Category Archives: Sunday Supper worthy

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!!


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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?

Smothered chicken recipe and other things my mama gave me

My mama has given me many things in my life. My roots, my wings, sometimes a pain in my butt (you know it’s true Mama),  so much love and maybe best of all…smothered chicken. I have said before that my mama is an excellent cook. And that Big Daddy is fond of saying “Bernie could cook a boot and make it taste good!” He is not wrong. 

 I will be honest here and say, in the past 10 years, my family of origin has undergone many changes.  I am pretty certain that is a statement that can be made for most families, as change is the only thing that is constant in this world.  You can count on things changing in this world.  But you know one thing that has not changed in all of the changing that has remained the same?  My mama’s smothered chicken.  She has had her ups and she has weathered her downs, we have been high and low, but her love for her kids and her excellent smothered chicken are two things that have remained the same.  If I ever had to equate food to love, I would say her smothered chicken, her rice and gravy and honey carrots (pea and asparagus casserole if we are lucky)  would be a plate of love. Big Daddy, the kids, the dogs and I recently piled into the mini van to go spend the night at my mama and daddy’s house in Alex. and she asked me what I wanted her to fix for supper.  Of course, I say smothered chicken.  She already knew before she asked.  When I had all of my babies, my mama would come and stay a few nights and smothered chicken was always on the menu.  I really did not even try to attempt to make it for the longest time because I was convinced it was too hard and that no matter what, it would not be as a good as her’s.  She always picks on me and says since I am such a good cook now, there is hardly anything she can make me that I cannot make myself.  I can happily say that my smothered chicken cannot hold a candle to her’s.  I am so glad to have her here on this Earth to make it for me.  Now, don’t get me wrong, my smothered chicken is passable.  It is ok.  It might be pretty good.  But Bernie has the magic touch and I am just fine with that.  Maybe its because it is one way I still need her, one way she can be there for me like always, but she makes the smothered chicken of my dreams and when I am at her house or she is at mine, and she prepares my favorite meal, all is right with the world.  Its funny how something so simple can do that, isn’t it?  None the less, I had the envie for some smothered chicken yesterday afternoon and I decided to make it.  I feel inadequate every time I set out, but the more I prepare it, the easier it gets.  Its just a lot to live up to, you know?  My mama is tiny, but she has some fairly big feet and her shoes are hard to fill.  Especially when it comes to smothered chicken.

I was at a loss about how to tell ya’ll how to make a dish that I am only just now learning how to make really well.  I held off until now because while it’s not hard per se, it is a little bit of an involved process.  I have been gone so long though, not blogging, and so many have stuck with me while I took my little blogging hiatus, I figured I owed it to you to show you how to make one of my favorites or at least attempt to.  So bare with me as I fumble through this.  This is not baked chicken.  This is not fried chicken.  This is chicken that has been cut up and smothered in its own delicious juices.  And it’s fantastic. (If you are a Jim Gaffigan fan, you will get that reference.  If not, you should check out Jim Gaffigan so you will understand.  He is hilarious.)

I will stop story telling for now.  Though when it comes to mothers and daughters, the story never really ends.  I certainly need to work on my smothered chicken technique and I do not claim to be an expert, but if I waited until I was an expert at making smothered chicken, we might be waiting a long time for this post.  Plus, for now, I really enjoy that my mama’s smothered chicken is better than mine.  I am not ready to be top dog in that category.

 

me and the queen of smothered chicken aka my mama. I love her.

Ok ya’ll ready? Let’s do this!! 

My mama’s smothered chicken  
Stuff you need

One fryer chicken, cut up 

Cooking oil 

Salt and pepper 

Sugar 

Water 

What to do with the stuff

Wash and pat dry your chicken pieces.  Drizzle some cooking  oil all over the bottom of a large skillet. Bernie is pretty particular about the size pot she smothers her chicken in. And Stephen (my daddy) says you don’t want to use a pot too big when smothering your meat, that the meat fitting snugly in the pot makes for a darker  gravy. I don’t argue. I use a magnalite deep skillet that is perfect for smothering chicken. For those who don’t know, Magnalite pots and pans are the holy grail for Cajuns. The BEST!!! I inherited one from BD’s Pappaw and I love it. 

