Tag Archives: sides

Twice baked cauliflower casserole

Now, one of my former favorite side dishes to make has always been my “special potatoes”. Love, love, love their cheesy, creamy deliciousness and I used to crave them but now that I am following the ketogenic diet, I choose not to eat potatoes. This way of eating is my choice and I am certainly better for it. So I had seen mashed cauliflower recipes and this and that but none of them really caught my eye. Far as I am concerned, I may as well just do without boiling cauliflower to make it like potatoes. I’ll eat my favorite creamed spinach or some asparagus with my meat and keep on rolling. I get why people do it and certainly does give you some options for sides, but it is not something I have to have. BUT Big Daddy had bought some cauliflower a few days ago and he took some ribs out to smoke this weekend and I needed to come up with a side. I made deviled eggs (a keto no brainer and I even made enough to have for lunch tomorrow!! I had saved this twice baked baked cauliflower casserole a few weeks ago annnddd I had cauliflower so today was our lucky to try it!! So glad I did! It is fantastic! It is creamy and cheesy and the texture is just right! The only thing I think I might try next time is to beat it until it is creamy with my mixer. I mashed it as the original recipe from Kayln’s Kitchen had called for this time just to see how it was and all in all the texture was fine. We had a friend come over to eat supper and he thought it was fantastic. Big Daddy was so excited about it (the man will literally eat a boot if it is smothered in gravy and not complain but he genuinely enjoyed this!!). It is definitely a good side option if you are following keto WOE or living the low carb life!

Twice Baked cauliflower casserole

Stuff you need~

One head cauliflower

1/2 cup sour cream

4 ounces cream cheese, cubed

Green onions

6 slices of bacon, cooked until crispy and then crumbled

1 cup shredded cheddar

What to do with the stuff~

Cut the cauliflower into smaller pieces. Remove the core/stem. Boil in salted water until fork tender.

Drain well and then mash with a potato masher. The original recipe said to leave some chunks in it.

Now, add all ingredients except the shredded cheddar to the mashed cauliflower. I added some Himalayan pink salt and cracked black pepper and some Tony’s to it.

Mix well and then transfer to a 9 x 13 baking dish. I used a slightly smaller dish and it was fine. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. Sprinkle the shredded cheddar all over the casserole and some more crumbled bacon if you did not eat the extra like I did (😏 🥓) then return to the oven until cheese is melted. Enjoy without the guilt! Yum!!

Here are a few pictures my friend Natalie, who is a mom boss who runs Soul Rebels Photography took for us earlier this month. These pictures make me happy on so many levels. Check out more of her work at http://www.soulrebelsphotography.com. She is so very talented and a wonderful person to work with! My family is changing everyday and my kids are growing up so fast, but for a moment she captured us in that moment in a cotton field just before the sun went down. It was a magical evening and the pictures turned out so well.

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Thanksgiving recipe round up

I have always loved Thanksgiving. Of course, I love the food. Turkey and dressing is one of my favorite foods. I guess the time of year also has something to do with my love of this holiday. The people who sit around the table with me make it a pretty great day as well. Another reason still that it is my favorite is that it is the beginning of the holiday season. So many reasons to love Thanksgiving, it’s hard to pick just one. Along those lines, so many reasons to love Thanksgiving dinner and I am about to give you a few more. This a roundup of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes…some I have posted before and some are brand new. I think there is something to please everyone here. It’s a few days early, but as we move into our month of counting our blessings, I want you to know that having the opportunity to share my stories, some recipes, laughter and tears with y’all is one of the blessings I will count. Thank you for continued support, encouragement and cooking and learning right along with me, in the kitchen and in life. Much love and many blessings…~AMB

Scrumptious sides | cajunmamacookin’s Blog
https://cajunmamacookinblog.com/2014/04/30/scrumptious-sides/

Cream cheese corn recipe | cajunmamacookin’s Blog
https://cajunmamacookinblog.com/2013/05/26/cream-cheese-corn-recipe/

Momee’s cornbread dressing | cajunmamacookin’s Blog
https://cajunmamacookinblog.com/2013/11/24/momees-cornbread-dressing/

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie | cajunmamacookin’s Blog
https://cajunmamacookinblog.com/2013/11/11/chocolate-bourbon-pecan-pie/

Pea and asparagus casserole and coming home | cajunmamacookin’s Blog
https://cajunmamacookinblog.com/2014/03/09/pea-and-asparagus-casserole/

Corn Pudding

Corn pudding

Makes about 8-10 servings

stuff you need

1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
1 can cream style corn
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
3/4 cup sour cream
1 stick mostly melted butter

what to do with the stuff~

Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish well. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Stir together all ingredients and pour into buttered dish. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until completely set in the middle.

