White Light Night & Healthy Holiday Eating

As the holiday season nears, keeping that resolution of healthy eating can be tough going in Louisiana. River Road Recipes (RRR) is happy to help with River Road Recipes III (RRRIII), A Healthy Collection. Now you can have your cake and eat it too! Each recipe in RRRIII contains the breakdown of calories, fat, cholesterol, and sodium per serving. Check out one of our favorite dinner and dessert recipes from RRRIII below.

Seafood Eggplant Casserole (RRRIII, Page 171)

One 1 1/2 – 2 pound eggplant
4 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup skim milk
1 cup chopped cooked shrimp
1 pound lump crabmeat
1 cup bread crumbs
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1⁄2 teaspoon each basil, oregano, thyme, paprika
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons parsley
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon each pepper and
red pepper

Peel and cube eggplant. Boil in water until tender, drain. Make a roux with the oil and flour. Add milk and stir until thickened. Fold in the eggplant and remaining ingredients. Place in 2-quart baking dish sprayed with vegetable oil cooking spray and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

A few more member dinner favorites: the Carrot Soufflé on page 119, the Blackberry and Port Venison on page 156, the Seafood Paella on page 237, and the Pepper Crusted Red Snapper on page 246.


Black Forest Cake (RRRIII, Page 223)

3⁄4 cup egg substitute or 1 egg and 3 egg whites
1 teaspoon almond flavoring
1 box light chocolate cake mix, preferably devil’s food or fudge
One 18-ounce can reduced sugar cherry pie filling or cherries packed in light syrup

1⁄2 cup cocoa powder
1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch

1/3 cup skim or low fat milk
1 tablespoon margarine
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Beat eggs by hand. Add flavoring. Stir in cake mix and blend well; batter will be thick. Fold in pie filling. Pour into greased bundt pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes. Cool and remove from pan.

Glaze: In a saucepan, mix cocoa, sugar and cornstarch together until well blended. Place over medium heat and gradually whisk in milk. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook for about 2 minutes until thickened; continue stirring. Remove from heat and whisk in margarine and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Drizzle over cake. This cake travels well.


Other great entertaining menus from River Road Recipes IV :

Graduation Dinner, page 126 – includes a Seafood Lasagna and Red Velvet Cake
Bundle of Joy, page 223 – include a full delicious menu of food and dessert for the whole family and their new additions
Family Reunion, page 267 – southern style reunion
After the Hunt, page 216 – the sportsman’s paradise of recipes


White Light Night: RRR & Laura Bellone

River Road Recipes will join Laura Bellone, the artists for RRR III, this Friday, November 17th at White Light Night. We will be at Booth #30. Stop by to pick up a copy of your favorite RRR books for a friend and local artwork. Be sure to see more of Laura’s work at Petite Louisiane.

Red Stick Farmer’s Market


Members of the River Road Recipes Cookbook Committee will be on hand from 8am-12pm this Saturday sharing cookbook knowledge, offering samples and selling all 4 of our beloved books.

The weather is supposed to be gorgeous this weekend and the Red Stick Farmers Market is a wonderful way to grab a cookbook along with some fresh ingredients to whip up something special for dinner later that evening!

 We hope to see you Saturday! Be sure to stop by our booth and say hello. Keep reading for our featured sample, Cheese Straws.


Photograph by Don Kadair

Cheese Straws

Cheese straws are a perpetual crowd favorite at parties. The sharp cheddar cheese with the hint of red pepper make them an irresistible, savory snack for any event! They also make great gifts when placed in a decorative bag or tin. While the recipe calls for you to roll the dough thin and cut it into narrow strips, you can also place the dough in a cookie press to give them a decorative shape before baking.


  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 2 2/3 cups sifted flour
  • Dash red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


Mix ingredients together well. Roll thin and cut in narrow strips. Bake in slow oven, 275°, until light brown. Makes about 4 dozen.

River Road Recipes I, p. 223

Chili Con Quotis

Lilly Pulitzer once famously said,“That’s what life is all about: Let’s have a party. Let’s have it tonight!” We here at River Road Recipes couldn’t agree more!  We love any excuse to throw a party, and casual, last minute affairs with a few close friends always seem to be the most fun. Whether you are planning a big shindig for Cinco de Mayo or hosting an impromptu girl’s night with your two best girlfriends, this delicious dip from River Road Recipes I has the perfect amount of spice and is a breeze to toss together. Once you’ve made it, be sure to share the fun – take a picture and tag it #RiverRoadRecipes!

Chili Con Quotis, RRR I p. 223

Chili Con Quotis, RRR I. Photo by Don Kadair.


