Sugar and Spice Pecans

Sugar and Spice Pecans, RRR IV, page 255, Photo by Jessica McVea

Here is a quick and easy recipe that you can keep on hand as a snack, to serve to your guests, or give as a gift, too!

Louisiana pecans. We LOVE them! This recipe is a wonderful mix of our beloved pecans, two kinds of sweet sugars, a sass of seasoning blends, and then a kick of curry to top it off. It is just the right blend to excite all your taste buds.

These Sugar and Spice Pecans from River Road Recipes IV: Warm Welcomes, page 255, will make a lovely gift for a hostess, teacher, or neighbor. Be creative with packaging:  mason jars, cello bags with ribbons, pretty tins, or maybe a antique candy dish. Just use your imagination. You could also pair the gift with a pretty tea towel like in the picture below.

Sugar and Spice Pecans, RRR IV, page 255, Photo by Jessica McVea

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound pecan halves
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (white)
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of Morton Nature’s Season’s  Seasoning Blend
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder

DIRECTIONS

Toss the pecans with the butter in a bowl. Add the mixture of the sugar,  brown sugar, seasoning blend and curry powder to the pecan mixture and mix well. Spread the pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast at 275 degrees for 45 minutes, stirring at 15-minute intervals. Remove the pecans to a plate and let stand until cool. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 4 cups

 

 

Crawfish Supreme

Crawfish Supreme, RRR IV, p. 58. Photo by Meghan Poole.

As crawfish season continues here in South Louisiana, here is another dish that is wonderful for leftover crawfish tails. Crawfish Supreme from River Road Recipes IV: Warm Welcomes, page 58. This appetizer recipe is served over cream cheese. You could prepare the cream cheese spread on the tray ahead of time. Cover the cream cheese spread on the tray with wax paper and chill until ready to serve.

The recipe is versatile. Shrimp can be substituted for the crawfish. Perhaps use both crawfish and shrimp. Why not try with crabmeat, as well? Let us know how your recipe variation turns out.

The recipe uses fresh sliced and toasted French baquette bread (this is Louisana, after all!), but melba toast rounds can be used.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 baguette French bread, thinly sliced
  • Olive oil to taste
  • 1 pound crawfish tails
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon white Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/.2 cup remoulade sauce
  • 1/2 cup reduced calorie Italian salad dressing
  • 12 ounces cream cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. Arrange the bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet and brush with olive oil.
  2. Toast at 500° until light brown.
  3. Saute the crawfish tails and green onions in a skillet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
  4. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce.
  5. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
  6. Stir in the remoulade sauce and salad dressing.
  7. Microwave the cream cheese until slightly softened. Place the cream cheese on a serving platter and top with waxed paper or plastic wrap. (can be done ahead of time and chill until ready).
  8. Roll or pat the cream cheese to cover the platter (can be done ahead of time and chilled until ready).
  9. Discard the waxed paper and spread with the crawfish mixture.
  10. Serve with the toasted bread slices.

Serves 10-12

 

 

 

Spinach Con Queso

Spinach Con Queso, RRR III, p. 16.

Here in Baton Rouge, we just LOVE hot spinach dip! There are many variations on restaurant menus throughout the city. Some are served with warm tortilla chips, some with buttered toast points, and yet others may be accompanied by fried bowtie pasta.

From River Road Recipes III (page  16), this is River Road Recipes own version of hot spinach dip called Spinach Con Queso. It is a delightful, fresh version that is sure to please. This recipe makes 2 cups or 16 servings. Using the light version of the Velveeta cheese and low fat ricotta, it is only 56 calories a serving. It is versitale dish. You can  choose from a variety of different crackers, chips, pita chips, bagel bites, etc to use and they would all work well. Depending on your choices, you can keep the dish gluten free, low fat, and/or vegetarian.

INGREDIENTS

  • One 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 8 ounces low fat ricotta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons milk, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 pound light Velveeta, cubed
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup diced jalapeno peppers
  • 1 medium tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped

DIRECTIONS

Place spinach in a large strainer. With back of spoon, press out as much liquid as possible. Place ricotta cheese in a food processor, gradually add 2 tablespoons of milk blending until very smooth. Blend in paprika. Combine Velveeta, remaining milk, and onion. Heat until cheese is melted, stirring occasionally (can microwave this step). Add ricotta cheese mixture to the cheese and heat. Stir in spinach, jalapeno peppers and tomato.

