Monday, November 26, 2012

A Heavenly Holiday Combination

I love the holiday time! I love the family and friend get togethers. I love the decorations. I love the food, and especially green bean casserole! Every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas, we make an extra large batch and serve it as a side dish for several days afterwards. In fact, for Thanksgiving last week, we multiplied our recipe and ate several servings each day until it was all gone. And as I ate the very last of the casserole, I started talking about making another one. I just can't get enough!

This year, while searching for new ideas to serve at our Thanksgiving feast, I came across a friend's blog. Krista hosts Everyday Mom's Meals. She has been an avid follower of our social media pages, and we have been to hers as well. Thankfully so, we didn't miss this amazing recipe she introduced: Green Bean Casserole Stuffed Mushrooms! Me, being a lover of both mushrooms and green bean casserole, knew I had to make these for our holiday dinner. In fact, I doubled this recipe and doubled our traditional green bean casserole; and both were devoured!

Ingredients:
2 lbs. white button mushrooms, stems removed
1 (14.5oz) can French style green beans, drained
3/4 c. Parmesan cheese, divided
2 garlic cloves, grated or minced
3 slices pre- cooked bacon, diced
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp Mr. Pete's Cajun Seasoning, substituted for 1/8 tsp black pepper
1 c. breadcrumbs
1/4 c. condensed cream of onion soup
1/4 c. water
1 c. French Fried onions, crushed

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425. In a small skillet, saute bacon and garlic until heated through. Set aside. 


In a food processor add green beans, 1/2 c. Parmesan, bacon mixture, nutmeg, pepper, water, and soup. Pulse until well combined and smooth.


Transfer to a bowl and fold in bread crumbs.
 

<--- What it looks like after blending.
                            








 What it looks like after adding bread crumbs. --->











You will need to remove your stems and inside cavities of the mushrooms for stuffing. I used a small pearing knife, which worked out well.


Place mushroom caps, stem side down, in a 9x13 pan (It will probably take 2 batches) Spray with cooking spray or brush tops of mushrooms with olive oil.


Cook for 10 minutes, turning once. Remove from oven and drain any liquid collected. Using a small spoon (I like using an iced tea spoon) fill mushroom caps with green bean mixture. Pat gently to evenly distribute.


Place back in baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and top each with fried onions, pressing down gently to adhere. (I didn't measure during this final step. I simply placed as much cheese and fried onions as I could fit!) Bake for 10 additional minutes or until tender and heated through.

Here's the results! A Heavenly Holiday Combination that will have your guests popping these beauties before your meal is even served! Yum!


Krista's Green Bean Casserole Stuffed Mushrooms were a HUGE success at our holiday gathering, and we're sure they would make for an excellent dish at yours as well. Visit her blog for more great recipes for any time of year! 

Be sure to also stop by Mr. Pete's Online Store to get Mr. Pete's Cajun Seasoning to create just the right flavors for this or any dish! Get Hooked On It!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Spicy Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers

We Cajuns are known for spicy dishes. However, I must let you all in on a little secret. We do NOT, in fact, serve our dishes spicy. On the contrary, our dishes are simply seasoned well. Even when we incorporate peppers into our meals, they are merely there to offer a bit of flavor. By no means is this dish spicy. I promise you that this delicious combination of flavors will have your taste buds begging for more! Serve them as an appetizer or along side of your favorite BBQ dishes.


Our local grocery stores sell prepared pre-seasoned meats for barbequing, baking, roasting, or whatever type of cooking you are wanting to do. At those counters, you can normally find pre-stuffed mushrooms, peppers, chicken, and many other veggies and cuts of meat. This is where we originally came up with the idea. As we prepared for a barbeque many years ago, we picked up a few of these prepared meats to try on the pit. It turned out to be a better experience than we originally imagined; and thankfully so, because they weren't cheap. We started thinking about the different ingredients and the costs of preparation, only to determine it would be much cheaper for us to prepare them. Thus, we began creating our own veggies and cuts of meat for each and every bbq since.

The stuffed peppers are one of our favorite bbq dishes, and therefore included every single time!

What you'll need:
1 dozen large jalapeno peppers
1 lb. ground pork
8 oz. cream cheese
12 oz. pack of bacon
24 toothpicks
2 tablespoons Mr. Pete's Cajun Seasoning

Directions:
Slice the jalapeno peppers right down the center.

Use a small spoon to scoop out seeds and clean as shown above.

Sprinkle Mr. Pete's Cajun Seasoning over the ground pork and mix.


