Recipes

Recipes

Summer Squash Casserole

Whatcha gonna do with all that summer squash? Here’s a yummy idea. NOM-NOM-NOM!

SUMMER SQUASH CASSEROLE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 cups squash (about 2 large squash), sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Vidalia onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 sleeve of butter crackers (Ritz, Townhouse, etc.), crushed
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup Parmesan, shredded
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp butter, softened

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease a baking dish.
  2. Sauté onions 2-3 minutes in olive oil over medium heat.
  3. Add the squash, ¼ cup water, cover and steam ~5 minutes until squash is tender.

Dry mix for the topping:

  • Put crushed crackers in a large bowl with cheese, toss.
  • Set aside half of the cracker-cheese mix in another bowl.

Dry + wet mix:

  • In the large bowl, stir in milk, beaten eggs and melted butter.
  • Add in steamed squash and onion. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Pour into a greased baking dish.
  • Top with ½ of the dry cracker mix and then with softened butter.
  • Bake about 25-30 minutes until top is lightly browned.
Recipes

Salata Baladi (Egyptian Cucumber & Tomato Salad)

What can we do with all the cucumbers and tomatoes our gardens are gifting us this summer? I made Salata Baladi, an old favorite I learned to make in Cairo. It’s healthy, quick to assemble, and most of the ingredients grow in our summer gardens and are staples on our kitchen shelves. You can make this easy peasy recipe or add more herbs and veggies as you like. Hope you enjoy. Afwan! You’re welcome!

Salata Baladi (Egyptian Cucumber & Tomato Salad)

  • 2 cups cucumbers, diced
  • 2 cups firm plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp parsley leaves
  • 1 tbsp dried mint
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp white vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

1. Dice cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, and parsley, add to bowl.

2. Add oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

3. Rub mint in the palm of your hands over bowl. Toss together.

4. Serve with tahini and warm Aish Baladi (Egyptian Flat Bread).

Tips:

  1. If preparing it well before serving, add the salt later because it draws out moisture. And refrigerate.
  2. Plum tomatoes are the sweetest, but cherry or grape tomatoes work, too.
  3. Add a touch of sumac or other spices, and veggies like bell pepper, carrots, etc.
  4. If you use more acidic tomatoes or like a sweeter salad flavor, add a bit of sugar.

Recipes

Creole Louisiana Jambalaya

I’m all about the easy and some folks call Louisiana the Big Easy, so today I’m sharing my Creole Louisiana Jambalaya made with Tony Chachere’s Creole Jambalaya Mix. It’s a pretty easy one pot dish but made differently from the directions on the box. I add a little extra. Back home we call that lagniappe. Bon appétit!

Creole Louisiana Jambalaya

Ingredients

  • 1 12 oz Family Size box Tony Chachere’s Creole Jambalaya Mix
  • cooking oil (vegetable or olive oil)
  • cayenne
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • ¼ cup green onion, diced
  • ½ lb. smoked sausage (pork or beef), coin sliced
  • ½ pound large shrimp (31-40 count)
  • ½ lb. ham slice, cubed 3 ¾ cups water
  • Louisiana Creole seasoning:
    • ½ tsp cayenne
    • 1 tsp paprika
    • ½ tsp dried oregano
    • ½ tsp dried thyme
    • 1 tbsp dried garlic powder
    • ½ tsp black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • ½ tsp onion powder

Directions:

1. Peel and devein shrimp. Season with Louisiana Creole Seasoning. Set aside.

2. In a 4 or 5-quart Dutch oven, sauté yellow onion in oil.

3. In the same pot, brown sausage and ham. Transfer all to a bowl. Set aside.

4. Add 1 12 oz. box of Tony Chachere’s Creole Jambalaya Mix to the pot and 3 ¾ cups water. Stir until well blended.

5. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes until rice is cooked. Most of the water will evaporate.

6. Add meat, seasoned shrimp, and green onion. Cook about another 10 minutes until shrimp are cooked.

7. Add butter, mix well. Add more Creole seasoning and or cayenne to taste.

Holidays, Louisiana, Mardi Gras, Recipes

Easy Peasy Crescent Roll King Cake

This year I’m sharing an easy peasy crescent rolls king cake recipe.

