Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Crawfish Confetti Pasta Salad

                               Makes 4 to 6 servings                            
This veggie-packed crawfish pasta salad tastes great the minute it's made but will become more strongly flavored if allowed to chill a few hours before serving. When making ahead, add the cheese just before serving.

2                  pounds crawfish , shelled , deheaded aand devined , cooked
8                  ounces uncooked small shell pasta
1                  pint grape tomatoes, halved
2                  cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach 
1                  yellow bell pepper, chopped
1/4              cup finely chopped red onion
3                 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
Fresh Lemon Vinaigrette (recipe below)
1                (4-ounce) package crumbled feta cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Boil crawfish 10 minutes; drain. Toss pasta with tomatoes and remaining ingredients. Serve immediately, or cover and chill up to 8 hours.

Fresh Lemon Vinaigrette:
Makes about 3/4 cup

1/4              cup fresh lemon juice
1                 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1                 large garlic clove, pressed
1/4             teaspoon salt
1/4             teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2             cup vegetable oil

To prepare this Fresh Lemon Vinaigrette salad dressing salad dressing ahead, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature, and whisk before serving.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Mudbug Madness ... Shreveport , Louisiana


In 1984, a group of brave and loyal North Louisianans decided to take a stand. This group was tired of hearing: "You people in Shreveport are more like Texans than anything else. You’re hardly a part of Louisiana, at all." So this daring group gathered in the Downtown Shreveport Unlimited office to organize their ranks and pay homage to the most cherished of Louisiana institutions the crawfish boil! And this group wanted to make their crawfish boil the granddaddy of them all.

So Mudbug Madness was born. What began in 1984 as a two-day street festival in downtown Shreveport is now one of Louisiana’s largest and most popular Cajun festivals, featuring renown Cajun, Zydeco, Blues and Jazz artists, mouth-watering Cajun cuisine, raucous contests, and fun for all ages. Now a four-day festival held each Memorial Day weekend, Mudbug Madness is nationally recognized as one of the Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 Events, drawing as many as 56,000 people in one day.

Mudbug Madness created renewed interest in Louisiana’s rich cultural heritage and the event’s original organizers are proud to have brought a little bit of south Louisiana fun north to Shreveport.

Through the years, festival organizers remain dedicated to the original premise of Mudbug Madness: Provide a downtown venue where everybody has a good time celebrating Louisiana’s rich Cajun heritage. But Mudbug Madness is more than just a big crawfish boil. Supporters take their commitment to downtown Shreveport very seriously and the festival has been successful in producing healthy revenues, a portion of which are reinvested in other downtown endeavors. Downtown Shreveport Unlimited, the presenting organization, provides sponsorship dollars for other downtown projects and events including: "Let the Good Times Roll," "Jazz & Gumbo Festival," "Cinco de Mayo," "Rockets Over the Red" and the Shreveport Police Mounted Patrol Unit.

So thanks to a few visionaries in 1984 and to those who have attended and supported Mudbug Madness over the years, Downtown Shreveport, the heart of our city, is getting stronger every year.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Grilled Salmon

                                     Makes 8 servings
1/2                     cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2                     cup dry white wine
1/4                     cup lemon juice
About 1/2 teaspoon salt
About 1/4 teaspoon pepper
8                       pieces (about 6 oz. each; max. 1 1/4 in. thick) boned, skinned wild salmon fillet
1/4                   cup (1/8 lb.) butter
Lemon wedges

