Tag Archives: Cajun Mama Cooks

Round here these days…a round up of two Cajun recipes and life in the fast lane!

Well life has been really busy on my home front. Back in May I took a long term substitute teaching position at my kids’ school and life has gotten busier than I can imagine. On top of that, between 2 middle schoolers and 2 elementary school kids, their student council business, horseback riding lessons, football practice, cheer practice and tumbling lessons, I feel like a chicken running around with its head cut off. We’ve celebrated 4 birthdays, went back to school, took on an LSU game, on and on! It has been WILD!!

I am loving these little 1st graders I have had the blessing of teaching for the past few weeks though and I definitely feel like they have taught me so much. So we are taking a little road trip and my baby was studying some Louisiana history and one of the questions was “foods Louisiana is known for…?” Of course one of those was jambalaya! And that prompted him to ask when I’d make Mrs. Donna’s again. And then ask when I would make Mammaw Dianne’s crawfish étouffée again. It’s kind of like “if you give a mouse a cookie…” cajun style. If you give a Cajun kid jambalaya, he will probably ask for crawfish etouffé! So of course, this Cajun mama said “next week baby. I promise. I’ll make both!!” I’ve been doing the ketogenic diet for the past 3 months and I’ve lost over 40 pounds (and I feel amazing!!) so my jambalaya and étouffée has been non existent but I’m due a cheat meal soon and that sounds just right! So I thought to myself, I know my readers love both of those recipes and that would be so good to have the links to them both in one handy post. And for my new readers who might have missed those…that would be really fun! And useful! So it’s not a new recipe but it is a place where that fantastic jambalaya recipe and that amazing étouffée recipe can exist together in Cajun harmony. Just add some garlic bread and a green salad and oh mop tit (ma petite to my new readers. My Momee said ma petite all the time but it sounded like mop tit to my sisters and I and that’s what we thought it was until she corrected us one day! Lol!!) However you say it, whoever you make those recipes for…it will be divine!!!

Here is the link for the crawfish étouffée…

Dianne’s Quick and Easy Crawfish Étouffée | cajunmamacookin’s Blog

https://cajunmamacookinblog.com/2014/03/16/diannes-quick-and-easy-crawfish-etouffee/

Here the link for THE jambalaya

Donna’s simply divine jambalaya and have circus, will travel  | cajunmamacookin’s Blog

https://cajunmamacookinblog.com/2017/06/04/donnas-simply-divine-jambalaya-and-have-circus-will-travel/

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 Cherry 🍒 fluff and my happy place 

Ok so my mother in law, Deb, is a native of DeWitt, Arkansas. I am pretty sure before Big Daddy and I started dating, I’d never been to Arkansas, much less DeWitt. So it’s pretty funny for me to say the words “Dewitt is my favorite place on Earth.” Well, it likely rivals Perdido Key, Florida as my favorite place, but it is right up there at the top of my list. She and my father in law, Scott, run a hunting lodge, Bayou LaGrue. I’ve likely told y’all this before, but maybe you missed that so I’m saying it again. So technically Bayou LaGrue is one of my 2 favorite places on Earth. We love coming here. Last night when we arrived, Deb aka Granny had prepared a ham, fried potatoes, corn and peas with some rolls. My kids oohed and Aahed like they had not eaten in years. I could not blame them…everything tastes better at the camp! We all agreed on this. Forget Disney, for Cajun mama and family, Bayou LaGrue is the happiest place on Earth! 

Pappy’s favorite thing to do is catch fish in the pond

Now that I’ve been around for over two decades, Deb aka Granny sometimes gives me carte blanche in the lodge kitchen. Only sometimes though. Cajun Mama or not, that’s her lodge kitchen and she is the queen of it. I’ve been wanting to make Mr. Scott some of my mom’s dirty rice, so before coming up I grabbed the stuff I knew they would not carry in the Piggly or Kroger in DeWitt (it’s pretty small) and then I saw this recipe on Facebook and decided to make this “cherry fluff” while I was at it, here is original recipe link. Mr. Scott LOVES ambrosia and this dessert seemed like a pretty good fit. And I told Deb I would be commandeering the kitchen. She allowed it. This time.  Haha! 
Anyhow, I made up batch of this cherry fluff aka unicorn fluff and I cannot wait to get his take on it. My Madame toot (10 year old girly girl with a love of all things unicorn) said given its pink color, it’s fluffy texture, and that it has marshmallows in it, should be dubbed “Unicorn Fluff” so unicorn fluff it is!! This recipe is super simple to throw together and it is different than your regular cakes or pies, so it’s a fun, unexpected treat. Also, given that it is 9000 degrees outside anywhere in the South, this dessert is NO BAKE, possibly making it the perfect summer dessert! Can I get a whoop whoop?!! 