When it was time to make a king cake this year, I couldn’t find Pillsbury Dough Sheets, so this was an opportunity to figure out how to make a king cake with crescent rolls. The stores said they had the inventory, but not enough employees to keep the shelves stocked. YIKES. It takes a little more skill, but it’s still easy peasy!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cans Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
  • cinnamon sugar mix: ½ c. granulated sugar + 2 tbsp cinnamon 
  • plastic king cake baby (to hide inside, of course!)
  • purple, green, & gold sugar sprinkles
  • 1 can Pillsbury Cream Cheese Icing or make your own

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 °F (190 °C).
  2. Grease a pizza pan or cover with parchment paper. (Easily transfers to a serving dish using parchment paper.)
  3. Mix the cinnamon and sugar.
  4. Unroll one can of crescent rolls and separate into 8 triangles. Arrange the triangles, slightly overlapping all sides into a half circle with tips pointed toward the center.

5. Finish the circle by laying the triangles from the second can.

6. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mix around the middle of the dough.

7. Pull the narrow part of the triangle from the center toward the widest part.

8. Pull the widest part of the triangle from the end toward the center.

9. Bake 25 minutes or until golden brown.

  10. While the cake is in the oven, read THE KING CAKE BABY. Don’t let your baby run away!

Decorate the King Cake

1. Soften ½ can of Pillsbury Cream Cheese icing or make a cream cheese icing using the recipe below.

Cream cheese icing:

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 4oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract  
  • 3 tablespoons milk

2. Hide one plastic king cake baby in the cake’s underside.

3. While the cake is still warm, pour icing on top.

4. Top with sugar sprinkles, alternating purple, green colors.

5. Before eating, check your piece to see if you got the baby!

And check out my post on how to host an Easy Peasy King Cake Party with pictures.

Bon appétit!

Recipes

Recipe: Pan-seared Parmesan-Panko Rockfish

My father-in-law was an avid fisherman. Every year, he traveled to his fishing camp in Alaska. When my husband and son visited, they fished, too, and brought back King or Sockeye Salmon, Halibut, and Rockfish. Fresh Alaskan fish is so yummy!

After he passed, my boys took Grandpa on one last trip, to spread his ashes on the land he enjoyed, near the river where he fished. Although salmon was his favorite, I think Grandpa would have loved this recipe I am sharing today.

Alaskan Rockfish

Pan Fried Parmesan-Panko Rockfish

Ingredients:

  • 2 8-ounce Rockfish filets
  • 1 cup panko
  • ¾ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons Mayo
  • salt & pepper
  • garlic powder
  • cayenne pepper
  • vegetable oil for frying

Directions:

  1. Pat rockfish filets with paper towels to dry. This will help the wet mixture cling to the fish.
  2. Mix the first three dry ingredients in a bowl: panko, Parmesan, and parsley.
  3. Mix the wet ingredients in a bowl: egg, mayo, and Dijon mustard.
  4. Season fish with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.
  5. Dip filets in the wet mix, then dredge in the dry mixture.
  6. Add oil to a skillet to about 1/4 inch deep. Heat on medium-high.
  7. Fry each filet about 2 minutes on each side.
Louisiana, Recipes

Creole Louisiana Mirliton Recipe

Happy fall, y’all!

Today’s post comes with a family recipe for one of my childhood favorite foods. But, we need to dig into some world history first!

What does Latin America, Central America and the Caribbean have to do with my Creole Louisiana Mirlton recipe? Read on…

Mirliton, [MEL-ee-tawn], [MER-lee-tawn], or [MEEL-ee-tawn] in Louisiana, [MEER-lee-tawn] in French, is a south Louisiana staple. The squash, called chayote [chah·YOH·teh] in Spanish, is native to Mesoamerica. This old world plant has documented roots in Louisiana dated in the mid-1800s. However, evidence suggests it reached the Louisiana colony much earlier. In one theory, the plant came to the port city of New Orleans, while a Spanish colony, via other Spanish colonies in Latin America. Another explanation is that it came with colonizers (including gens de couleur libres) and the people they enslaved that fled to New Orleans from Saint-Domingue and Cuba from 1791 to 1815, during and following the slave rebellion that created the Republic of Haiti in 1804. The evidence supporting this latter theory is the fact that there are two places that use the word “mirliton” for this squash—Louisiana and the former French colony renamed Haiti after the revolution. In English, Anglo-Americans call this squash a “vegetable pear” because of its shape. So was the staple called chayote brought to colonial Louisiana during the Spanish period? If so, did the influx of roughly 15,000 French-speakers from Saint-Domingue and Cuba that arrived in New Orleans influence using the French name for the squash? Or was it brought to Louisiana by Saint-Dominguans?