1.            In a large, wide bowl or 9- by 13-inch baking dish, stir brown sugar, wine, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper until sugar is dissolved.
2.           Rinse fish and pat dry. Add to marinade and turn to coat. Cover and chill for 1 to 2 hours.
3.           Lift salmon from marinade and transfer to a 12- by 17-inch baking pan. Pour marinade into a 1 1/2- to 2-quart pan over medium-high heat; add butter and stir until butter is melted and mixture is simmering, 4 to 5 minutes.
4.           Lay salmon, skinned side down, on a generously oiled grill over a solid bed of medium-hot coals or medium-high heat on a gas grill (you can hold your hand at grill level only 3 to 4 seconds). Brush fish generously with the baste; close lid if using a gas grill. Cook until salmon pieces are well browned on the bottom, 3 1/2 to 4 minutes (keep a spray bottle filled with clean water on hand to spritz any flare-ups). With a wide spatula, carefully turn pieces; brush tops with baste and continue to cook, basting often, until the salmon is just opaque but still moist-looking in the center of the thickest part (cut to test), about 5 to 6 minutes longer. Discard any remaining baste.
5.            Transfer salmon to a warm platter or plates and garnish with lemon wedges. Add more salt and pepper to tast

Crunchy Chicken Salad & Poppyseed

Prep Time : --- 15 minutes --- Total time : --- 15 minutes --- Makes 4 servings

4                cups broccoli slaw
2                large red peppers , thinly slice (about 2 cups)
4               medium carrots , shedded (about 2 cups)
1               can (8 ounce) pineapple tidbits , drained
1               package (6 ounce) Louis Rich Oven Roasted Chicken Breasts Cuts
1/2           cup Kraft Special Collection Creamy Poppyseed Dressing
1/4           cup Planters Cashews

1) Combine all ingredients except dressing and cashews in a large bowl.
2) Add dressing ; toss to coat .
3) Sprinkle with cashews .
Tip : This salad is also great with Planters Almonds instead of cashews

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Spicy Potato Salad

                        Prep time : --- 30 minutes     Cook time : --- about 45 minutes --- Makes 6 servings
4                   thick slices bacon , diced
1/2                cup finely chopped yellow onion
1                   tablespoon flour
1/2                cup Browned Beef Stock or canned reduced-sodium beef broth
1/2                cup cider vinegar
2                   tablespoons sugar
1                   teaspoon salt
1/4                teaspoon black pepper
3                   pounds small red or white-skinned new potatoes , boiled , peeled , and cut into 1/4                inch thick slices
1                   cup sliced scallions
1/4                cup minced parsley
1                   jalapeno  , seeds removed  and finely  chopped

1)           In a medium-size skillet over moderately low heat , cook bacon until crisp --- about 5 minutes . Transfer to paper towels to train .
2)           Add onion to bacon dripping , jalapeno and saute until soft --- about 5 minutes . Blend in flour ; remove from the heat and gradually stir in stock , vinegar , sugar salt and pepper . Return to the heat and cook stirring until mixture boils . Cook 1 minute more , reduce heat to low and keep dressing warm .
3)           Place potatoes in a heatproof serving bowl , add scallions , parsley and reserved bacon , pour dressing over all and toss gently to mix .

Patoto salad with a twist and so good.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Cajun Crab Cakes & Remoulade Dipping Sauce ---- Diabetic

                                    Makes  8  servings

10                  ounces fresh lump crabmeat
1-1/2              cups fresh white or sourdough bread crumbs , divided 
1/4                 cup chopped  green onions 
1/2                 cut fat-free or reduced-fat mayonnaise , divided 
1                    egg white  , lightly beaten 
2                    tablespoons coarse grain or spicy brown mustard  , divided 
3/4                 teaspoon  hot pepper  sauce , divided 
2                    teaspoons olive  oil , divided 
                           **Lemon  wedges **

1.            Preheat oven  to 200*F . Combine  crabmeat , 3/4 cup bread crumbs  and green onions  in a medium  bowl . Add 1/4  cup mayonnaise  , egg white , 1 tablespoon  mustard  and 1/2  teaspoon pepper  sauce ; mix well . Using  1/4 cup mixture  per  cake  , shape  eight 1/2-inch thick cakes . Roll crab cakes  lightly in remaining  3/4 cup bread  crumbs .
2.            Heat large nonstick skillet  over medium heat  until hot ; add 1 teaspoon oil . Add 4   crab-cakes ; cook 4 to 5 minutes per side  or  until golden brown . Transfer to 
serving  platter  ; keep warm in oven . Repeat with remaining  1 teaspoon oil and  crab-cakes  .
3.            To prepare  dipping sauce  , combine  remaining  1/4 cup mayonnaise , 1 tablespoon mustard  and 1/4 teaspoon  hot  pepper sauce  in small bowl ; mix  well.
4.            Serve cakes  warm with lemon wedges  and  dipping  sauce .

