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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

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Cheesy Spaghetti Pie (this recipe has it all) 

So from time to time Momou would make spaghetti pie. And I always loved it when she did. Her spaghetti and meatballs were always legendary and the spaghetti pie kind of seemed like a step down. But then I took a bite of that spagbetti pie and it was all better. Not a step down at all. Just a step to the side. Now that I have a family of my own, I realize the beauty in spaghetti pie. It’s spaghetti and meatball’s creamy cheesy, low maintenance older sister. It satisfies those spaghetti cravings and goes a step further. Now spaghetti and meatballs have their place. We are not in any way saying that spaghetti pie replaces spaghetti and meatballs…no, no baby. We are just saying spaghetti pie is a nice low key, cheesy  alternative. Did I mention spaghetti pie is cheesy? Because it is…so…cheesy. Now as stated in the original blog post from http://www.centercutcook.com, what makes this spaghetti pie recipe unique is that the noodles are mixed with the sauce ahead of time and the noodles are perfect, not all dry like in other recipes I have tried. Also a nice twist is the Monterrey jack and cheddar cheese instead of same ole, same ole mozzarella. And it has sliced green onions in it. There is a special place in my heart for sliced green onions. So this spaghetti pie has it all!! Just like this Cajun mama does! 

Cheesy spaghetti pie 

Stuff you need~

1 pound of angel hair pasta (that’s one box), cooked and drained 

5 cups spaghetti sauce, divided (I used Prego)

1 pound Italian sausage, browned and drained *

1 tablespoon olive oil 

1 small yellow onion, diced

1 teaspoon oregano 

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 

3/4 teaspoon garlic powder 

8 ounce block cream cheese

3/4 cup sour cream 

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning 

3 green onions, green parts only, sliced 

1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese 

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese 

*I buy one package of Italian sausage links and then I slice open the casing and just dump the meat into my skillet. I do that for each one. And voila! 

What to do with the stuff ~

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the cooked and drained pasta with 2 cups of the spaghetti sauce. Set aside.

 

In a skillet heat olive oil over medium heat. Sauté  diced yellow onion until tender. Add Italian sausage and brown over medium heat until done. Drain. Sprinkle in the oregano, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder. Stir in the remaining 3 cups of spaghetti sauce and simmer for about 10 minutes. 


Spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with cooking spray. Layer the pasta tossed with sauce in the bottom of the dish. 

Now, add the block of softened cream cheese, the sour cream, the sliced green onions and Italian seasoning to a mixing bowl. Mix all together. 


Layer this on top of the noodles. What I did was put several dollops of the cream cheese mixture on top of the noodles and then I smoothed it out with a plastic spatula  where it made a layer. Now layer the meat sauce on top of the cream cheese layer. Next sprinkle the cheeses all over that meat sauce. And then I added some more green onions for good measure. 


Bake in your preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until that cheese is melted to an irrisitbly ooey gooey level. Spaghetti pie perfection. I used my favorite Pampered Chef flat metal spatula to dish it up. 

Korean beef bowls and impromptu perfection 

Summer is in full swing in this house! Not sure where your peeps are in the school year but here in Cajun mama land we are done. Peace out, 2016-2017 school year!! And my kids are glad for it. They are taking full advantage of the whole summertime thang. 

Yes, they are in the pool with clothes on. Because summer…lol

They are also like ravenous monkeys several times a day and I am not gonna lie…I am already struggling to keep up. My kids would love, love, love to eat fast food or at restaurants 3 meals a day. I, of course, do not allow that. We cannot even hang with that lifestyle. Big Daddy started a new job a few months ago and it’s been tight over here. Big Daddy will likely fuss when he reads this asking why would I even mention that but you know…being real is my thing. I am always real with y’all and that is a major thing that has happened in our lives. So eating out a whole bunch with a family of 6 is not in the plan. I assume most of you realize this is why I cook so much (and I love it) but if not please consider this my newsflash…I cook to save money a good bit of the time. Not to mention, we are trying to teach our kids about that eating out every day is not the norm and that there is nothing wrong with cooking. And when you can cook your own food, you can be self sufficient. 

