Tag Archives: comfort food

Hungarian goulash and Going home

We are on winter break over here and while our money is crazy tight, I have people to feed over here! They somehow ask for food 3 times a day!! Go figure! So the other day I was looking at what all I had to make something for supper and I thought of one of the throwback recipes from my childhood. My mama would make this on the regular when I was growing up. My daddy is definitely a meat and potatoes sort of guy and he always liked this. I’m not sure but I’m betting Bernie still makes this for Stephen from time to time. I am sure I never appreciated her cooking when I was growing up like I do now. In fact, if I am being completely honest, I am betting I turned my nose up at this recipe when she cooked it. Hungarian goulash and Mulligan stew…two recipes I distinctly remember being not my favorites. Funny how times change. I actually made this recipe a few times when I was in college. Yes, I cooked this sort of stuff for Big Daddy in college. But for whatever reason, it has been a while since I made this goulash. And that’s a shame because it is so simple and really an economical meal (if you get the meat on sale…like a chuck roast on sale and cut it into chunks). The recipe calls for round steak or stew meat but this time Big Daddy asked me to use the elk stew meat our friend, Linc, had given him. I obliged, though I was hesitant. I’m not a fan of wild meat. And yes I grew up in a family where it was served often. My daddy is a big hunter and fisherman. We are Cajun and that means we eat all sorts of crazy stuff. Funniest story…when I was about 14 and my sisters were about 9, 7, and 5 daddy had come home from a weekend at his camp in Spring Bayou. He has brought home a mess of squirrels to cook. For the record, squirrel and rabbit are my least favorite game to eat. And I can make that statement with knowledge of how it tastes. At this point in my life, my parents had given up on trying to make me eat and just let me eat the rice and gravy and vegetables. But my sisters still enjoyed it and were not bothered. They enjoyed because it tasted good (my daddy can cook some game), but just the thought of it made my stomach turn. So they are sitting there eating the squirrel my daddy had cooked at the bar in our newly built house. Happy little clams. I was 14 or 15 and wanted to be heard, so I start up. “That’s squirrel y’all are eating. Daddy killed them this weekend and then cooked them.” My daddy, who I am sure wanted to smack me, promptly sent me to my room. I used to swear I’d never marry a man who hunted or ever make rice and gravy again when I moved out that house. I’m 0 for 2 y’all. Needless to say, the fact that I married an ole country boy who is of the “shoot it, stuff it or marry it” mentality (thanks Steel Magnolias!) is quite comical. And now I’m over here in north Louisiana making Hungarian goulash using elk stew meat. Yep. You want to make God laugh? Tell him your plans!!! Life is funny that way! I’ll be the first to admit that elk stew meat was just delicious in this goulash. I just had to not think about it. When you’re on a budget, you are grateful for any extra meat you can work into a recipe that did not cost money! So thanks Linc! This goulash makes the kitchen smell so good when it’s cooking and it basically cooks itself. This recipe was actually in a box of handwritten recipes my Aunt Gay has given my mom when she and my dad got married. It’s tucked away in my recipe box and I think as great as Pinterest and google are, there’s something so poignant and wonderful about making a recipe that was handwritten in 1972 out of love for a newly married couple. It’s a dying art that we cannot let go of. It is ironic that the older I get, the more I cling to what I come from. What I know. The kids and I went to visit my mama and daddy in Alexandria the other day and I realized the closer I got to home, the more myself I felt. That is where I am from. That is who I am at my core. Southern Maid donuts will never cut it for me. I am a Shipley’s girl. Chocolate filled thank you very much. My kids agree they are the best.

There is something comforting about going back home…kids in tow

This recipe is so simple it will surprise you. I hope you will make it and enjoy it. You can use deer meat as well.

Hungarian Goulash (circa 1972)

Stuff you need~

8 strips of bacon, raw

2 pounds of stew meat cut into chunks

1 onion, peeled and cut into thick slices

4 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into thick slices

6 carrots, peeled and cut into thick slices

Plenty of salt and pepper

THAT’S IT!!!!

What to do with the stuff~

Layer the bacon slices at the bottom of a thick bottomed Dutch oven. You need one with a lid that fits nice and tight. I basically laid the bacon to cover the bottom one way and then laid slices across those slices the other way to fully cover the bottom. You will be amazed at how the bacon flavors this whole dish.

Next lay your cubed stew meat over the bacon. Salt and pepper well. Next layer the thick slices of onion rings over the meat. Salt and pepper well. Next potatoes, then carrots. Salt and pepper between layers. Add enough water to basically cover the meat. Then cover with tight fitting lid. Cook on low until water cooks out and meat is done. Basically about 2 1/2 -3 hours. This dish basically cooks itself but make sure to keep an eye. You might add water if needed. I did not have to.

Serve with a green salad and some brown n serve rolls (the only kind we made in my house growing up mop tit!) and you’re good to go. Cornbread would be good in place of brown n serve rolls, that’s up to you! Some sweet tea and you are good, boo!

Enjoy the simplicity and basic goodness of this recipe!!