Now salt and pepper your chicken on both sides. Turn the heat on your pot/skillet with the oil in it. 

Once the oil is warmed up, add your chicken pieces. 

  
Allow the chicken pieces to brown one side. Mama says that adding a little sugar to your pan aids in the browning process, so I do what she says. Just a spoonful or so is good. And You don’t want your fire too hot or your chicken will stick. So medium to low heat is best. 

  
Once chicken is pretty and browned one side, like so….flip your chicken pieces using some tongs. 

 

That’s some pretty brown chicken, my baby.
 
Now allow your chicken pieces to brown on the other side.  I add a little more sugar to the pot at this point as well. Just a spoonful will do.  Remember to mind your heat so chicken does not stick. I also wiggle the pieces around here and there as I brown the chicken. It makes me feel like a chef. And also, it prevents the chicken from sticking. 

Once chicken is nice and browned on both sides (thank you sugar!!!), you want to add some water to your pot. This begins the smothering part of the process. 

I add enough water to half way cover the chicken pieces. It’s ok if you add too much since you are going to cook out most of the water. Lower your heat until the water is simmering. Cover your pot and allow the water to cook out. This is the first step in making that delectable gravy. Oh my yes. Rice and gravy. Staple on so many Cajun tables. *

Let the water almost cook completely out but not quite. Do NOT allow all of the water to cook out. No!!! You are going to add more water to the little bit that is left after the first round. So add more water and continue the process of making that gravy and simultaneously tenderizing that chicken. Hence the smothering. I hope I am explaining this correctly. You basically will see your water the chicken is cooking in turn to gravy. It’s magic!! It will begin to look like this…

  

See how it is getting thicker and darker and looking like gravy? Ok now do the same thing over again until you get the gravy a dark as you want and have enough gravy (is there such a thing?) and all pieces of chicken are cooked through and tender. I say fork tender, meaning you can stick a fork in the meat and it easily turns. 

 

fork tender and check out that gravy…this is after cornstarch had been added
 
Smothered chicken makes the most fabulous gravy. If you need to thicken the gravy at the end, just add some cornstarch and whisk it around really good. My gravy making skills are a work in progress, it’s not an exact process and just had to be learned. I am still learning. You will want to remove your smaller pieces of chicken like the legs and wings so they don’t fall apart while the other pieces finish getting tender. Just remove them and put them on a plate and set aside. Sha small pieces of chicken being removed from the party, but they can come back later!!! 

*Fun fact, when I was growing up, I would swear when I moved out I would never make rice again. That I would serve only mashed potatoes. My daddy would laugh to himself and basically say “don’t invite me then, my baby.” Ha ha! I am literally eating those words. My Momou gave me a rice pot as my first wedding gift. It’s a must have! 

We recently got a huge bag of rice from some good friends who have a rice farm. The rice is so fabulous and smells so good cooking, it is absolutely worth getting some if you can. Their website is http://www.bakerfarms.net and you can actually order a bag of rice if you want to. I have eaten a lot of rice my days, my thighs and rear end can attest to that, but this rice is unique. It’s aromatic and it cooks up perfectly every time!!!

That’s my little rice side note. But it’s important because what good is that gravy if there is no cooked rice?!! Exactly!!! 

  

thank you Mama for many things…for roots, wings, lots of love and smothered chicken
 
I want to say thank you to all of my loyal readers. For your encouragement and sticking with me when I was not sure if I needed or wanted to continue blogging. Thanks for inspiring me. I am glad to know the words I write mean something to so many of you. I am back now and we are only just beginning. Your loyalty means the world to me!!! Thanks for reading! -Aimee 

