Fat Tuesday

Here in Mississippi, with us being so close to Louisiana, Mardi Gras is a huge thing! Granted I have never been, and I am not sure if I will ever go, but Mike has been and said it was unlike anything he had ever witnessed. Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday, referring to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which begins on Ash Wednesday the very next day! So basically if I understand the tradition correctly then Fat Tuesday is a day to get it all out of your system before the very holy time of Lent. Now since I have never been to Mardi Gras I cannot elaborate on it at all but what I can elaborate on is FOOD. Since moving to Mississippi I have really developed a love for Cajun food and the goodness that it is. I seriously cannot get enough! I am still working up to shucking a crawfish(I doubt I ever will) but I love the taste of them! Here are my favorite Cajun dishes to have regularly

Jambalaya
This pot was actually made by a guy on my Relay for Life team for the fundraiser we had last week! I asked for the recipe but it is a family recipe so I respected the secrecy! It was delicious.
Gumbo
This is a shrimp and andouille gumbo that I made and although I was told that ‘real’ gumbo does not have corn, it was really good. The corn came from the frozen gumbo vegetables that I used to make the recipe a lot easier and quicker. As for me, I will probably still use the frozen veggie mix. Ain’t nobody got time to prep a complicated recipe on a weeknight! 
Crawfish
I am putting this one in here for Mike. He loves boiled crawfish and cannot wait until the season begins every year! The crawfish are boiled very similarly to the low country boils we have in SC. They are usually served with corn on the cob and red potatoes. Like I said I will not shuck them but I will eat them! They taste like mini shrimp to me.
Crawfish Nachos
Although these are not Cajun they contain crawfish and they are literally one of the tastiest foods on the planet. If I had to be executed I would request Crawfish Nachos from Huck’s Place in Columbus, Mississippi to have on my dying day! They are THAT good! They make their own potato chips and damn it doesn’t get any better! If I ever move from this area this will be one of the things I’ll miss most!
My friend Meghan and her mom Carla, who are from Opelousas, Louisiana, were kind enough to give me some of their favorite Cajun recipes and so far my favorite of those is Crawfish Elegant. It was amazingly creamy and delicious and I cannot wait to try more of the recipes they gave me! 
Laissez les bons temps rouler

Super Bowl Party for Two: Cake Batter Cookies

Unless you were hiding under a rock you probably tuned into the Super Bowl last night! We of course did even though we are the opposite of NFL fans. This is the south and there is only one type of football and that’s SEC! Anyway, we have hosted SB parties before and were invited to a couple but we decided to stay at home and have our own little party. I whipped up some fresh salsa , French onion dip and cocktail weenies. Mike made chicken wings which were phenomenal and since I wanted something sweet I decided to try something a little different. I have been seeing different recipes for Cake Batter Cookies all over the web and I settled on working around this recipe. I did tweak it a bit and I think that made all of the difference! These were amazingly delicious and tasted like a cookie, cake and a brownie all in one. They would make the most fabulous whoopie pies! You can customize these anyway you want by adding nuts, candy or chocolate chips. I decided to make them plain since this was my first time. These are an easy and inexpensive homemade dessert anyone will love! 

Cake Batter Cookies

Ingredients

  • One box of cake mix; any flavor(I used double fudge)
  • One egg
  • 1/2 Cup softened butter
  • 3 Tablespoons water
Directions
  1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees
  2. Beat together all ingredients with an electric mixer in a large bowl(this mixture will be super sticky)
  3. Use a melon baller to drop 2 inch balls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. 
  4. Bake 8-9 minutes and remove from oven. Let cookies cool on pan for 2 minutes and then move to rack. 
  5. Enjoy!
These really are an amazing texture that reminds me of an ice-cream sandwich wafer! 

Breakfast for Dinner: Turkey Sausage Egg Scramble

Sorry about my absence yesterday…it was one of those days that shall not be mentioned again!