Serve warm with tortilla chips or home toasted tortilla wedges. Can also be served with Bagel Chips recipe on page 258 RRR III.

Yields 2 cups, 16 servings

Swedish Meatballs

Meatballs are a classic staple at many parties. Most everyone loves them. You can serve meatballs in a fancy chaffing dish or simply have them in a crockpot. They also can be made ahead of time and frozen until needed. You can choose to freeze the pre-cooked meatballs or freeze the meatballs cooked down in the sauce. Meatballs are great for leftovers.

Here is a recipe from River Road Recipes I for Swedish Meatballs. The recipe, as written, makes  a fairly large amount of meatballs. Make them ahead of time and just get out the amount you need from the freezer and cook them. Though the recipe is in the Party Food section of RRRI, think outside the box. Maybe serve them as a main dish to your family. Perhaps, serve meatballs over rice or pasta,  or alone like mini-meatloaves with mashed potatoes. What about serving them with a side Garlic Cheese Grits? That recipe is on page 56 of River Road Recipes I.

No matter how you choose to serve this recipe, it will be a hit every time.

 Swedish Meatballs

RRR I, page 229

Photo by Don Kadair.

Swedish Meatballs, RRRI p. 229. Photo by Don Kadair.

Ingredients

  • 6 pounds ground meat (beef with approximately 1/4 pork)
  • 6 slices of stale bread, soaked in milk
  • 3 whole eggs beaten
  • 1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup green onion tops, finely chopped
  • 2 medium white onions, finely chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • Garlic salt, black pepper, salt
  • Sauce: 2 large bottles of barbecue sauce and 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup

DIRECTIONS

Mix all the ingredients (with the exception of the sauce) and roll into bite-size or serving size balls. You can use a ice cream or cookie scoop to maintain consistency. Fry (brown) the meat balls in a small amount of fat (oil). Pour off the excess fat and place the meatballs into a large saucepan or pot. Mix the barbecue sauce and mushroom soup into the remaining drippings and stir. Pour the sauce over the meatballs. Simmer for 40 or 50 minutes.

Makes around 150 or so 1″ meatballs.

 

‘Tis the Season to Eat Crawfish!

Christmas holidays are over and the new year has begun. With the Mardi Gras season in full swing, it will soon be crawfish time in South Louisiana. Families and friends will be gathering for food and fellowship with weekend crawfish boils. These wonderful mudbugs may not be pretty, but they sure are tasty and the leftovers can make for beautiful dishes.

Below is a recipe for Crawfish Etouffee from River Road Recipes I. The recipe in RRR I, tells you to boil the crawfish and gives the directions on how to do so. In today’s world, we are fortunate enough to be able to buy packaged crawfish tails.  However, this recipe is a wonderful idea for leftovers from a crawfish boil, as well. Make it for your family, or perhaps a party you have planned. Serving the dish in martini glasses (as shown) or other decorative ware can make for a beautiful presentation and it can be served in appetizer portions. Having portions in easy to handle serving dishes makes it easier for your guests if you are having a buffet or cocktail party.

This recipe makes about 8 quarts or 30 servings. It freezes well in ziplock bags or airtight containers. You may also cut the recipe in half.

 Crawfish Etouffee

RRR I page 103

 Crawfish Etouffee, RRR I p. 102. Photo by Don Kadair.

The recipe has been adapted from the original, assuming you have the crawfish tails and do not need to boil.

Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 to 5 lbs of  crawfish tails with the fat
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 stalk (bunch) of celery
  • 6  medium onions
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 bell pepper
  •  1 cup green onion tops
  • 1 pimento (or red bell pepper)
  • 4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste.

Directions

Grind (dice in a food processor) the vegetables and cook in shortening until tender. Add the seasonings and blend well. Add the crawfish tails (with the crawfish fat). Cook for about 15 or 20 minutes, but do not overcook. Turn the heat off and let it stand for 30 minutes until the seasonings are blended. Serve over rice.

