Tag Archives: quick and easy

Weeknight wonder #1! Southern Living creamy chicken and noodles

First of all, dispel any notion of any previous recipes for chicken and noodles. Even if you love chicken and noodles, this is a different recipe. It’s like sassy, saucy chicken and noodles. They are like traditional chicken and noodle’s sassy older sister with a mysterious air. Yes. The familiarity of chicken noodles yet with an added something. My mother in law, Deb, makes what my father in law calls dead man noodles. They call them this because she makes them when someone passes away and brings them to the grieving family. They are very delicious and a recipe she has made often. They are comforting and make a ton. I enjoy them. So when I came across this recipe several years ago in Southern Living magazine, I would have passed it by except, this recipe was in a section about meals with rotisserie chicken. I stopped short (that’s a nod to Seinfeld, yes. I love rerun comedies. So said like Frank Cosfanza…”I stopped short!” Lol!) and did a double take. What? No boiling a chicken all day? Well sign me up! At that time I distinctly remember having 3 little bitty kiddos under foot all day long and getting any meal on the table was a struggle most evenings. So when I found this and BD really loved it and the kiddos kind of ate it, I thought score!
This week, I decided to post recipes I consider weeknight wonders. Meals you can either prep ahead of time or throw together quickly using shortcuts. Who does not love that? I like to cook, but I love a good shortcut! AND the list of ingredients is so small, I can recall it easily. After 4 kids and lots of sleep deprivation, that is saying so much. This meal definitely comes together quickly and you can change it up a bit to suit your families tastes.~AMB

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not so long ago, there were 3 instead of 4. Home all day and I cherish every crazy moment. They were 3, 2, and about 7 months…2007

Southern Living Creamy chicken and noodles

Stuff you need~

8 ounces of wide egg noodles
3 cups cooked chicken, cut into small pieces (insert ROTISSERIE chicken here…just pick it up at the store and debone it! Done and done!)
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning packet mix (yes the Good Seasons stuff…or store brand)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Fresh parsley (the dried stuff will do in a pinch. Promise)

What to do with the stuff~

Boil your noodles and drain them. Put the noodles back in the pot. Add the butter and toss noodles to coat. It gets hard now so pay attention.
I am totally kidding it’s so easy that it should be wrong. Ok sorry for my little foray into pranking y’all.
Anyway, noodles are coated in butter. It’s all good. Throw in that cut up chicken. Stir. So now, you toss in your 1 tablespoon of Italian dressing mix. NOT THE WHOLE PACKAGE OF IT!!! Next, throw in the grated Parm. And then the parsley. You are gently tossing to coat this whole time. Now, pour in that good ole heavy whipping cream. Stir it in. Oh yeah. It looks good right? Yes so now, over a medium to low heat, heat this up until it thickens a bit. It is so fabulous. Feels like you really did it up, and yet that wasn’t bad at all. Your family gets fed and you are all awesome mom. Or dad. Check you being all awesome!

*If you want to get real fancy like, you can toss in a cup of frozen peas and pieces of ham instead of the cut up chicken.

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these ain’t your grandmother’s chicken and noodles!

