, and all in between.  We lived life.  I just happen to take pictures of our day to day life.  I am a firm believer in photographing the day to day things the kids do or that our family does.  Those are the things we tend to forget as time goes by.  So I capture it all.  When I look back on their lives, our lives, so far, it is not the big moments that I struggle to remember.  Birthdays, first days of school, their births, I see those clearly in my mind’s eye.  The ones that I pull closer though are the ones that happened every day.  Nursing them, holding them, rocking them, the giggles, their bonding moments as siblings, our time around the dinner table, and trips to the grocery store. Those are the most precious ones to me.  So now, I make sure to photograph those too.  It is easy to get swept up in the big stuff, isn’t it?  I find that to be true with food blogging too.  I get so caught up in trying new recipes, recipes that will grab attention, that I forget to include the stand bys.  The old favorites.  The recipes that comfort us and will be talked about in years to come.  The ones my babies will make for their babies and talk about their memories associated with that recipe.  New recipes, big moments have their place.  Life would be terribly mundane without them.  But the quiet memories, the day to day drudgery, caught on camera, looks quite remarkable when caught in the right light.  When put in perspective.   Same thing goes for recipes.

For example, back in grad school a classmate from South Louisiana, Delcambre to be exact, made this absolutely delicious Mexican cornbread that crawfish can be added to for a grad school function we had.  I made it several times with the crawfish, we loved it, and filed away the recipe.  I always thought of it and thought “I need to make that” but got sidetracked, you know, with getting married, having kids, and well…LIFE.   Amazing how time can pass by in a such a flash and I have not made that awesome cornbread in over 12 years!!!  Now, with Pinterest and a new recipe to try every day if you choose, it is so easy to forget the favorites.  I ran across a recipe for crawfish cornbread the other day on Pinterest and  said I bet it is the same as Nicole’s recipe.  I will just make this one.  Cue the buzzer noise.   Bomp!!!   I was wrong.  So wrong.  There was nothing wrong with that crawfish cornbread, but it was so not as good as that one given to me by my friend.   The cornbread was made from scratch and it was just so…mealy.  Nicole’s version was made with Jiffy corn muffin mix and for any Cajun anywhere, that is like coming home.  Those little blue boxes are like beacons of light in a grocery store.  If I know nothing else, I know that little blue box.  Sometimes, I get so caught up in the new, the “special”, that I lose sight of what is really special.  So today, I will offer ya’ll a recipe that I have had tucked away for years.  It is special.  And you will enjoy it.  Any flashy recipe on Pinterest cannot touch this recipe.  Just like any of these pictures that follow, the ordinary becomes extraordinary when put in the right perspective.  Make one of your mundane weeknights this week a little something special and make this cornbread.  And celebrate the ordinary.  That is where the good stuff is, ya’ll. ~AMB

Nicole’s Mexican Crawfish Cornbread

Stuff you need~

3 boxes Jiffy corn muffin mix (as if there is another brand)

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1/2 cup of canola or vegetable oil

3 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons Mexi-Cajun seasoning

3 eggs, beaten

1 (11 ounce) can mexi corn or whole kernel corn with peppers, drained

1 small onion, finely diced

1 pound Mexican Velveeta, cubed

1 pound crawfish tails, roughly chopped

2 Tablespoons diced jalapenos, or *1 small fresh jalapeno diced, optional  (*seeds removed, unless you are a glutton for punishment)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a 9 x 13 dish by spraying with cooking spray.

In a medium mixing bowl, mix together 3 boxes of corn muffin mix, oil, milk, sugar and beaten eggs together until just combined.  Stir in  the chopped crawfish tails, onion, jalapenos if you are adding them, and velveeta. Pour into a 9 x 13 dish and bake for 35-40 minutes or until browned and completely done in the middle.  Serve with a lovely green salad or potato salad (or both!)  and you have got yourself a meal.   And a damn good one at that!!!

Mexican Cornbread with crawfish...the best! Watermarked Photo(21)

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This is a picture of the flashy Pinterest recipe cornbread…close but no cigar.  Flashy and fancy is not always better.  Lesson of life.  

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A friend from Alex. actually came up with this awesome seasoning.  It goes perfectly in so many recipes.  If you are not in Alex., you can buy it online…http://mexicajun.myshopify.com/

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Ready for action at sunrise on Sunday morning.  

