A few things here. It’s been a few months since I have posted a new recipe and for that I am apologetic. I find it hard to believe that anyone cares that much about my blathering and rambling and yet, I feel tremendous guilt when I have been away too long. I call it good ole Catholic guilt but it’s for sure a catch 22. I admit I feel a certain level of responsibility to you all. Though I am well aware no one is basing their entire life or menu on me posting a recipe or not, I consider my readers to be my friends and I do feel responsible for my friends. So since we are friends I will apologize for being so absent lately but I will hope you allow me some grace because you know how deep we can sink into life without even knowing it. And I have been thigh deep in LIFE. Here’s a little glimpse into what we’ve been doing and that’s not the half of it…
This is just the stuff going on that you can see. That I can even verbalize. There have been other things that just come with life. I lost my aunt in April (my cousin Robin’s mom, my mom’s sister) and that was hard.
When I sit down and consider all the things that have happened, it is a little hard to believe some of it actually is real. And I forgive myself for not sitting down to write about a recipe because I have been doing good to get supper on the table.
But here I am, and I am going to give you a recipe that fits the bill for the ultimate comfort dish. No matter the season, no matter the day…this dish aims to please. My friend Amy from my hometown (there are lots of Aimee/Amys from Alex…and I proudly call a bunch of them my friends.) One day she shared this recipe via Facebook and it looked so good I just had to try it. Now I could just share that recipe but I like to write about the recipes that I love on my blog and that in no way makes them my recipes. This recipe can be found here…http://www.plainchicken.com/2014/09/french-onion-chicken-noodle-casserole.html#CEeoggWZZxhI7sqZ.99
It’s a real winner my friends. I think the actual phrase is winner, winner chicken dinner! It is so good. Now I kind of tweaked it a little to make it suit our tastes but it is just the bomb. The stuff as my good friend Lisa is fond of saying. This is the stuff! You make some field peas with it and some warm buttered King’s Hawaiian rolls and you have yourself one heck of a supper. Big Daddy went bananas. He loved it and I did too. It’s one of those dishes you think about and have to make it. It’s that good.
French Onion Chicken Noodle Casserole
Stuff you need~
4 cups cooked chopped chicken
2 cans cream of chicken soup
12 ounces container French Onion Dip
4 ounces sour cream
1 cup cheddar cheese (I used the Kraft triple cheddar with a touch of cream cheese)
12 ounces egg noodles
1 cup crushed French fried onions
What to do with the stuff~
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook your noodles until they are cooked al dente. So they are cooked but not mushy. No one wants that.
Now stir the soup, the dip, the sour cream, your chicken (insert rotisserie chicken here), and cheese.
Now combine this mixture with the cooked noodles. Add all of this to your 9’x 13 dish that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Top with French fried onions. Bake 25-30 minutes.
Most of all, I hope you all enjoy this as much as we did. I want you to know how much I appreciate you continuing to read my posts, for sharing my posts, for commenting and interacting, for waiting for me to come back around. Life is so full of lessons and I am on a journey to learn them. Difficult or not. And man some of them have been difficult here larely. I am grateful to be able to share my journey of faith, hope and good food with all of you. Much love and many good meals to you all.~AMB
And because I just love our dogs…let me share what they have been up to…our pups, Roy and Idaho are a big part of our fam!!
So a while back, I got a bug up my butt that I had to try this dill pickle soup recipe I found on http://www.noblepig.com. I get like that ya’ll. I am not a super adventurous gal (unless you consider living life with 4 kids and this wild man of mine an adventure…then I totally am). But my thrill seeking comes out when I cook. Dill pickle soup? Sounds like it could be really good or really bad. Sure! Let’s try it! Why not? And so I did. I mean I think at one point the site crashed because so many people were checking out the recipe. At least I could not access the recipe for quite a while. I had to know. How can a soup that tastes like dill pickles be good? Plus ya’ll know I love me a good soup. Any day, any time, any weather. Not to mention, ya’ll know where I come from we eat all sorts of stuff, so who am I to judge? People hear me now…this soup is legit. It’s pretty fantastic and worth your time. Unless you don’t like dill pickles. If you don’t, keep on going because this soup could be called cream of pickle soup. But in a good way. I promise. I have had friends ask when in the world I planned to post this recipe on my blog and I have been putting it off. Life has just been so hectic (read normal) and I guess I got lost in it. As I have said before, that is not likely going to get better anytime soon. I just have to adapt to the madness and blog when I can. So I do. But this recipe is worth sharing and kudos to the mastermind at the Noble Pig that came up with this recipe. It is inspired!
Dill pickle soup (it makes a bunch)
Stuff you need~
5 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 3/4 pounds of russet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 cups carrots, cut into a smaller dice
1 cup dill pickle (about 3 large whole dill pickles), chopped into a smaller dice
1/2 unsalted butter
1 cup sour cream
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup water
2 cups pickle juice
1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (depending on how salty your pickle juice is…they can vary apparently so taste and see before you add salt)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
What to do with the stuff~
In a stock pot, combine broth, potatoes, carrots and butter. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender. Add pickles and continue to boil.