Happy Mother’s Day…here is your chicken ranch soft taco

So I debated on whether to post a recipe today…I mean, it has been a week since I last posted a recipe so why today?  I feel guilty when I don’t post a few recipes a week and I admit that I struggle with finding balance between being a mom and a blogger.  Last week I had two strings concerts to attend for my oldest, a field trip to the mall and the skating rink with him.  I helped with the kindergarten gradation pictures since the office asked and my baby was one of them.  Not to mention, he lost his first tooth and then swallowed it all within the same minute.  Oh the drama.  He was scared, disappointed, worried, and elated all at once.  There has been Top Readers Club parties for my 9 year old lovely girl to photograph, bring cupcakes and drinks for, pizzas to pick up…yeah…it has been a little busy.  And frankly, this school year just needs to come to an end because mamas (and dads…but it is mother’s day so ya’ll get over it.  :-)) everywhere are just worn slap out.  I know many of you work full time jobs, coach their kids t ball teams, run kids back and forth to gymnastics, ballet recital practice and pics, therapy sessions and so much more.  So today I decided that I would give ya’ll a Mother’s Day gift.  A recipe that is just so satisfying, delicious, and so easy that it cooks itself.  No really. So, as we are on the countdown to the end of the school year and my subsequent inevitable nervous breakdown (i am kidding!  Mostly)  I thought this would be a wonderful recipe to post.  I hope ya’ll enjoy it as much as my whole family has.  It was a hit even with my pickiest violin player.  So happy Mother’s Day to the moms, grandmothers, aunts who act like moms, stepmoms, Godmothers, and all the ladies out there who may not ever have given birth but play the role of mama to so many.  Here is your chicken soft taco!!!  Much love on this day ladies!!  I sincerely am glad to be able to share these recipes with you.  Drop me a line and tell me a little about yourself in the comment section so I can get to know you better.  I would love that!!  Hugs to you.  Hope your day is just as lovely as you are.~AMB

Super easy Crockpot chicken ranch soft tacos (original post can be seen here: http://myfindsonline.com/4-ingredient-crockpot-chicken-ranch-taco-recipe/)

Stuff you need~

1 cup chicken broth (I used the entire can)

1 packet ranch dressing packet

1 packet taco seasoning mix (I use mild to ensure the kiddos will find it palatable)

2-3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

tortillas

shredded cheese, sliced avocados, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, sour cream for topping

What to do with the stuff~

Lay your chicken breasts at the bottom of your crockpot ( I used Big Read…a 4.5 quart one).  In a bowl, whisk together the chicken broth, ranch dressing mix and taco seasoning mix.  Pour this mixture over the chicken bosoms (my friend Kylie used to call them this and it always cracks me up.  Shout out to Kylie!) and cook on low for 4-6 hours.  Big red tends to cook a little faster, so mine were ready in about 4 1/2 hours.  Shred the cooked chicken breasts and warm the tortillas.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken from the crockpot and put it in a serving bowl (if you wish or you can serve the chicken straight from the slow cooker.  You are the mama!  Do your thing!) Put out the optional toppings and serve those bad boys up.  And watch them disappear!

Easy as…

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1…

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2…

 

 

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3!!!! Hard part is done!!  Turn the slow cooker on and they will be ready when you are!  Pretty great.

 

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Yeah…this was us this morning.  The plan was to take a sweet picture of them all around me in our pool…happy and laughing.  That was the picture I had in my head.  Oh what a pipe dream.  This is my reality.  The boys got into a fight, the girls trying to make mama happy, and me trying to contain the little one.  Ahhh…motherhood.  I need a drink!!

 

 

 

