Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Braun Bon Brown Good Smothered Potatoes

Seasoned potatoes, layered with onion and smoked sausage and slow simmered on the stovetop. Top layer of potatoes pictured.

Brown Good Smothered Potatoes

I feel so blessed to have so many of you email me with amazingly sweet notes, and often we correspond back and forth for no reason except just to chat. I am always humbled that you take the time from your busy date to write and it really means the world to me. I am especially honored when you share your own treasured recipes - sometimes new things to try, sometimes new ways to try things. Nell, one of our readers from south Louisiana, is one such reader and she provided me with this wonderful recipe that I think you will really enjoy.


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Monday, March 28, 2011

Chocolate Sin Better Than Sex Recipe - My Way

A decadent and well loved dessert made with a shortbread pecan crust and layers of cream cheese, pudding and whipped cream.

Chocolate Sin

This dessert recipe goes far, far back in my memory, though I was a bit older before I first heard it called "Better Than Sex." I distinctly remember a girlfriend calling it that and with a puzzled look on my face being told, "darlin', this is sooooo good that it is better than sex, that's why," and that was that. It sure has made multiple appearances in my life, that's for sure.


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Friday, March 25, 2011

Pizza Spaghetti Pie

Super cheesy spaghetti pie made easy using your favorite commercial pasta sauce, cheeses and your favorite pizza toppings! I think your kids will love it.

Pizza Spaghetti Pie

This Pizza Spaghetti Pie recipe was inspired by the Pizza Macaroni and Cheese in the February/March 2011 edition of Taste of the South magazine. Recently we were chatting about all the different ways that folks make fried spaghetti over on the Facebook page, so it seemed fitting to give this recipe a try!


The original recipe called for pasta sauce, but I had some Homemade Pizza Sauce in the freezer and thought it would be a good substitution. If you use a commercial pizza or pasta sauce, your dish will probably appear darker in color than this one pictured. They also used a 10-inch springform pan, which probably makes for prettier slices, but I just used a deep dish pie plate.  The presentation isn't as pretty as it would be with a springform pan, but truthfully that didn't matter as much to me as the taste, so the pie pan worked just fine for me.

The original recipe also used raw onion, mushrooms and black olives for toppings which I would love, but The Cajun would just pick off. I also used raw onion (but next time I will saute it first), and I changed my toppings to cooked, chopped bacon and chopped pepperoni, but you could certainly vary the toppings for whatever your family likes best. Their recipe used an Italian cheese blend with Parmesan, but I used cheese that I had on hand - Mozzarella, Asiago, and Parmesan.

This really is a delicious spaghetti pie and leftovers, which as you see below, slice much prettier even though I used a regular deep dish pie plate instead of the spring form pan. The leftovers warmed nicely in the microwave, and taste-wise, it was even better the next day, so it'd be great for taking to work for lunch too.


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Monday, March 21, 2011

Bite Me! No ... really! Cookbook Review & Giveaway

Cookbook Review: Bite Me: A Stomach-Satisfying, Visually Gratifying, Fresh-Mouthed Cookbook
If you think this sounds yummy, I'd sure it if you'd click to pin it, tweet it, stumble it, or share it on Facebook to help spread the word - thanks!

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As soon as I saw the press release of this cookbook, I knew it would be fun! I mean look at that cover. How could you not love that! The truth is, Bite Me is a fairly unconventional cookbook, probably quite a bit different from most cookbooks you own, and maybe most appealing to the younger crowd, though we older folks enjoy a bit of humor too.


Written by sisters and self proclaimed passionate eaters and skilled feeders, Julie Albert and Lisa Gnat, you'll find a wide range of recipes to suit just about any appetite.


"Life's too short to
stuff a mushroom."
                      ~Shirley Conran, Author

Scattered about the cookbook are quirky quotes like that called "Bite Me Bits," many of them from movies. A quote from Winonna Ryder in the 1994 movie Reality Bites, "He's so Cheesy, I can't watch him without crackers," is alongside a recipe for Creamy White Bean Spread with Asiago Crackers (that will literally make you hungry just looking at them).  There is some silly photo styling, a variety of toys posed with pictures of recipes, and just plain funny images scattered about the cookbook that will truly have you laughing out loud.