In a medium size bowl, stir together flour, sour cream and water, making a paste.
Now vigorously whisk the sour cream paste into the boiling liquid, 2 tablespoons at a time. You will have to whisk somewhat vigorously to get the paste to be incorporated into the liquid. It may break up into some little flour balls and that is ok. They will go away during the cooking process.
Whisk in pickle juice and the seasonings.
Cook another 30 minutes over medium heat and then serve immediately. Garnish with some dill pickle slices if you really need more pickles at this point. Let me know what you think! Is this complete nonsense or totally inspired? I lean toward the latter! Yummy and definitely a break from the norm!
So everywhere I look here lately on social media are recipe videos. They are neat to look at but if you are any kind of a cook, you know very well no recipe is that simple. Pretending it is by making a time lapsed video is not going to make it so. While I appreciate being up with the times and rolling with what is popular, I am mostly all about tried and true. At the end of the day, I want a recipe. Not a video. Real recipes, no matter how simple, require real effort. I suppose what I am saying is that those videos are somewhat of a pet peeve of mine. I am a cook. I do cook. I take it seriously and I also know that most recipes require some effort. It would be lovely for it to be that simplified and my vegetables are chopped with a hit of a fist like one video showed and my spaghetti boiled in 2 seconds. I really hope anyone out there knows that is not happening. BUT, many of those dishes they prepare on those lala land videos look amazing! I will not lie. Mouth watering. So I get the attraction. And this chicken chili did not disappoint!! No sir-y Bob! But it take me longer than 5 minutes to prepare. Ha ha!! My friend Misty is a Norwex distributor and she came to my house to show us the awesomeness that is Norwex. I had a few friends that came and I made a crockpot full of this chili. It was amazingly tasty. No doubt!
If you have any interest in cleaning your home faster and with less product, you can check out Misty’s business page here…http://mistylee.norwex.biz. My favorite products are the envirocloth (you have to see it to believe it!), the window cloth, and the envirowand. Anyway, there is nothing I love more than a fun party, some good friends over and feeding them some delish food!! We had a good time even with just a few of us there. Then again, most times in Cajun Mama’s kitchen are good times, if I say so myself!!
Ok so here’s the super easy crockpot chicken chili recipe. You will love it, your kids will love it, your friends will love it, even if it takes longer than 5 minutes to make. It comes from http://www.12tomatoes.com and they actually had a written recipe conveniently attached, so that’s the best of both worlds!! And I went to look on my phone for pictures of this delish dish and I did not find any! I feel positive I took some but somehow they are not there. So that means I either did not take any (rare) and I am losing my mind OR I took some and they got deleted from my phone. Either explanation is plausible. So I apologize for this rare occurrence but this recipe is worth posting even without pictures. I just know many of my readers are visual people and like some pretty pictures accompanying their recipes. It won’t happen again…until it does. Because I have 4 kids and they get ahold of my phone sometimes and who knows what happens. But luckily the link I gave you has some pictures and a video. Oh the irony…I dislike recipes that come as a video only and I have no pictures. 😂😂😂 I guess Alanis Morisette was right. Isn’t it ironic?
Slow cooker chicken chili
stuff you need~
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 (14 ounce) cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 (14 ounce) can corn, rinsed and drained
1 (14 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained *
1 cup chicken broth
1 red bel pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped (I used 1/2 because I knew kids would be eating it and there was not much heat)
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped (or 1 1/2 teaspoon of the jarred stuff)
3/4 tablespoon cumin
1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
4 ounces, cream cheese
Fresh cilantro for garnish
Crushed Tortilla chips for garnish
Shredded cheese and sour cream, for garnish
* I always ALWAYS get reduced sodium canned beans because the regular have a ton of sodium. Just FYI
What to do with the stuff~
Place chicken breasts in slow cooker. Pour chicken broth over chicken breasts. Add the tomatoes, corn and black beans. Toss the chopped jalapeños, onion, garlic, and red bel pepper on top of this. Sprinkle the cumin, chili powder, oregano, kosher salt and black pepper over the top of this colorful concoction. A picture would be nice here wouldn’t it? Sigh.
Ok cook this on low for 5-6 hours or high for 3-4 hours. As I always say, it depends on your slow cooker. Once the chicken is cooked and tender, remove the chicken from the slow cooker and shred with 2 forks. Place back in slow cooker. Give it all a good stir and then add your cream cheese. Cook for another 20 minutes or so on low. At the end, stir to make sure the cream cheese is evenly distributed.
Add a big heaping scoop to a bowl along with crushed tortilla chips, shredded cheese, cilantro and sour cream. Oh so good!!! You can’t eat a picture anyway. But this…oh yeah my baby, dig in.
