Pioneer Woman’s Simple Sesame Noodles

So a few weeks ago, it was a cloudy Monday before the kids started school and I was at a loss about what to cook.  I knew I didn’t want to go to the store with all 4 kids in tow and I am trying to get out of the habit of running to the grocery store every day because, well…it is time consuming and expensive.  Part of becoming a more seasoned cook is learning to cook something yummy with what I have on hand.  I needed inspiration and when I need inspiration, I turn to Pinterest or one of my cookbooks, and usually it is one of the PW’s cookbooks.  I also knew I was in the mood for something filling, tasty and utterly beautiful in its simplicity.  Simple sesame noodles fit that bill.  Image

See that bowl of deliciousness? Yeah…I am going to tell you how to make your own.  They are so easy.  

Simple Sesame Noodles 

12 ounces, thin noodles, cooked and drained (you can use rice noodles, linguine, angel hair, vermicelli…I used linguine)

1/4 cup soy sauce (I used reduced sodium)

2 Tablespoons sugar

2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar

3 Tablespoons pure sesame oi

1/2 teaspoon hot chili oil 

4 Tablespoons canola oil 

4 whole green onions, sliced thin

Whisk everything, except for noodles and green onions, together in a bowl.  Adjust the chili oil and sugar according to taste.  

Pour sauce over warm noodles and toss to coat.

Sprinkle those diced green onions all over those deliciously coated noodles and toss. Serve them in a bowl and prepare yourself for bliss.  

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Super easy Peach Cobbler

So as i have said before I married a country boy.  I am not originally a country girl, though I guess at this point I definitely have some country mixed in there with the cajun mama.  Ha ha!! Peach cobbler was never a dessert my mama or my grandmothers cooked often, if ever.  I don’t know why, it was just that way.  So I marry this bonafide country boy and he loves peach cobbler.  What’s a transplanted Cajun mama supposed to do?  Well, dang it, you google easy peach cobbler and take it from there.  A friend had taken me out to Ed Lester’s farm and we split a basket of fresh, ripe, juicy peaches.  They were peach perfection.  Big Daddy peeled those babies for me and sliced them up (that man was ready for that cobbler I tell you) and I set out with my recipe that I googled and hoped for the best.  Well…I got the best.  Sure, I stumbled head first into it by accident, but I found a good one!  Make sure you have some Bluebell Homemade Vanilla Ice cream to serve on top (or some brand…is there another brand? kidding).  Big Daddy was in heaven and I was a proud Cajun mama.  I am working towards earning my country girl cooking badge I think.  

Super Easy Peach Cobbler 

1/2 cup (1 stick ) unsalted butter

1 cup all purpose flour 

2 cups sugar, divided 

1 T. baking powder

a pinch of salt

1 cup milk (I use whole for my baking unless I state otherwise…buttermilk is always great to if you have it on hand)

4 cups fresh peach slices

1 T. lemon juice

ground cinnamon or nutmeg (I used both but it is optional)

Melt butter in a 13 X 9 inch baking dish

Combine flour, 1 cup of the sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Add milk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.  Pour batter over the melted butter, but do not stir.

In a saucepan, bring remaining 1 cup of sugar, the peach slices, and lemon juice to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly.  Pour this mixture over batter and again do not stir.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and or nutmeg, if desired.

Bake at 375 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream.  YUM!!!Image

 

Hamburger vegetable soup (aka school soup)

So…the other day I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and I saw something caught my eye.  Mandi from one of my favorite cooking blogs had posted a picture of Hamburger Vegetable Soup aka School Soup and my mouth watered instantly.  So of course i pinned it and planned on cooking it the very next night.  It was not so much as a conscious choice as it was a compulsion.  An innate need to have THAT very soup cooking in my soup pot.  On my stove.  It had to be done.  Now, with strong feelings like that about a soup one would think that this must have been a favorite soup as a childhood.  Not so much.  l went to a Catholic school until 8th grade and we never had school soup.  Mandi says this was a popular soup among poor schools in the rural communities.  So maybe that’s why.  None the less, I had greatly missed out on such deliciousness until my early 20’s.  When I was in college, I worked at a country day care near Shreveport.  And the owner, Mrs. Liz, would make this soup on a weekly basis.  Those kids from 1-12 LOVED that soup.  And I about died and went to heaven when I tried it.  It certainly became one of my favorites.  At the time, I enjoyed cooking, but not like I do now and I never asked her for the recipe.  She was a precious spit fire of a woman and I wish I had.  Then I saw Mandi’s post and all was right with the world again.  Finally, I could reunite with my soup and introduce it to my husband and kiddos.  So I did.  And we lived happily ever after.  A friend of mine tried it a few days ago and she kept sending me texts about this soup.  Pretty sure she has fallen hard.  Trust me, you will not be disappointed and once the fall really gets here (in November…it will be a valuable go to recipe for us all).