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if food is a religion, can I get an amen?

Mini green bean casseroles
Serves 16

Stuff you need~

2 cans jumbo home style biscuits (16 in all)
2 cans cut green beans, drained
1/2 cup milk
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/3 cups french fried onions (about a can)

What to do with the stuff~

Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out each biscuit to 4 inch circles (I just kind of gently stretched mine out). Press a biscuit into each muffin cup.
Mix together drained green beans, milk, soup, 2/3 cup of the French fried onions, and 1 cup of the cheese in a large mixing bowl.
Spoon equally divided amounts of the green bean mixture into each biscuit cup.
Bake for 20 minutes or until biscuits are golden browned. Sprinkle remaining cheese and French fried onions over each cup. Return to oven for about 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Let cool on wire rack for 5 minutes or so.

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fun, different and so delicious!

Sweet potato soufflé
(A Trisha Yearwood recipe)

Serves 8

stuff you need~

For soufflé

5 medium sweet potatoes
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, slightly softened (at room temperature)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
Pinch of salt

Topping

1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened

what to do with the stuff~

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 2 1/2 quart baking dish.
On a foil covered baking sheet, bake the sweet potatoes for 1 hour or until they are soft. Allow them to cool. Peel and add the potato flesh to a large mixing bowl and mash until smooth. Add the remaining soufflé ingredients and using a electric mixer or standing mixed until combined well. Spoon the mixture into your prepared baking dish.

For the topping–in a medium bowl, stir together all ingredients until they are mixed well together. Spoon several large dollops of topping over the sweet potatoes (see photo). Bake for 30 minutes or until the the topping is slightly browned. Let stand 5 minutes before 5 minutes.

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I ❤️ sweet potatoes

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so true.

Love, evolution and Cajun Mama’s coleslaw

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sweet tangy coleslaw. I love you.

Yes.  Yes.  I know.  Coleslaw?  What in the world?  This chick posted about potato salad yesterday and now she is posting about coleslaw.  Yes I am.  But hear me out.  All coleslaw recipes are not created equally.  Even in the great state of Louisiana, there are major differences in our coleslaw recipes.  I never knew this.  But ya’ll, and I am not exaggerating, I had NEVER been to Shreveport before 1994.  No I am not lying.  I am dead dang serious.  I came up here with my mom to see BD’s mom when she was sick (back when he was just Clay, my childhood friend.  Before the whole falling madly in love, marriage and 4 kiddos thing) and I remember passing a Home Depot and thinking “wow!  This is not a little podunk town.  They have a Home Depot!”  Please keep in mind that I am from Alex. and we did not have a Home Depot at that time.  Not sure where I got my notions from.  I was 19 and living in BR and going to LSU and thought I was hotsy totsy.  This was August and please keep in mind that by the next January, I was a  Northwestern demon and that was that.  So, I was a drifting college student who did not know Shreveport was a big city.  Anyway, as far as I know, when you live in Central Louisiana (at least when I was young), you took field trips to one of 3 places if you got out of town.  Houston (back in the day we went to Astroworld), New Orleans, or Natchitoches.  So as far as I was concerned, LA stopped after Natchitoches.  How ironic that I now live in Shreveport, right?  And I love it here.  Go figure.  My whole life seems to be a lesson in irony.  Or maybe I protest too much and try to run the show and God likes to show me in funny little ways that he is the boss and I will enjoy the path he chose. ( I am NOT dating some country boy in Keithville!!  Nope, I dated him and married him.  Thank heavens God knows what he is doing and has the power!) Either way.  I know I am where I am supposed to be, coleslaw differences aside.  Oh yeah, I am supposed to be talking about coleslaw.  Blogging ADD is no joke.  Excuse me when I go off on my trips down memory lane.

Ok, so before I was a Shreveport gal, I only knew of one kind of coleslaw.  And we never ate it with BBQ.  Never.  Seriously, not ever.  At least not in my family.  The main times I can remember eating coleslaw was with grillades and rice and gravy and maybe fried fish or at a boucherie.   my cabbage is not shredded fine enough.  It is a work in progress, just like my potato salad.  I had a friend who is from Alex. and has roots in Avoyelles like me (Denee I am looking at you) and she asked me to post a recipe.  So, I will do my best.  It definitely takes me back.  And I have to say, while mayo based coleslaw had its day in the sun for me…I think I prefer it this way.  Just not with grillades.  Please note, I will make adjustments to the recipe as I get better at making it.

