Cajun-Inspired Shrimp-Stuffed Patty Pan Squash

“Cajun-Inspired Shrimp-Stuffed Patty Pan Squash” may be my best recipe ever for fixing all the numerous summer squashes which grow my garden. I used these cute little “space ship” shaped patty pan squash and stuffed them with a savory shrimp filling. The patty pan squash are very bland compared to other summer squash varieties. They pair perfectly with a classic Cajun-type shrimp stuffing. If you are looking for an unique dish to share with family and friends, here it is.

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Brined and Roasted Boneless Turkey Breast with a “Touch” of Cajun Spice

Is my family the only one who doesn’t like traditional turkey and fixings for Christmas? After getting up at the crack of dawn to begin roasting the turkey and spending what seems like “hours” in the kitchen to fix the perfect Christmas dinner, I finally got the message. My family really doesn’t care for turkey and dressing or all the ceremony that goes along with carving the turkey. For several years I quit serving a turkey dinner at all. But, I like turkey. This year I plan to cook a small boneless turkey breast instead of a large bone-in turkey for Christmas. For a Louisiana twist, this turkey recipe is full of spices and great flavors. It is very tender and well-seasoned. This surprisingly simple recipe is a “keeper.” I have made it several times to fine-tune the recipe for our Christmas gathering. Each time, the turkey quickly disappeared.

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Fleur De Lis Cocktail Lounge and A Unique Roman-Style Pizza

Tucked away in the middle of Baton Rouge is a pizza parlor which serves a very unique style of pizza.. It closed temporarily during the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. With a sigh of relief, the restaurant opened again last summer. For years, Fleur De Lis Cocktail Lounge has been a favorite late night gathering spot for an eclectic assortment of people as well as local sports teams celebrating afternoon games. The restaurant serves a distinctive square, thin crust pizza termed “Roman pizza.” You either like this style of pizza and become addicted to it or never return for another slice. Well, I happen to love the pizza. I’m going to attempt to make a similar pizza at home. Here is my adaptation of the pizza ready to go into the oven.

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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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Let’s Get Grillin’ — Inside; with Steak and Hot Pepper Kebabs

I love to grill, smoke foods and barbeque — but getting the backyard grill going is alot of effort for just two people. And this Louisiana summer seems to be full of mosquitoes; humidity, heat and unpredictable afternoon thunderstorms. I purchased a little Chefman Grill plus Panini Press appliance last year thinking that this kitchen gadget mighty be the ultimate solution for grilling. Unfortunately, it became “just another kitchen appliance.” But when a neighborhood grocery store ran a Fourth of July special price on ribeye steaks — I couldn’t resist. I purchased several steaks and made delicious “Steak and Hot Pepper Kebobs” including the last of the peppers from my summer garden.

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Instant Pot Magic: Chicken Marsala with Bow Tie Pasta

I am excited that I received an Instant Pot as a Christmas present this past December. I love new kitchen gadgets and this gives me a great opportunity (or excuse) to test out new recipes. The Instant Pot fad has been around for several years now, so I’ll admit that I’m a little behind the trend. But rather late than never at all. “One-pot meals” seem like the perfect dish to make in an Instant Pot and so I initiated this little this pressure cooker by making “Chicken Marsala with Bow Tie Pasta.” The marsala cooking wine gave a nice flavor to this classic dish.

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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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Fabulous Turkey Makeovers: Best Ever Heisey Chipotle Chili

For Thanksgiving we served “Smoked Turkey Breast with Cajun Infused Spices” which we cooked in my brand new tabletop smoker purchased at Buc-ee’s — that Texas mega-road gas station and convenience store highway stop. The turkey was delicious; but what stole the show was the “Chipotle Chili” made with some of the leftover turkey breast. The chili recipe is a creation of my brother and his college-aged daughter. They did some cooking while they were quarantined in their Boston home this past summer during the pandemic. I believe that this dish is a “throw in the pot” stew made with ingredients which they found while sorting through their kitchen cupboard. Well, they got the seasonings just right and the chili has a great “Cajun kick’ proving that Yankees can indeed cook seasoned dishes. And it is a very healthy recipe which includes carrots, black beans, tomatoes and ground turkey rather than beef. I made the chili using leftover turkey. Here’s what I did to make this very, very easy chili recipe. But first, I must tell the Texas Buc-ee’s story and brag about my smoker.

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Nathan’s Mini Chicken Pot Pies and Variations

What does a Google software specialist do in his spare time when he is working from home close Palo Alto, California, during the pandemic? Well, this Google employee creates and cooks. My nephew, Nathan, has been making pot pies in his kitchen as his group of Google employees continue their jobs from home. He baked the pies in mini-muffin tins so that the pot pies could easily be frozen and reheated as a single serving snack. I liked the idea and found a unique mini-pie tin which made twelve very small chicken pot pies. I made slightly larger individual pot pies, too, which were perfect for a dinner. And I loved the idea of freezing the pot pies; they made a tasty and quick homemade meal when I was was too busy to cook. Now I’m hooked on pot pies!

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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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