Sunday, January 31, 2010

Healthier Huevos Rancheros



I recently had the opportunity to try Eggland's Best eggs through the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program and I remembered having seen a recipe for a healthy version of huevos rancheros in the new book Eat This Not That. {I just love that series of books-check them out sometime} So I thought, what a better way to experience Eggland's Best eggs, than to pair them up a healthier recipe for huevos rancheros!

Y'all already know how I feel about eggs to begin with, and in an effort to eat healthier in the new year, I have incorporated them into my diet for breakfast most days this month. Eggs really are a nutritional powerhouse, but the patented, vegetarian, all natural hen feed used by Eggland's Best, results in eggs that have a boost in the vitamins and nutrients we need to stay healthy. Compared to regular eggs, Eggland's Best eggs have 50% more Vitamin A, 4 times more Vitamin D, 75% more B12, 10% more riboflavin, 25% less saturated fat, and 3 times the levels of Omega 3 fatty acids. Even better, these eggs actually have a noticeable boost in flavor that I was very impressed with. They really are a tasty egg!


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Friday, January 29, 2010

Best of the Best Mardi Gras Brunch and Party Foods Menu Ideas

Milk Punch, Grillades & Grits, Eggs in Purgatory, Homemade Pistolettes, Hot Crab Bread, Crab Martinis, Cajun Potato Salad, Shrimp & Bow Tie Pasta Salad, New Orleans BBQ Shrimp, Crabcakes, Muffulettas, Hot Roast Beef Po’boys, Boulettes, Natchitoches Meat Pies, Maque Choux, Crawfish Monica, Courtbouillon, Crawfish Rice Dressing, Jambalaya, Seafood & Eggplant Dressing, Cabbage au Gratin, Creole Bread Pudding, King Cake & Pralines to name a few!

Here are a few ideas of my favorite Mardi Gras appropriate recipes for your pre-parade brunch, or Mardi Gras celebration this year. Bear with me as I update my links with newer recipes.

There are a lot of other party foods that will work if you don't like these mostly Cajun/Creole types of foods. Just browse though my Appetizers and other Party Foods, or maybe you want Wings, or Ribs, or other cookout types of foods (don't worry many are grill optional) or just some good ole Southern Classics. Have a peek at that Label Cloud over there in the left hand sidebar if you prefer a different slant, or just browse through my Online Cookbook for some more ideas.


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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Old Fashioned Homestyle Chicken and Noodles

A whole chicken, stewed down in the same manner as homemade chicken and dumplings, but is then simmered with thick, homestyle noodles. Comfort food, indeed!

Old Fashioned Homestyle Chicken and Noodles

Old fashioned chicken and noodles, made with home style noodles of your own or from the freezer sections of your store, is a total comfort meal, and when the temperatures drop and frigid weather is on the way nothing is as warming as a big bowl of these creamy noodles. Like Chicken Noodle Soup on steroids. Like Chicken Noodle Soup met Chicken and Dumplings, fell in love and had little chicken noodle babies.

You know I poke fun with The Cajun (aka my husband) a bit - I can't help it, what can I say - he just gives me so much material to work with... but he really is a good man, who would give you the shirt off his back and will be there for you in a pinch, and of course I'm just having fun with him for blog material. {Yes honey, laughing at you, not with you.}


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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

A delicious coffee cake known as Sock it To Me Cake, has the usual attendees of brown sugar, pecans and cinnamon, but, unlike most coffee cakes, it actually gets better as it sits - not that it'll be around that long.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

When my Mama used a boxed cake mix, Duncan Hines Butter Recipe was the one she used. In my opinion, it is the best boxed cake mix on the market and worth the extra money over generic, though with coupons and sales you can often get a great price on them and stock up.


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Monday, January 25, 2010

Grillades and Grits

Strips of round steak, slow stewed with tomatoes and vegetables and served over a bed of garlic cheese grits.

Grillades and Grits

Grillades and Grits {pronounced GREE-ahds}, found on the menu at debutante balls and definitely a staple at Mardi Gras, is a dish of smothered beef, slow simmered in a roux and tomato base, though the name literally translated actually means grilled.  Made with just about any kind of beef, and sometimes even with pork or veal, I prefer to use inexpensive round steak.