The goulash before I put lid on and started to cook it
Me and my original ride or dies…my sisters. About 1996. I’m always this girl

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Slow cooker chicken potpie stew…the madness continues

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

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

Slow cooker chicken potpie stew

Stuff you need~

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

What to do with the stuff

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

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

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King ranch chicken casserole and going full circle with Mama Kate

I have told y’all the back story about how I came to be a displaced coonass in the middle of Shreveport. When I first came around Shreveport for the first time at 19 and started dating BD, I was about to start my semester at LSU. I had attended LSU-A for my first year at my parents’ encouragement and the plan was for me to move to Baton Rouge to start my life. I was engaged to my high school sweetheart and he moved there too. I had it all set. It was laid out. How it was going to be. Then we got the call that BD’s mom, was very ill and we needed to come and see her. (Remember we used to live across the street from one another for a while as children and our moms were friends too). I was 19 and was LSU bound and I decided I needed to go and say my goodbyes to a lovely woman who had influenced me and had been another mom to me growing up. And I wanted to see BD. Well…he was known as Clay back then…my childhood friend…clay. He harassed me. Ripped my dolls head off, and so on. Lol. On to Shreveport we went. She passed away a few days later and my family naturally went to the funeral. I will not go into all of the emotions that came about during this time or all that transpired…just know that I was in a relationship and it was not a great one. No offense to the guy I was with, but we just weren’t meant to be, though we tried. I certainly had a plan of how things would work out and falling in love with my best friend from childhood really was not part of my plan. And yet….I guess it was part of God’s plan. That is pretty plain to see now. So, cut to a few months later and I had broken my engagement (I am truly not a flaky person and take commitment seriously but the heart wants what it wants and I wanted Clay. It was just right) and left LSU behind and moved to Natchitoches to attend Northwestern. Now maybe I did not give LSU a chance, but looking back in retrospect it wasn’t the place for me. And I fell in love with clay and NSU all at once. When I first came around Keithville, where BD’s daddy ran the Farmer’s Supply Co-op and everyone knew everyone and I knew no one. I was an outsider. Cajun catholic chick from Alex. That was me. And though people were friendly enough to me, there were some people who embraced me right away. They were happy to know me and pulled me right in. Mama Kate was one of those people. Mama Kate was a Southern gentile lady if there ever was one. She wanted to know you and wanted you to be comfortable. She reminded me of my Momou and I was down with that. So I was going to Northwestern and had my new redneck man (ha ha!!!) and I was living with my cousin, Robin and y’all life was good. I felt at home. And for a homebody like me, that is true happiness. I will never forget one evening in January I guess, there was a knock on the door. It was John, a friend of big daddy’s and mama Kate’s grandson. He had something for me. Sure enough, 2 cookbooks that mama Kate wanted me to have and she had marked a few that clay might like and had written her thoughts in the margins. Y’all. I was blown away by this lady’s kindness. Her thoughtfulness. Remember, BD’s mom was no longer with us so that guidance that would be there was no longer and Deb (his stepmom and my wonderful mother in law and grandmother extraordinaire was not in the picture yet). This lovely lady wanted to make sure when he was around, that I fed him well. And I am sure at some point she and I had talked recipes and she knew I liked to cook. Remember now, I was 19. It pleases me so to think back and realize she knew I had it in me to get in there and cook or that I wanted to. Because let me say, Mama Kate was kind, thoughtful and she could cook circles around most.
As fate would have it, she moved next door to bd and I before we became new parents. And after I had Ben, my oldest, John’s wife, Kylie, had a baby a few months later. Kylie is a lot like mama Kate and we had lots in common. We became friends. It made those lonely days in the country more bearable as BD worked a lot trying to build his Farm Bureau business. Ben and I would walk next door and visit mama Kate. He would play on the floor and she would tell me stories and we would just chat. Kylie and I would go over together. And sometimes, she would invite BD and I over to have Sunday dinner with them. I am big on framily (friends who are family) and I guess Mama Kate and Kylie were the ones who taught me the importance of framily. Oh my. It was such a treat when you got to eat anything Mama Kate cooked. I would not trade those memories for anything. Though we moved “to town” and life got in the way, I would talk to mama Kate from time to time. I probably did not give her the time she deserved and I cannot make excuses for that. Other than to say I was having babies and just stayed busy. We stayed in touch though and would talk from time to time. She passed away about 2 years ago and nothing will ever be the same for any of us. I am grateful for the memories I have with her. And that at a time or several times in my life as a new girl in town, a new mom, a lonely mom, she was there. I hope one day I will be able return that favor to someone else who is in need. I still have that cookbook where I found several go to recipes that we still love. King ranch chicken casserole is one of those. First time I made it in college, we fell in love. No matter where you have your roots or where you are, it is a dish worth making. It is a comfort food that you will never forget. And when I told Big Daddy I was making it tonight, he replied via text “yes!!!” Lol! That is the appropriate response to knowing this meal is on the menu. It is easy enough that you can pull it together and it is memorable enough that you will be asked to make it over and over. It is a dish you will crave. It is a meal that unites us, country peeps and Cajuns, young and old, newcomers to town and town regulars…kind of like mama Kate did for me and I am sure many others over the year. It is a dish that brings you full circle and makes you glad you took the time to make it. And got to know the person who introduced you to such a simple, fantastic recipe. Hope y’all love it too.~AMB

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one of the treasured cookbooks she gave me all those years ago

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Mama Kate and a newborn Benny Boo

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A very pregnant and swollen me and Mama Kate at a shower some friends gave me holding a blanket she had made for the baby who would be named Ben.

