Aug 31, 2013

I can't think of a better day to share this recipe with you all than today.  It's been 12 years ago today since my Dad passed away. I thought it would have been so much easier by now to deal with his passing and accept it but I am convinced that it never gets any easier despite what people tell you. You just move on I suppose... My Dad was a Cajun through and through. Black hair, Dark skin, and bright blue eyes. He would have flipped over this recipe and he would have been proud that I made it and felt like he taught me well. He's to you Dad!!

I love etouffee just about any way you make it and with any type of meat I can get in it, but I must say that the alligator sausage is at the top of my list just second to shrimp.

This is a delicious piece of meat! I know some people are sitting there thinking ewww!! How can anyone eat an alligator but let me tell you it is well worth a shot if you have never had it.

I know this recipe will not work out for everyone because not everyone has access to alligator meat. I am a southern girl and have access anytime I want it while it’s in season and if it’s not in season there is probably some in my freezer. I know it’s not so easy for everyone.

If you have the opportunity to make this wonderful dish I highly recommend it. For this Cajun girl it’s nothing but a happy tummy and great memories dish! 

  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup clam juice
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2-4 teaspoons (to taste) Louisiana pepper sauce (Tabasco)
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped 
  • 1 lb. alligator sausage 
  • 3-4 cups cooked white rice
  1. If your alligator sausage is not cooked cut into bite size pieces and pan fry in a large dutch oven. Do not remove the casing or it will all fall apart. Once the alligator is cook put the meat aside but reserve the drippings
  2. In the same pot you cooked the alligator (including the drippings) you will be making the roux. Make roux: Heat margarine in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Gradually stir in flour. Cook, stirring constantly until brown (slightly darker than peanut butter).
  3.  Add celery, onion, garlic, and bell pepper, simmer 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in tomatoes, clam juice, wine, basil, thyme, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender.
  5. While everything is simmering make rice according to package directions and set aside
  6. To your etouffee add hot sauce to taste, sliced green onions, and alligator sausage.
  7. Simmer 5 minutes
  8. Remove bay leaf.
  9. Serve over rice
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Aug 29, 2013

I love this burrito bake recipe for so many reasons. It’s easy to make.  If you can mix soup and milk together and grate some cheese you are basically done! It’s fast! Just a few turns of a spoon then some baking and you’re done. It’s inexpensive! This recipe will cost me about $4.00 maybe less! It’s delicious and better yet you can make it ahead of time. This recipe makes a great freezer recipe you can make several pans of it and stick in the freezer. When you need to let it defrost, and bake then dinner is done! I love that! 

In my opinion you can not go wrong with anything when it comes to this recipe! You are just taking the common freezer burrito and in the words of my Nana “Jazzing it up!”

  • 6 pre made frozen burritos
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • ½ cup milk
  • 6 green onion stalks
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1 small can green chili’s
  • 1/2 cup pepper jack cheese
  • Season salt
  • Cooking spray
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a bowl mix cream of mushroom soup, season salt to taste and milk. Then fold in the cheddar cheese and green chili’s then set aside.
  3. Spray pan with cooking spray then place burritos side by side leaving a small gap between the burritos. I was able to layer four on one side going vertical then two on the other side going horizontal.
  4. Pour soup mixture over the burritos making sure that the burritos are well covered. (You don’t want any part of the burritos to not have soup on it or it might dry out while baking).
  5. Top the burritos with pepper jack cheese.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes on 350 degrees

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Aug 28, 2013

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Aug 24, 2013

This picture cracked me up because really who hasn’t this happened to?  This picture dictates my entire week. Ha! I am hoping for a better week next week! 

I hope you all are having a wonderful Mac and Cheese box friendly weekend!!

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Aug 22, 2013

I needed a side dish for dinner one night and needed an excuse to open my first box of orzo. After looking around online I found this wonderful recipe and had to give it a try. 

This is a very good recipe! Not only full of flavor but easy to make too! That’s right up my alley! I can easily see us having this again. I love anything flavorful and easy.

The only thing I would do different next time is to serve it with other things that are not as flavorful so that this recipe can shine all one its own! I bet you could even add some ham or chicken to it as serve it as a main course!

