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Crab-Stuffed Flounder with Mornay Sauce

Ingredients

6 flounder fillets
1/2 stick butter
1/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 cup fresh lump crabmeat
1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon cajun seasoning
salt to taste
1 egg
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons freshly chopped parsley 

Sauce: 

4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk, heated but not boiled
1/2 cup grated gruyere cheese
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 

Step 1



Preheat oven to 400ºF. 

In a small sauté pan on medium heat, melt butter and add peppers, celery, and onions. Sauté for about 8 to 10 minutes to wilt vegetables; don't allow them to brown.

Step 2


In a medium size mixing bowl combine crabmeat, Worcestershire sauce, Cajun seasoning, salt, egg, mayonnaise, bread crumbs, paprika, and chopped parsley. Mix thoroughly. Add sautéed vegetables and mix until all ingredients are incorporated.

Step 3




Lay out flounder fillets on cutting board with flattest side up. Divide crabmeat mixture among fillets. Gently roll up flounder and set in a baking dish.

Step 4



Bake at 400ºF for 10 minutes.Ladle a small amount of Mornay sauce on top and place back in oven for another 5 minutes.

For the sauce:







Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute.

Gradually whisk in hot milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sauce begins to boil and thickens.

Lower heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add cheese and stir until melted.

Stir about 1/2 cup of hot sauce into egg yolks to temper; return to saucepan mixture, stirring until smooth and thoroughly heated. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg

Step 5



Serve with a sprinkle of parsley and a lemon wedge.


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A few months ago, I caved and finally bought a deep fryer. I had been looking at them for a while, and they aren't expensive, but I figured I didn't really need a dedicated fryer since I don't fry things very often and I have cast iron pots that I can use when I do. But stove top frying wasn't easy for me since I had to actively watch the thermometer the whole time so it didn't get too hot or too cold, stuff splattered all over my stove top and my favorite Old Navy shirts. I burned things, especially toward the end of the session. Meh. It was easier to bake stuff.
But once I got the fryer, I realized how much easier it is. You set the temp and it stays there. Since I've gotten it, I've probably used it every week. Homemade donuts. Boom. Fried chicken. Yes. Crispy sweet potato french fries. Oh yeah. And today...Coconut Shrimp. 

COCONUT SHRIMP (with apricot chili dipping sauce)


Ingredients

2 lbs large shrimp, deveined and peeled with tail on
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 large eggs
1/2 cup panko
1 cup shredded coconut (I used unsweetened)
Apricot Jam
Sweet Chili Sauce

Step 1


Peel and devein the shrimp. Leave the tail on, it makes for a handy handle when dipping them. Plus it's pretty.

Step 2





Prepare three bowls for dipping. In the first bowl, mix together the flour, salt and pepper. Second bowl, lightly beat the eggs. In the third bowl, mix together the panko and coconut. Holding a shrimp by the tail, first coat in flour mixture, then dip into beaten egg, and then into panko coconut. Press the coconut gently into the shrimp and set it aside on a baking sheet. Continue until all the shrimp are coated.

Step 3




Heat deep fryer to 350 degrees. Fry the shrimp in batches for a few minutes until golden brown and drain on paper towels. For the sauce, mix 2 parts of apricot jam to 1 part sweet chili sauce. Serve with a sprinkling of fresh parsley. 
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Ingredients: 

1/4 cup butter
1 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
5 Tbsp flour
2 lbs frozen crawfish tails, thawed (do not drain)
2 Tbsp parsley, chopped
3/4 cup half and half
1 lb Velveeta cheese, cubed
1 lb fettuccine, cooked and drained (reserve some pasta water)
Cajun Seasoning, to taste


 Directions:

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic. Cook until soft and translucent.


Mix in the flour and cook for about 3 minutes.



Add crawfish (with liquid), half and half, and parsley. Mix well and cook for 5-6 minutes.



Add the cubed Velveeta cheese and mix well, cooking until cheese is melted. Season to taste.


Add cooked Fettuccine and mix well. If mixture is too thick, add some pasta water to thin in, mix until it's creamy. It will thicken again slightly as it cools.



Serve with garlic bread!


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Creamy Shrimp and Salmon

Ingredients

4 salmon filets
Salt and Pepper
    Cajun Seasoning 
1/2 tsp paprika
3 Tbs butter
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
3 Tbs flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 pound shrimp


Step 1
                                     

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Season the filets with salt, pepper, and paprika. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cooked through.


Step 2 




Meanwhile, in a saucepan, melt the butter and saute the onions for a few minutes until translucent. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute, whisking continuously. 


Step 3 



Add the milk and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add the shrimp and cook for 5 minutes. Add the heavy cream for 2 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and cajun seasoning to taste.