Loaded nacho casserole

Do you like nachos?  Do you like casseroles?  Do you like the convenience of a one dish meal that serves a crowd?  If you answered yes to these questions, than this casserole recipe is for you.  Oh sorry, I think I have been listening to too much public radio.
This casserole is indeed basically one dish that feeds a crowd and has all you need for a complete meal.  I got the recipe from one of my favorite websites…http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2014/03/loaded-nacho-casserole-recipe.html. She tells you all about how she came up with the idea. Let me say…she is a genius!!! BD ate it up.  Kiddos, not so much.  Here is the deal though, if I cooked only what my kids liked there would be no Cajun mama cookin blog.  Unless ya’ll wanted me to tell ya’ll how to heat up Eggo waffles, make mac and cheese, heat up a wiener in the microwave or make a PB&J.   My kids, despite my efforts, do not eat everything that I cook.  Sure, there are the nights when there is a fingernail moon and Mercury and Venue are in sync (can you tell I am not an astrologist?) and they all eat what I make.  What I am getting at is that it is extremely rare for them all to just gobble up what I cook.  I decided a while back that I am not cooking for them.  I make what BD and I like or might like, hope that the kiddos will like it or even love it, and usually one or two of them will eat what I make.  But I by no means attest to 1) my kids eat it or starve.  I tried that approach, but I didn’t care for tucking my kids in and hearing their little bellies rumble.  For me, that was too much.  I admire parents who have that ability, but I don’t.  2) my kids gobble up whatever I put in front of them, never complain and they all have perfect table manners.  They don’t.  I don’t front ya’ll.  I tell you like it is, keep it real, show you the ugly.  For example… I got the cutest burlap place mats that have, get this, a cute little table manner written on each one.  So naturally, my kids become well mannered and perfect when they sit down to eat because their plates are on these well appointed place mats.  Negative Ghostwriter.  Half the time, I forget to put them out.  Yeah, that’s right.  Though I totally convinced myself that I would so put these out for every meal and then pick them back up again after each meal, I lied to myself.  Do you ever do that?  I do.  More than I care to mention.  But I will.  So that you don’t feel so bad about it when you do it.  I will admit to you that there are days when I might give Bree Vandecamp from Desperate Housewives a slight pause before she proceeded to kick my ass in the who is most like Martha Stewart category of Mom of the Year pageant.  Now, Roseanne (from the show Roseanne…to be clear) she might be all like “woah, smart ass comment, check this chick out…she thinks she is Martha Stewart!!” but not in a threatened or impressed way but more of a making fun of me for thinking I come close kind of way.  That’s right.  I can buy all the burlap place mats I want, but I will forget to put them out or pick them up half the time until I am so sick of looking at them that I put them back on top of the microwave until the next time I want to play like I am Madame Fancy Pants again.  So, ain’t  nothing over here in CM kitchen perfect or well appointed.  How I manage to get done what I get done escapes me and I am pretty sure I have the good folks at Keurig to thank for that since this girl runs on her coffee.  So…here we are back at where we started before I took ya’ll off on my verbal journey that gave you some insight into just how whacko I really am.  But I mean, have ya’ll missed the part where I told ya’ll I had 4 kids in less than 5 years?  If that didn’t clue ya’ll in to the whole “this chick is a little whack” than you are not real quick on the uptake. Ha ha! But real. 😳
Anyway, back to the recipe. I know, I know, it is hard to follow me at times and I appreciate you trying. I hope somewhere you are laughing at my candor rather cursing my ability to get greatly off track. Here is the recipe for this cheesy, meaty, everything in it but the kitchen sink casserole. It is pretty awesome and if you brown your ground meat ahead of time, it is a cinch to pull together. So on the days y’all have Tball or Spring soccer practice, ballet, teach a classroom full of kiddos all day (I have 2 sisters who are teachers and a bunch of friends who are…shout out to my teachers out there!) you can have supper prepared super fast. Ok ready?

Six Sisters’ Stuff Loaded Nacho Casserole

stuff you need~

1 pound ground beef, cooked and drained
1 small onion, diced fine
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
2 cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1-8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 small can diced green chiles
1 package reduced sodium taco seasoning
1 10 ounce bag tortilla chips
2 cups shredded cheddar

what to do with the stuff~

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Brown your ground meat if you have not done this already. Now, add in your bell pepper and onion and let them get a little tender. About 5 minutes or so should do you good. Now, just stir in the tomatoes, green chiles, corn, beans, taco seasoning and tomato sauce. Bring this saucy concoction to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. (You could this the night before so you could throw it all together the next night…just a thought). Now, layer half of the tortilla chips at the bottom of the casserole dish. As suggested, I kind of crushed them a little. Next layer half of your sauce concoction. Now, repeat this. Next sprinkle your cheese all over the top. Pop the casserole into the oven and bake until the cheese is all bubbly and the casserole is heated throughout. Let it cool a few minutes and then dish it up, baby!!
Serving suggestion…this would be divine over a bed of fresh shredded lettuce. Kind of a taco salad of sorts. Also, next time, I will use flour tortillas in place of the chips to see if I prefer it that way. It was delish like this but I think it might be awesome with the soft tortillas in there to soak up that sauce.  Oh and i might use shredded chicken in place of ground beef to change it up.  Yum!!  I will let y’all know. Very good, makes a ton and is quick and easy . Hope y’all enjoy it more than my kids did.  😉 what do they know anyway about good food, the little stinkers. Aw who am I kidding? I work for them. Sigh~AMB
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It’s cheesy, loaded with veggies, all in one dish and ready to please your hungry bunch!