  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/4 cup salad oil (olive oil)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons chopped green chili peppers
  • 1 lb processed cheese (like Velveeta)
  • 1 No. 2 Can (14.5 oz can) red tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch


  1. Saute onions and garlic in oil.
  2. Add peppers and Worcestershire sauce.
  3. Melt cheese in top of double boiler; add to cheese the chopped tomatoes along with onion mixture.
  4. Add cornstarch, stirring until thick.
  5. Serve hot in chafing dish and corn chips for dipping!

Easter Dessert: Coconut Cake

Ham, deviled eggs, Spinach Madeleine (of course), perhaps even a congealed salad are all Southern staples for an Easter lunch. For dessert, however, we suggest our Coconut Cake from River Road Recipes I! The light coconut flavor and the delicate frosting makes this a gorgeous as well as tasty end to this celebratory meal with friends and family. With the addition of a few flowers, it can even serve as part of your tablescape!

Photo by Don Kadair.

Coconut Cake, RRR I, p. 179


  • 1/2 pound butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs (separate yolks and whites)
  • 2 2/3 cup cake flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup sweet milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Grease and line 3 8-inch cake pans.
  2. Set over for 375°.
  3. Cream butter and sugar well.
  4. Add egg yolks.
  5. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together and add alternately with the milk.
  6. Add vanilla.
  7. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into mixture.
  8. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, then allow to cool completely.

Coconut Filling, RRR I, p. 179


  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup milk or part coconut milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 grated coconut


  1. Mix together all ingredients except coconut and cook in double boiler over low heat until thickened.
  2. Cool partly, then add coconut just before icing the cake!

Happy Easter from all of us at River Road Recipes!

Chicken Shwarma with Yogurt Dill Sauce

Warmer weather is finally here, and it’s a great time to begin cooking outdoors again! While the typical grill fare includes barbecue, hamburgers, or steak, if you’re looking for something different, River Road Recipes IV: Warm Welcomes has a fantastic Chicken Shwarma recipe that can be done on the grill. The preparation is a little time consuming, but the recipe makes a ton. You’ll be able to feed your entire family dinner, with plenty of leftovers to spare for lunches later in the week! Before you get started, be sure you have a wooden dowel and kitchen twine available.


Photo by Lauren De Witt.

The Chicken Shwarma pairs perfectly with our Yogurt Dill Sauce and is great added to a salad or served as a main course with roasted potatoes (check out our Potatoes Forno recipe in RRR IV, p. 70), rice, hummus (RRR IV, p. 67), or a side Greek salad. Finish off your meal with a delicious piece of Baklava (RRR IV, p. 71) for dessert!

Chicken Shwarma, RRR IV, p. 69


  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 3 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed

Note: Meringue powder is available in most supermarkets or party supply stores and is used in this recipe to hold the chicken together while cooking. 


  1. Mix the paprika, garlic powder, meringue powder, salt, onion powder, and pepper in a shallow dish.
  2. Pound the chicken 1/4 inch thick between sheets of waxed paper with a meat mallet. Coat the chicken with the paprika mixture.
  3. Cover a sheet pan with a clean tea towel. Arrange 1/2 of the chicken in a single layer on the tea towel. Layer the remaining chicken overlapping. Cover the layers with a clean tea towel and top with a sheet pan; press together. Chill for 1 hour.
  4. Remove the top sheet pan and tea towel. Using a wooden dowel or the end of a long wooden spoon, roll the sheet chicken onto the dowel and secure with kitchen twine. 


    Photo by Lauren De Witt.

  5. Grill the roll over hot coals for 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through, turning occasionally.
  6. Slice as desired and serve with the Yogurt Dill Sauce!
Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Serves 12.

Yogurt Dill Sauce, RRR IV, p. 69

This chilled Grecian sauce is used as a dipping sauce for the Chicken Swarma but is also delicious with other dishes in the Mediterranean Mixed Grill menu found on page 66 of River Road Recipes IV: Warm Welcomes. The sauce adds a cool and refreshing taste when combined with the warm flavors of a Mediterranean meal.


Photo by Lauren De Witt.


  • 2 cups whole milk yogurt
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dill weed


  1. Combine the yogurt, lemon juice, and dill week in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Store, covered, in the refrigerator until serving time.

Makes 2 cups.

Miss Congeal-iality: Raspberry Salad

I know what you’re thinking: “A congealed salad? How 1960s.” But fear not! Just like those flared jeans you’ve been hiding in your closet since the early 2000s, the congealed salad is making a comeback. Even Southern Living agrees! So break out that jello mold and make sure your next dinner party is on the cutting edge with a course featuring this latest culinary food trend. And if anyone looks at you funny, tell them those boring kale salads are so last year.