ImageHamburger Vegetable Soup aka School Soup  ( adapted from South Your Mouth blog)

1 lb. lean ground beef (90/10 or better)

1 small onion, diced

good ole salt and pepper to taste

2 cans mixed vegetables (I used Veg-All), undrained

1 can petite diced tomatoes, undrained

1 can water

1 large potato, peeled and cubed
5 beef boullion cubes

1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp. dried thyme

Brown ground beef with onion, salt and pepper in a Dutch oven or soup pot until the beef is cooked through.  Do not drain.  I know this seems wrong, goes against everything you have been taught, but for this recipe, it is necessary.  You need the fat and flavor and since it is lean ground beef, it’s cool.  

Add remaining ingredients and simmer over medium low heat for one hour.  Remove from heat and allow soup to rest  for 30 minutes before serving.  

hulk brownies

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So today was National Chocolate Day (can you hear angels singing? )  and I have decided that it is my favorite holiday.  Other than Christmas and National Coffee Day.  Ha Ha!!  I decided that such an important day had to be commemorated and celebrated appropriately.  What better way to celebrate a day all about chocolate than to make a batch of homemade brownies.  Now not just any ole brownies, no sir.  Hulk brownies.  I do not know where that name came from, I only know that when I saw these on pinterest, it was love at first sight.  I pinned them from a blog called Buns In My Oven.  I don’t know but I like her style and she was dead on about these fantastic brownies.  I strongly suggest you whip up a batch ASAP. You will not be disappointed.  You don’t have to wait for National Chocolate Day to roll around again, there is something to celebrate in every day.  And what better way to celebrate than with brownies?

Ingredients:

1 cup or 2 sticks of butter

2 1/4 cup of sugar

4 large eggs

1 1/4 cup cocoa powder

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking powder

1 T. vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour

2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and butter a 9 x 13 baking dish.

In a small saucepan, melt your butter completely and then add the sugar and continue cooking, never letting the mixture come to a boil.  About 2 minutes on medium heat should do it.

Pour the butter/sugar mixture into a large bowl or bowl of your standing mixer.  Beat in cocoa powder, eggs,  salt, baking powder, and vanilla extract.  Mix until well combined.  Stir in the flour and chocolate chips.

Spread this deliciousness into your prepared baking dish.  Bake at 350 for about  30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out fairly clean  cool and then cut into squares.  shake some powdered sugar onto those babies if you so desire.  And then pour a glass of milk and enjoy!!!!  I bet you will see why this is my favorite brownie recipe…I bet it becomes a hit in your household too.

Chubby cream cheese taquitos with creamy guacamole dipping sauce

Chubby cream cheese taquitos.  I found the recipe on Pinterest and as usual I was possessed with a compulsion to make them immediately.  Unlike most of my “must cook it now” compulsions, I LOVED these things, and have cooked them over and over.  They are so good.  No, really, that description does not do them justice.  They are phenomenal.  Just the mere act of writing about CCCT, as we will call them…maybe not…that sounds like some sort of corporation…makes me want to make them.  NOW.  My mouth is watering.  I had started a blog post a few months ago about them when I first start the blog, but as usual my cooking ADD took me in another direction and I am sure I gave ya’ll another recipe.  Or who knows…maybe one of my kids threatened the other with a duel, or maybe one of them was trying to ride a inner tube down the stairs.  When I say one of them, I usually mean the little one.  My baby.  My thrill seeker.  Heaven help me, the gray hair giver.   Now, my little addition to this recipe is a avocado dipping sauce.  Oh my word this pushes these over the top. Anyway, these things are excellent and totally worth heating up a little grease for.

Chubby Cream Cheese Taquitos (from Key Ingredient)

Ingredients

3 cups shredded cooked chicken (use can use rotisserie or bake some chicken breasts with a little cumin, garlic powder and onion powder which is what I do)

6 ounces of cream cheese, softened  (I use 1/3 less fat)

1/3 cup sour cream

1/2 cup salsa

1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (I used mild)

1 1/2 cups of chopped baby spinach, stems removed

kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste

9-10 (6-inch) flour tortillas (I used the fajita size)

vegetable or canola oil for frying

For dipping sauce you will need:

wholly Guacamole

garlic powder, onion powder to taste

Sour cream

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In the throes of a taquito making frenzy….

