BAYOU BLEND CASSEROLE – previously known as BLEND IN THE BAYOU and once known as SEAFOOD CASSEROLE EXTRAODINAIRE

I’m trying to clean up some old recipe posts. This was originally posted on March 24, 2010 and again on November 4, 2010. I then posted it for the Magazine Monday meme on March 24, 2011. I’m now changing it to a current date so I can update it. It was originally done tutorial style, but I was never happy with the pictures so am updating it a bit.

Magazine Mondays was hosted by Ivonne over at Cream Puffs in Venice.  She HAD a great blog with some great recipes, but has since deleted it I guess. I really intended to stick with this recipe as it was originally written, really I did! But, as I read it more closely I felt some changes coming on. You know that feeling you get when you realize hubby won’t like ingredient 5 or your son would hate ingredient x, etc… The more I messed with the recipe the further it got from what they intended.

So here is their recipe as written:

BLEND IN THE BAYOU
8 ounces cream cheese
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 pound cooked medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined
2 – 6 ounce cans crab meat, drained and flaked
1 can cream of mushroom soup
3/4 cup cooked rice, prepared
4 1/2 ounce jar sliced mushrooms, drained
1 teaspoon garlic salt
3/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup crushed butter-flavored crackers
  • In a small saucepan, cook and stir the cream cheese and 2 tablespoons butter over low heat until melted and smooth. Set aside.
  • In a large skillet, saute the onion, celery and green pepper in remaining butter until tender.
  • Stir in the shrimp, crab, soup, rice, mushrooms, garlic salt, pepper sauce, cayenne and cream cheese mixture.
  • Transfer to a greased 2 quart baking dish.
  • Combine crackers crumbs and cheese. Sprinkle over top.
  • Bake, uncovered 25 minutes or until bubbly.

and here is the new recipe as made and enjoyed and savored as the plates were licked clean!

SEAFOOD CASSEROLE EXTRAODINAIRE inspired by Taste of Home’s Blend in the Bayou
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 large bunch green onions, chopped

4 large mushrooms, chopped2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green or red pepper, cleaned of ribs and seeds, diced

1 – 8 ounce package crab meat, chopped & flaked
2 – 6 ounce cans white albacore tuna, drained and flaked
1 can cream of celery soup
3/4 cup cooked rice, prepared
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 + teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
3/4 cup shredded cheddar/jack cheese
1/2 sleeve crushed butter-flavored crackers (I used Keebler herb and butter)
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • In a small saucepan, cook and stir the cream cheese, soup and 2 tablespoons butter over low heat until melted and smooth. Set aside.
  • In a large skillet, saute the onion, mushrooms and garlic in remaining 1 tablespoon butter until tender.
  • Stir in the tuna, crab, soup, rice, mushrooms, salt, pepper sauce, chili powder and cream cheese mixture.
  • Transfer to a greased 2 quart baking dish.
  • Sprinkle crackers over top.
  • Bake, uncovered 25 minutes or until bubbly.
  • Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake 5 minutes more.

SUN DRIED TOMATO PESTO SALAD

SUN DRIED TOMATO PESTO SALAD yield 8 servings

Simple ingredients make an elegant looking side dish for any picnic or BBQ. This is the perfect pasta salad for a quick bite or pick me up!

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 25 minutes

1 pound penne pasta (or large pasta shape of choice – cavatappi works well too), prepared al dente per package directions in salted water, drained WELL
1/2 cup basil pesto
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes drained and chopped
1/2 cup FRESH grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup micro greens of choice
1/4 cup diced red pepper
FRESH salt and pepper, to taste

  • Whisk together the pesto and vinegar.
  • Toss pasta with pesto mix.

  • Add sun-dried tomatoes tossing to combine well.
  • Fold in micro greens, diced red pepper and Parmesan cheese. 
  • 
Chill in fridge until ready to eat.


NOTE: This makes a full meal just by adding some chopped salami, pepperoni or rotisserie chicken pieces.

