Monday, March 28, 2011

Meatless Monday - Shrimp Etouffee

Today's Meatless Monday invovlves SEAFOOD!!!!  Sorry, but if it doesn't moo, quack or oink, it's not considered meat in our house.  Shrimp are pretty quiet, so they're fair game on Meatless Monday.

(Now please understand, most of my measurements are "ish"....1tsp"ish" of whatever)

2 -3 lbs. peeled, deveined raw shrimp
2 cups chopped onion
2 tbs. minced garlic
1/2 cup green bell pepper
2/3 cup flour
2/3 cup oil
2 cans tomato paste
1 - 28 ou. can crushed tomatoes
2- 14.5 ou. cans diced tomatoes (I used garlic & onion flavor)
64 ou. seafood stock (you can sub chicken stock if necessary, but then it's not technically meatless)
Cajun seasoning to taste (I use Tony Chachere's)
Red Pepper Flakes to taste
2 Bay leaves
Tabasco to taste
1 tbsp Seafood seasoning
2 tbsp sweet basil
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp liquid Shrimp/Crab boil
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of sugar

First make your roux.  Don't panic, it's not hard.  In a heavy bottomed pan, heat the oil and cook the flour in the oil over medium to high heat (depending on your roux making skill), stirring constantly, until the roux reaches a dark reddish-brown color, almost the color of coffee or milk chocolate for a Cajun-style roux. If you want to save time, or prefer a more New Orleans-style roux, cook it to a medium,
peanut-butter color, over lower heat if you're nervous about burning it.

Once the roux reaches your desired color, quickly add your veggies to stop the roux from cooking.  Cook veggies until translucent.

Add tomato paste and cook down for a little while....enjoy the smell...mmmm.

Add tomatoes and cook a bit.

Add stock and all remaining ingredients except shrimp and cook for at least 2 hours.

About 30 minutes or so before you're ready to eat, add the shrimp (you can also substitute crawfish) and cook.

Serve over rice with some warm, crusty French bread and butter.
This also freezes well, so if you have any leftovers, you'll have dinner for another day.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Funny Friday


Because I can never get enough of these ya go!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Going to the chapel, and they're....


That's right people!!!  Our firstborn is engaged!!!

Last week, on a cold Tuesday evening, Matt dropped to one knee in Central Park and slid a ring on Megan's finger.   They were in New York for Matt's law school competition (and let me just say, he and his partner finished 2nd out of 49's that for maintaining your focus?) and on their first night in the Big Apple, he popped the question.  As if the whole Central Park thing isn't romantic enough, he also had arranged for a private car to pick them up at their hotel and bring them to a swanky restaurant where they sipped champagne and had a wonderful evening. 

Matt McCluer

We got the call the next morning and our feet haven't hit the ground yet!!  If we'd had our pick of all the guys in the world, we couldn't have chosen a better husband for Megan...and he's known our family for long enough now that he certainly can't say he wasn't forewarned about us.

We just couldn't be happier!!! 

Alas, wedding preparations will have to be put on hold for a little while.  They are both in the final weeks of law school and have to focus on finals and taking the bar exam in late July.

So...while the moms have visions of

wedding dress clipart
wedding cake


these two kids (can I still call them that?) have their heads on straight and are putting first things first.

In the meantime, as I sit back and wonder where the years have gone, I'm going to enjoy the feeling of knowing that my daughter is blissfully happy.   There's truly no better feeling in the world.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Meatless Monday - Veggie Pesto Pizza

Today's Meatless Monday recipe couldn't be easier...Veggie Pesto Pizza.  The Mr. was away on business, no doubt enjoying a steak dinner while out of my Eagle-like gaze, so I decided to do something quick and easy for dinner for daughter no. 1, Meg, and myself.

I'm not one of those people who makes my own thank you. I use Mama Mary's Whole Wheat pizza crusts, but feel free to use whichever brand you like, unless of course you want to be Martha Stewart and make your own.  Puhleeeeeeze.

I love the fact that this pizza isn't tomato sauce based.  Now, I love me some tomato sauce, but pesto, well I'd eat a ratty old shoe if it had pesto slopped all over it....and if you add feta cheese on top of that, well, I'm like a pig in slop.  Okay, bad visual, but you get the idea.

Here's what you need.


Pizza Crust
Basil Pesto (comes in a jar or you can make your own)
Frozen Spinach (thawed, cooked and drained completely of water)
red onion - chopped
tomatoes - chopped
marinated artichoke hearts - chopped
feta cheese
mozzarella cheese
parmesan cheese

Generously spread pesto on the crust...generously...
including lots of the oil.
Then add spinach, tomatoes, onions and all cheeses.
Bake acording to package directions (450)
until it reaches the desired level of "doneness".

Now, how easy is that????
Eat, Enjoy, Be Healthy! 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Funny Friday - Leprechaun style

Leprechaun Alabama

Yes, I know yesterday was St. Patty's day, but TODAY is Funny Friday, so I thought I'd resurrect this "never gets old" video of the infamous Alabama Leprechaun.  Pour yourself some leftover green beer, get our your heirloom leprechaun flute, have a seat and enjoy!

