Category Archives: Weeknight wonder

Super easy crockpot Skillet steak and gravy and the upside to being iced in 

I am really bad about cooking according to my whims. If there is such a thing as cooking add, I have it.  A recipe looks so good one day I decide it must be made then life gets in the way and the next day I am over it. Into the freezer goes the meat I had bought and hopefully the ingredients I bought are nonperishable. As bad as that seems, there is an upside to it. When you have been iced in and going to the store is not a good idea but you know the tiny people who live with you (and one big one) will be asking for dinner by days’ end…you get concerned. Unless of course you have the frozen remnants of a cooking add fit and you realize you still have that skillet steak in the freezer you never made. And because you never have an empty pantry (thank you God) you are pretty sure you have the other basic ingredients in there. It pays off sometimes to be me.  A little flighty, easily distracted and like to be prepared. So last night when I realized the kids would be home another day, I thought oh my I best get my game face on. We already had pancakes and cheesy eggs this week and I am not certain it’s cool to do that twice in a row. So big daddy brings up this skillet steak that had been there a while and I conceded that it was time to cook it. So we took it out to thaw and this morning it was on. That’s the up side to not being able to run to the store. It needs to happen sometimes. And it’s nice to be reminded of how much I already have.  We, I have enough.  I found the recipe I had saved on Pinterest and I set to work. It could not be easier and I have sampled it already…it tastes so good. And better still, the house smells so fantastic when you walk in from that icy cold air and step inside. Yum. So if you can get to the store today and get the stuff you don’t have…there is still time. It cooks so fast. Another bonus is that this is not an expensive recipe to make. I bought skillet steak because it was on sale but you can buy cubed steak. Whatever works. Throw in a veggie and a starch and voila…a hearty supper that is easy on the wallet and will warm your family from their head to their toes. 

Here are a few pictures of our wintry mix days at home…



yook mama an icicle


little ice in the hair



its an ice day!!

sister has some ice goggles


BD’s creation…buck dynasty

channeling her inner Elsa

Crockpot skillet steak and gravy

Stuff you need~

1 family pack of cubed steak or skillet steak 

1 can cream of mushroom 

1 can golden mushroom 

1 pack beefy onion soup mix 

1/2 cup water 

What to do with the stuff~

Cut your meat in to serving size portions. Mine was already like that but just in case. Place meat on the bottom of your slow cooker. Layer if necessary. In a medium size whisk together the soups and soup mix and water. Pour this over the meat. Cook on low for about 6 hours depending on your crockpot. Done. 



looks pretty good, doesn’t it?


even Roy enjoyed the ice



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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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Chicken and cabbage stir fry and the family that gets sick together…drives each other crazy

So we have been sick in the cajun mama household. Looking around, I know it could be so much worse, but I will straight up say, 4 sick kids and a sick mama es no bueno. My youngest started running fever on Christmas Day and it just sort of spiraled from there. We fell like neatly placed dominoes. Christmas 2015…the Christmas of the fonk. But truthfully it was so much more than that. Even in the hazy eyes of the after illness, in my cough syrup induced haze, I know it’s not all that bad. And bad moments don’t make a bad life. Having some time together (albeit time where everyone is coughing and a little cranky) has not been so bad. There has been some cabin fever, lots of eye rolling, some “get out of my face!” And “mama he Is coughing on me!!” But we have also had lots of family time to take naps…

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Dress the dog up in scarves…

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Play games…and pose for selfies…

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Have group discussions…

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Choreograph dances…

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And get lots of puppy kisses…

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So all in all, we have been pretty lucky. We have all been together and we have laughed a lot. I can honestly say one thing that has not happened a lot is cooking. Whatever we had left us with little appetite. It’s been lots of cereal and sandwiches around here. But the other day, my best friend posted a link to a recipe for cabbage and chicken stir fry and I had to make it. Nearly everyone in our family loves cabbage and it is super cheap, so that makes it a great option! The recipe came from http://www.pomanmeals.com and I really like this blog. This cabbage and chicken stir fry was absolutely lip smacking de-licious! Now, I kind of added a few things and I will give you the recipe the way I made it, but I wanted to make sure ya’ll got the original website, because I must always give credit where credit is due. If you love cabbage and you love stir fry, try this recipe. I am telling you…you will be so happy you did. I ate it for breakfast this morning ya’ll. It’s that good!!