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Its just a barn kitten, but to a 5 year (and his mama) that kitten is extra sweet

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Cloudy day conversations between Toot and Toby (such a moment could easily go unnoticed.  I am glad it did not.)

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I look over and they were wrapped up in the towel.  Sweet sisters.

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No words necessary.  

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10 year old practicing his violin.  I find this extraordinary.

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Big Daddy and I had a date morning on the boat.  The view was fab.

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My good friend Laird had her 3rd baby…women give birth everyday  and yet newborn life and the process of birthing little humans is so out of this world fantastically extraordinary.

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Left the kiddos with Granny and Papa and took a little ride on the side by side.  For parents with young kids…this is something special.

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Just another ordinary day in Arkansas.  

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Just a picture of a man headed to work to anyone else, but in the eyes of his family…he is a hero in a tie.  Ordinary.  But not.  

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To a passer by this is just a family walking down the boardwalk, but to me that’s my life.  Extraordinary.  

Rainbow Pasta Salad and lots of the good stuff know, I learned from my friends

So I have told ya’ll about my very good friend Betsy before, right?  I will give ya’ll a little more back story here because it is relevant to the recipe…well, mostly.  Ha ha!  Ya’ll know I love to tell a good story, right?  Anyway, I met Betsy back in 2005 when my oldest started MDO at First Baptist here in Shreveport.  Her oldest, Maggie, was in class with Ben.  I had 2 kiddos, aged almost 2 and 6 months old.  We had just moved from Keithville and I was still convinced I could absolutely be the perfect mom and all the other delusions we new mommies by into.  It’s true, girls.  Betsy is what you would call, shy, when you first meet her.  Friendly, but a little aloof and seems perfect beyond words.  It is a little intimidating.  We would make a little small talk, but she worked in the MDO and was always on her way to her own class.  Lo and behold, round about April, I was pregnant with #3 and she was pregnant with #2, now known as Aubrey and Annie.  We would meet in passing and exchange hellos.  Come fall, my Kayla was old enough and I put her in MDO with Ben and Betsy was her teacher.  We were both hugely pregnant and would talk about due dates and Kayla’s progress, which coincidentally, was not good.  You know how daycares and MDO’s always say “she will stop crying as soon as you leave and be fine.  We will call you if there is a problem.” Kayla was one of those rare babies that did not stop crying.  She in fact, sat in Betsy’s barely there lap and would sob inconsolably.  So, I would come and get her early everyday.  Keep in mind, I am due any day with baby #3 and my 18 month old was a mama’s girl.  I was experiencing mommy guilt, self doubt, mommy fear at it’s most primal…whatever you want to call it.  Aubrey came along in October and then Annie at the end of November.  I eventually took Ben and Kayla out of MDO because Aubrey kept getting so sick and finally got a stomach bug at 5 months old and I said enough.  I am not going to lie or sugarcoat it.  Having 3 kids, 3 and under and a husband who worked or hunted all the time was to say the least overwhelming.  I guess I had a little postpartum depression now that I look back on it.  Baby number 3 was a blessing and also a knockdown punch I was not expecting.  She cried all the time if she was not being held and I was just at my wits end.  So, fast forward to a year and half down the road, I was expecting baby #4 and Ben would be starting kindergarten in the fall.  I decided to try MDO again.  So I went back to the only place I really knew, First Baptist.  Little did I know how glad I would be that I made that decision.  I found out Betsy was also expecting a baby boy and was due in June. I was expecting a baby boy in July.  Well…as luck (or I say, God’s plan) would have it, that summer, right before I had Lucas, I saw Betsy in the Target parking lot.  I have goose bumps as I write this as I can see just how meant to be it was.  I admired her newborn baby boy, Jack Henry and made small talk.  Well, cut to the fall, and the girls started MDO.  Aubrey and Annie were in the same class and every day Betsy was not working at MDO, I would see her in Target.  We would laugh and joke about “ha ha see you in Target every time!  How funny!”  We exchanged phone numbers, but I was still adjusting to motherhood with 4 kiddos and did not see much of a future in our friendship.  I had not made friends very easily since moving to Shreveport and I did not have high expectations.  Well, somehow, we managed to carve out a nice little friendship and we banded together with some other moms and formed a nice posse that included about 6 moms and in excess of 25 kids.  Yeah, we were a motley crew at best.  Betsy and I spent lots of time together with the kids and without.  I ended up being her teaching partner for a year before they moved.  I loved those Tuesdays and Thursdays and I frankly loved spending time with my friend.  This pasta salad recipe is only one of the many things I treasure from our time together.  For someone who says she doesn’t cook, she sure does have some flipping awesome recipes.  Ya’ll know the rest of the story…they moved to South Louisiana so her hubby could join a practice and the rest of their story could unfold.  I miss her everyday and I know she misses me, but life has moved on for both of us and we have made our way.  She is still one of my good friends and our kiddos still love each other, even if we don’t see each other often.  And a few of those friendships still remain strong and that is a gift that keeps on giving.  (I am talking to you Lexie B)  You see, some things, like our friendship, are just meant to be.  God kept putting us in one another’s path until we realized…hey, I like this girl!!!  She likes Target as much as I do and she gets me.  She just gets me.  Thank God for friends who get us, right?  Those crazy years were made much more bearable because of Bets.  In many ways, she taught me how to be a mom.  She taught me how to pack lunches for my kids…no really, she is a mastermind at packing lunches kiddos love. She taught me how to make really delicious brownies.  She taught me you can never go to Chick fil A too often and how to do really good arts and crafts.  She taught me how to get over myself and roll with it with a little grace and not worry so much.  She taught me to laugh at myself.  And she taught me to trust in friendship again and that I was lovable just as I was.  Hot mess and all.  She is the yen to my yang.  This rainbow pasta salad is a perfect example.  For years I had wondered, how in the heck do the restaurants make such deliciousness?  Well, in walks Betsy to show me.  So delicious and yet so easy.  Too good to be true.  And yet…totally true.  Just like our friendship.  Love ya Bets. ~AMB