King Ranch chicken casserole

Serves 6

Stuff you need~

12 flour tortillas, soft taco size
3 pounds chicken breasts, cooked and shredded or a rotisserie chicken works too
1 small onion, diced fine (optional)
2 cans Rotel (I use mild)
2 cups shredded Colby Jack cheese
1 can cream of chicken
1 can cream of mushroom
2 cans chicken broth or 1 of those cartons (it’s the same amount)

What to do with the stuff~

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a large casserole dish (3 quart) with cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk together the tomatoes, soups, and the broth together. Set aside. Tear 6 of the tortillas up into bite sized pieces. Layer them at the bottom of the casserole dish. Layer half of the shredded chicken and the diced onion on top of the tortillas. Now, sprinkle half of the shredded cheese over the top of this. Next, pour 1/2 of the soup tomato mixture all over the top of this. Repeat the whole process, starting with tortillas and ending with pouring the rest of the soup tomato mixture over the top. Pop that baby into the oven and cook for about 60 minutes. It will be a little soupy when you pull it out, that’s good. You don’t want it dried out. Let it sit for about 10 minutes and that will allow the rest of the liquid to absorb into the tortillas (creating a dumpling like texture…making this casserole the delicious dish it is!). Serve it up with a nice green salad and you are golden!

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Big daddy and I back when we were Clay and Aimee and just best friends. Circa 1979ish

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layer of tortillas

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soup mixture all whisked up and ready

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and a layer of shredded cheese

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pouring the soup over the bottom layer

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piping hot from the oven

Heavenly Balsamic pot roast

 

 

 

 

 

 

 So this here’s a story a little pot roast that could.  It was a good little pot roast.  It had dreams of being more.  And it was.  It had dreams of being all dressed up in a balsamic sauce and being cooked in a crock pot along with his friends carrots, onions, and celery.  Ok, kidding aside, because I am pretty sure that joking around about balsamic anything is a capital crime.  Because balsamic anything is awesome and should be revered and coddled and loved and praised.  I have posted my mother in law’s excellent pot roast recipe before and that is my go to recipe.  If you have never made it, check it out here~https://cajunmamacookinblog.com/2013/06/17/tonight-is-a-roast-night/.  Making that recipe is like putting on a comfortable pair of jeans, which ironically I find rather hard to do after eating a serving of pot roast and rice and gravy.  ha ha!  But the other day, I was scanning Pinterest and came across a recipe for their balsamic pot roast and thought, “oh my.  that is a super idea.  Big Daddy would love that.”  You can see that post here~ http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2013/09/slow-cooker-balsamic-pot-roast-recipe.html.   Well, continuing to scan Pinterest (see how I do that?  I scan it.  That makes me feel like I am not wasting time and I am not on Pinterest…just scanning, ya’ll…scanning.  I can quit at anytime I want.  Wait, I think that is what addicts say…oh my.) and I saw another recipe for regular pot roast by PW about her perfect pot roast.  You can check that out here…http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2011/09/2008_the_year_of_the_pot_roast/.  I could not decide which one to make.  Pioneer Woman is always a safe bet because she knows her stuff.  But I love those six sisters too.  And, their pot roast had balsamic vinegar in theirs’, which kind of amps up the yummy a couple of notches.  Plus, theirs was made in the slow cooker.  I know you peeps love a good slow cooker recipe, so I took what I loved about both and combined them into one delightful, fantabulous, knock your socks off pot roast.  You are welcome friends.  I made a batch of mashed potatoes to go with that heavenly thick balsamic flavored gravy and also warmed up some of those Sister Schubert rolls aka they are worth it carbs.  My baby boy can eat nearly the whole pan.  I will add this…use one of those rolls to sop up that ridiculously good gravy and you will be in hog heaven.  But I don’t have to tell ya’ll that, do I?  No.  Because if you are following my blog, you know all about the good stuff in life.  Wink Wink!  See what I did there?  I gave you a compliment and me a compliment at the same.  Because let’s face it.   We both rock!!  Now, on to this pot roast that I have been yammering on and on about.  Is your mouth watering yet?  Let’s get to it baby!!

