Hurricane Sally was brewing in the Gulf this week. To calm my nerves, I cooked. It’s my stress relief. I pulled some stuff out of my fridge and this Cheesesteak Pasta Bake was born. I posted it on my Instagram page and mayhem ensue. I didn’t think you guys would want another pasta recipe. But, after almost 100k views and more comments than I could keep up with demanding this recipe, I concluded that I was wrong. Here you go…
This is not Jambalaya! Let’s just get that clear. Similar, yes. They’re like cousins. 1st cousins. My Seafood Rice will absolutely be one of your new, favorite side dishes! That’s big talk, right? Try me.
You’re gonna need your favorite sausages for this recipe. It’s the foundation of the flavor. Those sausage drippings matter! We build off of them.
Another important flavor component is the crawfish fat. I use frozen crawfish tails. After thawing, I drain that orange liquid off and reserve it. This will give the rice its seafood flavor. The color may be a little off putting at first. But, it’s just crawfish fat and water.
After cooking the shrimp and warming the crawfish, there will be some residual crawfish fat and water at the bottom of the pot. Drain it into the bowl of reserved crawfish fat. We don’t want to leave it in the spot, because it will prevent the veggies from browning properly in the next step. But, do NOT discard it. That’s more flavor that we need.
Gotta have the fresh veggies for seasoning. Also, mince your own garlic! It’s so convenient to just purchase the jar of pre-minced garlic. But, trust me, chopping up your own is much better. It’s more fragrant and fresher. Let’s talk rice. I’m using jasmine rice, so my measurements are in accordance with that type of rice. If you’re using a different rice, the amount of chicken stock will change. Follow the package instructions for the amount of water needed and use chicken stock instead of water.
To avoid overcooking the seafood, add it back into the pot along with the sausage at the very end of the cooking process. It will only need a minute or two to heat up. Then, fluff and serve!
Dessert egg rolls?? Sign me up! I had a can of caramel apple pie filling chilling in my pantry for at least 3 months. I bought it while preparing my Walmart delivery online. I have no clue how I ended up on that page. Anyway, I’d never seen the caramel apple flavor. I had to get it. I had no idea what I’d use it for. I invited friends over for hibachi and needed a quick dessert. Light bulb! Dessert egg rolls. Easy and DELICIOUS!
Surprisingly, the canned apples aren’t very sweet. I like that. That means we can control how sweet we want them. I just add a little brown sugar and cinnamon. We’ll add more sweetness later.
Cookies, it’s later. Lol Okay, so I use softened cream cheese. Very, very soft. Leave it out of the fridge for a few hours. Or use the “melt” setting on your microwave if you have it. Cheat code: Philadelphia cream cheese melts like a dream! Now, mix in your little sugar and vanilla. Get to whisking.
I can’t describe wrapping an egg roll in text. Just watch my tutorial. It’s easy. I still kind of suck at it, but I do what I can, ya know? I spoon in 3 apples per wrapper. I usually get about 10-12 rolls this way. Just depends on how generous your can of filling is.
Deep fry or pan fry these things for about 2 minutes. They don’t take long to brown at all, so don’t step away too far. Drain on a wired rack instead of paper towels. This will maintain the crispness. Don’t drain for too long. We have that cinnamon and sugar stick!
I like to drizzle a bit of cream cheese frosting on top. I already have my recipe on here. Pop it in the microwave for a few seconds. That will make it easier to drizzle. I just realized I enjoy saying the word “drizzle”.
My mom told me to tell you to try this with ice cream. Says it’s a game changer. I believe her. Trust my mom and grab a pint! Happy Cooking,
To date, my Hibachi recipe is the the most popular recipe on our blog. And I’m proud of it! I put so much effort into making it flavorful, yet easy! The same is to be said about my Shrimp Lo Mein! I did my research! I wanted it to be savory with just the right amount of sweetness for balance. I also wanted to make it as close to authentic as I could. I really, really hope you guys enjoy this one. More so, my desire is for each of my Cookies to taste the love I put into this recipe.
Lo Mein noodles aren’t the easiest to come by in my area. So, I called my beloved cousin, hey Meka! She went to 2 or 3 different Asian markets in her city to find these babies and a box full of other goodies for us! She’s a gem, right? An aggravating one. But, she’s useful. Anyway, if you can’t find Lo Mein, there are alternatives. However, I behoove you to try to find them!! But, if you can’t, spaghetti, linguine, or a long, flat egg noodle will work.
