Tag Archives: healthy

Loretta’s corn salad

So Big Daddy is a Farm Bureau insurance agent. They are an amazing company with a reputation for excellent personal customer service. The people who work for FB are mostly just good people. Good ole folks. From the secretaries, to the managers, to the agents and the adjusters. They are family people who are hardworking and sincerely just want to help. Naturally, the secretaries there need to be extra hard working and amazing because they deal with the public and are the right hands of the agents. When BD started working there many years ago, he had an amazing secretary who is so amazing and still such a big part of our lives, it would be wrong not to mention Renee. She is an amazing cook and I imagine I have several of her recipes to share. She moved and took another job with a different agency, but still Farm Bureau. Love us some Renee and no one can replace her. She delivers a big sack of Christmas goodies to BD every year and he cannot wait to tear into them. In fact the other morning as he was brewing his coffee, he asks me if I could make some cinnamon bread (coffee cake) and I was all like “um…who do I look like? Renee?” I am not sure even if I had her exact recipe (Renee? Can I have it?) I could make mine as good as her’s. She is a great cook, baker, friend, mom and grandmother and I am not sure I qualify. So when she left, we wondered if they would ever get another amazing secretary. There have been some good ones in between but one day, Loretta walks in and BD knew. She was going to be great. And she is. Now there are 2 great secretaries. Big shout out to my girl Tanya…the Desoto Parish FB cake baker!!

Boy is Loretta ever amazing. Our kids adore her. She babysits them and they push us out the door. She is hilarious, big hearted and has a big laugh that makes you smile when you hear it. She keeps a tree in her house that she decorates even in the summer. She is one of a kind. We love us some Loretta. So one year, they had an agency Thanksgiving feast (pretty sure Loretta made that happen) and she made chicken and dressing (omg so good…recipe to be shared later) and a corn salad that made me want to do a happy dance. So so so so good. She emailed me the recipe in time for Christmas that year and I made a batch. It is perfect. I made so much though that we had a ton leftover. So BD took the rest to Bayou LaGrue and it was gone that night after dinner.
So cut to last week and BD tells me he signed me up to make Loretta’s corn salad for their upcoming agency feast. I was a little annoyed to be honest. Like “who do I look like, Loretta?! That is her signature dish!! I cannot do it justice!” I mean, I am supposed to make her dish for her?! What!? But then I remembered I am a food blogger, dang it and my readers might love this recipe. So I will make it and blog the recipe and it will be ok. And it was. And now we have corn salad for their office feast and some for our family dinner. Score! This recipe is a winner. It is fresh and tangy but sweet. It’s just a great fresh side for any meal. It provides some lovely colors for your plate (my mama taught me that was important so I try to make sure our plate is colorful). I think you will love it and I am pretty sure it will be a mainstay for your Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter dinners and many meals in between. Loretta is not great at giving exact measurements in her recipes (none of the great cooks are) so I am having to improvise. You can half the recipe or you can add to it depending on how many folks you are feeding (I am channeling my inner Loretta here). You will love this recipe and if you know Loretta or ever meet her, you will love her too. Thank God for Loretta (and her corn salad recipe). Love you Lolo!

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Loretta and her hubby, Ken

Loretta’s corn salad

serves a bunch of folks…like 12

stuff you need

2 cans Mexican corn, drained
2 cans shoe peg corn, drained
4 carrots, peeled, halved and chopped 2 stalks celery, sliced
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped (I used green because that is what I had but the red adds color)
1 can petite diced tomatoes, drained (optional)
1 zucchini, halved and then chopped
1 small purple onion, diced
1 cup grape seed oil
1 cup vinegar
2 cups sugar
Kosher salt and black pepper

what to do with the stuff

Ok, add all the veggies into a big bowl. Simple enough. Cover and put in fridge until the dressing is cooled.

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love all the colors!

Now, In a small saucepan, bring grape seed oil, vinegar and sugar to a boil. Once boiling, whisk fairly consistently
while the mixture boils for about 4-5 minutes. The sugar should be completely dissolved or almost anyway. Like this…

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keep whisking if the sugar is still stuck at the bottom.

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ah whisk it, whisk it real good! Chi chi chi chi chi chi chi

Allow the mixture to cool. Pour over corn salad and stir in between pours. Add as much of the mixture as you think is good. Those fresh veggies should be good and evenly covered with that sweet dressing. Yum. Sprinkle with some kosher salt and black pepper for some kick and there you have it!!!

