Tag Archives: butter

Garlic roasted chicken legs and veggies and my cousin Robin

I have been so blessed to have so many wonderful cooks in my life. BD always says the women in my family could cook a boot and make it taste good. My Momee always made the most simple things taste delicious. I have given y’all her cornbread dressing recipe…probably one of my favorite foods ever…link to recipe is here https://cajunmamacookinblog.com/2013/11/24/momees-cornbread-dressing/. She was the hardest working, strongest woman I have ever known, always had a bit of old Hollywood glamour about her even in the worst of times, and could cook like nobodies’ business. My daughter Aubrey has always reminded me of her. She loves baubles, hats and fancy dresses…just like Momee. Aubrey is fascinated with Princess Kate, and I know that has to be genetic. She has a flair just like Momee. That makes me so happy. Another wonderful thing that came from her is my relationship with my cousin Robin. She is about 2 years older than me and was one of those cousins who was more like a sister growing up. Definitely a good friend of mine. We ended up living together during college at Northwestern, a time I wouldn’t trade for all the money in the world. She has always been able to make me laugh harder than almost anyone. We were in each other’s weddings and she is very special to me. We share the same middle name (Marie) just like our moms do. She has always been there. Even now, I know she is just a call or text away.

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we always had so much fun together. Popee is playing his guitar, Momee is clapping and singing, we are dancing. We danced a lot. Circa 1979ish

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at my bridal shower, 2001.

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Robin and I with our daughters, Ava (her’s) and Kayla Ann (mine) at my sister Jenny’s bridal shower, 2005

So these days we mostly communicate via text and I am so glad for that. She probably isn’t because I text her whenever I hear Billy Squier’s The Stroke. Yes. Because we always danced to that song in Momee’s red room (I told y’all she was fancy…the rooms in her house each had a distinct color). She laughs at my elephant like memory and we laugh at the memories we share. She is the one friend I do not remember my life without. She has always been there. So yesterday I had an envie for Momee’s chicken and potatoes. I did not grow up in Marksville, though we were there a lot, but Robin did. So naturally she spent more time at Momee’s house than I did. So I thought she might remember how Momee made this dish. I texted her and sure enough, she had a few ideas. And every year at Thanksgiving, she will inevitably text or call or Facebook me a question about Momee’s cornbread dressing. It’s amazing how recipes can keep us connected that way. I am certainly glad for every tie I have to her. I am certainly blessed to have her presence in my life. She is still one of the funniest people I know and I can laugh just thinking about things we used to do. Even through texts she cracks me up. So between her tips and a random recipe I found, I managed to recreate Momee’s chicken and potatoes to some extent. It was delicious. And I think y’all will love it. I made a few changes, but managed to still get that awesome taste that brought me back to the good ole days in Broulliette, sitting at one of Momee’s picnic tables under the carport on a Saturday with Robin, eating this deliciously simple meal. I hope y’all enjoy this too.~AMB

Garlic roasted chicken and veggies

serves 6

Stuff you need~

1/2 stick of butter
10 chicken legs (you can use boneless thighs too)
6 red potatoes, cut into chunks
10 brussel sprouts, bottom cut off and then halved
2 carrots, peeled and then cut into pieces
10 or so cloves of garlic, (I used a big garlic pod and separated it out) peeled and then kind of smashed to release the flavor (under a knife turned sideways works well…it just flattens somewhat)
Olive oil for drizzling
Kosher salt and black pepper
Garlic powder

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chunks o’ potatoes

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big garlic pod

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separated into cloves

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mmmm melted butter soaking up that garlicky goodness

What to do with the stuff~

Preheat the oven to 350. Melt the butter in a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Momee always used a big silver pan to make hers’…that I remember. Throw peeled garlic cloves in the butter and kind of work those garlic cloves into the butter. Just give it a good toss. Now, place your chicken legs or pieces in the butter. Neither one of us could remember if Momee used legs or thighs but ended up thinking that she used both, either and probably whatever she had as she was resourceful and practical that way. God bless Beulah Mae. ūüôā
Ok now toss the veggies in there. Now sprinkle generously with salt, pepper and garlic powder. That is one thing Robin remembered…Momee used lots of garlic powder and pepper. Using your hands or a spoon if you must, work the chicken and veggies into all that seasoning and buttery garlic goodness. Sprinkle again with seasoning and toss around again to ensure everything gets seasoned well. They become a happy family. There you go. Next I gave it all a nice drizzle of olive oil and popped it in the oven. The smell is amazing as it cooks. I cooked this for about 40 minutes on the middle rack and it was perfect! Crispy, seasoned perfection. Momee would be proud of us cousin!

