Tag Archives: Cook

Cheddar Cheese Grits Casserole and (im)perfect moments

Grits.  You either love them or you hate them.  There is typically no in between ground there.  No gray area where someone is a little iffy and be swayed one way or another.  I am definitely a grits lover.  I like them with a good bit of salt, pepper and a ridiculous amount of butter.  This year I discovered something surprising…grits are so delicious with garlic and cheese in them.  I mean really, really delicious. Creamy, cheesy with just a hint of garlic to them.  Topped with more cheese…they are a wonderful accompaniment to any brunch.  I told ya’ll this week I was doing “blog about brunch”…I will say again…I am a fool for some brunch.  This grits casserole can find a home on any brunch table.  I have so many brunch recipes that I am not sure I could share them all with you over the course of a week or two…but I will round up some of my faves.  The other day I gave ya’ll the breakfast danish casserole.  Score one for Cajun Mama cause that baby is a winner.   Anyway, this is another excellent addition to your brunch recipe repertoire (say THAT 3 times fast!).

Like anyone, I tend to reflect as one year comes to a close and we usher in another.  I guess the time for reflection and taking stock comes for all of us at this time.  I hate to put too much emphasis on these days because for some it is such a hard time to get around and most of us are ready to move on to another year.  I don’t know what kind of year it has been for many of you.  For me, it has been good and fast paced but also has brought many things to light.  Some good and happy.  Others not so much.  But I do know this..and I hope you do too…I am where I am for a reason.  It is part of my path.  Just like finding these cheesy garlic grits are part of my destiny (I am not kidding…they are that good!), so is whatever you are doing or where you are at this moment.  I will not get all deep because I know ya’ll probably don’t get on here to listen to my insights about life..also because we have some family coming in for New Years Eve.  I have cooking to do.  Shocking…I know.   I will only say this…my in laws came in the other day to celebrate our Christmas.  They wanted to take pictures in front of the tree.  I took some of them and the kids.  They wanted me to get in there.  I had no makeup on.  My hair was not really fixed.  I didn’t know how my outfit would look.  I don’t consider myself a vain woman, but I am a woman.  Taking an ugly picture is not really ever my goal.  But I decided to be grateful for the moment to take pictures with my precious family.  To BE in the moment, instead of wishing to be somewhere else or look another way.  I ended up loving the picture because it captures our joy as a family.  The fun we always (ok…well usually) have together.  Being in the moment is not easy for me.  I tend to want to jump ahead or look behind.  But the good stuff, however not perfect it may seem, for me, is usually right where I am.  Even if I cannot see it or appreciate it at that moment.  So today, I hope you can look around and see the beauty in where you are.  In this moment, or the day, or of your life.  Every moment has something to offer and teach.  Even the imperfections (and mine are so many) can be beautiful.  Anyway, enough of that.  The focus here is cheesy, garlic, yummy, creamy grits.  Make them.  You will be oh so happy you did.  Much love and many blessings to all of you.

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We may not have it all together…but together we have it all (that should be our family motto)

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Garlicky cheesy goodness…so perfectly Southern and perfect 

Southern Living Cheddar Cheese Grits Casserole (Southern Living magazine December 2010)

Stuff you need:

4 cups milk (I use 3 cups whole and 1 cup half and half for extra creaminess but the other way is great too)

1/4 cup butter \1 cup uncooked quick-cooking grits

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (that Kraft kind with Philidelphia cream cheese added is amazing in this)

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

What to do with the stuff:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a 11 x 7 inch baking dish.  Bring milk just to a boil in a large saucepan over medium high heat.  Whisk in butter and grits a little bit at a time.  Reduce heat and simmer, whisking mixture constantly for 5 to 7 minutes, or until grits are cooked.  Remove from heat. Stir in lightly beaten egg followed cheddar cheese, salt and pepper.  Add in finely chopped garlic if desired at this time.  Pour into prepared dish.  Sprinkle with grated Parm.  Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes or until mixture is set.  Serve immediately.  Yummmmm!!!!  The epitome of southern dishes, right on your kitchen table or brunch buffet table.  Be sure to take a nice long whiff of the garlicky aroma before digging in.  I also sprinkle some Tony’s on it before serving.  Adds just a hint of spice and a nice kick of color.

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Crock-Pot Creamy Cheesy Potato Soup

Well the crock pot frenzy continues over here in Cajun Mama’s kitchen.  Fall is in the air, the windows are open, breeze is flowing in, I have a sinus headache and the circle of life in the South continues.  I am hoping that you read my post from yesterday about it being crockpot week on cajun mama.  If not, just scroll on down and read that post.  Now, I don’t have a picture of this already prepared as it is currently in the process of cooking, so I apologize.  On the flip side, I am ahead of the game which is a good feeling!  Also, this is my first time to try this recipe but really…how bad can it be?  No, it is not the ultimate potato soup.  I found quite a few potato soup recipes that I would have rather tried but this one definitely caught my eye and the reviews were great.  The difference between this one and the others is that this one is made in the slow cooker and requires almost no prep work.  This week is about convenience and saving time.  This one qualifies.  I hope we all just love it and it becomes a keeper.  Only time will tell or approximately 6 hours on low.  Ha ha!!!  As a side note~today has been what I call a shady Tuesday.  You think Tuesday would be great because Monday has the rep for being “the bad day”.  Shady Tuesdays are like that.  Bad Tuesdays.  Tuesdays are given far too much credit as far as I am concerned.  One thing that has given me a little smile and sense of comfort as I clean bright yellow laffy taffy out of the carpet is that I have something yummy (I hope) in the slow cooker.  One less thing to worry about.  Now I will get the rolls rising and I will be smiling big time. (um…no not from scratch?  don’t ya’ll know me at ALL?  I mean that frozen dough.  Defrost and then rise.) Take that Tuesday!!!

Crock-Pot Creamy Cheesy Potato Soup ( slightly adapted from Sprinkle Joy blog)

1 bag  of Ore-Ida southern style diced potatoes (hasbrowns)

32 oz. (one box) of chicken broth (reduced sodium is what I use)

1 can of cream of chicken soup

1/2 cup of onion, chopped

1/4 tsp. group black peper

1 8 oz package of cream cheese (1/3 less fat kind or the regular because they melt better than fat free)

optional toppings:  crumbled bacon, shredded cheddar, sour cream, green onions

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This is at the beginning of the cooking process!

Very Uncomplicated Directions:

Dump all of the ingredients except for the cream cheese into your slow cooker.  Crock Pot.  What have you.  Give it a good stir and then put the lid on.  Let it cook for 6-7 hours.  Add the cream cheese and stir.  Put lid back on and let it cook for another hour or until cream cheese is melted and then stir to combine.  Now, I have a crock pot with a timer function.  I set it for 6 hours and let it go.  This is wonderful feature because you don’t have to worry about getting home to shut it off on time.  A great idea for my friends with jobs outside of the home!!  Check the seasoning if you desire and add salt and pepper to your liking.  Ladle soup into bowls and then add optional toppings if you want them.  Enjoy!!!  And relish in the fact that you are so AWESOME that you are able to prepare supper while you are not even in the kitchen.  That is multi-tasking at its very finest.  I am woman (or man)!  Hear me ROAR!!!

Of course once my family and I try this soup, I will come back and add some additional comments depending on how we like it and what may need a little tweaking.  Thanks for reading.  Drop me some comments if you want.  I would love to hear from ya’ll!!!!

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Heaven in a bowl ya’ll!  mmmmmmmm (that is my final verdict. mmmmm)

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

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

Cajun Mama Red Beans and Rice 

Ingredients 

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

Directions

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

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