Monday, January 31, 2011

Picante Shrimp Dip

Cream Cheese & Sour Cream Dip with Shrimp & Picante Sauce

Picante Shrimp Dip

This Picante Shrimp Dip recipe was born out of leftovers from that New Orleans Style BBQ Shrimp I posted yesterday.  Besides being a lover of all things dip related, I especially love cooking once and getting multiple meals out of something.


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Sunday, January 30, 2011

New Orleans Style BBQ Shrimp

New Orleans style barbecue shrimp, made with large shrimp, Creole seasoning, beer, hot sauce, olive oil, lots of Worcestershire sauce and pepper, and a sinful amount of butter.

New Orleans Style BBQ Shrimp

It is said that the recipe for New Orleans Style BBQ Shrimp was born many, many years ago at Pascal's Manale Restaurant - a nearly 100 year old eatery located on Napoleon Avenue in New Orleans, Louisiana. How the name came to be though, well, nobody really seems to know, because New Orleans Style BBQ shrimp are not smoked, or cooked on a grill, and there is never anything remotely resembling a barbecue sauce that ever touches them.


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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Spicy Crockpot BBQ Pulled Pork

An easy crockpot BBQ pulled pork, cooked with onion, barbecue sauce, chicken broth, mustard, hot sauce and liquid smoke, perfect for shredding for sandwiches; shown here with Sweet Potato Fries.

Spicy Crockpot BBQ Pulled Pork

I purchased a pork shoulder, just under 9 pounds, at the Commissary the other day with the intention of making some kind of crockpot cheater pulled pork with it. I had seen Sandra Lee do a substantially smaller pork butt on Food Network recently, cooking it in a mixture of barbecue sauce, chicken broth and mustard. It looked really good, though I wondered if using a sauce with all that fat produced from the pork would really make a difference.


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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Crockpot Creole Chicken

Chicken thighs, slow cooked in a seasoned Creole sauce with The Trinity, and served with fettuccine noodles.

Crockpot Creole Chicken

This Creole Crockpot Chicken recipe was born out of me still trying to learn to love my crockpot, especially for chicken. I'm a low and slow oven kinda gal, and you see, chicken in a slow cooker, even dark meat chicken, that goes longer than it should, well... it can easily transform to the shredded stage, kinda like pulled chicken. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Pulled chicken is still good.


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Monday, January 24, 2011

Bean with Bacon Soup

A hardy soup of navy beans with a mirepoix of veggies and plenty of bacon flavor.

Bean with Bacon Soup

I've had this Bean with Bacon soup on my mind for awhile now since the canned version of Campbells is one of The Cajun's favorite. Since the dry beans had been hanging around the pantry waiting for me to write this soup recipe, I decided to go ahead and make it this weekend.

Now, fair warning. This is a bean with bacon soup, so seeing as bacon is a primary ingredient, well... I used nearly a full 12-ounce package of bacon for a pound of beans. I wanted PUH-lenty of bacon flavor, so don't go scoffing at me okay? Use what you want - even 4 slices would probably still make a nice flavorful soup.


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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Moon Pie Banana Pudding

Banana Pudding made with chopped Moon Pies and a decadent filling of cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla pudding.

Moon Pie Banana Pudding

Moon Pie Banana Pudding. No I haven't lost my mind! Nor have I thrown my Homemade Custard Banana Pudding to the wayside either... but, let me just back up here for a second.

New Year's Eve passed recently with a dropping of a giant illuminated one in Mobile, Alabama, and with Mardi Gras upon us, pretty soon they will be flying off of floats all over the Gulf Coast region.  The rest of you around the country are probably thinking "what the heck is she talkin' about?" Why, yes - MoonPies! They are a well-loved southern icon, that's for sure.


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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sausage and Sweet Potato Soup with Black-eyed Peas

A beef broth and tomato based soup made with smoked sausage, sweet potatoes, black-eyed peas and cabbage.

Sausage and Sweet Potato Soup

This fantastic soup was inspired by a recipe I saw while flipping through an old cookbook of mine, Is It Soup Yet? - A Cookbook for Soup Lovers. Actually it's a 1998 cookbook and not really all that old, but I guess in terms of a cookbook, it's practically vintage these days.


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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Southern Pecan Pie Muffins

Classic southern pecan pie muffins.

Southern Pecan Pie Muffins

I had a taste for these classic Pecan Pie Muffins the other day, so while it's practically a no-recipe, recipe that is in most every Southerner's recipe box, here they are. They are rich, chewy muffins that tastes a lot like a piece of pecan pie. They really do!


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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Oven Braised Pot Roast with Vegetables

Chuck roast, braised low and slow in the oven in a light roux with pot roasted veggies - it's a classic Sunday roast.

Oven Braised Pot Roast with Vegetables

This oven braised chuck roast rocks. That's it. I seriously could just end the post there to be honest. It is just simply the best roast you could ever possibly want to eat. For real y'all!


