Category Archives: Soups

Dill pickle soup 

So a while back, I got a bug up my butt that I had to try this dill pickle soup recipe I found on http://www.noblepig.com. I get like that ya’ll. I am not a super adventurous gal (unless you consider living life with 4 kids and this wild man of mine an adventure…then I totally am). But my thrill seeking comes out when I cook. Dill pickle soup? Sounds like it could be really good or really bad. Sure! Let’s try it! Why not? And so I did. I mean I think at one point the site crashed because so many people were checking out the recipe.  At least I could not access the recipe for quite a while. I had to know. How can a soup that tastes like dill pickles be good? Plus ya’ll know I love me a good soup. Any day, any time, any weather. Not to mention, ya’ll know where I come from we eat all sorts of stuff, so who am I to judge? People hear me now…this soup is legit. It’s pretty fantastic and worth your time. Unless you don’t like dill pickles. If you don’t, keep on going because this soup could be called cream of pickle soup. But in a good way. I promise. I have had friends ask when in the world I planned to post this recipe on my blog and I have been putting it off. Life has just been so hectic (read normal) and I guess I got lost in it. As I have said before, that is not likely going to get better anytime soon. I just have to adapt to the madness and blog when I can. So I do. But this recipe is worth sharing and kudos to the mastermind at the Noble Pig that came up with this recipe. It is inspired! 

Dill pickle soup (it makes a bunch)

Stuff you need~

5 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 3/4 pounds of russet potatoes, peeled and diced 

2 cups carrots, cut into a smaller dice 

1 cup dill pickle (about 3 large whole dill pickles), chopped into a smaller dice 

1/2 unsalted butter

1 cup sour cream

1 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup water 

2 cups pickle juice 

1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning 

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (depending on how salty your pickle juice is…they can vary apparently so taste and see before you add salt)

1/2 teaspoon black pepper 

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 

What to do with the stuff~

In a stock pot, combine broth, potatoes, carrots and butter. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender. Add pickles and continue to boil. 

 

I have pictures for this post!!!
 
In a medium size bowl, stir together flour, sour cream and water, making a paste. 

  
Now vigorously whisk the sour cream paste into the boiling liquid, 2 tablespoons at a time. You will have to whisk somewhat vigorously to get the paste to be incorporated into the liquid. It may break up into some little flour balls and that is ok. They will go away during the cooking process. 

Whisk in pickle juice and the seasonings. 

  
Cook another 30 minutes over medium heat and then serve immediately. Garnish with some dill pickle slices if you really need more pickles at this point. Let me know what you think! Is this complete nonsense or totally inspired? I lean toward the latter! Yummy and definitely a break from the norm! 

Enjoy ya pickle soup, ma Cher! 

in our family, we are almost always ready to let the good times roll! parade or pickle soup, just whenever!
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Chicken and rice soup, banana bars, and all that matters is family 

It seems lately that life has taken on a frantic pace that since becoming a mom I SWORE I would never allow for my family. It’s amazing how innocent new motherhood can be, but that’s a story for another day. Back then, looking at my sweet baby boy’s face, I said I would never allow myself to lose focus on what really matters. Togetherness, family, downtime, blocking the rest of the world out. Yeah, yeah, I know it’s important to teach my kids to let the world in and to be a big part of their community, but I want to make sure they always remember what really counts at the end of the day. For instance, I agreed this year to be the ptsa president for my son’s middle school. I am really enjoying it now that the ball is rolling (shhh don’t tell anyone) but I have to be very careful to not let it take over what I hold dear to me. My family, togetherness, you know the drill. My kids are more involved than they ever have been and that’s to be expected now that they are all getting older. So mostly the weekdays  belong to everyone else. Or it feels that way. It’s a crazy, frenetic pace that exhausts me by Thursday evening. It is hustle and bustle and go go go. And I don’t even have a job outside the home. So come Friday evening I am ready for DOWNTIME!!! The weekends belong to our family!!!  It looks like this…

  
My kids running around PLAYING without time limits. 

