Sunday, May 24, 2009

Crockpot Barbeque Chicken

I do this easy recipe on Sundays before church. So easy and a whole meal is ready when you get home.

4 chicken breasts (boneless or bone-in)
3 potatoes cut into large wedges
1 handful of baby carrots
1 medium onion cut into rings
1 bottle Kraft Hickory barbeque sausce
Season All ( I use cajun seasoning)

Season chicken breasts. In the crock pot, layer one half carrots, potatoes, and onions with two chicken breasts. Pour half the bottle of sauce over this. Use the rest of the ingredients layered. Add the rest of the barbeque sauce. Rinse bottle with a little water and pour over the pot. Cook on high in the crockpot for 3 -4 hours.

The chicken is moist and this one-pot meal is complete.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Crawfish Pie Tarts

Beth had to prepare something for a baby shower with a Louisiana theme for our dear friend Meghann Vliet who is engaged to marry. I came up with these and they were quite good. It is really nothing more than a savory tart recipe combined with my crawfish ettoufee recipe.

Tart Shells

2 cups all purpose flour
2 sticks of butter softened
6 oz. of cream cheese

Cream butter and cream cheese in mixer on low (or mix by hand until creamy). Add flour and mix until a fairly smooth mixture occurs. Pour mix out of bowl and gather together into a ball. Next, you will form the tarts. I used a 24-count mini-muffin pan. Put about a teaspoon of mix in each compartment and press down until it is thin and covers the bottom and sides of the indentation (actually, I used a handy tool by pampered chef that pushed the tart to the right size -- but you can easily do this by hand).

Bake at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes until brown. Remove from oven and let them cool. Next, fill with crawfish ettouffee - recipe on my blog.

You can also fill with any savory item you want -- crabmeat, artichokes, and cream cheese; a quiche mixture, etc.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Easy Strawberry Shortcake

Yes, we live right by the Strawberry Capital of the World -- Ponchatoula, LA. Strawberries are really cheap now -- about $10 a flat (which is 12 pints of berries). We love strawberry shortcake this time of year. However, we do not make it the traditional way -- which is a sweet biscuit. No, my family always made our shortcake with a plain old Betty Crocker yellow cake mix. It really is the best way. So, here is our process.

1 yellow cake mix (any brand), eggs, oil and water
2 pints strawberries
1/2 - 2/3 cup sugar
whipped topping

Mix the yellow cake mix according to box directions and bake in a 9X12 pan.

Prepare strawberries about an hour or two before serving. After cleaning and stemming the berries, cut them into slices. About two pints will be plenty for this size cake. Mix sliced berries with sugar. Allow strawberries to stand with sugar mixture for about an hour or so until they macerate (release their liquids).

Cut cake into serving sized pieces. Top with berry mixture and whipped topping. It is delicious and easy.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Ronnie's Shrimp Fried Rice (Shrimp Chahan)

I have made fried rice since I was in Japan as a missionary -- we called it "chahan." We always had the ingredients and it was a filling and delicious meal. As a missionary, I didn't use shrimp. We used left-over pork, chicken, or whatever we had (even ham). But, my family feels that shrimp is the best.

1 lb. shrimp peeled and de-veined cut into bite sizes
1 stick of butter
2 tbs. canola oil
1 onion chopped fine
4-5 eggs
2-3 tbs soy sauce
1-2 tsp. Cajun seasoning (or McCormick's season all)
4 -5 cups cooked rice (we love basmati rice but any will work it should be cold, day-old is best)

In a large, non-stick pan, melt two tablespoons of butter. Crack the eggs one by one without overlapping. Break the yokes and let them cook on both sides until firm. Remove eggs, cut them into bite sized pieces, and put aside. Next, melt two more tablespoons of butter in the same pan and saute the onion. When they are translucent, add the rest of the butter. Add shrimp and cook until just about done. Then add canola oil. Next, add the rice crumbled into individual grains. Stir with a spatula until each grain is covered in butter/oil mixture (this is the rice frying part). Add the eggs back in. Then add soy sauce. The amount is up to your taste. Finally, sprinkle with Cajun seasoning to your taste.