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Thursday, January 13, 2011

French Onion Soup

Homemade French onion soup made with a beef bone enhanced broth, caramelized sweet and yellow onion, and finished with croutons and cheese.

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup is a well loved winter favorite, and it's as loved in The South as it is anywhere. But... it does take patience to make. It is so worth every single second of the time. Caramelized onions simmered in a deep, rich beef stock, and topped with crusty bread or croutons and gooey cheese. I wish I could convey to you how delicious this soup is. I truly say it is the best French onion soup I have ever made. Is your mouth watering yet?

I believe it earns the name French onion soup when it has the cheesy topping, traditionally Gruyere, though you can certainly use whatever cheese you prefer. Don't hold me to that name thing, since I've never dipped a single toe in French territory myself, unless you count the area of the Deep South that I'm from.


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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Olivia's Croutons


You may have recently seen the soup round-up of some of my favorite soups in honor of National Soup Month and January has certainly proved soup-worthy just about everywhere around the country.  I say this even as I sit here now on our coldest night yet this season, with my Snoozies on my feet and my Snuggie on my body trying to stay warm, sipping hot cocoa. I kid you not! Well, one thing you may not have considered as a fantastic garnish for the soups you indulge in this month, are croutons!

I recently had the opportunity to try Olivia's Croutons and received packages of Multi Grain & Garlic and Certified Organic Garlic & Herb croutons.



Along with Butter & Garlic, Parmesan Pepper, and Vermont Cheddar & Dill croutons.


Olivia’s Croutons are made in small batches, on a working farm in Northern Vermont. The company was born in 1991, in the home kitchen of Francie, the young mother of then 3 year old Olivia, and 2 year old David. Within four months, demand for the croutons grew from an initial order of 20 bags, to selling them in stores, signing their first big store and doing a demo that resulted in 200 bags being sold in just three days.  Within two years the operation moved into a basement commercial kitchen of its own and continued growing until Olivia's moved into their own building in the next town. After the purchase and extensive renovations to a 1912 dairy barn, Olivia’s moved into it’s current home on a 50 acre homestead, where the owners grow the wheat for their croutons and produce their products in the cleverly concealed insides of the historic barn.


All of Olivia's products are baked with fresh, made from scratch, Vermont breads baked right on the property, many from wheat grown right on the property. The bread for the croutons is then rested overnight and cut the very next day.  Special seasonings are applied, the croutons are spread on trays and baked in small batches, cooled and packaged. There are no preservatives or artificial anything used in Olivia's products. It's really a pretty cool process, not much different than if you and I were making these fresh, right in our own homes, but on a slightly larger scale. Check it out!


Olivia's carries all of the products shown above, and recently added two flavors of Stuffing. The traditional stuffing is made from a combination of their French and Multi Grain breads and seasoned with lots of traditional, all natural, poultry seasonings. The cornbread stuffing is made with old fashioned unsweetened cornbread and a combination of traditional poultry herbs and spices, plus a bit of marjoram and nutmeg to give it a classic flavor with a twist.


Croutons are a classic topper for salads, of course, and this salad below features the multi-grain croutons. It's a great way to add in a bit of extra fiber with your salad. And, of course they are perfect for a panzanella salad.


But what else can you do with croutons?

Well, since it is National Soup Month, why not top your favorite soups with them? You may recall seeing them on this Greens and Black-eyed Pea Soup that I served up on New Years Day. I used the Butter & Garlic croutons - an award winner - with this soup. Fantastic crunch, nicely seasoned, buttery garlic flavor, these were just delicious.


And, I used the Parmesan Pepper croutons - another award winner - on this soup. Loved these! Made from freshly baked French bread, coated in quality olive and canola oils, and tossed with just enough cracked black pepper to give it a nice bite, plus fresh garlic and imported Parmesan, I don't mind telling y'all these are an awesome snack too.   Can you tell what soup this is the makings of?


Yep - that'd be French Onion Soup, topped with Olivia's Parmesan Pepper croutons and lawdy mercy is it ever good!


Got this Sausage and Sweet Potato Soup coming to you next - this one is topped with Olivia's Multi Grain. Oh my gosh is it good!


Throw some of the Vermont Cheddar and Dill croutons into a bowl of tomato soup, or in a spinach salad

But, croutons can also be used in other ways - ways that you may not have thought of before.

You can also use them as a stuffing base in squash and other vegetables, or in chops, chicken, stuffed steak or fish. Crushed croutons can also be used as a topping on a casserole, a coating for virtually any protein, or to stir into soups and pastas to add texture and body.

Try the Vermont Cheddar and Dill croutons crushed and coated on baked fish, or use crushed Multi Grain and Garlic croutons to stuff pork, or chicken.  And, being the bread lover that I am, I found that they all were perfect for snacking too.  Those Parmesan Pepper ones made an awesome snack.


Just think outside of the salad plate!