Family pleasing Italian meatloaf

So last week I ran across this link someone shared on Facebook. There was a picture of this delicious meatloaf that I could not resist. It was Italian meatloaf. I have always been a meatloaf gal and of course as far as I am concerned, bring on the variation! Topped with bacon…yes! Stuffed with cheese (like my mama used to)…for sure!!  Sweet ketchup topping…why not? Barbecue sauce in it…hello?! Yes!! (Of course not all at once…I am not a total freak.) See what I am getting at here? Me likely my meatloaf. And I certainly do love me a leftover meatloaf sandwich. Oh yes!! When I am forced to go to Golden Corral by the tiny people I birthed (yes they request this sometimes and after 10 no’s, I will throw them a yes)…I eat the meatloaf. Most people do because they always are sold out. So loaf o’ meat…sign this gal up!   And I get it…you either are team meatloaf or you aren’t. I understand. I have met people who would not touch meatloaf with a 10 foot pole. Just the name conjures up bad 1970’s style memories. To you I say…I hate it for you! I really hope that previous bad run ins with meatloaf won’t stop you from giving this tasty dish a go. Now my family loves meatloaf. Even my P.O. (picky oldest) will gobble up meatloaf. He is hesitant though at times to try variations on his favorites. He is like his Poppy (my daddy) and he likes what he likes and consistency is key. BUT, Mr. P.O. does fancy a bowl of  spaghetti and  meatballs, so I took a chance and figured he would at least try Italian meatloaf. And try he did. He tried himself a whole plateful. We had some friends over hanging out and I was dawdling on getting supper going and P.O. graces us with his presence and asks at what point would this Italian meatloaf be ready (and the second time his tone was a wee bit snappy. My boy was hangry…a state of being so hungry that one becomes angry. Hangry.) 

So, I moved my friend and my conversation into the kitchen where I could fire up the old stove (well not really that old) and get that meatloaf going. Far be it from me to stand between a preteen boy and his food. I had that sucker made and in the oven in no time and it was a HIT!!! My daughter had a friend over and the child went nuts over this meatloaf. Everyone loved it and wanted more. P.O. even ate the leftovers for supper tonight. Yep. It was that good. I served it with either pasta topped with the leftover marinara sauce or Alfredo sauce. We have two different kinds of palates here and sometimes I indulge both. It is spring break after all. I also picked up loaf of French bread to slice up and serve warmed along side it with a nice green salad. It was perfect and will be made again soon. It really is delicious and worth taking a chance on. 

Let me tell you how to do it. You are gonna blow your family away!! 

Italian meatloaf (adapted from http://www.topcookingguide.ga

Stuff you need~

1 pound lean ground beef 

1/2 pound MILD Italian sausage 

Olive oil 

1 small onion, finely diced 

1/2 chopped bell pepper 

1 teaspoon minced garlic 

1 tablespoon milk

1 egg, slightly beaten 

1 teaspoon Worchestchire sauce 

1/2-1 teaspoon Italian seasoning 

1 teaspoon basil (I used the stuff in the tube) 

2 slices white bread, crumbled (I gave them a few pulses in the food processor instead) 

3/4 Italian breadcrumbs (I used garlic and herb because that’s what I had) 

1 1/2 cups Mozzarella cheese, divided into 1/2 cup and 1 cup (for topping) 

1 cup Marinara sauce (I usually use Newman’s Own but this time Emeril’s caught my eye so I used that) 

What to do with the stuff~

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Sauté onion and bell pepper in some olive oil until tender. Add garlic and sauté another minute or two. Add the your ground beef and Italian sausage to a large mixing bowl. Add in sautéed veggies and other ingredients, except the Marinara sauce.

  

 Reserve one cup of the cheese for topping but add in the rest. Now, roll up your sleeves or use a wooden spoon, but mix it up good until all the ingredients are combined. Don’t be skeered of that meat! Shape the meat into a loaf and add to a loaf pan or a pan of your choice. I use a 9 X 13 glass dish and it works beautifully. 

  

Spread the marinara all over the top of that meatloaf. 

  

 Bake in a preheated oven for 40 minutes. The original recipe called for 50 minutes but mine was done in 40. Adjust accordingly for your oven’s cook time. Add the reserved cheese to the top and bake another 5 minutes or so, until the cheese is bubbling and melted and irresistible. 

  

Allow to cool a few minutes, slice and serve. 

allow me to channel my inner Mr. Food and say “ooh its so good!”

 

Enjoy my friends!!! You don’t have to make a fancy meal that takes tons of time and money to prepare. What matters is serving up something (mostly) homemade and the smiling (usually) faces gathered around the table. Time to talk, come together and nourish our spirits and bodies. That is what we are going for. This recipe can do it for you. Let me know what you think!! 