  Big Daddy watering his garden while I drink wine on the back porch. No mention of homework, no uniform washing (well I still do that because Monday comes too fast and I am slightly neurotic about laundry but the point is I don’t have to wash uniforms if I don’t want to. There’s joy in that).

I get to sit down and do all of this I want…

  
Now that’s a relaxing Friday. I went to bed at 8:55 last night. It was that relaxing. Last week was absolutely crazy but the bad thing is that almost every since school started has been that way. I worry this is going to become our norm. After holding on to peace and family time for so long, I am not going to succumb to it. I am willing to let the weekdays be a little wild. But the weekends for the most part, belong to us. Cut to I have been up since 5, the guys are hunting (it’s youth hunt weekend) and the girls are sleeping in (God bless the weekend!). So I am in the process of taking back our weekend. That means making one of my favorite soup recipes and one of Big Daddy’s favorite childhood treats…Mrs. Sandra’s banana bars. I absolutely believe good ole comfort food is a vital part of keeping our weekends sacred. Well, I’m Cajun, I actually believe good food is a vital part of everything. Nonetheless, soup and a sweet (and lots of coffee) go a long way in making our weekends something special. A respit from all of the hustle and bustle of the week, an safe harbor in a sea of madness. No really. 

So now for a little back story on these recipes I am sharing. This chicken and rice soup is a Pioneer Woman recipe. It is to die for. I think the first time I made it one of my kids was sick and I was overcome with a sense of motherly domesticity and found this recipe via Google. I always love PW’s recipes and this was a big hit! I am excited to share it with those of you who might not have found it yet. She does apologize in her post for using chicken bouillon cubes and yellow food coloring, so read her post if you want to get the full effect. http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/simple-hearty-chicken-rice-soup-itll-keep-ya-honest/     As for me, I offer no apologies for such transgressions.  None. The soup is fantastic and if bouillon cubes and food coloring are the worst of my offenses, then God bless. But trust me, they are not. If the guilt from my bouillon and food coloring use gets too heavy, I will just go confess to Father Mark and say some Hail Marys. This soup is abso-flipping-lutely mouthwatering and full of flavor. It’s one of our favorites. It makes your kitchen smell like heaven. 

PW’s chicken and rice soup 

Stuff you need~

2 chicken breasts with bone in and skin on (the bone and fat are necessary to make the chicken stock…those two things make it extra fantastic!)

8 chicken boullion cubes 

1/4 cup diced onion

1/4 cup diced green bell pepper 

1/4 diced pimentos (from a jar) 

1/4 cup chopped celery  

1 cup cooked rice 

6 tablespoons butter, divided 

4 tablespoons flour 

Few drops of Yellow food coloring 

What to do with the stuff~

First of all, go one and get  your your rice cooking either on the stovetop or in the rice cooker. 

Wash your chicken breasts and cover them with about 2 quarts of water, give or take a little. Drop in those boullion cubes. 

  

Bring to a slow boil and then reduce heat and allow chicken to cook for about 20 minutes  or so. When cooked through, remove chicken from water and set aside. Keep the lovely  chicken stock that you made boiling those chicken breasts at a low slow simmer on the stove. 

Now dice up your veggies. Now we will make a little roux.  Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a skillet. Whisk in the 4 tablespoons of flour and stir until thickened. Pour this into your barely simmering chicken stock. 

  
Now melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet. (I just wash the skillet I just used and use it again) Add your diced veggies to the melted butter. 

  
Cook until tender and then add the chopped up chicken. Mmmmmm

  
Give it all a good stir and then add to the simmering stock that is quickly turning into a bonefied soup. 

 

sooouuup
 
Now, you are in the homestretch. Almost there. Get ready. You are going to add the cooked rice to the soup. 

  

Yes yes yes. Now you have oh so savory chicken and rice soup. Perfect if you have a sick person to nurse back to health (this plus essential oils can work wonders to heal a sick body). This soup is a wonderful dish to cook if your spirits are waning and you are taking respite from the world. Either way, you are golden. Now for the final touch…yep, the yellow food coloring. This is really not necessary but to preserve the authenticity of PW’s recipe, I follow her instructions. 

