Crawfish Etouffee

Before moving to the panhandle of Florida I had never been exposed to Cajun food, other than gumbo.  However, we quickly became big fans of the delicious style of cooking.  We had our favorite Cajun restaurant right there in Pensacola, Jerry’s Cajun Cafe!  (If you’re ever in that area be sure to check it out, and save room for the bread pudding!)

Wes played on a travel ice hockey team out of Baton Rouge.  That gave us an excuse to visit Louisiana, but we didn’t quit visiting once he stopped playing.  The people and the food are wonderful.  Over the past 7 years I have collected several Cajun recipes that I love to prepare.  In fact, we had friends over recently.  I cooked Crawfish Etouffee, Red Beans and Rice and Jambalaya.  They gave me a huge compliment…they ask if I was Cajun:)  This is such a wonderful dish…you really need to give it a try.

 

Crawfish Etouffee
 
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Ingredients
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 c. chopped yellow or white onions
  • 3 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1 green pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. red pepper
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 1-2 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2-3 lb. crawfish tail meat
  • ¼ c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 - 4 c. water
  • hot sauce, optional
  • 2 c. chopped green onions
  • 1 c. chopped fresh parsley
  • Cooked rice for serving
Instructions
  1. Melt butter over medium heat. Add 1 c. onions, celery, green pepper and garlic. Cook until tender, stirring often.
  2. Add paprika, red pepper, black pepper, salt, dried thyme and bay leaf and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Add crawfish tail meat, cook until heated. Sprinkle with ¼ c. flour and stir to coat all ingredients well. Stir in 2 cups water and simmer 20 minutes until slightly thickened. If too thick add a little more water and simmer a few more minutes.
  4. Taste for seasonings, adding more salt if desired and hot sauce if desired.
  5. Add chopped green onions and simmer about 10 minutes. Just before serving add chopped parsley.
  6. Serve over rice.
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Old Bay Shrimp Salad

I love making this salad when we vacation at the beach.  However, since I’m not at the beach…but would love to be, I made it this week.  It is a great salad that my entire family enjoys.  Not only do you boil the shrimp with some Old Bay in the water, but you add it to the mayonnaise for a wonderful flavor!  I’ve served it on a flour tortilla or in hot dog buns.
Old Bay Shrimp Salad
 
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Ingredients
  • 3 quarts water
  • ¼ c. Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 lb. unpeeled, medium-size raw shrimp
  • ½ c. finely chopped celery
  • ⅓ c. finely chopped onion
  • ⅓ c. light mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • ¾ tsp. Old Bay seasoning
  • ¼ tsp. seasoned pepper
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
Instructions
  1. Bring 3 quarts water and ¼ c. Old Bay seasoning to a boil in a Dutch oven; add shrimp, and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Drain. Place shrimp into a 13 x 9-inch dish to cool. Peel shrimp, and devein, if desired; chop shrimp.
  2. Stir together celery, onion, mayonnaise, lemon juice, Old Bay seasoning, seasoned pepper and chopped parsley. Stir in shrimp. Cover and chill 2 hours.
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Southern Fried Chicken

Nothing reminds me of Sunday lunch at my grandma’s house more than fried chicken.  I miss those meals, especially this time of year, when she would start to get fresh vegetables from her garden.

As much as I hate the mess of frying, occasionally nothing else will do.  And, if you’re going to fry chicken, you HAVE to brine it first!  In my opinion, you can’t season the chicken with anything that will give it more flavor than you’ll get from brining.  You’ll have to plan ahead, since the chicken needs to soak for 8 hours.  I usually double the recipe, substituting ice for some of the water and soaking the chicken in a cooler.  I don’t like a thick breading on my fried chicken, so I skip an egg wash.  You can add this step is you prefer.

 

Southern Fried Chicken
 
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Ingredients
  • 3 qts. water
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 2 - 2½ lb. cut-up chicken
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 c. vegetable oil
  • ¼ c. bacon drippings
Instructions
  1. Combine 3 quarts water with 1 tbsp. salt in a large bowl. Add chicken, cover and refrigerate for 8 hours.
  2. Drain chicken, pat dry.
  3. Mix flour, salt and pepper in a large zip top bag. Add a couple of pieces of chicken at a time and shake to coat. Place chicken on a large sheet pan and set to the side until oil is heated.
  4. Prepare a pan to drain chicken on when done. I like to line a large sheet pan with a few piece of newspaper, then put a couple of layers of paper towels on top of the newspaper. Set aside.
  5. Add a few pieces of chicken at a time to hot oil, skin side down. Turn chicken about 10-15 minutes into cooking. Cooking time will depend on the size of your chicken pieces, but remember that legs and thighs take longer than the other pieces (usually about 20 - 25 minutes)
  6. When browned and cooked through, remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining chicken pieces.
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Chocolate Pudding Cake

I can’t imagine what the person who decided dessert should be eaten last was thinking.  Obviously, they never tried this cake!  You will definitely want to dip into this warm, ooey-gooey, rich & fudgy, delicious pudding cake before dinner!  This is a slow-cooker recipe, so it’s really easy.  Serve with ice cream if you’d like.

 

Chocolate Pudding Cake
 
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Ingredients
  • 1⅓ c. sugar
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • ½ c. butter, melted
  • 4 lg. eggs, lightly beaten
  • ⅓ c. cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. instant coffee granules
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ c. chopped pecans, optional
Instructions
  1. Stir together all ingredients in a large bowl. Pour into a lightly greased 3-quart slow cooker.
  2. Cover and cook on low 2 - 2½ or until set around the edges but still soft in the center. Let stand, covered, 30 minutes. Serve warm, with ice cream if desired.
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Strawberry Lemonade

It has been such a busy time for our family.  We celebrated two birthdays last week, we’re gearing up for the end of another school year and high school graduation for one child, he had cap and gown pictures last week and prom is this weekend.   So, now you know why I haven’t posted lately.

I made this lemonade last week.  Lemonade is such a refreshing treat during the summer months.  The addition of strawberries in this lemonade is, as my son described, AMAZING!  Your family will thank you for making this.

 

Strawberry Lemonade
 
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Ingredients
  • 2 c. sugar, divided
  • 1 c. water
  • 1½ c. strawberries, halved
  • 2 c. fresh lemon juice (12-15 lemons), chilled
  • 6 c. cold water
Instructions
  1. Combine 1 c. sugar and 1 c. water in small saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, simmer, uncovered 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves, stirring often. Cool.
  2. Process strawberries, remaining 1 c. sugar, and sugar syrup in a blender or food processor until pureed. Pour mixture through a wire-mesh strainer into a large pitcher.
  3. Stir in lemon juice and water. Serve over ice.
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