Tag Archives: creamy

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!!

Advertisements

Perfect Potatoes Au Gratin ala Pioneer Woman

I love potatoes.  I love baked potatoes.  I love boiled new potatoes.  I love garlic mashed potatoes.  Need I go on?  No?  Ok.  I am pretty sure by making this statement, I lose just a little more standing in my family. Growing up we had potatoes every once in a while.  My daddy liked his rice and gravy with his meat.  Period.  Now, when my mom fried chicken she would make “creamed” potatoes as she calls them. And of course the obligatory French fries with the fried fish on
Fridays, especially during Lent. For the most part, potatoes were a stranger at my mama’s dinner table in straight up potato form. I can distinctly remember declaring at some point in high school that I would NEVER, EVER God as my witness make rice and gravy once I left home. (It was all very dramatic and full of southern teen angst at the least). Luckily that is not true and I got some sense as I got older. Rice and gravy has its lovely place on our table because it for dang sure deserves a spot.  I mean…Cajun Mama…duh.  Rice and gravy.  Also, it is good to remember that we ate a lot of potato salad so I guess potatoes would be redundant on the side of your meal.  But when I say l love potatoes, I mean I like potatoes with my cheese.  Lol!!!  Cause me likes my cheese.  Creamy, cheesy, decadent potatoes.  Those are my favorite.  This recipe I am posting today is exactly that.  Oh my.  Just potato perfection my friends.  Equally at home along side a grilled rib eye or a plate of barbecued chicken or ribs.  This au gratin potato recipe requires minimal ingredients and you probably have the majority of them in the pantry or fridge.  It is super simple and quick to whip together.  Versatile, easy to make, and just a few ingredients are all things that make a recipe perfect.  Oh it has to be delicious. This one is it!!  You and your family will absolutely love these.  Trust me on this one.  I found this recipe one day when reading through one of my Pioneer Woman cookbooks…it is her second one I do believe.  When I read through the recipe I felt like I had won the recipe jackpot!!  I made them over and over again for a few weeks. Yes they are carbs and they are worth every bit of the indulgence. I hope you feel the same when you try them. In fact, next to my special potatoes, which you can find here https://cajunmamacookinblog.com/2013/11/12/cajun-mama-special-potatoes/ ..this is probably my favorite potato side dish.

 

Potatoes Au Gratin

Serves 8

Stuff you need~

 

4 russet potatoes, scrubbed clean
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons flour
4 cloves of garlic, minced or 2 tsp. of the jarred garlic (I am not above this)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (recipe calls for sharp, but I encourage you to use what you have)

What to do with the stuff~

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Smear the softened butter all over the bottom of an 9 x 13 baking dish. Next start out by slicing the potatoes, then cutting into strips and then dicing them into cubes.

Now, in a medium size bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, milk, flour, minced garlic, salt and pepper.
Layer 1/3 at the bottom of the buttered baking dish. Next, pour about 1/3 of the milk mixture over the potatoes. Give that a good stir. Next, layer some more potatoes and then more milk, about 1/3 of each. Do this until the potatoes and milk are all used up. Cover tightly with foil. Bake in preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle shredded cheese over the piping hot potatoes. Return dish to oven, uncovered and bake until cheese is all bubbly and yummy looking. Heaven in a baking dish I tell you right now.

20140525-194737-71257818.jpg

20140525-194737-71257438.jpg
this is the hardest part and it isn’t hard

20140525-200840-72520156.jpg
glorious shredded cheddar…get in my potatoes!

20140525-200937-72577300.jpg
this is what makes this dish the creamy perfection that it is