Spoon a bit of cream cheese inside each pepper half.

I've found that it is easier to fill the peppers when the cream cheese is on the hard side.
Top peppers with the ground pork mixture to hold in the cream cheese.


Cut the entire package of bacon in half. Wrap each pepper with a half slice of bacon using a toothpick to hold it together.


Place the peppers on the bbq pit for about 30 to 45 minutes at a medium heat level. Then, place them on the top rack until you are ready to serve. They'll have your company coming back for seconds and possibly thirds!



Do you need some of Mr. Pete's Cajun Seasoning to create this tasty dish? Easy ordering below!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Crawfish Boulettes, A 'Small Ball' of Goodness

I am not sure who, when, or where boulettes were first served and enjoyed. Even though my research was extremely exhaustive, I didn't find very much information. However, I did learn (which I already knew) they are a French delicacy. I also found out (which I wasn't aware) that the term 'boulette' means small ball. If you are not familiar with boulettes, it is shaped into a small ball and served as such. Now you know as much as I do about this 'Small Ball' of goodness (which isn't much, I know). lol On to the recipe!
This recipe yields 1 dozen crawfish boulettes.
Ingredients:
1 lb. crawfish tails, peeled
1 cup diced onion 
1 cup diced bellpepper
1/2 cup diced celery
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 egg, beaten
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons Mr. Pete's Cajun Seasoning
1- 10 oz. bag of Mr. Pete's Seasoned Cajun Oyster Fry
Your choice of cooking oil (Our preferred is Peanut oil)
Purchase your seasoning ingredients on line now! http://www.mrpetescajunspices.com/store/

Directions:
Place crawfish, onion, bellpepper, celery, parsley, and garlic into a food processor. Use the pulse option, and spin until crawfish pieces are approximately 1/4". In a large bowl, mix bread crumbs, egg, and Mr. Pete's Cajun Seasoning. In another pan, pour in Mr. Pete's Seasoned Cajun Oyster fry.

Using the mixture from the food processor, hand roll 12- 2" balls. Dip balls into bread crumb, egg, and seasoning blend, then into Mr. Pete's Seasoned Cajun Oyster Fry. Coat balls thoroughly.

Heat your oil to 350 degrees. (I like to use a deep fryer to ensure the boulettes are cooked evenly, but you may pan fry them as well.) Place boulettes into oil, and fry until golden brown. Remove from fryer and drain on absorbent paper towels.

***This dish can be served as an appetizer or as a meal, and with or without a seafood dip.
As the French say, Bon App├ętit!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mr. Pete's Tender Chuck Roast

As the wife of a professional chef, it is completely difficult to satisfy Mr. Pete when it comes to preparing a dish. Although I have learned a lot over the years and have finally begun preparing at least tolerable dishes, it wasn't always that way.

This story has been repeated many times over the years and has become more comedic than humiliating. Therefore, I have decided to share the laugh with you all. 

When Mr. Pete and I first married, all I wanted was to treat this man as he deserved. I truly spoiled him in every area, except at the dinner table. My first experience was one of shame, and so the story goes. I asked Mr. Pete what his favorite meal was one morning, and he responded "I like a good chuck roast." I thought, "Well, this will be easy." And so began my feat of preparing the perfect chuck roast for my new husband.


I visited the grocery store that afternoon, and chose the best cut of meat on the shelf. I went back home and started the roast only to burn it in a matter of minutes. So, I hopped in the car and revisited the grocery store. Once again, I chose the next best cut of meat available on the shelf. I went back to the same cashier who checked me out the first time, paid the clerk, loaded myself and the roast back in the car, and drove home. When I got there, I began preparing the second roast of the day. I seasoned the meat well, added my vegetables, added the meat, and covered the pot. A little later, I could smell this burning aroma coming from the kitchen. I ran from one end of the house to the other only to discover that I had, in fact, burnt the second roast. This time, it was completed black. No way I could save this roast. So, I grabbed my purse, jumped in the car, drove to the store, picked out my third roast (I wasn't worried about the cut of meat this time), checked out again with the same cashier (who I told not to ask questions), got back in my car, drove home, and started the roast. This time, I decided to lower my fire a bit (but not too low, because the husband would be on his way from work soon) and started cutting new vegetables. I added all my ingredients, covered the roast with water, and waited. In my defense, my cooking skills may be poor; but that is mainly because I am a multitasker. I tend to clean house, wash dishes and clothes, sweep and mop floors, dust, etc. when I am cooking; thereby taking the attention away from the stove. Well don't you know, I could hear the pot sizzling from the next room. So, I take off running to the stove and add a bit more water to allow the roast to tender some more. I thought for sure I had saved it.