Well…The holidays are over now and we have to find a way to go on. Sigh. I love the holidays. The anticipation of it all is what makes me the happiest. Must be the Catholic in me. I love the whole build up of Advent, the build up to the big event and even afterward as we wait for the epiphany. So after it is all said and done…I feel a little let down. Yes, I know that what was supposed to happen has happened. But it’s a little like “blah. Now what?” My sweet Madame toot (9 years old) said it perfectly on Christmas night. “Christmas is over. How can I go on?” I about died laughing because I could so understand how she felt. So now the kids are back in school and life is back to “normal” (lol! As if!) and it’s all about establishing routine. Getting back into our groove. But still…in the humdrum, cold and wet weather, a mama needs a little something to look forward to. A little treat here and there. But after the buffet of gifts and food and indulgence at Christmas…who has money for that? We are all looking to make resolutions, cut corners, get stuff in order, organize…and the list goes on. Well here comes me. And my gang of pals who always know which direction to point me in. I met a new friend recently…well she is married to an old friend and we finally “met.” She is hilarious and apparently knows good things when she sees them. She did marry Wade after all.
Yes this. She was so dead on. Posting a picture on Facebook with a thumbs up sign. Yes Connie. So much yes. I know, I know…this is instant cappuccino. To that I say, maybe…but this is a treat! It’s not expensive and it’s a small what my mom would call…happy. Let’s face it ya’ll…finding little things to break the monotony, help us survive the crazy, brighten up the middle…well those are things to hold on to. A Starbucks coffee a day habit is not in my budget lately. But this…this I can do. On the same note, while at Walmart picking up a report cover for my daughter’s science fair project and my Hills Brothers cappuccino in a tub… I found some super cute Henley’s in a bunch of fun bright colors. Guess what?! These super sassy, won’t break the bank, 3/4 length and feel great on tops, look as cute with yoga pants as they do with jeans or dress pant. Can you say score?! It is truly the little things.
So to get on with the story that is leading to a recipe…I promise. On my mind as I entered Wally World today was what am I gonna make for supper? You know that question. Yesterday I saw this on Facebook and since then I have had bacon on the brain. It made me giggle and want bacon. BACON!!!!
This is what I googled…creamy bacon chicken in the crockpot. And this recipe popped up…http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/slow-cooker-bacon-ranch-chicken-and-pasta/997c0a46-b7d8-481e-8919-5f563b1dde66. I wanted to try it a while back and well…who knows why but I never did make it. But today it is happening. As I wait in carpool to pick up my oldest from middle school before heading to the other school to fetch the other 3…it is cooking away in my little crockpot. Or big red as she has been dubbed. She has a timer and is set for greatness. Chicken bacon ranch pasta. Happening tonight. Making something indulgent for supper that I did not have to slave over is definitely on my list of little things that make a big HAPPY difference in my life.
So to sum it up…things that make me happy…instant cappuccino, colorful versatile shirts, and a good easy creamy pasta recipe. Throw in my soft cozy flannel dachshund sheets on my head and a nice cold snap and this chick is HAPPY! This pasta dish made me oh so happy!!! It is absolutely fantastic. The flavor is simply divine. It is super indulgent, yes. But after all the delicious rich foods we indulged in during Christmas, we cannot send our bodies into shock. A little indulgence here and there is necessary. In my humble pasta loving opinion. You know how some recipes don’t live up to the hype? And like the after holidays let down, you just feel a little empty inside? Yeah this is not like that. I had to force myself to stop eating it. I am hoping the leftovers will be even better since the flavors have had time to blend. We shall see. But for tonight…I am a happy happy girl! The kiddos truly enjoyed it! Victory!
Crockpot Creamy bacon ranch pasta
Stuff you need~
1 pound chicken breasts (about 2)
6 strips of bacon, fried until crispy and crumbled
1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch dressing
1 1/2 teaspoons of minced garlic
1 cup sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup water
8 ounces cooked angel hair (about 1/2 box)
What to do with the stuff~
well if you have not yet, fry your bacon. Bacon good.
Then you want to spray your 4 quart crockpot with cooking spray. Then lay your chicken breasts in the crockpot. Tell them to sit tight. Then combine all ingredients except pasta in a bowl. Mix well.
Then you want to pour this mixture on top of the chicken breasts. Cook on low for 3-4 hours or so. I let mine just turn off and then it was on low until I was ready to add pasta. Also, shred the chicken breasts before adding the pasta. Once pasta is cooked and drained, add it to the delicious sauce in the crockpot and gently stir to combine. Then just serve it warm. My crockpot has a warm button, so I just it on until we were ready to eat, even once I added pasta.
It is Christmas break and I was up at 4:44 a.m. this morning. What in the world?! You ask? I do not even pretend to know my friends. Maybe it’s the barometric pressure or maybe it was the coffee at 3 p.m. yesterday afternoon. I do not claim to know. I just know that I was up at 4:44 this morning. And you know the saying the early bird catches the worm? If there was a worm to be caught, I do suppose I caught it today. I could really be annoyed that I was up so early, and I could be annoyed by the fact that I have several sets of sheets to wash (don’t ask)…but instead I decided to drink another cup of coffee, make a quiche and get the sheets to washing. Because if getting older has taught me anything, it has taught me that being ticked off is not productive (well not always) and trying to go back to sleep once I am up is almost always the wrong thing to do. Not sure where the quiche idea came from, other than I like quiche. A lot. And I had a leftover pie crust in the fridge. No silly, not a homemade pie crust. A leftover pie crust from the box of Pillsbury crusts I had bought. I don’t do homemade pie crusts. But if you do, feel free to make you one! Also, Big Daddy had a great crop of broccoli this year!