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup orzo pasta, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup long grain rice, uncooked
  • 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaf, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. In a large nonstick skillet heat oil over medium-high. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, being careful not to burn.
  2. Add orzo and rice; cook 4-6 minutes longer or until lightly browned.
  3. Stir in broth and water.
  4. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. (Add more water as needed if rice and pasta are not done before liquid is absorbed).
  5. Stir in the basil, parsley and salt
Original Recipe Source

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Aug 21, 2013

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Aug 20, 2013

I recently saw this recipe online. I knew I had pretty much everything on hand so on a whim I made up a pitcher full. The recipe is delicious but dare I say it had a bit too much chocolate in it. I thought the flavor was a bit overwhelming.

Next time I make it, and believe me there will be a next time, I would only add a ½ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder. It’s not that it was a good overwhelming chocolate flavor but more of a bitter chocolate flavor. I loved it don’t get me wrong, but I would just tweak it next time.

The only change I made was leaving out the monk fruit and using stevia instead. I don’t even know where I would find a monk fruit but I certainly didn’t have any on hand. I think what’s great about this recipe is the base of the recipe. You could really do so many things with it. The basic premises is making a dessert smoothie that is a dessert and healthy at the same time.

I think you could change the coca powder to PB2, use a banana pudding or a vanilla, change the powdered milk to an almond or coconut milk and use more ice and even add a bit of vanilla or almond extract to give it a whole new flavor. So many options to make this recipe pop!

  • 1 1/2 cups cold water
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp. fat-free milk powder
  • 5 tbsp. instant sugar-free chocolate pudding
  • 12 packets monk fruit powder, stevia, or Honey (Thanks Alison)
  • 6.5 cups ice, crushed or cubed
  1. Add all ingredients to blender and blend on low for 30 seconds, then on high for 30 seconds.
  2.  Add half of ice to blender. Start blending on low, then slowly increase speed. Add remaining ice and blend on low, then slowly increase speed. 
Original Recipe Source

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Aug 17, 2013

I made an amazing Coca Cola Brisket last week. It turned out better than I could have ever imagined. One of the things I did with the brisket was I made brisket tacos. I never really thought about a brisket taco until a few weeks ago when I was at a restaurant that had them on the menu.

Brilliant! What a great way to use up some leftover brisket. I hate when food goes to waste, but yet I had the same old left overs. With that in mind why not take the brisket we already had left over and turn it into brisket tacos? Might I say … repurposing!

My brisket already had bell pepper and onion in them so I didn’t have to add any extra veggies. I paired the brisket meat with anything and everything you might normally have on a taco. We used flour tortillas, cheese, sour cream, lettuce, and tomato. Topping off the brisket with veggies was a huge hit. The entire family devoured the brisket leaving none left… not even a single drop.

I may not like leftovers but I am more than happy to call it a fancy name like repurposing food!

What leftovers do you like to repurpose?

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Aug 15, 2013

This recipe turned out fantastic. We actually ended up using it for two different meals. This is the brisket that keeps on giving! I got a 12 pound brisket for $10 and we have gotten at leave 6 meals out of it. 

I couldn’t be any more pleased with this recipe. I have one more quarter of a brisket that I plan on using exactly the same way. We all loved it. Not only did we use it to make brisket tacos, but we used it for barbeque sandwiches.  Excellent!

  • 3 lbs. brisket
  • 1 bell pepper sliced
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 2 cans Coca Cola (Not Diet!)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  1. In a large Dutch oven add olive oil then turn the burner on a medium high heat. Once the oil starts to smoke add brisket and keep turning until all sides including the ends are a nice deep brown. The meat may stick a bit. If it’s sticking give it an extra minute or so on that side and it should life off the pot.
  2. Once each side has been browned add the brisket to a lined crock pot. Then coat the brisket with the spices. 
  3. Add the sliced onions and bell pepper to the crock pot (just spread them out evenly)
  4. Next not only pour the Coca Cola on to the brisket, but add the remaining juices from the browning pot also.  That’s too good to waste!
  5. Cook on low for 6-8 hours depending on your brisket and crock pot (Mine took exactly 8 hours then the meat fell apart). 
  6. Every hour I would turn the brisket so that all sides were getting coated and wouldn’t dry out.
  7. Remove from the crockpot and let rest for 15-20 minutes.
  8. Slice against the grain (This will prevent it from being stringy)
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Aug 14, 2013

My Favorite New Burger!
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Aug 13, 2013

This recipe is delicious! I really loved it. I made it a little different than the directions listed below. I made the dressing in a large bowl then added the chopped lettuce and the bacon to the bowl so that everything was evenly coated I thought it would taste better to have everything combined together. Then I added the salad mixture to tortillas and topped with tomatoes (Not everyone in my house eats tomatoes or I would have probably added everything to the bowl).