La ingredients


Unicorn Fluff 🦄/Cherry Fluff 🍒 

Stuff you need~

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk 

1 (8 ounce) container Cool Whip

1 (20 ounce) can of crushed pineapple, very well drained  

1 (21 ounce) can cherry pie filling 

2 cups mini marshmallows 

1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened works)

1/2 cup chopped pecans 

What to do with the stuff~

Combine the Cool Whip, cherry pie filling, crushed pineapple in a large mixing bowl.


 Stir in marshmallows, pecans, and shredded coconut.


  Now, cover and pop in fridge. Let chill until ready to enjoy! It will thicken up as it chills. Be sure to take in the lovely pink hue of this sweet concoction sure to add a bright dose of color to your next meal!! Madame Toot would insist on this! 


I hope you enjoy this luscious pink dessert in your happy place! 

This is a luscious dessert!
Papa and Madame Toot at BLL

God bless America and this wedge salad dip!

Happy Independence Day to all my Cajun mama peeps!! 🇱🇷💥 is Hope this posts finds all of you enjoying this day with family, friends and friends who are like family. We are waiting on some of those friends who are like family to get here to begin our 4th of July celebration but we might have started a little early! So I know several of y’all are wanting this recipe and I figured I’d try to bang out a post real quick while we waited on them! This wedge salad dip caught my eye a few weeks ago and I’ve been waiting for a chance to make it. It’s super duper easy to put together and that is the best thing of all. Besides the taste. Because the taste is just fantastic. Like fireworks in your mouth! How fitting!! So here we go! Thanks to Lemon Tree Dwelling for this recipe! Link to original recipe here

Wedge salad dip 

Stuff you need~

1 ranch seasoning packet 

1 8 ounce block cream cheese 

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup cooked, crumbled bacon

Romaine lettuce, chopped tomato, and chopped green onion (green parts only) 

Crumbled blue cheese (about 1/4 cup but you can use as much as your little heart desires!! It’s a free country! 😉)  

Ready?

What to do with the stuff~

Mix together the ranch seasoning with cream cheese and sour cream. 


Now you spread that in a pie plate. I used a shallow quiche dish. Sprinkle your chopped romaine, diced tomatoes, green onions all over the dip mixture.

Now sprinkle crumbled crispy bacon all over this. Now take your crumbled blue cheese and sprinkle it on top. That is it!!! God bless America and this completely delicious dip! 

It is as good as it looks!
My babies and Roy all decked out in their red, white and blue! 🇱🇷🇱🇷

Donna’s simply divine jambalaya and have circus, will travel 

So Big Daddy worked at Farm Bureau for 14 years and over that time we made some really good friends. We’d take trips with the company and we would get to see those friends about once or twice a year. Well, Lloyd retired from Farm Bureau a few years ago and Big Daddy has moved on, so that leaves little opportunity for those bi-yearly visits. He and LLoyd text and talk pretty often and Donna and I keep in touch via Facebook, but sometimes little face to face is the best thing. But with 4 kids, 2 dogs, their grandkids and traveling, work…it was a daunting task to make it happen. But somehow we managed. It’s a miracle!! It’s so easy to say there is no time. It’s so easy after a long week to give in to just staying home and just talk about visiting friends. That’s one thing about Big Daddy…he is not all talk. He is a doer. When he sets his head to something, it’s happening. So we scheduled it, packed up on Friday and headed South. All 4 kids and the 2 dogs in tow in the mini van. Virtually our own little traveling circus! 

This little Cajun pup loves a good road trip!

So very glad we went through the trouble. Donna and Lloyd were so welcoming and gave the kids the run of the place.  They had some other friends from Raceland visiting, Anne and Alphonse, and they talked French and cut up and my kids had a ball. They picked blueberries from their many blueberry bushes, they fed the chickens and my baby got to pick up the freshly laid eggs.  We went shopping at the local Dirtcheap store. And as when visiting any Cajun friends, you can almost bet you will eat something delicious. And boy did we. She made a jambalaya so good and put it together so fast, I just knew I had to have the recipe. 