Food history is so fascinating!

This squash is technically a fruit and grows on a vine in warm climates. I remember mirliton growing in my grandmother’s backyard in New Orleans. The plant grew all over the city before Hurricane Katrina decimated the plant. As part of hurricane recovery, a nonprofit organization dedicated itself to the revival and conservation of the Louisiana mirliton.

Чайот.JPG” by SKas is licensed with CC BY-SA 4.0

Below is the recipe passed on to me that I will pass on to my children.

Louisiana Creole Mirliton Recipe

Ingredients and prep:

  • 6-8 medium mirlitons
  • 2 pounds gulf shrimp
  • 1 pound white lump crab meat
  • 1 pound cooked ham, cubed
  • 1 medium bell peppers, diced
  • 1 medium onions, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ cup parsley, minced
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stick butter
  • Louisiana Creole seasoning
    • ½ tsp cayenne
    • 1 tsp paprika
    • ½ tsp dried oregano
    • ½ tsp dried thyme
    • 1 tbsp dried garlic powder
    • ½ tsp black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • ½ tsp onion powder
  • cayenne pepper  to taste
  • Italian bread crumbs

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (176 °C).
  2. Boil whole mirlitons in salted water until tender, about 45 minutes. Remove from water and set aside to cool.
  3. While the mirlitons cool, sauté onion, celery, and bell pepper in butter until soft, about 5 minutes. Add ham, garlic, thyme, and bay leaves. Cook another 20 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle shrimp with Louisiana Creole seasoning. Set aside.
  5. Cut cooled mirlitons in half and remove the seeds and pods. Scoop out the mirliton flesh and place into a colander. Lightly squeeze out excess moisture. TIP: If you want to stuff the shells instead of making a casserole, score on the sides before scooping to leave a little flesh on the sides. The skin tears easily.
  6. Add drained mirlitons to Dutch oven. Add cayenne. TIP: If there’s a lot of water, add a tablespoon of breadcrumbs to thicken or cook on medium-low heat, uncovered, until most of the liquid evaporates.
  7. Add seasoned shrimp. Cook about 20 minutes.
  8. Fold in crabmeat and parsley. Put mixture in mirliton shells.
  9. Top with bread crumbs. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until bread crumbs turn brown.
  10. Serve with Louisiana French Bread or French baguette.

Bon appétit!

OPTION: Make as a casserole.

Louisiana, Mardi Gras, Recipes

Easy Peasy King Cake Party!

If you want to host an Easy Peasy King Cake Party for Carnival…

See my earlier post for the recipe.

Who’d like to help?

You’ll need three Pillsbury Crescent Dough Sheets.

Roll out each dough sheet into a rectangle

Mix cinnamon and sugar for the filling and divide among each dough sheet.

Gently roll each from the shortest side of the rectangle.

I can do it myself!

Connect here, here, and here to create an oval shape.

And place the cake into the oven to bake.

Whoever finds the baby will need a crown! The origami crown was easy peasy for the 10-year-old but a challenge for the younger kids. But I had a plan B!

Make a paper plate crown. Here’s a video. Easy peasy!

Don’t forget the baby!

Soften the icing while the cake cools…

Soften the icing while the cake cools…

…so it spreads easily.

…so it spreads easily.

Easy peasy!

See! I can do it all by myself!

Let it flow! Let it flow!

Allow the icing to pour over the sides of the cake. YUM!

Add the sugar sprinkles in a pattern- purple, green, and gold.

I picked purple. I’m first!

What’s next?

Then…

My turn!

And one more round of sprinkles.

There’s more than one way to get the job done.

Easy peasy!

Voilà. It’s a king cake!

Let’s eat!

Time to cut the cake.

Check your piece for the baby before you eat.

I didn’t get the baby.

Who got the baby?

All hail to the Queen!

What an easy peasy and fun king cake party!

Find the recipe here.