That's it for today.  This one's so good, I think one is enough!

Where Da Gold At Gimme Da G Decal

Monday, March 14, 2011

Meatless Monday - Veggie Lasagna Florentine

Today's Meatless Monday recipe is a real winner,

As y'all know, I have some sort of deep seeded aversion to adhering to a recipe...I'm a rebel, I I did tweak it just a teensy, tiny bit. 

I added extra minced garlic, as well as red pepper flakes and Italian seasoning.  I also substituted Ricotta cheese for the cottage cheese.

This was just a really good recipe, not a good meatless/vegetarian recipe, but a good all around recipe.  Give it a try.

We give this one two big thumbs up!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Funny Friday

Love the voiceover on this one....and who can resist cute kitties?

Wonder how long it took for her to file for divorce???

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

....and so the party ends....

Yep, Mardi Gras is officially over. 

I'll be working on getting some pictures posted, but right now I'm trying to get my blood sugar back to an acceptable level.  
I have officially had my fill of King Cake and every other sinful culinary temptation in the Big Easy. 

Now begins the Lenten season.  I am not Catholic, and I'm not going to get into any religious conversations here, but in light of the PIG OUT FEST I have just gone through...and if I'm being honest, this began back at Thanksgiving, so it's been quite a "Fest" this year....I am swearing off sweets until Easter!!!  I may make an exception for my birthday in a few weeks, but other than that, I'm done...finished...kaput. 
Not a morsel of chocolate shall touch
 these lips until near the end of April. 
Oh..My...Gosh....the reality just hit chocolate...
this could get ugly. 
Consider yourself forewarned.

Anyway....I promise...Mardi Gras pictures coming soon. 
As soon as my sugar withdrawal lets up.....

Monday, March 7, 2011

Meatless Monday - Green salad with Poppyseed dressing

Because today is Lundi Gras in the Crescent City, today's Meatless Monday recipe is going to be super simple....Green Salad with Poppyseed dressing. 

 In all honesty, I've been out celebrating quite a bit and I'm exhausted.  I'll probably be out parading again tonight and will maybe meat on a Monday.   I thought I'd take a second to share this quickie recipe with you today, though.

I have gotten to where I rarely use store bought, bottled dressings.  It's just so easy to make your own and control the ingredients.  I still use bottled for some things, but mostly I wing it.

For the salad, use whatever veggies you like.  I used:

Mixed baby greens
Red onion
Dried cranberries or craisins (or blueberries, strawberries, whatever)

The Poppyseed dressing is sweet and thick and takes only a few minutes to make.  I substitute Splenda for the sugar, but other than that I follow the recipe...a rarity, I know.

This is a great salad for your family, and I think it's even fancy enough for entertaining.  The Splenda substitution drastically cuts the calorie content, so you're truly eating a healthy salad. 

Now, let me get back to my regularly scheduled Mardi Gras festivities.  I know it's a regular old Monday for a lot of you, but it's party central in the Big Easy.

Throw me somethin' mistah!!!!!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Muffuletta...quite possibly the best sandwich in the world

Now, if you took my advice from last week and organized a Mardi Gras party (and it's not too late people), complete with King Cake, you might be looking for something more substantial to serve with it. 
Well, look no more!

One of my very favorite sandwiches in the world is the Muffuletta.  If New Orleans had a flavor, this would be it.  

Muffulettas are customarily made with a large, round sesame seed bread that looks like this...

 but I prefer them on a good, crusty French Bread.  To me, you just get to taste more of the good stuff that way...less bread, more meat, cheese and olive salad.

Here's what you'll need

Good Italian Olive Salad
Genoa Salami
Provolone Cheese
French Bread (or any crisp crusted bread)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut bread in half lengthwise.

Take a little of the oil from the Italian olive salad mix and spread it on the bottom half of the bread.

Place ham on bread

Okay, that pan is not dirty.  It's my trusty Pampered Chef stone.

Put generous layer of mortadella on top of ham

Place salami on top of mortadella

Put Provolone cheese on top of salami

Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 mins. or so
(until cheese begins to melt and meats are heated through).

Add olive salad to top side of bread and place in the oven for about the last 5 mins.

To me, the olive salad is the star of the show.  Without it, you're basically eating a ham and cheese sandwich.

When it comes out, it will look something like this.

..and I just had to add this picture because I am literally drooling.

Flip olive salad filled tops carefully over onto bottom half, cut and enjoy.

Look at the yummy sheen of the olive salad oil on the bread

This is not considered a true Muffuletta, it's more of a Frenchuletta due to the difference in breads.  Also, some Muffulettas aren't baked, but I like it better this way.  It allows the flavors to blend and become one big, warm, happy family.

Give this New Orleans classic a try...with or without the King Cake.

  It's like a party in your mouth!!!