Pecan Praline Bacon

Pecan Praline Bacon is nice to make for company for the holidays for a Christmas/New Year’s brunch!


  • 1 pound thick-slice bacon
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped


Arrange the bacon slices in a single layer in a shallow microwave-safe dish. Microwave on high for 5 minutes; drain. Transfer the slices to a rack in a large baking pan. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Mix the sugar and chili powder in a bowl and sprinkle over the bacon. Top with the pecans. Bake for 5 minutes longer or until brown and crisp. Drain the bacon Praline side up on paper towels.

Serves 6

Fool’s Toffee

If you visited our booth at Hollydays, you may have tasted Fool’s Toffee already and should know how awesome it is!! This is a great dessert for the Holidays or really any occasion!

Saltine crackers may seem like an unusual ingredient to use in a toffee recipe, but do not be “fooled” into thinking this is a mistake. This secret ingredient makes the toffee much lighter and crispier than using graham crackers. Teenagers love to make this candy. Makes a great gift for teachers, coaches and friends.


  • 36 to 40 saltine crackers (1 sleeve)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter
  • 1 cup of packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 to 1 cup chopped pecans


Line a 10 X 17 inch baking pan with foil and coat the foil with butter. Arrange the saltine crackers in a single layer with sides touching in the prepared pan. Combine 1 cup butter and brown sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil for 4 minutes, stirring constantly.

Pour the butter mixture over the crackers. Using a wooden spoon, spread the mixture evenly over the crackers. Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the chocolate chips and let stand for 2 minutes or until chocolate chips soften. Spread the chocolate evenly over the prepared layers using a knife or metal cake spatula. Sprinkle with the pecans and press lightly. Chill for 30 minutes or until set. Break into pieces and store in a covered container in the refrigerator.

Here are some photos of the finished dessert!

Orange Champagne Cocktail

This past Saturday I hosted a game-day/watch party for the LSU game. I selected the Orange Champagne cocktail drink for the crowd and it was a HIT; especially for a Day game!

Orange champagne cocktail, RRR 4, pg 97


  • 2 quarts Champagne, chilled
  • 2 quarts ginger ale, chilled
  • 1 quart of orange juice, chilled
  • 2 pints of fresh strawberries
  • Instructions:
    • Combine the champagne, ginger ale, and orange juice in a large pitcher and mix well. Pour into champagne flutes and top each serving with some of the sliced strawberries.
      Makes 15 (4 oz) servings

    Here are some photos of the drinks! They were so good and great for a party! I served with a platter of strawberries out for guests to add to their drinks.

    Adult Bento Lunch Box

    First off, I’ll explain what a Bento box is incase you are unaware like I was.

    Courtesy of Merian Webster:

    Definition of bento box: a multicompartment box used for containing the different courses of a usually Japanese lunch

    Here is a cute bento box I found at Albertsons locally in Baton Rouge

    The first item I have chosen is:

    Bagel Chips from RRR 3, pg. 258


    • 6 bagels
    • Non-stick butter flavored cooking spray


    Slice bagels as thin as possible, approximately 6 slices per bagel. Places slices on ungreased cookie sheet. Spray moderately with cooking spray. Add salt, onion, garlic, etc, if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

    Makes 18 servings of 2 chips.

    I have selected cinnamon sugar mini bagels and here is a picture of my bagels.

    To pair with the bagel chips, I have selected:

    Sweet cream cheese with peanuts

    RRR 3, pg. 30


    • 8 ounces of light cream cheese
    • 3/4 cup of brown sugar
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla
    • 1/3 cup of chopped dry roasted peanuts
    • 3 or more apples, cut into wedges


    Combine first three ingredients and mix together well. Gold in peanuts. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with slices of apple as a spread.

    Serving size: 25 servings of 1 apple wedge and 1 tablespoon dip

    Here is a picture of the spread.

    The last item I have chosen for the box is:

    Asian Chicken Wraps, RRR 4, pg 265



    • 1 cup canola oil
    • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons minced ginger root
    • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
    • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon cracked red pepper


    • 1 rotisserie chicken
    • 1 cup chopped cabbage
    • 1 cup chow Mein noodles
    • 1/2 cup shredded almonds
    • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
    • 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
    • 4 green onions chopped
    • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds toasted
    • 4-6 large tortilla wraps


    For the dressing, combine the canola oil, vinegar, ginger root, soy sauce, garlic, sugar and red pepper in a bowl and whisk until the sugar dissolves.