Chicken fricassee and sweet tomato gravy and a Saturday with great friends

Growing up, we would go to Momou and Grandpa’s for Sunday lunch at least once a month.  And so many times she would fix chicken fricasse, sweet tomato gravy, rice and gravy, potato salad, her macaroni and cheese, petite pois and the ever present brown and serve rolls. When I got older, I was responsible for buttering the rolls before they went in the oven. I always knew when I was called to butter those rolls, lunch was getting close. I can still see the huge bowl of potato salad all gussied up with its sprinkling of Tony’s, sitting there on the white Formica bar right next to the glass pitcher of the BEST sweet tea I have ever had, even to this day. There were so many people packed into that house on those days usually, so many that we had to set up the card table to make room and yet looking back, it never seemed that full. It just seemed homey. 

Now, I will admit that I was not a chicken fricasse fan until I got older. This had a whole lot to do with the fact that when I went to take a peek at was for lunch, there were chicken feet. In the pot. Chicken feet in the pot, ya’ll. I just could not even handle it. You see they had chickens at the time and Momou would just toss the whole bird in the pot. I guess even back then, homey did not play. By homey I mean me.  But by the time I was in high school, she had stopped all that homegrown chicken business and was buying chickens from the store. Sans feet and much more my speed, thank you very much. I am really glad I came around because this meal so something to behold. It is likely on my list of favorites. 



best meal ever



A few weeks ago, our best friends since grad school, Marc and Lolly and  two of their kiddos  came for a visit. My sweet girl turned 10 and they came to celebrate her and also just to visit. It was a good time with excellent company and some pretty excellent food, if I must say so myself. As I have told ya’ll before, Marc is from Eunice and is a dang good cook. Lolly is amazing in the kitchen as well. Anytime we go over there, it is a smorgasbord of food, so when they come here, I like to do it up right. And I think I managed to cook a meal that everyone enjoyed. Momou’s classic fricasse meal pleases another mass of hungry peeps. I cannot wait to see her again and tell her all about it. She took the time a few years ago to write down some requested recipes and I am so glad. It is the easiest recipe to follow and is not hard to make at all. Just like most recipes from the good ole days, this one does not require any exotic ingredients. It’s a feast for your senses and I am telling you, it never disappoints. We followed it up with a red velvet cake for Cookie’s birthday and we were all stuffed to the gills. What a day!!! If every Saturday could be that good, what a wonderful world this would be. It’s a meal to share with beloved friends and family and it is satisfying simplicity at its very finest. 



celebrations are best with our best friends !!!

Using the self timer to take selfies…we are hip and with it! Ha! 



two of our beautiful girls



Now I am including the recipe for sweet tomato gravy because one goes with the other and it is wrong to serve chicken fricasse without sweet tomato gravy. Says me. But of course, it’s not a law or anything so do what you will. If this is your first time to have fricasse then I would absolutely make the sweet tomato gravy as well. You can have the full experience. Go big of go home is what I say. 

Chicken fricasse (French stew) 

Serves about 8 

Stuff you need~

1 fryer, cut up 

About 3/4 jar of Savoie’s roux (1 pint jar)

1 medium onion, chopped 

1/2 bell pepper, chopped 

Ground red pepper,  to taste 

Salt to taste (Momou says NO black pepper in her recipe) 

1/4 cup green onion tops, chopped (or cut with kitchen shears as Mrs. Fern, Marc’s mama, does) 

Chopped parsley (optional) 



da roux!


What to do with the stuff~

Bring about 2 quart of water to a boil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Once boiling, add in roux and stir well until it is completely dissolved.  



let’s get the party started



Add the chopped onion and bell pepper and then lower your fire. Allow this to simmer to low heat for about 1 hour. Add in your chicken once it starts to thicken.



bubbling pot o’ heaven


 Cook until the chicken is good and tender…falling off the bone is more like it). Add in your seasoning to taste.



 Serve over rice, my baby. It’s good. 

Sweet Tomato Gravy

Stuff you need~

1 1/2 cups of water

2 tablespoons Savoie’s roux 

1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce 

Sugar to taste (as Momou says…it takes a good bit)

In a small, heavy bottomed sauce pan, bring water to a boil.  After it comes to a boil, stir in roux. 



the roux ba-bay!