  
Let this all simmer a bit longer, maybe 20 minutes to let it all blend and mingle. And then you have this…

so much love…

Now for the banana bars!!!
 

his reminder to me…since we had some bananas that were super ripe
 
Now these banana bars are the bomb. Big Daddy lived in Broussard/Youngsville for a long while when his daddy ran the co-op there. Of course his mama, Mrs. Dianne, was a. social butterfly and lovely lady, so she  made some good friends where ever they lived. In Broussard, Mrs. Sandra, Mrs. Linda, and Mrs. Peggy were her top gals. They all had kids (a bunch of boys mostly) and they hung out like a posse. Of course they are all fabulous cooks and swapped recipes. Mrs. Sandra made these banana bars that made Big Daddy swoon. I heard about them from the time we started dating until she finally gave me the recipe a few years later. Back then, I had no idea what a jelly roll pan was so I used a 9 x 13 inch pan. BD said they were a little thicker than he remembered but they were good anyway. So if you do not have a jelly roll pan, don’t fret!!! It’s the weekend and we don’t worry on the weekend! If you want to buy one, here is a link …Chicago Metallic Non-Stick True Jelly Roll Pan, 15 by 10-Inch https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003YKGRVO/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_SEqgwbY3FK75S. If you have Amazon prime,  2 days and you will be all set! I picked up one at Walmart and it worked great. The dimensions you are looking for in a true jelly roll pan are 10x 15 x 1. 

I love that even though BD’s mom is no longer with us, I can still make one of his favorite childhood treats for him. That’s the power of good friend…they keep you alive in many ways. ❤️ That’s  also the power in recipes and passing them on. 

Banana bars 

Stuff you need~

For the bars~

1/2 cup butter, softened 

1 1/2 cup sugar 

1 cup sour cream 

1 1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas) 

2 cups of flour 

2 teaspoons vanilla extract *

1 teaspoon baking soda 

3/4 teaspoon salt 

*I do use vanilla extract but a new favorite of mine is vanilla bean paste, which you use exactly like extract. It tastes so pure and full of that vanilla perfection. I order it from amazon. I heart Amazon if you cannot tell. Just my two cents on a product that I love. 

for the Icing~

1/2 cup butter (1 stick) 

3-4 cups powdered sugar 

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla 

3 tablespoons (or more) for thinning the icing 

For the bars: 
Preheat oven to 350. Grease your jelly roll pan. 

 In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your standing mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, sour cream and eggs. Blend in the bananas and vanilla. In a smaller bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add this to the other mixture and stir until just combined. Pour into your prepared jelly roll pan. 

  
Now bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown. And the kitchen smells like Christmas. No really…Christmas. 

While that is baking, get your icing ready. 

For the icing~

Melt butter in a large saucepan and let it brown just a bit. Just until it is a lovely light brown color. Not dark!! It takes a minute or 2. Stir in a cup of powdered sugar at a time. Add more as needed. I only  use about 3 cups. Now stir in Vanilla. Add your milk to make the icing the consistency you want. You want thicker than a glaze but thinner than a frosting. 

 

see that consistency (and powdered sugar lumps ?)
 
Now once your bars are out of the oven, pour the luscious icing over the “cake” and ice it.

  
Then you get…

  
And everyone shouts hooray!!!!! Banana bars…my man’s favorite and they are gaining popularity!

 

my baby snacking on banana bars in the deer stand during a youth hunt. thank God for banana bars and weekends!!!
 E

Mrs. Sandra giving BD a big mama bear hug at our wedding. so much love!
 
Now we all just wait for another weekend to roll around! God save the weekend!! Hope everyone has a great week. 