So glad he got a green thumb. Because I got the black thumb of death. He gets it from his Pappaw who was growing cabbages the size of my head until he was 90 years old. So there was that. So I googled quiche recipes because I had no bacon, sausage or ham and quiche Lorraine or quiche with ham is what I usually make. And frankly I have eaten so much meat over the past few days, I figured I could do with a good meatless dish. We will call this a meatless Monday recipe. So low and behold, up pops this recipe from http://www.delish.com for broccoli cheddar quiche! Bingo! Oh and not to mention I had a block of Cracker Barrel Vermont sharp white cheddar that was begging to be shredded and put in a yummy quiche! That’s really why I did all of this. To help that amazing cheese fulfill its lifelong dream.(forgive me…I was up too early).
Now for this up too early broccoli cheddar quiche recipe! This tasty dish surely does take the sting out of being up so early!
Up too early broccoli cheddar quiche
Stuff you need~
1 pie crust
1 tablespoon unsalted butter (I just happened to have some but you can use salted butter)
2 cups diced onion (1 medium onion)
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 1/2-2 cups broccoli flowerettes
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
What to do with the stuff~
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Roll your pie crust out into a 9 inch pie plate or a quiche dish. Which I use, because I love quiche. But the 9 inch pie plate works just as well.
Bake the crust until golden brown. About 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven.
While waiting for crust to brown, melt the butter in a skillet. Sauté your diced onion until tender and opaque.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and heavy cream.
Stir the broccoli, cheese, salt, pepper, and sautéed onions into the cream and egg mixture.
Pour this into your golden brown pie crust.
Bake quiche in your preheated oven until the egg mixture is set. Mine took about 45 minutes or so. Allow to cool for 10 minutes or so, make yourself a cup of coffee and shake those up too early blues away! You made a quiche!
Other things I do at 5 in the morning…use an app to turn some pics into paintings…
Well at least I was semi productive!!
I hope you have a blessed day no matter how early your day started!!
It’s been so hectic around here lately. I keep saying it will slow down but it actually seems to be picking up momentum. Like a slow train running. I have said this before in previous posts but I know a major part of being at peace is just accepting the frantic pace and finding time to have as much fun as possible with my family. Spending time together and savoring every moment. So recently some friends of ours moved into their newly built home and wanted to have a house warming party. Chris works with Big Daddy at Farm Bureau and they have become good friends.
Naturally our kids are friends and his wife and I are friends. Everyone who works in that little office in Desoto Parish and their families have become a little family. With Loretta (corn salad Loretta if you recall…read it here…Corn salad recipe) being the wacky aunt everyone adores. But that night of the housewarming get together, I was just not feeling it. I was past tired and careening rapidly towards exhausted and cranky. Over it. But we had committed and I knew we needed to be there…so we went. With my slow cooker full of this warm, bubbling buffalo chicken dip, chopped celery sticks and big bag of Ruffles. Wacky aunt Loretta had lined us all up about what to bring and played the role of party planner. I had said I would bring chips and dip at the time but at the last minute I decided I would bring one of my favorite dips that my sister, Claire, had introduced me to years ago. Yes, this buffalo chicken dip is one of my favorites and it was a big hit that night at Chris and Sarah’s. I ended up being so glad I bucked up and went. That I got over my exhaustion and was able to see past the long week and embrace a Friday night with good friends. See in my exhaustion, I had not counted on lots of laughter, or Kelly (who would be the fun indulgent aunt) bringing us all big ole daquiris (thanks Kelly!), or the hilarious conversation. I had not factored in feeling right at home and being able to just sit on a stool and laugh amongst friends. It’s easy sometimes in the haze of being annoyed and tired to forget the fun stuff.
So it ended up being a fabulous night. And the buffalo chicken dip was enjoyed by all. But not as much as the daquiris, Kell. We always have too much fun together. In fact, Sarah and I have decided it is going to happen more often. Oh and their new house is absolutely gorgeous! In the end, what makes a good time are the people around us. We have that down pat! Buffalo chicken dip
stuff you need~
2 8 ounce blocks of cream cheese (NOT the fat free kind), softened
3/4 cup buffalo sauce (Franks is my favorite kind…)
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1/2 cup chunky bleu cheese dressing
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar
2 cups cooked chicken breast (I use rotisserie chicken)
Your choice of chips or crackers for dipping
Washed and chopped celery sticks
What to do with the stuff~
In a smallish crockpot (think 3.5 quart), add your softened cream cheese.
Next pour your dressings over this.
Then add your essential ingredient…the hot wing sauce.
Just kind of give it a stir.
Sprinkle in half the cheese…so 3/4 cup or do what I do and add half the bag. Go big or go home I always say. That’s the kind I use…that little hint of cream cheese creates a sense of nirvana in this dip. Just an over the top, “yes this dip, just yes” feeling. You know? Now stir in your cut up cooked chicken.