The chapters are divided up by category, ranging from Appetizers to Dessert, but with titles like Grab Me (Appetizers), unDress Me (Salads), Meet Me (Meat), and Fork Me (Desserts). The recipes all sound pretty good to me and I have plenty of them bookmarked to try.

Crunchy Tortilla Chicken with Avocado Dip

You'll find appetizers like Slacker's Stacked Sushi, and Dyn-o-Mite! Asian Meatballs made with hoisin and apricot jam in the chapter Grab MeUnDress Me offers up Strawberry Salad with Sugared Almonds and Chopped Greek Salad as just two of several salad courses you'll find.

H-Crusted Beef Tenderloin

In Respect Me, the section on veggies, you can find offerings like Crispy Baked Zucchini Chips and Parmesan Crusted Asparagus. Crave Me, the pasta section, has a Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Pasta that sounds fantastic, and a Deep Dish Meat Lasagna to tempt your taste buds.

Fantastic 4 Mushroom and Cheese Lasagna

For the section on the bird, Gobble Me has Smokin' BBQ Chicken, Magical Moroccan Grilled Chicken and Bang-On Roasted Turkey Breast, while Catch Me brings you recipes like Crunchy Baked Sea Bass and Sweet Citrus and Spiced SalmonMeet Me, the chapter for meat lovers, features Braised Beef Short Ribs and Beef Fajitas with Southwestern Rice.

Apple Coleslaw

In Join Me, you'll find brunch foods, where I have to tell you I fell completely in love with Sweet Noodle Pudding - Exposed! Being a rice pudding gal and not a noodle pudding consumer, I had never eaten the sweet noodle dish made with egg noodles that you hear about during the Jewish holidays.  I not only made this recipe once, but twice just a few weeks apart from one another, and just thinking about it makes me crave it again. It is downright addictive - who knew?!

Sweet Noodle Pudding - My New Addiction!

You'll also find recipes like Apple Streusel Muffins, and Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread there as well as the Twinkorette Peach Crumb Cake.  In Fork Me, the section on desserts, you'll can choose from recipes like Naughty-Turned Nice Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing and Easy as Pie Strawberry Apple Crisp, among many others.

Chunky White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies (psst.. you can find these on the site.)

The Twinkorette Peach Crumb Cake was born out of a need to find a substitute for the out of control addiction that Julie, one of the authors, had for Twinkies. The recipe isn't really Twinkle-like but it is marvelous with sliced peaches spread between layers of a sour cream cake batter, producing a delicious dessert that was nice and moist, with a just right little bit of a crunch on top. Great on its own, I decided to sift a light layer of powdered sugar on top, which was a perfect accent, though I think a glaze made with the juices of the canned peaches would also be excellent drizzled on top.

You can grab the recipe by clicking this link, but also be sure to check out the author's Bite Me Cookbook website where you will be sure to get lost in the fun. Pick up a copy of Bite Me at your favorite online bookstore or a retailer near you.

Like Bite Me on Facebook
Tweet along with them on Twitter

Let 'em know Deep South Dish sent ya!
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Disclosure:  I received a free review copy of this cookbook plus two additional copies to give away.
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Peach Crumb Cake

A super easy, sour cream snack cake with peaches.

Peach Crumb Cake

This recipe comes from the cookbook Bite Me by sisters Julie Albert and Lisa Gnat, who really make cooking a fun and funny experience. Apparently one of the authors had a secret addiction to Twinkies so the other sister concocted a crumb cake that was meant to help satisfy those cravings.

Super, super easy to throw together too. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan; set aside. Add the sour cream to a 2-cup measuring cup and stir in the baking soda; set aside. As you see, you'll need the larger container because the sour cream will expand.