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Friday, January 22, 2010

Cajun Shrimp Spread and Dip

Cajun Shrimp Spread and Dip, is a well loved Deep South appetizer, made preferably with fresh, peeled shrimp, though a canned product will work well also.

Cajun Shrimp Spread and Dip

Cajun Shrimp Spread, or dip if you will, is such a delicious addition for any party - including those football games, and the upcoming Super Bowl and Mardi Gras festivities, both just around the corner. Make it a day ahead if you can, because the flavor only improves, but try to at least chill it for an hour or so at the very least, letting it come to room temperature before serving. I usually uses mayonnaise but I had some Baconnaise on hand that I was trying, so I substituted that and it turned out wonderful. Bacon flavor goes mighty fine here, but of course, regular ole mayo is classic.


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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Yogurt and Berry Parfait with Granola

A layered Greek yogurt and berry parfait with granola is a delicious way to fit in a quick and healthy breakfast, especially when you substitute a lower fat granola!

Yogurt and Berry Parfait with Granola


Isn't that just so pretty?

This is actually one of my favorite breakfast meals or afternoon snacks to have because it is so easy to throw together and it's super healthy. I love pairing crunchy granola with fruit - usually mixed berries such as strawberries, raspberries and blackberries with blueberries - and adding that to thick, creamy Greek yogurt to make a layered parfait. It gives you a super decadent feeling, but helps to keep you on track so you can enjoy a good, hearty, favorite Southern meal later.


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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Southern Beef and Sausage Goulash

An American goulash, made with ground beef, Italian sausage and andouille, tomato, garlic and pasta, and seasoned with the Trinity and a bit of Cajun seasoning.

Southern Beef and Sausage Goulash

Don't you just love goulash? Now, of course, I'm talking about what we Americans refer to as goulash here, and not anything remotely resembling an authentic Hungarian goulash. Pasta, ground beef, Italian sausage, tomato, a bit of garlic, and in this case, The Trinity, a bit of Cajun seasoning, and some mild andouille sausage to southernize it just a tad, making it even better. Total comfort food, and ... it's all stovetop! So it's a quick & easy meal that is delicious. If you're looking for a very basic American goulash I've got that too! Click that link and we'll carry you right there!


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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Classic German Chocolate Cake ... with a Slight Twist

A classic, homemade German chocolate cake, except instead of spreading the traditional coconut pecan frosting all over the cake, I've added a new twist of chocolate ganache.

Classic German Chocolate Cake

German chocolate cake is the traditional cake for my son's birthday and even when given a choice of any kind of cake, German chocolate is the one he picks. It is his daddy's favorite cake too, and you gotta admit, made from scratch anybody can see why. Rich, moist chocolate cake filled and topped with a gooey, buttery, decadent coconut and pecan filling - it is just ♫delicious♫.

It is interesting to learn in the history of German chocolate cake that it is not German at all!  Instead, it was simply a reader submitted recipe to a local Dallas newspaper back in 1957.  This homemaker had baked a chocolate cake using a product called Baker's German's Sweet Chocolate, a product named after Sam German, who developed this chocolate for Baker's Chocolate in 1852. She submitted the recipe to the paper, and the cake quickly became a popular request across the country. As it's popularity grew exponentially, eventually coconut made it's way into it, and over time, the cake was named German Sweet Chocolate Cake, and eventually, simply German Chocolate Cake.


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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Spicy Oven Baked Barbecued Chicken Wings

A tasty oven barbecue chicken wing, seasoned generously with both Cavender's Greek seasoning and Cajun seasoning, then finished with your favorite barbecue sauce.

Spicy Oven Baked Barbecued Chicken Wings

These oven barbecued wings are a great addition to the wing collection I am building up here. Have a mentioned before how much I love wings? Of course I have!


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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Easy Pork Chop and Onion Bake

Pork chops, seasoned simply with salt and pepper then seared, are finished with a slow bake in a flavorful beef broth with onions. Shown with a side salad and southern fried corn.