Do NOT Burn the Damn Garlic!
I mean it! Don’t do it. Keep that heat low. The smell of these veggies sautéing will fill your home with the most amazing aromatics! Kudos to my Asian brethren for developing such magnificent flavor combinations! It just works!
This sauce, this sauce! Listen, before you add in the cornstarch, taste the sauce!!! Beautiful, right?! I know!! Okay, this sauce is just right. I mean the flavor, the color, those noodles are going to stuck it up! And it’s just the right amount. We’re not make noodles soup. We want the sauce to stick! And it does!
Just because it says Shrimp doesn’t mean you can’t substitute or even add more meat. Just be mindful of the cooking time. Chicken will take longer, so you’ll need to add it earlier than we add the shrimp. It can go in with the veggies. But, don’t add any additional sodium! Trust me. The sauce has plenty!
I enjoyed making the recipe and preparing it for you so much! It’s quick and easy! I know it’ll become on of your absolute favorites! Enjoy!
Let’s talk food, food. In the South, when we said we want “food, food” we mean real, home cooking. No fast food. We want something we can feel! Something that’s a labor of love. Usually it’s some kind of meat and gravy that has been simmering on the stove for at least an hour. Today, I’m talking Southern style Stewed Chicken. It’s what my ancestors made to fill up their families. It’s relatively inexpensive and goes a long way. Plus, it’s easy to whip up. I’ll show ya!
Did you know that buying a whole chicken and cutting it up yourself will save you some coins? Go price thighs, breasts, and wing separately. Now, go look at how much a whole chicken costs. See? I got this for $4 and some cents. Can’t beat that! I cut it up and seasoned it WELL! One thing that hurts my feelings is under seasoned chicken! It may look like a lot of spice, but I promise you the chicken can handle it. Plus, this is the only time we’ll be adding seasoning in this recipe. The chicken holds the responsibility of flavoring the whole meal. It’s definitely up for the task.
Give it Some Color
Browning the chicken is an important step. Not everyone does this. But, I’m not a fan of soggy skin on chicken. So I brown to add more flavor and for crispier skin. Doesn’t take long. But, the flavor is undeniable.
This is not a quick meal. I turn the pot on low and let it go. Low and slow is the key. We want that gravy thick and the chicken melting right on off of the bone! And that’s exactly what you’ll get with this recipe. My mom always added potatoes to the mix. They soak up so much of that chicken flavor and are so delicious in this dish! It’s optional. But, I’d recommend you try it.
Some serve this over noodles. I prefer it over rice. But, that part is completely up to you. Add a green veggie and some cornbread!
To my Cookies that aren’t familiar with Cajun cuisine, allow me to introduce you to a delicacy here in Louisiana. The Crawfish. Nothing gathers people together more than a good ole Crawfish Boil down here! Listen, this little red suckers bring a different kind of joy to our hearts! I can’t even explain the taste. But, let me try…It’s kind of like a mini lobster with 100x more flavor! Of course, everyone here has their own way of boiling. You already know I had to come up with the easiest method that also has the most flavor! Here’s how I prepare my Crawfish Boil and bless my folks!
Clean ‘Em Up!
Your sack of crawfish are going to be dirty! Don’t be alarmed. They come from the swamp. So, a little dirt is expected. We pour them into large cooler and place the water hose inside it. Then, open the drainage hole. Allow the water to run for about 20 minutes or until the water in the cooler is clean.
You should be able to see the crawfish clearly. You also want to remove any dead crawfish you see floating around. If their tails are straight, they’ve gone to glory. Toss ‘em! You definitely do not want to eat a crawfish that gave up the ghost before hitting that hot water. Gross!
You guys know I’m a flavor girl. I worked extra hard making sure these crawdaddies were seasoned to perfection. You want them to have the right amount of kick. If they’re too spicy, it’s hard to enjoy them. You want them jusssssst right! You know, like Goldilocks ole breaking and entering behind. Anyway, I like to season well! I use a mix of both Zatarain’s and Louisiana Fish Fry Products boil seasonings. Both are brands will incredible flavor! I also add one, 8 ounce bottle of liquid boil. The Garlic & Onion flavor is a tad bit less spicy than the original concentrate. It adds just the right amount of kick. If you like extra, EXTRA spicy crawfish, add another bottle.