Whisk or stir until it dissolves. Whisk in the tomato sauce. Stir until smooth. 



tomato sauce …what makes sweet tomato gravy what it is!
 

Lower the heat and stir in sugar to taste. Simmer over low heat until mixture thickens a bit. Sweet tomato gravy…fricasse’s best friend. 



Madame Toot and Momou, the fricasse queen



My girl Trisha’s chicken, broccoli and rice casserole and my real family

This casserole is a huge hit around our house. I have always been a fan of the Campbell’s cheesy chicken and rice casserole but to be honest the rice is not always cooked throughout and nothing like biting into a raw piece of rice to mess up your dining experience. Talk about throw someone off. So as I have found more and more new recipes to cook, I have pretty much taken that recipe out of rotation. But still. My heart yearned for that creamy concoction of rice and cheese, chicken and broccoli. And I wanted to try again…but how? Where will find the perfect chicken and rice recipe? Luckily I have an arsenal of fantastic cookbooks to peruse when such conundrums come up. And let’s not forget about Pinterest. Aka my crack. Aka my kryptonite. Enter in my gal pal (in my own mind) Trisha!! I love Trisha Yearwood’s show on Food Network and I love her music in general. She is just a good ole gal from Oklahoma who loves to cook. I bought her first cookbook before she had a show and I loved it. She has had another come out since that I purchased and has another one hitting shelves at the end of March. You best believe I will be getting it too. I may or may not have already preordered it on Amazon. I really love her recipes and how doable they are. I do love a recipe that challenges me, but most days I want a recipe that is pretty straight forward and get some real food on the table to feed my super real family. Because I am a real tired mama who gets real worn out about supper time after the real bickering between kids and the real homework and all the real laundry. Let’s not get me started on all of the real stuff that goes on here there and in between. Trisha is like most of us, she keeps it real. Get it? Good. So this recipe absolutely fit the bill. The rice was perfect because it was precooked. It was the perfect amount of creamy and flavorful. I used rotisserie chicken and frozen broccoli to cut down on how long it took to prep this meal. It’s an all in one meal that your family will likely enjoy. We fought over the leftovers and I am not even kidding. The kids all had at least one helping and my oldest, aka Mr. Picky, really enjoyed it. And I crave this stuff. So glad it’s been a few weeks since I made it so I can make it again very soon. This will be on our monthly rotation without a doubt.

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a really great cookbook

My girl Trisha’s chicken, broccoli and rice casserole

serves 10

stuff you need~

2 cups cooked rice
3 cups cooked chopped broccoli (I used frozen broccoli that I cooked in the microwave)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 (10 ounce) can cream of chicken soup
10 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 cooked chicken breasts (again, I used rotisserie chicken breast meat)

what to do with the stuff~

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9 x 13 inch dish by spraying it with nonstick cooking spray.
Spread the cooked rice all over the bottom of the baking dish…

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Now make a layer with the broccoli on top of the rice layer…

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In a mixing bowl, mix together the mayo, sour cream, lemon juice, soup, half of the cheese, salt and pepper and chicken.

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Spoon this mixture over the top of the broccoli layer…

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Sprinkle remaining shredded cheese all over this and bake for about 40 minutes. Allow to cool about 5 minutes before serving. Dinner is served for real. And your really hungry family will be really grateful, because this casserole is just so good. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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oh so comforting and perfect

My really real family. The struggle is real. The joy is real. Cue the pictures…

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my really silly tween being tweenish

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my really real no makeup (as usual) selfie chillin on the porch of the camp. Really happy me

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my really wild child with a new missing front tooth

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my really sassy 8 year old

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our really cuddly pup Roy aka Roozie aka Boozie aka Von Doozie

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my really handsome fellas going out for a hunt at Bayou LaGrue

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my really proud 6 year old with his first squirrel

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my really beautiful girls

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one of my really most favorite pics

Crockpot week extended because life gets in the way…beef and broccoli and heaven in a crockpot