Set it to low and cook for about 2 hours. Lift the lid and give it good stir halfway through. And sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.
It will melt the cheese and it will be buffalo dip perfection. How I love this dip. It’s just fabulous.
So with the holidays coming or for when, you know, LSU plays Bama this weekend, keep this dip recipe on hand. You will want to make it. Don’t forget the daquiris!!
Ok I am so excited to share this recipe with you. It was truly a happy accident for me. I am typically a control freak in most areas and like my ducks In a row in many areas of my life. Cooking is no different. I am not sure if I am this way because it is a necessity for me to have 4 kids and run a house in a semi functional way. Ok mildly functional…I’m not gonna lie. Or maybe I have always been this way. That is probably the most likely scenario. I like things a certain way, I like to be prepared, I like to know what is going to happen in advance. I would say also if I am looking at Alfred Adler’s birth order theory, I am the oldest and I have many of the traits that Adler associates with oldest children. So there you go…this is what happens when a therapist turns into a food blogger. Love love love me some counseling theories. If you want to read up on this topic a little or are just curious, here is a good one to check out…
It says specifically oldest children are often perfectionists and can be exacting. Errr…me and me. That’s ok. I embrace it. It works well for me most of the time, but being exacting and a perfectionist is not often helpful to me when I need to be experimental in the kitchen. Improvisation is not my thing usually…mama likes a recipe to follow, dang it!!! That’s what makes the fact that this recipe happened at all a true delight. One night we had a busy schedule on the books (running meet, neighborhood association annual meeting, 4 kids worth of homework and big daddy had a life insurance appointment. Busy!) and I was trying to figure out what to feed my crew. Sweet baby Jesus what’s an overwhelmed mama to do?! So I was pondering as I tuned my bickering children in the backseat on the drive home from school. What’s for dinner? I had bought a package of Tyson’s frozen grilled sliced chicken breasts and had not used them yet.
I started thinking what ingredients I had on hand. Something came to me….Cajun chicken pasta! Maybe I could find a recipe that called for what I had. That sounded so good. My sister had turned me on to Chili’s Cajun chicken pasta years ago but that was not in the budget or schedule. I googled it and found a recipe that called for ingredients I had. Well mostly. I was missing a few things and it was not exact. Usually that bothers me but that night I embraced it! I used what I had and did not give two hoots about exact. And the outcome was so very very delicious. Added bonus…those frozen grilled chicken slices worked well and this dish came together in a flash. Everyone loved it and I have made it twice since then. I am going to give you the recipe I used here, but you can of course check out the original recipe here http://allrecipes.com/recipe/8778/cajun-chicken-pasta/. That first night I did not have grated Parmesan cheese, I only had what my kiddos call shaky cheese or that Kraft stuff in the green canister. It was even better then than the next time when I had the actual freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Just saying….something to be said for improvising! I double the sauce recipe…when you taste it you will see why. It’s just so good. 3 cheers for happy accidents!! Enjoy! Remember I double the sauce recipe so that’s 2 cups whipping cream and double the seasoning…but that’s just me. I love a good sauce. Mmmm
Did you know that today is back to the future day?! Yep, that day that was on the time machine in the movie….OCTOBER 21, 2015. When I saw this on the news and realized what was up, my very tired mind was effectively blown. We are in the future. The future, according to the movie, is now!
How bizarre. My kids have seen the first movie and all loved it. It was wild for them to get a taste of 80’s life and see what things were like at that time. Aka the olden days when their mom and dad were young. Sigh. But for this whole back to the future day to come and blow my mind…it’s cause for a celebration. It’s not every day we get to be in the future!! This little clip here will get you in the mood to relive the 80’s and head back to the future. (Sounds crazy!)
I love to share some 80’s culture with my kiddos. When my sweet ADB chose this as her Halloween costume, I was beyond thrilled!
So we definitely bring some 80’s flair with us wherever we go. We watch The Goldberg’s every Wednesday night. 80’s on 8 in the car, yes! Until they get enough and ask to hear some T. Swift. And I cannot complain since her newest album, eh em, I mean CD, very much gives a nod to the 80’s. It is called 1989. Music to this mama of tweens and preteens ears!! Bliss!!
So to say that today is something to celebrate even just a bit in this house is a bit of an understatement. But truth is, and ya’ll know it, I look for stuff to celebrate. Big Daddy loves fajitas and here lately whenever I ask what he wants for supper, he says fajitas at home. We have figured out how to make some really awesome homemade fajitas on the grill but on a night when I want to get homework and baths done so we can indulge in family movie night, that seems like too much work. Or maybe because I have had sick kids at home for a week and I am tired. Either way…crockpot fajitas seemed like a nice compromise. Let’s just say I picked a crock pot recipe as a throw back to the 80’s. I didn’t, but let’s pretend I am that clever.
So I bought some wholly guacamole and sour cream to make these just right. My oldest, BHB, is home from school for one last day after a bout with walking pneumonia and he insisted I serve rice and beans as the perfect sides to these fajitas. Happy to see him getting his appetite back, so I gladly obliged.