Olive Garden chicken gnocchi soup And my soup obsession continues 

This is one of my favorite things on the menu at the OG. Yes I know it’s a soup recipe. Yes another one. Because there are so many soup recipes that just beg me to make them. Anytime I go to the OG this is a must. This and breadsticks and I am happy as a clam.  There are many recipes out there for this but chose this one seemed the most authentic.  I found this recipe on http://www.carriesexperimentalkitchen.com.     Now it does use boullion cubes and I am fine with that. I know some are appalled at such practices but let me say….if boullion cubes are gonna be the death of me…well so be it. 6 of one half dozen the other.  Also, I can make it during Lent as long as I don’t add the chicken. I did not add it this time and I probably will not ever because it is so perfect without it. The gnocchi is filling in its own right and I never missed the chicken.  The gnocchi is not hard to find in most stores. You can find it on the packaged pasta aisle. It is truly so easy to recreate this soup at home at a fraction of the cost. I know we are hedging upon warmer weather but that does not deter me to make my favorite soup recipes. I just may not make them as often. But when a soup is this filling and not labor intensive at all…I cannot find any reason not to make it during any weather. Of course, this comes from a soupahomic and that may just be my soup addiction talking.  Also, nothing pairs better with this chicken based soup like a nice refreshing glass of white wine…which makes it a win in my book!!!  Whatever your pleasure, if you love OG’s chicken gnocchi soup, feel free to indulge during the warmer months…I surely won’t tell anyone. Now…where are the breadsticks? 

Copycat OG chicken gnocchi soup 

Makes  16 1 cup servings (so can serve 16 but it’s so good I would say about 10) 

Stuff you need~

2 tablespoons butter 

1/3 cup thinly sliced celery 

1/4 cup minced onion (it’s says shredded but that did not work so well for me…yikes!!)

1/4 cup grated carrot 

1 tablespoon minced garlic 

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg 

1/4 teaspoon ground thyme 

2 tablespoons all purpose flour

8 cups water 

6 chicken boullion cubes (I use the knorr extra large and only use 4) 

2 cups heavy whipping cream 

2 cups cooked chicken (grilled, roasted, or rotisserie…again I don’t use it at all)

4 cups fresh, washed baby spinach 

16 ounce package gnocchi 

What to do with the stuff~

Melt butter in a large heavy bottom pot over medium heat and sauté onions, celery, carrots and garlic.  Sauté a few minutes or until celery is tender.  

   

 Now whisk in the flour until it is mixed in with sautéed veggies. Next, stir in water and the bouillon cubes. Add in the ground nutmeg and ground thyme and the chicken If you are using it. Bring this just to a boil and then reduce heat to allow mixture to simmer for 15 minutes. While simmering the soup, heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan.  Then add this to the soup along with the spinach and the gnocchi. 

 

Let the soup simmer for an additional 15-20 minutes. Ladle into individual bowls and prepare to be amazed. 

  

mangia!!

   

Leftover Hambone soup and my mama is smart

So today we shall review how to make the most of a ham. We have discussed the beauty of buying a ham and making it last all week using it 4 different ways. If you buy said ham on sale and then freeze it until ready to use, that makes the whole scenario even more lovely. You know you are your mother’s child when you get excited over getting a deal on a ham, and then get jazzed up over being able to stretch it. I am learning as I approach the 40 that in lots of ways, being my mother’s daughter is a dang good thing. Looking at us you might not see many similarities. She is a teeny tiny French woman and I take after my daddy’s German side of the family. We both have dark hair and the same green eyes. My dad and 3 sisters all have the “Mayeux” blue eyes, but me and my mama have green. That’s pretty special now that I consider it. I am a sensitive soul like my mama too. She is a much nicer person than I am though and she giggles when I get riled up and tell someone off, but to tell the truth, I think I get that from her. I can recall several instances in childhood when she went off (justifiably so) on a grocery store checkout clerk or someone she felt acted inappropriately. Still she is much nicer than me on a daily basis. My mom is way more fun than me and always has been. She has that French “let the good times roll” attitude about her. I take life way too seriously a lot of the time. We both have a perverse sense of humor that makes us crack up laughing at inappropriate things…me and all my sisters have that about us though. So don’t let something unexpected happen in Mass because we would all be laughing inappropriately. So we are different, have had our differences, but we are alike in the ways that matter. I am seeing that more everyday and it makes me smile. I am so glad she passed on her secret of how to stretch a ham to get several meals from it. That’s an art and skill that I will pass on to my kids and today I will pass it on to you. Bernie aka BB would approve…right mama? Now she did it differently than me and that’s ok. I always did love ham week in our household. She would bake that ham as only she can, then Monday make crockpot red beans, then we would ham and egg mcmuffins at some point. Bern is a creative gal I tell you that.