This rice is excellent as a meal or as a side with rib eye steak served with a teriyaki sauce.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Whole Wheat Bread (no white flour)

I just got my Wondermill and opened it for the first time yesterday. Beth and I decided that we should purchase the mill because we have cans and cans of wheat in our food storage that we have never used at all. I was afraid that when the time came that the wheat was necessary for survival, I would have no idea how to use it. I could have used my mother's hand wheat grinder but it looks sinister and the end result is not very fine if I recall correctly. But, I do plan to tackle the hand grinder soon just for educational purposes.

Anyway, the Wondermill is truly a wonder. The wheat grinds so fine that even Beth will be able to eat it. I made bread totally out of milled white wheat last evening for the first time. While it was heavier than white bread, it was quite tasty and the texture was good.

3 cups water (110 - 115 degrees)
1/3 cup of honey
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tbs. salt
1 tbs. dough enhancer
1 tbs. vital wheat gluten
5 - 7 cups of ground wheat (or wheat flour from store)

Combine water, honey, oil, salt, dough enhancer, and vital wheat gluten (you can use 2 tbs. buttermilk if you do not have the dough enhancer and vital wheat gluten) into your work bowl of your stand mixer (or in a large bowl if not using a mixer). Add yeast and stir until all yeast is dissolved. Allow yeast mixture to proof for five minutes. The mixture should be somewhat frothy. With the dough hook and the mixer at number 2 setting (medium low setting) add three cups of wheat flour. Allow the water to be absorbed by the flour. Add the remaining flour one cup at a time until the dough pulls away from the work bowl and forms a loose ball. The dough will not be as elastic as with white flour. Knead in the mixer for 5 minutes at the number 2 setting or knead by hand for 10 minutes. Do not add too much wheat flour as this will cause the loaves to be too heavy and dense.

Shape into 2-3 loaves (depending on the size of your bread pans) and place in greased pans. Let rise again until double. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and a thump on the outside gives a hollow sound. You can also check for doneness with an instant read thermometer which will read 180 degrees when done.

Excellent served warm with butter and jam.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Gyoza (Japanese Pot Stickers)

I learned to make these on my mission in Japan in the early 80's. They take a little time because of assembly. But they are such a crowd pleaser as an appetizer. Serve with soy sauce or sweet and sour sauce.

1 lb. lean ground meat
3 tbs. freshly grated ginger root
2 tbs. soy sauce
1 cup finely chopped cabbage
1 medium onion finely chopped
1 package of gyoza skins (wonton skins will work)

In a glass bowl, cook cabbage, onion, and soy sauce in the microwave until softened -- about three minutes on high. Allow to cool. Add ground meat and ginger. Mix well. Fill gyoza or wonton skins with 1 tsp of meat mixture and seal by folding over the skin and sealing with a little water. Place stuffed wontons on a cookie sheet dusted with flour until ready to cook.

To cook, use a fryer if possible. ( But it can easily be done in a pot on the stove). Fry until golden brown. Serve hot.

Alternate method:
In Japan, gyoza are steamed in a bamboo steamer. You can do the same thing on the stove. Add a tablespoon of oil and enough water to cover the bottom of a non-stick pan. Steam gyoza until done.

Spinach Casserole

I am feeling nostalgic for my childhood. This was a 70's Sunday dinner staple at my house growing up. The menu rarely varied -- roast, rice and gravy, salad, and spinach casserole. I rarely make it now because my family does not like spinach that much. Nowadays, people would consider this a dip. But we always used it as a side dish.

4 cans of spinach - drained as much as possible (do not use frozen with this recipe)
2 packages of cream cheese
1 stick of butter
1 can of artichoke hearts in water - drained
Italian breadcrumbs to top

Melt butter and cream cheese together. Add drained spinach and artichoke hearts. Pour in a casserole dish. Top with bread crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees until hot and ubbly.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Easy Almond White Cake

This is so easy I am almost embarrassed to post it. But it is my most requested cake. Simple but elegant, it can be made as a layer cake or as a sheet cake. My sister in law,, said she wants it for her birthday this year.

