The older I get, the more that I realize that all of those times that Mama said: “don’t spend your money on me,” she meant it. She wanted then what she still wants, time spent together. Time is something we can never get back, and the older my mama gets, time becomes more precious to me.
In comparison to many families today, my mother’s family was a big one. She had six brothers and sisters. Today, my mother and her sister are the only siblings that remain. I decided that my mama would like nothing better than a little family time for Mother’s Day. So on a recent visit, I invited my aunt and a couple of cousins to a luncheon at mama’s house. I kept the menu simple with homemade chicken salad, pasta salad made with fresh vegetables and purchased Italian dressing, cucumber sandwiches, purchased cheese straws, and I bought a fruit tray, cut up and ready to eat and made a poppy seed vinaigrette dressing. The table was elegantly set with mama’s best china and crystal and the memories we made are priceless.
As you struggle to come up with a gift for mom this Sunday, keep in mind that time spent with you is something she will always treasure!
Simple Pasta Salad
- 1 lb. pasta
- 2 c. cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- ¾ c. sliced black olives
- sliced red onion
- crumbled feta cheese
- chopped bell pepper
- 1 to 1½ c. Italian dressing
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Toss pasta, cherry tomatoes, olives, red onion, feta cheese, and bell pepper with Italian dressing.
- Refrigerate for several hours before serving.
You may need to add a little more Italian dressing to salad just before serving.
Fruit Salad with Vinaigrette Dressing
- 4 cups fresh fruit
- 2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- ¼ tsp. poppy seeds
- Wash and cut up fruit, set aside. In a small bowl whisk vinegar, oil, sugar and poppy seeds. Pour over fruit an gently toss. Serve immediately.
- 12 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1 cucumber, peeled & seeds removed
- 1 medium onion
- dash salt
- dash hot sauce
- mayonnaise on bread, if desired
- Grate cucumber and onion and squeeze dry. (I do this using a clean dish towel. Put in the center of a towel then roll towel and twist.) Set aside.
- Blend cream cheese with an electric mixer. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Store in refrigerator for 24 hours.
- If using mayonnaise, spread on desired bread. Top with cucumber spread and another slice of bread.
Perfect Chicken Salad
- 4 lg. chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
- 1 to 2 c. mayonnaise, depending on how you like it
- ½ to ¾ c. chopped celery
- 1 tbsp. yellow mustard
- ¼ tsp. poppy seeds
- ½ tsp. salt
- Mix shredded chicken, mayonnaise, celery, mustard, poppy seeds, and salt in a large bowl and refrigerate.
I enjoy chowders during the cold months. The only problem is that most chowders have flour and potatoes which are not allowed on a low-carb diet. If you have not tried it, you may not believe that cauliflower is an excellent substitution for the potatoes in this chowder.
I use cauliflower quite a lot these days. I never had it until I was an adult. Even then, it was always raw and on vegetable (or curdité) platters. It wasn’t until several years ago that I discovered what a versatile vegetable it actually is. It’s a great rice substitute, potato substitute, and I even have a recipe for paleo grits made with cauliflower on my blog.
For this recipe, I substituted cauliflower for the potatoes. I needed some extra thickness to the chowder so once I cooked the cauliflower I used my immersion blender to puree it, leaving a few bite-size chunks. It was incredible and my family never even noticed that it was cauliflower!
If you are not interested in a low-carb New-England Clam Chowder, visit www.notjustsundaydinner.com for a full carb version.
Low-Carb Clam Chowder
- 1 large head cauliflower
- 4 (6.5-oz.) cans minced clams, juices reserved
- 2 to 3 c. bottled clam juice
- 2 thick-cut bacon slices, minced
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 celery rib, diced fine
- 1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ tsp. fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- 2 c. heavy cream
- 8-oz. cream cheese
- 6 tbsp. dry sherry
- salt, to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- hot sauce, optional, to taste
- ½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- Drain the clam juice from the minced clams and combine with enough bottled juice to equal 3 cups of liquid.
- Clean cauliflower and core. Place in a Dutch oven with a small amount of water. Cover and cook until tender. Remove from heat and drain well, and blend with an immersion blender, leaving a few bite-size pieces.
- Cook the bacon over medium heat in the Dutch oven until lightly crisp.
- Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally until tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic, and stirring cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Whisk in 2 cups clam juice, 2 c. of heavy cream, the prepared cauliflower, and cream cheese. Bring to a simmer, whisking until the cream cheese is completely melted.
- Add the bay leaf, thyme, and simmer about 15 minutes.
- Add the clams, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and sherry. If too thick add additional clam juice. Simmer until warmed through.
- Serve warm.
If you visit Not Just Sunday Dinner often you know that my new obsession is chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. I believe I could chipotle peppers to just about anything and love it!
Cheese dip is one of the first things I made as a young cook. Everyone loves cheese dip. Over the years I have used a total of three different recipes. My first recipe was pretty simple, some Velveeta, some sharp cheese, a can or Rotel, ground beef and sausage. A few years back I switched up my recipe to the Queso dip that you’ll find here on NJSD. I still love that dip but there can be picky eaters that don’t like the spinach. They drive me crazy, but they do exist! Not that the Queso dip needed any improvement, it is perfect just they way it is (to me). However, I was really craving the smoky flavor of chipotle in a cheese dip, so I started experimenting.
What I have come up with is a huge hit at our house! The number of chipotle peppers is totally up to your taste. If I were not feeding others I might possibly add more than this recipe suggest.
Amye's Smoky Cheese Dip
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 lb. sausage
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp. minced garlic
- 1-2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 lb. Velveeta, cubed
- 1 lb. Pepper Jack cheese, cubed
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. paprika
- ⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper
- 2 c. milk
- 1 can Rotel, undrained
- 2 - 3 chipotle peppers (or to taste) in adobo sauce, seeds removed and chopped fine
- ½ tbsp - 1 tbsp. adobo sauce from the can of chipotle peppers, or to taste
- Brown ground beef and sausage in a skillet. Drain and pour the beef and sausage into a slow-cooker.
- In the skillet, add oil and saute onion until soft. Add garlic during the last minute of cooking. Add to the slow-cooker. Add the Velveeta, Pepper Jack cheese, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, milk, Rotel, and chipotle peppers. Stir to combine.
- Cook on low, stirring occasionally, until melted.
- Serve with corn chips.
I have dabbled in family ancestry over the past few years but have never stuck with it long enough to get past a few generations. I have not found proof that I have Cajun ancestors, but I know they are there somewhere! Cajun cuisine is my absolute favorite food! I’ll pick it over a steak dinner any day!
I have not shared a Cajun recipe in a while, so it is long past due. This jambalaya recipe is super easy and comes together fast. I used a new spice blend from Legion of Spice called Bayou Blue. Legion of Spice is a new company offering wonderful rubs and spice blends. Their products contain no salt, no MSG, no fillers, it is Gluten free, all natural and made in the USA. If you live in the US, you can get your very own FREE sample packs by visiting their homepage, www.legionofspice.com and signing up for their monthly newsletter. While on their website use coupon code “LEGION” for 15% off because you will for sure want to pick up a jar of Bayou Black for this delicious jambalaya!
Hillshire Farms has a Cajun Style Andouille Smoked Sausage that tastes great and works well in this recipe. My family loves the shrimp, but you can substitute boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes if desired.
Shrimp and Andouille Sausage Jambalaya
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lb. andouille sausage, cut into ½-inch rounds
- 1 lb. peeled and deveined medium shrimp
- 1 lg. yellow onion, diced
- 1 lg. green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 lg. fresh tomatoes, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp. Cajun or Creole Seasoning
- 1 c. uncooked long grain rice
- 2 c. chicken broth
- 1 bunch green onions, green part only, chopped
- 1 bunch chopped fresh parsley leaves
- In a large Dutch oven, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook until lightly browned, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from pot and set aside.
- Add a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil if the pan needs it. Add the chopped onion, bell pepper, and celery to the Dutch oven and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, 7 to 10 minutes.
- Add shrimp and sausage, tomatoes, garlic, seasoning, rice, and chicken broth to the pan. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cover. Simmer until rice is cooked through, about 20 minutes.
- Stir in parsley and green onion just before serving.
To use chicken instead of shrimp: Add 1 lb. chicken that had been cut into 1-inch cubes, to the Dutch oven with the sausage. Cook until lightly browned. Chicken does not have to be cooked through, it will continue to cook in the last 20 minutes of cooking.