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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cajun Smothered Seven (7) Steak

Inexpensive chuck 7-Bone steak, or other braising steaks such as bottom round, is low simmered with onion, bell pepper, green onion, and garlic, in a rich mushroom sauce.

Cajun Smothered Seven (7) Steak

Sometimes called 7 Steak Etouffee, this is another one of those popular Deep South beef dishes made from an inexpensive cut of meat, and slow simmered over several hours, resulting in a fork tender and tasty piece of beef.


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Monday, March 14, 2011

Cabbage and Potatoes - Irish Colcannon Potatoes

A traditional Irish dish of simply seasoned mashed potatoes, mixed with cabbage and butter, Colcannon is a favorite of mine and will soon be a favorite of yours!

Irish Colcannon Potatoes

Well, y'all knew I had to sneak in at least one more dish for St. Patrick's Day, and this dish of Colcannon is a very appropriate one that I've been meaning to add since last year. Easily grown in Ireland, potatoes have always been a mainstay of many Irish diets, and often are the star of the meal. This little ole Irish lass does indeed love her potatoes.

Colcannon, translated literally, means white-headed cabbage, and is really nothing more than very simply seasoned mashed potatoes, mixed with cabbage and butter, it's everything that I happen to love.  Y'all know I had to sneak a little bit of my favorite Cajun seasoning in there too now, didn't ya?

According to Darina Allen, author of Irish Traditional Cooking, where this recipe came from, Colcannon varies by region, and might contain spring, green or Savoy cabbage, or even kale instead of cabbage. Sometimes parsnips, onions or green onion are added.  One thing is for certain, and that is in Ireland, Colcannon is a traditional dish served at Halloween. Often, much like our king cakes at Mardi Gras time down here, a token is buried in the Colcannon - most often a thimble and a ring though the tokens also vary by region. The person lucky enough to find the ring would soon be married, but the person who found the thimble would have the unfortunate fate of a spinster.


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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Country Style Pork Chops in Gravy

Bone-in pork chops, dredged in seasoned flour, pan fried and finished in gravy.

Country Style Pork Chops in Gravy

The Cajun is a huge fan of pork chops done just about any way you can make them. I love watching him clean the bone till there isn't a trace of meat left on them. He is definitely a meat loving man.


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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Meatless Meal Ideas for Lent

One of many recipes to serve during Lent - Giada's Pasta with Carrots & Peas is easy and tasty!

Meatless Meal Ideas and Recipes for Lent

With Mardi Gras over, the last of the indulgences have passed, and we move into Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the Lenten season, which continues on for 40 days. I can only speak to the Catholic faith, but we observe Lent by fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday - though it is not a literal fast.  One full meal is permitted (or two smaller meals that are less than equal to a "full" meal) but that meal must be meat free - though seafood, eggs and dairy are permitted. The remainder of Lent, we abstain from meat on Fridays, so while regular meals may be consumed, they must each be meatless meals, again allowing seafood, eggs and dairy.

Giada's Pasta with Carrots & Peas, the dish you see pictured above, is a great choice for an Ash Wednesday dinner, or for any meatless meal during the period of Lent.  It comes together quickly and is very tasty! Another main dish pasta to consider might be this Angel Hair Pasta with Crab and of course, there's always Everyday Macaroni and Cheese.

Here are a few links for some other choices you might want to consider, many require just a simple elimination of the protein and/or bacon often used in The South to season dishes.  Click the links or photos to view the recipes.

1.  Of course salads are always an option, but a main dish salad like this Shrimp and Crab Mixed Garden Salad, a Panzanella Salad, this Roasted Veggie Spinach Salad, Shrimp Remoulade, and even my mother in law's Shrimp and Salad would also be great meal choices. You'll have to eliminate the warm bacon dressing on the spinach salad of course, but a good Homemade Italian Dressing or even a simple vinegar and oil dressing would work just fine. Fresh Corn Salad and even good Old Fashioned 7 Layer Salad would also be wonderful, just eliminate the bacon garnish.


