Tag Archives: savory

Pastalaya and friendships that last

Funny thing about how friendships transpire.  Especially friendships between mommies.  You meet so many times, over and over, again.  Usually in a rush.  Frazzled.  Looking for one kid while nursing another.  Then you factor in personalities, the time it takes to develop a friendship and it is a wonder mommies ever make friends.  We see the same people all the time, yet it seems hard to establish a good friendship.  But sometimes, you get lucky.  Even after several awkward run ins and very different personalities, you get lucky enough to get a glimpse of her.  You know who I am talking about.  The woman she is.  Actually, the girl.  That person she was before she had 1,2,3,4 kids and was exhausted.  And you really like her.  And your kids just love one another.  And because you are both displaced Central and South Louisiana girls living in Shreveport, you form a close bond and form some sort of pseudo family.   That is what happened between my very dear, probably one of my best, friends, Betsy.  I won’t go in to much more of our back story, as it is long, but what you need to know is how very much I love her and that even though they now live in South Louisiana and we don’t talk as much as we used to (every day, numerous times) she is always with me in some form or fashion.  I am so grateful for our friendship and that we still remain very much a part of one another’s lives.  One thing we bonded over  was recipes.  Betsy loves to eat.  She will tell you that.  I am pretty sure she has a hollow leg, but that chick likes good food.  Her husband is a man of several talents.  Surgeon during the week and on the weekends he becomes super dad and chef extraordinaire.  I am not sure if every surgeon knows their way around a kitchen like he does and comes with awesome recipes like he does…but this guy has it.  So of course, friend wise, I hit the double jackpot.  So one day when Betsy was preggers with her fourth baby and we worked together at a local Mother’s Day Out, she brought out two Glad containers full of something so delicous I could not even stand it.  Pastalaya.  Say what?  Yes, you heard me.  Take out the rice from jambalaya and add in pasta and you have this amazing dish.  Matt had made some and she wanted to share.  I told ya’ll she is a good friend.  I wanted this recipe.  I needed it.  I was forcefully driven to get it.  Make it.  Could I?  Did I dare?  Could I recreate the deliciousness that was Pastalaya?  Well, I was dang sure going to try.  So, I did.  And it was so good.  So now, even though we are miles apart, when I want to make this dish, I pull out the food stained sheet of paper with the recipe Matt wrote for me in his handwriting.  And I feel a little closer to them.  I miss her, them, still terribly.  It is not the same but it is still there.  Good friendships never die.  They are solidified in memories and smiles and good times and if you are lucky, some really delicious recipes.  So, today I share not only a recipe for Pastalaya with you.  I share the joy, good times, and memories that come along with it.  Even still, when our two families are able to get together (that would be 8 kids and 4 adults), we enjoy good food and more love and laughter than our hearts can hold.  It took us a while to make that connection, but thank heavens, it stuck.  I hope that you make it for some people you know really well or hope to get to know better…I can’t promise it will create an Aimee/Betsy bond, but it dang sure can’t hurt.  Special friends, like really special recipes, don’t come along that often, but when they do…you should hold on to them. ~AMB

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Two of our sweet girls on Halloween 2011

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Our boys, Halloween, same year

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Our collective bunch 2013…that’s a lot of kiddos…and a lot of love

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I love her…that is all.  She is better than pastalaya.  

Matt’s Pastalaya 

Stuff you Need:

1 pack bacon

1 pack andouille sausage

1 pack boneless, skinless chicken thighs

2 cans chicken broth (I use reduced sodium)

2 cans cream of mushroom

1 onion, chopped

1-2 tsp. Kitchen Bouquet (this can be found near the condiments usually)

a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce

Tony’s seasoning, to taste

12 oz. of UNCOOKED thin spaghetti

What to do with the stuff:

Cut your bacon, sausage, and chicken thighs to bite size pieces.  Cook on medium high heat in a large pot.  Add a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce and a few shakes of Tony’s while the meat is cooking.  When the meats are almost cooked, stir in chopped onion.  Let this cook for a few minutes until onions are tender and meat is completely done.  Now, stir in chicken broth.  Let this sit for 5 minutes.  Stir in a teaspoon or two of Kitchen Bouquet (Matt always says a cap full of so) to darken.  Next, stir in the cream of mushroom and let this all sit for about 5 minutes.  Now, you are going to add the uncooked pasta and let this all cook on a low fire until the noodles are tender.  I give mine a few quick stirs during the cooking process to make sure nothing is sticking.  Serve with a lovely green salad and some garlic bread.  Let the inner Cajun in you rejoice!!!

*I am making this dish this weekend, so I will take a nice photo to post for ya’ll!!!

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.