Monday, February 20, 2017

Crawfish Spaghetti

We had a crawfish boil for my daughter's 21st birthday this past weekend.  Her boyfriend came down from New York so we had to school him on Cajun food and traditions.  He loved the boiled crawfish!  Of course, we bought too much (we always over do) so I peeled the leftover crawfish and made a delicious pasta dish today for lunch.  He loved this dish, too.  I like this kid, he knows good food.

I have been making this simple recipe since I was a teenager.  I would use the left overs every time we had a crawfish boil, which was often.  We lived on the river so all of my Aunts and Uncles and Cousins would come over to our house and we'd hang out and boil crawfish.  Some of my best memories are of those boils.  Many members of my family have passed on, but I will always have those memories to remind me of my childhood.  Isn't it wonderful how food can create such lasting memories.



CRAWFISH SPAGHETTI

1/2 lb crawfish tails
1/2 an onion, diced
1/2 a bell pepper, diced
2 green onions, sliced (plus more for garnish)
1 TBS oil
2 TBS butter
1/2 cup chicken broth
Cajun Seasoning (or salt and pepper)
1/2 lb. spaghetti
2 TBS reserved pasta water

Boil a big pot of water to cook the spaghetti.

Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add oil and butter.


Add the onion, bell pepper and green onions.  Season with Cajun Seasoning.


Cook until limp, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Add crawfish and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Add broth and simmer about 10 minutes.



When your spaghetti is cooked, reserve some of the water you boiled it in.  Add 2 TBS of this reserved pasta water to the crawfish mixture and stir (this helps the sauce cling to the pasta).


Stir the drained spaghetti into the crawfish mixture.  You can do this in the skillet or, if it's easier, dump the pasta and the sauce mixture into a large bowl and toss well.  Garnish with extra sliced green onions.


This pasta dish is simple, but delicious.  You could easily swap out the crawfish for shrimp if you'd rather.  This would be a great weeknight dinner because it's so quick to make.  It has a great buttery, spicy flavor.  Ca cest bon!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Chicken Pizzaiola

Life is still hectic here.  It seems we are always so busy.  I really hate settling for take out just because days are frenzied.  That's why I'm always looking for quick, easy recipes that taste good.  Chicken Pizzaiola is just that.  It's a great recipe with a few ingredients that anyone can make.  The best part is, it's delicious.



 CHICKEN PIZZAIOLA

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 TBS olive oil (or canola, vegetable, etc)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15 oz) can Italian flavored diced tomatoes
salt/pepper
2 TBS chopped fresh parsley (or fresh basil)
1/2 lb of spaghetti (or whatever pasta you have)

Cut the boneless chicken breasts in half horizontally to make 4 thin cutlets.



Season the cutlets on both sides with salt and pepper (I used 3 chicken breasts because my Pickiest Eater Ever Son wanted plain chicken so of course I made him plain chicken because I'm a sucker).



Now, put on a big pot of water to boil for the pasta.  Once it comes to a boil, then add a good amount of salt, about a Tablespoon.  Salting the water before will cause it to take longer to come to a boil.  After salting the boiling water, add the pasta and stir frequently to keep it from sticking together.  Cook until al dente (which just means until it is soft but still has a little bite to it.  In other words, cooked but not mushy).  That is usually a minute less than the package tells you to cook it but you be the judge.  Just take a piece out and taste it to see if it's cooked how you like it.  Also make sure you keep the water the pasta was cooked in, you will need it later on.  Don't dump it down the sink!

HINT:  I put a colander inside a big bowl then scoop the pasta out of the pot with a slotted spoon into the colander.  The small bit of water that's on the pasta drains into the bowl underneath and I keep the majority of the pasta water in the pot.


Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add 2 TBS oil.  Once hot, add chicken cutlets, two at a time, to the skillet.  You don't want to over crowd the skillet or else the chicken won't brown properly, it'll just steam (yuck).  Brown the chicken for 5 minutes on the first side, flip then cook for 4 minutes on the other side.




Once the first two are done, remove them to a plate and loosely cover with foil to keep warm while you brown the other two.  Once all the chicken is browned, remove excess oil from the skillet.  You want to leave about a Tablespoon of oil.  Lower the heat to medium-low and add the garlic.  Stir and cook for about 2 minutes.  Don't let it burn!  Make sure the heat is lowered and you keep stirring.  Burnt garlic will ruin the entire dish!


Next, add the diced tomatoes and stir well, scraping the bits off the bottom of the skillet.