    I have added pictures of the ingredients below.

    Here is the minced ginger root.

    Here is the dressing mixed together.

    Now for the wraps, chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces, discarding the skin and bones. Combine the chicken, cabbage, noodles, almonds, bell peppers, green onions, and sesame seeds in a bowl and mix well. Add the dressing to the cabbage mixture and toss to coat. Spread the cabbage mixture over the tortillas and roll to enclose the filling. Wrap each roll individually in baking parchment paper and secure with tape. Cut each wrap diagonally into halves.

    Serves 4-6

    Here are the almonds and sesame seeds toasting. Be careful because the almonds are easy to burn! They should be light brown.

    This is what the mix should look like.

    Add the mix to the tortilla then close up the wrap!

    Here is the finished wrap.

    Here’s a few pictures of the bento box put together!

    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.

    JLBR and Galatoire’s Bistro Present: Tin Roof Beer Dinner

    Mark your calendars! River Road Recipes of Junior League Baton Rouge, Galatoire’s Bistro, and Tin Roof  Brewery are proud to present our first ever Tin Roof Beer Dinner!

    WHAT: Junior League of Baton Rouge and Galatoire’s Bistro Tin Roof Beer Dinner

    WHEN: Thursday, April 6th, 7 – 10 pm

    WHERE: Galatoire’s Bistro, Baton Rouge

    THE DEETSJoin the ladies of the Junior League of Baton Rouge for the perfect date night or girl’s night. Tickets are $100 per person and come with a complimentary copy of River Road Recipes IV: Warm Welcomes. You’ll enjoy an evening of fabulous brews handcrafted right here in Baton Rouge by Tin Roof Brewery and a delicious four course meal featuring recipes from River Road Recipes IV: Warm Welcomes! The best part? It’s all for a great cause.


    Purchase tickets here.


    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!

    A History of Spinach Madeleine

    It goes without saying that Spinach Madeleine is hands down one of the most famous recipes in the River Road Recipes cookbook series. In fact, Spinach Madeleine was named as one of the Century’s Best Recipes in an article that appeared in the Houston Chronicle in December 1999. For many Baton Rougeans, no holiday dinner would be complete without this delicious dish! In honor of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, we wanted to highlight the history of this iconic recipe.

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

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

    The recipe’s creator, Madeline Nevell Reymond, created this legendary recipe by accident.  She was a young and inexperienced cook when she decided to use up a jalapeno cheese roll that she had in her refrigerator by adding it to a spinach dish she was preparing for a ladies’ luncheon.  The result was a dish that became one the most popular special-occasion vegetable dishes in Louisiana.  This is evidenced every year by the empty freezers in the grocery stores at Christmas time after all the frozen spinach packages have been snatched up.


    When Kraft Foods decided to discontinue making the jalapeno cheese roll, which is called for in the recipe, hundreds of distraught cooks called Kraft Foods to protest.   The powers-at be at Kraft were amused by Louisiana’s devotion to their jalapeno cheese roll, but discontinued the product anyway.  Fortunately, the River Road Recipes committee developed a new version of Spinach Madeleine in 2000 so that cooks can still serve this outstanding dish. A lighter version of the recipe appears in River Road Recipes III: A Healthy Collection.


    The recipe is versatile and can be served alone or as a warm appetizer dip with toast points or crackers. Spinach Madeleine also freezes well, so it can be made in advance of hectic holiday dinners! To make sure you have this holiday classic at your Thanksgiving table this year, check out the recipe here!

    Member Spotlight: Hosting a Cocktail Party with Meghan Poole

    No matter what political party you belong to, one party we can all agree on is a cocktail party! In honor of the upcoming election, Junior League member Meghan Poole shares with us some tips and tricks from a political campaign reception she and her husband recently hosted at their home. Meghan used the Cocktail Meet & Greet Menu on page 56 of River Road Recipes IV: Warm Welcomes and had rave reviews from her guests. Whatever get-together you may be having, political or otherwise, these recipes are sure to get bipartisan support!

    Junior League member Meghan Poole.

    Junior League member Meghan Poole.