Speaking of getting his appetite back…
So crockpot fajitas, rice and beans it is!!! I found the recipe I used can be found here…Slow cooker fajita recipe . My fajitas are cooking now, so no final pic yet. I can smell them as I type and man they smell terrific. I cannot wait! So let’s get to it so you can enjoy some too! In the present or the future…or will it be in the past now?
Slow cooker fajitas
Stuff you need~
2 cans Rotel (original recipe called for 1 14 1/2 ounce can diced tomatoes with green chiles…I read it wrong..so I improvised with 2 cans of Rotel)
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 onion, sliced
1 red, orange and yellow bell pepper sliced julienne style
4 cloves minced garlic (2 teaspoons of the jarred minced garlic)
2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon coriander (I did not have any so I omitted)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (or the bottled stuff…we are in the future…do your thing)
1 tablespoon honey
What to do with the stuff~
Pour one can of Rotel into the slow cooker. Next layer half of the sliced bell peppers and onion. Add the garlic to the mix too.
Now add your chicken breasts on top of this.
Combine all those precious spices into a small bowl,
and then sprinkle half over one side of the chicken breasts.
Now flip those chicken bosoms over and sprinkle the rest of the spice mixture over the other side. Toss the rest of the sliced onions and bell peppers on top of the bosoms. (My friend Kylie always called chicken breasts chicken bosoms and it makes me giggle. )
Cook on low for for 6-8 hour or high for 3-4 hours. Cook until chicken is cooked through and veggies are tender. Now if you want to be able to slice the chicken breasts, err on the side of cooking them a shorter amount of time. This is according to original recipe poster. You can shred the chicken too. Just be aware that at a certain loon the chicken is too tender to slice and shredding is only option. I cannot imagine that’s a bad thing. Anywho, remove chicken breasts from slow cooker and slice or shred. Ladle out 1 cup of liquid and discard. In a bowl, whisk together lime juice and honey. Return the chicken to the slow cooker and pour the luscious honey lime concoction over the veggie Chicken mixture. Give it a gentle stir and season to taste if you think it needs it. Serve in warmed tortillas topped with the fixins of your choosing. Fa-ji-tas!!! From the slow Cooker. Ah the future is indeed NOW!
Now to get some Pepsi to drink with our meal. Ah I miss the 80’s!!!
It seems lately that life has taken on a frantic pace that since becoming a mom I SWORE I would never allow for my family. It’s amazing how innocent new motherhood can be, but that’s a story for another day. Back then, looking at my sweet baby boy’s face, I said I would never allow myself to lose focus on what really matters. Togetherness, family, downtime, blocking the rest of the world out. Yeah, yeah, I know it’s important to teach my kids to let the world in and to be a big part of their community, but I want to make sure they always remember what really counts at the end of the day. For instance, I agreed this year to be the ptsa president for my son’s middle school. I am really enjoying it now that the ball is rolling (shhh don’t tell anyone) but I have to be very careful to not let it take over what I hold dear to me. My family, togetherness, you know the drill. My kids are more involved than they ever have been and that’s to be expected now that they are all getting older. So mostly the weekdays belong to everyone else. Or it feels that way. It’s a crazy, frenetic pace that exhausts me by Thursday evening. It is hustle and bustle and go go go. And I don’t even have a job outside the home. So come Friday evening I am ready for DOWNTIME!!! The weekends belong to our family!!! It looks like this…
My kids running around PLAYING without time limits.
Big Daddy watering his garden while I drink wine on the back porch. No mention of homework, no uniform washing (well I still do that because Monday comes too fast and I am slightly neurotic about laundry but the point is I don’t have to wash uniforms if I don’t want to. There’s joy in that).
I get to sit down and do all of this I want…
Now that’s a relaxing Friday. I went to bed at 8:55 last night. It was that relaxing. Last week was absolutely crazy but the bad thing is that almost every since school started has been that way. I worry this is going to become our norm. After holding on to peace and family time for so long, I am not going to succumb to it. I am willing to let the weekdays be a little wild. But the weekends for the most part, belong to us. Cut to I have been up since 5, the guys are hunting (it’s youth hunt weekend) and the girls are sleeping in (God bless the weekend!). So I am in the process of taking back our weekend. That means making one of my favorite soup recipes and one of Big Daddy’s favorite childhood treats…Mrs. Sandra’s banana bars. I absolutely believe good ole comfort food is a vital part of keeping our weekends sacred. Well, I’m Cajun, I actually believe good food is a vital part of everything. Nonetheless, soup and a sweet (and lots of coffee) go a long way in making our weekends something special. A respit from all of the hustle and bustle of the week, an safe harbor in a sea of madness. No really.