So Donna shared with me that this is her version of her brother in law, Don’s, award winning jambalaya recipe. He makes it for cook offs, different benefits and such…the point is this jambalaya feeds a crowd and people love it!! I have had numerous friends and readers ask me for my jambalaya recipe and until now I did not really have one. Jambalaya is not something I grew up eating very often. So I really hope you all will enjoy Donna’s truly fantastic (and easy) jambalaya as much as we enjoyed our visit with them.

Donna’s Divine Jambalaya 

Serves about 10 

Stuff you need~

2 bell peppers, diced 

4-6 smalll onions, diced

2 cups celery, chopped (optional) 

4 pounds of meat (pork, chicken, sausage)*

1 can Rotel 

4 cups rice (Zatarain’s parboiled rice only!!)**

Kitchen bouquet 

8 cups chicken broth (that’s about 4 cans or two 32 ounce boxes)

*Donna used 2 packs of pork chops, 2 packages chicken tenderloins, and 2 packs of sausage) 

**Donna says regular rice turns too mushy in this recipe. And said this is the only time she uses parboiled rice lol. 

What to do with the stuff~

Heat a little canola oil in your stock pot.*** Brown the diced onion. 

While this is happening cut up your meats. She sprinkled her chicken and pork liberally with Morton’s all seasoning. No not tony’s. Yes we Cajuns do love Tony’s but we don’t add it ad nauseum to every single dish.

 Add all your pork and chicken to this and brown the meat well. Let that all cook down. At the end, throw in the sausage and brown that too. 

Pour the undrained can of Rotel into the pot. Stir in the rice and stir it around so it can soak up all that juice from the meats and veggies. Pour in the chicken broth. Pour in a capful of Kitchen Bouquet (in the condiment aisle on the top shelf almost always in every grocery store, yellow top, black bottle). Stir in some salt and pepper. She did not give specific amounts. So I always say add a little and you can always add more to taste later. 


Bring to a boil and cover. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes on low. Stir about halfway through. Enjoy!! 

***Donna used a 7 1/2 quart non stick stock pot and it worked perfectly. I’ll be getting one from amazon asap. 

Me and the lady of the hour, this is THE Donna
Big Daddy and his padnuh, LLoyd
My #4bowlinbabes and LLoyd and Donna

Cheesy Spaghetti Pie (this recipe has it all) 

So from time to time Momou would make spaghetti pie. And I always loved it when she did. Her spaghetti and meatballs were always legendary and the spaghetti pie kind of seemed like a step down. But then I took a bite of that spagbetti pie and it was all better. Not a step down at all. Just a step to the side. Now that I have a family of my own, I realize the beauty in spaghetti pie. It’s spaghetti and meatball’s creamy cheesy, low maintenance older sister. It satisfies those spaghetti cravings and goes a step further. Now spaghetti and meatballs have their place. We are not in any way saying that spaghetti pie replaces spaghetti and meatballs…no, no baby. We are just saying spaghetti pie is a nice low key, cheesy  alternative. Did I mention spaghetti pie is cheesy? Because it is…so…cheesy. Now as stated in the original blog post from http://www.centercutcook.com, what makes this spaghetti pie recipe unique is that the noodles are mixed with the sauce ahead of time and the noodles are perfect, not all dry like in other recipes I have tried. Also a nice twist is the Monterrey jack and cheddar cheese instead of same ole, same ole mozzarella. And it has sliced green onions in it. There is a special place in my heart for sliced green onions. So this spaghetti pie has it all!! Just like this Cajun mama does! 

Cheesy spaghetti pie 

Stuff you need~

1 pound of angel hair pasta (that’s one box), cooked and drained 

5 cups spaghetti sauce, divided (I used Prego)

1 pound Italian sausage, browned and drained *

1 tablespoon olive oil 

1 small yellow onion, diced

1 teaspoon oregano 

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 

3/4 teaspoon garlic powder 

8 ounce block cream cheese

3/4 cup sour cream 

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning 

3 green onions, green parts only, sliced 

1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese 

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese 

*I buy one package of Italian sausage links and then I slice open the casing and just dump the meat into my skillet. I do that for each one. And voila! 

What to do with the stuff ~

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the cooked and drained pasta with 2 cups of the spaghetti sauce. Set aside.

