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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Old-Fashioned Beef Pot Roast with Vegetable Medley

Last summer, I took a trip back to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia for my high school class reunion. In addition to visiting with classmates whom I hadn’t seen in years, I made time to stop at the town’s farmers market. It is interesting that the farm vegetables which are ripe in Virginia are several months behind the ones that are ripe locally in Louisiana. Carrots, potatoes, beets and early English peas filled the stands in the market in Virginia in June. Of course, I brought back some of these vegetables. Although it is now winter again, some of these vegetables –such as carrots — are easily available all year around.

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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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Easy Cook: Shrimp Quesadillas

“Shrimp Quesadillas” is quickly becoming one of our favorite supper dishes. They also make a great appetizer for a party such as an upcoming Superbowl football game gathering.  If you haven’t tried to prepare these at home, then you are missing out on an easy-to-prepare Mexican entree. The recipe for shrimp quesadillas takes only a few ingredients. After they are made, pile on the toppings and serve!  Here’s what we did.

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Lebanese-Style Stuffed Yellow Squash

Every now and then I’ll find a recipe that just absolutely “wows” the main ingredient. Such is the recipe, “Mrs. Elias’ Stuffed Yellow Squash.” Yellow squash is plentiful in the summertime; I’ve been looking at it in the grocery stores for a while now. It’s a good vegetable to include in meals while in season.

Lebanese- Inspired Stuffed Yellow Squash - IMG_6145_1

 

There are so many creative ways to cook yellow squash–beyond boiled. A local Lebanese diner serves stuffed baby yellow squash on their cafeteria-style menu every day. I’ve always been curious about how the squash dish was made. I found a similar recipe in a saved newspaper clipping and tried it; the recipe was delicious–one of the best I’ve made in a while.

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Crawfish Cardinale: A Little Lighter

Spring is crawfish season in Louisiana and the mudbugs are becoming more plentiful as the weather gets warmer. While boiled crawfish is probably the most popular way to prepare crawfish, the peeled crawfish tails are very tasty when prepared in other ways. Crawfish Cardinale is an easy and elegant recipe. Crawfish Cardinale - 2 - IMG_3453_1 Continue reading