2. Deviled eggs are always a good choice, as are many basic egg salads, including Tuna Egg Salad and Shrimp Egg Salad, which can be served as a sandwich, stuffed into a whole tomato, or over a bed of lettuce. This Roasted Red Pepper Pimento Cheese would be great!

3.  Make any number of meatless bean dishes like Red Beans and Rice, or Cajun White Beans, or Mixed Bean Soup, by simply cooking these with extra vegetables, water or vegetable stock, and eliminating the meats. Serve over rice.

4.  There's many potato salads to choose from, and pasta salads too, like this Shrimp and Macaroni Salad or this Tri-Color Rotini Italian Pasta Salad - just be sure to eliminate any bacon or other meats included sometimes. Sweet potatoes can be used in a number of ways too!

5.  Eggs in Purgatory (sub in canola oil for the bacon) or Shrimp and Grits served over Garlic Cheese Grits are a nice choice too.

6.  Breakfast for dinner can be a cheese, vegetable, or Seafood Crab and Shrimp Omelet, Creamy Scrambled Eggs with Garden Fresh Herbs, French Toast, French Toast Casserole, Birds in a Nest, or Homemade Buttermilk Pancakes.


7.  Make a rice main dish dinner using this recipe for Spicy Rice and Corn Casserole, Southern Red Rice with Shrimp, or a Vegetarian Fried Rice or make a Veggie Stir Fry by using extra vegetables and eliminating the protein.

8.  Make a vegetarian Vegetable Soup using this recipe and eliminating the beef, beef base & beef broth. Replace that with canned tomatoes, V-8, tomato juice and/or vegetable broth. Southern Succotash is a good main dish veggie meal, simply leave out the meat.


9.  Seafood is plentiful and abundant here along the coast, so it is not considered to be an indulgence and you will find simple fried catfish, shrimp and oysters are common during Lent. Other seafood choices might include Coconut Shrimp, Spicy Orange Garlic Shrimp, Baked Salmon, Crab Stuffed Shrimp, Eggplant Josephine with Crab, Crabmeat Au Gratin, Seafood & Eggplant Casserole (eliminate the bacon), Courtbouillon. Any number of seafood gumbo dishes can be included by simply eliminating the meats typically included.

10.   Try a vegetable centered casserole, like this Petit Pois Peas and Pimento Casserole, Squash Casserole, Squash Dressing (substitute cream of mushroom), Cajun Cabbage au Gratin, or Layered Squash and Tomato Casserole (omit the bacon of course), Spinach Madeline, Broccoli and Cheese Casserole, Hashbrown Casserole, or Velveeta Truck Stop Potatoes. I can easily make a meal from a pot of old fashioned smothered and stewed down potatoes!

11.  Another great idea and one that I adore, is to make up mixture of fresh or frozen veggies (sweet peppers, onion, cabbage, broccoli, green beans, whatever you like) to stir fry, add a sauce & season (I like red curry & McCormick's sesame ginger blend) and stuff into pita pockets. This is one of my favorite meatless meals. You can find my homemade stir fry sauce here.

12. Make a Mozzarella sandwich on a toasted French roll. Spoon pesto on the bottom of the roll, top with slices of fresh Mozzarella and a layer of sun dried tomatoes. Top with torn basil.

13. Grilled cheese is always good, of course, but bump it up by including some spinach! Saute some chopped onion and minced garlic in a little butter until tender. Add fresh spinach until it wilts down and add to your grilled cheese sandwich. Use your favorite cheese - Mozzarella or Swiss are both good additions.


As always, some of our Facebook readers also added in some fine suggestions too! Check 'em out y'all:

☞  Courtney shared that she had made a batch of eggrolls with just broccoli slaw, shredded carrot, mushroom and onions. Add a little stir fry sauce while cooking the mixture and then bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Her 7-year old son said they were better than pizza! She served them with brown rice and steamed sugar snap peas and said they were excellent and very filling - you could even eat the mixture served over the rice.