 

In a skillet heat olive oil over medium heat. Sauté  diced yellow onion until tender. Add Italian sausage and brown over medium heat until done. Drain. Sprinkle in the oregano, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder. Stir in the remaining 3 cups of spaghetti sauce and simmer for about 10 minutes. 


Spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with cooking spray. Layer the pasta tossed with sauce in the bottom of the dish. 

Now, add the block of softened cream cheese, the sour cream, the sliced green onions and Italian seasoning to a mixing bowl. Mix all together. 


Layer this on top of the noodles. What I did was put several dollops of the cream cheese mixture on top of the noodles and then I smoothed it out with a plastic spatula  where it made a layer. Now layer the meat sauce on top of the cream cheese layer. Next sprinkle the cheeses all over that meat sauce. And then I added some more green onions for good measure. 


Bake in your preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until that cheese is melted to an irrisitbly ooey gooey level. Spaghetti pie perfection. I used my favorite Pampered Chef flat metal spatula to dish it up. 

Korean beef bowls and impromptu perfection 

Summer is in full swing in this house! Not sure where your peeps are in the school year but here in Cajun mama land we are done. Peace out, 2016-2017 school year!! And my kids are glad for it. They are taking full advantage of the whole summertime thang. 

Yes, they are in the pool with clothes on. Because summer…lol

They are also like ravenous monkeys several times a day and I am not gonna lie…I am already struggling to keep up. My kids would love, love, love to eat fast food or at restaurants 3 meals a day. I, of course, do not allow that. We cannot even hang with that lifestyle. Big Daddy started a new job a few months ago and it’s been tight over here. Big Daddy will likely fuss when he reads this asking why would I even mention that but you know…being real is my thing. I am always real with y’all and that is a major thing that has happened in our lives. So eating out a whole bunch with a family of 6 is not in the plan. I assume most of you realize this is why I cook so much (and I love it) but if not please consider this my newsflash…I cook to save money a good bit of the time. Not to mention, we are trying to teach our kids about that eating out every day is not the norm and that there is nothing wrong with cooking. And when you can cook your own food, you can be self sufficient. 

In that same vein, I adore cooking things that my kids enjoy and they resent that it is not our favorite Chinese takeout a little less. Cooking at home is a necessity for many of us, but it does not have to be boring! So in comes this meal. Korean beef bowls.  Oh sweet spicy morsels of beef this is good stuff. And every last one of my kids absolutely devoured it. Also, it is not expensive to make. So perfect. As perfect as the other day was. Woke up to a loud boom at 5:45. Yep, transformer blowing. No power in sight. So I told the kids to load up we were headed to Tyler, TX to go to the Caldwell zoo. We had the best time. The weather was unseasonably perfect. Not the sauna that it usually is. The high was in the 70’s! In May!!! And I ran into 2 friends while at the zoo. These Korean beef bowls were perfect like that.  Unexpected, came out of nowhere, born from lacking, and crazy low expectations. You will love it!!! 

Me and my bebes during our impromptu zoo visit.

I found this recipe on http://www.damndelicious.net. I am so happy I stumbled across it. It is recipe gold, my friends.

Korean Beef bowls 

Stuff you need~

1 pound lean ground beef 

Canola oil 

2 teaspoons minced garlic (or more)

1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce 

1/4 cup packed brown sugar 

2 teaspoons sesame oil 

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger *

2 Sliced green onions, green and white parts 

Slicd green onions and Sesame seeds for garnish (optional) 

Cooked white rice 

*I used the McCormick spice stuff and it was fine. Next time I’ll try the squeeze tube produce section ginger just to see if it enhances the flavor. 

What to do with the stuff~

Drizzle some canola oil In skillet. Warm over medium heat then add garlic. Sauté on medium low until fragrant, about a minute or 2.  Add ground meat to skillet. Brown until no longer pink and then some. Drain if necessary. 

While browning meat, combine the sesame oil, brown sugar, soy sauce, red pepper flakes and ginger in a bowl. Whisk together.  When ground beef is browned and drained, add the soy sauce concoction and some sliced green onions. Cook on medium low for a minute or 2. The smell will be amazing and your mouth will water!! 


Serve this over hot rice. Prepare to be so glad you stayed at home and cooked for your family. It is HEAVEN! 

 Momee’s spiced tea and a cup of comfort

Growing up and well into adulthood I was blessed with 2 of the best grandmothers a girl could have. Momee and Momou or Narcille and Beulah Mae, depending on who you ask. They were always there and they were the best cooks. They also truly loved one another. They were pals. They were different in many ways, but their love and their passion for family and holding it all together was the same. 