    Cocktail Meet & Greet Menu

    My husband, Lamar, and I hosted a small reception for a friend who is running for a City Council seat. We had a similar reception last year for a state representative and used this menu then. The food was such a hit, that we prepared the recipes for a second time. Because our party was at six o’clock in the evening, dinner time, and guests made a contribution to attend, we supplemented the food with gumbo and rice from Pot & Paddle, and some sliced ham and rolls.

    Meghan with her family on vacation.

    Meghan with her family on vacation.

    I prepared the turkey meat for the Toasted Canapés about a week in advance by boiling turkey legs and boneless/skinless breast in water seasoned with salt, pepper, onion, carrot, green bell pepper, celery, bay leaf and a few shakes of tobacco. I froze the broth and chopped meat in one cup portions to use in other recipes later.

    I made the Blue Cheese Truffles, Pralines and Bourbon Pecan Tartlets in advance, and stored them in the freezer until the day of the party.

    The party was on a Monday evening, so we spent Sunday afternoon preparing most of the food. I did the grocery shopping the day before on Saturday. There was nothing that had to be cooked the day of the party, which was a lifesaver. We both work full time, so cooking the day of was not an option.

    I chopped two bunches of green onions before I started preparing the food, and that was enough for everything.

    For the most part, these recipes are easy to follow and prepare. The most difficult recipes to cook  were the Toasted Canapés and the pralines because they require constant attention at the stove. Leaving them for just a small amount of time can cause them to burn.

    Meghan enjoying an afternoon with her two sons.

    Meghan enjoying an afternoon with her two sons.

    Crowd favorites were the Crawfish Supreme, Crabmeat Green Goddess and Citrus-Glazed Sausage. The Southern Antipasto recipe doesn’t make a lot, but it’s the least popular dish on the menu. The Blue Cheese Truffles are great because they are small, rich and flavorful. They are easy for guests to pop in their mouths and pair perfectly with a glass of wine.

    Southern Antipasto

    The Southern Antipasto was the easiest item on the menu to make. I cut the green beans into two pieces each before blanching. I sliced one type of olives lengthwise and the other crosswise. My garlic press also has a slicer on it, so it was easy to get the garlic to a consistent size. Three tablespoons of thyme takes a while to get, so I used an herb stripper to make the process go faster. I prepared the marinade the day before the party in a plastic container with a lid. I combined the rest of the ingredients in the quart-sized bag as indicated in the recipe. I poured the marinade in the bag about 2 hours before the party, then into a serving bowl when I was ready to serve it without draining the marinade.

    My son loves olives, and he requested to take the leftovers to school in his lunchbox.

    Southern Antipasto, RRR IV, p. ___. Photo by Meghan Poole.

    Southern Antipasto, RRR IV, p. 57. Photo by Meghan Poole.


    • 1 (12-ounce) jar pickled okra, drained and rinsed
    • 1 cup fresh green beans, blanched and drained
    • 1/4 cup pitted kalamata olive halves
    • 1/4 cup pitted green olive halves
    • 1/4  cup pimento-stuffed olives
    • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
    • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
    • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/2 teasoon crushed dried red pepper


    1. Combine the okra, green beans, and olives in a 1-quart resealable plastic bag.
    2. Whisk the lemon juice, olive oil, thyme, garlic, salt, and red pepper in a bowl.
    3. Pour the lemon juice mixture over the okra mixture and seal tightly. Turn to coat.
    4. Marinate in the refrigerator for up to 1 hour, turning every 15 minutes. Drain before serving.

    Serves 12

    Blue Cheese Truffles

    I made the cheese balls about a week before the party and stored them in a plastic container in the freezer with each layer separated with a piece of waxed paper. The morning of the party, I placed them in the refrigerator and they were perfect that evening. The recipe call for 3 cups of pecans, but 2 to 2.5 is enough. I have a lot of leftover pecans. I put the blue cheese and cream cheese in my stand mixer and let it do the work. I used the small end of my melon baller to make them, but will use the larger end next time. They were a bit too small for my liking. I sliced green apples about four hours before the party and put them in a quart-sized bag in the refrigerator with about 2-3 teaspoons of lemon juice to prevent browning.

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

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


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


    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

    Toasted Canapés

    I couldn’t find pumpernickel rye bread at the grocery store, so I used dark rye bread. The recipe calls for 24 slices of bread, so I bought two loaves. I sliced the crusts off of the loaves and cut each piece into two triangles using an electric knife. One loaf of bread would have been sufficient because there wasn’t enough filling to go on each toast triangle. I cut the bread the afternoon of the party and stored it in gallon-sized bags until I was ready to make the toast triangles. I prepared the turkey mixture the day before the party and heated it in the microwave when I was ready to top the toast. The recipe was spicier and more flavorful than I’d expected, and I was pleasantly surprised with how it turned out. I served the canapés in a chaffing dish to keep them warm.