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friendship is indeed a gift

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A good friend gives your cozy coupe a push when you need it.  

Rainbow Pasta Salad 

Stuff you need~

1 package of rotini pasta, cooked al dente and then rinsed with cold water

5 cups of chopped vegetables (you can use anything but I use cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, purple onion)

1/2 – 1 cup of cheddar cheese and/or Mozzarella cheese cubes

1/2 cup Salad Supreme seasoning

8 ounces or 1 cup of Italian dressing

What to do with the stuff~

Put your cooked, drained and cooled pasta in a big bowl.  Toss in your chopped veggies and cubes of cheese.  Stir in the seasoning blend and the Italian dressing.  Add more if you think it needs it.   Toss well so that the seasoning and dressing coats every last noodle.  You will be so happy and full of joy when you take a bite of this yumminess.  It will make you smile and want to give some to your friend.  Do it.  She might just love you for life!!

Shout to my girl Bets for this and so many other wonderful things she introduced me to!!!

*For this batch I added in some penne pasta because I needed to stretch it a little further to feed a large group.  I added a little more salad dressing and seasoning accordingly.

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The secret ingredient 

 

this is a potluck go to recipe.  It makes a ton and pleases everyone

So full of color and flavor…you will love it and so will your friends

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

 

 

Momou’s mac and cheese

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Momou with my precious first born…the woman loves her grands and great grands…