Check out the recipes at Olivia's site, but if you follow them on their blog, you'll find even more recipes and some interesting facts. Like, did you know some crouton manufacturers spray flavoring on their croutons? Olivia's doesn't do that. Their croutons are made by hand-seasoning freshly baked bread with delicious oils and butter and plenty of fresh garlic, grated cheeses, herbs and spices baked into the crouton.

Olivia's Croutons are widely available in supermarkets, specialty food shops, and on the web. Next time you're in your store, look for them!

Follow Olivia's on Twitter
Like Olivia's on Facebook
Follow Olivia's Blog

Disclosure: Olivia's provided me with their crouton products to try.
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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Old School Oven Barbecued Chicken

An old school, low and slow way to cook up a barbecue sauced chicken in the oven, the way that grandma used to make it.

Old School Oven Barbecued Chicken

This oven barbecue chicken is a great way to get indoor barbecue flavor when the grill is covered under snow, it's just too darned cold or you're too tired to fool with grilling. And yes, I realize that pouring commercially bottled barbecue sauce over chicken and baking it is absolutely deliciously easy, this recipe is the old school way of baking up a barbecued chicken dish.


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Thursday, January 6, 2011

My Top 10 Favorite Soups for National Soup Month

A collection of some of my favorite Deep South Dish soup recipes for National Soup Month.

Grab a hot bowl of one if my favorite soups, because January is National Soup Month y'all!

No doubt it's a good month to celebrate soup in many parts of our country, though in this part of The Deep South, Mama Nature can't seem to set her mind on either hot or cold. But, we've had plenty of those wet and dreary days in between flip flops (literally) of summer weather and freezing weather, and that is perfect weather for soup no matter the temperature.


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Monday, January 3, 2011

Easy and Faster No Knead Bread Recipe in a Dutch Oven

A faster no knead bread made in a Dutch oven, that's simply delicious!

Easy and Faster No Knead Bread Recipe in a Dutch Oven


No Knead Bread really doesn't take less time to make than good ole hand kneaded loaf bread - kneading bread is not that difficult and certainly a cinch with a Kitchen Aid.  No knead bread just became sort of a novelty ever since the recipe from Jim Lahey, for his New York Sullivan Street Bakery, made an appearance on the circuits back in 2006. For awhile there, everybody was talking about it, and, making it.

His takes more than 18 hours to make. Mine doesn't.

And yes... I know that there is certainly something to be said about allowing yeast to ferment over a long time to produce a flavorful bread. This method is just a shorter way to get a wonderful loaf of no knead bread, faster. And trust me. Even if you don't consider yourself to be a bread maker, you can do this - and you don't have to have a fancy pot for it either. It's nice if you have one, but in truth, you can use a plain ole cast iron Dutch oven, or enameled cast iron Dutch oven, or one of those high dollar, fancy French ovens. Any one of those will work.  I used a vintage Corning Ware Visions Dutch oven my grandma gave me this time.


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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Deep South Inspirations

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A Hot Mess of Deliciousness - Happy 2011 Y'all!


Does look a little bit like a hot mess doesn't it?  Well it was a delicious hot mess and I think we have all bases covered here for health, and wealth, and prosperity and forward progress into the new year.  The Cajun ate the entire plate, including every single drop of the greens which frankly, took me by surprise. I am impressed.

1.  Black-eyed Pea Jambalaya - Deep South Hoppin' John

If you're gonna do a Hoppin' John, might as well make it a Deep South Hoppin' John! The Trinity, plus bacon, ham, smoked sausage, black-eyed peas - loaded with layers of flavor like a jambalaya should be, and with just enough of a Cajun kick, this one is a winner.  

2. Smothered Pork Roast and Gravy with Rice

My hands-down favorite on the entire plate. A pork shoulder smothered down in a garlic and onion, rosemary and thyme infused gravy, and cooked in covered Dutch oven, low and slow. Don't miss this one. A-mazing.

3. Greens and Black-eyed Peas

This actually started off as a Greens and Black-eyed Pea soup, but I just used a slotted spoon to extract out the goodies so it could be plated.  Just excellent.

4.  Smothered Cabbage

This one hasn't made it to the site yet, but it's basically sliced cabbage, smothered down with cooked ground beef, tomatoes, onion, garlic, some rice and some seasonings. A deconstructed cabbage roll so to speak. Pretty darned good way to consume some cabbage.

A delicious hot mess!

As to all of you, I want to thank you all for being a part of this experience here with me. I appreciate your visits, your comments and emails, the stories, the memories, and the recipes that you have so freely shared with me. I appreciate and value your friendship, much more than I suppose any of you will ever know. I am humbled and I thank you.

I wish you all health, prosperity, joy and happiness in the new year. May you always have a table full of plenty, with good home cooked food, precious time spent with friends and family, and making memories to treasure all of your life. Happy New Year to you all.
“In the New Year, may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship, but never in want.” 
– Traditional Irish toast

Love to you all.

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