Cabbage and chicken stir fry

Stuff you need~

2 tablespoons canola oil
3 chicken breasts, cut up into cubes
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 head of cabbage, cut up into chunks
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 large onion, cut into large chunks
1 carrot, peeled and cut diagonally into large chunks
Chicken stock
Cornstarch OR Tony’s instant roux*

*If you don’t have this stuff…get some! My daddy swears by it at the camp and BD came home after a stay at the camp and said “must have this stuff! Your daddy loves it!!”

What to do with the stuff~

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken to the warmed up oil. Now sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper. Just let the chicken brown on one side. don’t disturb it for a few minutes. This gives it that nice stir fried effect. After one side is done, I flipped it with a spatula and Cooked the other side. I did not mess with it much.

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Ok, now you may need to work in batches as to not overfill the skillet. The chicken cooks quickly So it’s not a big deal. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside.

Next add the butter to your skillet. Let it melt. Toss in the garlic, the carrots and onion. Let them cook a few minutes, and then add in the cabbage. Don’t stir much so the cabbage stays crisp and does not turn to mush. Using a spoon and spatula I kind of tossed the cabbage around, making sure it all gets in that butter. Just cook for about 5-10 minutes as cabbage becomes tender crisp. You can add a little salt and pepper here as well. Be judicious with your salt addition though (I am sensitive to salty flavors and don’t use a bunch so maybe you need or like more. Do your thing. You are your own boss!)
Next, I removed the veggies from the pot. I just placed them in a bowl and set aside. I added in my chicken stock. Now what I used was Knorr concentrated stock. I keep this stuff on hand all the time. I diluted with a cup of water. Let it come to a boil and then sprinkle in about 1 tablespoon of Tony’s instant roux. Cook over medium high heat and whisk well. Let the sauce cook down for a few minutes or until it is thickened up some. Add veggies and chicken to this yummy sauce. Serve over hot cooked brown or white rice. Plum larapin’ as my daddy would say.

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as delicious as I imagined it would be

Since this is New Year’s Eve, I want to take a moment, on my last post of 2014, to say I wish you and yours an abundance of blessings in the coming year. I look forward to sharing plenty of tales from the trenches and the kitchen. So much inspiration for tastier food and an abundant life, right where we are. No need to go to a restaurant to eat good every night. We can keep it simple, keep it real and eat good (and for less!!) at home. Not every night because that is no fun (and completely unrealistic) but more often than not. There are so many recipes for us to share…so enjoy your New Year’s Eve and I will see ya’ll back here sooner than later in cajun mama’s kitchen for some more inspiration. Thank you for reading along and letting me be a part of your life and for being a part of mine. More of that in 2015 please. Happy new year.

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

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?

Slow cooker chicken potpie stew…the madness continues

Ever have those days where you just feel disgruntled, annoyed, bothered by the slightest thing? Yeah that’s me today. And I am not even sure why. I am blessed. I wake up each day knowing this. I try to have an attitude of gratitude and a positive outlook but somedays I just feel…Blah. Ugh. Yuck. My youngest started crying in the car on the way to school saying that his stomach hurt. Let me add that he was up in the middle of the night saying the same thing. But he is a mediocre sleeper at best unless he is our bed, so let’s not get all alarmed here. We have struggled with this issue since he was a baby and I try my best to take it in stride. This is not me seeking sleep training advice because I would likely not take it. I have tried. BD has his opinions on it, my in laws have their opinions on it, my friends have their opinions on it…I guess we will do what we are doing until we do something else. Yeah I know…logical right? And then the puppy had his own sleep issues last night and I was just keyed up in general despite being exhausted. Anyway, back to today. He cries all the way to school, much to the annoyance of his siblings…and me. He is not a complainer usually. So I believed his tummy hurt but at the same time he is a kid and kids can be manipulative when they want to get their way. I am annoyed at the prospect of him staying home. I want some time to be alone and get stuff done. I admit it. It’s purely selfish on my part. Sometimes being a mom and a wife and pet owner and the other roles I love and chose gets to be too much. I admit this. So here I am, faced with this screaming child after a night of less than great sleep and I just felt…defeated. So we pull up at carpool drop off. The big kids get out in the back. Then I drive up to the front to let Goose out and hopefully Pappy. Goose gets out. He acts like he is going to get out and then comes up to the front of the van and just lays his head on my shoulder and cries. What do you do? The faculty that helps kids out are all like family and they come check on him. No. He is not having it. So I pull up to get out of the way. And I give myself a reality check. “What’s it gonna hurt if he misses a day of school? He is in 1st grade. Life has gone by way too fast as it is and somedays I start to miss the days gone by. When it was he and I running errands and he took naps and life was simple. I am not one to long for days gone by much because well it does no good and also I know in my heart that life has to move forward. So today, I gave in. Against my better judgement and knowing how badly I needed some quiet, I gave in. Because I know from experience it will not always be this easy to allow him to miss, school gets harder and the stakes are higher the older they get. So today, despite the exhaustion and frustration, the downsides to being a harried, frazzled, overwhelmed mom, I am in this moment. It looks sort of like this…
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it’s a hot mess over here