Anyway, on to the good stuff. I am a HUGE fan of breakfast, and not only for the morning but for lunch and dinner as well. Here is a little recipe I came up with to make an easy week night dinner that Mike and I both loved. I even had leftovers for breakfast the next day! You can mix this recipe up with different veggies or make it a vegetarian option. There is no way to mess it up. I used what I had on hand but I know the husband would have loved it with some peppers in it as well! If you’re making this for dinner I highly recommend serving it with a Mimosa on the side because after a crazy day at the office it is nice to come home to a little champagne! Enjoy!
Turkey Sausage Egg Scramble

Ingredients
  • One cup Jimmy Dean Hearty Turkey Sausage Crumbles
  • Six eggs; beaten(I added a little milk to make them delish)
  • Two cups diced potatoes
  • 3/4 cup chopped onions
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Veggies of your choice
  • Pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Add oil to pan and heat over medium heat
  2. Add Potatoes and Onions to oiled pan and cook until potatoes are brown and onions are translucent
  3. Add sausage to skillet to warm up(it is pre-cooked)
  4. Add beaten eggs to skillet and begin to move the spatula along the bottom of the pan just like scrambling eggs.
  5. When the eggs are set add pepper and serve
  6. You can top with cheese or anything you’d like
  7. Serve with fresh fruit and a Mimosa

Sausage, Onions and potatoes in skillet prior to adding eggs

Eggs added to cooked potatoes, sausage and onions

Stay southern,

Slow Cooker French Onion Chicken

I am a huge fan of the crock-pot aka slow cooker. There is nothing better than coming home from a long day of work to a hot meal that is already ready!! Here is an easy recipe that I derived from my pot roast recipe. This recipe makes such an easy weeknight meal for the whole family! As you can see in the pic below, the chicken just falls apart and there is enough liquid to serve as the gravy! Mike really enjoyed this one and we had leftovers for lunch the next day! Enjoy!

Slow Cooker French Onion Chicken

Ingredients:
  • Three chicken breasts
  • Two packets Lipton Onion Soup Mix
  • One large onion;  coarsely chopped
  • One bag of small carrots
  • One bag of frozen cut green beans
  • One cup of water
Assemble in the Slow cooker:
  1. Put chicken breasts in the bottom of the crock pot
  2. Cover with Onion Soup mix packets
  3. Put in onion, carrots and green beans
  4. Add water
  5. Set it at Low for 8-10 hours or High for 4-6 hours. And forget it!
Serve:
  • Pull some of the chicken in the crock pot with two forks and let it soak up some of the juice
  • Serve in a bowl over rice with extra juice!
Stay southern,

Gameday Recipe….Frito Pie

Yesterday was game day here in Starkville! With it being a Thursday a.k.a. a business day, the university let us have the afternoon off! How nice huh? It was actually because they needed our very coveted parking spaces. But hey, a free half day off, who would complain? Since Mike did not get a free half day we decided that being able to make it to the game on time would be pretty impossible so we decided to stay home and have our own little tailgate! I personally like this option because it allowed me to wear pj’s!

Anyway, there are a TON of Frito Pie recipes on the web but all I did was make my regular chili recipe(below) and then added to it some Frito’s in the bottom of a bowl and topped it with fun toppings. I used a rotisserie chicken(from the grocery store) and chopped up the meat to use in the recipe. This will save you a ton of time as you do not have to precook anything before you assemble it in the crock-pot! We love chicken chili even though I know some people will think this is blasphemy but it’s much healthier than using red meat and it’s still delish. I hope you enjoy this simple recipe with the bonus being that you come home from a long day to a home smelling of warm chili on a cool fall day! Enjoy!

Jen’s Easy Crock-pot Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 lb meat of choice(beef, chicken, turkey; I have made this recipe with all three) or I used 2 cups of chopped chicken from a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken
  • 1 large onion; chopped
  • 2 cans of petite diced tomatoes: drain one can and leave the other with the juice
  • 1 can light red kidney beans; drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil(if you need to brown your meat first)
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Cooking Directions:

  1. If you are using raw meat you need to add the oil to a pan and brown it with half of the onion until done and drain.
  2. Add ALL ingredients to a 4-6qt. slow cooker and mix thoroughly. 
  3. Set the slow cooker to the LOW setting and forget about it for 8-10 hours.

Frito Pie

Ingredients
  • Original Frito’s corn chips
  • Chili(recipe above)
  • Shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Sour Cream(optional)
  • Lettuce(optional)
  • Tomato(optional)
  • Jalapeños(optional)
  • Green onions(optional)
Directions:
  1. In a chili bowl, put a layer of Frito’s corn chips in the bottom. 
  2. Add chili to the top
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2
  4. Top with Sour Cream and/or optional toppings listed


Stay southern,



Weekend Update

This past weekend we had no real plans except for watching football and hanging around the house. So Saturday we decided to have another mini home tailgate for the two of us. I whipped up a few old favorites and tried out one new recipe! This recipe is from a restaurant, Ted’s Montana Grill. It is such a yummy dip that I think will add to any occasion quite nicely! Make sure you use the full fat ingredients so you will have a thick and creamy dip!