If you have been following Cajun Mama Cooks for a while on facebook or have known me any amount of time, you know about the entity that is Momou’s Mac and Cheese.  My kids knew about this stuff as soon as they could eat solid food.  My babies all love it and ask for it on a monthly if not weekly basis.  This is the epitome of comfort food.  Nothing else comes close.  If you know me at all, you know all about Momou. Momou is my dad’s mom.  Her name is Narcille and I am not sure there is anyone on this Earth whom I adore as much as her.  I share a birth month with her.  Our birthdays are 5 days apart and I love my birthday, but I love that we share that even more.  She is one fine lady and I love her so much.  My husband loves her so much.  My kids love her so much.  Everyone who knows Narcille, or Nar, or Nice as my grandfather called her, loves her.  I again am beyond blessed to be able to call that woman my grandmother.  And can she cook.  Boy can she ever!!  And loved to do it.  She made this macaroni  and cheese for almost every occasion and just regular old Sunday dinner. You knew when she had the pyrex dish out and she had some of those luxury noodles boiling, you were about to be in for a treat.  When I first got married, Momou, my Nana, Aunt Lee and my mom came to my house and they taught me how to cook Momou’s mac and cheese.  That is one of my fondest memories as a grown up.  I cherish that night always and on cold days when I feel uprooted and out of place, that memory gives me comfort like a warm blanket.  This mac and cheese has spanned generations and now has been made famous in my own kids’ minds.  They know the story behind it and that it belongs to Momou.  They have not been a part of many of dinners at Momou’s because since they have been born, she has slowed down some and now lives in a nursing home.  But they know.  I love that when I cook this macaroni and cheese, they talk about their Momou and what they love about her.  It shows me that even if they have not eaten this dish at her house, per say, they associate this wonderful dish with the wonderful woman who has passed it down to us.  That is what matters most to me.  I have been reluctant to share this recipe because it is very special to my family.  But, after soul searching, I know that Momou would be so glad for me to share it.  She is above all things, a giving, loving person who wants to make others happy.  So I will share.  This is truly love in a 9 x 13 dish.  It is a perfect partner for a pork or beef roast and rice and gravy, an excellent side for turkey and dressing, and a delicious accompaniment to chicken fricassee.  I have never made it for anyone who did not love this stuff and ask if I would be serving it the next time they came to dinner.  I have had several people ask for this recipe and if you are one of them…here you go!! Now, the noodles…as far as I am concerned, these are the only noodles to make Momou’s mac and cheese with.  You can of course make it with any noodle, but I refuse.  I don’t care to change this recipe up one bit.  It is perfect as it is.  Just like Momou.  You don’t mess with something this wonderful.  Well, I don’t.  I have the most luck finding these noodles at our local target.  They are Luxury brand long macaroni noodles.  I have found them at some Wal-Marts.  When I do find them, I buy at least 5 packages of them at a time.  Just a suggestion.  Because you should always be ready to whip up some Momou’s mac and cheese.

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This a package of those noodles..if you find them…buy several packages.  Trust me.

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Love in a 9 x 13 dish I tell you…

Momou’s Mac and Cheese

Ingredients

1 16 oz. box of Velveeta

1 stick of butter

1 can of Pet Milk or evaporated milk

1 package Luxury long macaroni noodles

1/2 cup of sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Get your 9 x 13 dish out.  No need to grease it.

Bring about 8 cups of  salted water to a boil in a large stock pot or pasta pot.  Add your long macaroni noodles to the boiling water.  I break my noodles in half before adding them to the boiling water because it makes it easier for my kids to handle it, but it does cut down on the slurpability (is that a word?) that you get when the noodle is long.  Ah decisions.  Boil the noodles until they are tender.  These noodles take a little longer to boil because they are so long and thick.  If you prefer your pasta al dente, then by all means, pull them sooner.  Drain your pasta.  Now, just leave it long enough to drain because I have found (because Aunt Lee and Momou taught me) that this is easier if the noodles are still warm.  That helps everything to combine and melts the cheese and butter.  Ok, pour your boiled noodles into your 9 x 13 dish.

Now, you are going to cut your stick of butter into “pats” (that’s how Momou would say it…cut the butter into pats, my Doo :))  Take a stirring spoon and don’t stir, but sort of push the noodles around to let the butter circulate and make friends with the noodles.  Ha ha!  Ok, now, Cher, you are going to add chunks of Velveeta to the noodles and butter.  Do the same thing.  Don’t stir, but push the noodles around gently and let the Velveeta chunks come to the party.  Introduce them to the noodles and butter. Next, you are going to sprinkle some sugar ALLLLL over the noodles.  Gently push that around to let the sugar get up in there.  Now you will open your PET milk by poking a big hole on each side.  I suppose you can open the whole can with a can opener, but we have never done that.  It makes it easier to pour it slowly over the noodles.  I use one of those bottle opener thingies.  It has a point edge on one side and I poke it into the can.  Do ya’ll know what I am talking about?  I don’t know the technical term, so excuse my lack of formality.  Though at this point, I hope most of ya’ll are aware that formalities are not my thang.  🙂  Ok, slowly pour the PET milk over the noodles.  I use the whole can.  Gently push that around and let the noodles and all the other ingredients spend some time together.  Now…take a tasting spoon and get a taste of the milk.  If it tastes sweet, but not too sweet with a hint of butter and cheese, it is perfect.  Just add sugar to your taste.  It is supposed to be sweet.  That’s what makes it special!