Add 1/4 cup of the reserved water the pasta was cooked in.  It is starchy and helps the sauce come together.



Return the chicken cutlets to the skillet and spoon some of the sauce over them.



Bring to a boil then lower the heat to a simmer.  Simmer the chicken for 10 minutes.


Garnish with the fresh parsley.



Serve over spaghetti.


This is a hearty dish that is quick and easy.  Perfect for those busy days when you don't have a lot of time but want a great, home cooked meal.  Enjoy!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Sloppy Phils

I know it's been a while since I've posted.  Like everyone else, we've been busy.  Believe it or not my Hubby wants to renovate.  Again.  Didn't we just finish a renovation?  He needs a project at all times.  His energy seems endless.  If only I had a quarter of that energy.  Some days I just run out of energy all together.  When that happens I need a quick, easy recipe that's filling and delicious for my family.  This recipe fits the bill.  It's like a Sloppy Joe and a Philly Cheese Steak got married and had a baby.  My Hubby said I should I call these "Silly Phillies".  No matter what you call them, they are tasty.


SLOPPY PHILS

1 lb. ground sirloin
1 onion, diced
1/4 of a red bell pepper, diced
1/4 of a green bell pepper, diced
2 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup beef broth
salt/pepper
sliced provolone cheese
hamburger buns

Brown the ground sirloin in a big skillet.



Add the diced onions and bell pepper.


Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes.


Add the Worcestershire sauce, broth and season well with salt and pepper.


Simmer for 10 minutes.



Serve on buns topped with a slice of provolone cheese (or whatever cheese you like).



The heat from the sirloin warms the cheese so it gets sort of melty.  So yummy!



See how easy that was?  And my family loved these!  They each gave it an emphatic thumbs up (while their mouths were full).  Sloppy Phils or Silly Phillies?  Give these a try and let me know what you call them.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Chicken Noodle Soup

This weekend is going to bring the coldest temperatures we've had all year here in South Louisiana.  Plus it's raining.  Gross.  This weather definitely calls for a big pot of soup.  Chicken noodle soup might be the mother of all comfort foods.  It's like a nice warm hug for your insides.



CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP

2 boneless chicken breasts, diced
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped (or a handful of baby carrots)
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2 cups egg noodles (or broken spaghetti)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
salt/pepper
2 TBS oil


Season the diced chicken with salt and pepper.  Brown the chicken in the oil over medium-high heat in a big pot.  Once the chicken is browned, remove it to a plate and set it aside.


Add the onion, celery and carrots to the pot and saute for 10 minutes.



Season with salt and pepper.  Add the broth and water.


Bring to a boil then lower heat to medium, cover the pot and let cook 20 - 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Taste the broth to see if you need to add more salt or pepper.


Next, add the chicken (If you add it earlier it will get tough and stringy).


Then add the noodles.  Stir.  Bring back to a boil and cook until the noodles are tender, about 10 minutes or so.



Finish the soup by adding the chopped fresh parsley.



This soup is easy to make and so yummy!  It is perfect on a cold, rainy night.  Stay warm and happy cooking!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Roasted Cabbage

Happy New Year!  I hope this year treats you well.  To ensure health and wealth for my family every year, I cook black eyed peas and cabbage on New Year's Day.  It's a Louisiana tradition.

I'm not the biggest fan of smothered cabbage, so I like to roast it.  It's quick, easy and really tasty.  Keep this recipe in mind because it makes a great side dish any time of year.

ROASTED CABBAGE

1 head of cabbage
Oil (vegetable or canola)
Salt/pepper
Onion powder
Garlic powder

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Remove the outer layer of cabbage leaves.  Rinse the head of cabbage and dry it with a paper towel.  Cut it in half, then cut each half in quarters (giving you 8 wedges).  I only needed 4 wedges.  Just cut as many as you need, wrap leftover cabbage in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge.



Line a baking sheet with foil.  Drizzle a little oil on the foil.  Place cabbage wedges onto foil lined baking sheet.  Drizzle each wedge with some oil then season with salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder.



Bake for 20 minutes.



This is such an easy recipe.  The cabbage comes out tender and slightly sweet with crunchy ends that are just delicious.  If you think you don't like cabbage, try it this way.  It just might change your mind.  I even got my Pickiest Eater Ever Son to try it and he said, and I quote, "Hmm not bad".  High praise from him.  Wishing you health and wealth in 2017.