    Toasted Canapes, RRR IV, p. ___. Photo by Meghan Poole.

    Toasted Canapes, RRR IV, p. 58. Photo by Meghan Poole.


    • 24 slices pupernickel party rye bread, cut into triangles
    • 3 tablespoons butter
    • 3 tablespoons flour
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1/2 cup  (2 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
    • 1 cup chopped cooked turkey
    • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper
    • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
    • 6 slices bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled


    1. Arrange the bread slices in a single layer on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 500° for 3 to 4 minutes until crisp.
    2. Heat butter in a saucepan over low heat. Stir in the flour.
    3. Cook until smooth and bubbly, stirring constantly.
    4. Add the milk gradually, stirring constantly.
    5. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly.
    6. Add the Cheddar cheese adn cook until blended, stirring constantly.
    7. Stir in the turkey, mushrooms, salt, and red pepper.
    8. Spoon some of the turkey mixture onto each toasted bread slice.
    9. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese adn bacon.
    10. Bake at 500° for 2 to 3 minutes or until the cheese melts.
    11. Garnish with grape tomato slices and fresh chives.

    Makes 2 dozen canapés

    Crawfish Supreme & Crabmeat Green Goddess

    Both of these recipes are served over a layer of cream cheese. I spread the cream cheese over the trays the day before the party, covered them with wax paper and set them in the refrigerator. When it was time to set the table for the party, I just spread the toppings over the cream cheese. They were both cold when served. I used Melba toast for the crawfish instead of preparing my own toast using French bread. I bought lump crabmeat and not jumbo lump crabmeat.

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

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


    • 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


    1. Arrange the rbead 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.
    8. Roll or pat the cream cheese to cover the platter.
    9. Discard the waxed paper and spread with the crawfish mixture.
    10. Serve with the toasted bread slices.

    Serves 10-12

    Crabmeat Green Goddess, RRR IV, p. ___. Photo by Meghan Poole.

    Crabmeat Green Goddess, RRR IV, p. 59. Photo by Meghan Poole.


    • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
    • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
    • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise or cream
    • 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
    • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
    • Salt and black pepper to taste
    • Red pepper to taste
    • Tabasco sauce to taste
    • Lemon juice to taste
    • 1 cup mayonnaise
    • 1/2 cup sour cream
    • 1/3 cup finely chopped parsley
    • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 1 garlic clove, crushed
    • 1 pound lump crab meat, drained and shells removed


    1. Beat the cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl until blended, scraping the bowl occasionally.
    2. Stir in 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, green onions, 2 crushed garlic cloves, salt, black pepper, red pepper, Tabasco sauce, and lemon juice to taste.
    3. Spread the cream cheese mixture 1/2 inch thick on a serving tray. Chill, covered in the refrigerator.
    4. Combine 1 cup mayonnaise, sour cream, parsley, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and 1 crushed garlic clove in a bowl and mix well. Season with salt, black pepper, red pepper, and Tabasco sauce.
    5. Fold in the crab meat.
    6. Spread the crab meat mixture over hte cream cheese mixture just before serving.
    7. Garnish as desired and serve with assorted party crackers.

    Serves 12

    Citrus-Glazed Smoked Sausage

    Sausage is always a party favorite, especially in South Louisiana! Veron’s Sausage is my family’s favorite, so that’s the brand served at the party. The day before the party, I followed the first two steps of the recipe, where the sausage was microwaved twice. I poured the marinade over the sausage, but didn’t return it to the microwave. Before the party began, I microwaved the sausage to heat it up, then poured everything into a chaffing dish for serving. This is the only recipe I doubled.

    Citrus Glazed Smoked Sausage, RRR IV, p. ___. Photo by Meghan Poole.

    Citrus Glazed Smoked Sausage, RRR IV, p. 60. Photo by Meghan Poole.