HERB & CHEESE POTATO GRATIN

HERB & CHEESE POTATO GRATIN adapted from TARA TEASPOON

Yukon Gold potatoes plus a couple sweet potatoes mixed with QUALITY FLAVORFUL  cheese, and lots of FRESH herbs come together to make a show stopping delicious side dish perfect for the holidays – any holiday, or Sunday family gathering meal!

SERVES 8-10      PREP TIME 20 mins     BAKE TIME 50-60 minutes

2 small sweet potatoes
8 small Yukon gold potatoes
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon FRESH dried parsley
1 teaspoon FRESH thyme
1/2 teaspoon FRESH ground sage
1 teaspoon FRESH chopped rosemary
8 ounces (2 cups grated) QUALITY Gruyère OR Fontina cheese
1/2 cup thinly sliced Vidalia onion, chopped
1/2 cup whole milk or half-and-half
1/2 cup chicken broth

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Spray baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Peel potatoes.
  • Using a mandolin or vegetable slicer, cut potatoes into VERY thin slices.
  • In a large bowl, gently toss potatoes with salt, pepper, garlic powder, parsley, thyme, sage, rosemary, cheese, and onion, until everything is evenly mixed. Be careful not to break the thin potato slices.
  • Working with a small handful of potatoes at a time, gently line up coated slices in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or 2-quart baking dish.
  • Whisk together the milk and broth. Pour over and around potatoes.
  • Cover pan with foil and seal around edges.
  • Bake 50 minutes.
  • Remove foil. Continue to bake 15-20 minutes more until potatoes are tender and golden. Test the potatoes with a thin knife to see if they are tender throughout.
  • Cool slightly, but serve hot.

ITALIAN BOLOGNESE STUFFED PEPPERS

ITALIAN BOLOGNESE STUFFED PEPPERS
2 EXTRA LARGE red or orange peppers, halved
1 pound ground beef
2 shallots, diced SMALL
2 cloves garlic, minced
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons Garden Gourmet Italian herbs
1 1/2 – 2 cups marinara sauce
2 cups prepared dilitani or small shell pasta
4 slices mozzarella cheese

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Coat baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Halve peppers tip to root. Clean out seeds and ribs.
  • Brown ground beef and onion together. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drain off grease returning meat to pan.
  • Add garlic, Italian herbs and marinara sauce, simmering 5-10 minutes.
  • Stuff pepper halves with meat mixture.
  • Layer remaining meat mixture into the baking dish.
  • Arrange peppers on top of meat mixture in baking dish.
  • Top each pepper with mozzarella cheese.
  • Coat one side of a piece of foil with non-stick cooking spray. Cover baking dish.
  • Bake 35-40 minutes until tender and hot. Remove foil during the last 10 minutes.

NOTE: This prepares well in advance of baking making it a great weeknight meal.

INDIVIDUAL STUFFED MEATBALL PIES

INDIVIDUAL STUFFED MEATBALL PIES serves 4 adapted from TASTY
1/2 pound pizza dough, divided
1 tablespoon avocado oil
3 cloves garlic, minced, divided
FRESH ground sea salt and trim-colored pepper
1 1/2 cups tomato puree
1/2 tablespoon FRESH chopped basil
1/2 tablespoon FRESH chopped oregano
6 ounces tomato paste
1/2 pound mozzarella slices
1 pound SMALL meatballs
1 cup caramelized onions
1 cup bell peppers (red, green and yellow), chopped and sauteed
Parmesan, to serve

  • Preheat oven to 450°.
  • Cut pizza dough in half and roll out 4 medium discs of dough.
  • Spray the inside of 4 small springform pans with cooking spray and lay in one of the dough discs.
  • Press the dough into the corners.
  • Lightly rub the dough with avocado oil, some of the minced garlic, salt and pepper on the dough and brush to cover the surface.
  • Air the bottom of the dough with a fork.
  • Bake until the dough is cooked and lightly golden brown, 10-15 minutes.
  • Mix together the tomato puree, basil, the remainder of minced garlic, oregano and tomato paste in a bowl.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Into the partially cooked bottom layer of pizza dough, shingle a layer of mozzarella slices and then a layer of the homemade marinara sauce.
  • Spiral the meatballs in the dish as tightly as possible. Cover with more marinara sauce.
  • Add a layer of caramelized onions, and more sliced mozzarella.
  • Add the peppers on top of the mozzarella.
  • Cut the second piece of dough into strips to form into a lattice pattern on top of the pie.
  • Brush with more of the oil, FINELY minced garlic, and kosher salt.
  • Bake for 40 minutes or until the dough on top is browned and the sauce, meatballs, and cheese are heated through.
  • Plate the pies, serve with extra marinara sauce and grated Parmesan.
  • Enjoy!