So one thing that brings me hope and allows me to feel less frazzled is knowing that my lovely crockpot aka Big Red will be cooking supper for me tonight. That way I can wash the peed on sheets, clean up the doggy accident, and the other array of cleaning jobs that need to be done around here and my family will get fed tonight. I have been wanting to make this chicken potpie stew for the longest time. The only thing that has stopped me is that my kids love the Bisquick potpie and I hardly vary. Here is the recipe in case you are interested..https://cajunmamacookinblog.com/2014/03/28/bisquick-chicken-potpie/. My oldest, is particularly set in his ways, has been resistant to me trying this recipe BUT we took them to a fundraiser at Cane’s last night for their school and the deal was if I took them last night, he would try the potpie stew tonight. So the day has come!!! It
Is cooking away happily right now, making the house smell so warm and homey. I will let ya’ll know the final verdict tomorrow and post a pic, but for now I will post the recipe. I found the recipe on http://www.allrecipes.com. After reading the comments, I took a few culinary liberties and made a few changes. We shall see. But the veggies are a part of the package and it is served over good ole buttermilk biscuits. I fail to see how this can go wrong.

Slow cooker chicken potpie stew

Stuff you need~

3 chicken beasts, cubed up
2 (10 1/2 ounce) cans of cream of chicken soup
2 (10 1/2 ounce) cans of cream of celery soup
2 chicken bouillon cubes
3 carrots, sliced and then quartered
1 cup diced celery
8-10 small cubed red potatoes
1/2-1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 (10 ounce) packages frozen mixed vegetables
Black pepper (optional)

What to do with the stuff

Add soups, bouillon cubes, carrots, potatoes, celery, cubed chicken and garlic powder to the slow cooker. Stir to combine. Cook on low for approximately 5 hours. Stir in frozen veggies and cook about another hour. Serve over freshly baked buttermilk biscuits. I am using the frozen Grands biscuits but you can use the canned ones as well. Or bake your own…if you are that good and have the time. Lol! I am not that good. Enjoy!!

Update–this was absolutely delicious!!! It was a hit at our house!!

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Crazy Crockpot Week in Cajun mama’s kitchen…the grocery list!!!

So lately everything has been upside down, inside out, crazy, nuts, like living in the wonka factory…and frankly I am just done. Worn out. Slap worn out. Stick a fork in me, I’m done. But you know…with a hubby with a constant on the go job, 4 kids in school, 3 pets (one of them a new puppy), and everything else…I cannot ever be done even if I wanted to. Ya’ll know what I mean. And lately, the drudgery of life has gotten to me. Maybe it was losing my precious Toby or maybe it’s all the rushing I am doing, trying to fit it all in and make everyone happy…but I just feel so…Blah. I am assuming at least a few of you out there get what I mean? I need some inspiration. I need some time. I need some rest. I need some peace. I need less laundry, more reading a good book. Less time in the kitchen, more time chilling with the fam. I know every woman (and man) knows just what I mean. I need life to stop being so freaking busy and hard!!! How realistic is that though? I am nothing if not realistic and I am pretty sure life is not going to get easier or more calm. So I must adapt. I must pull up my big girl panties, pour a cup of coffee and get it done. So in my effort to find some me time (and you some you time) and still try to adequately meet the needs of my family (they do have to eat…), I decided it was high time for a crazy crockpot week in my kitchen. And maybe yours too. I like to think of cajun mama readers as a group, a team…so many of ya’ll are just like me, and I consider you friends, and I want to help you too. We can all benefit from less stress in the kitchen, right? (All together now!!) RIGHT!!! So here is the plan. I am posting the shopping list broken down by recipe. I don’t assume everyone will be into trying all 5 recipes so you can pick and choose. The idea though is to bring out our slow cookers, crockpots whatever and make life a little easier on ourselves. I scoured Pinterest for some really tasty and different slow cooker recipes that would offer a little variety for everyone. I am making one recipe each day. You can do it along with me or you can mix it up. I will post a recipe and then after it’s done, I will take pics and our opinion on it. I want to share first the list of stuff you need for the week, in case you want to buy the stuff and then start cooking!