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Sweet corn salad full of fresh veggie goodness…you are so perfect

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, my awesome readers. I don’t claim to know much, but I do know how important you reading what I write means to me. I appreciate your support, your comments, your encouragement and you just being along for the ride with me. I am grateful for all of you. And so much more. Hope your turkey day is wonderful and full of joy and blessings. When I count my blessings, I count you twice. Much love from my family to yours. ~AMB

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a few of my top blessings at the tree farm yesterday. If local, check out http://www.weaverschristmastreefarm.com. It’s a great experience that you will want to make a family tradition.

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My handsome Farm Bureau agent helping get our tree at the tree farm. I am grateful for such a strong sweet husband. Love that man.

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so grateful for this fur baby. He has the big job of healing hurts and bringing joy…and he does fine. We love him so.

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Chicken Parmesan and embracing the past

So lately I have been having the envie (said “ah-vee”) or as some say, craving, for chicken Parmesan.  MMMM…I love chicken parm.   Growing up in a double Cajun household, both parents from Marksville, Blue Town and Broulliette respectively, that is a phrase I heard frequently.  My dad would say “Hey Bern, I’ve got an envie for pork stew”….or it might have been “a mess of grillades”.  Funny how those phrases sound so familiar to me but to someone else, it sounds strange.  In the house I grew up in, I was never lucky enough for one of my parents to crave chicken parmesan.  Ha ha!  That would have been too normal.  Red beans and rice or spaghetti and meatballs was about as normal as it got.  When I was younger, I was never embarrassed of our Cajun roots, but I did not cling to them like I do now.  Maybe it is being a Cajun Catholic transplant among all these North Louisianians or as they call them in Alex. or below…rednecks.  (sorry guys, but it is true…and I am one now and it is all good.  My dad calls my kids little coon necks.  Mix between coonass and rednecks.  He is a clever guy, my dad.)   The things that I cling to and recall now with extreme pride now are things that were commonplace growing up.  They didn’t seem strange until someone else said it was.  For instance, when I was probably in 2nd grade, my family was going to a boucherie at my grandparents’ house.  That was a normal occurrence in our family.  My parents got really excited about it.  For those who do not know, this is the event where they kill a pig that has been raised specifically for this purpose and then have a big get together and make boudin, cracklins, grillades, hog head cheese, and so on.  A friend from school had spent the night with me and she came along.  We walk in my grandfather’s shop, where they were making the boudin, and she screams.  Loudly.  I am pretty sure she mentioned something about the movie Carrie…I can’t be sure.  7 year old girls can be brutal. Both of my grandmother’s, Momou and Momee, were in there making boudin.  Now, I apologize for being graphic and this may gross some of ya’ll out, but both of their hands were elbow deep in a bowl of pig blood.  That is what they do to make the red boudin.  That’s right.  It has blood in it.  I only eat the white, but many of my family members love the red.  It is considered a delicacy.  Now, see, had I had a set of grandparents that did not live in Avoyelles or were not so similar in ways to the other set, I might have realized this was different.  But that was all I knew.  It was completely normal to me.  I found that little incident a little embarrassing at that time, but it did not take long for me to embrace my Cajun roots with pride.  I love everything about it.  Even the not so pretty.  Another story…I distinctly remember Momou making chicken fricassee  or smothered chicken with the chicken feet in the pot.  I remember it striking me as kind of off, but not really, and I never asked.  That is just what we do.  I didn’t always  appreciate all that I was privvy to growing up in a double Cajun household, but now, oh now, I feel lucky.  I feel those traditions and nuances steeped deep into my bones and find so much joy in being different.  It is what makes us who we are.  I named my youngest baby Lucas Mayeux…his middle name is my maiden name.  Of course, people name their kids after their maiden names all the time, but for me, it about more than a name.  It is what that name represents.  What it carries on.  I am no longer Aimee Marie Mayeux.  I am Aimee Mayeux Bowlin…I say it with pride.

So, maybe I was never lucky enough to have my parents crave Chicken Parm and cook it for me.  That is something I do now for myself.  What I crave even more is making sure that as many of those traditions and strange little things, words, details, that I grew up taking for granted are things that my children will come to know as second nature.  It may not happen in Avoyelles very often, but I determine if it is kept alive.  So around here, I get an envie for chicken Parm.  My kids don’t even ask what that means.  They know.  So it goes…bringing the past into the present and shaping it into something brand new to form what will be the future.  I better call my mama to see if she can cook me a mess of grillades when we go to Alex. I have an envie.  But for now, in case any of you get a craving for Chicken Parmesan, really good, not hard, not awfully bad for you, chicken Parm I have a great recipe right here for you.  Note:  I did not pick the recipe because it is a “skinny” version..it isn’t that skinny when you eat 2 helpings…lol!  I picked it because it looked like what I wanted.  Though…nothing wrong with a healthy version whenever possible, especially when it tastes AWESOME!!!  My kids…well 3 out of 4…loved it!  My oldest is a hard sell, tried it and said no thanks..he is not a big fan of cheese topped meals…with the exception of a burger or pizza.  But 3 out of 4 Cajun Kiddos cannot be wrong.