1 White Cake Mix (Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines are best)
3 eggs
1 cup water
1/3 cup oil
1 tsp almond extract

Mix with an electric mixer two minutes on medium speed. Pour in grease and floured cake pan(s). Bake in 350 degree oven until done (30 minutes for sheet cake).

Cool and ice with the following icing

1/2 cup butter at room temperature
1/3 cup shortening
1 lb of powdered sugar (1 box)
2 tsps almond extract
1 - 2 tablespoons of water as necessary

Whip butter, shortening and almond extract together with mixer. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time. Add a tablespoon of water. Whip. If icing is too thick, add another tablespoon.

Ice the cake with decorative swirls.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Fried Catfish

The key to good fried catfish (or any other type of fish) is to get fresh, thin-sliced fish. Another key is to use Zatarain's Seasoned Fish Fri (available at Finally, you should fry in peanut oil if possible.

The process is really simple.

First, use a cast iron dutch oven or other heavy pot. Put about 2 - 3 inches of peanut oil in the pot. On high heat, bring the oil up to about 375 degrees. If it is the right temperature, a little fish fri put in the pan will sizzle

Prepare the fish so that the fillets are thin - no thicker than 1/4 - 1/2 inch. Make sure that the fish is moist but not overly wet. Then dredge fish in fish fri. We usually do this by putting about 3 or 4 pieces in a tupperware container filled with fish fri. Shake the container. Place the fish in the oil - do not crowd. Let the fish brown to a light color (about 2 - 3 minutes at most) and turn to brown other side. The fish will float as it gets done. Do not overcook as this will cause the fish to be tough and rubbery.

We also fry shrimp the same way. Shrimp should be large 20 - 30 count per pound. Cooking times are shorter on shrimp so remove when light tan or brown.

Billy's Hushpuppies

I am posting a lot of recipes my dad made. But, they come to me in a batch of memories and I can't separate them. These hushpuppies were always a hit at any fish fry. My parents didn't need much of an excuse to invite 20 or so people over for fried fish, hushpuppies, and coleslaw. They loved people and loved to feed them. I guess it is genetic

1 cup yellow corn meal
1 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 can of creamed corn
1/3 cup milk (may need more depending on humidity)
1/2 medium onion grated
1/t tsp. Louisiana hot sauce (optional)

Mix corn meal, flour, baking powder, and sugar and make into a well. Add egg, creamed corn, milk, onion and hot sauce. You may need more or less milk. The mix needs to be thicker than pancake batter but not as thick as cookie dough batter)

Fry spoonfuls in hot oil - we always fry them before the fish so that they will stay clean.

Billy's Coleslaw

This coleslaw is so different from what you get at the supermarket and in restaurants. My dad always made this to eat with fried fish (bass, catfish, etc.) But, it is great with lots of things.

1 medium head of cabbage grated small -- use your box grater with largest holes
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp prepared horseradish
1/4 medium onion grated
1/2 cup sugar
1 - 2 tbs. of milk to make creamy depending on how loose you like your slaw
1/2 tsp. salt (less or more to taste)

Grate cabbage. in a large bowl, mix mayonnaise, horseradish, onion, sugar, salt, and milk to make a creamy dressing. Mix in grated cabbage and chill for an hour. Serve with fish, red beans, fried chicken, or any other good southern dish

Pumpkin Bread

My mother made this during the fall and winter. We used our jack-o-lantern from Halloween which was always boiled, drained, mashed, and stored in two-cup tupperware in the freezer. Canned pumpkin will work well but your own boiled pumpkin makes it taste best. This is really a great recipe -- the bread is moist and spicy. Great with a tall glass of milk.

3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 cups pumpkin (canned or fresh)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg

Mix all dry ingredients together; in a separate bowl, mix oil and sugar - add eggs and mix - add pumpkin and mix; add all dry ingredients and mix well. Bake in two loaf pans (regular sized) or four mini-loaf sized pans at 350 degrees until done -- about one hour for large loaves or 4o minutes for small loaves. Be sure to spray pans with non-stick spray.