Directions:

In a large bowl, mix together the shredded cooked chicken, cream cheese, sour cream, salsa, cheese, and spinach.   Season this mixture to taste with the kosher salt and cracked black pepper.

One tortilla at a time, put 2 good size aka heaping tablespoons of the chicken mixture on the side of the tortilla and then spread out like a log. Roll up and set seam side down on a plate.  Keep doing this until you have used all of the filling and the tortillas are all rolled up.

Pour enough cooking oil into a large skillet to generously cover the bottom.  Heat the grease over over medium heat, cook the tortillas in batches, taking care not to overfill your skillet.  Fry on one side for about 2 minutes or until golden brown and then using a pair of tongs, flip each taquito over.  Do the same thing on the other side.  Once golden brown on both sides, remove from the grease and set on a plate covered with paper towels to drain.

To make dipping sauce, mix a package of wholly guac with about 1/4 cup of sour cream.  Sprinkle in some garlic powder and onion powder to taste.  Whisk it to combine.  Dip away my friends.

You will feel like you are at a Mexican restaurant.  You will want to wear a sombrero and shout Ole!!  You will want to take the plate and some dipping sauce into a closet and eat them all.  They are that good.  But know this is not deemed socially acceptable behavior and I am not suggesting you do this.  But I will say these things are so good you may be willing to lose a friend or two over them.  JS.  Enjoy!!!

BBQ shrimp

So tonight my husband was wanting to BBQ and I was wanting some seafood. So I went to the store and brought back some pork chops and some shrimp (this will happen when you turn a Cajun girl loose in the store…) and here we are with BBQ shrimp. You don’t actually BBQ the shrimp. And there is no BBQ sauce involved. Hence the pork chops. That man wanted to grill something and I knew me calling some BBQed when he didn’t actually get to man the grill would not fly. So the recipe called for something like 4 pounds of shrimp, but with only big daddy and I eating the shrimp (we have one allergic and the others just would rather not) I decided to cut it way down. I will give you that version. You can always double or triple it or so on. I found this recipe on Pinterest and modified it.

1 lb. large (26/30) shrimp, unpeeled
1/2 stick of butter, melted
3 or 4 shakes of Worcestershire sauce
3 or 4 shakes of hot sauce
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 small lemon cut up
Juice of one small lemon
1 tsp. parsley
2 tablespoons of chili sauce
1 tsp. cayenne pepper

Put your shrimp in a foil lined baking dish. Whisk together the remaining ingredients and pour over the shrimp. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Then turn shrimp to make sure the other side is coated. Let them chill in fridge a little longer. As those babies are cooling their jets in that yummy sauce, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Pop your dish full of shrimp into the oven and cook for 10 minutes. Turn the shrimp over and cook 10 more minutes. Let them sit for about 5 or 10 minutes and then serve with some crusty French bread. Yummmm!

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Cajun Mama Red Beans and Rice and clean sheets: A Monday Tradition

Red beans in the crockpot is one of the very first things I learned to cook. My mom was working as a nurse full time and I helped out with the meals. She would call me during the summer and talk me through the process so I could get them on in the morning. In college, I didn’t have a crockpot so I would make red beans own the stove. It just wasn’t the same but I did it. I have always loved red beans and rice but it wasn’t until I was married (I got my big ole red beans crockpot! As I call it) and pregnant with my first child that I developed a deep appreciation (some would call it obsession) with crockpot red beans. And consequently, I craved them throughout all 4 pregnancies. Guess because I was growing some Cajun bebes. 👶 Anyway, the old Cajun saying is red beans and rice and sheet washing on Mondays. I don’t always abide by that but it is definitely a great way to think. I have not researched into where that saying got its start, but I have the theory. My theory is that Mondays generally just stink. Not see if it was always discussed with such disdain as it is now, but pretty sure Mondays have been earning their bad rep since way back when. So what better way to counteract the negative impact of a Monday than with a pot of red beans and some fresh sheets? I am sure there is far more to it, but that is my hunch. I have had some requests for me to post the recipe on my blog so I am honoring the requests.
Updated 6/12/14
When I was growing up, Momou made some pickled sweet peppers and would keep them in this little glass container. My daddy would pour the juice over his red beans. I have her recipe for her peppers and she gave me one of the little containers when I got married but I have not worked up the courage to attempt to make them. I will though. So for now I buy banana pepper rings and they are awesome. If you like a little kick to your beans (authentic kick at that) then banana peppers are amazing!! ~AMB