In that same vein, I adore cooking things that my kids enjoy and they resent that it is not our favorite Chinese takeout a little less. Cooking at home is a necessity for many of us, but it does not have to be boring! So in comes this meal. Korean beef bowls.  Oh sweet spicy morsels of beef this is good stuff. And every last one of my kids absolutely devoured it. Also, it is not expensive to make. So perfect. As perfect as the other day was. Woke up to a loud boom at 5:45. Yep, transformer blowing. No power in sight. So I told the kids to load up we were headed to Tyler, TX to go to the Caldwell zoo. We had the best time. The weather was unseasonably perfect. Not the sauna that it usually is. The high was in the 70’s! In May!!! And I ran into 2 friends while at the zoo. These Korean beef bowls were perfect like that.  Unexpected, came out of nowhere, born from lacking, and crazy low expectations. You will love it!!! 

Me and my bebes during our impromptu zoo visit.

I found this recipe on http://www.damndelicious.net. I am so happy I stumbled across it. It is recipe gold, my friends.

Korean Beef bowls 

Stuff you need~

1 pound lean ground beef 

Canola oil 

2 teaspoons minced garlic (or more)

1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce 

1/4 cup packed brown sugar 

2 teaspoons sesame oil 

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger *

2 Sliced green onions, green and white parts 

Slicd green onions and Sesame seeds for garnish (optional) 

Cooked white rice 

*I used the McCormick spice stuff and it was fine. Next time I’ll try the squeeze tube produce section ginger just to see if it enhances the flavor. 

What to do with the stuff~

Drizzle some canola oil In skillet. Warm over medium heat then add garlic. Sauté on medium low until fragrant, about a minute or 2.  Add ground meat to skillet. Brown until no longer pink and then some. Drain if necessary. 

While browning meat, combine the sesame oil, brown sugar, soy sauce, red pepper flakes and ginger in a bowl. Whisk together.  When ground beef is browned and drained, add the soy sauce concoction and some sliced green onions. Cook on medium low for a minute or 2. The smell will be amazing and your mouth will water!! 


Serve this over hot rice. Prepare to be so glad you stayed at home and cooked for your family. It is HEAVEN! 

(Sausage) Egg roll in a bowl and a little bit of faith 

So I am sure you’ve seen this recipe floating around your Facebook page. It’s a low carb delight that many people are crazy about. I’ve seen it and planned to cook it and then as per the norm I got sidetracked by life or some other recipe and never did make it. And then one day a friend of mine at our new school made it and posted a picture on her page. And I decided the time had come! It was time for us to have some egg roll in a bowl. Oh man!! It was as scrumptious as I had ever imagined to to be. Now, I bet you are wondering why in the world would I post a recipe that has been blogged about and posted? I’ll tell you why…because at the end of the day I want this blog to be comprised of some of my/our favorite recipes. This one falls in that category. This recipe is simple, real food, easy to prepare…that just screams Cajun Mama! I am pretty sure this recipe originally came from the Trim and Fit Mama cookbook and is loved the world over. Big Daddy went crazy for it. My picky oldest (who is no longer that picky and eats like a horse) loved it and my other 3 were ok with it. I think had they given it a chance they’d have loved it. Kids…what can I say? 🙄