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we are never far apart. Thank God for technology.

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Momee would be proud I do believe!

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this picture always makes me laugh. She is so silly.

Momou’s mac and cheese

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Momou with my precious first born…the woman loves her grands and great grands…

If you have been following Cajun Mama Cooks for a while on facebook or have known me any amount of time, you know about the entity that is Momou’s Mac and Cheese. ¬†My kids knew about this stuff as soon as they could eat solid food. ¬†My babies all love it and ask for it on a monthly if not weekly basis. ¬†This is the epitome of comfort food. ¬†Nothing else comes close. ¬†If you know me at all, you know all about Momou. Momou is my dad’s mom. ¬†Her name is Narcille and I am not sure there is anyone on this Earth whom I adore as much as her. ¬†I share a birth month with her. ¬†Our birthdays are 5 days apart and I love my birthday, but I love that we share that even more. ¬†She is one fine lady and I love her so much. ¬†My husband loves her so much. ¬†My kids love her so much. ¬†Everyone who knows Narcille, or Nar, or Nice as my grandfather called her, loves her. ¬†I again am beyond blessed to be able to call that woman my grandmother. ¬†And can she cook. ¬†Boy can she ever!! ¬†And loved to do it. ¬†She made this macaroni ¬†and cheese for almost every occasion and just regular old Sunday dinner. You knew when she had the pyrex dish out and she had some of those luxury noodles boiling, you were about to be in for a treat. ¬†When I first got married, Momou, my Nana, Aunt Lee and my mom came to my house and they taught me how to cook Momou’s mac and cheese. ¬†That is one of my fondest memories as a grown up. ¬†I cherish that night always and on cold days when I feel uprooted and out of place, that memory gives me comfort like a warm blanket. ¬†This mac and cheese has spanned generations and now has been made famous in my own kids’ minds. ¬†They know the story behind it and that it belongs to Momou. ¬†They have not been a part of many of dinners at Momou’s because since they have been born, she has slowed down some and now lives in a nursing home. ¬†But they know. ¬†I love that when I cook this macaroni and cheese, they talk about their Momou and what they love about her. ¬†It shows me that even if they have not eaten this dish at her house, per say, they associate this wonderful dish with the wonderful woman who has passed it down to us. ¬†That is what matters most to me. ¬†I have been reluctant to share this recipe because it is very special to my family. ¬†But, after soul searching, I know that Momou would be so glad for me to share it. ¬†She is above all things, a giving, loving person who wants to make others happy. ¬†So I will share. ¬†This is truly love in a 9 x 13 dish. ¬†It is a perfect partner for a pork or beef roast and rice and gravy, an excellent side for turkey and dressing, and a delicious accompaniment to chicken fricassee. ¬†I have never made it for anyone who did not love this stuff and ask if I would be serving it the next time they came to dinner. ¬†I have had several people ask for this recipe and if you are one of them…here you go!! Now, the noodles…as far as I am concerned, these are the only noodles to make Momou’s mac and cheese with. ¬†You can of course make it with any noodle, but I refuse. ¬†I don’t care to change this recipe up one bit. ¬†It is perfect as it is. ¬†Just like Momou. ¬†You don’t mess with something this wonderful. ¬†Well, I don’t. ¬†I have the most luck finding these noodles at our local target. ¬†They are Luxury brand long macaroni noodles. ¬†I have found them at some Wal-Marts. ¬†When I do find them, I buy at least 5 packages of them at a time. ¬†Just a suggestion. ¬†Because you should always be ready to whip up some Momou’s mac and cheese.

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This a package of those noodles..if you find them…buy several packages. ¬†Trust me.

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Love in a 9 x 13 dish I tell you…

Momou’s Mac and Cheese

Ingredients

1 16 oz. box of Velveeta

1 stick of butter

1 can of Pet Milk or evaporated milk

1 package Luxury long macaroni noodles

1/2 cup of sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Get your 9 x 13 dish out.  No need to grease it.

