Shrimp Dip


My family became fans of Cajun and Creole cuisine while living in Pensacola.  Wes played ice hockey with a travel team out of Baton Rouge and we made many trips to different parts of Louisiana for games.  I started trying to duplicate the wonderful dishes we came to love at home.  I have a few favorite recipes already, but I found a treasure a few weeks ago though!  Anyone shopping in the same little thrift store with me probably thought that I found gold.  When I spotted a cookbook from Lafayette, Louisiana with 417 recipes ranging from 1884 to 1984 I grabbed it up fast.  I have been studying it thoroughly and plan to try some fabulous sounding recipes soon.

This Shrimp Dip is the first treasure that I found in my new cookbook.  I made and took it to an art class over the weekend. Everyone seemed to love it and most went back for seconds.  I used 1 tbsp. grated onion and felt that it was plenty.  Depending on your taste you can adjust this.  Also, if you have onion haters you could try substituting about 1/2 tsp. onion powder or leave it out all together.  Once you add the shrimp blend for only a few seconds so that you have small chunks of shrimp in the dip.

 

Shrimp Dip
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 to 2 tbsp. grated onion, squeezed dry
  • ½ tsp. minced garlic
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp. minced fresh parsley
  • pinch kosher salt
  • pinch black pepper
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 to 2 tbsp. liquid from canned shrimp
  • 1 (4-oz.) can tiny shrimp, drained
Instructions
  1. Soften cream cheese in microwave for about 20 seconds. Place in a mixing bowl and add grated onion, garlic, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, salt, black pepper, red pepper, and liquid from shrimp. Beat until light and fluffy. Add shrimp and blend on low speed until shrimp break up slightly.
  2. Serve hot or cold with Bugles or crackers.
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Crockpot Mac and Cheese II

I know, I know, I know…its still January and here I go sharing a recipe that will not be great for most New Year’s diets.  In my defence… I had to take a covered dish to a dinner and decided it was the perfect excuse for pasta!  I just couldn’t resist snapping a picture of this warm, creamy, cheesy goodness!  Then when I noticed how that picture made me want to dive into that big crock pot of heavenly goodness I decided I had to share this delicious recipe with you!  This is a recipe that I got from one of my cousins.  Problem is, I can’t remember if it was Linda or Cindy who gave me the recipe (please forgive me if you are reading this).  Either way, they are both great cooks…it runs in the family!    This is Savannah’s favorite mac and cheese and very easy to prepare.  It is the ultimate comfort food. Depending on your crock pot, it may not take 3 hours to cook.  If you have a new crock pot, I’m guessing < 5 to 7 years old, watch it closely after about 2 hours.  My newest crock pot gets much hotter than my older crock pot, and cooks faster.

 

Crockpot Mac and Cheese II
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 3 c. elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • 1½ tsp. instant minced onion
  • 12 oz. Velveeta cheese, cubed
  • 1 (12-oz.) can evaporated milk
  • 1 c. milk
Instructions
  1. Cook macaroni according to package directions and drain.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and stir well.
  3. Lightly spray crock pot with cooking spray and add macaroni mixture.
  4. Cook on low for 3 hours, stirring a couple of times during cooking.
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Sweet and Sour Pork Sliders

First of all I’d like to shout out to Loretta.  Today is her birthday!!  It’s a big year for both of us and I just want her to know that I’m very thankful that our lives crossed when we were 12 years old!  Who would have imagined that we would still be friends in 2014?  I couldn’t even think that far into the future at that point!  We have been there for each others first dates, proms, weddings, babies, deaths, and everything in between.  Back when we were passing notes in school…before texting…and writing “BFF” we didn’t know what that would entail.  Now, it means more than it ever has.  Even when times get busy and we don’t talk for a while,  I know that we’ll be friends forever.  I’m sorry I will not be near you to help celebrate this milestone birthday.  Just remember I’m there in spirit and I love you like a sister!  Have a great day!!

Super Bowl XLVIII is a little over a week away and like all other football games, I will be watching but totally clueless.  My great grandfather died after suffering a heart attack while watching wrestling on television.  My dad was a huge sports fan, his favorite sports were baseball and golf, but if there was a ball involved, his TV was tuned to that station.  Greg is an avid sports fan and our TV remote has all of the ESPN stations set as “favorites”.  My kids have been involved in sports all of their lives.  In other words, I have always been surrounded by sports but I am clueless when it comes to football.  Game day, for me, will be about entertaining, watching halftime, the commercials, and of course trying all of the great dishes my friends will bring over.

We enjoy having friends over for the Super Bowl and my thoughts have been turning toward a menu for the big game.  Super Bowl parties need to include plenty of finger foods.  Our table usually has loads of dips, wings, and maybe pizza or chili.  I love them all but have decided to add these little Sweet and Sour Pork Sliders to the menu this year.  These were featured on Food Network by Giada De Laurentiis.  They are delicious and will be perfect for game day.  Please take note that this recipe makes 10 to 12 sliders, so adjust accordingly.  The pork is marinated, baked, then served on a sweet Hawaiian roll with a tasty slaw and a scrumptious sauce.  So, whether you’re at the party for the game or you’re just there for food and friends, serve a tray of these sliders and you’re sure to be a winner.