BAKED MACARONI & CHEESE

Mac & Cheese is ALWAYS a favorite in MOST households! This one is a simple version that is quick to make and in the right dish looks elegant enough for company.

BAKED MACARONI & CHEESE

PASTA
2 teaspoons kosher salt 
1 pound elbow macaroni with ridges 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°.
  • Butter a 2-quart casserole dish.
  • Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large saucepan.
  • Add the salt and macaroni.
  • Bring the water back to a boil and cook the macaroni until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain WELL.

CHEESE SAUCE
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 shallot, diced
4 tablespoons WONDRA flour 
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon – 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar 
2 cups WHOLE milk 
2 cups grated sharp Cheddar (or mix with some Jack cheese if you prefer, but we like the strong sharp)

  • Melt the butter in a 1-quart saucepan.
  • Add shallot, sautéing until soft and translucent.
    Using a wire whisk, stir in the flour and salt, stirring and cooking over medium heat until the roux bubbles and the flour turns pale brown, about 3 minutes.
  • Slowly whisk in 1 cup of the milk and then whisk in the remaining 1 cup milk followed by the vinegar.
  • Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens.
  • Add the cheese and stir until it melts.
  • Add the drained macaroni to the cheese sauce and mix thoroughly.

TOPPING
heaping 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted 

  • In a small bowl, stir the breadcrumbs with the butter until the crumbs are moistened.
  • Transfer the macaroni and cheese to the prepared baking dish and top with the buttered breadcrumbs.
  • Bake until the dish bubbles around the edges, about 15 minutes.

LEFTOVER PRIME RIB BEEF STROGANOFF

At the price of meat these days I am trying to use every single little piece and let nothing go to waste! So far our Christmas dinner Prime Rib has also become Prime Rib quesadillas, prime rib barley soup, prime rib beef stroganoff, Prime Rib dip sandwiches and prime rib hash. And the Christmas eve turkey breast also became hot turkey sandwiches, cold turkey sandwiches and turkey tetrazinni.

LEFTOVER PRIME RIB BEEF STROGANOFF serves 4
Prep 5 minutes Cooking 15 minutes Total Time 20 minutes

1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 SMALL shallot, minced
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon WONDRA flour
½ teaspoon FRESH chopped tarragon
½ teaspoon dried ground sage
½ teaspoon FRESH chopped thyme
FRESH ground salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup Beech Mushrooms stemmed, sliced small
3/4 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon QUALITY Worcestershire sauce
½ tablespoon Dijon Mustard (OPTIONAL)
1/2 cup leftover prime rib roast, sliced into 2 inch strips
1/8 cup sour cream
4 ounces egg noodles, prepared per package
1 tablespoon FRESH chopped parsley or chives (OPTIONAL)

  • Heat the over medium high heat deep skillet.
  • Add minced shallot and garlic and cooking for 1 minute to start sweating the shallot.
  • Add butter and melt with the shallot and garlic.

  • Sprinkle flour over the shallot and garlic until all of the flour is absorbed.
  • Add seasoning tarragon, ground sage, thyme mushrooms and salt & pepper to taste stirring to combine.
  • Add the beef broth, Worcestershire sauce and Dijon mustard if using, blending the flavors.
Reduce heat to medium and allow to simmer (reducing heat as necessary to maintain a low simmer) for about 10 minutes. Gravy should thicken while simmering.

  • Once gravy has simmered and reduced, slightly thickening, add the sliced prime rib pieces, stirring to coat.
  • Cook an additional 2-3 minutes to heat the meat through completely.
  • Remove from heat and fold in sour cream.
  • Serve immediately over cooked pasta, rice, or potatoes.
  • Top with chopped parsley or chives for garnish.