Bring about 8 cups of  salted water to a boil in a large stock pot or pasta pot.  Add your long macaroni noodles to the boiling water.  I break my noodles in half before adding them to the boiling water because it makes it easier for my kids to handle it, but it does cut down on the slurpability (is that a word?) that you get when the noodle is long.  Ah decisions.  Boil the noodles until they are tender.  These noodles take a little longer to boil because they are so long and thick.  If you prefer your pasta al dente, then by all means, pull them sooner.  Drain your pasta.  Now, just leave it long enough to drain because I have found (because Aunt Lee and Momou taught me) that this is easier if the noodles are still warm.  That helps everything to combine and melts the cheese and butter.  Ok, pour your boiled noodles into your 9 x 13 dish.

Now, you are going to cut your stick of butter into “pats” (that’s how Momou would say it…cut the butter into pats, my Doo :)) ¬†Take a stirring spoon and don’t stir, but sort of push the noodles around to let the butter circulate and make friends with the noodles. ¬†Ha ha! ¬†Ok, now, Cher, you are going to add chunks of Velveeta to the noodles and butter. ¬†Do the same thing. ¬†Don’t stir, but push the noodles around gently and let the Velveeta chunks come to the party. ¬†Introduce them to the noodles and butter. Next, you are going to sprinkle some sugar ALLLLL over the noodles. ¬†Gently push that around to let the sugar get up in there. ¬†Now you will open your PET milk by poking a big hole on each side. ¬†I suppose you can open the whole can with a can opener, but we have never done that. ¬†It makes it easier to pour it slowly over the noodles. ¬†I use one of those bottle opener thingies. ¬†It has a point edge on one side and I poke it into the can. ¬†Do ya’ll know what I am talking about? ¬†I don’t know the technical term, so excuse my lack of formality. ¬†Though at this point, I hope most of ya’ll are aware that formalities are not my thang. ¬†ūüôā ¬†Ok, slowly pour the PET milk over the noodles. ¬†I use the whole can. ¬†Gently push that around and let the noodles and all the other ingredients spend some time together. ¬†Now…take a tasting spoon and get a taste of the milk. ¬†If it tastes sweet, but not too sweet with a hint of butter and cheese, it is perfect. ¬†Just add sugar to your taste. ¬†It is supposed to be sweet. ¬†That’s what makes it special!

Cover the pan with foil ¬†and put it ¬†in your preheated oven. ¬†Cook for about 30 minutes and then check it. ¬†Remove foil and using a spoon, gently stir the noodles. ¬†You want there to be some “juice” left. ¬†Be careful not to let the noodles dry out because they will also dry up some once you take the dish out of the oven. ¬†Usually about 30 minutes does it for me. ¬†All of the cheese should be melted, but if not, giving it a good stir will help with that. ¬†The milk mixture should be thicker than it was and clinging to the noodles. ¬†If it is still runny, put the foil back on and bake it for another 5 or 10 minutes.

Now, I really hope I have done this recipe justice. ¬†If you have questions or need something clarified, please ask questions. ¬†Don’t be afraid. ¬†As I have been typing, my 5 year old aka the bull in a china shop has been asking to make goo repeatedly and I have been distracted. ¬†So, let’s be honest, I make mistakes. ¬†I hope you will give this truly wonderful mac and cheese recipe a try. ¬†Just please call it Momou’s mac and cheese and when someone says “who is Momou?” you can tell them all about her. ¬†She is one special lady! ¬† I have given ya’ll 3 very special recipes for you to make for Thanksgiving or whenever you choose. ¬†Since my kiddos are off for Thanksgiving and I have some cooking and baking to do, I am going to sign off for the next few days. ¬†I want to spend some time with my family and friends. ¬†I really hope you all savor every moment of your Thanksgiving celebrations to the fullest. ¬†See you all next week with a fresh batch of delicious recipes! ¬†Enjoy!! ~AMB¬†

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Can of PET milk…regular ole evaporated milk…but where I am from, all evaporated

milk is referred to as PET milk.  I love that.

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Getting into the spirit of things at the Polar Express  

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Gobble till you wobble…cutest little turkey I know¬†

 

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my friends!!!