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Lovely cabbage…

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Straight forward, simple, uncomplicated.  Perfect.

Cajun Mama Coleslaw 

Stuff you need~

A head of cabbage

1 cup vinegar

1/2 Cup sugar

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper

yes, that is it…don’t make it too complicated

What to do with the stuff~

Ok, cut the bottom hard part off of the cabbage.  You don’t need that.  Now cut the head of cabbage in half and in half again.  Now, here is where I have some adjustments to make.  Taking a good heavy knife, shred the cabbage very fine, into little ribbons.  If I had to give a measurement, I could say a 1/4″ thin strips.  Fine.  But really, it is not the end of the world if it is thicker.  Again, work in progress.  Add the cut cabbage to a colander and wash well.  Let it dry or get some paper towels and soak up the excess moisture.  Ok…now dump the washed cabbage into a bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk together your other ingredients.  Adjust accordingly to suit your family’s taste.  Pour over the cabbage and then toss the shredded cabbage with the vinegar mixture.  Let it sit in the fridge for about an hour if at all possible to let the flavors soak into the cabbage. You are ready to go.  Sweet, salty, crunchy, tangy…all the good stuff together.

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BD and I…circa 1978…he was my best friend.  We ate vinegar based coleslaw and loved being together.

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Circa 1996…finding our way…in love and coleslaw.  We were evolving. 

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Circa a month ago…still straightforward and not fussy as this coleslaw recipe.  He is still my best friend.  Gotta love evolution.

Potato Salad with almost everything, paquing eggs and things Cajuns do

A few years ago, a friend of mine who was born or raised in Shreveport, called me and said “I have to ask you a question”.  It was Christmas time  and they had gone to her husband’s Christmas party and it had been catered by a catering company from South Louisiana.  She says “The food was good.  They served jambalaya and gumbo and…and…potato salad.  No barbecue. Did they get confused?”  I laughed first and then told her that Cajuns eat potato salad with nearly everything.  Etouffee…potato salad.  Chicken fricassee…potato salad.  Rice and gravy and..yes, potato salad.  This falls under the list of things that I never considered abnormal.  Actually, I never considered it at all.  I love potato salad with most stuff and thought my family must like it this way.  Nope.  Apparently it is a colloquial thing.  I will not say it is a “Cajun” thing or a “South Louisiana” thing.  I have had some people say “you are from Alexandria and that is not South Louisiana.”  Fair enough.  I have had people say “Alexandria and Marksville are both considered Central Louisiana”.  Ya’ll…I am not going to claim to know.  I think being Cajun is more a state of mind.  I know people who live in Baton Rouge who don’t consider themselves Cajun.  I have explained before that my family are first generation Alexandrians.  This means, my parents were both born and raised in Avoyelles Parish (Marksville by the way of Blue Town and Broulliette to be precise) and moved to Alex. after getting married.  So, we did most things, cooked most things, adhered to the customs that their families adhered too.  So, I will not claim to know why we eat potato salad with more things than not.  I don’t know where this comes from.  I just know that I grew up thinking it was just what you did and I love me some potato salad and I never questioned it.

So today, I am going to tell ya’ll how I make my potato salad.  I imagine most of ya’ll have a potato salad recipe, but some of you may not.  Maybe you need a little potato salad inspiration.  I know my Momou and Momee made very similar yet distinctly different potato salads.  I liked them both and now my potato salad combines the best of both worlds.  My favorite potato salad memory is the colored eggs that ended up in the potato salad on Easter Sunday.  We would paque eggs and the loser eggs would be peeled and then put in the potato salad.  I always thought it was fun and colorful as a kiddo.  I know that potato salad always tasted so good with the cuchon de lait and dirty rice.  Bring on the colorful potato salad.  For those who may not know what paque (pronounced “pock”) eggs means…that is where you hold a dyed Easter egg in your hand and someone else does the same and you knock the tops of the eggs together.  If you crack their egg, you win and vice versa.  It was good Easter fun I tell you.  My kids love to paque some eggs.  Anyhow, back to potato salad.  Momou’s potato salad was always a little more yellow than Momee’s.  Her potatoes were always a little more substantial where as the potatoes in Momee’s were a little softer, a little more mashed.  Her potato salad usually had some pickles or pickle relish in it.  Momou’s had more pepper in it.  Mine falls somewhere in between the two and I tend to add Tony’s to mine, like my Daddy does.  I remember making potato salad in college and after we got married and BD would always say “yeah, something is missing. It is good but…”  Finally at 38, I think I am close to getting it the way we like it.  But we have much higher expectations for potato salad I do believe.  As I type this, I realize how much thought and effort seems to be put into it.  I guess when you eat something so frequently with so many main dishes, it should be good!!  Maybe it is just me?   Forgive me if I am taking liberties by preaching potato salad to ya’ll.  I do so love it and feel sad for anyone who might be at a loss about how to make it.  Or God forbid, buys it from the store?!!  I must stop that now.  If I can save one person from store bought potato salad, then my work here is done.  Namaste.  Peace on Earth.  Homemade potato salad for all!!!