Dietary Exchanges :  1/2 starch  , 1 lean meat       
TIP :  I will bring  you more  diabetic  recipes  and hints  , stay  tuned ...Nee        

Monday, May 12, 2014

Grilled Sausage and Peppers Pasta Salad

1                   pound gemelli pasta
6                   tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
3                   tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1-1/2             teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1                   tablespoon tomato paste
2                   large garlic cloves, very finely chopped
1                   large shallot, thinly sliced and separated into rings
1-1/2            teaspoons chopped thyme
           **Salt and freshly ground black pepper **
**Sausage Mixed Grill, sausages and vegetables thinly sliced **
2                   large celery ribs, thinly sliced on the bias
1/4                pound smoked mozzarella, cut into thin strips
1                   cup chopped basil

1 .         In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water. Transfer the pasta to a large bowl. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and toss to coat. Let cool to room temperature.
2.         Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir the lemon juice with the lemon zest, tomato paste, garlic, shallot and thyme. Stir in the 6 tablespoons of olive oil and the reserved pasta cooking water. Season the dressing with salt and pepper.
3.         Add 1/4 cup of the dressing to the pasta and toss. Add the sausages, peppers, radicchio, celery, mozzarella and the remaining dressing and toss well. Season the pasta salad with salt and pepper, sprinkle with the basil and serve.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Happy Mother's Day to Mothers Everywhere

                                     What is  a mother ?

                             A hear  that  can hear
                             every unspoken need ,
                             Wisdom to know
                             when to  quietly lead ,
                             Hands  that reach out  ,
                             always  helping  and sharing-
                            A mother  is  caring !

                            Eyes  that reflect
                            every joy  that you find ,
                            Arms  to encircle ,
                            but  never to bind ,
                            A talent  for  making
                            the  most out of  living-
                           A mother is giving ! 

                           A  voice  that can soothe
                           or inspire  or delight ,
                          A smile  that keeps  shining
                          when things  don't  go right .
                          An angel God  sends us
                          from Heaven above -
                          A mother  is caring  and  giving
                          and love !

Author  unknown        

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Spicing up Cinco de Mayo Beef Chipotle Tamales

                      Makes 66 (1 tamale) appetize servings
Tamales are masa (corn flour) dough filled with savory or sweet fillings and wrapped in corn husks then steamed. They are time-consuming to prepare so gather your family and make the preparation a party. 

Chipotle Beef Filling:

3                   pounds beef brisket
3                   teaspoons McCormick Garlic Salt
2                   cups water
1/4                cup vegetable oil 3 large tomatoes, chopped
1                   onion, chopped
3/4                cup raisins
3/4                cup chopped dried apricots McCormick Chipotle   ***Chili Pepper ***
1                  tablespoon McCormick Chile Peper , McCormick Cumin ground
1                 teaspoon McCormick Cumin , Ground McCormick Chili Powder , hot mexican style 
1                tablespoon McCormick Chili Powder , hot mexican style 

75               corn husks 10 cups instant corn masa flour for tamales McCormick Gourmet Collection Chile Pepper , Ancho
4                teaspoons McCormick Gourmet Collection Chile Peper , Ancho
4               teaspoons baking powder 2 teaspoons salt
2               cups lard
8               cups beef broth