Turkey Tetrazzini ~ Memories past

This recipe was originally posted in January of 2010. BUT, it needed a MAJOR picture overhaul!! I’ve also made a few updates over the years to make the recipe more “scratch made”.
When I was a kid and just starting to do the majority of the family cooking we had a set group of recipes that were the “weeknight” recipes. One of those recipes that was especially popular during the holidays was Turkey Tetrazzini. We also substituted ham and chicken for the turkey throughout the rest of the year.

Back then I prepared the recipes exactly as they were written and they were okay, but the Tetrazzini recipe used ALL Velveeta and canned mushrooms and stuff I wouldn’t think of putting into my body now so it was my goal to create the same recipe in a more health oriented way, but still easy for a weeknight meal.

TURKEY TETRAZZINI
2 tablespoons butter
1 LARGE bunch green onions OR 1 LARGE shallot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped small
8 ounces spaghetti or linguine, broken in half and cooked al dente
FRESH ground sea salt and pepper to taste
2 cups shredded turkey pieces**
1 can cream of celery soup (see soup substitutes)
1 cup WHOLE milk
1 cup grated mild cheddar cheese
1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Melt butter in a skillet.
  • Saute onions and celery just until tender.
  • Add soup and milk, stirring to blend. Cook just until thick.
  • Add cheddar cheese.
  • Add salt and pepper.
  • In the bottom of an 11×7 baking dish scatter first the pasta and then the meat pieces.
  • Pour soup mixture over top.
  • Top with Monterey Jack cheese.
  • Bake 25-30 minutes.

NOTE: ** ham and rotisserie chicken work well too

Casseroles tend to call for a can of some form of “cream of” soup.  Since those soups tend to be full additives and preservatives I came up with some quick and easy substitutes that are homemade as you needed.

CREAM SOUP SUBSTITUTES

Do you hate buying canned soups for use in recipes? Do you want something healthier and less costly?  These recipes make perfect substitutes for 1 can of soup.

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk or other liquid (as specified in variations)

  • Melt the butter in heavy saucepan. 
  • Blend in flour and salt. Cook until bubbly. 
  • Remove from heat and gradually stir or whisk in liquid. 
  • Return to heat and cook, constantly stirring until smooth and thickened.

VARIATIONS

  • Cream of chicken: Use 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup chicken broth as the liquid. Add 1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning or sage.
  • Cream of celery: Saute´ 1/2 cup chopped celery and 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion in the margarine before adding flour. Use milk for liquid.
  • Cream of mushroom: Saute´1/4 cup finely chopped mushrooms and 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion in margarine before adding flour. Use milk for liquid.
  • Tomato: Use tomato juice as liquid. Add a dash each of garlic salt, onion salt, basil, and oregano.
  • Cheddar cheese: Use milk for liquid. Stir into the finished sauce 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese and 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard.
  • Cream of shrimp: Drain the liquid from a small can of tiny shrimp into a measuring cup. Fill cup with milk to measure 1 cup of liquid. Add a dash of pepper, onion salt, curry powder, and paprika to the finished sauce, and stir in the shrimp.

SHRIMP SCAMPI PASTA

SHRIMP SCAMPI PASTA

Shrimp Scampi always sounds a bit decadent and eat out at a restaurant date night meal to me, but is a super easy to make at home.

The prep time is only 20 minutes followed by 20 minutes of cook time and VOILA’ dinner is ready. Light the candles and serve.

1/2 package (8 ounces) linguine pasta
1 + 1 tablespoons butter
1 + 1 tablespoons avocado oil
1 shallot, FINELY diced
1 cloves garlic, minced
1 pinch red pepper flakes (Optional)
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
¼ cup dry white wine
1 small lemon, juiced
1/8 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, or to taste

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; cook linguine in boiling water until nearly tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain.


  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon avocado oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Cook and stir shallots, garlic, and red pepper flakes in the hot butter and oil until shallots are translucent, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Season shrimp with kosher salt and black pepper; add to the skillet and cook JUST until pink, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Remove shrimp from skillet and keep warm.