Mr. Pete finally got off work and called to let me know he was on his way home. I was anxious to show him that I had cooked his favorite meal for dinner. I also wanted him to see some potential in my cooking skills. I guess I was looking for a compliment or two, as most newlywed wives like. Mr. Pete arrives home and greats me with a wonderful hug and kiss. I had missed him tremendously; but what he didn't know was that I was a bit occupied that evening trying to prepare our dinner. Then came the true test... serving supper. Mr. Pete walked over to the stove, opened the cover of the pot, and said, "It's a little burnt, don't you think?" Darn it! I turned to him and replied, "That's only the third roast I cooked today!" Surely he didn't believe me. Would you have? To his hesitation, I told him to check the other pots on the stove where he discovered my blacker than black roasts that I had previously cooked for him trying to prepare that perfect chuck roast.

Since then, Mr. Pete has managed to teach me the basic skills needed to prepare several different dishes. He specifically taught me how to prepare the perfect chuck roast that I had tried so very hard to make for him many years ago. Still, he is and will always be the better cook!
  
Ingredients:

1- Chuck Roast (I use approximately 5 lbs.)
2 tsp. Mr. Pete's Cajun Seasoning per pound of meat
2 tblspns. garlic, minced
2 tblspn. Olive oil
6 cups water (You may need more depending upon the size of your meat and desired texture.)

Directions:



In a roaster set at 350 degrees, add olive oil. Rinse meat, sprinkle Mr. Pete's Cajun Seasoning over top, bottom, and sides of roast. Rub seasoning into meat and add to roaster. Brown both sides of roast until dark brown. Be sure not to burn it! 



Spread minced garlic on top of roast, add 2 cups water, cover and let cook. During this time, Mr. Pete says you should never walk away from the kitchen. As the water cooks out, the roast begins to tenderize. You will want to wait until the water has almost evaporated. Then, cut your roast into 1-2" pieces. The smaller you cut the roast, the faster the roast will become tender. Once the roast is cut, you will have to add more water in 2 cup increments. Continue adding water until your roast has reached your desired texture. The entire cooking time is approximately 2-3 hours for the ultimate tenderness.

 

My first mistake, many years ago, was not monitoring my roast. I was also cooking the roast on a stovetop, which is entirely different than cooking in a roaster. This is a tried and true recipe that we love to enjoy over a bed of rice and with our favorite vegetable on the side, such as sweet green peas or green beans with potatoes. I also like to cook the leftovers (if we ever have any) even longer to make a yummy roastbeef following the same steps of adding more water as needed to continue cooking the meat down to perfection. Mr. Pete's Cajun Seasoning gives this dish all the flavors you need to prepare the perfect chuck roast!


Order your Mr. Pete's Cajun Seasoning here and Get Hooked On It!!!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

"Feeling" this Spicy Bold Lemon Chicken Linquini

It seems I am always hunting for something to cook each day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I have tried the whole "Dinner plan", creating a schedule for each day two weeks in advance. I make a large grocery bill to feed our family, only to change the menu each day because the family doesn't "feel" like what I have on the menu. I don't blame them. I, too, have certain cravings. So, instead of planning, we are always coming together to offer ideas and what we "feel" like eating each day.

This particular day was no different. While us parents had no clue as to what we wanted for supper, the children all agreed on spaghetti. Unfortunately, the husband and I weren't "feeling" it. So, I took to the internet for pasta dishes, something different that could satisfy the whole family. And then I found the blog of Isabelle at Home. When I began browsing her wonderful array of recipes, I came across one that just peaked my curiosity. "Pasta... with lemon. Hummm. Wonder what that flavor combination tastes like." I began to "feel" it!


I had majority of the ingredients already on hand. Instead of heading to the local grocery mart, I decided to create this dish with the ingredients I had on hand. I am so glad we did. The bold lemon flavor certainly brought out the best in this dish. And the best part is, the whole family "felt" that way!

Ingredients:

1 lb. Linquini
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tspn. olive oil
2 tblspn. Mr. Pete's Cajun Seasoning
2 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup shredded mozarella cheese

Directions:

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions.  Reserve 1 cup pasta water; drain pasta and set aside. 


Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat one teaspoon of the olive oil. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon Mr. Pete's Cajun Seasoning on both sides of your chicken breasts. Add your chicken breasts to your pan and cook on medium fire covered for about 30 minutes or until cooked thoroughly. I like to add a little water (just enough to cover the bottom of the pan) once or twice during the cooking stage to keep the chicken moist.

While the chicken is simmering, in a small pot (I used the same pot I cooked the pasta in), heat the final tspn. of oil over medium heat.  Add garlic, season with salt and pepper and cook stirring, until tender, about 4 minutes.  Add cream and lemon zest.  Bring to a boil and cook until slightly thickened, about 8 minutes.  Add lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. 


While lemon cream sauce is cooking, cut your cooked chicken breasts in small cubes. Add chicken to sauce pot and mix. Pour chicken and cream sauce over pasta and toss. Using the saved pasta water, add a small amount at a time to thin out the sauce to coat the pasta. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of Mr. Pete's Cajun Seasoning and toss pasta once more. Top with shredded cheese for a beautiful finish. 


Finally, serve your Spicy Cajun Chicken Linquini with Lemon Cream Sauce with your favorite bread and "feel" it. We sure did!


Make sure to visit Isabelle at Home for the original recipe as well. Let her know that you "feel" it!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Mr. Pete's Spiced Bloody Marys

We enjoy a Bloody Mary from time to time, but it's not too often we make them. So when we do, we like them fresh! Well, as we were browsing the grocery store trying to gather our ingredients for our Hot chicken wings, we came across an alcohol Christmas display. You know the gift packs that come out around this time each year? This rack was full of different liquors, including boxes of Vodka and Bloody Mary Mix. It is then, Mr. Pete said, "You know, it's been a while since we've had some good Bloody Marys. We should make them tonight for the LSU vs. Bama game." And so we did!

We made the round of the grocery store... again, adding all the ingredients we needed to create these refreshing drinks:

8 tomatoes
4 lemons
1 small bottle Worcestershire sauce
1 jar spiced beans
1 bunch celery stalks
1 bottle of your favorite Vodka (Ours is Absolute or Grey Goose!)
1 can Mr. Pete's Cajun Seasoning (Of course we already have a stock of this in our cabinet! And so, it was one less ingredient we needed to purchase. Man, this stuff can add flavor to almost everything!)

Directions:

Place your tomatoes into a blender and puree. Once blended well, strain the mixture keeping only the liquids. Add two tablespoons fresh lemon juice. (Keep the lemons to add into your glasses at the end. There is still flavor in those tiny fruits!) Add 1 tablespoon of the Worcestershire sauce and another tablespoon of Mr. Pete's Cajun Seasoning to your mixture. Finally, add 6 ounces of your favorite Vodka. You can always add more if you prefer a stronger drink. Or you can eliminate the Vodka altogether to enjoy a virgin Bloody Mary.

Stir up the mixture well, and pour over a tall glass of ice. Garnish your drink with a couple of spiced beans, a lemon, and a stalk of celery. We also shake Mr. Pete's Cajun Seasoning at the top of the glass to give our drink that extra spice! There are many other garnishes you could also use such as olives, cherries, cherry tomatoes, carrots, parsley, and the list goes on and on. So how will you be enjoying your fresh Bloody Mary?


Mr. Pete's Spin on the Traditional Shrimp Dip

I remember growing up as a child, the family gathering together at my grandparents' home, the kids laughing and playing, and the different aromas coming from the kitchen. All too often, the adults were busy preparing all of the dishes in the kitchen and us children were awaiting the serving bell to ring.

On many occasions, there were appetizers brought to the gathering to satisfy the family until dinner was served. This one appetizer always brings me back. Even back then, although I loved this dish trememdously, I would season the dip before dipping my first chip. Which brings me to the current period, where I have found just the right blend of spices to give this dip exactly what it had been missing!

First, you'll need to boil your shrimp. Instead of boiling shrimp for this one recipe, I always pick up the leftovers from a shrimp boil and freeze until I am ready to make one. However, if you are making this dip for a crowd, you can always double or even triple the recipe. Hence, you can boil some fresh shrimp for your guests.




Ingredients:

1 lb. chopped, boiled shrimp
1 package cream cheese
1 cup mayonaise
1- 8 oz. can Pet milk
1 tblspn. Mr. Pete's Cajun Seasoning


 
Directions:

Blend all ingredients, except seasoning, with fingers in a mixing bowl. Once you have mixed all ingredients well, sprinkle seasoning on top. Serve with your favorite chip or cracker!