Anyhow, here’s where the little bit of faith comes in. We’ve had some struggles here lately. I’m not ready to discuss it publicly just yet but we’ve been going through a hard time. And in the past when I’ve been presented with a crisis, I’ve found it difficult to be ok, to let myself be ok until things were resolved. It’s true. I want things neat and tidy and then I’ll allow myself to be happy. You are right. It is absolutely ridiculous for a grown woman to behave this way…and yet…I did. Until this time. Because stuff just fell apart and I could not fix it right away. So I cried and sobbed and cried some more until I had no more tears or enough people prayed for me to have enough peace and calm that I finally did. Or a combination of both. So I gathered myself and decided that life had to go on, I had to teach my children to dance in the storms of life. So I made egg roll in a bowl and we watched a good movie and we laughed and I realized we can be ok even when everything is not. And that’s what I’ve been doing every day. Letting life be ok and having a lot of faith that there is a grand plan. Most of all, God knows what He is doing and He can make a way when I cannot see a way. So basically my motto is cook something good and have a little faith. Ha ha!!! This egg roll in a bowl is truly a delight for your tastebuds and you will be so glad you made it. The sight where I found the recipe was http://www.bunsinmyoven.com/2015/08/24/sausage-egg-roll-in-a-bowl/. As Mr. Cook used to say after he made his recipes every afternoon on the KALB news before Days of Our Lives came on…”ooh it’s so good!!” Seriously y’all…it is so good!! Have faith!!! 

Sausage Egg Roll in a Bowl

stuff you need~

1 roll of breakfast sausage 

1 bag of preshredded coleslaw 

4 cloves garlic, minced (2 teaspoons of the jarred stuff)

1 tablespoon ginger, minced (I use the same amount of the stuff in the tube and it is perfect) 

1 tablespoon soy sauce (reduced sodium for me) 

1\4 cup chopped green onions

1 tablespoon sesame oil 

What to do with the stuff~

Start by browning the sausage in a skillet. It said do not drain but I did. Oops. It was fine. Set aside. 


Stir the coleslaw, garlic, ginger and soy sauce into the skillet with the sausage. 


Cook for 3 or 4 minutes or until the coleslaw is slightly tender. Remove from heat. Sprinkle the green onions all over the mixture and then drizzle that sesame oil over it. 

Just. So. Good. And FYI I am going to be making this once a month at least if not more. It heats up beautifully and tastes even better the next day. Egg roll in a bowl. Tell your friends!!

Mrs. Lou’s meatball stew and flavorful peas~the perfect Fall meal

We’ve been in Fall mode around here. So ready for the change of the seasons.  There’s been football…

Pumpkins and pumpkin decorating…

I have 4 kids, not just these 2, but as you can see these 2 are my hams
Getting ready for Halloween…


And of course hearty perfect for Fall soups and stews! This recipe right here is something else. It is perfect. It is hearty. It is delicious! It is truly the quintessential Fall meal. It is all good things rolled into one. Mrs. Lou is my dear friend Betsy’s mother in law. She is the same woman who birthed Dr. Boudreaux of the famous (at least to my blog readers) Dr. Boudreaux’s gumbo  ! Also where the wonderful pastalaya recipe  comes from. So if you follow my blog at all, you know how tasty those recipes are and you should be excited to try this meatball stew. If you are not familiar with either of those recipes, well first of all, that’s sad. You should be. Fix that ASAP. And then try this meatball stew recipe. Betsy had given me this meatball stew recipe several years ago when she and Matt and the kids still lived in Shreveport. Aka the golden years. (I miss my friend living in town) and I made it once or twice. It was a hit with Big Daddy and I don’t think the kids hated it but it’s been while. Funny how a few years change things. I made this recipe again for the first time in several years a few weeks ago and it was a hit with everyone. Actually better than that. My oldest aka the garbage disposal cleared all the meatballs and most of the gravy out before the whole family could eat. I was outside finishing a phone conversation with a friend and came back in…big daddy had served 3 of the 4 kids and then apparently my oldest (he’s 13) went back for seconds. He thought it was all fair game and just indulged himself. I laugh now but that night I was none too happy. I worked it out and no one went to bed hungry. Just know that most people love this meatball stew and you might need to double the meatball recipe. Betsy made sure to text me that she doubled the gravy recipe (the gravy is the bomb) and I would suggest that as well. Served over hot cooked rice alongside some warm rolls and you have the perfect Fall meal! Now, because my teenager devoured what was left before I could get a picture of the finished product, sadly there is no picture of this fabulous meal. Let that be a testament to how delicious this meal really is. So let me go on and give y’all this recipe so you can make up a (double) batch and get a little Fall in your life. Now if only the weather  would comply (I’m looking at you Mother Nature!!) 

