Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Shrimp and Crab Cornbread Casserole

One summer when I was in college I worked at a Senior Citizens Center.  Seniors would come for the day, eat lunch and play games, do crafts, etc.  My boss, Mrs. Sylvia, gave me a recipe for a Mexican Cornbread Casserole.  It was made with ground beef, onions, cornmeal, cheese.  It's so yummy!  I make it often.  But, I was thinking, how could I change this recipe?  What new flavors could I add to it?  Seafood!  I decided to use shrimp and crab but you could use crawfish, too.  Here's what I came up with:




SHRIMP AND CRAB CORNBREAD CASSEROLE

1 cup cooked shrimp
1 cup crab meat
1 box corn muffin mix (Jiffy)
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 can cream corn
1 small onion, diced
1/2 a bell pepper, diced
1/4 - 1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
Cajun or Creole Seasoning

*Tip: pick through the crab meat to make sure there are no shells.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a big bowl combine corn muffin mix, egg, milk and cream corn.




Add onion and bell pepper.


Mix well then gently fold in shrimp and crab that as been seasoned with Creole Seasoning (I use Tony Chacherres).





Don't over mix.  You don't want to break up the seafood too much.

Butter a cast iron skillet (or a casserole dish).


Pour the batter into the buttered skillet.



Top with the shredded pepper jack cheese (as much or as little as you like).


Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown on top.


Let it cool for about 10 minutes before cutting.




 This casserole is awesome!  It has a slight sweetness from the corn muffin mix and a great spice from the creole seasoning and the pepper jack cheese.  It's very filling too.  My daughter absolutely loved it!  I did, too.  I went back for seconds (and maybe I ate it for lunch the next day and maybe I want some more right now).  You will definitely want to make this one!
   

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Cajun Kabobs

In Cajun cooking we use a lot of smoked sausage, chicken, onions and bell peppers.  I was thinking those ingredients would make a tasty kabob.  Thread them on a skewer, grill them and baste them with a great sauce.  Sound delicious?  It is!  Here's how I made them:



Note:  the reason I don't give exact amounts on the meat and veggies is because you can make as many or as few as you want.

CAJUN KABOBS

smoked sausage
boneless chicken breasts or thighs
onion
bell pepper (red, green or a combination)
salt and pepper (or Cajun Seasoning

Sauce:

3 TBS butter
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp hot sauce (more if you like it spicy)
juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 TBS brown sugar

Slice the sausage into slices about 1/2 inch thick.  Cut the chicken into small cubes.  Cut the onions and bell peppers into small chunks.


If you have wooden skewers soak them in water for 10 minutes or so.  This prevents them from burning on the grill.


Thread the sausage, chicken and veggies onto the skewers.  Season with salt and pepper (or Cajun Seasoning).


Place the kabobs onto a preheated grill (oil the grill first so nothing sticks) and cook for 5-7 minutes or until nicely browned.  Then flip them over and grill another 5-7 minutes.



While they are grilling on the first side, make the sauce by combining butter, Worcestershire, hot sauce, lemon juice and brown sugar in a small pot.  Heat to boiling then lower the heat and simmer until reduced and thickened.



After grilling the kabobs on both sides, brush them with the sauce.

(Notice I made some without veggies for my pickiest eater ever son).


Flip and brush on the other side.  Let them grill with the sauce for a minute or two on each side.  This will help them caramelize and get nice and brown.  It also adds great flavor.


These are so yummy!  Smoky and tender with a great crunch and natural sweetness from the grilled veggies.  I served these with white beans and rice.


This is a very easy meal that's fun to make and fun to eat.  Kids (and grown men) love to eat anything on a stick.  So give these a try and have some fun with your food!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Chocolate Peanut Butter Oat Clusters

My Mama gave me a big bag of old fashioned oats.  I like to eat oatmeal as much as the next guy but you can only eat so much.  Plus, it's August. In Louisiana.  It's 90 degrees at breakfast time!  Not exactly the "chill in the air weather" that makes you crave a steaming bowl of oatmeal.  So, I made some little treats that are cool, portable and popable.  They taste so good you won't even realize they're good for you!  Bonus:  this recipe has only 4 ingredients!



