Claire’s Chewy Chocolate Cookies

Claire’s Chewy Chocolate Cookies, RRR III, pg 224

With Valentine’s Day coming up, I thought I’d share a healthy treat to share with you and your loved ones. In case you didn’t know, RRR 3 is the healthy cookbook so I found some tasty chocolate cookies that will crave your sweet tooth!


  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs or 1/2 cup egg substitute
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups broken pecan pieces


Cream oil and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Blend well. Combine flour, cocoa, soda and salt and add to creamed mixture. Stir in pecans. Drop by teaspoonfuls on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes, being careful not to over-bake.

Yield- 7.5 dozen cookies.

My batch made much less though, but my cookies were larger.

Each cookie has 52 calories. This is significantly lower than any store bought candy. Here is a link for calorie comparison in candies as well as photos of my cookies!

Ernest’s Marinade for Crab claws

Ernest’s Marinade for Crab Claws, RRR 2, pg 168


  • 1 cup chopped green onions, tops and bottoms
  • 1 cup chopped celery, leaves and stalk
  • 4 pods garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 cups Spanish olive oil
  • 2 cups tarragon vinegar
  • Juice of 6 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper


Chop first four ingredients as fine as possible with French knife. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Let stand at room temperature for 48 hours. Marinate crab claws for 30 minutes before serving. This marinade is also excellent for boiled shrimp.

This is a great appetizer for the holidays coming up! Here are some more pictures below.

Adam’s Autumn Biscuits

Yay it’s finally fall! My favorite season! Since it’s fall, I decided it was time for some pumpkin! These would be great after game-day or even to serve at game-day!

Adam’s Autumn Biscuits, RRR 3, pg 97


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup margarine, chilled and cut into small bits
  • One 16 ounce can unsweetened pumpkin purée
  • 2 tablespoons 1% or less buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup white raisins
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

Instructions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, brown sugar, orange zest, cinnamon, and nutmeg into a mixing bowl. Using a pastry blender or food processor, cut the margarine into the four mixture until it resembles very coarse meal. Add pumpkin and raisins. Pat the dough into 1/2 inch thickness on a well-floured surface. Cut into using a floured 1 inch cutter. Place biscuits on baking sheet sprayed with vegetable oil cooking spray. Brush biscuits with milk and top with one teaspoon of brown sugar per biscuit.

Yield: 24 biscuits

I baked for about 18 minutes in the oven. The biscuits were a different consistency than I am used to, but very tasty! Great fall treat! Below are some pictures of the biscuits. Enjoy!

The Perfect Tailgate

With LSU football season coming up, I thought a tailgate post would be perfect! I have selected three items that would be great to bring to a tailgate! Geaux tigers!

Bill’s Fuzzy “Neighbors”


  • 6 ounces of orange juice concentrate
  • 7 ounces peach schnapps
  • One blender of crushed ice


  • Whirl all ingredients together in a blender and serve!
  • This made such a great drink! So tasty! I would double or triple this recipe for a larger party.

    Artichoke Dip


    • One 15 oz can of Progresso seasoned bread crumbs
    • 4 14 oz cans of artichoke hearts
    • 2 cups olive oil
    • Juice of 4 lemons (Realemon May be used)
    • 2 cups of grated Romano cheese
    • 4 pods of garlic, puréed
    • Red pepper to taste
  • Instructions:
  • Combine the bread crumbs, water from artichokes, lemon juice and olive oil. Put the artichokes hearts in the blender and blend on high speed until well blended. Add artichoke hearts to above mixture. Add cheese, garlic and red pepper. Put in a buttered 4 quart casserole and bake at 350 degrees 20 to 30 minutes until warm. This may be spooned into a chafing dish and served with Melba rounds. Delicious!
  • Yield: 4 quarts
  • This makes a TON of dip- I had two full pans of dip! This would be great for a larger party!

    Lastly, I selected On the Border Meatballs


    • 1 1/2 pounds of round, well-trimmed and ground beef
    • 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
    • 1/3 cup minced onion
    • 1/3 cup of skim/low fat milk
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
    • 1 teaspoon pepper
    • 2 egg whites of 1/4 cup of egg substitute
    • 1 tablespoon corn oil
    • 12 ounces light Velveeta cheese
    • One 4 ounce can green chilies, reserve liquid
    • One 1 1/2 ounce package of taco seasoning mix
    • 1 cup of water


    • In a bowl, mix the ground meat, bread crumbs, onion, milk, garlic powder, parsley, pepper and egg. Shape into 1 inch meatballs and cook in a nonstick skillet in oil until browned. Set the meatballs aside to drain on paper towels. Spoon off the fat and wipe the skillet clean. In the same skillet over low heat, mix the cheese, green Chile’s with liquid, taco seasoning mix and one cup of water until cheese melts. Return the meatballs to the skillet. Cover and simmer until heated through. Serve hot with toothpicks. The sauce can be used as a dip when the meatballs are gone.
    • Yield: 112 meatballs

    Low-Cal Bread Pudding

    Low-Cal Bread Pudding, RRR III, page 231, Photo by Teresa Day

    Bread Pudding. So, so yummy. Deep in history as a frugal way of making use of stale bread so there was no waste. That is part of our Creole and Cajun heritage here in Louisiana; make use of everything our bounty has to offer. The outcome are wonderful dishes such as: Gumbo, Jambalaya, Boudin, and Bread Pudding.