Mrs. Lou’s meatball stew 

Stuff you need~

1 pound ground beef 

1 pound ground pork 

1 egg 

Soy sauce 

Tony’s 

1/2 envelope of onion soup mix 

Italian bread crumbs 

(For gravy) 

1 beef boullion cube 
1/4 cup Flour

2 tablespoons canola Oil 

3 cloves garlic, minced 

Kitchen bouquet 

What to do with the stuff 

Add ground pork and ground beef to a large mixing bowl. The original recipe did not have exact amounts so Betsy clued me in that you just shake enough breadcrumbs, Tony’s and soy sauce to cover the meat. 


Also sprinkle the 1/2 package of onion soup mix over this mixture. Add your egg. Now get your hands in there and mix it up good. Or use spoons. But make sure the mixture is good and mixed up. Now I used a medium size scoop to make uniform balls. You can also eyeball it. Just make your meatballs the same size. Ok now the the recipe says to bake your meatballs at 325 for 30-40 minutes. You can do that. I actually cook my meatballs in the gravy. So if you are going to bake them, do that at this point or set aside and get your gravy going. 

*Add one inch of water to a large pot. Bring it to a boil and add a beef bouillon cube. Reduce heat to a simmer and make your roux. Mix 1/4 flour with 2 tablespoons of flour in a microwave safe bowl.


 Microwave for 2-3 minutes in 30 second increments, stirring  in between. Whisk 3 tablespoons of the roux into the simmering water. 


Stir in the minced garlic and a little kitchen bouquet…the recipe did not give a specific amount but I start with 1/2-1 tablespoon and go from there.

At this point, add your meatballs whether cooked or not. If they are cooked you will just simmer this for a shorter time. If uncooked, you’ll want to simmer them longer (until cooked) at a slower pace. 

The only picture I have of the elusive meatball stew…gone too soon thanks to my teenage son

*again Betsy recommends doubling the gravy recipe. So 2 inches of water, 2 boullion cubes and so on…you’ll be glad you did. The recipe I gave above is for a regular recipe. 

Flavorful peas 

Stuff you need~

1 can petite pois (Lesuer or Dubois are perfect…as my kids call them silver can peas), slightly drained 

1/2 can cream of celery soup 

Tablespoon or 2 of onion soup mix 

Stir together in a medium size pot and cook over medium heat. Serve alongside meatball stew and hot cooked rice. Enjoy!!


Creamy tomato basil tortellini and my can do attitude 

Oh it’s been a long few weeks. The kiddos all started school and we started out strong! We really did! Spirits were high. Hopes were higher. It’s gonna be awesome! Back to school. Back to a routine. We can so do this!! 


And then the first Friday my oldest started running fever because of a fever virus and it snowballed from there. Two of my other kiddos got sick and then again on Friday, my oldest was running fever…AGAIN! Back to the doctor’s office we went. This time it was a sinus infection. Sometimes being a mom means feeling like maybe I just cannot win. I know, I know, allowing myself to get defeated is not the answer. But oh it’s easy to slip into that frame of mind when there is a sick child at home every other day. Not sure what I thought would happen when I had 4 kiddos back to back, but days like that were not anywhere on my radar. Ah the innocence of new motherhood. Then there’s been adjustment to new schools and the back to school routine. I have 3 kiddos at new schools this year and it’s been so wonderful, but even good change is change none the less. It’s all a matter of adjusting. And we are. Throw in some home repair disasters, leaking air conditioner, an aching back and just LIFE…and that leads to a big ole case of TGIF! I was in that frame of mind when I decided to cook up today’s recipe. I had seen it is floating around Facebook (my friends know good food!) and I knew I had to make it. Creamy, basil, pasta, can make at home so going out is unnecessary. Which is good because I was over being around a bunch of people and also taking 6 people out to dinner is not cost effective. At all. It’s pretty dang pricey actually. So this was right up my ally. And oh it was creamy delicious perfection. Comfort food at its very carbolicious best! But on the upside it is chock full of spinach and tomatoes. So at least it packs a nutritional punch (ah silver lining!!). I am so glad I decided to make this. You will not be disappointed! Yum. Just yum! Now if I can just get back in the back to school, take the bull by the horns attitude….kind of like my younger two in this pic…