☞  Claire makes a dish using eggplant as the noodle in a lasagna, a red tomato gravy and using vegetables in the layers - squash, zucchini, carrots, & mushrooms. She mixes in some spinach in with the ricotta cheese for the cheese layer. You can also add shrimp or crawfish if you like.

☞  Mary likes to have pasta with olive oil, garlic, blanched broccoli, crushed chilies & fresh parmesan cheese.

☞  Kristell fries a cabbage along with 6 onions, 6 tomatoes, 2 green peppers, 9 chillies and 8 grated carrots with 9 teaspoons of curry powder and serves this over rice.

☞  Carol makes portabello mushrooms stuffed with a ricotta cheese mixture and baked in a marinara sauce, and a chili using vegetarian meatless crumbles as well. (I like the Morning Star brand of Grillers Meal Starters Crumbles. Actually pulled those off on The Cajun - don't judge!)

☞  Sara suggested a spinach & artichoke pizza would be good with salad as a non meat meal. Just combine 1 cup of spinach (thawed and drained) with a can of (drained & chopped) artichokes, 1 cup of alfredo sauce and 1 clove of garlic minced, spread on dough sprinkle with mozzarella or italian blend cheese and bake according to dough or crust directions. You could aslo roast some veggies like zucchini, eggplant, peppers, onion and tomatoes toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper bake at 400 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until tender, and then mix with pasta like penne and fresh herbs, parmesean, and olive oil or just use pesto.

☞  Other suggestions included breakfast for dinner, meatless spaghetti, cheese or other meatless pizzas, cheese enchiladas, cheese baked spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese and tomato soup. Some also suggested red beans and rice (minus any bacon or meat of course), egg omelets, pasta shells stuffed with a cheese mixture, pasta mixed with vegetables and potato stuffed perogies, garden salads, tuna salad, shrimp and egg Salads. Veggie burgers, any number of cooked fresh vegetables like corn, turnip or collard greens, fresh tomatoes, baked sweet potatoes, creamed or mashed potatoes can make a meal, and a basic homemade potato soup is a another great choice. Fish tacos are an easy favorite. Even simple peanut butter and jelly sandwiches can make a meal.