Beef ribs in the crockpot

3 pounds beef ribs
Sherry cooking wine
Worcestershire sauce
Barbecue sauce

Chicken potpie stew
16 ounce package frozen mixed vegetables
1 pound chicken breasts
2 can cream of chicken
One chicken bullion cube
Can of Grands biscuits
Red potatoes

Beef and broccoli

1 pound chuck roast (I could not find one that small…I bought a 2 pound one and will either double the meat or cut in half and freeze the rest)
Cornstarch
Sesame oil
Head of Broccoli
Beef consommé
Garlic
Brown sugar
Soy sauce
Rice

steak and gravy

Family pack of cubed steak
1 can golden mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken and mushroom
1 packet onion soup mix (I am using beefy mushroom)

slow cooker lasagna soup

1 pound ground chuck
1 box hamburger helper lasagna
Mozzarella cheese
1 cup frozen corn
1 can diced tomatoes with basil, oregano and garlic

heaven in a crockpot

1 package Betty Crocker brownie mix
1 pouch Betty Crocker chocolate chip cookie mix
4 eggs
Vanilla ice cream (optional)

There you have it! So get to the store and get your stuff and be ready for a little me/you/free time. It’s crazy crockpot week ya’ll and the livin is easy (easier I should say…easy is over…sigh.)

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Mom’s creamy chicken broccoli and rice casserole

I suppose after the craziness and overwhelming nature of the past few weeks, it is possible I have been in need of some comfort. A bunch of comfort to be honest. I have found it in prayer, hugs from my kids and Big Daddy, and long talks with friends. Sometimes though, there is nothing like a comforting casserole straight from the oven, piping hot covered with ooey gooey melty cheese. Of course Pinterest is full of such concoctions and it can be hard to separate the hype from the truth. Well y’all, this casserole is the real deal. No hype. It is so fantastically creamy and just perfect. I made it yesterday for lunch and my oh my, I was a happy girl. Now, I am all about delicious, but when a casserole combines super foods like broccoli and mushrooms and convenience items like frozen broccoli and rotisserie chicken, that makes it tops in my (cook) book. I would make a few changes the next time I make it, like, more broccoli and less mushrooms and cut the mushrooms up smaller but that’s a matter of personal preference. Another beautiful thing about this recipe is that it is lightened up version that is so tasty and creamy that you will never even miss what might be left out. Delicious!!! Obviously, I loved it and I hope y’all do too! ~AMB

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a bowl of comfort

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T-Roy lays on my feet as I cook. Comforting for both of us I suppose

Mom’s broccoli and chicken casserole

serves 8

stuff you need~

1 (12 ounce) package frozen broccoli (Next find I am doubling this)
2 packages of pre-sliced mushrooms (I will use just one next time and slice them up smaller)
1 small onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cup milk (I used a mixture of half and half and 2 % milk and it was creamy perfection)
About 3 cups of rotisserie chicken breast, chopped up (I just used all the breast meat)
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (I used 2% Fage)
1/4 cup mayo
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar

what to do with the stuff~

Cook your broccoli according to package directions.
In a oven safe skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add in diced onion and mushrooms, cook until mushrooms are browned and liquid has cooked out.
Sprinkle the flour over the mushroom mixture. Stir for about 1 minute. Pour in the milk. Bring to a boil and cook for about 3 minutes or until the mixture is creamy and thickens somewhat. Stir in the chopped chicken and broccoli. Remove from heat. Stir in mayo and Greek yogurt and shredded Parmesan. Season to taste. Sprinkle with shredded cheddar. Place under broiler until cheese is melted. I crushed up about 10 Ritz crackers and sprinkled the crumbs all over the casserole for some added crunch. You could also added slivered almonds on top for some added texture.

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full of good stuff and topped with melted cheese…yes please!