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Posed at Momee’s house, right before or after I hunted some eggs.  I bet I paqued a few that day

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Another Easter Sunday at Momee’s…my parents and me and all 3 of my little sisters…I bet we ate potato salad with colored eggs in it that day

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Easter Sunday at Momou’s…Ben’s first Easter and his intro into paquing.  Pretty sure Momou won that match.

Cajun Mama’s Potato Salad 

Serves about 8 or 6 hungry Cajuns as the saying goes

Stuff you need~

4 medium size potatoes (I typically use Idahoan potatoes), washed and cut into equal sized pieces

4 eggs

salt and pepper

Tony’s

mayonnaise

mustard

What to do with the stuff~

Cut your potatoes into equal sized pieces.  I usually half the potato and then quarter the halves.  I peel the potatoes after they are boiled rather than before.  That is what my mom and dad did so I do the same.  Put your cut up potato pieces and the eggs in a pot and cover them amply with water.  Bring them to a boil and then reduce heat as needed but keep them at a low boil until the potatoes are fork tender  (for me typically about 20 minutes, give or take). You may prefer the potatoes to be less tender, so just use your judgement.   When you feel they are ready, drain the potatoes and eggs in a colander.  When you can, place the eggs in a bowl of cold water.  Peel the eggs.  Peel the potatoes.  Add both to a medium size bowl.  Now, add about 1/2 cup of mayonnaise and start out with a few squirts of mustard.  Ya’ll, I wish I could be more precise but I go by how it looks (and tastes).  Definitely add in some kosher salt and pepper as you stir.  Stir in more mayo and mustard (gradually) and salt and pepper (a little Tony’s).  Continue to do this until you feel it is just right.  Or close.  It is definitely a trial and error process, or at least it has been for me.  When the potato salad is dressed and seasoned to your liking, sprinkle a little more Tony’s over the top for presentation.  Yes.  It is good.  Yes, it will go with almost anything.  Well…as far as I am concerned.  And it always tastes better with colored eggs on Easter Sunday.  Enjoy!!!

 

 

 

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I love some Dukes mayo in my potato salad (I prefer it to Hellman’s)

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It’s getting good…love it when the potatoes are still a little warm 

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Whatever the question…potato salad is a good answer

 

 

Pea and asparagus casserole and coming home

This recipe is not fancy. It is not new. It isn’t famous or even the most popular with any crowd. Except maybe my family. It calls for simple ingredients and goes great with roast and rice and gravy. In fact, this casserole is one I make any time I make a roast or bake a chicken.
You see, I was up all night with a sick kiddo. We came to Arkansas to spend time with our family and to just get away. Little did I know, a stomach bug did not get the memo and came along with us. Sometimes, I guess the best laid plans go wrong. And you just have to roll with it. And be happy anyway. Because to be frustrated and annoyed about what is means nothing good will come of it. I am from the school of thought that some days you just have to fake it until you make it. So today, I will post a recipe that I know like the back of my hand and just get it out there to y’all. Also, the comfort of knowing a recipe like this and knowing how great it goes with certain main dishes is immeasurable. We left town Friday and I was so excited to get away. I needed to get away from the mundane daily life. Not that it is a bad life, but I wanted to shake things up. We headed to the lodge in search of some R & R with our family. And we did have a good time. It was relaxing. The kids ran wild and wore themselves out (one of them ran until he was sick). And there is just something about walking out the front door and seeing this view.

