Recipe

Recipe: Creole Shrimp and Lobster Bisque

I don’t get the chance to cook too many seafood dishes because I’m practically the only one in my household who actually eats seafood these days.  I decided this weekend to cook something from Paula Deen that I found in one of her magazines, JUST FOR ME!  It was actually pretty easy, all things considered, and very tasty.

Creole Shrimp and Lobster Bisque

Ingredients

  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1 teaspoon Paula Deen’s Creole Blend Seasoning
  • 1/2 lb steamed medium size peeled, deveined, steamed and chopped fresh shrimp
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 stalks finely chopped celery
  • 1 small finely chopped white onion
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 steamed fresh lobster tails

Directions

Remove lobster meat from shell; coarsely chop and set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and garlic; cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in flour, and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in chicken broth; cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.

Add lobster meat and shrimp. Stir in half-and-half and Creole seasoning; cook for 10 minutes, or until heated through, stirring occasionally. Serve immediately.

Recipe

Spaghetti Carbonara

Pasta is from God.  It can’t be bad, I refuse to believe it.  Dinner the other night for us was Spaghetti Carbonara.  Delish!  I clipped the recipe from a magazine a few years ago, but found a link to it online: Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti Carbonara

Ingredients

Kosher salt

12 ounces spaghetti

6 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 4 ounces), plus more for topping

Freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking water, then drain the pasta.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 8 minutes. Add the spaghetti and reserved pasta cooking water to the skillet and toss to combine.
  3. Add the eggs, Parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper; toss to coat. Cook, tossing continuously to avoid scrambling the eggs, until the sauce is creamy, about 1 minute. Stir in the parsley. Serve topped with more Parmesan.
Recipe

CREAMY AUTUMN POTATOES

I have a TON of potato casseroles in my recipe files.  You need them.  Perfect for taking to potlucks, always welcome at cookouts, and the perfect comfort food to take to new parents or sick loved ones.  This one is creamy and delicious and I’d even eat it with eggs and bacon the next morning.

CREAMY AUTUMN POTATOES

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 12 – 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, cut in cubes
  • 1 (10 1/2 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup or (10 1/2 ounce) can cream of celery soup
  • 3 -4 cups southern style hash browns
  • 12 cup shredded cheddar cheese

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400°F Butter a 1 quart casserole dish. In sauce pan, sauté onion and garlic in butter over med heat until tender. Stir in cream cheese cubes and undiluted soup; cook, stirring constantly, until smooth and hot. In casserole, alternate layers of frozen potatoes and cream cheese sauce, ending with sauce layer. Cover and bake 45 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and potatoes are tender. Remove from oven and sprinkle with shredded cheese.

Recipe

Cinnamon French Toast Bake

Cinnamon French Toast Bake

Christmas morning is probably the only morning that I’ll prepare a delicious and indulgent breakfast casserole.  I’ll pull bacon and eggs together on special occasions: a niece spending the night, overnight guests visiting and the like, but the rest of the year we eat cereal or just wait for lunch hours to roll around.
This casserole is super sweet and decadent.  The kids loved it.  Christmas is a time for happiness, that’s my only excuse for making this delicious sugar bomb!
I originally found this recipe on the Cooking Channel.

Cinnamon French Toast Bake

Recipe

Avocado Ranch Dressing

Delicious Avocado Ranch Dressing is a very versatile recipe.  Make a batch, eat it on your salad and then use it up on twists on classic recipes.

AVOCADO-RANCH DRESSING

INGREDIENTS

    • 2 ripe avocados
    • 1 cup ranch dressing
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1/2 cup sour cream
    • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
    • 2 teaspoons hot sauce
    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

DIRECTIONS

  1.  Cut avocados in half; scoop pulp into a food processor or blender.
  2.  Add 1 cup Ranch dressing and remaining ingredients to food processor. Process until avocado mixture is smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Cover and chill at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.

Use it up by making:

Avocado Ranch Chicken Salad Sandwich from Spend with Pennies

Another brilliant idea is Fried Green Cherry Tomatoes with Avocado Ranch Dipping Sauce from Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen

It would be cool and creamy on these Chili Nachos from Ragu

Recipe

Desserts to Die for

Lord have mercy, but I have a sweet tooth.  I’m not much of a baker, but when I do, I make sure it has chocolate somewhere in it.  These desserts are some of my best creations 🙂

I have tried a LOT of Fudge Pies.  Some are too gooey.  Some are too dry.  This one is like Baby Bear’s porridge: just right.  I topped it with Cherry Garcia.