Dianne’s Quick and Easy Crawfish Étouffée

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Big Daddy and his mama circa 1993(photo property of Lyndy Hartley Doskocil)

Some of you might ask “who is Dianne?” and some of you already know. What a lady. Such a great lady. Dianne Hartley Bowlin was Big Daddy’s mama. She passed away in 1994 and we miss her everyday. She was a spirited and strong lady full of conviction and a loud laugh that was contagious. She had beautiful brown eyes and a little button nose that I am so glad my girls inherited. She was a beautiful spirit that lives on everyday in so many ways.
And her recipes of course are one of those ways. She ended up a social worker but got her degree from NLU in home economics and she loved to cook. See, she passed before Big Daddy and I got together, but I knew her all my life. It’s a long story and one that I am proud of but it is an emotional story that is a blog post in and of itself. So, let’s just say, she was a part of my life since I was little and by the grace of God, she still is. Because I married her son and gave birth to her grandkids. She is known as Mammaw Dianne to them and she is very much a presence in their lives. My father in law remarried and I love my mother in law. Aka Deb aka Granny. None of this takes away her part in our lives. But to tell about this recipe, I must tell of Dianne. She had many great recipes, ones that I will share as time goes by but this is by far my favorite. It represents her in so many ways. Spicy, no fuss, practical and yet absolutely perfect in it’s simplicity. It is not an old Cajun recipe. I actually have no clue where it came from. I remember getting it when big daddy and I started dating and I fell in love (with him and this recipe). You make a potato salad and some French bread and just go on and you will be just right. With the Lenten season upon us, this is a great recipe to have. It is perfect for company or just to make for the fam on a Friday night. Please don’t judge this recipe by it’s surprise ingredients. They somehow end up making a truly delicious étouffée. Trust me on this one, ok? Dianne would be proud and I believe she is up in Heaven laughing her big laugh at the thought of a blog post all about her.

Dianne’s Quick and Easy Crawfish Étouffée

Serves about 6

Stuff you need~

1 stick of butter
1-12 ounce bag of seasoning blend
Tony’s to taste
2 cans Golden mushroom soup
1 can cream of mushroom
1 pound of crawfish tails (fat included…Good night do not forget the fat!!)
A bloop of ketchup
A bloop of mustard (I had to put that because the original recipe had that in it. Bloop. A squirt. And yes ketchup and mustard. I don’t know why but it works. Just go with it.)

What to do with the stuff~

In a large deep skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the seasoning blend and sauté until the veggies are tender. Add a little Tony’s at this point but don’t over do it. Now stir in the soups and let this cook on low heat for about 10 minutes or so to let the soups and seasoning blend get comfortable together and flavors blend. Stir in the crawfish tails. Now squeeze in the ketchup and mustard. Let it cook for about 5 minutes and give it a quick taste. It may need a little more ketchup and mustard. I usually add 2 bloops of each. Lol at bloops. That’s the funniest word! Ok anyway, let the étouffée simmer for about 20
minutes while the flavors blend aka the time while the rice finishes cooking. Give it another taste and add a few shakes of Tony’s if you think it needs it. Serve it up over rice and let the good times roll. Don’t forget your potato salad and the French bread. Ooh Cher, it’s gonna be good yeah!

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bloop!

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pretty little veggies getting all tender

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bloop bloop bloop

5 ingredient white chicken chili

Hey ya’ll!!  It has been a little bit of a chaotic week so I have not posted yet and I apologize BUT I am going to make it up to ya’ll by posting a crazy yummy recipe.  I put this one in my column in Red River Moms a few months back and I have gotten lots of good feedback.  I think ya’ll will like it and best thing is it only requires 5 main ingredients.  You can add the optional toppings but the basic recipe calls for 5 things!  I figured since many of you do not get an issue of Red River Moms, you might not have seen it.  You can always view the issues of Red River Moms online though at http://www.shreveporttimes.com/section/redrivermoms if you want to.  Just a little FYI for you in case you are interested.  But just in case, I am going to post this deliciously easy and real recipe for you here today.  It is a soup recipe.  Ya’ll know I love soup and this one is a WINNER!!! 