Easy Pork Chop and Onion Bake

This recipe is so easy, yet so tasty and full of flavor, nobody but you will know how easy it was. It's one of my favorite way to do pork chops because it produces a wonderfully tender and delicious chop. I like to do this low and slow in the oven, but you can also finish it on the stovetop on a low simmer if you prefer. Just follow the recipe all the way to deglazing the pan, and then return the chops to the skillet, cover and simmer on low until done.


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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Traditional Southern Funeral Foods

The celebration of a loved ones life always includes the gathering and breaking of bread. Here's a list of some of our favorite and traditional funeral food recipes.

The Cajun and I attended a funeral yesterday and the gathering of the family after, made me think of southern traditions that are centered around food, this being one of them.

Ever been on vacation in the south and wondered why people pull over and stop on the opposite side of the road when a funeral procession is passing? Click here to learn about that and other southern funeral traditions.

Aside from the casseroles and other dishes that make their way to the home of those suffering, once the funeral service is over, and the procession has carried the deceased to their final resting place, all of the friends and family gather, either returning to the church hall or else to a private residence, and the party begins.

Done pot luck style and never in a restaurant, everybody brings their favorite dishes and all of the family and friends gather, eat, chat and catch up with one another and reminisce about the departed. Don't be at all surprised if somebody breaks out some music and the dancing and general merriment commence - a celebration of life and the passing of a loved one into eternity in their next life is reason for celebration down south.


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Spicy Ginger Garlic Chicken

Chicken baked with a barbecue glaze with garlic and ginger.

Spicy Ginger Garlic Chicken


A yummy way to jazz up chicken without adding a lot of fat. I used some super gargantuan, bone-in chicken breasts here and then just sliced them up, but this works well with a cut-up whole chicken, or thighs and legs. If you're looking to cut back on fat, remove the skin. These are also great grilled.


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Monday, January 11, 2010

Old Fashioned Coffee Cake

A very simple, but classic & tender old fashioned coffee cake comes together quick and easy. Serve with a drizzle of cream, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream & a piping hot cup of coffee.

Old Fashioned Coffee Cake

To me, this is what represents a true, old fashioned coffee cake.

Nothing fancy, very basic, just a perfectly simple sweet batter that produces a light cake, topped with a crunchy trio crumble of brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans that pleasantly invades your senses. Perfect served at the kitchen table still warm from the oven, piping hot coffee in hand, over gossip with your best friend.


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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Weekend Cocktails - Mardi Gras Milk Punch



Milk punch, in one form or another, is a popular adult beverage in the deep south during the winter months. An old fashioned drink that has been around forever, it is still enjoyed in many households from the Mississippi Gulf Coast up to the Delta, and is served at most every restaurant in New Orleans.  Thanks to the multitude of celebratory events of the season, including those surrounding Christmas, New Year's, and, of course, Carnival season, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy one.

Usually served in the wee hours of the morning as a tummy soother following a long night of over-indulgence, a milk punch is intended to be slowly sipped to help pleasantly greet the sunrise of the morning after. It is rich and delicious, and like it's close cousin eggnog, a bit deceptive, so be careful. It is easy to forget it too contains liquor.


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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Loaded Potato Skins

Who can resist a yummy potato skin, baked to a crispy tenderness and filled with all the goodies we love - green onion, bacon and cheese - and for me, topped with a dab of sour cream.

Loaded Potato Skins

Every time I run across this Loaded Potato Skin recipe on the blog, just looking at these always makes me want to make more! They are yummy bites of deliciousness and totally addictive.


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Friday, January 8, 2010

Some Food that Elvis Presley Would (Probably) Love - Happy Birthday Elvis!


Today would be the birthday of Mississippi-born Elvis Presley (1935 - 1977) if he were still with us, and you know, I just don't buy the whole "Elvis Presley Cake" thing at all. While he might have liked pineapple, somehow I just do not see Elvis being all that crazy about a pineapple cake. Nothing against that cake at all, I love it, but wouldn't he love a peanut butter cake even more? Just sayin'...