Momou (left), me, momee (right) after my college graduation. Can you tell they were proud?

Not a big moment happened in my life without one or both of them there. I was a lucky girl. I got some amazing recipes from them and lots of substance and maybe just a little style from them. Heavens knows both of them had it in spades. The older I get, the more I cling to their recipes and their strong sense of tradition. Having lost Momou in September, I admit I feel a little lost some days. Just a tad. But I am far more rooted in what they left behind then I am lost. I know that for sure. So I cling to who I am because of them instead of who I am without them on Earth anymore. I hold close to my heart the fact that I was so super lucky to have them at all much less into adulthood. 

Momou (left), my mom and momee at a boucherie in the late 90’s

So today we got a real cold snap. Like legit fall like weather. It’s about time being as though it is less than a week until Thanksgiving…anyway, it popped into my head that I HAD to make a batch of Momee’s spiced tea! It just came over me and I wanted some right away. So I did. And I made a cup and it was perfect. Just like Momee had made it. I distinctly remember being about 9 or 10 years old and Momee coming into our old house with a jar of her spiced tea mix. My mom fixed a cup for me and I fell in love. Oh it’s just like winter in a cup and I’m so not even kidding. I am so glad I remembered that spiced tea because it had been a while since I had a cup. Like a long while. Before kids, a while. And I’m also glad that she wrote that recipe down for my mom all those years ago. Those are the things that keep me grounded during times that I might feel a little lost. Momee passed in 2002, but it was her recipe today that comforted me and brought me warmth at a time I was feeling a little cold and alone after Momou’s passing. She’s still helping out years after she’s been gone and filling in a gap that Momou left behind. Beulah and Nar (as she was known) always had one another’s back. Same team. I guess it would be #teamgrandma these days. Makes me smile. 
Those 2 really loved one another. I know they are having a cup of coffee and making a visit in Heaven.

Yes I hope you enjoy this spiced tea and it brings you just a little warmth and comfort on a chilly day. The smell of that hot cup of tea was just what I needed today. It’s almost like it was 1984 and my daddy was in the woods and my mom made me a special cup of spiced tea just for me. I needed that today. 

Momee’s spiced tea 

Stuff you need~

2 cups of Tang mix 

6 tablespoons lemonade mix 

1 cup sugar 

1 cup instant tea mix 

1 teaspoon ground cloves 

1/2 teaspoon all spice 


What to do with the stuff~

Mix all ingredients together in an air tight container. I tried to be all cute and transfer mine from a perfectly acceptable Tupperware bowl with a lid to a super cute jar…learn from your friend and keep it simple. 🙄
It says add 1-2 teaspoons of the mix to hot water. I put 2 teaspoons in a mug and then got water from the Keurig. I used the middle button and it was perfect!! Spiced tea in 2016….love it!!! 


Winter in a cup I tell you!!!!

Mrs. Lou’s meatball stew and flavorful peas~the perfect Fall meal

We’ve been in Fall mode around here. So ready for the change of the seasons.  There’s been football…

Pumpkins and pumpkin decorating…

I have 4 kids, not just these 2, but as you can see these 2 are my hams
Getting ready for Halloween…


And of course hearty perfect for Fall soups and stews! This recipe right here is something else. It is perfect. It is hearty. It is delicious! It is truly the quintessential Fall meal. It is all good things rolled into one. Mrs. Lou is my dear friend Betsy’s mother in law. She is the same woman who birthed Dr. Boudreaux of the famous (at least to my blog readers) Dr. Boudreaux’s gumbo  ! Also where the wonderful pastalaya recipe  comes from. So if you follow my blog at all, you know how tasty those recipes are and you should be excited to try this meatball stew. If you are not familiar with either of those recipes, well first of all, that’s sad. You should be. Fix that ASAP. And then try this meatball stew recipe. Betsy had given me this meatball stew recipe several years ago when she and Matt and the kids still lived in Shreveport. Aka the golden years. (I miss my friend living in town) and I made it once or twice. It was a hit with Big Daddy and I don’t think the kids hated it but it’s been while. Funny how a few years change things. I made this recipe again for the first time in several years a few weeks ago and it was a hit with everyone. Actually better than that. My oldest aka the garbage disposal cleared all the meatballs and most of the gravy out before the whole family could eat. I was outside finishing a phone conversation with a friend and came back in…big daddy had served 3 of the 4 kids and then apparently my oldest (he’s 13) went back for seconds. He thought it was all fair game and just indulged himself. I laugh now but that night I was none too happy. I worked it out and no one went to bed hungry. Just know that most people love this meatball stew and you might need to double the meatball recipe. Betsy made sure to text me that she doubled the gravy recipe (the gravy is the bomb) and I would suggest that as well. Served over hot cooked rice alongside some warm rolls and you have the perfect Fall meal! Now, because my teenager devoured what was left before I could get a picture of the finished product, sadly there is no picture of this fabulous meal. Let that be a testament to how delicious this meal really is. So let me go on and give y’all this recipe so you can make up a (double) batch and get a little Fall in your life. Now if only the weather  would comply (I’m looking at you Mother Nature!!) 