Photo by Don Kadair.

Photo by Don Kadair.

Raspberry Salad, RRR I, p. 28

With it’s beautiful pale pink contrasted against the bright green of butter lettuce leaves and lime wedges, this Raspberry Salad from River Road Recipes I will make the perfect addition to your Easter table this year! The best part? It doubles as the salad and the dessert, so feel free to have two helpings, guilt free!


  • 1 10-ounce package marshmallows
  • 1 package frozen raspberries
  • 1 small can evaporated milk (chilled and whipped)
  • 2 3-ounce packages cream cheese
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise


  1. Melt marshmallows in double boiler with raspberries.
  2. Let cool; add cream cheese blended with mayonnaise.
  3. Add whipped milk to raspberry mixture.
  4. Place in tray and freeze.
  5. Unmold on lettuce leaves and enjoy!

Serves 12.

Recipe by Mrs. William Adams of Tallulah, Louisiana. 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

While Mardi Gras is sadly over, all is not doom and gloom. St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner, and River Road Recipes knows the perfect way to help you celebrate!

Baton Rouge’s annual Wearin’ of the Green Parade is an event that rivals any Mardi Gras parade here in town. This year, the parade rolls on Saturday, March 18, 2017 at 10 am, rain or shine! You can find out more details and see the parade route here.

Enjoying the 2016 Wearin' of the Green Parade. Image from The Parade Group LLC at http://www.paradegroup.com/galleries/160.

Enjoying the 2016 Wearin’ of the Green Parade. Image from The Parade Group LLC at http://www.paradegroup.com/galleries/160.

After enjoying a morning at the parade, let the festivities continue with traditional Irish fare: Shepherd’s Pie, Cabbage (Cabbage Salad, RRR IV, p. 275), Corned Beef, Reuben Sandwiches (check out our mini-Reubens in RRR II, p. 15), or anything with potatoes, of course (our Potatoes Supreme recipe in RRR III, p. 118 is a healthier take on a favorite comfort food)!  Want more ideas? Check out these 50 Traditional Irish-Inspired Dinners from the Delish blog! Finish off your meal with an Irish Coffee from River Road Recipes II.


Image from Eat Well 101 at http://www.eatwell101.com.

Irish Coffee, RRR II, p. 22


  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 1/4 ounces Irish whiskey
  • Strong, hot Community Coffee®
  • Whipped Cream


  1. Add to each pre-warmed glass sugar and Irish whiskey.
  2. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Fill glasses with strong, hot coffee, and top with whipped cream.
  4. Pro-tip: Use shamrock cutouts and cocoa powder to add the perfect, festive touch to the whipped cream!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from all of us at River Road Recipes!

Kids in the Kitchen: Snickerdoodles!

The recent blast of cooler weather here in Baton Rouge (it dipped below 60° today!) has us wanting to snuggle up with our loved ones and a yummy snack! Cinnamon always seems to pair nicely with chilly temps, so we are busting out one of our favorite cookie recipes: Snickerdoodles!

Whipping up this classic recipe is a great way to spend an afternoon with the kids, especially when they might be going a little stir crazy from being cooped up inside during the winter months. It’s never too early to start cultivating a love of cooking, and children love to feel helpful. Even the littlest members of your family can get involved – starting from the time your baby is able to sit up on his own, you can help him “help” you scoop ingredients and pour them into the mixing bowl. Toddlers are naturally curious and will enjoy tasting each individual ingredient, and older children will proudly help you stir the batter. Don’t worry about a little mess, it’s all part of the fun!

Through the Junior League of Baton Rouge’s Kids in the Kitchen community project, we help children of all ages in our community learn the joy of cooking. Junior League members purchase and transport ingredients to various volunteer locations, where we then demonstrate and work with youth to prepare meals and snacks.  During the activities, volunteers will encourage conversation about the benefits of healthy eating. So far our Kids in the Kitchen program has impacted between 350 and 550 children in the Greater Baton Rouge area!

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Snickerdoodles, River Road Recipes I, page 200

  • 1 cup soft shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 3/4 cups sifted flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Preheat oven to 400º. Mix shortening, sugar, and eggs together thoroughly. Sift flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt together and add to above mixture.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Chill dough. Roll into balls the size of small walnuts. Roll the dough balls into a mixture of 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Place about two inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned but still soft. (These cookies puff up at first then flatten out with crinkled tops.) Makes about five dozen 2-inch cookies.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler!