Now, what I do believe for sure is that he probably would have stopped by the Arcade Restaurant in Memphis, last booth on the left, and grabbed a snack of a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich - two slices of white bread, each slathered with peanut butter, sliced banana in between, and fried in a ton of butter till golden brown. I'd be willing to bet he would have loved any one of these recipes on his birthday, or any day too.


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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Cream of Broccoli Soup

An easy, creamy, chicken broth based broccoli soup that can use either fresh or frozen broccoli as the star. Make it a broccoli and cheese soup with the addition of some shredded Velveeta.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

A reader asked on Twitter if I had a broccoli soup recipe, and while I had not put one up on the blog yet, I tweeted the basics to them, hoping I didn't forget anything. (I did. I forgot the garlic!) Then, well, all I could think of the rest of the day was broccoli soup - so of course I had to make some!


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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Mardi Gras King Cake with Pecan Praline Filling

Mardi Gras King Cake - a tender pastry dough, stuffed with a pecan praline filling, glazed and decorated with tinted sugars.

Mardi Gras King Cake

It's Twelfth Night - or it will be at sunset today. Yep. And... before you know it, they're everywhere! No matter where you go they will be in your face. You can't escape them. They scream at you from far and near. What am I talking about you say?

Plastic babies? In bags? With colored beads?

It must be ...


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Creole Jambalaya with Chicken, Smoked Sausage and Shrimp

An oven baked Creole jambalaya containing chicken, shrimp and andouille smoked sausage.

Creole Jambalaya

Jambalaya, often made in this way with chicken, andouille sausage and shrimp, is a very common dish here in The Deep South and we tend to have it regularly, though every recipe you'll run across is probably a little bit different from the one before it. Different methods, different ingredients, different seasonings. It's a very versatile dish and there isn't any one way that is the only way.

I recently posted a Cajun jambalaya recipe, with layers of flavor that are built beginning with roasting the meats in the oven first. You can certainly do that here as well. This recipe is a little bit different from that one because this one uses a roux, I've added some fresh shrimp here, and it's considered a Creole version, due to the use of tomatoes, though in truth, Cajun and Creole cooking have sort of melded together these days. Don't let the long list of ingredients scare you away - there are quite a few seasonings and meats involved, but it comes together fairly easy, and then the oven does the work.


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Sunday, January 3, 2010

Healthy and Delicious High Fiber Pancakes

Healthy and delicious high fiber pancakes made with baking mix, oat bran and wheat germ.

Healthy and Delicious High Fiber Pancakes

One thing that I love to do at the beginning of the year is to try to work out of my pantry as much as possible to sort of clear out the old. It can be a sort of fun challenge to do, and right now I have a pretty full pantry to work from, so coming up with recipes shouldn't be too difficult.

Last year I happened to have a very large box of Bisquick that I purchased to make my sausage balls over the holidays. They were out of my usual Pioneer mix and literally the one and only box of baking mix left on the shelf at the time was a huge box of Bisquick. I also had oat bran and wheat germ in the freezer, so I thought I would combine that Bisquick with those fiber rich nutrients and try to healthy-up some pancakes, using what I had. You can certainly reduce fat by substituting one egg white for one of the eggs, and using the Heart Smart version of Bisquick instead of the original version.


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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Revamped Brown Rice



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It's that time of year!  We all try to tighten the belt so to speak (yes, me included), at least for a little bit, to try and knock off some of those seasonal pounds we seem to pick up between Thanksgiving and New Year celebrations. So many wonderful treats - it's really hard not to! Being a food blogger only makes it worse, and combine that with a food blog about southern food and well, y'all can imagine. So, I'll be posting a few of my favorite lower carb, lower fat, lighter recipes in between the usual classic southern favorites.

Brown rice is one of my favorites because not only is it healthier nutritionally speaking than white rice, but it also has a nice nutty flavor and a chewier texture that seem to make it more satisifying.  Alone though, it can be, well, a little dull. So while this is really a non-recipe recipe, I thought I'd share with you one of my favorite ways to bring brown rice up a notch. 


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