1 .       For Chipotle Beef Filling, preheat oven to 350°F. Sprinkle beef with 2 teaspoons of the garlic salt. Place in foil-lined 13x9-inch baking pan. Add 1 cup of the water to pan. Cover with foil.
2 .       Bake brisket 4 hours or until meat is very tender. (Bake chuck roast 3 hours). Transfer beef to cutting board. Let stand until cooled enough to handle. Cut beef into quarters. Finely shred then coarsely chop the shredded beef.
3.         Heat oil in large skillet on medium heat. Add tomatoes, onion, raisins, apricots, chipotle pepper, chili powder, cumin and remaining 1 teaspoon garlic salt; cook and stir 10 minutes. Stir in remaining 1 cup water. Cook 5 minutes longer. Add chopped beef; mix well.
4.         For Tamales, soak corn husks in hot water 30 minutes or overnight until soft and pliable.
5 .        Mix masa flour, ancho chile pepper, baking powder and salt in very large bowl. Beat lard in another very large bowl with electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Beat in half of the masa flour mixture on medium-low speed until blended. Alternately beat in broth with remaining masa flour mixture on medium-low speed until the consistency of a thick cake batter. (The masa should hold its shape in a spoon). Drain corn husks and pat dry.
6 .        To assemble each tamale, spread 3 tablespoons masa into 4 1/2 x 4-inch rectangle starting at wide end of husk. Spoon 2 tablespoons Chipotle Beef Filling in center of masa. Use one long side of husk to roll masa over filling. Repeat with other long side of husk. Do not roll husk into masa. Roll husk around tamale to enclose. Fold up the narrow end of the husk and tie with long thin strips of husk or string.
7 .         Pour 1 inch of water into large pot. Stand tamales with open ends up in steamer basket. (Place as many tamales as will fit in basket. You will need to steam in batches.) Cover tamales with a layer of husks. Insert steamer basket in pot. Cover. Bring to boil. Steam on medium heat 1 hour or until husk peels away easily from tamale and masa is slightly firm. (Tamales will continue to firm up when removed from heat.) Repeat with remaining tamales.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Spicing up Cinco de Mayo Queso Fresco Empanadas & Shrimp with Charred Tomatillo Sauce

                  Serves: 10              Serving size : 2 empanadas

The origin of empanadas, a popular street food in Latin American, can be traced to Spain and Portugal where they were often filled with seafood. This empanada is filled with shrimp and creamy queso fresco offset by a tangy Mexican tomatillo salsa.

8                 ounces tomatillos, papery skin removed and rinsed well
3                 serrano chilies, seeded
3                cloves garlic
2                teaspoons olive oil
4                ounces (1/2 package) cream cheese
1                cup shredded queso fresco, divided
3                green onions, sliced
3                tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
3                tablespoons finely chopped and seeded fresno chilies, divided
1/2             teaspoon salt
1/2             pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and finely chopped
1/2             cup finely chopped Marcona almonds, divided
1                teaspoon McCormick Cumin , Grown Cumin , Ground Mccormick Gourmet Collection Chili Pepper , Ancho
1/2             teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Collection Chile Pepper , Ancho
2               packages (14.1 ounces each) refrigerated pie crusts, (4 crusts)
 1 .          For the Charred Tomatillo Sauce, toss tomatillos, serrano chilies and garlic with oil. Place on foil-lined baking sheet. Broil 4 to 6 minutes or until tomatillos and chilies begin to char in spots. Cool slightly.
2.          Place tomatillos, chilies and garlic in blender container. Add cream cheese and 1/2 cup of the queso fresco; cover.
3 .        Blend on medium speed until pureed. Add green onions, cilantro, 1 tablespoon of the fresno chilies and salt. Blend until smooth.
4.        Preheat oven to 400°F. For the Empanada Filling, mix 2/3 cup of the Charred Tomatillo Sauce with remaining 1/2 cup queso fresco in large bowl Add shrimp, 1/4 cup of the Marcona almonds, 1 tablespoon of the remaining fresno chilies, cumin and ancho chile pepper; mix until well blended.
5.       To assemble Empanadas, unroll pie crusts on lightly floured surface. Using 4-inch round cutter, cut each into 5 rounds for a total of 20 rounds. Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon of filling onto half of each round. Moisten edge of each with water. Fold in half; press edge with a fork to seal.
6.        Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Pierce top of each with fork to vent. Bake 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Mix remaining 1/4 cup Marcona almonds with remaining 1 tablespoon fresno chilies. Sprinkle over empanadas. Serve with Charred Tomatillo Sauce.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Cajun Roast Chicken With a Touch of Spice