20140525-201051-72651977.jpg
I minced my own garlic this time

20140525-201125-72685278.jpg
getting ready to go into the oven

Cajun Mama’s Creamy Chicken Spaghetti

So first things first.  I have told ya’ll that I am not from Shreveport originally.  I know it seems like those 2 hours North of Alex. would not make that big a difference food wise.  It does.  Chicken spaghetti is  a dish that I personally had not eaten or heard of before I came to Shreveport.  In fact, when my good friend Leia was craving chicken spaghetti during her first pregnancy, I honestly thought she meant spaghetti sauce with chicken pieces in it.  My mom made that when i was growing up.  My daddy loved it.  Spaghetti and meatballs and chicken in it.  So I thought that was what she meant when she said she wanted chicken spaghetti.  I was so wrong.  They were kind about it and thought my naivety was endearing.  So then one day, a sweet dear lady named Mama Kate sent me a local church cookbook and low and behold, it had a recipe for chicken spaghetti in it.  So I made it.  It was good but took a lot of time and at the time I was in college and didn’t have time for that.  Around this time, my mom started making chicken spaghetti and she had her own way (which is usually fantastic and better) and it was so good.  So over the years, my recipe sort of evolved and Big Daddy absolutely loves it.  Good enough of an endorsement for me.  I am quite certain everyone reading this has made chicken spaghetti before, but just in case you haven’t, let me warn you…this is one of those dishes that you will make repeatedly until you are sick of it because it is so good and easy.  My kids love this dish, but not with the Rotel so I always pull some out before I add the mushrooms or Rotel.  I always serve this with garlic bread and a nice big green salad.  MMMMMMMM!!!

1395910_555629214517650_389458128_n

Creamy dreamy chicken spaghetti 

 

Cajun Mama’s Creamy Chicken Spaghetti

Ingredients 

1 package of angel hair spaghetti

2 cans cream of mushroom soup

2 cans cream of chicken soup

1 jar of sliced mushrooms, drained

1 can Rotel tomatoes (I use mild but use the heat you want)

1 16 oz. package of Velveeta (I use the  2 % milk kind)

1 package of boneless chicken thighs, cooked and shredded (you can definitely use a rotisserie chicken if you choose)

Directions

Cook your chicken and shred.  Set aside.  Boil your pasta according to package directions.  Drain.  Pour pasta into a dutch oven.  Pour soups, Rotel, and  mushrooms into the pot.  Cut the velveeta into chunks and add that to the pot.  Now, over low heat, stir this all together.  You will need a strong spoon for this as this concoction is hard to stir until it is well combined.  Be sure to stir frequently as the pasta starts to stick to the bottom.  Continue to stir until the cheese is melted throughout and the pasta is well combined with the soups and cheese.  I like to sprinkle a little kosher salt and cracked black pepper over the finished product before serving.

There is really nothing to it.  Hope you love this dish as much as we do.  It is such a crowd pleaser!

Image

Me…so excited to get the Pioneer Woman’s new cookbook on the day it was released!  I have no shame.  ha ha

Cajun MAMA side note~That picture is the REAL me.  No makeup.  Hair not straightened.  Dark marks on my skin left from my pregnancies showing.  Totally excited expression and really quite goofy and cheeseball.  Yep that’s me.  I have never been one for pretense and these days even less so.  It takes too much time and energy.  Sure, I love to get dressed up and put on my makeup when I feel like it.  When I do, the only person I am trying to impress is…me.  It makes me feel good and the mood has struck me.  Other than that, no thanks.  I am my own genuine article just like you are.  I embrace her frankly because I do not have the energy to force this into any other than its natural state.   I am a little rough around the edges at times.  I am ok with that.  I would rather be seen that way than anyone ever accuse me of being anything less than real.  In this journey we call life, I find it easiest to love me the way I am.  I cannot be like anyone else.  It is too much trouble.  So I give myself permission to like me just the way I am.  I give you  permission to.  Now…there is a bracelet that my friend tagged me in a picture of that said “hide your crazy”. lol!!  Now, I want that bracelet so I can remind myself to reign myself in when I get a little TOO authentic and real.  But no Kardashian life for me.  I am not polished.  I am not posh.  And seeing the train wreck that is the Kardashians these days, why would anyone want to be that?  Who wants to keep up with the Kardashians?  They can hardly keep up with themselves.  That is a hard lonely life they are leading.  No thanks.  I will keep being the authentic hot mess that I am, cheesing it up in the Barnes and Noble because I got a new cookbook.  There is no glamour in that, but there is peace and contentment.  So be real my friends.  Be you.  Embrace your emotions, your true self.  Love that.  It is perfect as is.

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

970537_543936975686874_1085956145_n

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!!!!

1380302_544135019000403_1623597391_n

 

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