This recipe is so good assuming you like honey mustard. It’s easy to make and great for the summer heat. Boy is it hot here in Texas! We are looking for anything to stay cool and keep the house cool. This recipe hits the spot.

You could even cheat and use bacon bits instead of actually having to cook bacon! I love cheats!!

  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 4 (10-inch) flour tortillas
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked crisp (You could even use bacon bits)
  • 8 green leaf lettuce leaves
  • 8 slices tomato
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. In a small bowl, combine the honey, mustard, and mayonnaise. 
  2. Spread evenly on the tortillas. 
  3. Top each with, 2 slices bacon, 2 lettuce leaves, and 2 slices of tomato. 
  4. Drizzle olive oil over the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Fold 1 edge of each tortilla over the filling, roll up tightly and put them, seam side down, on a cutting board. 
  5. Cut as desired and secure with wooden picks, if needed. Arrange them on a serving platter and serve.
Original Recipe Source

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Aug 10, 2013

There is nothing new about a bacon sandwich or a BLT (Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato), but what has recently stolen my heart is a bacon avocado sandwich. It’s delicious! Simply delicious! It’s so full of flavor and creaminess that I just love it. Bacon and avocado are a nice pairing of flavors.

Avocados are very inexpensive here 2 or 3 for $1. You can’t beat that! I have been eating them like crazy one, because I love them, and two because they are very good for you! A good fat! 

I like to keep the avocado simple. One avocado with salt to taste, a splash of dry onion flakes and a few shakes of garlic powder smashed up but a bit chunky. 

Replace the mayo that you might be adding to your BLT with avocado. Not only is avocado better for you than mayo but it’s also an anti-aging super food! It will give you the creaminess of mayo and will keep your sandwich moist and it’s good for you! Yummy! Make it a double!

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Aug 7, 2013

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Aug 6, 2013

I was reading a blog post on Under the Big Oak Tree a few nights ago and decided that I loved the idea of Alison’s One Pot Spaghetti Dinner. I loved the ease and simplicity of the recipe.

I decided I would follow Alison’s lead but come up with a different variation of the same recipe.  I had a large loaf of garlic bread left over from last week, and a bag of salad in need of use, so why not make something simple! I had everything I needed on hand! What more could I ask for?

I got a bright idea and decided that since I had the time during the day I would chop everything up and stick it in a zip bag and stick it in the refrigerator so it would be ready to go for dinner. Another time saver. Humm… now that’s an idea! Chop, bag, and freeze! That would really make dinner go fast for future meals!

It turned out fantastic I mean really fantastic! To my shock we didn’t have a drop of this left over! Bummer! Not only was it super easy and fast the flavor was incredible!! It’s so ridiculously good! 

The best part of this recipe is you can add pretty much anything to the pot and come up with a really great recipe. I think you could have called this recipe "trash can spaghetti" because anything you have left in your refrigerator can be added to this pot. I added a few extra veggies (mushrooms, carrots, bell pepper) to the pot and changed up the spices a bit.  I think this would be awesome with corn, and maybe Brussels sprouts, green beans, even some peas. This is a keeper recipe! Easy, fast, hearty and delicious!

  • 12 oz. spaghetti or linguini (I used linguini)
  • 1 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 2 carrots diced (1/4 inch pieces)
  • 1-8 oz. can of mushrooms (drained)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 ½ cups chicken broth
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (add more for more of a kick)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon Celery Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Camino (Cumin)
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • Salt (as needed)
  1. Break spaghetti in half and place in a large pot. 
  2. Add in the onions, bell pepper, carrots, mushrooms and garlic.
  3. Pour broth into the pot, then sprinkle in the spices.
  4. Drizzle olive oil over the top. 
  5. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and keep covered and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes or so. Cook until almost all liquid has evaporated and the vegetables are tender. (Note: The original recipe says this is going to be done in about 10 minutes but mine took more like 25 minutes).
  6. Season to taste with salt stirring pasta several times to distribute the liquid in the bottom of the pot.
*Notes: Add more or less red pepper flakes to change up your heat. Keep in mind that the 6 cloves of garlic add heat to the pot. I found that the 6 cloves of garlic plus 1/8 tsp of the red pepper flakes kept the dish kid friendly*

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