    • 1 pound smoked sausage, thinly sliced
    • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
    • 6 to 8 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1/4 cup lemon juice
    • 3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


    1. Combine the sausage and green onions in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave, covered, on High for 2 minutes; stir. Microwave for 1 minute longer.
    2. Whisk the oil, lemon juice, dry mustard, salt and pepper in a bowl until blended.
    3. Add the oil mixture to the sausage mixture and mix well.
    4. Microwave until just heated through.
    5. Serve with wooden picks. You may prepare in advance and reheat just before serving.

    Serves 12

    Microwave Pralines

    I’ve tried to make this recipe more than once, and the pralines never turn out. I even burnt up a plastic bowl once trying to make these. Because microwaves are each a bit different, it’s difficult to develop a perfect recipe for them, especially for pralines because the temperature makes or breaks their success. My go-to praline recipe is Senator Ellender’s Creole Pralines on page 178 of RRR II, which I prepared for my River Roads obligation my provisional year. My cooking thermometer indicates when the temperature reaches “soft balls,” so I don’t have to throw cold water on the praline mixture to judge if they are ready or not. I prepared the pralines 5 days before the party and stored them in the freezer with each layer separated by a sheet of waxed paper. They thawed perfectly on the counter. There was no need to freeze them that close to the day of the party, but my family and I would have gobbled them up otherwise!

    Bourbon Pecan Tartlets and Microwave Pralines, RRR IV, p. ___. Photo by Meghan Poole.

    Bourbon Pecan Tartlets and Microwave Pralines, RRR IV, p. 61. Photo by Meghan Poole.


    • 1 (16-ounce) package light brown sugar
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
    • 2 cups pecan pieces
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


    1. Combine the sugar and heavy crea in a microwave-safe bowl and mix well. Microwave on high for 7 minutes; stir.
    2. Add the butter. Microwave on High for 7 minutes longer and stir vigorously.
    3. Stir in the pecans and vanilla.
    4. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Let stand until set.

    Serves 12

    Bourbon Pecan Tartlets

    I prepared one and a half times the filling called for in the recipe because I had extra shells. The pastry shells are sold in packs of 15, so I had 45 when the recipe makes 3 dozen. I made these the same day as the blue cheese truffles, so they too went in the freezer with each layer separated by waxed paper. I thawed these on the counter top next to the pralines.

    My son and I had fun making these together. He placed the chocolate pieces in each pastry shell, then proceeded to eat several just to make sure that they were okay!


    • 36 frozen minature phyllo pastry shells
    • 1/2 cup (3 ounces) minature semisweet chocolate chips
    • 1 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted
    • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
    • 1/3 cup bourbon
    • 1 egg, lightly beaten


    1. Arrange the pastry shells in a single layer on a lightly greased 10×15 inch baking sheet.
    2. Spoon the chocolate chips evenly into the shells.
    3. Combine the pecans, brown sugar, butter, bourbon and egg in a bowl and mix well.
    4. Spoon the pecan mixture into the prepared shells.
    5. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
    6. Remove to a wire rack to cool. store in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 1 month.

    Makes 3 dozen tartlets

    Pecan Pie Muffins

    Nothing says “Welcome to the South” better than a delicious pecan dessert.  Pecan pie muffins, found in River Road Recipes IV: Warm Welcomes, page 100, are a unique variation to the typical assortment of muffins.  With the many celebrations of fall and winter quickly approaching these tasty muffins will be a southern addition to your holiday celebrations or just perfect to enjoy with a cup of café au lait on a cool fall morning.  Be sure to stop by the River Road Recipes tent at Alexander’s Market on Sunday, October 2 to sample a pecan pie muffin and purchase your own River Road Recipes cookbook to add this and other fabulous recipes to your own collection.

    Photo by Kimberly Brewster.

    Photo by Kimberly Brewster.

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook Time: 20 to 25 minutes

    Level of Difficulty: Easy

    Servings: 2 to 2 and 1/2 dozen


    • Measuring cups and spoons
    • Wooden spoon
    • Mixing bowl
    • Electric mixer (optional)
    • Cookie sheet


    • 1 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1 cup chopped pecans
    • 1/2 cup flour
    • 2/3 cup butter, melted
    • 2 eggs


    1. Mix the brown sugar, pecans, and flour in a bowl.
    2. Whisk the butter and eggs in a separate bowl until blended.
    3. Pour the butter mixture into the brown sugar mixture and stir just until moistened.
    4. Fill greased or paper-lined muffins cups 2/3 full.
    5. Bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes or less.  Serve warm.