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she plays the guitar like poppee (her daddy) and can cook a boot and make it taste good (as per big daddy)…BB has skills.

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my beautiful and talented mama

Now ok but onto this leftover hambone soup recipe. Again with the soup recipes right?! I know. I have issues. It is what it is. This soup is out of this world fantastic. It is a warm you to the bone soup that is perfect on a blustery windy day. It can cure what ails you. Or at least it sure does seem that way. Big Daddy came in the house last week and was starving after being out seeing customers until past his supper time. He walked in to the smell of this warm you to your bones and some cornbread and he was in. He went wild over this soup. He tolerates my soup psychosis usually but he does not go wild for most of them. This one he did. He was sad when it was gone. It really could not be easier to prep this soup and get it on the table. So read on and learn how you an make it too. Make the most out of that ham ya’ll!!

Leftover Hambone soup adapted from http://www.damndelicious.net

serves 6

Stuff you need~

1 leftover hambone
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 russet potato, peeled and diced
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup frozen corn
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
2 cups chopped leftover ham

what to do with the stuff

In a large stock pot, cover the hambone halfway with water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Simmer for at least an hour but I allowed mine to simmer longer. Remove from heat and discard hambone. You can also do this part the night before you plan to make this soup.

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Next, in a Dutch oven or large heavy bottom sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, garlic and potatoes. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes
And until onions are soft and translucent. Stir in ham stock (I started with about 2 cups and went from there), beans, corn, bay leaves, and thyme.

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Sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste. Bring this to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer over medium low heat until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in chopped ham. Serve with cornbread and you got it going on mop tit (or ma petite for those of you who don’t know that story)!!!

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so delicious

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me, my beautiful mama and sister (and baby Jonah bear)

Crockpot Cheeseburger soup and give me comfort

So first off, let me explain the reasons for my 2 week hiatus from blogging. I could go into details about the where’s and whys of it all…but truthfully it’s about what you would expect from a mom. But most of all, there have been no recipes to blog because I have not been cooking and I have just been stupid busy with child rearing and carpool and trying to keep it all together. And frankly, I am barely managing even now. Sure, I get by. We all do most days, right? But man, these days I feel like I am running through the woods with my pants on fire, being beaten with reeds. (Yes that is totally a line from my all time favorite show…Designing Women.) Anyway, finding time to sit down and blog a recipe is a challenge sometimes and it is an even bigger challenge when mama ain’t cookin. But…I’m back!!! I hope you are ready to get in the kitchen and cook up some hella good recipes. The ones I have coming do not disappoint!!!

Now today, I have a DELICIOUS soup recipe.
I found it on http://lecremedelacrumb.com.
Ya’ll know I love soup right? I am seeing more and more that I may or may not have an addiction. I am intrinsically drawn to soup recipes. I am not sure why that is. I guess because it is relatively uncomplicated. Maybe it’s the comfort a bowl of soup provides, especially one a blustery winter day? Make some cornbread or rolls and you have supper!! Chili and a pot of beans definitely fall in that same category in my heart. I guess it’s no mystery that I would crave a meal that is simple and comforting. No wonder why I would fix things for supper that lead to feel good, warm fuzzies. Life gets crazy and chaotic, goes at warp speed and I am constantly looking for ways to soften the blow. My life is by no means awful, so let me make it clear…I am not complaining. But I am above all practical and realistic. I have people who need to be fed every evening and what I feed them may as well taste good and maybe even pack a nutritional punch, without reinventing the wheel or require I dirty 10 pots and pans (though Lord knows I do that too sometimes). And maybe that is the reason in the nutshell I simply ADORE soups. They are practical. And this recipe is a real pleaser from the ease of getting it started (which for me is the biggest challenge sometimes) to the taste it delivers…it is pretty wonderful. So maybe if you are looking for a good recipe to try, out this one on your “to try” list.