they have the world by the tail…wish I could bottle that confidence

Creamy tomato basil tortellini (recipe adapted from http://www.tiphero.com

Stuff you need~

2 tablespoons butter 

1 small onion diced 

4 cloves (or more!!) garlic, minced 

3 tablespoons flour 

1 1/4 cups whole milk

1/2 cup heavy cream 

6 ounce package of baby spinach 

1 14 ounce can of petite diced tomatoes, juice and all  

3 tablespoons basil 

3/4 finely shredded Parmesan 

20 ounce package tortellini (I used Italian sausage but use whatever kind you want) 

Salt and pepper to taste 

Red pepper flakes 

What to do with the stuff~k

Cook tortellini according to package directions. Drain and then set aside. 

Melt butter in a large skillet. Sauté onion in butter until tender. Add minced garlic and sauté until fragrant. Now you will make a kind of sort of roux. Add the flour and stir constantly for 1 minute. Pour in the milk and half and half. Whisk or stir over low heat until it begins to simmer. 

Toss in the baby spinach, tomatoes and basil. Season with salt and pepper. 


Stir until spinach is wilted and sauce is thickened. 


Stir in Parmesan cheese and stir until melted. Remove sauce from heat. Toss tortellini with sauce. Garnish with chili pepper flakes and Parmesan. 


Yum. Just yum. Enjoy! Here’s to another week coming…I can do this!!

McDonald’s new chicken nuggets are the real deal…and just another day with my posse 

Some of you may remember that last year the kiddos and I got to test drive the all day breakfast at McDonald’s right before they launched it. It was a huge hit and I got to blog about it. It was a good experience for the kiddos and I. Well not too long ago, Katherine contacted me about the kids (and I) test driving the new chicken nuggets. Or test eating I suppose would be more like it. New chicken nuggets you say?! They’ve been around forever. Yes they have, but they have been revamped y’all. And the end result is pretty dang tasty. What they have done is removed all artificial ingredients in those little nuggets of happiness. They took out many of the  unnecessary things (like food additives) and what remains is simple, more wholesome ingredients. That’s right…chicken McNuggets more the way nature intended them. The result is…wow!! I could taste the difference right away! They are using a better oil to fry them in and even that small difference is noticeable to the most untrained pallet. The taste is cleaner and just pure chicken McNugget delight. My kiddos had a blast!



 And we all got to visit with Katherine with Garrison Advertising and Mrs. Jean at McDonald’s in the area we live in. My bunch had the red carpet rolled out for them and these ladies are just as precious as can be.

It’s a great time every time we visit our local McDonald’s! If you have not had a chance to try the new chicken McNuggets, I highly suggest you stop in and give them a try yourself. You know I love to cook and believe in cooking at home, but knowing when we do decide to have some Micky d’s, that my kids favorite nuggets are tastier and I can know what they are eating is a better option than before, pulling into the drive thru sounds better than ever. 

Now I must talk about my oldest, BHB, aka Ben, aka our wealth of knowledge on a variety of topics, McDonald’s included. The boy loves to eat and is not ashamed to tell you about it. He is a bottomless pit, has a hollow leg, and shows no signs of stopping. He knew about the changes McDonald’s were making to their nuggets before Katherine even contacted me. So when she called, he was all about trying them out and giving his opinion. The kid does love to share his opinions. No clue where he gets that. (Ha ha)  He had a great time eating and chatting Katherine and Mrs. Jean up about the exciting things happening with McDonald’s and giving his two cents. 