Heavenly Balsamic Pot Roast 

Stuff you need~

4-5 pound beef chuck roast

2 or 3 small onions (peeled and then cut in half from root to tip)

5 or 6 carrots, not peeled (PW says to maintain their rustic quality and I agree…damn good. Give it a try), just cut them into about 2 inch pieces, discarding the ends

3 stalks of celery, cut into 2 inch pieces

olive oil and a pat of butter

kosher salt and black pepper

2 tsp. dried rosemary

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (I used 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and  1/4 cup balsamic glaze my mother in law gave me but I also saw it at World Market aka my mothership the other day just FYI)

1 cup tomato juice

1 can beef broth (reduced sodium)

1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic or 3 cloves if you are going the “I chop my own garlic here me roar!!” route

3 tablespoons cornstarch

3 tablespoons warm water

What to do with the stuff~

Turn the heat under a big ole skillet to medium.  Now, melt the pat of butter (about a Tablespoon if you need that measurement…you little control freak…that’s why we get along because I am one too so I get it!) and about 2 Tablespoons olive oil nice and warm.  Now, add in only your onion .  You want to get the onion lightly browned on one side and then with a pair of tongs, flip it to the other side and do the same thing…a minute or so on each side will do.  Remove them from the skillet.  Add in your carrots and give them a good toss in the olive oil/butter combo.  About a minute or so is perfection.  Good girl.  Or boy.  Now, put the little browned unpeeled, so rustic and lovely carrots in the plate with the onions and tell them to hang tight.  Wait, what?  You don’t talk to your food.  Is that weird?  Then I don’t either.  Now, back to this lovely pot roast.  Yes, yes, I am getting to that.  Now, take that hunk of meat and rub it down with olive oil.  Give it a good rub down on both sides. Now, season the mess out of that thing with good old kosher salt and black pepper on both sides. Now, I took some dried rosemary and sprinkled some of that on each side.  Ok, now if your skillet needs more olive oil, add some because we are going to brown our roast.  With a pair of tongs, place it in the still medium hot oil.  Brown it on every side, about a minute or so each side.  Flip, brown, flip, brown, got it?  Ok.  Remove that roast from the skillet and set it on a plate.  Whisk in the beef broth and make sure to remove any little brown bits from the bottom of the skillet, pan, what have you.  This is your gremille and it makes your gravy richer and just better.  Let this kind of simmer a few minutes and then whisk in the tomato juice, garlic, and balsamic vinegar.  Continue to let this luscious mixture simmer for a few minutes so the flavors can hang out and get comfortable with one another.  They can make friends.  When you are going to hang out in a crock pot for 6 or 7 hours, you want to get to know your tomato juice.  Just saying.  

Ok, now you are going to spray a 6 quart crock pot lightly with some cooking spray.  Put your lovely browned roast in there.  Toss the carrots, onions, and celery in there.  Now, using caution so you don’t burn yourself, slowly pour the balsamic magic liquid on top of the meat and veggies.  Now, cook on low for 7-8 hours.  Your slow cooker may take longer, so add time accordingly. When you can stick a fork in the roast and twist and it falls apart, you are ready.  

Now for the luscious gravy…yes you will want to do this.  Skim as much of the fat off the top of the liquid as you can.  Now, pour about 2 cups of the balsamic magic liquid into a medium sized sauce pan.  Bring it to a low boil over medium low heat.  In a bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water until well combined.  Whisk this into the balsamic liquid.  Let it simmer for a few minutes until it thickens a bit.  You will have some fabulous gravy ya’ll.  Roll soppin worthy gravy.  Spoon this liberally over the meat and the mashed potatoes.  So.  Dang.  Good.  Enjoy.  Take a bow.  Enjoy your moment in the spotlight because YOU are AWESOME!!!~AMB

 

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Oh sweet little onions, I have big plans for you.

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Carrots, unpeeled…carrots gone wild.

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Sit there and look pretty my darlings

 

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Giving my roast a lovely little seasoning rubdown. 

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Remember…brown, flip, brown, flip

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Balsamic magic liquid 

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Ready to be more…ready to become a balsamic pot roast.  MMMMMM

 

 

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Ready to be covered in that lovely gravy.  Mouth watering. 

 

Wheezie’s easy mac and cheese

I have told ya’ll before that I am the oldest of 4 girls.  There is me, then Jenny, Lisa and Claire.  I am considerably older than all of them but as we have gotten older that has mattered less and less.  They have all grown up to be beautiful, smart, talented and great women.  For a few, all too short years, my sister Lisa aka Wheezie and her hubby lived in Shreveport.  It was during the time that I was having babies and she was in grad school, but our love of finding yummy recipes and trying them out is something that we shared.  It was a time when I didn’t have much time to cook as I was in survival mode, just trying to keep my head above water, but she would try new recipes and sometimes have us over or bring over something for me to try.  She actually started blogging long before I did.  She is a teacher but is an excellent blogger…check her out at http://www.makeitlikemomou.blogspot.com!!  This recipe I am giving you today is one of those. Though we all love Momou’s mac and cheese, Wheezie is probably the biggest fan.  She is a notorious mac and cheese fanatic.  This past Friday evening, Big Daddy was dead set on grilling steaks.  I didn’t get to the grocery store, so decided to make do with what I had.  The fantastic thing about this mac and cheese recipe is that it uses ingredients that you most likely have at home already.  Plus, this is a kid friendly recipe.  That is always a bonus.  Since now I am past the baby hanging off of me stage (consequently, Lisa is in her baby stage with a one year old.  My sweet niece CC…ahh the circle of life), I am experimenting more and unafraid to try new things.  I am out of survival mode and in thrive mode.  It feels pretty dang good!!!  I called Lisa all excited that I had dubbed this Wheezie’s mac and cheese and about the changes I had made.  I left her a message and I am sure she will hear it and think I am nuts.    Anyway, I dusted this recipe off and kind of gave it a Cajun Mama twist and boy was it good!!!  I am pretty sure ya’ll will LOVE this one.  It would be fantabulous with barbecue in the summer time and be great along side a recipe I am blogging tomorrow…grape salad.  So, if you are looking for a quick and easy mac and cheese, give this one a go!!!~AMB

ImageMy mermaid with her Godmother…Wheezie.  Fellow mac and cheese lovers!