So now for a little back story on these recipes I am sharing. This chicken and rice soup is a Pioneer Woman recipe. It is to die for. I think the first time I made it one of my kids was sick and I was overcome with a sense of motherly domesticity and found this recipe via Google. I always love PW’s recipes and this was a big hit! I am excited to share it with those of you who might not have found it yet. She does apologize in her post for using chicken bouillon cubes and yellow food coloring, so read her post if you want to get the full effect. http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/simple-hearty-chicken-rice-soup-itll-keep-ya-honest/ As for me, I offer no apologies for such transgressions. None. The soup is fantastic and if bouillon cubes and food coloring are the worst of my offenses, then God bless. But trust me, they are not. If the guilt from my bouillon and food coloring use gets too heavy, I will just go confess to Father Mark and say some Hail Marys. This soup is abso-flipping-lutely mouthwatering and full of flavor. It’s one of our favorites. It makes your kitchen smell like heaven.
PW’s chicken and rice soup
Stuff you need~
2 chicken breasts with bone in and skin on (the bone and fat are necessary to make the chicken stock…those two things make it extra fantastic!)
8 chicken boullion cubes
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
1/4 diced pimentos (from a jar)
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 cup cooked rice
6 tablespoons butter, divided
4 tablespoons flour
Few drops of Yellow food coloring
What to do with the stuff~
First of all, go one and get your your rice cooking either on the stovetop or in the rice cooker.
Wash your chicken breasts and cover them with about 2 quarts of water, give or take a little. Drop in those boullion cubes.
Bring to a slow boil and then reduce heat and allow chicken to cook for about 20 minutes or so. When cooked through, remove chicken from water and set aside. Keep the lovely chicken stock that you made boiling those chicken breasts at a low slow simmer on the stove.
Now dice up your veggies. Now we will make a little roux. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a skillet. Whisk in the 4 tablespoons of flour and stir until thickened. Pour this into your barely simmering chicken stock.
Now melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet. (I just wash the skillet I just used and use it again) Add your diced veggies to the melted butter.
Cook until tender and then add the chopped up chicken. Mmmmmm
Give it all a good stir and then add to the simmering stock that is quickly turning into a bonefied soup.
Now, you are in the homestretch. Almost there. Get ready. You are going to add the cooked rice to the soup.
Yes yes yes. Now you have oh so savory chicken and rice soup. Perfect if you have a sick person to nurse back to health (this plus essential oils can work wonders to heal a sick body). This soup is a wonderful dish to cook if your spirits are waning and you are taking respite from the world. Either way, you are golden. Now for the final touch…yep, the yellow food coloring. This is really not necessary but to preserve the authenticity of PW’s recipe, I follow her instructions.
Let this all simmer a bit longer, maybe 20 minutes to let it all blend and mingle. And then you have this…
Now for the banana bars!!!
Now these banana bars are the bomb. Big Daddy lived in Broussard/Youngsville for a long while when his daddy ran the co-op there. Of course his mama, Mrs. Dianne, was a. social butterfly and lovely lady, so she made some good friends where ever they lived. In Broussard, Mrs. Sandra, Mrs. Linda, and Mrs. Peggy were her top gals. They all had kids (a bunch of boys mostly) and they hung out like a posse. Of course they are all fabulous cooks and swapped recipes. Mrs. Sandra made these banana bars that made Big Daddy swoon. I heard about them from the time we started dating until she finally gave me the recipe a few years later. Back then, I had no idea what a jelly roll pan was so I used a 9 x 13 inch pan. BD said they were a little thicker than he remembered but they were good anyway. So if you do not have a jelly roll pan, don’t fret!!! It’s the weekend and we don’t worry on the weekend! If you want to buy one, here is a link …Chicago Metallic Non-Stick True Jelly Roll Pan, 15 by 10-Inch https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003YKGRVO/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_SEqgwbY3FK75S. If you have Amazon prime, 2 days and you will be all set! I picked up one at Walmart and it worked great. The dimensions you are looking for in a true jelly roll pan are 10x 15 x 1.
I love that even though BD’s mom is no longer with us, I can still make one of his favorite childhood treats for him. That’s the power of good friend…they keep you alive in many ways. ❤️ That’s also the power in recipes and passing them on.
Stuff you need~
For the bars~
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
2 cups of flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract *
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
*I do use vanilla extract but a new favorite of mine is vanilla bean paste, which you use exactly like extract. It tastes so pure and full of that vanilla perfection. I order it from amazon. I heart Amazon if you cannot tell. Just my two cents on a product that I love.
for the Icing~
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
3-4 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 tablespoons (or more) for thinning the icing
For the bars:
Preheat oven to 350. Grease your jelly roll pan.
In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your standing mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, sour cream and eggs. Blend in the bananas and vanilla. In a smaller bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add this to the other mixture and stir until just combined. Pour into your prepared jelly roll pan.
Now bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown. And the kitchen smells like Christmas. No really…Christmas.
While that is baking, get your icing ready.
For the icing~
Melt butter in a large saucepan and let it brown just a bit. Just until it is a lovely light brown color. Not dark!! It takes a minute or 2. Stir in a cup of powdered sugar at a time. Add more as needed. I only use about 3 cups. Now stir in Vanilla. Add your milk to make the icing the consistency you want. You want thicker than a glaze but thinner than a frosting.
Now once your bars are out of the oven, pour the luscious icing over the “cake” and ice it.