I know what you’re thinking. “Coop, what the hell?” But, listen, you know if I don’t know anything else, I know how to add flavor to some food, okay? So, trust me on this. Do NOT skip this chicken bouillon!! Also, don’t skip the butter. Because, well, butter makes every damn thing good!
And don’t be shy with the veggies and citrus. They bring so much more out of the boil! And a secret, must have ingredient: vinegar. Plain, white, distilled vinegar. A cup will do. This makes the crawfish shells easier to peel. It also calms the smell. The scent of crawfish can linger on your fingers long after washing your hands. This little splash of vinegar takes care of that! You can even eat them inside of your house without worrying about stinking up your walls and furniture. Thank God for vinegar!
Cool Off, Cool Off
The most important part of the boil, other than choosing the right amount of seasoning, is the cooling/soaking process. Crawfish boils super fast! Within 5 minutes, they will be beautifully red and floating at the top of the pot. This is when you need to drop that temperature. 150°F is ideal for soaking. Adding in frozen corn and sausages helps. But, you need to do more to drop the temperature fast enough. If not, the crawfish will overcook and become a mush. Some like to add ice. I don’t recommend that because ice can dilute the boil and take away some of the flavor we worked so hard to build. I use the Boil Boss! It’s an innovative and easy to use ring that attaches to your water hose. It works amazingly! It dropped my Boil from 220°F to 150°F in a little over 3 minutes! It also locks in the juice. I had the juiciest crawfish of my life using this thing! Get yours here (NOT SPONSORED): https://theboilboss.com
It is said that when the crawfish sinks to the bottom of the pot, it has sucked in as much flavor as possible. But, I find that the longer you soak, the spicier they become. So, taste as you soak. I soaked for about 40 minutes. Since the Boil Boss drooped the temp, I didn’t have to worry about my crawfish overcooking. It allotted them plenty of extra soaking time.
I was intimidated about boiling crawfish. But, there’s nothing to it! Just follow my instructions and watch the video until you’re ready to confidently tackle your first boil. You can do it! And just look at the reward!!
The craziness of the 2020 pandemic has everyone desperately in need of a huge hug. And since my arms can’t reach you all, I wanted to give you comfort the only way I know how. Through food! My Smothered Steak and Gravy recipe is my virtual hug to you and your family. It’s warm, filling, and easy to make. I hope a good meal will bring you some relief and comfort in knowing that this, too, shall pass!
I use a relatively inexpensive cut of beef. So, please don’t over think this recipe. Eye round, top sirloin, cube steak, etc. will be fine. Basically, if it’s under $8, it will work.
You may opt to leave the steak whole if you’d like. I cut it against the grain into chunks. This makes the cooking process a little shorter as the pieces become tender faster.
One hour of simmer was all it took me for my steak to tenderize. If you have a different cut of meat, the cook time will vary. Just check it every 30 minutes.
I’ve pretty much been called the Master of Red Beans and Rice. But, I prefer the title “Red Bean Queen”. Or maybe, “The Sensei”! Anyway, I love making some dang on red beans! I’ve worked hard at perfecting the taste and texture in different cooking methods. There’s the stovetop version and the pressure cooker one. But, I was missing the slow cooker method. Not anymore!
It’s a dump and go slow cooker meal. Don’t we love those? I brown the sausage. Then, saute the veggies, the Trinity, in those yummy and flavorful sausage drippings. After that’s done, you just dump it all into the slow cooker along with quick soaked, red beans.
Easy dinners are my thing. And the Crock-Pot makes things even more convenient. My Chicken Spaghetti recipe has been a favorite on the site for awhile. I decided to make it more fuss free by sharing the slow cooker version!
Don’t be afraid! I know this dump and go method looks gross. Trust the process! It all adds to the ease of this recipe. Just pour in the goods, cover it all with a lid, and go on about your life.
Kid approved! This Chicken Spaghetti made in a slow cooker is magically delicious. That was corny. But, this stuff is a life saver for busy households! It stretches and goes a long way. Serve with a veggie and some crusty bread. Dinner is served!