Crockpot cheeseburger soup adapted from Cream de la Crumb

stuff you need~

3 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup onion, diced
4 cups chopped and peeled potatoes (I used steam and mash potatoes from ore Ida)
1 stalk celery, chopped
3/4 cup shredded carrot (about 1 carrot)
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 pound ground beef
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups half and half or heavy cream
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded cheddar

Optional…bacon bits or green onions for serving.

what to do with the stuff~

In a slow cooker, add potatoes, celery, carrot, basil and parsley and chicken broth. Give it a stir and then cook it on low for 5-6 hours or high for 3-4.

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my trusty ole steam and mash…I ❤️ them

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how they start out

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after they cook down. A little visual never hurts…

Ok! Now, about 30 minutes before you are ready to eat, brown your ground meat (which you can ABSOLUTELY do ahead of time). In a separate skillet, melt your butter. Whisk in the flour and stir until the flour and butter are combined…a nice light roux or blond roux if you will. Whisk in the half and half OR heavy cream. Let it come to a bubbling simmer and simmer until the mixture is thick, creamy and luscious. Remove from heat. Stir in the garlic powder, salt and pepper. Now, add the sour cream to the mix. Mmmmmm….

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oh creamy goodness…you will make this soup so yummy.
Now you are almost at the homestretch!! Stir in the browned ground beef and the creamy mixture into your crockpot. Stir in the shredded cheddar.

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are you picking up on how delish this looks?!

Now, put the lid on the crockpot and let it cook on low for about 30 minutes. I served this soup with some frozen rolls that I just thawed and allowed to rise and then baked. My precious 9 year old aka my sugar cookie, absolutely devoured this. I loved it and found it to be as comforting and yummy as I wanted it to be. I hope your peeps love it as well!! Enjoy my friends!!!

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Skinny lasagna soup and enjoying the moment

So…we are on the Christmas wind down (or is it wind up for some of ya’ll?). I am sure glad of it because I cannot keep up the pace. 4 kids in school equals a whole lot of busy and this mama here is tired. I am ready to coast. You know what I mean, right? It seems as if the past few weeks have been all up hill and I am ready to reach the top and then just coast downhill. Sure this likely means going way too fast and losing control, but I am at peace with that. It is going to be insane with the kids all home for the next 2 weeks, so yeah out of control sounds accurate. But I am tired of having to control so much. Homework, getting them here and there on time, get this, do that, rush. You know it’s been haywire when it sounds relaxing to have 4 kids at home. Maybe some of you are looking at that same situation. Staring down at it like you are looking down the barrel of a gun. Ha ha!!! Go ahead you filthy animal…make my day. I am going to go ahead and know the inmates will be running the asylum. Making my peace with it and just give in. Let go. I am working on that lately. Letting things fall where they will and making peace with what will be. I am determined to enjoy some of the moments, even amidst the chaos .

All this Christmas prep is not always easy nor for the faint of heart. Knowing you have a hearty but healthy supper for yourself or your family at night makes it all just a little bit better. There is not much prep time required for this soup and you can get it all together at night and even start it then finish it after work the next day. It could go easily in the crockpot. Just put it all in the crockpot and add the noodles and let it cook on low. This is one heck of a tasty soup and you will not even miss the extra calories. This time of year is all about indulgence so this is one amazingly tasty dish that you can feel good about! It’s also a great recipe to have in the New Year when we decide it might be time to cut back a bit after all of our merry making.
I hope you enjoy this lasagna soup recipe and you find some time amidst all of this holiday hustle and bustle to kick back and enjoy the moments with family and friends during this Christmas season. ~AMB

Skinny lasagna soup (a Jamie Deen recipe)

Serves 6

Stuff you need~

1 pound Italian ground turkey
1 onion, finely diced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
Olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic or 4 cloves, minced
1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes with basil and oregano
1 (32 ounce) box of reduced sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Reduced fat shredded mozzarella
4 whole wheat lasagna noodles, broken up

What to do with the stuff~

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven. Brown ground turkey, onions, bell pepper, and garlic until turkey is no longer pink and veggies are tender.