 Step 4




Spoon shrimp and sauce over salmon and serve!
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When you're in the mood for seafood AND Mexican but can't choose (who can?!) then this recipe is the perfect compromise. Creamy, cheesy, seafood-y. 

Creamy Shrimp Enchiladas

Ingredients

1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 small onion, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sour cream
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
8 flour tortillas
5 ounces Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
Salt and Pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat some oil in a large cooking pan and saute the onion, jalapeno, and tomatoes with a pinch of salt.
 


Once the vegetables are soft, whisk in the heavy cream, sour cream, and garlic. Add shrimp and cook over medium high heat, until shrimp is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

With a slotted spoon, scoop out some shrimp and vegetables (draining most of the sauce) into a tortilla. Roll up and place in 9X13 baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas. 



Pour sauce over enchiladas (I had some shrimp left over from filling enchiladas) and sprinkle cheese over the top. Bake for 15- 20 minutes. 


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It's 80 degrees today in Louisiana. Even in the deep South, this is unseasonably warm for this time of year. We took advantage of it, however, and spent the day playing outside. One of our activities today was drawing with chalk; with a Christmas twist.

I drew a huge Christmas Tree outline and instructed the kids to decorate it. They spent a solid hour drawing the garland, ornaments, wrapped presents, and, of course, the star on top. And since the tree was so big, all five kiddos were able to decorate it at the same time.

So if you're looking for a way to entertain the kiddos outside in this totally weird, warm-weather spell, add this to the list!



     
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Louisiana is being weird right now. Even though we are almost halfway through November, it's still running about 70 degrees and higher outside. 

I'm beyond ready for cooler temperatures because my favorite things happen once it gets cold outside. For example: unlimited hot chocolate and tea breaks, crackling fire in the fireplace (even though the downdraft fills our house with smoke momentarily), AND not leaving my house for days on end. 

Another favorite thing is warm and cozy comfort foods, like soup, gumbo, and casseroles...and Chili...and Chili Mac. 

So in direct violation of my imaginary food/weather code, I made Chili Mac for dinner even though it was 80 degrees outside and it was glorious. I threw some stuff together and it was delish!

Easy Cheesy Chili Mac

Ingredients

1 lb ground beef, cooked and drained
1 can of chili
1 can of Ranch Style Beans
1 can of corn, drained
1 lb elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
1 lb Velvetta Cheese, cubed






Combine all the ingredients and heat through. That's it!

My kids were big fans of this and even requested the leftovers for lunch (and dinner) the next day. I was cool with that because, for some reason, when I don't have to cook dinner for the kids, I forgo the dinner thing completely, make hubby a sandwich, and I eat cereal. 



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I try not to keep many snacks in the house, aside from fruits and veggies, but granola bars are one of our favorites and I just can't NOT have them in the house. But I've never been super impressed with store-bought granola bars so I make my own and they are FANTASTIC. At least, we think so. This recipe makes a lot of thick and chewy granola bars, feel free to halve the recipe.

Homemade Granola Bars

Ingredients

6 cups old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup oil (vegetable or grapeseed works well)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup honey
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup peanut butter
3 cups of add-ins (nuts, dried fruit, pretzels, etc)
                        



Step 1
  
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the oats in a 9x13 baking pan and toast (stirring once) for about 15 minutes. 


Step 2 


While the oats toast, heat the oil, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, vanilla, and cinnamon in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and heat until the brown sugar has dissolved. Stir in peanut butter and set aside.


Step 3





Add 3 cups of add-ins to the toasted oats and stir. I chose dried chopped figs, raisins, dried cranberries, pretzel pieces, sunflower kernels, almonds, walnuts, and chocolate chips. 


Step 4





Pour the syrup over the oat mixture and stir to coat. With a spatula, press the oats into the pan. Flatten and press the mixture until it's smooth and even. Let cool for about an hour. Then cut into bars. 


8

Chicken Cordon Bleu is one of my favorite dinners. Especially covered in creamy Parmesan sauce. 



Chicken Cordon Bleu with Creamy Parmesan Sauce



Ingredients

3  skinless chicken breasts, cut in half length-wise
12 slices good quality deli ham
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 pound (8 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese
For the sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Step 1 


Layer the chicken breast halves in a baking dish.

Step 2


Layer the ham on top of the chicken breasts (I accidentally bought ham that wasn't sliced...oops)! 

Step 3


Sprinkle the Swiss cheese over the ham.

Step 4



Sprinkle with bread crumbs. And drizzle with melted butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes until chicken is cooked through and bread crumbs are browned.

Step 5






While the chicken is baking, make the sauce. Melt the 2 Tbs of butter in a sauce pan. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the milk/chicken broth while whisking. Whisk constantly and cook over medium-high heat until it starts to thicken. Remove from heat. Add the salt, Worchestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, and Parmesan Cheese. Stir until blended.

Step 6


Top the chicken with the warm sauce and serve.



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