Mrs. Lou’s meatball stew 

Stuff you need~

1 pound ground beef 

1 pound ground pork 

1 egg 

Soy sauce 

Tony’s 

1/2 envelope of onion soup mix 

Italian bread crumbs 

(For gravy) 

1 beef boullion cube 
1/4 cup Flour

2 tablespoons canola Oil 

3 cloves garlic, minced 

Kitchen bouquet 

What to do with the stuff 

Add ground pork and ground beef to a large mixing bowl. The original recipe did not have exact amounts so Betsy clued me in that you just shake enough breadcrumbs, Tony’s and soy sauce to cover the meat. 


Also sprinkle the 1/2 package of onion soup mix over this mixture. Add your egg. Now get your hands in there and mix it up good. Or use spoons. But make sure the mixture is good and mixed up. Now I used a medium size scoop to make uniform balls. You can also eyeball it. Just make your meatballs the same size. Ok now the the recipe says to bake your meatballs at 325 for 30-40 minutes. You can do that. I actually cook my meatballs in the gravy. So if you are going to bake them, do that at this point or set aside and get your gravy going. 

*Add one inch of water to a large pot. Bring it to a boil and add a beef bouillon cube. Reduce heat to a simmer and make your roux. Mix 1/4 flour with 2 tablespoons of flour in a microwave safe bowl.


 Microwave for 2-3 minutes in 30 second increments, stirring  in between. Whisk 3 tablespoons of the roux into the simmering water. 


Stir in the minced garlic and a little kitchen bouquet…the recipe did not give a specific amount but I start with 1/2-1 tablespoon and go from there.

At this point, add your meatballs whether cooked or not. If they are cooked you will just simmer this for a shorter time. If uncooked, you’ll want to simmer them longer (until cooked) at a slower pace. 

The only picture I have of the elusive meatball stew…gone too soon thanks to my teenage son

*again Betsy recommends doubling the gravy recipe. So 2 inches of water, 2 boullion cubes and so on…you’ll be glad you did. The recipe I gave above is for a regular recipe. 

Flavorful peas 

Stuff you need~

1 can petite pois (Lesuer or Dubois are perfect…as my kids call them silver can peas), slightly drained 

1/2 can cream of celery soup 

Tablespoon or 2 of onion soup mix 

Stir together in a medium size pot and cook over medium heat. Serve alongside meatball stew and hot cooked rice. Enjoy!!


Creamy tomato basil tortellini and my can do attitude 

Oh it’s been a long few weeks. The kiddos all started school and we started out strong! We really did! Spirits were high. Hopes were higher. It’s gonna be awesome! Back to school. Back to a routine. We can so do this!! 


And then the first Friday my oldest started running fever because of a fever virus and it snowballed from there. Two of my other kiddos got sick and then again on Friday, my oldest was running fever…AGAIN! Back to the doctor’s office we went. This time it was a sinus infection. Sometimes being a mom means feeling like maybe I just cannot win. I know, I know, allowing myself to get defeated is not the answer. But oh it’s easy to slip into that frame of mind when there is a sick child at home every other day. Not sure what I thought would happen when I had 4 kiddos back to back, but days like that were not anywhere on my radar. Ah the innocence of new motherhood. Then there’s been adjustment to new schools and the back to school routine. I have 3 kiddos at new schools this year and it’s been so wonderful, but even good change is change none the less. It’s all a matter of adjusting. And we are. Throw in some home repair disasters, leaking air conditioner, an aching back and just LIFE…and that leads to a big ole case of TGIF! I was in that frame of mind when I decided to cook up today’s recipe. I had seen it is floating around Facebook (my friends know good food!) and I knew I had to make it. Creamy, basil, pasta, can make at home so going out is unnecessary. Which is good because I was over being around a bunch of people and also taking 6 people out to dinner is not cost effective. At all. It’s pretty dang pricey actually. So this was right up my ally. And oh it was creamy delicious perfection. Comfort food at its very carbolicious best! But on the upside it is chock full of spinach and tomatoes. So at least it packs a nutritional punch (ah silver lining!!). I am so glad I decided to make this. You will not be disappointed! Yum. Just yum! Now if I can just get back in the back to school, take the bull by the horns attitude….kind of like my younger two in this pic…