Cover the pan with foil  and put it  in your preheated oven.  Cook for about 30 minutes and then check it.  Remove foil and using a spoon, gently stir the noodles.  You want there to be some “juice” left.  Be careful not to let the noodles dry out because they will also dry up some once you take the dish out of the oven.  Usually about 30 minutes does it for me.  All of the cheese should be melted, but if not, giving it a good stir will help with that.  The milk mixture should be thicker than it was and clinging to the noodles.  If it is still runny, put the foil back on and bake it for another 5 or 10 minutes.

Now, I really hope I have done this recipe justice.  If you have questions or need something clarified, please ask questions.  Don’t be afraid.  As I have been typing, my 5 year old aka the bull in a china shop has been asking to make goo repeatedly and I have been distracted.  So, let’s be honest, I make mistakes.  I hope you will give this truly wonderful mac and cheese recipe a try.  Just please call it Momou’s mac and cheese and when someone says “who is Momou?” you can tell them all about her.  She is one special lady!   I have given ya’ll 3 very special recipes for you to make for Thanksgiving or whenever you choose.  Since my kiddos are off for Thanksgiving and I have some cooking and baking to do, I am going to sign off for the next few days.  I want to spend some time with my family and friends.  I really hope you all savor every moment of your Thanksgiving celebrations to the fullest.  See you all next week with a fresh batch of delicious recipes!  Enjoy!! ~AMB 

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Can of PET milk…regular ole evaporated milk…but where I am from, all evaporated

milk is referred to as PET milk.  I love that.

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Getting into the spirit of things at the Polar Express  

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Gobble till you wobble…cutest little turkey I know 

 

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my friends!!!  

            

Momee’s cornbread dressing

I have already mentioned my feelings about Momee’s cornbread dressing but let me say this again…as far I am concerned this is the BEST cornbread dressing recipe in the world.  The woman who gave me the recipe was beyond the best. Momee was my mom’s mom.  Her name was Beulah Mae and she was beautiful and funny and kind and so many things all rolled into one.  I am so blessed to have called her my grandmother and know that part of her lives on in me and in my kids.  She was a diva before I ever heard anyone called a diva.  She was the hardest working woman I ever knew and always knew how to look on the bright side in any situation.  She passed away in 2002 and I still miss her every day.  But she wouldn’t like me dwelling on her absence and would fuss at me for even mentioning that, so let me stay focused.  She believed in looking ahead you, not behind.  I would like to believe she is the one who ingrained that in me.   She was a strong, feisty spirit who lives on through  my sisters and I, my cousins, their kiddos, my kiddos, my nieces and nephews, and every single time I make this most delicious cornbread dressing, something I know she would really like.  I actually had the foresight to ask her to write down her recipe many years ago and I have a framed copy hanging in my kitchen.  She is never very far from me.  When I am running around the kitchen like a chicken with its head cut off, I can so hear her whispering to me “ma petite (which sounded like mop tit and my sisters and I thought that was what she was saying for years  until she corrected us lol!) calm down.  Stand up straight my baby.  Smile.  You’ll get this all done.  Take your time baby.”  That thought makes me tear up and smile at the same time.  So if you are looking for a wonderful cornbread dressing to make this Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Years (we had had it at all 3…thank God) give this one a try.  Momee would like that.

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Such a beautiful lady…inside and out…

Momee’s Cornbread Dressing

Ingredients

1/2 stick of butter

3 cloves of garlic, minced

3 boxes of corn muffin mix

1 onion, diced

3 stalks of celery, chopped

1 large bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 bundle of green onions (I say at least 5 or 6) chopped, green parts only *

salt and pepper to taste

sage, to taste

3 or 4 boiled eggs, sliced

1 pack of turkey wings (I usually have the best luck finding these at Kroger, in the frozen meat section)

Directions

Make up your corn muffin mix according to directions.  So to prepare three boxes, just add 3 of whatever 1 box calls for.  Got it?  Now, I am sure I don’t have to specify which kind of corn muffin mix I use…but just in case…Jiffy my friends.  I am not even sure there is any other kind.  Bake your cornbread in a prepared 9 x 13 pan.  Bake at 350 until done.  Set it aside.  (I like to do this at least the night before so that the cornbread can stale a bit before I put the dressing together.)

Fill a stock pot halfway full with water.  Add about 3 tsp. salt to the water.  Add your turkey wings and bring to a boil.  Boil until very tender and the turkey meat just falls off the bone.  Remove the turkey wings from the water and put them on a plate.* *Do NOT Discard the stock!!! Set aside the wings and let them cool.  When they are cool enough to handle, take all the meat off of the bone.  Discard the bones.