I found the original recipe at Southern Living.  Printer friendly version: Fudge Pie

Fudge Pie

INGREDIENTS

    • 2/3 cup evaporated milk
    • 0.5 (12 ounce) packages semisweet chocolate morsels
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 2 large eggs
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 cup chopped pecans
    • 1 (9 inch) frozen unbaked piecrust shell ice cream

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Microwave first 3 ingredients in a large microwave-safe bowl at HIGH 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until melted and smooth, whisking at 30-second intervals.
  2. Whisk sugar and flour into chocolate mixture. Add eggs, 1 at a time, whisking just until blended after each addition. Whisk in vanilla and salt. Stir in pecans. Pour mixture into pie shell.
  3. Bake at 375° for 35 to 40 minutes or until set. Cool 10 minutes before serving. Serve with ice cream.

APPLESAUCE CAKE

INGREDIENTS

    • 2 eggs
    • 3 cups sugar
    • 1 1/4 cups oil
    • 3 cups flour
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
    • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce

DIRECTIONS

  1. Beat together eggs, sugar and oil. Fold in remaining ingredients.
  2. Spray bundt pan very well with nonstick spray and flour.
  3. Bake at 300°F for one hour, one hour fifteen minutes for a bundt pan.

Buttermilk Pie

Source: Mommy’s Kitchen

  • 1 – 9 inch pie crust 
  •   1/2 – cups sugar
  • 3 – tablespoons flour
  • 1 – cup well shaken buttermilk
  • 1 – tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 – tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 – large eggs room temperature 
  • 1/2 – cup unsalted butter ; melted and cooled to room temperature

Preheat the oven to 415 degrees. Place the pie crust in a deep dish pie pan and flute the edges.

If desired use store bought pie crust. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the sugar, flour, buttermilk, lemon juice, vanilla., eggs and melted butter.

Bake the pie crust for 5 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove the pie crust from the oven and pour the filling into the warm crust. Return the pie to the oven and bake until warmed, about 10 minutes.

Then without opening the door , reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake until set, about 40 minutes. If the crust begin to brown to quickly add foil around the crust edges.

Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Serve at room temperature.

servings: 6-8

 

Recipe

Simply Good Sandwiches

Sandwiches represent a certain failing for me.  Whenever I can’t get a home cooked dinner on the table, I rely on this old staple to sustain my hungry people.  It’s a default if my kids won’t eat what I’ve made (yep, I’m one of those parents who don’t MAKE the kids eat what I fix.)  But I’ve learned that sometimes, when you make a sandwich, there is a certain comfort in being able to take your plate and eat in front of the TV while watching Seinfeld re-runs.  Here are some of my favorites:

Club Sandwich

Perfect for an easy summer dinner, especially with fresh homegrown tomatoes  Club Sandwich

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 slices toasted bread
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 slices American cheese
  • 4 slices shaved ham
  • 4 tomatoes, sliced, divided
  • 4 leaves lettuce, divided
  • 4 slices crisp bacon, divided
  • 2 slices Monterey jack cheese
  • 4 slices shaved deli turkey

DIRECTIONS

  • Spread mayonnaise on one side of a piece of toast; add layer of American cheese, ham, two slices of tomato, two leaves of lettuce, and two pieces of bacon.
  • Spread mayonnaise on second piece of toast and place on top, mayo side down.
  • Spread mayonnaise on top of that second piece of toast.
  • Layer Monterey Jack cheese, the rest of the tomatoes, lettuce, turkey and bacon on top.
  • Spread mayonnaise on third piece of toast and place on the stack mayo side down.
  • Slice the sandwich in quarters diagonally.
  • Skewers or long toothpicks may be used to hold all the layers together.