Then you get…
And everyone shouts hooray!!!!! Banana bars…my man’s favorite and they are gaining popularity!
Now we all just wait for another weekend to roll around! God save the weekend!! Hope everyone has a great week.
I am a big believer that God brings people into your life for a reason. Not everyone is meant to stay forever but some are. And that’s when it gets good. As most of you know, I am a Shreveport transplant and when I arrived on the scene in North Lousiana, I knew no one but Big Daddy, his brother, and his daddy. That’s all. One of the first people I met was Leia. She was about 16 and I was about 19. We met in passing one day and that was it for a while. In fact, the first time I met her as a matter of fact, I was pretty sure she did not like me much. Remember, I was an outsider. Somehow though, as time went on, Leia took me under wing and made me her friend and the rest as they say is history. Well, not really…a couple of things have occurred between now and then. Couple of weddings (I was in her’s, she was in mine), some graduations, jobs, couple of babies, life…we have stuck together through it all. I lived with Leia, who I call Ned and she calls me Ned (don’t ask) one summer and we loved to cook in the tiny little kitchen of her first house. Big Daddy was working out town that summer, and at the time I missed him terribly, but looking back, I am so glad to have had that time with her. She was expecting her first baby at the time and that baby is now a college student. That tells you how far back we go. If there is anyone on this a Earth I don’t ever question, it is Leia. She is always in my corner and I am pretty sure she knows I have her back no matter what she is up against. She is a tough cookie and I am just glad to have her on my team. I would not want her as an enemy. She is part sweet southern belle mixed with fierce badass and it equals one amazing friend. Sister knows how to take care of business. Need someone to plan one heck of bachelorette party? She’s your girl. There’s no end to the power of Ned and those who are lucky enough to have her in their lives would do well to remember that. There is no end to the power of Ned.
Now this crawfish pie recipe…it’s pretty special. And delicious. I had never had crawfish pie before I tried this one, so of course, it was love at first bite. Even though it is a Cajun delicacy, the recipe could not be easier to prepare. As I made it the other night, I giggled to myself how much I have learned in the kitchen since those days. I was probably 20 at the time, and I had no idea about white pepper or if there was a difference between white and black pepper. Nor did I bother looking for white pepper at the store. I probably thought it was a typo. Now, of course lessons have been learned in and out and the kitchen and I have a jar of white pepper in my seasonings cabinet. Ned and I have learned some other lessons as well. Lessons like…life can be hard, but it’s a lot easier when you have a good friend always there. And that some people are always loyal, even if you don’t talk to them everyday. Some friendships begin and don’t ever end. Thank God. Love you Ned, thanks for the crawfish pie recipe and for all the love and loyalty.
Stuff you need~
1/2 stick of butter
1 pound crawfish tails
2 pie crusts
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1/2 bell pepper, chopped fine
2 stalks celery, chopped fine
1 can cream of mushroom soup
8 ounce tomato sauce
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup milk
1/2 cup white wine
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme
What to do with the stuff~
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a large skillet or sauté pan. Sauté onions, bell peppers, and celery in melted butter until they are tender. At some point before the veggies are tender, sprinkle in the salt, pepper, red pepper, white pepper and thyme. This way the seasonings can get in there and really make their mark and have plenty of time to infuse the filling with their delightful spiciness. Yes I wrote that…delightful spiciness.
Next stir in your cream of mushroom soup.
Add the tomato sauce and give it a good stir
Next, stir in the crawfish tails and white wine. All together…mmmm. Just. So. Delicious. Add the milk, beaten egg* and the breadcrumbs. Either make your own in a food processor with some white bread or use plain breadcrumbs. I only had garlic and herb breadcrumbs this time and I found it threw the flavor off. Still good but not as good as I remembered. So next time, plain breadcrumbs it is. Stir them in and let the mixture simmer over low heat.
Stir the mixture frequently as it is simmers. Now, take one of the pie crusts and lay it in the bottom of your pie plate. Prick it a few times with a fork and pop that baby in the oven for a few minutes. You just want to slightly brown the bottom pie crust. Now, feel free to be a real show off and make your own pie crusts. If that is your fortay, rock on with your bad self. As for me and my house, we will use store bought pie crusts. I own it. If someone wants to offer to come give Cajun mama a pie crusts baking lesson, let me know. As I have mentioned before, I am baking challenged. I can do it, but homemade pie crusts are not something I aspire to.
Finally, pull that prebaked bottom pie crust from the oven. Now pour that savory filling into the pie plate until it is piled high. Yum!!! Cover the filling with your second pie crust and pinch to sort of seal it around the pie plate. Yes! Crawfish pie! You made that! Work it! Hold on now, you got to put it back in the oven to brown your top crust. Here is my crawfish pie before I popped it in the oven.
Bake it for about 40 minutes until your pie is golden brown and your kitchen smells like the most heavenly Cajun restaurant you can imagine. Let the pie sit for about 30 minutes before serving. Serve along side a nice green salad or potato salad. Or both if you are Cajun! Here is my potato salad post if you want to check it out Potato Salad with almost everything, paquing eggs and things Cajuns do | cajunmamacookin’s Blog