Another week has flown by and I have not been feeling the whole cooking thing lately. Crockpot, microwave, on the stove or otherwise…not. feeling. it. Shame on me I know, but it is what it is. So I knew I needed to get these crockpot recipes posted. I mean…as it is crockpot week has gone into crockpot month. It’s time. I know it’s time. So this past weekend I decided the week of Thanksgiving was likely the perfect time to trot these crockpot recipes out because who wants to cook a bunch of other meals before taking on the mother of all meals? The beast. So crockpot cooking all week before sounded fine to me. Plus we will all have to pick up the pace in the coming weeks as the holiday madness engulfs us, despite some of our best efforts. So Saturday evening, I set heaven in a crockpot to cook in the crockpot (quite aptly named, I can say that) and took the roast out of the freezer so I could put the beef for the beef and broccoli to cook the next morning.
Well, little did I know how very glad I would be to have done that. I have not seen Momou in a while and I was yearning to see her. Needed to see her face. I was missing her, badly. So Sunday morning, I woke up and decided that was the day I would make the trek to AP to see her. Me and my kiddos. Plus, we would get to stop in Alex. to see my mom and dad. Awesome!!! BD was at Bayou LaGrue chasing after the ever elusive buck for the weekend and it was rainy and nasty, we were stuck inside anyhow…let’s do this! So we did. I left T-Roy in the hands of a good friend and her son…so I knew he would be happy. It was go time. But before leaving, I got that beef simmering away in the crockpot. I am not always a super duper planner…but I was on it that day. It was super easy to throw together. And off to AP we went.
Here’s a few pictures from our Sunday…it’s amazing what all you can get done while the slow cooker cooks supper for you!!

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You can take a ride with a friend

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you can take a nap

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you can visit one of your favorite people

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you can make silly faces

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you can pick pecans with your grandmother

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you can take selfies with your parents

See what I mean…I am 2 hours away and still supper was cooking. Thank you crockpot with a timer!!!

Ok now let’s get down to the brass tacks. The nitty gritty. The bare bones. Enough enough…here comes the recipes!! Both are very delicious and defy the laws of slow cooking. Are there laws? Idk. I thought it sounded good. The point is…they are both really yummy and absolutely worth the little time it takes to toss it all in. Tis the season to be crazy and tis the season to let the slow cooker do all the work!

Slow cooker Beef and broccoli

*I doubled the ingredients for the sauce but I am giving you the original recipe as I found it on http://www.worldsbestrecipes4utoday.blogspot.com

sltuff you need~

1 pound boneless beef chuck roast cut into 1 inch strips (I could not find one that small, so I used a 2 pound roast…not an issue)
1 cup beef broth
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 heads of broccoli cut into florets (more if desired…definitely add 2 heads and if you use a 2 pound roast use 3)
2 tablespoons of cooled sauce from the crockpot
Hot cooked rice

What to do with the stuff~

Toss the beef into your slow cooker. For this I used my 4.5 quart slow cooker. In a large mixing bowl, add the brown sugar, broth, garlic, soy sauce and sesame oil. Whisk together….

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And then pour over the beef. Cook on low for about 6-8 hours, depending on your slow cooker.

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everyone say it with me…set it and forget it!!! Now pack the kids in the car and head to Avoyelles!!

Ok once the beef is good and tender, take a spoon and add some of that liquid to a bowl. Whisk in the cornstarch. Remember if you doubled the sauce ingredient amounts, then double this as well.

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Now pour this mixture back into the slow cooker. Give it a stir. Now, add your broccoli florets to the mix. Cook on low for another 30 minutes. Serve over hot cooked rice. And you are golden.

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might tasty my friends

Heaven in a crockpot (from http://www.recipe-diaries.com

Stuff you need~

1 box brownie mix (regular not family size is what I used)
1 package Betty Crocker chocolate chip cookie mix
4 large eggs
1/2 cup butter (I stick), melted

what to do with the stuff~

Pour all ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Mix until well combined. Pour into a greased slow cooker. For this I used my 3 1/2 quart slow cooker (I think that is the size, either 3 or 3 1/2 quart). Cook for about 3 hours. Mine took 3 1/2 hours. Serve alone or a la mode. Vanilla ice cream. A drizzle of chocolate sauce and a sprinkling of chocolate chips (my oldest’s words exactly…he has a way with words…and has had some awesome schooling in the ELA department). Heaven I tell you. Yes heaven. Makes you make a face that looks like this…

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silly girl

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swoon worthy…or is it spoon worthy?

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 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!!