                            Prep / Total : 2 hours 45 minutes

1/4                        cup Dijon mustard
1/2                        tablespoon water
1/2                        tablespoon ancho chile powder
5                           garlic cloves , minced
3                           tablespoons finely chopped sage
3                           tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
                        **salt and freshly ground black pepper**
1                           4 pound chicken
2                           tablespoons pickled jalapeno peppers , sliced , plus 1/4 cup of the brine strained into a spray bottle
2                           tablespoons chopped parsley
1                           tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2                           tablespoons unsalted butter

2                           garlic cloves , smashed
2                           tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1                           cup fresh bread crumbs
                       **Finely grated zest of 1 lemon**
1/4                        tablespoon chopped parsley
1/4                        teaspoon cayenne pepper
                       **Salt **

1 .               Preheat the oven to 350*F. In a blender , puree the Dijon mustard , water , chili powser , half of the garlic , 1 tablespoon of the sage , 1/2 teaspoon of the oil and 1/2 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper . Place the chicken breast side up in an oven-proof skillet ; coat with the mixture .
2 .              Bake the chicken for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until cooked through . Spray the chicken with the jalapeno brine ; bake for 5 more minutes . Let rest for 10 minutes .
3 .              In a skillet , cook the jalapenos , parsley , lemon juice , the remaining garlic and the remaining sage in the butter and remaining oil over moderate heat until fragrant .
4 .              In a skillet , brown the garlic in the oil over moderate heat ; discard the garlic . Add the bread crumbs , zest , parsley and cayenne pepper and stir until the crumbs are crisp . Season with salt .
5 .             Top the chicken with the jalapeno butter , sprinkle with the crumbs and serve.
Serve with a fruity , full-bodied Chardonnay , such as Ferrari-Carano   wines

Friday, May 2, 2014

3 Fresh Spring Vinaigrettes

This season's best-dressed salads start with a trio of versatile vinaigrettes that serve double duty.

You will enjoy  these vinaigrettes  . I  cut  this  recipe  from  my local newspaper   about  6 or 7 years  ago  shared it  with family and  friends  and  it  never  got old , actually  I make them year round . Depending on the size of your family  you can adjust the  amount  of ingredients  .
Ginger-Basil Vinaigrette:

Use this as a sauce for fish or shrimp, crisp lettuces, avocado, or rice.
Process ½ cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, chopped; 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice; 2 tsp. minced fresh ginger; 1 garlic clove, minced; 1 tsp. honey; and ½ tsp. kosher salt in a food processor until smooth. With processor running, pour 2/3 cup grapeseed oil through food chute in a slow, steady stream, processing until smooth.
Makes about ¾ cup

Red Pepper Jelly Vinaigrette

Pair this sweet, piquant vinaigrette with fresh greens and tangy goat cheese. It also works as a marinade for chicken or pork.
Whisk together 6 Tbsp. red wine vinegar; 1/3 cup olive oil; 3 Tbsp. red pepper jelly; 1 shallot, minced (about 2 Tbsp.); 1 Tbsp. coarse-grained mustard; ¼ tsp. kosher salt; and ¼ tsp. black pepper in a small bowl.
Makes about 1 cup

Peach-Poppy Seed Vinaigrette

Pair with any lettuce, or drizzle over grilled pork.
Process ¾ cup frozen sliced peaches or mango, thawed; 3 Tbsp. peach preserves; 2 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar; ½ tsp. Dijon mustard; and ½ tsp. kosher salt in a food processor until smooth. With processor running, pour ½ cup canola oil through food chute in a slow stream. Process until smooth; stir in 1½ tsp. poppy seeds.
Makes 1¼ cups