    Though Bread Pudding recipes date back centuries world wide, Louisiana is renown for its ever so many varieties of the dish. You would be hard pressed to find a restaurant here that doesn’t serve it as a dessert. The variations are endless with fruits, nuts, fruit cocktail, many different sauces, and other spices and indulgences.

    In River Road Recipes III: A Healthy Collection, we have a recipe for Low-Cal Bread Pudding, on page 231. It is tempting and delicious without the guilt with only 249 calories per serving! Try our recipe. We are sure that your family and guests will love having a touch of our Louisiana culture served to them with our healthy twist.

    We would like to extend a special thanks to the Photographer and Food Blogger, Teresa B. Day,, for the beautiful pictures.

    Low-Cal Bread Pudding, RRR III, page 231, Photo by Teresa Day

    Low-Cal Bread Pudding, RRR III, page 231, Photo by Teresa Day


    • 8 slices thin light white bread
    • 1 stick light margarine, melted
    • 1 cup egg substitute
    • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
    • 1 cup skim milk
    • Two 12-ounce cans evaporated skim milk
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 1/2 cup raisins
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


    Toast bread on both sides and crumble into small pieces. Put the crumbled bread into a 9×13-inch glass baking dish. Pour melted margarine over the crumbs. Beat together egg substitute and sugar; add milk and spices. Pour milk mixture over the crumbs; let stand until crumbs absorb some of the liquid. Stir in raisins and extract. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until light brown and set in the middle. Serve warm with a scoop of light whipped topping or top with a scoop of vanilla yogurt.

    Per Serving     249 Cal     5.3 Fat(g)     18% Fat Cal     1 Sat Fat(g)     3 Chol(mg)     218 Sod(mg)

    Yields 12 servings


    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.


    • 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


    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

    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.

    Laura Bellone: The Artist Behind The Art


    Raised in Louisiana with two artistic parents, it’s no surprise that Laura Bellone developed a passion for art and painting at an early age. Trained as a landscape architect, Laura continued to paint as a hobby until she felt inspired to open Petite Louisiane – small, affordable art that can fit anywhere in a home or office.  Laura paints what she feels is the most nostalgic connection for her and her clients: the sights and sounds of beautiful Southern Louisiana.  From boiled seafood to swamps and cypress trees, Laura’s art evokes what it feel’s like to be a part of the rich culture of southern Louisiana. We are excited to introduce you to her and hope that you will pick up a copy of the updated RRR III and one of Laura’s prints at Hollydays. 


    A little Q & A with Laura:

    Where did you attend college and what did you study?
    LSU, College of Landscape Architecture, BLA 2006

    How did you get started as an artist?
    I started taking art classes in high school but have always had a passion for drawing and painting even at a young age.    Both of my parents are teachers but also have an artistic side, so I grew up around the arts. Petite Louisiane was created a few years ago when I started painting miniature paintings as gifts.  My friends encouraged me to sell them at a local Mid-city event and it just took off from there.


    What inspires you?
    My surroundings: nature and the sights of everyday Louisiana life.  The illustrations for the cookbook depict iconic landmarks or scenes from southern Louisiana.  Everyone has a nostalgic connection to at least one of those places, so I wanted to help bring those memories to life.   I love to hear the stories clients tell me as they are buying or ordering a piece.  They will walk up and pick up a painting and tell me how it reminds them of a family home, grandparent, or just a great childhood memory.   I also keep affordability in mind; I want everyone to be able to enjoy the paintings so the majority of my original works ranges from $25- $50.  It’s bright pop of color that fits on a desk or shelf!

    How did you decide you wanted to partner with the Junior League to provide the artwork for RRR?
    A friend approached me with the idea for the project and I thought it would be a good way to challenge myself as an artist.  Once I spoke to League members about the theme they wanted to portray, I instantly knew the style of sketches I wanted to create for the book


    Do you have a favorite piece of art from the cookbook? If so, what is it and why?
    It is hard to pick just one.  I feel like every time I finished one if became my favorite until I completed the next one.  I pushed myself a little further with each image.

    What are some of your favorite dishes to make? 
    My favorite dish,  is one that I am still trying to perfect, my great grandmother’s Spaghetti and Meatballs.   She taught my grandmother, and my grandmother taught my mom and her sister, and then taught me and my sister.  I haven’t quite gotten it just right yet, but I’m close. All of my favorite dishes are ones from my childhood, from homemade baked macaroni to roast and daube.


    Who taught you to cook and what are some of your favorite memories around the kitchen?
    My mom, dad and grandmother taught me how to to cook.  My grandmother taught us the recipes passed down from her mother.   My dad liked to create dishes on the fly.   He rarely followed a recipe and went with his gut on what went into the dish,  it was always delicious and sometimes rather creative in presentation.