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Pour in tomatoes, tomato sauce and chicken broth into pot. Sprinkle in salt and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil and then add broken up lasagna noodles.

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Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until noodles are tender. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle mozzarella over each serving. Garnish with extra red pepper flakes if desired.

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this stuff is crazy delicious

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T-Roy is an expert at kicking back and relaxing

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Big kitty, Greg, is pretty good at it…he likes the view from UNDER the tree

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taking a moment to enjoy the view

Crave worthy chicken noodle soup

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

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that’s a sick baby girl

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

Stuff you need~

for the stock:

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

for the soup

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

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

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you done made you some stock Cher!

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

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

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carrots, mushrooms and noodles…oh my!

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delicious perfection

Dr. Boudreaux’s Carencro Gumbo

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

Dr. Boudreaux’s Carencro gumbo

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

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

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

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What to do with the stuff~

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

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

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

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

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

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

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stop it now. This stuff is so good

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

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talk about good! Enjoy!!

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

Crawfish Corn Crab Bisque and Everyone has an opinion…

So I am definitely going to give you a recipe that you are going to really love.  Or I hope you love.  You may hate it.  I really cannot be sure.  If I worried about if 100% of people who follow my blog would dig every recipe I posted, I would probably be frozen by worry and never post anything.  And this is how I will lead into something that has been on my mind this morning.  For no particular reason except we live in a world of over opinionated, vocal people.  It seems some days everyone is a critic.  Or wait, is that everyday?  And in our social media connected world, we are bombarded by how many likes for this posts, different groups swaying us to one side or the other.  Or the worst…people putting down entire groups of people.  To vaccinate our kids or not?  To breastfeed or not?  Pro life or not?  You know what I mean.I was going to just simply give you a lovely intro into corn crab bisque and then deliver the recipe.  I had another post all started.  But I decided, heck, everything else is controversial…I bet bisque can be too.  I love the word bisque.  I think it sounds pretty.  I like most words that are also words that describe colors.  I love color, so this makes sense.  And as I type this, I am betting when someone reads it they will think…that’s stupid.  Eye roll.  That’s ok.  I do it too.  I read people’s stuff and even when I really like them or appreciate what they are writing, a certain sentence annoys me.  But you know what?  I do not feel the need to tell them this.  I move along.  My opinion is important…to me.  Maybe to Big Daddy.  Some days.  I am pretty sure he is rolling his eyes inwardly much of the time I am yammering on about this or that.  Don’t get me started on my kids.  I think they hear dolphin squeaks when I say anything other than “candy, cake, bouncy house…” you get the picture.  See, someone once told me something. I found it highly crass at the time, but that was back when I was sure my opinion mattered all day, every day.  As a woman approaching her 40’s, I know now…it does not.  And that is fine.  Anyway, he said “opinions are like buttholes, everybody’s got one” (he actually said the other word but I know my audience and some of you all may not like that.  So fair enough) That is so true.  Everyone is a critic.  I am a VERY opinionated person.  Some of you who know me well already know this.  But if  you know me via Facebook or on my blog or on my Cajun Mama page…I hope you don’t see that.  Most of the time, I have strong feelings one or the other on most topics.  The difference is…I don’t share them most of the time.  I try not to.  My daddy taught me at a young age that you never speak of religion or money in mixed company.  That was back in the 80’s when those were the main hot topics.  Now hot topics range from abortion, home schooling, breastfeeding, vaccinations, vegan, working out every day, spanking, time out.  Every conversation is a virtual landmine of controversy these days.  I refuse to engage.  I know my feelings about these things, and sometimes I don’t.  I have many deep conversations with close friends about their viewpoints.  But since our whole lives are an open forum…Facebook, Twitter, and other forums I have not even tapped into yet…I choose to use caution.  I don’t have to share my unsolicited opinion on any topic.  I find it wise not to.  Of course unless asked.  Even then, I tread lightly.  I try really hard not to judge or point fingers because another thing I learned long ago when I was in my social work methods class was “when you have one finger pointed, you always 3 others pointed back”.  I have tried really hard to live my life focusing my energy and attention on the 3 pointed back at me.  Self awareness is key in this over opinionated world we live in.  I mean, when I scroll through my Facebook feed, and I see people judging other people’s GRAMMAR or making comments about bandwagon Saints fans…I roll my eyes.  I think those two things are the DUMBEST thing ever.  Do we not have anything else to worry about?  I DO NOT share my opinion or tell someone else that they are silly for even posting such nonsense.  Why?  Because I am wise enough to know, those same people probably think some of the stuff I post is nonsense.  Fair enough.  So you do your thing and I will do mine.  I am assuming when we get to the pearly gates, our opinions on most of  these topics will not be factored in.  Only how we treated one another.  So I focus on respecting your opinion.  I pray you will respect mine.

