Let’s Cook Something New: Stuffed Hatch Chili Peppers

My husband recently brought a new type of chili pepper home from the grocery store. I love to cook with new foods and so this gave me a chance to learn about Hatch chili peppers. I learned that these medium-size peppers are grown exclusively in New Mexico. They ripen in August and September and thus are available for only a few months in the fall. The peppers have a “bite” but they are not as hot as a jalapeno pepper. They have thick flesh and can be broiled to remove the skin. These chili peppers are large enough to easily be stuffed for an entrée dish and have a pleasing, chili pepper flavor. So, let’s make “Stuffed Hatch Chili Peppers” with these delightful peppers. I made two “fillings”: ground beef and also shrimp with corn and cheese. Recipes are included for both.

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Cajun Deviled Eggplant with Shrimp

“Deviled Eggplant with Shrimp” is one of those classic Louisiana entrees which I just love. It is full of the flavor of fresh vegetables and eggplant and the dish is just a little spicy. Add in shrimp and now we’re cooking. The casserole has been around for years with many variations and goes by several other names such as “Eggplant Supreme” and “Eggplant Seafood Casserole.” I liked the title, “Deviled Eggplant with Shrimp,” because, in my onion, it characterizes the cuisine of Louisiana — well-seasoned, just a little on the edge with “hot” and memorable. Has anyone else noticed that their grocery bill receipts have skyrocketed? With eggplant is season, now is the time to save money and cook with these seasonable vegetables.

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Family Favorites: Green Bean Casserole with a Homemade Crispy Onion Variation

I love “Green Bean Casserole.” With a creamy sauce and topped with crunchy French’s® Crispy Fried Onions, it is hard to resist. Although it wouldn’t be a Thanksgiving holiday meal without this dish, the casserole is really great any time of the year. Recently I noticed a recipe for this dish which included homemade fried onions rings for a topping and I recalled how much I liked the dish. This recipe author also took the extra effort to use fresh green beans and make a sauce from scratch. That’s alot of work as the original recipe uses just three main ingredients. I liked the idea of the homemade crispy fried onion rings and decided to add it to my variation. Although the verdict is still out on the homemade onions rings, my husband and I sure ate alot of “test runs” of “Green Been Casserole.” So, here is my casserole using French’s® Crispy Fried Onions.

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Family Favorites: Old-Fashioned Scalloped Potatoes

Mrs. Grossnickle made the best recipe of “Scalloped Potatoes” that I can ever remember. The dish was probably loaded with cream and butter. Not healthy by today’s standards, but very tasty. When I was growing up, the Grossnickles lived across a cow pasture which we could see from where we lived on a small hill. “Scalloped Potatoes” was served at almost every Sunday dinner after church and especially at holidays such as Easter. I am guessing that we were invited to the Grossnickle’s home for some of these meals and this is where I ate the “best” dish of “Scalloped Potatoes.” I consider this to be an old-fashioned “comfort food” and still like the dish after all these years; although with slightly less cream. For nostalgia, I’m making this dish again on Easter Sunday.

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Baked Crawfish Macaroni and Cheese & a Shrimp Variation

Here is my second crawfish recipe for this spring during the peak of the Louisiana crawfish harvest. I don’t think that I would have considered making macaroni and cheese with crawfish but a local magazine featured this dish. Wow, this baked version is pretty good. Although I was skeptical at first about adding seafood to macaroni and cheese, the flavors blend nicely. The recipe uses penne pasta baked in a creamy cheese sauce and topped with Italian bread crumbs. Yum. Since crawfish tails are so, so expensive, I made several “trial runs” of the recipe using peeled shrimp. These turned out great, too. Here is a shrimp variation.

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Pork, Sweet Potato & Tomatillo Stew

Here’s an interesting combination of ingredients – pork, sweet potatoes and tomatillos plus poblano peppers. I had never heard of the vegetable, the tomatillo, until recently and decided to give this ingredient a try. Plus, sweet potatoes are in season in autumn and I always like to feature several recipes with this Louisiana agricultural product on my blog each year. The poblano peppers and tomatillos give just amount of “zing” to flavor the pork and sweet potatoes to make a really tasty stew.

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Crawfish or Chicken Tetrazzini — Your Choice

Peeled crawfish tails blend very nicely with pasta to create some mighty tasty entrees and pasta salads. Springtime is when crawfish are in season, so I thought I’d adapt one of my favorite pasta dishes, “Chicken Tetrazzini,” substituting crawfish tails. Tetrazzini is a chicken or seafood pasta dish with mushrooms in a rich cream and cheese sauce. It is one of the first casserole dishes which I learned to make and is still one of my favorites. The crawfish recipe is a slight adaption to enhance the dish. I included my original chicken tetrazzini recipe and also a crawfish variation. Both are delicious and fitting for a springtime dinner!

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Cookin’ in the Kitchen: Cowboy Baked Beans with a Kick — during the Coronavirus threat

Wow, so much has changed in the world in just a few weeks. It is hard to imagine at the start of 2020 that Louisiana and many other states would be under a “stay at home” order for the very serious health treat of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Our governor says that Louisiana has one of the fasting growing trajectories of this virus — due to the city of New Orleans and I’m guessing the tourist trade. Stay at home also means to cook at home. This includes being flexible and adaptable with ingredients on hand in your pantry. But who wants to spend all day cooking and washing dishes? For the next several weeks,  I’m going to post one-pot dishes which are simple to prepare and allow for substitution of ingredients. “Cowboy Baked Beans with a Kick” is one of these recipes.

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The Vegetarian Epicure: Baked Beans à la Charente

This week I’m travelling back in time to a recipe from the 1980’s. While searching through cookbooks on my bookshelves, I rediscovered one which I purchased during those years. I’m a collector and never throw anything away — this cookbook is a good one. Glancing through the pages, I saw notations by recipes which I had made; most with “excellent” written by them with many, many memories. I decided to make one of the recipes, “Baked Beans à la Charente”, a vegetarian bean casserole topped with fresh tomato and eggplant slices. A little cognac in the beans gave some zing. Yum. Continue reading

Aunt Fanny’s Summer Squash Casserole

This week I have my favorite recipe for yellow summer squash. This squash is plentiful in stores in the summertime, why not eat it more often?  I can pinpoint “Aunt Fanny’s Summer Squash Casserole” as the turning point in “how I learned to like to eat squash.” I never liked “squash”, but this casserole changed my mind. Aunt Fanny's Yellow Squash Casserole - IMG_0660

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