River Road Recipes I, p. 103

 

 

Party Time!! Make Ahead Recipe: Blue Cheese Truffles

It is party season! The Super Bowl is coming up and the Mardi Gras season is under way, but everyone is busy. Here is a recipe that is sure to please the hostess, as well as, the party goer who needs to bring a dish. Blue Cheese Truffles from River Road Recipes IV . It has only three ingredients.

This recipe can also be made in advance because it freezes well. Go ahead and use your stand mixer and double the batch.  Then you will have some ready in the freezer for the next party.  Just freeze the truffles in a plastic container separated in layers with wax paper. Take them out the day of the party and you are ready to go!

Blue Cheese Truffles are also gluten free and low carb. This combination will be sure to please any crowd.

                                            Blue Cheese Truffles, RRR IV, p. 57. Photo by Meghan Poole.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups pecan halves or pieces, finely chopped
  • 8 ounces blue cheese, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened

DIRECTIONS

  1. Spread the pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast at 300° for 15 minutes or until light brown, stirring occasionally. Let stand until cool and finely chop.
  2. Combine the blue cheese and cream cheese in a mixing bowl and beat until blended.
  3. Shape the cheese mixture into balls using a small melon baller and coat with the pecans.
  4. Arrange the balls on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Chill, covered, until serving time.
  5. Serve with sliced apples and/or grapes.

Makes 3 1/2 dozen truffles

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)

Cake
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

Glaze
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.

Party Mix

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Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1.5 hours

Level of Difficulty: Easy

Servings: 20

KITCHEN TOOLS:

  • Measuring  spoons
  • Wooden spoon
  • Mixing bowl
  • Large roasting pan or rimmed cookie sheet
  • Aluminum foil (optional)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 package Cheerios
  • 2 packages Rice Chex
  • 1 box “Slim Jim” stick pretzels
  • 3/4 pound butter (3 sticks)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic salt
  • 1 tablespoon celery salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Any kind of salted nuts (such as peanuts) (approximately 3 cups)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Gather kitchen tools and ingredients. Preheat oven to  250°. Break the pretzels in half. Using the microwave, melt the butter in a mixing bowl. Watch the butter carefully in the microwave as it can pop and make a mess!
  2. Pour the Cheerios and Rice Chex into a large roaster pan or rimmed cookie sheet and add the broken pretzels. Sprinkle with salt and garlic salt.
  3. Add the red pepper and Worcestershire sauce to the melted butter and mix.
  4. Pour the butter, red pepper, and Worcestershire sauce mixture over the cereals and pretzels.
  5. Cover the roasting pan (or use aluminum foil to cover if using a rimmed cookie sheet or if you do not have a lid) and bake at 250° for one hour, stirring every 20 minutes. Remove cover and bake for 30 minutes longer.
  6. Mix in any kind of salted nuts.
  7. Cool and store in an airtight container until ready to serve!
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Photography by Lauren De Witt

Baked Cauliflower

After a long day I am sometimes at a loss for what side dish to prepare to accompany my main dish. Last week I turned to my mother, a former Junior League member, for assistance. Of course she knew exactly what I needed based solely on her knowledge of the River Road Recipe books and what I told her I had in my kitchen. Below is the easy and crowd pleasing Baked Cauliflower that saved the day!

From River Road Recipes I, page 53.

IMG_8202.jpg

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Level of Difficulty: Medium

Servings: 4-6

KITCHEN TOOLS:

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Wooden spoon
  • Sauce pan
  • Small pot
  • Glass baking dish

INGREDIENTS:

prep.jpg

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pimento
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup buttered bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon grated cheese, or more to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Cook the whole cauliflower in boiling salt water for about 20 minutes. Drain and place in baking dish.

IMG_8196 (1).jpg

2. Melt Butter in small skillet. Add flour and stir until blended. Gradually add milk, stirring until smooth and thick. Add salt, pepper, pimento, and green onions. Blend.

sauce.jpg

3. Pour over cauliflower. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and grated cheese. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until slightly browned.

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Sparkling Cranberry Punch

Sparkling Cranberry Punch

The kids are out of school, alarms are turned off, and a refreshing punch is calling your name as you relax by the pool or feel the sand in between your toes at the beach. Start your summer off right with one of River Road Recipes I tried and true beverages. So bust out those sunglasses, throw down that towel, and grab you a drink. The ladies of River Road Recipes will help you make it through those hot summer months.

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 of 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.