** SAVE the water.  Do NOT drain.  This is your stock for the dressing or will be when we are done with it!  Keep the stock at a low simmer until you need it.  Just put  the stockpot on a back burner and set the heat to low and just let it simmer away.  We will come back to that.

In a skillet, melt butter and then saute the celery, bell pepper, onion, green onions and garlic over medium heat until “wilted” (that is a Beulah Mae term..this means until tender). Add a pinch or two of kosher salt and a sprinkle of black pepper.  You can also add a little bit of Tony’s at this point too. *my best friend, Lolly, taught me to cut the green onions by using a pair of kitchen shears.  Her mother in law, Mrs. Fern, taught her this trick and she passed it on to me.  I am so grateful.  That trick has made things much easier as green onions can be hard to cut with a knife.  Hope that helps!!

To your simmering stock, add kosher salt and pepper to taste.  You want it to have a good flavor to it, but not too salty.  I will tell you what I do.  I add a tablespoon of turkey bouillon base to this stock to give a deep flavor.  It normally comes out perfectly.  My dear friend, Lisa, turned me on to bouillon base a few years ago for my gravy making, and I have never looked back.  It can usually be found near the cans and boxes of broth, and other soups on the very top shelf.  It is in a short wide glass jar and is some “good stuff” as Lisa is fond of saying.  Anyway, whisk in tablespoon of this base to your simmering broth.  You may want to use a little more, depending on your family’s tastes.  It is definitely optional, but you won’t regret it.

Now, you should have some cooked cornbread, sauteed veggies, some stock and some turkey meat.  Ya’ll ready?  Ok…now I take my big ole silver bowl and I crumble the cornbread into the bowl.  Now, add your sauteed veggies to this.  Now, add your turkey meat.  Ok, get your hands in this bowl, and mix it all up really well.  That’s it!  You’ve got it!!  Beulah would be so proud!!  Ok, now, little by little you are going to ladle some of your stock into the cornbread mixture.  Ladle until this is the consistency of cream of wheat.  It is not too moist, but not too dry.  Use your judgement.  You just want to make sure that it does not dry out when it cooks.  Now, season with rubbed sage to taste.  I really cannot tell ya’ll how much sage I use.  When I make my dressing in a few days, I will try to update this with an approximate amount.  I would definitely say at least 1 1/2 tablespoons of the stuff.  What makes this dressing unique is the sweetness of the corn muffin mixed combined with the savoriness of the sage so don’t hold back, unless you dislike sage…in that case, you may not like this.  🙂  Once you are satisfied with the moistness and savoriness of your dressing,  add this mixture/concoction to your prepared 9 x 13 pan that you prepared by spraying with cooking spray or rubbed butter all over.  Now lay your boiled egg slices all over the top of your dressing.  I rather it with the eggs.  I am not sure where this came from or if it is a Southern thing, but I love boiled eggs on top of my dressing.  Some of my cajun mama facebook friends and I had a discussion about this and it seemed pretty common to add boiled eggs to your dressing.  Of course, if this is not your thing, just omit this step.  Also, if you find the adding boiled eggs to your dressing odd please feel free to leave me a comment.  I would like to hear from you.

Ok, now you cover your pan of dressing with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 35-40 minutes.  It may take about 50 minutes or so, depending on your oven.  I would definitely check it after 30 minutes or so.  Once the dressing is almost done enough, you can uncover it so it gets nicely browned.  Cook it about 5-10 minutes uncovered then remove from oven and let cool.

Get ready to slap hands and “tasting spoons” away from the pan.  My cousin Robin and I would sneak as many bites as we could before Momee noticed and shooed us out of the kitchen.  Momee’s kitchen on Thanksgiving morning was warm, full of love, and smelled like cornbread, turkey and sage.  Some of my best memories were made in there.  Every Thanksgiving just about, Robin and I manage to text each other and say “hey making Momee’s dressing and thinking about you.”  I think Momee would love that.  No, I know she would.  I hope your kitchen is full of warmth, good smells, and lots of love on Thanksgiving morning.  May you have many blessings to count and many memories to be shared and made.  Love from Cajun mama’s kitchen to yours. ~AMB

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I cherish this almost more than I do the picture above.  It is like she is right here with me.