5 ingredient White Chicken Chili (I found this at http://www.gimmesomeoven.com)

servings 2-4 

Total cook time 15 minutes (this includes prep)

Ingredients:

6 cups chicken broth (I use reduced sodium)

4 cups shredded chicken (you can use rotisserie or you can bake 3 chicken breasts or about 1 lb. and shred that…either is great)

2 15 oz. cans of Great Northern beans, drained 

2 cups Salsa Verde (she gives you a link to make your own…but I bought mine at Brookshires.  It is near the other picante sauce and salsas…Ethnic foods aisle)

2 tsp. ground cumin 

optional toppings: diced avocados, chopped fresh cilantro, shredded Monterey jack or cheddar cheese, sour cream, crumbled tortilla chips (I made my own and I will tell you how below)

Instructions:

Add chicken broth, shredded chicken, beans, salsa, and cumin to a medium saucepan or small stockpot.  Stir to combine.  Heat over medium high heat until it comes to a boil.  Lower heat and let it come to a simmer, cover.  Let it simmer for at least 5 minutes.  Serve warm with which ever additional toppings you like. 

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So hearty and flavorful…perfect for a chilly fall night

Homemade tortilla strips

Now, this is very simple.  Preheat your oven to about 325 degrees. Get you some corn tortillas.  I take about 5 at a time and cut them longways into strips and then cut the strips in half.   Spray a baking sheet with some cooking spray.  Lay your strips on the baking sheet.  Bake until the strips are crispy.  About 10 minutes give or take.  Remove from oven and let them cool.  Voila!  You made your own tortilla strips!!  Yay you!!!

Cajun Mama Quesadillas

I woke up yesterday with a hankering for quesadillas.  I rarely order them when I go to Mexican restaurants but I had them a few weeks ago at Superior with some friends and I enjoyed them more than I thought.  I will be honest and say the best quesadillas I have ever had were made by my best friend Lolly when we were in grad school.  She made it look so easy and they were absolutely delicious but I yesterday I was stumped about how to begin to make quesadillas…crazy I know.  Of course I looked on pinterest and I found some recipes that looked good, but many were for bbq chicken quesadillas and other variations.  I was looking for simple, plain Jane quesadillas, increasing the chances that my Cajun bebes might eat them.  So that ruled out onions, tomatoes, green chiles or peppers.  Also, lately I am trying to challenge myself to cook with the ingredients I have some days instead of running out to the store every day.  Well I am happy to say mission accomplished.  These quesadillas were easy to throw together, the kids loved them and were delicious.

Cajun Mama Quesadillas

4 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 cup shredded cheese (i used a combination of queso blanco and cheddar, but you can use colby jack, monterey jack, cheddar jack)

1 lb. chicken tenderloins, cooked and then shredded (i seasoned mine with some ground cumin,  a little sprinkling of kosher salt, and garlic powder.  Oh and a little of Jane’s mixed up crazy salt…my good friend Barbara turned me on to that stuff and I love it.  Bake them at 350 for about 20-25 minutes)

About 14 fajita size tortillas (or small tortillas I believe they are sometimes called)

butter 

Allow cream cheese to soften in a medium size bowl.  Shred your cheese and add that to softened cream cheese.  Stir in shredded cooked chicken.  Over medium heat, warm up a medium sized skillet.  Butter one side of each tortilla.  Lay one tortilla in warmed skillet, buttered side down.  spread some of your chicken filling (about 1/4 cup) over that tortilla and then top with another tortilla, this time buttered side up.  Cook over medium heat (adjust heat as necessary as every stove cooks differently) until one side of quesadilla is lightly browned (about 2-3 minutes) and then use a spatula to flip the quesadilla.  Do the same thing with each quesadilla until they are all lightly browned on each side.  Your filling will warm and spread out some so don’t worry about covering the bottom tortilla with filling.  use a pizza cutter to cut into 4 parts.  Serve with pico, guacamole, and sour cream.  YUMMY!!!!

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