  • Pour white wine and lemon juice into skillet and bring to a boil while scraping the browned bits of food off of the bottom of the skillet with a wooden spoon.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter in skillet.
  • Stir in 1 tablespoon avocado oil into butter mixture, and bring to a simmer.
  • Toss linguine, shrimp, and parsley in the butter mixture until coated.
  • Season with salt and black pepper.
  • Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil to serve.


LOADED FRIED MASHED POTATOES

LOADED FRIED MASHED POTATOES

Yields: 4

Avocado oil, for frying
2 1/2 cups mashed potatoes
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
1 LARGE egg, beaten
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives, plus more for garnish
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
All-purpose flour (optional)
Sour cream, for serving 

  • In a large skillet over medium heat, add enough oil to fill pan a third of the way up.
  • In a large bowl, stir potatoes, cheese, egg, chives, hot sauce, and salt until combined. If your mashed potatoes are a little runny, add flour one tablespoon at a time until you can form dough balls.
  • Working in batches (DO NOT CROWD PAN), scoop heaping tablespoons of mixture and drop into hot oil.
  • Fry 2-3 minutes per side until golden on both sides.
  • Top with sour cream and chives before serving.

NOTES: Everyone makes mashed potatoes slightly differently. If you make yours on the looser side just add a little flour to thicken them up so that they’ll fry better.

CHESSE BURGER PASTA

CHEESE BURGER PASTA serves 4-6

1 pound QUALITY ground beef
1 SMALL onion, diced
½ cup QUALITY ketchup
½ teaspoon garlic powder
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
2 cups elbow pasta uncooked
2 cup beef stock
1½ cup grated Havarti, cheddar or Fontina cheese, grated cheese
diced tomatoes, for garnish
diced red onion, for garnish
diced pickles, for garnish
diced jalapenos, for garnish
shredded lettuce, for garnish

  • Place a large lidded saute pan over medium heat.
  • Let pot heat up for 2 minutes before crumbling ground beef into pot.
  • Sauté ground beef for 2 minutes.
  • Add onions, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  • Once beef is ¾ browned stir in ketchup.
  • Saute for 3 minutes, then add dry pasta. stirring together while gradually adding in the beef stock.
  • Cover sauce pot and cook for 20 minutes.
  • Remove lid and lower heat to medium low.
  • Add grated cheese and stir until melted.
  • Top with personal garnishes.
  • Serve and enjoy!

BEEF STROGANOFF on a BUDGET

When I was a kid I was served beef stroganoff on a fairly regular basis. NO ONE told me it was the middle class version of stretching a dollar. It was pretty good in my opinion, but I was a kid, what did I know? 😀

When I grew up and read the recipe in a “real” cookbook, I was amazed to find that it wasn’t actually made with ground beef LOL 😀

Taking the budget a step farther, my folks used canned mushrooms. I didn’t even know what a FRESH mushroom was until many years later. I will tell you I have NEVER EVER liked canned mushrooms. They also used them in chop suey YUCK!!!!! They also used dehydrated onion and garlic.

This version with REAL veggies and a QUALITY ground beef is really good though. It may not be a great picture, but the flavor made up for it.

BEEF STROGANOFF on a BUDGET
3/4-1 pound QUALITY ground beef
1 cup sliced FRESH mushrooms
1 LARGE shallot, FINELY chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 + 3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons WONDRA flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup sour cream
3 cups prepared egg noodles
1/2 cup chopped parsley

  • In a large skillet brown the ground beef until crumbly.
  • Drain off excess fat and set aside for the moment.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon butterin the same skillet.
  • Add shallots, garlic and mushrooms, sauteing until soft.
  • Remove veggies with a slotted spoon adding to the meat.
  • Melt the remaining butter in skillet.
  • Whisk in flour salt and pepper, whisking until golden.
  • Remove from heat and whisk in milk.
  • Add meat and veggies back into skillet.
  • Return to heat, reduce heat and cook, constantly stirring until smooth and slightly thickened.
  • Fold in sour cream, prepared egg noodles and parsley.
  • Serve immediately.