So long New Year’s resolutions — carnival season is here, and that means king cake! From the French-style king cakes at Strand’s Cafe, to the traditional, cream-cheese, fruit-filled,  or Zulu confections at Ambrosia Bakery and Gambino’s, to the maple bacon king cake at Tiger Deaux-nuts, the variations are infinite. And the fun (cough, calories) don’t stop there – don’t forget the king cake balls at Cupcake Allie, the king cake milkshake at Fat Cow, and even king cake fries from Freetown Fries!

Some New Orleans favorites: McKenzie’s, Party Palace, Croissant D’Or, Cake Cafe, Haydel’s and Dong Phuong Bakery. Picture courtesy of The Scout Guide New Orleans.

Some New Orleans favorites: McKenzie’s, Party Palace, Croissant D’Or, Cake Cafe, Haydel’s and Dong Phuong Bakery. Photo courtesy of The Scout Guide New Orleans.

So many amazing options with so little time before Lent is upon us. Luckily for you, there is a way to get your fix: host a king cake tasting party! This fantastic idea was originally featured by The Scout Guide New Orleans in January 2015, and they recently featured this idea again, with staging by  New Orleans caterer Patti Constantin. It’s the perfect way to sample all of the City’s best king cakes and Mardi Gras inspired treats while enjoying time with friends.

Photo courtesy of The Scout Guide New Orleans.

Photo courtesy of The Scout Guide New Orleans.

First, the menu. Have friends bring their favorite local king cake (or king cake inspired treat) to share with everyone. Can’t pick a favorite? Here’s our cheat sheets from 225  Magazine and Baton Rouge Mom’s Blog:

For beverages, serve our Café au Lait Punch from River Road Recipes IV, page 17, along with wine, beer, sodas, and water.

Cafe au lait Punch, RRR IV

Photo courtesy of The Scout Guide New Orleans.

Photo courtesy of The Scout Guide New Orleans.

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup dark roast coffee or coffee extract, at room temperature
  • 1 liter ginger ale, at room temperature
  • 1 liter club soda, at room temperature
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream

Combine the sugar, coffee, ginger ale, club soda, and half-and-half in a large punch bowl and mix well. Fold in the ice cream and ladle into punch bowls.

Makes 12 to 14 (2-cup) servings.

Second, decorate! Go big with Mardi Gras beads and plenty of purple, green, and gold accessories, or keep it simple with an elegant bouquet of purple Irises or other flowers as a centerpiece. Break out the silver and crystal to have a party fit for royalty, or keep it casual with purple and green paper plates. Either way, you’re bound to pass a good time!

A beautiful King Cake tasting by Patti Constantin. Photo courtesy of The Scout Guide New Orleans.

A beautiful King Cake tasting by Patti Constantin. Photo courtesy of The Scout Guide New Orleans.

Special thanks to The Scout Guide New Orleans for the photos and the fantastic idea!

Happy Valentine’s Day

Pink and red, roses and chocolate – love is in the air! It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and the ladies of the River Road Recipes committee want to show our love for you by helping you plan the perfect Valentine’s Day party for the littlest loves in your life! While our thoughts typically turn to our significant others on Valentine’s Day, Valentine’s Day is a fun holiday for children, too! Pair our snack ideas with fun activities for the kids, like making “mailboxes” out of shoe boxes to receive home-made Valentine’s Day cards from friends or making heart-shaped crayons. Check out some fun craft ideas here!

Sparkling Cranberry Punch

This non-alcoholic punch is the perfect beverage for a kid-friendly Valentine’s Day party. The ginger ale adds a little sparkle, and the cranberries lend a festive hue for the occasion.

Photo by Don Kadair.

Photo by Don Kadair.


  • 1 large can jellied cranberry sauce
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 1/2 cups ginger ale
  • Clove-studded lemon slices


Crush cranberry sauce in can with fork and empty into saucepan. Beat with rotary beater. Add water and beat until sauce is melted. Add sugar and cool. Stir in lemon juice, extract, and 1 cup ginger ale. Just before serving, dilute with remaining 1/2 ginger ale and serve well iced in frosted glasses. Garnish with mint and clove-studded lemon circles. Serves 12 punch cups.

River Road Recipes I, p. 11


Instead of store-bought candy, try our Chocolate Fudge Turtles from River Road Recipes I! Everyone is guaranteed to enjoy these delectable desserts, and they are made with the most important ingredient of all: love! You can find our easy, step-by-step recipe here!

Photo by Don Kadair.

Photo by Don Kadair.

Party Mix

To round out the sweetness, add some salt to your Valentine’s Day party snacks with this simple Party Mix. It’s a perennial favorite for children of all ages. Recipe here!

Photo by Don Kadair.

Photo by Don Kadair.

Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at River Road Recipes!