 

Sweet and Sour Pork Sliders
 
Author:
Serves: 10-12
 
Ingredients
  • Slaw:
  • 1½ c. very thinly sliced green cabbage (about ¼ cabbage)
  • 1½ c. very thinly sliced red cabbage (about ¼ cabbage)
  • 2 tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 thinly sliced green onions (about ½ c.)
  • Pork:
  • ½ c. fresh orange juice
  • ½ c. soy sauce
  • ¼ c. packed light brown sugar
  • 2½ tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. sesame oil
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • One 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • Zest of 1 large orange
  • One 1 to 1¼-pound pork tenderloin, trimmed
  • 2 tsp. arrowroot
  • 10 to 12 mini Hawaiian-style sweet rolls, halved horizontally
Instructions
  1. For the slaw: Toss the green cabbage, red cabbage, vinegar, oil, salt, pepper, and green onion in a medium bowl to blend. Cover and refrigerate while preparing the pork.
  2. For the pork: In a medium bowl, whisk together the orange juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, sesame oil, pepper, garlic, ginger, and orange zest to blend. Add the pork tenderloin and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, turning occasionally. (I like to marinate longer than this, usually between 6 to 12 hours.)
  3. Preheat the oven to 425° F.
  4. Remove the pork for the marinade. Reserve the marinade. Place the pork on a nonstick heavy baking sheet and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the pork registers 145° F, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the pork from the oven and let stand 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. Pour the marinade into a heavy medium saucepan and whisk in the arrowroot. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and cool slightly.
  6. Transfer the pork tenderloin to a work surface and cut crosswise into ¼- to ⅓-inch thick slices. Divide the pork among the bottom halves of the rolls. Top the port with sauce and slaw. Cover with the top halves of the rolls and serve.
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Baked Oatmeal

It’s a good thing I live in the South.  These freezing temperatures do not agree with me,  I would never survive up North!  There have been a few mornings when I really wanted to stay tucked into my nice warm bed.  I really thought about reaching for my cell phone to text the kids to tell them it was time to get up and get ready for school.  (Yes, I still wake them up even though they are 18 and 20!)  Living in an older house that isn’t insulated very well doesn’t help very much either.  We had spray foam insulation added in the walls last winter and I think it helped.  However, it has become obvious that we need to address some sort of insulation in the crawl space.  I do believe my feet have come close to suffering from frost bite a few mornings!

That being said, a warm breakfast is essential to my family on cold mornings.  If you are an oatmeal lover you’ll have to give this recipe a try!  It’s my version of a yogurt parfait…winterized.  Pictured above are two of my favorite flavors, blueberry and apple cranberry.  The flavor possibilities are endless though.  You can adjust the sweetness by decreasing or increasing the brown sugar.  You can replace the brown sugar with maple syrup or try replacing all of the sugar with applesauce or a sugar substitute.  I’ve used skim milk, 2% milk, and even almond milk.  It turns out great every time.  This reheats well, so for convenience, make it the night before and refrigerate until morning.  One recipe lasts for several days in the refrigerator at our house.  We just pop a bowlful into the microwave for a quick breakfast.  Here’s what I do, but you can play around with the recipe to get the flavor that you like best.

Baked Oatmeal
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. old fashioned oats
  • ¼ c. light brown sugar
  • 2 cups warm milk
  • ¼ tsp. almond extract
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp. melted butter
  • pinch salt
  • 1 c. fresh or frozen blueberries
  • ⅓ c. slivered almonds
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a shallow, 2 quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray, set aside.
  2. Combine oats, brown sugar, warm milk, almond and vanilla extract, melted butter and salt. Stir in fruit and pour into a shallow baking dish. Top with slivered almonds. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.
  3. Top with yogurt and serve.
Notes
Variations that I have tried:
Apple Cranberry: Decrease brown sugar to ¼ c.; add ½ c. applesauce; Replace blueberries with 1 c. peeled and chopped apple (I use Granny Smith); add ⅓ c. dried cranberries & 1 tsp. ground cinnamon; replace almonds with pecans

Apricot Cherry: Replace blueberries with ¾ c. chopped dried apricots & ¼ c. dried tart cherries

Strawberry: Replace blueberries with fresh strawberries and use vanilla almond milk.

By the way…if you come up with an amazing flavor combination please share with me by commenting on this post!
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Parmesan-Roasted Butternut Squash

When I was growing up my mom would bake and serve butternut squash with a sweet sauce.  It was delicious but I never truly appreciated a butternut squash until I had it as a savory side dish.  I love it and keep one on hand pretty much year round.  Not only is it low in calories and high in fiber, but it’s very easy to prepare and cooks up fast.

I love roasting just about any vegetable and butternut squash is no exception.  Just peel the squash and scrape the seeds out.  Then cube into 1-inch pieces, place in single layer on a sheet pan, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper and roast at 400° for 25 to 30 minutes, turning once during roasting.  Try any vegetable or combination of vegetables that you like this way and I promise you will love it!

This Parmesan-Roasted Butternut Squash is a great side with any meat but is also great tossed with cooked pasta.  The original recipe called for heavy cream but I use fat free half-and-half.  I’m also not a big fan of sage, so I use very little (1/4 tsp.) in this recipe.  You can double the sage if you prefer.

 

Parmesan-Roasted Butternut Squash
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 2½ lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeds scraped and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ c. fat free half-and-half
  • ¼ tsp. ground sage
  • ⅔ c. freshly ground Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spay a shallow baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Toss squash with salt, pepper, and sage. Pour into prepared dish and spread out evenly. Pour the half-and-half over the top. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove dish from oven and stir in ⅓ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Sprinkle remaining ⅓ cup cheese over top. Return to oven, uncovered and bake until the squash is tender and begins to brown (15 to 20 minutes). Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving.
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