Cajun Mama Red Beans and Rice 

Ingredients 

1 bag of red beans (I only use Camellia beans)
1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 package of sausage, sliced (I use Eckrich skinless sausage)

Directions

Soak your beans in the crockpot overnight. The next morning drain the water and cover beans with fresh water plus some. Add veggies. Add salt and pepper, at this point use sparingly. You can add more later as necessary.)
Cook for 6 hours on low. After this, add sausage and more salt and pepper if desired. Again use sparingly as sausage will add salt to the flavor. Cook for another hour on low. Season to taste and then serve. Yum! Enjoy!!!

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Red beans and rice…so perfectly simple or simply perfect?

Deb’s pot roast…the last roast recipe you will ever need

So my mother in law and father in law came for a visit this weekend. It was so nice to be with them. They are probably 2 of my most favorite people on Earth. I share no genetic link to them, and yet they treat me like their daughter. They are wonderful grandparents and just fun to be with. Anyway, enough of the mushy love talk…let’s get down to business. My mother in law said she had made one of her roasts this past week and how good it was. She is in fact the wonderful soul who taught me how to cook the roast I had always wanted to cook. This weekend though, she upped her game a little. Told me about a few new additions to her roast recipe and I thought I would share with y’all. I decided on Saturday that a roast would most definitely be on the menu this week. So, I hope I am not being too basic here, but roasts can be tricky. I hope you like this recipe and I promise as I get more of this blogging stuff going on, I will offer more and more recipes and some will be more complex, but being married to a good ole country boy, this is the kind of food I tend to cook more often. So bare with me and please forgive me for not always blogging like I should, it is summer time and my monkeys, I mean kids, are all under foot. Ok so back to the roast…this is what my precious mother in law–Deb the Magnificent 😉 does. It is pretty foolproof and yields fantastic results.

DEB’S CHUCK ROAST

1 3-5 lb. chuck roast
Dales marinade and seasoning
1 packet onion soup mix
Bacon grease (yeah yeah, not healthy, I know…for the purpose of this roast just comply ok? You will be glad you did)
Flour
Salt and pepper
Mushrooms (I used jarred this time because I had some on hand, but she used fresh and I will next time too)
1 cup French fried onions (the last 2 are her new additions that she says made this perfect roast even better and thickens your gravy)

Pour some Dales into a plastic container or a glass bowl that will your roast will fit in. Then put your roast in the dales. Make sure it gets on there real good. And then flip it. Same thing. Then leave it. Let it soak on one side for 15 minutes or so. Then flip it and let it soak on the other side for the same amount of time. Now pour some flour onto a large plate or a dish. Season the flour with salt and pepper. Now dredge the roast, using a big fork or some tongs, in your seasoned flour. Coat it on all sides. Meanwhile, heat some bacon grease over medium low heat (you can use some cooking oil, but Deb says use bacon grease and far be it from me to argue with her) in a large skillet. Brown your roast on all sides until it is nicely browned on all sides. Now transfer that baby into your roasting pan. Cover the roast with the French friend onions. Stir about one cup of water and the onion soup mix. Add some Dales to that. Pour the mixture over the roast. Add your mushrooms. Cover and cook in oven that has been preheated to 350 degrees for about 2 hours. I turn mine after an hour or so to ensure it cooks evenly. Now, it is ready when it is fork tender. Just take your fork and stick it in the roast. If you can turn the fork easily, it is most likely ready. The gravy will be a beautiful rich brown and be so good over rice. (Or mashed potatoes. But I don’t do that since we have potato salad with ours most times). I hope you enjoy it and let me know what you think. 20130617-160706.jpg

I love lemon

My addiction to lemon is something that did not come until I was older. When I was pregnant with my first, I could not get enough lemon. Now, if given a choice between lemon bars or brownies I would absolutely choose the lemon bars.  Zesting a lemon is one of my favorite kitchen tasks because of the wonderful smell. So it is no wonder when I found this recipe on Pinterest and it said baked ricotta with LEMON, chives and garlic I was all over it. Total no brainer. So I have set about my task of zesting and juicing my lemon and operation baked ricotta will be underway and I will let y’all know How it turns out. The recipe came from Recipes from the Kitchn. Back to my lemony happy place now. Ahhhh

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Delicious food that is simple and real.

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