ImageShe is a great cook and obviously very funny…she is cracking Pappy up!

Wheezie’s easy mac and cheese (adapted from the kitchen of Lisa Welch…www.makeitlikemomou.blogspot.com)

Stuff you need:

12 ounces farfalle pasta (that is bowtie pasta)

1 1/2 can cream of mushroom soup

1 cup of mayo

1 tsp.  smoked paprika

salt and pepper

2 cups shredded cheese blend (I used half cheddar jack blend and half italian cheese blend with cream cheese in it and it was awesome!!!)

What to do with the stuff:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly spray a 9 x 13 inch dish or 11 x 7 dish with cooking spray.  Boil your pasta according to package directions and drain.  Return pasta back to the pot.  Stir in the cream of mushroom, mayo, paprika, good ole salt and pepper to taste, and 1 1/2 cups of the cheese into the pasta.  Stir to combine.  Pour this into the prepared baking dish.  Sprinkle with the remaining cheese (plus a little extra..go on…I won’t tell).  Cover with foil and pop into preheated oven.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes.  Remove foil and inhale that wonderful smell.  Spoon into a bowl and devour accordingly.  YUM!!!  Thank you Wheezie!!!

ImageOh devilishly good concoction…please get in my belly.  Wheezie would approve!!

Extreme chocolate cake aka celebration cake

My kids love chocolate cake.  I mean, obsession, sell their toys for chocolate, lick off the floor (if I let them) LOVE chocolate cake.  I have to admit I love it too.  They get it pretty honestly.  There is nothing quite like homemade chocolate cake.  So yesterday, when my oldest had his science fair, before I went to the awards ceremony I was thinking of how I could acknowledge his achievement.  What could I make that would be celebration worthy?  What dessert could ever fill those shoes?  This one.  Extreme chocolate cake.  No, I didn’t know he had won.  In fact, he hadn’t won.  Technically.  He didn’t win the science fair.  He didn’t even place.  And there were no tears.  No melt downs.  Only a bright smile for each and every classmate that got an award. But believe me when I say, my baby had won before he even presented his project.  Before he was born, he was the brightest star in my sky.  From the moment I knew I was pregnant, I prayed for him.  I am sure all moms to be do that and I prayed for all of my babies, but I got on my knees every night and prayed for his safe arrival.  I had two miscarriages before I got pregnant with him, so the entire pregnancy I waited for the other shoe to drop.  I always worried that baby would fall right out.  So every night, I got on my knees and prayed.  To God and Mary.  And every angel and saint in heaven.  My baby was special.  I just knew it.  He was everything to me.  And even though I have had 3 other precious angels since then, he still is the sun and moon and stars.  BHB is not like any other child I have ever met.  He is quirky, he is funny, he is shy, he is outspoken, and he is his very own person.  He has beautiful gray green eyes with long eyelashes and if we let his hair grow out, he gets beautiful curls that quickly turn to a fro.  lol!   Some people have had had a hard time seeing past that.  For the most part though, my magnanimous boy has many fans.  He has been blessed to have had people in his path who see him not for his quirks, but his wonderful qualities that make him who he is.  My kids go to the best school in the whole world.  The staff, teachers and anyone who works there are more like family to us.  They have lifted and continue to lift my boy and now all 4 of my babies as far as they can or will go…higher if at all possible.  So, the celebration cake was not to celebrate him winning anything, other than him pushing himself to do his best and be a part anyway.  For challenging himself to be his best and go further than he would like to.  Don’t get me wrong…the kid is smart.  Brilliant in many ways.  But he is not a fan of public speaking so the fact that he was willing to present his project in front of the judge(s) put him in first place in my eyes.  He had already done the work, got a 99/100 on his project and the teachers at this school expect a lot…so that is no small feat.  He had the choice to participate in the actual fair.  He chose to.  And that makes me more proud than if he had actually won.  My boy is amazing.  I always knew he would be.  He shows us who he will be…we can expect all we want, but he will do things his way and he will shine.  He is the sun, moon and stars after all.

 So, for a kid this special….extreme chocolate cake is all that would do.  Now, I have told ya’ll I am baking impaired, but my baby (babies) see past that.  The cake was not pretty but it was so dang delicious.  Sometimes, things are not what they seem.  A child may seem quirky and odd but if you give them a chance, you see they are the brightest feather in your cap.  A cake may seem lopsided, crumbs in the icing, and as imperfect as can be…yet cut into it and it is the best thing you have ever tasted.  You just have to look beyond.  So, while I am quite certain this cake will turn out as pretty as it is delicious, for me it is the opposite.  This cake was as moist and delicious as it was ugly.  But like my boy, I won just by baking it.  Sometimes, win or lose…you just have to show up.  Word. ~AMB

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Quirks and all…this kid has got it going on!