Ok…whew.  For those who like bisque, are interesting in trying bisque…I hope you are still with me.  Cajun Mama likes to talk so forgive me.  This recipe for Crawfish Corn Crab bisque is delightful.  That’s right.  DE-LIGHTFUL.  It can be a wonderful starter for a meal you are making, or it can stand alone with a salad and a warm loaf of French bread.  Ya’ll know I am a sucker for a versatile dish and this one fits that bill.  You can change it up as you choose.  You can omit crawfish tails and add shrimp.  You could just use crab meat.  Add more spice if you wish.  Make it your own.  What I love about this soup is how hearty and creamy this soup is.  It melts in your mouth like butter.  Big Daddy got this recipe from a gentleman who works for Tony Chachere’s and he brought it home from the hunting camp and said I needed to try it asap.  So I indulged him.  Oh my.  It was wow.  Just wow.  And at the time my tootie girl was about 4 and she loved it.  And my little bull in my china shop loved it.  2 out of 4 kiddos eating a dish is pretty good around here…so it is definitely something your kiddos may love.  I know there are many recipes for corn crab bisque or chowder going around.  This is by far the easiest and the best…in my opinion.  LOL!!!  Now, the only glitch is, this recipe calls for a product that can be hard to find.  I had to order a case from Amazon.  But I am going to give ya’ll an alternative and also show you what the product container looks like.  It is Tony Chachere’s Cream of Mushroom Mix.  I am sure it was developed by the Tony’s people to use to promote this product.  It is some good stuff and 1/2 cup mixed with milk can be used in a recipe that calls for cream of mushroom soup.  Definitely good stuff to have around if you can find it.

Crawfish, Corn and Crabmeat Bisque

Stuff you need:

4 Tablespoons butter (the real stuff whenever possible people)

1 large onion, diced fine

1-15 oz. can cream style corn

1 quart of half and half (that’s the tall one)

1 pound peeled deveined shrimp OR 1 lb. crawfish tails

1/2 pound (1- 8 ounce block) Swiss cheese, shredded

3 Tablespoons Tony Chachere’s Cream of Mushroom Mix

OR  about 1/2 can of cream of mushroom soup

1-10 3/4 ounce cream of potato soup

1 lb. lump crab meat

1 Tablespoon dried parsley

3 green onion tops, chopped

In a 3 quart pot, melt butter and add onion.  Saute until tender.  Whisk in Cream of mushroom mix to make a blond roux.  Ok, if you cannot find the mix, what I could do here is add in 3 Tablespoons of flour and continue on (later you will add in that half a can of cream of mushroom).  Add corn, soups (cream of potato if you have the mix, both a can of cream of potato and 1/2 can of cream of mushroom if you don’t), half and half, crab meat, shrimp and or crawfish.  Bring this to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently.  Once it comes to a boil, reduce heat.  Stir in grated Swiss, parsley and green oninos.  Season to taste with Tony’s Seasoning or Mexi-Cajun Seasoning (I love that stuff in this with the Tony’s.  A little of this and that…yum!!)  Remove from heat and serve.  This yields about 12 servings…or 6 servings if you are serving some hungry Cajuns.  Bahahaha!!!  True Dat!

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My bowl of bliss…mmmmmmm