 

Grilled Chick N Wrappers

Grilled Chick N Wrappers
Grilled Chick N Wrappers

A wrap is a kind of sandwich, right?  I made this one for the family last night and it was a spot hitter.  You know, it hit the spot?  OK, so it comes together easily, and even though the word “grilled” is in the title, you just cook up the chicken in a skillet.  I suppose actually grilling it could only improve its flavor.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 1 cucumber
  • 8 ounces Monterrey jack and cheddar cheese blend
  • 6 slices hickory smoked bacon
  • 16 ounces shredded Lettuce
  • ranch salad dressing
  • 6 (10 inch) flour tortillas
  • 1 lime

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a skillet heat olive oil on medium.
  2. Cut the chicken thighs into strips and add to skillet.
  3. In a separate skillet, fry the bacon.
  4. While they are cooking, slice the onion, cucumber and set aside.

  5. When chicken is done and the bacon is done, remove from skillet and set aside.
  6. Assembly time. Heat the tortilla in microwave for 15 seconds.
  7. To the tortillas, add the ranch, lettuce, cucumbers, onion, bacon, cheese, and then chicken and squeeze a little lime juice over and wrap like a burrito.

Pressed Chicken Tortas

I got this recipe when I was using Blue Apron.  They have some really great recipes, probably the best service I’ve found.  This one seems long, but it’s just because they over-explain all steps 🙂  Give it a go.  Delicious sammy!

Photo credit: Blue Apron
  • 4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs
  • 4 Torta Rolls
  • 2 Limes
  • 1 Romaine Heart
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 Tomato
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 1 bunch Cilantro
  • 3 oz Queso Fresco
  • 3 Tbsps Pepitas
  • ½ cup Low-Fat Sour Cream
  • 2 tsps Chicken Torta Spice Blend (Ancho Chile Powder, Mexican Oregano, Smoked Sweet Paprika, Garlic Powder & Ground Cumin)

Wash and dry the fresh produce. Halve the rolls. Core, halve and thinly slice the tomato. Crumble the queso fresco. Pick the cilantro leaves off the stems; discard the stems. Cut off and discard the root end of the lettuce; roughly chop the leaves. Quarter the limes. Halve, pit, peel and thinly slice the avocado; top with the juice of 2 lime wedges to prevent browning. Peel and halve the onion; small dice 1 half and thinly slice the remaining half. In a medium bowl, combine the diced onion and the juice of 4 lime wedges.

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels; season on both sides with salt, pepper and (reserving a pinch) as much of the spice blend as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be. In a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the seasoned chicken. Cook 4 to 6 minutes per side, or until browned and cooked through. Transfer to a cutting board to cool slightly. Wipe out the pan.

While the chicken cooks, add the sour cream and remaining spice blend to the diced onion-lime juice mixture. Stir to thoroughly combine; season with salt and pepper to taste.

When cool enough to handle, thinly slice the cooked chicken. Place the bottoms of the rolls, cut sides up, on a clean, dry work surface. Divide the sliced chickenavocado, as much of the sliced onion as you’d like (you may have extra), the tomato, half the queso fresco and the cilantro between the roll bottoms; season with salt and pepper. Top with the juice of the remaining lime wedges and the roll tops.

In the pan used to cook the chicken, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium until hot. Working in 2 batches, add the tortas. Place a heavy pot on top of the tortas to press them down. Cook, occasionally pressing down on the pot, 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until lightly browned and slightly flattened. Transfer to a cutting board or plate.

While the tortas toast, in a large bowl, combine the lettuce, pepitas,remaining queso fresco and as much of the dressing as you’d like (you may have extra dressing). Toss to combine; season with salt and pepper to taste. Cut each toasted torta in half diagonally; divide between 4 plates. Serve with the salad on the side. Enjoy!

Another favorite is LEMONY CUCUMBER CREAM CHEESE SANDWICHES.  I made these for a Broker luncheon at a home I had listed in Lincolnton during the summer and they were cool, refreshing and tasted of summer.  The original recipe is from Chew Out Loud.

DIAN’S CHICKEN SALAD

PREP TIME: 1 hr 15 mins TOTAL TIME: 1 hr 30 mins
YIELD: 4 cups

INGREDIENTS

    • 4 chicken breast halves, bone in
    • 8 ounces green olives, chopped
    • 1 cup mayonnaise

DIRECTIONS

  1. Skin chicken, put in pan, cover with foil. Bake at 375 for 75 minutes. Cool, pull from bones and chop finely. Add mayo and chopped olives.
  2. *Depending on how big your chicken breasts are, you may want more mayo and olives. Make it to your favorite consistency.