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Be still my heart…precious boy

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Celebration cake baby!!!  

Extreme Chocolate Cake aka Celebration Cake  (adapted from http://www.allrecipes.com)

Stuff You Need:

For the cake:

2 cups white sugar

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 cup canola oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup brewed strong coffee

For the icing:

3/4 cup butter (ya’ll know I don’t use margarine…real butter)

1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder

5 1/3 cups powdered sugar

2/3 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Yields 1-3 layer 9-inch cake (original recipes calls for 4 layer…but I don’t slice cake horizontally…ain’t nobody got time for that..but feel free to do this is you want)

What to do with the stuff:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour 3 9 inch cake pans.  

In a large bowl, or standing mixer bowl, stir together all the dry ingredients.  Mix in eggs, milk, oil and vanilla.  Mix for 3 minutes with electric mixer or standing mixer.  Stir in the brewed coffee by hand (trust me).  Distribute the batter evenly among 3 cake pans.  Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Let the cakes cool completely before icing.

To make the icing…Cream butter in until light and fluffy.  Stir in the cocoa and powdered sugar ALTERNATING (this is in all caps because I missed this part of the recipe and there were issues…) with the milk and vanilla.  Beat until the consistency is just right for spreading.  Spread icing evenly between each luscious layer and then all over the tops and the sides.  Make sure you have a gallon of ice cold milk on hand because this cake demands you drink milk with it.  Get ready for your kids or family members or husband or neighbors to do celebration cake worthy things every week so you will make this cake more often.  Seriously…this is cake is worthy of any little celebration.  Bake one today!!!!  

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Me and my boy…I love him so…

Pioneer Woman’s Sunday Night Stew aka Perfection in a pot

Me oh my.  Growing up, my mom loved to make Mulligan Stew.  I truly detested that stuff.  Not sure why…it just didn’t flip my switch I guess.  As a result, I rejected stew for many years.  Of course, as we grow up, thankfully our tastes change and we expand our palette.  Now, before you read the ingredients list for this recipe, let me go on ahead and tell you…this recipe calls for turnips.  Go on…ewww…gag…gross…I don’t eat those.  Trust Cajun Mama, you will eat them in this stew.  Unless you are allergic to them…then I don’t know what to tell you.  They give this stew a sweet flavor that is unlike any other and this stew is absolutely perfect.  I promise.  Big Daddy loves him some turnips.  Remember he is country as all get out.  His theory is…”if there are turnips in it, I know I am gonna like it”.  He LOVES turnips.  He wants to grow turnips in his garden.  So, when I came across this recipe, I figured I would give it a try, knowing he would love it.  Oh he loved it alright.  And so did I.  It is one of my favorite dishes to make during the winter.  I really hope you won’t let your dislike of turnips turn you away.  It is almost like they are potatoes in this recipe.  So flipping good.

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Perfection in a pot I tell you.

Pioneer Woman’s Sunday Night Stew

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon real butter

2 pounds stew meat or a 2 pound chuck roast cut into chunks

1 medium onion, diced

2 turnips, peeled and diced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

4 carrots, peeled and sliced

4 cups of beef stock or beef broth

a few dashes of Worcestershire

4 oz. of tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon sugar

chopped parsley, optional

Directions:

Salt and pepper your stew meat.  Heat olive oil in a dutch oven or heavy pot over medium high heat.  Add your pat of butter and let it melt.  When it is melted, put add half of your stew meat to the pot.  Brown it until the outside get nice and brown or about 2 minutes or so.  Make sure you stir it to turn as it browns.  Once it is nicely browned, remove it from the pot with a slotted spoon and  put  it on a plate. Do the same thing with the other half.  Remove from the pot and set aside.  Now, add the onion and garlic to the pot.  Stir to coat in all the brown bits in the bottom of the pot…my daddy calls that the gremille.  Cook for about 2 minutes, then stir in the tomato paste.  Stirring constantly, let this cook for another 2 minutes or so.

Pour in your beef stock, stirring constantly.  Add a few dashes or splashes of Worcestershire and sprinkle in the sugar.  Give it a nice stir to let all the flavors combine.  Now, add the beef back to the pot.  Cover and reduce the heat to low.  Simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  After the time is up,stir in the diced carrots and turnips to the simmering stew.  Let this simmer for about 30 more minutes.  The sauce will be rather thick, but if you think it is too thick, you can add a little more broth or stock until it is thin enough for your liking.  Once the turnips and carrots are fork tender, you can add some parsley if you like.  I do this once I serve the stew in bowls.  My kids tend to ask “Ewww what is that green stuff?!!” and the inspections begin.  So I try to not raise any red flags early on.  Sigh.  Anyway, ladle some of this absolute utter deliciousness into bowls over mashed potatoes (how I like it) or cooked rice (how Big Daddy likes it…yes, we are a couple divided…again…sigh).  If you make up a pan of cornbread, you will be golden and loved forever.  You will be hailed as queen of your castle and you will get a crown.  Oh wait, no, that was a dream I had.  Never the less, this is a WONDERFUL meal, especially on a cold windy and rainy day.  Hope you love this recipe as much as we do in Cajun Mama’s kitchen.  Cest bon ma chere!!  Joyeaux Noel!  Thank you for being a part of this journey so far.  You are a blessing to me!!!