It was a great time and the new nuggets (and the company) were amazing. Thanks so much to our local McDonald’s, Mrs. Jean and Katherine for a great experience. 

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?

French Onion Chicken Noodle casserole and faith, love and good food

A few things here. It’s been a few months since I have posted a new recipe and for that I am apologetic. I find it hard to believe that anyone cares that much about my blathering and rambling and yet, I feel tremendous guilt when I have been away too long. I call it good ole Catholic guilt but it’s for sure a catch 22.  I admit I feel a certain level of responsibility to you all. Though I am well aware no one is basing their entire life or menu on me posting a recipe or not, I consider my readers to be my friends and I do feel responsible for my friends. So since we are friends I will apologize for being so absent lately but I will hope you allow me some grace because you know how deep we can sink into life without even knowing it. And I have been thigh deep in LIFE. Here’s a little glimpse into what we’ve been doing and that’s not the half of it…

4 kiddos means lots going on sometimes

This is just the stuff going on that you can see. That I can even verbalize. There have been other things that just come with life. I lost my aunt in April (my cousin Robin’s mom, my mom’s sister) and that was hard.

from left to right…my mom, momee, and aunt rebecca (circa 2003)

 When I sit down and consider all the things that have happened, it is a little hard to believe some of it actually is real. And I forgive myself for not sitting down to write about a recipe because I have been doing good to get supper on the table.

 But here I am, and I am going to give you a recipe that fits the bill for the ultimate comfort dish. No matter the season, no matter the day…this dish aims to please. My friend Amy from my hometown (there are lots of Aimee/Amys  from Alex…and I proudly call a bunch of them my friends.) One day she shared this recipe via Facebook and it looked so good I just had to try it. Now I could just share that recipe but I like to write about the recipes that I love on my blog and that in no way makes them my recipes. This recipe can be found here…http://www.plainchicken.com/2014/09/french-onion-chicken-noodle-casserole.html#CEeoggWZZxhI7sqZ.99

It’s a real winner my friends. I think the actual phrase is winner, winner chicken dinner! It is so good. Now I kind of tweaked it a little to make it suit our tastes but it is just the bomb. The stuff as my good friend Lisa is fond of saying. This is the stuff! You make some field peas with it and some warm buttered King’s Hawaiian rolls and you have yourself one heck of a supper. Big Daddy went bananas. He loved it and I did too. It’s one of those dishes you think about and have to make it. It’s that good. 

French Onion Chicken Noodle Casserole 

Stuff you need~

4 cups cooked chopped chicken

2 cans cream of chicken soup

12 ounces container French Onion Dip

4 ounces sour cream 

1 cup cheddar cheese (I used the Kraft triple cheddar with a touch of cream cheese) 

12 ounces egg noodles

1 cup crushed French fried onions

What to do with the stuff~

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Cook your noodles until they are cooked al dente. So they are cooked but not mushy. No one wants that. 

Now stir the soup, the dip, the sour cream, your chicken (insert rotisserie chicken here), and cheese. 


Now combine this mixture with the cooked noodles. Add all of this to your 9’x 13 dish that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Top with French fried onions. Bake 25-30 minutes. 

creamy, filling, savory…this dish has it all!!

Most of all, I hope you all enjoy this as much as we did. I want you to know how much I appreciate you continuing to read my posts, for sharing my posts, for commenting and interacting, for waiting for me to come back around. Life is so full of lessons and I am on a journey to learn them. Difficult or not. And man some of them have been difficult here larely. I am grateful to be able to share my journey of faith, hope and good food with all of you. Much love and many good meals to you all.~AMB 

life is a journey and that is fine as long as some of it can be on a boat on the Sabine River

And because I just love our dogs…let me share what they have been up to…our pups, Roy and Idaho are a big part of our fam!!