    What is your favorite River Road Recipe?
    Crawfish Étouffée


    We hope you have enjoyed reading more about Laura and viewing some of her incredible works of art. Visit her website and Instagram to see more. Don’t forget Hollydays is just around the corner!

    Chicken Teriyaki

    From River Road Recipes III, page 192

    Prep Time:  10 minutes

    Cook Time: 60 minutes, plus at least 8 hours refrigeration time

    Level of Difficulty: Easy

    Servings: 8


    • Measuring cups
    • Glass baking dish
    • Ziplock bag
    • Cutting knife and cutting board
    • Stirring spoon
    • Tongs


    • 1 cup saki
    • 3/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
    • 8 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
    • 2 onions, sliced
    • 4 skinless chicken breasts


    1. Combine first 5 ingredients for marinade. Cut whole chicken breasts into halves.
    2. Marinate over night, turning occasionally.
    3. Drain marinade and bake chicken at 350 degrees for 1 hours, basting occasionally.


    IMG_8634.JPGFullSizeRender 2.jpg

    *May substitute steaks for chicken

    Maximizing Flavor While Minimizing Your Health Risks

    Weight loss seems to be a topic of perpetual interest in our society. While we are bombarded daily with images of svelte models and fad diets, it can be easy to forget that the true goal is being healthy, not necessarily being thin. Unhealthy lifestyles lead to a variety of health issues, and unfortunately, this health crisis hits close to home. Baton Rouge is #1 in obesity in the country for cities of our size, and 1 in 3 children in Baton Rouge are obese.

    What is Obesity?

    Obesity it defined as having excess body fat. It is based on the Body Mass Index (BMI), which utilizes height and weight measurements. For adult men and women, a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is classified as overweight and a BMI larger than 30 is classified as obese. There is no absolute BMI that defines obesity in children; the CDC has standard reference charts (growth curves) depending on age. A BMI between the 85th and 95th percentiles is classified as overweight, and a BMI greater than the 95th percentile is classified as obese. Obesity affects all ages and increases risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and arthritis.  There isn’t one single cause for obesity; there are many contributing factors. Those include: genetics, environment, types of food eaten, lack of physical activity, medical conditions and side effects, and lack of access to fresh foods.


    Lack of access to fresh foods, like healthy nuts and fruits, can lead to obesity. Areas with little or no access to grocery stores, farmer’s markets, or healthy food providers are known as “food deserts” and can typically be found in impoverished areas. Photo by Lauren De Witt.

    Easy Tips for Cooking Light

    While there are many factors contributing to obesity, eating better is a cornerstone to living a healthier lifestyle and reducing health risks. Contrary to popular belief, eating healthier doesn’t mean sacrificing on flavor. In fact, River Roads Recipes III is entirely devoted to “lightening” some of our favorite dishes while preserving the tastes we have grown to love. Additionally, River Roads Recipes III  contains helpful tips throughout on how to reduce calories, fat, sodium, and cholesterol. A few of these tips are listed below and can be incorporated into any recipe to make it healthier:

    • Cut the Fat
      • Use leaner cuts of meat and trim all visible fat
      • Limit dairy fat by using alternative skim or low fat products
      • Remove the skin from poultry and game
    • Reduce Sugar
      • Use 1/4 less sugar than the recipe calls for
      • Try substituting 1 cup of sugar for 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce
      • Try substituting 1/2 cup of fruit juice concentrate in place of 1 cup of sugar
    • Prepare Food Differently
      • Bake, broil, roast, or grill rather than frying or pan searing
      • Use non-stick skillets to cut back on the fat and oil called for in the recipe
      • Use more spices and herbs to enhance flavor and reduce your use of oils and butter
      • Toast nuts to achieve more flavor from smaller portions

    Curried Chicken Salad with Mango Chutney, RRR III, p. 68

    This is a great, quick and easy healthy recipe from our River Road Recipes III cookbook. Note how the recipe cuts down on the calories and fat found in traditional chicken salad recipes by removing the chicken skin, toasting the chopped walnuts, and using low calorie mayonnaise and nonfat dairy substitutes, yet maintains great flavor by adding the curry powder and mango chutney.


    Curried Chicken Salad from RRRIII. Photo by Lauren De Witt

    • 1 pound skinless chicken, cooked, and cubed
    • 2 cups seedless grapes or golden raisins (I like to cut these in half)
    • 2-3 green onions, thinly sliced
    • 1/4 cup lightly toasted chopped walnuts
    • 1/4 cup low fat/low calorie mayonnaise
    • 1/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt
    • 1 teaspoon curry powder
    • Lettuce leaves
    • 4 tablespoons mango chutney

    In a bowl, combine the first 7 ingredients. Chill for 2-3 hours. Serve on lettuce leaves with mango chutney on the side. Serves 4.


    Mango chutney served with fresh mango slices. Photo by Lauren De Witt.

    *Nutrition Note: This recipe has 324 calories, 14.4 grams of fat, and 190 milligrams of sodium per serving. You can take the health benefits a step further by substituting the walnuts for 1/2 cup of chopped water chestnuts (this will reduce over 4 grams more fat per serving). You can also try using a fat free mayonnaise to trim an additional 4 grams of fat per serving.