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.  🙂  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!!!  

            

Chicken Potpie

There is something about comfort food isn’t there?  It seems to warm you from the inside out.  It takes the chill out of a cold rainy day or the sting off of a bad day.  Experts say we shouldn’t eat our feelings and I definitely agree, but there is nothing wrong with gathering around the table and enjoying a meal.  Or chatting with a good friend over a cup of coffee…and a slice of pie.  🙂  It is a basic human right to connect with others.  When my babies were well…babies…I could instantly soothe them by nursing them.  It wasn’t the milk that comforted them…it was the closeness between us.  I think that is the connection we have with comfort food.   Give a child a warm cookie and a glass of milk and sit there…see what happens.  Heck, give Big Daddy a warm cookie and a glass of milk and sit there…he will be more than happy to talk while the cookies keep coming.  Same thing with this potpie.  I know I call a lot of the food I post about “magical” and maybe in a way I believe it is.  Sometimes for me, the difference between a good day and a bad day is knowing I am cooking something good for my family for supper.  I can’t control how they do on their test, if they had someone to play with on the playground or if Big Daddy had a good day at the office…but a good meal?  THAT I can do.  I am a big believer in do what you can, where you are, with what you have.  I guess maybe cooking is that way for me.  I cannot control many things, but I can control whether or not my family has something yummy to eat for supper.  And by sharing that with you, I guess I am in a way trying to help you out a little too.  This world can be overwhelming, heartbreaking, scary, and many other things sometimes…the simple things will always be the things we come back to time and time again no matter how many fancy technological gadgets we have.  Sitting around the table sharing a meal is time tested.  We know that works.  Which brings me to this wonderful chicken pot pie recipe I have for you today.

Chicken potpie is one of my favorite dishes.  When I was little, I loved the Swanson potpies and as I got older I would order it at restaurants.  I finally found a recipe that fulfills my potpie desires AND now I can have potpie any time I want.  Well, anytime I want to cook one.  Bonus, one of my little girls love chicken potpie as much as her mama and she loves this recipe.  Oddly enough, this is the very first Paula Deen recipe I saw her make on her show when my friend Kylie introduced me to Paula Deen back in 2004 and i was pregnant with that same little girl.  I craved chicken potpie during that pregnancy and needed to find a way to get some.  Funny how that works.  Plus, this recipe makes two potpies if you want it to or you can freeze extra filling.  This potpie recipe makes enough for two potpies, so you can either make both and take one to a friend who could use a good meal or simply freeze the extra filling in some Tupperware for another time.   I adapted this recipe from Paula Deen’s Lady and Sons chicken potpie recipe.  I added potatoes and more carrots and peas.  Other than that, this recipe is just absolutely delicious and perfect.  Now, I followed the original recipe instructions for the dough, but I will tell you an easier and in my opinion, better way, to do the crust.  The original called for puff pastry dough, but here I will tell you how to use a basic roll out pie crust.

Perfect Chicken Potpie (adapted from Lady and Sons’ Chicken Potpie recipe)

Ingredients:

4 roll out pie crusts (Pillsbury or store brand)

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts,

salt and pepper

2 T. cooking oil

1/3 cup butter

2/3 cup all purpose flour

1 quart (4 cups) heavy cream

1/4 cup chicken base (this is typically located near the canned soups and broths on the top shelf…I tell you this because when I made this recipe the first time, I had NO idea what chicken base was and could not find it.  Chicken base (and beef) are your best friends when it comes to gravy making or in this potpie.)

1 Tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 small yellow onion, diced fine

1 1/2 cups of frozen pea, cooked

1 1/2 cups of chopped cooked carrots

1 cup diced potatoes, cooked

Pinch of nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Roll out one Pillsbury or store brand pie crust.  Lay it in a 9 ” pie plate.  (If you are prepping 2 potpies, then do the same for another pie crust).  Bake your crust(s) in your preheated oven until it is lightly browned.  About 8 minutes.  This ensures that your potpie is evenly cooked throughout.  Leave your oven on 350 degrees after you take the crust out and set aside.

Filling:

Cut your chicken breasts up into 1 ” cubes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add chicken and saute until cooked through. Remove from heat and transfer chicken to a plate.  (you can use precooked chicken or bake chicken breasts in the oven and then cut up)

You can use canned pea, carrots and potatoes.   I throw the frozen peas, cut up fresh carrots and potatoes into a pot with the veggies just covered with water.  I bring them to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer until the carrots and potatoes are just tender enough.  Usually about 15 minutes.  I get this going before I start cooking the chicken and the process moves along nicely.  Drain the veggies in a colander when they are tender.  Set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt butter and then slowly whisk in flour, stirring until it is the consistency of peanut butter. Do not brown it and stir it constantly for about 2 minutes or so.  Slowly whisk in the cream and continue to stir.  Add chicken base, garlic and onion and stir until thickened.  Add the cooked peas, carrots, and potatoes and nutmeg, if using.  Add your cooked chicken.  Give it a good stir to combine and then remove from heat.