 

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER OAT CLUSTERS

1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats (quick cook oats will work too)

Melt the peanut butter, milk and chocolate chips in a medium sized pot over low heat.


Stir it often until it is melted and smooth.



Remove it from the heat then stir in the oats.


Mix well to thoroughly combine.


Drop by a Tablespoon (I use a small scoop) onto wax paper (or a buttered plate or a silicone mat).



Chill in the fridge to let them set up (at least 10-15 minutes).  Store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container.


These little clusters are like granola bars rolled into a ball!  So yummy!  They have a great chewy texture.  They're not too sweet (no added sugar).  They're chocolatey.  Plus, they are good for you!  That's a win win right there!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Crockpot Chicken and Gravy

Summer is here in full force and it has been a never-ending trail of 90+ degree days.  It's so hot that I can barely handle going outside at all.  I usually love to cook on my grill, but that would be downright torture.  So, when it's this hot, I make use of the Crockpot.  It keeps my kitchen cool and leaves me free to sit with my feet up (possibly drinking a daiquiri) instead of manning a hot stove.  Here's a simple, yummy recipe for the Crockpot.





CROCKPOT CHICKEN AND GRAVY

5 chicken leg quarters (or 10 bone-in pieces such as legs and thighs)
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots (or a handful of baby carrots), chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
1 packet dry chicken gravy mix
salt and pepper

Place chopped celery, carrots and onion in the Crockpot.



Place the chicken on top and season with salt and pepper.


Mix the broth and gravy well and pour on top of the chicken.





Cover with the lid and cook on HIGH for 5-6 hours (I did 5 hours).



Be sure the chicken is cooked all the way through.


Skim the grease off the top of the gravy.  If you use skinless chicken you won't have nearly as much excess grease.


Spoon the gravy over the chicken and garnish with chopped fresh parsley, if desired.


I like to serve this over rice with biscuits to sop up the gravy!  Yum!


The chicken is fall-off-the-bone tender and absolutely delicious!  When you slow cook chicken on the bone, it imparts so much flavor.  The gravy is on the thinner side, I don't like really thick gravy in a dish like this.  It's more like a sauce and goes great over rice or mashed potatoes.

This recipe is so easy and tasty that you just have to try it.  Let me know how it turns out.  Enjoy!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Fig Cobbler

I want to start today's post on a somber note.  I woke up this morning to news that 7 police officers were shot in Baton Rouge, 3 were killed.  My brother and nephew are cops in Baton Rouge so this hit way too close to home.  They are OK, but my prayers go out to the officers and families who are not, who are dealing with unimaginable sadness.  These officers were just doing their job, protecting all of us, and they were ambushed.  It's a horrific situation.  Please join me in praying for all of our men and women in blue and their families.

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I have a fig tree in my back yard, a gift from my Daddy.  It's loaded with big, beautiful figs.  The variety is called LSU Purple Figs, really, a variety of figs named for a college football team.  Welcome to the South.  Anyway, these figs are so pretty I just had to make them into a delicious dessert.





FIG COBBLER

4 cups chopped figs
1/4 cup sugar
1 stick butter
1 cup milk
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Mix the chopped figs with 1/4 cup sugar.




Let them sit, covered for at least 30 minutes, or until juices form.  You can do this the night before and let them sit in the fridge overnight.  That's what I did.




Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the butter and pour into a 9 inch square baking dish (or a cast iron skillet).




In a big mixing bowl, mix milk, self-rising flour, 1 cup sugar and vanilla extract just until lumps are gone (do not over mix).



Pour the batter over the butter in baking dish.


Pour the figs and the juices over the batter, evenly distributing the figs.



Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.



Let cool slightly before cutting and serving.

Look at the yummy, buttery, crispy edges!


And the delicious, tender figs!


Serve this with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (I love Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla).  Perfect!


You can substitute any fruit you like for the figs.  I've made this with peaches, blackberries, strawberries, and cherries.  It's a great basic cobbler recipe.