Why is there a baby in a king cake? How did the tradition of eating king cake during the Carnival season come about? Read my guest post over at Alphabet Soup to find the answers.

HAPPY MARDI GRAS!

Louisiana, Recipes

Recipe: Creole Louisiana Smothered Cabbage Recipe

I am often asked for my recipes after posting pictures. Here’s one for the cabbage I grew up eating in New Orleans. Folks in Louisiana do appreciate good food!

Bon appétit!

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Creole Louisiana Smothered Cabbage

_____________

Ingredients:

2 Tbls. olive oil

1 Tbl. butter

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

6 strips of bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 lb. ham, cubed

1 lb. andouille sausage or another smoked sausage, coin sliced

2-3 heads of cabbage, cored, cleaned and chopped

1 tsp. Louisiana Creole Seasoning

  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • -1 teaspoon paprika
  • -1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • -1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • -1 tbl dried garlic powder
  • -1/2 tsp black pepper
  • -1/2 tsp onion powder

½ tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1 cup white rice, cooked

Salt & pepper to taste

Cornbread (optional)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Instructions:

  1. Cut and clean cabbage leaves.

  2. In a 6 quart pot, fry bacon on high heat. Reduce heat to medium-high, add ham, and sausage. Cook for about 15 minutes.

  3. Add oil and onion, cook until onion is brown. Reserve the meat & onion in a bowl.

  4. Use the same pot, add a little water, reduce heat to medium. Fill the pot with cabbage and cover. Check often, stirring cabbage until the cabbage wilts, adding water as needed.

  5. Continue adding more cabbage to fill the pot. Cabbage is cooked when all leaves are wilted and some turn light brown. Add Louisiana Creole Seasoning and cayenne.

  6. Return meat to pot, add garlic and butter. Do not cover. Instead, allow remaining water in the pot to evaporate.

  7. Serve over white rice.

 

Holidays, Mardi Gras, Recipes

Easy Peasy Pillsbury King Cake

Happy Almost Mardi Gras! Every January 6th kicks off the official king cake season and Carnival. I wrote a guest post about the history of king cakes on Jama’s Alphabet Soup blog for all you food history and culture buffs. 

Today I want to share another easy king cake recipe. The recipe in my book, THE KING CAKE BABY, uses frozen bread dough with a cinnamon-sugar filling and includes a recipe for making a Cream Cheese icing. In this recipe, I use three Pillsbury Crescent Dough Sheets, the cinnamon-sugar mix, colored sugar sprinkles, and a can of Pillsbury Cream Cheese icing. Easy peasy! The only thing easier than making this king cake is picking one up at your favorite grocery or bakery.

Pillsbury Crescent Dough Sheet King Cake Recipe

 Ingredients:

  • 3 Pillsbury Crescent Dough Sheets
  • cinnamon sugar mix: ½ c. granulated sugar + 2 tablespoons cinnamon 
  • 1 plastic king cake baby (to hide inside, of course!)
  • purple, green, & gold sugar sprinkles
  • 1 can Pillsbury Cream Cheese Icing or make your own 

Directions:

Heat oven to 375 °F (190 °C).

Cover a baking pan with parchment paper or use a nonstick cookie sheet. Unroll dough sheets and sprinkle each with about a tablespoon of the cinnamon-sugar mix. 

Roll each dough sheet from the shortest side of the rectangle. 

Arrange into an oval shape. Press seams together to connect. Bake 20-25 minutes.

Decorate the King Cake

Soften ½ can of Pillsbury Cream Cheese icing. Have purple, green, gold sprinkles handy.

While the cake is still warm, pour icing on top. Alternate with purple, green and gold colored Mardi Gras sprinkles.

If you prefer to make your own icing:

Cream-Cheese Icing

3 cups powdered sugar

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

3 tablespoons melted butter

¼ teaspoon vanilla or almond extract

3 tablespoons milk

Mix all five ingredients in a bowl. The icing should be thick enough to slowly drip from a whisk or spoon. Drizzle over the warm cake.

Hide a plastic King Cake Baby in the underside of the cake. Before eating, check to see if you got the baby! 

Click Mardi Gras King Cake from Pillsbury Dough Sheets to download the recipe.

And if any of you need a gluten-free recipe, see this Red Mill cinnamon roll recipe.