Pour the filling into the pie crusts (s).  If you are only making one potpie, Pour until the filling almost reaches the top of the pie crust.  About an inch under.  Top with other pie crust and then bake in the oven until the top crust is nicely browned.  About 20 minutes.

Let it cool and then serve.  You are in your happy place.  Comfort food nirvana.  Enjoy!!!

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Comfort food at its finest…just add a glass of milk

PW’s meatloaf and BB’s honey carrots

I love meatloaf.  I love meatloaf sandwiches.  I am speaking out today on behalf of meatloaf lovers everywhere.  This post is for you. My mama always made cheese stuffed meatloaf and I always loved it but when I moved out, I could never quite make it as well so I found other recipes and tried them out.  They just didn’t hit the spot.  Then I had kids and meatloaf making kind of went by the way side for a few years.  Then they got a little older and my oldest and my pickiest eater loved meatballs, burgers, and hamburger steak so I had a hunch he might like meatloaf.  I found a Paula Deen recipe and he loved it.  Definite winner.  Sadly, when we moved last year, I lost the magazine that the recipe was in and I have tried to find it again but I can’t.  I have googled it, searched pinterest for it.  Nothing.  To be honest, he loved that recipe, but I could go either way on it so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to branch out and find some new meatloaf recipes.  Boy did I find a good one.  Oddly enough, I have Pioneer Woman’s cookbooks and I know I have seen this recipe but I never made it until Big Daddy told me he had a hankering for meatloaf the other day.  So I set out and sure enough…this recipe came up when I googled best meatloaf recipes.  Yep, apparently google knows good meatloaf.  Big Daddy almost made himself sick on this meatloaf.  I am not lying.  It went so well with some mac and cheese and BB’s honey carrots (as my kids call them and BB is what they call her).  Now, my oldest did not try it.  He decided to pass, which is not unusual for him with a new dish.  The majority of the fam liked it so I considered it a win.  I think he found the bacon on top off putting.  None the less, whether or not you or your family care for meatloaf, if you are just wanting to experiment and are wanting an awesome meatloaf in your repertoire, this is a great place to start.  Oh and the leftovers make a delicious sandwich for lunch the next day.  Can’t beat that.

I made a few additions to this recipe and I have a few suggestions for what I will do next time, but this recipe can be found on The Pioneer Woman’s website/blog and in her cookbook.

Pioneer Woman’s favorite meatloaf 

2 lbs. ground chuck

1 cup whole milk

6 slices of white sandwich bread

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 tsp. seasoned salt

3/4 tsp. Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup flat leaf parsley (I omitted this as my kids tend to find any “green stuff” in their meat off putting)

*I add some Mexi-cajun seasoning to mine.  My friend Shelley makes it and it is so good.  I put about 1/2 tsp. in my meat

4 whole eggs, beaten

10 slices thin (not thick cut or center cut) bacon

1 1/2 cup ketchup

1/3 brown sugar

1 tsp. dry mustard

a few shakes of Tabasco or LA hot sauce or to taste

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium size bowl, pour milk over the bread slices.  Allow the milk to soak in for a few minutes.  Prepare your 9 x 13 baking dish by covering the bottom and sides with aluminum foil. Trust me on this. If you have a rack that fits in your baking dish or pan, use it.  It will allow the fat to drip down.  Again…trust me.

In a separate bowl, add your ground chuck, Parm, seasonings and milk soaked bread.  Pour in the beaten eggs.  With clean hands, mix the ingredients until well combined.

Lay bacon slices over the top.  Tuck the ends of the slices under the meatloaf.

Make the sauce:  add ketchup, brown sugar, dry mustard,and hot sauce in a mixing bowl.  Whisk this together.  Pour 1/3 of this mixture over the top of the bacon.  Spread with a spoon.

Bake the meatloaf for 45 minutes and then pour another 1/3 of the sauce over the top.  Bake for another 15 minutes.  Slice and serve with the remaining sauce on the side.

BB’s Honey carrots (an all star side if there ever was one.  Tasty and sweet, but still carrots and your kids are eating carrots so that makes them healthy…ish…healthier than say french fries…so score one for you!!  And they have honey for the main ingredient and how can that be bad?)

Stuff you need~

1 pound bag of carrots, peeled and sliced

1/2-1/3 cup of honey

2-3 Tablespoons sugar

1 Tablespoon butter, optional (this just makes them a little richer but not necessary at all)

Add carrots to a medium sauce pan.  Cover with water plus a little more.  Add honey and sugar and butter if you are using it.  Bring to a boil uncovered.  Reduce to a simmer, cover and let them cook until fork tender and some of the water has evaporated out.  Perfect.  These goes great with baked chicken and rice and gravy as well.  Just saying.  Enjoy.

 

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Is your mouth watering?  Mine is and i just ate the rest last night.  You won’t be disappointed.