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oh the comfort a good casserole and a sweet puppy can bring

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happy sigh

Mexican lasagna and moving forward

The past week seems like it has gone by so fast and so slow at the same time. It’s a little crazy when that happens. We lost our beloved dachshund, Toby, very suddenly and tragically last Thursday night. It’s something that truly rocked our world and made time just stop for a moment. Last week was a whirlwind of activity and then boom!! It’s like the world just stopped. We are coping with his death through lots of prayer and leaning on the amazing support network of family and friends we have. As a matter of fact, though I would give nearly anything for my sweet boy to still be here with us, having a chance to feel the outpouring of love and support we have felt during the past few days has been a good thing that came out of it. Helping 4 kiddos cope with such a sudden loss has been challenging and frankly, exhausting. But we are making it day by day. Just today the girls and I took a road trip with Angie and Caroline to pick up a 10 week old Doxie that I found at http://www.kajunkennels.com after a friend suggested them to us. I was really on the fence about getting a new baby so quickly but thanks to so much encouragement and support from friends, we decided it would be the best thing to help our family to heal and move on in a joyful way. Happiness is a choice and I believe that. Choosing to pick up and move forward in the face of tragedy was a choice and I hope my kids take that lesson with them into their lives. We cannot replace our precious Toby but because during his all too brief time on this earth he did such an amazing job of bringing laughter and joy into our family that when he passed, it created a huge void that I knew we could not live with for long. So we chose not to. I want to believe Toby would want us to be happy and is smiling down on us knowing how much we loved him and knowing we have so much to love to give another Doxie. That brings me great comfort to tell my kids that and I hope it comforts them some. So RIP sweet Toby and I pray you are running and chasing the squirrels in heaven. You are dearly missed. ~AMB

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my sweet boy. God rest his soul.

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the sweet spirit we welcomed today. Roy Pierre…Roy is Momou’s maiden name and a reminder of the strong German people I come from. I pray we have many years together

So y’all will excuse me as I had to tell that story so that I could move forward. It was necessary and I hope that you understand. I had to acknowledge the pain so that I could be authentic and true to myself, which is for me, the most important part of being able to tell my stories. The good with the bad and the happy with the sad. I wish it was all happy all the time but I would be Lying to you and me if that is all I wrote about and I would be doing us all a great injustice as that is just not realistic. If you are looking for moonbeams and unicorns and rainbows, this is likely not the blog for you. Now…to get to the part you all came here for (let’s be honest ha ha!!)…Mexican lasagna. 1) yum 2) super easy. Back in high school, I had a good friend (still a friend now) named Deah. Her mom made this amazing dish that is a lot like this recipe. I had been seeing different tortilla lasagna and Mexican lasagna recipes on Facebook and Pinterest but they all seemed too fussy and complicated. No thank you very much. I wanted something straightforward, simple, and super tasty that I could tell y’all how to throw together quickly after a soccer game, or t ball game, staff meeting, or heck just in the midst of life in general chaos. That’s how it tends to be in our household. So with a puppy squealing, little girls fighting over said squealing puppy and waiting for BD and the boys to return from Arkansas muzzleloader hunting…I pieced this together. You totally can too! We all tore it up as BD says. It was so good and I think I managed to accomplish what I set out to do.

Mexican lasagna

Serves about 8

Stuff you need~

-1 pound lean ground beef
-1 small onion, diced
-1 package taco seasoning mix
-1 can red enchilada sauce (I love old El Paso brand)
-1 can traditional refried beans
-12 fajita size flour tortillas (I use the Mission Bell soft and fluffy kind…we like them the best)
-2 cups assorted shredded cheeses (you can use Mexican blend, or Colby Jack…I used a mixture of queso blanco which Velveeta sells pre-shredded now, cheddar, and Monterey Jack)
-Sliced black olives, sliced green onions and sour cream for serving (optional)

What to do with the stuff~

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a baking dish by spraying with cooking oil. Brown ground beef in large skillet and throw in diced onion during the last 5 minutes or so of cooking. Drain if necessary. Stir in the taco seasoning packet and cook according to package directions. Set aside. Layer 6 of the tortillas in the baking dish, overlapping as necessary.
The tortillas will go up the side of the baking dish and that’s ok. Now spread 1/2 of the can of refried beans over the tortillas. Pour 1/2 of the can of red enchilada sauce over the beans as evenly as possible. Next sprinkle one half of seasoned ground beef over the sauce. Sprinkle a cup of the shredded cheese over this. Repeat all over again, starting with tortillas layered exact same way and ending with cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes or until cheese is all bubbly. Let cool for 5 minutes or so. Cut into squares and serve. Garnish as desired with a dollop of sour cream, sliced black olives and green onions.

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muy delicioso

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my position as I typed this post…so sweet

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my girls and Caroline after getting RPB home yesterday afternoon. Love those smiling faces. #puppiesbringpeace