I hope that you found some good ideas for Lent friendly meals here! Please share your own ideas in the comments below if you like.

~~~

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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Hot Chicken Salad Casserole

A classic potluck dish, this casserole uses the same basic elements as chicken salad, but it is baked and just delicious! I like to include the chopped boiled eggs, but those can be omitted if you prefer. Always a favorite!

Hot Chicken Salad Casserole

Called Hot Chicken Salad because it contains many of the typical elements of a cold chicken salad, but it's baked in a casserole form. Probably one of the Original Church Lady Casserole Recipes from way back, and published in most every southern community cookbook, it still finds its way not only at church socials, but reunions, potlucks, as a funeral dish, or at any number of other gatherings.
 
As always, ingredients do vary a bit among us Southern cooks with this dish, and some folks exclude the boiled eggs, though I think that they are fitting and taste good, so I do use them.  You can also use a wide variety of toppings, including some additional shredded cheese, alone or with some soft or panko bread crumbs, cracker crumbs, or even potato chips which were the most traditional.


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Friday, March 4, 2011

Cooking with Kids - Fruit Pizza!


Today we're turning the kitchen over to the kids to show you how easy it is to get even the littlest ones into the kitchen for some cookin' fun with Rhodes Bake N Serve frozen bread dough!

Available on the Rhodes Bake N Serve Website
This is the cutest cookbook - loaded with 48 ideas for working with Rhodes dough to make all sorts of different bread sculptures with the kids, like the one you see on the cover above. There is a picture of the finished product, and easy illustrations to show you how to get there step-by-step for creations like Betty Butterfly, Freddy Frog, Waffle Wiggles, Texas Turkey, Busy Bees, Halloweiners, and Frosty the Doughman. Good ole classics like My Personal Pizza, Baked Bread and yummy French Toast, are just a few more of the kid-friendly creations you can make and bake with your own little sous chefs.

Chef Brian rolling out the pizza dough
A lot of southern cooks love using Rhodes dough, and I am certainly one of them.  It makes a fantastic loaf of bread or pan of delectable rolls (that can fool just about anybody to thinking they are your own homemade from scratch creations), it's also a mighty convenient dough to use for recipes, where it really shines.

Chef Ben posing with the final product!
If you visit here regularly, you have probably seen a few Rhodes recipes make an appearance because I just adore their products!  I mean yeast rolls with homemade flavor, but without all the trouble? I'm thinking even my Mama probably managed to sneak some of those by us a time or two.  But, it really rocks for recipes like this Sausage Cheese Bread - one of my favorites. The filling is just wonderful and wrap that in some bread dough? To. Die. For!  Super Easy Cinnamon Rolls? Not a problem and delicious!  And we all love good ole Butterscotch Pull Apart Bread.

I'm thinking Chef Sarah had fun too don't you think?
There are a lot of options for using their dough to create fun recipes in the kitchen with your children and the cookbook is a handy way to have them all in one spot. You can get it right from the website for only $9.95 for the softcover version pictured above.  Hey while you're there, check out the new Home Baked Family Favorites cookbook for the same price too! (You'll be seeing another Rhodes recipe showing up from that one in the near future.)

My grandson in his happy pose - what a fun time!
Looks to me like the kids really enjoyed themselves!  Well, let's see what mom reported:

The kids really enjoyed the fruit pizza making experience and it was very tasty.

We started by letting the rolls rise and then rolled them into a pizza shape. Although we didn't get the dough to roll out quite as flat as I would have liked it, the pizza still turned out great.

The fruit was the fun part because the kids would eat some, put some on the pizza, eat some more, put some on the pizza, and so that was pretty entertaining!

The best part was how excited the kids got when I told them the pizza had sat in the refrigerator long enough and it was time to eat!

This was a very fun and tasty activity for the kids, thanks so much!


Sounds like they had fun, and I think they did a great job, don't you?

You can get the recipe for the Rhodes Fresh Fruit Pizza right here. You'll need 9 Rhodes Dinner Rolls or 6 Rhodes Texas Rolls, strawberry cream cheese spread, milk, sugar, a little bit of whipped topping and your choice of fresh fruit. That is it!

Hey, Mardi Gras is around the corner y'all and while it's not gonna be exactly like our beloved pastry dough down here, they've got a great shortcut King Cake recipe on their site, and you know it's gonna be good! I highly recommend adding a fruit filling (1/2 can to 1 can of your favorite pie filling) on top of that cream cheese.

What's your favorite recipe using Rhodes Bake N Serve frozen dough?

Disclosure:  I received a complimentary copy of Kids Ideas with Frozen Dough and Home Baked Family Favorites cookbooks, plus coupons for Rhodes Bake N Serve frozen dough.
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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo with Microwave Roux

A gumbo made with a dark roux, a rich shrimp stock, the Trinity of vegetables, okra, shrimp and andouille sausage, shown here served with a scoop of hot rice and a scoop of Gumbo Potato Salad.

Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo with Microwave Roux

Yes, it's another shrimp gumbo, but... what sets this one apart is that it was a "hurry up" gumbo, made with my microwave roux - pushed just a little bit further than usual - and pretty much, mostly ingredients that were straight out of the freezer!

The shrimp were frozen. The shrimp stock I had made and put up in the freezer. You can also substitute commercial seafood or chicken broth, of course. Smoked sausage is also a freezer staple I always have on hand and can be quickly thawed in the microwave. I had even actually run completely out of onion when I decided to make this gumbo - can you imagine? No worries. I always keep extra chopped onion in the freezer.

Tip: When a recipe calls for chopped onion, go ahead and chop the entire onion and bag what you don't use in a zippered freezer bag.  Same with the bell pepper. Didn't have any fresh, but I always keep quartered bell pepper in the freezer - problem solved. And, of course, the okra was also frozen.

Y'all, I promise, utilize your freezer and a microwave roux, and this is a gumbo that you can actually pull together in a flash. Gotta love that.


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