Ted’s Montana Grill’s Creamy Ranch Onion Dip
Makes 4 1/2 cups

  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1 cup sliced green onions, cut into 1/8-inch pieces, reserve some for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons ranch dressing mix
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco
  • Freshly ground black pepper, for garnish
In a large mixing bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, green onions, ranch dressing mix and Tabasco. Whisk until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use. May be made up to 2 days ahead. When ready to serve, garnish with remaining green onion slices and freshly ground black pepper. Serve with chips or fresh veggies for dipping. 

We finished out the weekend with a little organizing and cleaning as we prepare for a busy few weekends coming up!

We love our Ikea Expedit unit! It holds a TON of stuff! Sorry for the blurry pic.

Stay southern,


Finally Football!

The then “future Arnold’s” at the MsState v. Carolina game 2011

Today is the official start of the 2013 college football season!! As a southern girl I grew up going to games and listening to sports talk(ad-nauseam) from everyone I knew. My parents were not huge sports fans but I had plenty of family that was and I quickly became a lover of all things SEC football. It truly is a way of life and it is a great time of the year to go to games, tailgate or just sit at home and watch on tv! We live smack dab in the middle of a college town and we take part in all things Mississippi State football! But if you know me AT ALL then you know I am hands down a Carolina Gamecocks girl! Today Carolina plays Yankee Carolina…we need to send those guys back up north where they belong 😉

In honor of today and the beginning of football season I wanted to share a recipe that would be an amazing addition to a tailgate party! We’re actually going to enjoy it tonight as we watch the game! If you have never heard of the Captain Rodney’s products then you’re in for a treat! We discovered this great recipe at a Christmas party a few years ago and it has been a go to appetizer for us since! The recipe is a fantastic addition to any party you host or attend!

Captain Rodney’s Cheese Bake

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • One 8 oz. package of cream cheese
  • Two cups of grated cheddar cheese
  • Two green onions(chopped)
  • Six Ritz crackers(crushed)
  • Eight slices bacon(cooked and crumbled) or 1/2 real bacon pieces
  • 1/2 cup of any Captain Rodney’s glaze

Mix mayo, cream cheese, cheddar and onions in greased quiche pan(or 8×8 pan). Top with crackers and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Top with bacon and Captain Rodney’s glaze. Serve with crackers.

I hope you enjoy this football season as much as I plan to! If you don’t like football there will always be delicious food and cocktails!

Stay Southern,

    

Arnold Happenings

And here I said I was going to be better about blogging…anyway, as you can see I have updated the blog quite a bit! Hopefully this will inspire me to post more often. Life is pretty boring right now(in the best way). Things are calm and I am enjoying this time of being a new wife. Anyway, I hope to post more, not only of our life events, but of recipes and fun creative projects I get into! Soon I plan to share a ton of the DIY projects I completed for the wedding! But all in due time!!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock(or you’re not American) you know that last week was the 4th of July! Normally we would travel to either set of parents for this holiday but this year responsibility and work kept us here in Mississippi so we decided to have our own little celebration here. We settled on a southern feast of fried catfish, macaroni and cheese, coleslaw and banana pudding!

Along with all of that I made frozen strawberry margaritas in my new Ninja blender! I have been wanting one for a while and used wedding gift cards to purchase one! The thing is pretty amazing! It is quite the machine! I have used it quite a bit in the week I have owned it and I hope to share a little of what it can do. Anyway, here is the recipe I used to make the margs. I wanted a recipe that was natural and not using a mix! I hope you enjoy should you decide to partake 🙂

Frozen Strawberry Margaritas

INGREDIENTS

3 cups strawberries

1/4 cup orange-flavored liqueur

1/3 cup fresh lime juice

3/4 cup añejo tequila

2 tablespoons agave nectar

Pinch of salt

3 cups ice

4 strawberries, dipped in fine sugar


DIRECTIONS

  1. In a blender, purée 3 cups strawberries, orange-flavored liqueur, lime juice, añejo, agave nectar and salt. Add 3 cups ice and blend until smooth.
  2. Divide among 4 glasses; garnish each with a sugar-dipped strawberry.
Makes 4 cocktails.

I am currently obsessed with the song Demons by Imagine Dragons. I am also digging Paper Doll by my most favorite John Mayer! It is such a simple song but poetic and great to drive to. I am so excited for his new album being released next month! Whatever music you like, turn it up and enjoy!

Stay southern,