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Kiddos up all night sick or not, this is breathtaking and does not get old. But as the saying goes, no matter where you go, there you are. This holds true even at Bayou LaGrue Lodge aka my happy place. So after a miserable night, I was ready to get my little herd back home. So just like I love trying new recipes and discovering new recipes, some recipes are just like coming home to what you know. Comforting, nothing new, same as always recipes. This pea and asparagus casserole is that way for me. Like an old pair of shoes, that beat up old sweatshirt, or returning back to the same old, same old…homework, carpool, mess…comforting all the same, even though some days I just want to get away. It is always so wonderful to know recipes like these are just waiting. One must appreciate these recipes for what they are. This one has been on the table for many of our family meals. I don’t know where my mom got the recipe, but I know it is a great one to have. I hope someday when you are looking for a new tired and true classic, you will give this a try. It’s a real gem. ~AMB

Pea and asparagus casserole

Stuff you need~

1 can Lesuer peas (petite pois or silver can peas as I tell Big Daddy when I send him to the store)
1 can asparagus spears and tips
1 can cream of mushroom soup
4 slices Kraft singles (that is what we use and to me it isn’t the same with cheddar)

What to do with the stuff~

Spray a 1.5 quart round or oblong casserole dish with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lay out 1/2 of the can of peas on the bottom of the casserole dish. Layer 1/2 the can of asparagus over the peas. Now, spread half of the can of cream of mushroom over the asparagus tips. Place two pieces of the cheese (kind of torn into smaller pieces) over the cream of mushroom. Repeat the whole process, starting with peas and ending with cheese. Place, uncovered, in preheated oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes or until cheese is all bubbly and kind of browned. What you will have is a casserole dish full of bubbly, creamy, cheesy peas and asparagus. Side dish of my dreams!

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Never gets old I tell you.

Creamy grape salad and unexpected joy

Wow!!  I came across this recipe for grape salad on Pinterest a few weeks ago.  I was really hungry at the time I think, or it might not have appealed to me at the time.  I am so glad I was open to something unexpected and new, because this salad is a flavorful explosion of textures and sweetness in your mouth.  A virtual party.  One you weren’t sure you really wanted to go to, but felt obligated to attend and then enjoyed staying far too long and having a blast.  Yes, just like that.  It is creamy, slightly nutty, sweet with a little tang from the green grapes and it is just so fabulous.

There is just something about being surprised.  Trying something new, breaking out of your typical role and testing your limits.  For example, this morning was Muffins with Mom at my kids’ school.  I will be really honest and say, I really thought I could do without waking up an hour earlier and corralling the kiddos into getting dressed super early, especially when it is freezing cold outside.  2 of kiddos were on the fence, one flat out did not want to go, and one was insistent that we go.  My oldest.  I really tried to talk him out of it.  I offered McDonald’s for breakfast on the way to school. No dice.  He was definite.  “We’re going mama, it is your special day!!”.  He melted my heart.  10 years old and he still truly, genuinely likes me.  Well…most days.  I could not be happier.  But still, I was reluctant.  This morning, hoping he would sleep in, he woke up and said “mama don’t forget we have to get up early today!”  Deep down I knew that would not work and he would stay the course.  Indeed he did and we ended up going.  I had muffins with my babies.  I am so happy that we went and I rose to the challenge.  To break out of my routine and shake things up.  Same thing could be said for having 4 kids.  I never expected to have 4 kids, much less 4 kids back to back.  To relish the chaos that comes with raising 4 kiddos.  I never expected to start a blog or write a food column.  Yet, wow, here I am.  So many things in life take me by surprise.  I just  have to accept that the unexpected can be fun, delightful, sweet, nutty, enjoyable, and wonderful.  Joy can be in the unexpected places.  You just have to be willing to be open to it.  Just like this grape salad.  ~AMB

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Me and my sweeties…so much of life is unexpected joy.  

Creamy grape salad (adapted from http://www.allrecipes.com)

Stuff you need~

4 pounds green seedless grapes

1-8 ounce block of cream cheese

1-8 ounce container sour cream

1/2 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 ounces chopped pecans (plus more for sprinkling on top)

2 Tablespoons brown sugar (plus more for sprinkling on top)

What to do with the stuff~

Wash and dry the grapes, In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, sour cream, white sugar and vanilla.  Add grapes and mix until the grapes are well mixed with the other ingredients.  Mix in brown sugar and pecans gently.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  I sprinkled a little more brown sugar and chopped pecans on top before serving.  Holy moly…get ready for the explosion. mmmmmmmmmmm….

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Unexpected joy indeed.  Oh my the sweet creaminess of it all!!