Category Archives: Traditional cajun faire

Crawfish Casserole

Boy do I have a treat for ya’ll today!!!  My sister came across this little gem several years ago and it has been tucked away in my favorites box for a while.  You know how you find a new favorite and you cook it for everyone you know and then forget about it?  That is what happened with this recipe.  It is absolutely delicious and very simple to prepare, but I forgot about and since it is Festival Season in Louisiana, I decided it was time it made a comeback.  I write the food column for a local magazine, Red River Moms, it is called Cajun Mama Cooks and this is one of the recipes I put in the February issue.  It will quickly become one of your family favorites.  The results are so lip smacking, a mouthful of flavor and a taste that is pure Louisiana.  If you don’t live in our wonderful state, you can make this casserole and make do like you are here.  I really hope you will give this one a try, it is truly a favorite in my household and it should not be tucked away in a recipe box.  It should be shared and enjoyed and celebrated…so I hope you do just that! ~ AMB

 

Crawfish casserole 
Serves 6-8Ingredients 

1/2 cup butter
2 (12 oz.) bags of seasoning blend (frozen vegetables aisle)
1 tsp. or two cloves minced garlic 
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1 lb. crawfish tails with fat
1 1/2 cooked rice 
1/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs 
4 tablespoons dried parsley 
1/4-1/2 cup shredded cheddar 

Directions 

-Cook rice and set aside. 
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees 
-In a large skillet, melt butter and sauté seasoning blend until tender. Add garlic a few minutes before the other veggies are completely tender. Stir in soups and crawfish tails, fat and all.  Let this simmer a few minutes. Stir in cooked rice, breadcrumbs and parsley. Feel free to add a little more rice if you feel it needs it. Transfer to an oven safe 9 x 13 dish. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top. Bake for about 25 minutes or until bubbly. 
-season with Tony’s or salt and pepper to taste 

 

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You should make this…you really, really should.  

Lazy Girl’s Lasagna

This lasagna recipe…oh this lasagna recipe…there are few words I can use to describe how much I LOVE this lasagna recipe.  Cajun mama cooking Italian food, you say?  What?!  Ok, well I admit you will probably never go to Italy and find a piece of this lasagna on your plate.  Authentic Italian this is not, but after one bite, you will not care.  Growing up, when lasagna was on the menu, it was a happy day in the Mayeux household.  You knew right away walking through the door that we were having lasagna for supper.  One whiff of the delicious aroma and my mouth immediately watered.  Oh the wonderful smells of coming home, right?  It had been a while since I had made this lasagna.  I have had so many recipes to try out and it just sort of fell by the wayside.  Never again.  As Big Daddy is fond of saying, “this has been missing from my life!!!!” (he says this any time it has been a while since we have had something he really likes…lol!)  I made a pan of this lasagna for the office staff at my kids’ school the other day for their Christmas gift.  That’s right, I gave the gift of lasagna.  They all loved it!  While I was at it, I made a second pan for my husband and his coworkers.  It was lunch time when I brought them their pan, so I had a piece myself.  Oh. my. heavenly stars.  You know how food tastes so much better when you are starving?  This lasagna was so good already and I was so hungry, I just about blew my own mind.  So. flipping. good I tell you!!  I decided to name it lazy girl’s lasagna because it comes together super quick, with minimal ingredients, and while you are at it, you can easily make another pan for a friend.

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You are welcome!!!

Lazy Girl’s Lasagna

Ingredients

1 1/2 pound ground chuck

1 jar Ragu spaghetti sauce

1/2 box oven ready lasagna noodles (6 noodles per lasagna)

1 large container of cottage cheese

2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese

1 cup Italian 5 cheese blend (I used the kind with the Philadelphia cream cheese in it for both)

Kraft Parmesan cheese (yes the kind in the shaker)

Directions

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

Brown ground chuck in a large skillet until no longer pink and drain.  Stir in jar of Ragu into the cooked ground chuck.  Bring it to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer.  Let the meat sauce simmer for about 10 minutes.  Lay 3 of the lasagna noodles on the bottom of the prepared dish.  Spoon half of meat sauce evenly over the noodles.  Spoon half of the cottage cheese over the meat sauce.  Sprinkle one cup of the Mozzarella and 1/2 cup of the five cheese blend over the cottage cheese.  Generously sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over all of this.  Repeat the layer, starting with 3 noodles and ending with Parmesan.  Pop into oven for about 45 minutes-1 hour or until cheese is slightly browned and all bubbly on top.  Let it cool a bit and then cut into squares.  Eat it up!!

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!!!