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

 

 

Spinach Madeline: A Thanksgiving Tradition

Spinach Madeleine, the recipe that put the first Junior League of Baton River Road Recipes Cookbook on the map! This savory and bubbly warm dish is now a traditional favorite for family gatherings, potlucks and supper clubs all around our great state for over 50 years.

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The original Spinach Madeleine recipe is found on page 63 of River Road Recipes I: A Textbook of Louisiana Cuisine.

Spinach Madeleine can be served as a warm appetizer dip with toast points or cocktail crackers, as well as, a flavorful side dish complimentary to many main dishes. Remember, Spinach Madeleine also freezes well. So consider when preparing, double the recipe and freeze half.

This dish is also a good way to introduce spinach to those who might be reluctant to try green veggies. The blended flavors and spices are sure to please even the most doubtful of picky eaters.

The original recipe calls for a roll of 6 ounces of Jalapeno cheese. Kraft Foods no longer makes the product so we have substituted 4 ounces of Velveeta cheese, cubed, and 2 teaspoons of minced jalapenos!

Spinach Madeleine

  • 2 packages frozen chopped spinach
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onions
  • ½ cup evaporated milk
  • ½ cup vegetable liquor (the liquid reserved from cooking the spinach)
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon celery salt
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic salt
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 ounces Velveeta cheese, cubed
  • 2 teaspoons jalapeno, minced
  • Red pepper to taste

Cook spinach according to directions on package. Drain and reserve liquor. Melt butter in saucepan over low heat. Add flour, stirring until blended and smooth, but not brown. Add onion, and cook until soft but not brown. Add liquid slowly, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Cook until smooth and thick; continue stirring. Add seasonings, jalapenos, and cheese which has been cut into small pieces. Stir until melted. Combine with cooked spinach. This may be served immediately or put into a casserole and topped with buttered breadcrumbs. The flavor is improved if the latter is done and kept in the refrigerator overnight. This may also be frozen.

Serves 5 to 6.

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!

Red Stick Farmer’s Market

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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.

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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.

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

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.

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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:

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  • 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.

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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.

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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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Lemon Drop Cookies

This delicious, lemony dessert is found in River Road Recipes I on page 195. You can find lemon drops on the candy aisle of your grocery store or even at the gas station.

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Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Level of Difficulty: Medium

Servings: 3 dozen cookies

KITCHEN TOOLS:

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Wooden spoon
  • Mixing bowl
  • Electric mixer (optional)
  • Food processor
  • Mortar and pestle (optional)
  • Sifter
  • Cookie sheet

INGREDIENTS:

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Photo by Lauren De Witt.

  • 1/2 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups sifted flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup finely crushed lemon drops

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Gather kitchen tools and ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease cookie sheet. Using a food processor, process the lemon drops as much as possible. Use a mortar and pestle to grind the processed lemon drops further if necessary. Sift the flour.
lemon-drop-cookies-crushed-lemon-drops-e1474465291328.jpg

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

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Sifting the flour allows you to use less flour overall and makes for a lighter, fluffier cookie! Photo by Lauren De Witt.

2. Cream (mix) butter and sugar together using an electric mixer or by hand.

3. Add egg and lemon juice.

4. In a separate bowl, mix together the sifted flour, baking powder, salt, and lemon drops.

lemon-drop-cookies-dry-ingredients-e1474465304599.jpg

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

5. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and mix together.

6. Drop by 1/2 teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet.

7. Bake about 10 minutes, until sides begin to brown.

8. Cool slightly and remove from pan.

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Photo by Lauren De Witt.

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Photograph by Don Kadair

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.

 

 

Rosemary, Raspberry, and Coconut Lime Shortbread Cookies – Oh My!

I’ll admit it, I have never been a fan of Shortbread Cookies. I thought them plain and boring, a little dry and crumbly. That is, until my sister-in-law revolutionized my thinking! This simple cookie actually provides an elegant backdrop for a wide variety of flavors. With a few tricks and a little creativity, the Shortbread Cookie can be dressed up or down to fit any occasion, and might very well become your new favorite!

The Basics- Scotch Shortbread Cookies, River Road Recipes I, p. 199

This recipe from River Road Recipes I is the basic Shortbread Cookie that we are all familiar with.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sifted all purpose flour
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

Directions

  1. Sift flour; cream butter; gradually work in confectioners’ sugar, again creaming thoroughly. Sift in flour a little at a time, mixing quickly and lightly.
  2. Chill dough for thirty minutes in refrigerator.
  3. Roll out dough to thickness of 1/2 inch on lightly floured surface.
  4. Cut shortbread with deep cookie cutter and place cookies on ungreased baking sheet.
  5. Prick surface of cookies with prong of fork.
  6. Bake five minutes at 325°, and then turn oven down to 300° and bake 20-30 minutes longer.
  7. Cookies should be light in color, not brown at all – slightly tan on the bottom.
  8. If seasoned for a week or so in covered tin box and stored in cool spot, they become much better. Will keep indefinitely.

Variations

These variations to the above Scotch Shortbread Cookie recipe will take your shortbread cookies to new heights! I haven’t included specific measurements below as these variations are the result of trial and error, so just use your own judgment on what you think will taste good. Don’t be afraid to experiment!

Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

Add a rustic touch to the original Scotch Shortbread Cookie recipe by adding in several tablespoons of fresh chopped rosemary to the dough prior to chilling. Follow the remaining instructions as before.

Raspberry Thumbprint COokies

Make the scotch shortbread recipe as before, but instead of rolling thin and using a cookie cutter to form the cookies, roll the dough into small balls, then press your thumb into the middle of the ball to create an indentation. Spoon raspberry jam into the thumbprints and bake. After removing from the oven, mix a little confectioners’ sugar with water to make an icing and drizzle the icing over the top!

Coconut Lime Shortbread Cookies

This is probably my favorite variation, and the one my sister-in-law introduced me to. Follow the directions as before, but add coconut flakes to the dough prior to chilling. While the cookies are baking, mix confectioners’ sugar, water, and lime juice to taste together to make icing. The icing should be somewhat thick, so add additional confectioners’ sugar as needed in the event the icing becomes too watery. Once the cookies have cooled, spread the icing over the top. Finish by sprinkling lime zest over the tops of the iced cookies!

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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  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!