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Baked Chicken Parmesan to satisfy the strongest of envies

Baked Chicken Parmesan (adapted from http://www.skinnytaste.com)

Stuff you need~

4 chicken breasts, cut in half long ways (into strips or you can use 8 tenderloins)

3/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs (I used Progresso garlic and herb breadcrumbs)

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 Tablespoons butter, melted (or olive oil…I used the butter this time)

3/4 Mozzarella cheese (I used the Kraft Italian 5 cheese blend with a touch of Philadelphia cream cheese in it…it is good stuff ya’ll)

1 cup marinara sauce (ya’ll…I used Ragu. That is what I had on hand.  My family does love Robert Newman’s marinara though)

Cooking spray

What to do with the stuff~

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.  Combine breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan in a plate together.  Using a basting brush, spread melted butter lightly over each side of the chicken pieces.  Now, press each chicken piece into the plate of breadcrumbs and flip it over to do the other side.  Do this with each piece individually.  When you are done, place each piece in greased baking dish.  Lightly spray a little more oil on top of the chicken and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.  Turn chicken over and bake for another 5 minutes.  Remove the baking dish from the oven.  Spoon the marinara or spaghetti sauce over the chicken.  Top with shredded cheese.  Return this to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes or so until cheese is nice and bubbly.  I served this on the side of some boiled angel hair pasta topped with some of the Ragu (this way my oldest pickier kid would not starve.  He was down with that.  A nice salad goes well on the side as does some garlic bread, if you really want to do it up!)  Enjoy!!

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Having a Cajun grandmother literally rocks 

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Momee and Momou (aka Beulah Mae and Narcille) were good friends.  How cool is that?  

Updated: Crockpot Chicken Burritos 

You know those days when you want the comforting and familiar?  Today is one of those days.  This week I have been so pleasantly surprised by how great the new crock-pot recipes we have tried have been.  Seriously impressed ya’ll.  But today I woke up and looked around and feel like my house and chores have been neglected.  I know I need to get it together.  Being a stay at home mom is a job.  It is my job.  So no matter what you do for a living, I know you take it seriously and I do the same.  Laundry needs to be done, dishes, in general straightening.  And today is one of those days where I know I need to cry uncle and remind myself that I can’t do it all.  So instead of blogging about a recipe that I have not tried yet today, I am bringing you one of my all time favorite crock pot recipes.  It not only makes itself but it is pretty nutritious too.  Also it is very versatile and it can be as kid friendly as you want it to be.  It requires only a few ingredients that you most likely have and is just so darn good.  Everyone I have ever given this recipe to has raved about it and it has become a regular on their menu line up.    I hope you will try it out.  I am going to blog this recipe while I drink my second cup and then I am going get busy on this house.  Time to kick it into gear.  If I don’t do it, it won’t get done…ya’ll know what I mean!!

The 3 main ingredients for this yummy recipe(plus the chicken)


Crockpot chicken burritos (from Gooseberry Patch Slow Cooker Recipes)

Ingredients

6 chicken boneless, skinless chicken breasts (typically like 2 pounds)

1 can black beans, drained

1 can whole kernel corn, drained

1 16 oz. jar of salsa or picante sauce

tortillas

burrito fixings~shredded cheese, sour cream, diced onion…

All set and ready to cook!!

This is a picture of it when it is about to start cooking.  

Directions

Pour corn, black beans and salsa into the crockpot.  Lay your chicken breasts on top of the mixture.  Put the lid on the slow cooker and then cook on low for 5-6 hours or high for 7-8 (depending on your crockpot).

Remove chicken breasts from the slow cooker and shred them with two forks.  Return chicken back to crock pot and give it a good stir so the chicken and black beans, corn and salsa can get good and comfortable together.  You can serve right away or let it sit in the crock pot a while.

When you are ready, spoon some of the filling into your warmed tortillas and add shredded cheese and sour cream if desired.  Now the beauty of this recipe, is that it is so versatile.  You can serve it over rice, baked potatoes, or tortilla chips like nachos.  Make it your own.

*I am updating this post to really focus on the beauty of this recipe. I have not made it in a while and I am literally salivating while thinking about having these delicious chicken burritos. The simplicity of the recipe mixed with the tastiness and semi-healthy nature (black beans and corn are both superfoods!!) We are staying with some friends in the cabins at Lake Claiborne and we needed something good for supper that we did not have to slave over. This recipe is perfect!!