they have the world by the tail…wish I could bottle that confidence

Creamy tomato basil tortellini (recipe adapted from http://www.tiphero.com

Stuff you need~

2 tablespoons butter 

1 small onion diced 

4 cloves (or more!!) garlic, minced 

3 tablespoons flour 

1 1/4 cups whole milk

1/2 cup heavy cream 

6 ounce package of baby spinach 

1 14 ounce can of petite diced tomatoes, juice and all  

3 tablespoons basil 

3/4 finely shredded Parmesan 

20 ounce package tortellini (I used Italian sausage but use whatever kind you want) 

Salt and pepper to taste 

Red pepper flakes 

What to do with the stuff~k

Cook tortellini according to package directions. Drain and then set aside. 

Melt butter in a large skillet. Sauté onion in butter until tender. Add minced garlic and sauté until fragrant. Now you will make a kind of sort of roux. Add the flour and stir constantly for 1 minute. Pour in the milk and half and half. Whisk or stir over low heat until it begins to simmer. 

Toss in the baby spinach, tomatoes and basil. Season with salt and pepper. 


Stir until spinach is wilted and sauce is thickened. 


Stir in Parmesan cheese and stir until melted. Remove sauce from heat. Toss tortellini with sauce. Garnish with chili pepper flakes and Parmesan. 


Yum. Just yum. Enjoy! Here’s to another week coming…I can do this!!

McDonald’s new chicken nuggets are the real deal…and just another day with my posse 

Some of you may remember that last year the kiddos and I got to test drive the all day breakfast at McDonald’s right before they launched it. It was a huge hit and I got to blog about it. It was a good experience for the kiddos and I. Well not too long ago, Katherine contacted me about the kids (and I) test driving the new chicken nuggets. Or test eating I suppose would be more like it. New chicken nuggets you say?! They’ve been around forever. Yes they have, but they have been revamped y’all. And the end result is pretty dang tasty. What they have done is removed all artificial ingredients in those little nuggets of happiness. They took out many of the  unnecessary things (like food additives) and what remains is simple, more wholesome ingredients. That’s right…chicken McNuggets more the way nature intended them. The result is…wow!! I could taste the difference right away! They are using a better oil to fry them in and even that small difference is noticeable to the most untrained pallet. The taste is cleaner and just pure chicken McNugget delight. My kiddos had a blast!



 And we all got to visit with Katherine with Garrison Advertising and Mrs. Jean at McDonald’s in the area we live in. My bunch had the red carpet rolled out for them and these ladies are just as precious as can be.

It’s a great time every time we visit our local McDonald’s! If you have not had a chance to try the new chicken McNuggets, I highly suggest you stop in and give them a try yourself. You know I love to cook and believe in cooking at home, but knowing when we do decide to have some Micky d’s, that my kids favorite nuggets are tastier and I can know what they are eating is a better option than before, pulling into the drive thru sounds better than ever. 

Now I must talk about my oldest, BHB, aka Ben, aka our wealth of knowledge on a variety of topics, McDonald’s included. The boy loves to eat and is not ashamed to tell you about it. He is a bottomless pit, has a hollow leg, and shows no signs of stopping. He knew about the changes McDonald’s were making to their nuggets before Katherine even contacted me. So when she called, he was all about trying them out and giving his opinion. The kid does love to share his opinions. No clue where he gets that. (Ha ha)  He had a great time eating and chatting Katherine and Mrs. Jean up about the exciting things happening with McDonald’s and giving his two cents. 



It was a great time and the new nuggets (and the company) were amazing. Thanks so much to our local McDonald’s, Mrs. Jean and Katherine for a great experience.