Catfish Courtbouillon

My cousin Ali and I made the most scrumptious cajun dish – catfish courtbouillon.  We subbed  snapper for the catfish since Ali had some on hand she had caught.  I don’t say upgrade because I lurrrve me some catfish.  But it was super delicious with snapper, too.

My go-to chef for cajun dishes is John Folse (followed by Donald Link).  His website has so many recipes.  We used his Catfish Courtbouillon recipe with some adjustments.  It is written rather confusingly.  But, it still turned out great!

A cajun courtbouillon is a fish stew that starts off with a roux, to which you add veggies and fish.  Yes, I know “fish stew” does not sound like the kind of dish you are just dying to run out and make ASAP.  But, trust me, this is an awesome, basic, hug your belly kinda recipe.  Served over rice, it is comfort in a bowl.

It is quite pretty, too, especially for the holidays – look at that red and green.

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Ingredients

  • 1 (3-5 pound) catfish – filleted and cut into small pieces of fish, reserving bones and excess parts for stock
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 tbsps chopped garlic
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • juice of one lemon
  • 3 bay leaves
  • pinch of thyme
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • salt and red pepper to taste
  • Excess ingredients for stock: one cubed onion, one stalk of celery, 2 bay leaves, 1 T peppercorns


Fillet the catfish and cut into two inch square cubes. Place the bones and head in a pot with one gallon of water, one cubed onion, one stalk of celery, 2 bay leaves and a tablespoon of peppercorns. Bring to a rolling boil and cook 30 minutes, skimming the impurities that rise to the surface. Strain and reserve 3 quarts for the courtbouillon.

In a large dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add flour and using a wire whip stir constantly until dark brown roux is achieved – at medium heat.

If you have never made a roux before, it is really quite simple.  Just constantly stir to ensure it does not burn.  If you are making your first roux, just lower the heat.  This will make your roux take longer but will make you less stressed about it burning.  When it becomes that perfect dark brown (darker than peanut butter), it is done.  Have your veggies handy to add once it is perfectly cooked so you don’t get distracted and burn it at this point.  Also, seriously use a whisk.  It helps more evenly stir and prevents splatter – you can get a serious roux burn.  Ask a south Louisiana woman to see her roux burns.  My mom has aplenty.

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Add onions, celery, bell peppers, garlic and sauté until vegetables are wilted, approximately 3-5 minutes.

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Add tomatoes and tomato sauce and continue to sauté. Add fish stock, one ladle at a time, until all is incorporated.  I found 3 quarts was a bit excessive.  You may want to put a little less.  Too much stock was remedied by just boiling it for longer so the stew thickened while water evaporated, but if you don’t have time to let it boil awhile, just add less stock.

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Add lemon juice, bay leaves, and thyme. Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce to simmer. Season to taste – we added some salt, red pepper, and Tabasco.  Allow to cook approximately 30 minutes. Add green onions and season to taste again. Drop cubed catfish fillets into the sauce, allow to cook 3 minutes then remove from heat. Adjust seasonings if necessary.

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Serve over white rice.

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No Prep Crock Pot Roast

I wanted to make another easy crock pot recipe.  Specifically, I was really craving a roast beef sandwich, so I went on a search for an easy roast in the crock pot.  I kept seeing this “three envelope” roast recipe everywhere.  Basically, you pour three packets of seasoning on the roast and that’s it.  I am pretty sure this is the best roast you can make with such little work.

Be careful with the quantity of seasoning you use – a lot of the complaints on the various sites I checked out regarded salt content.  If you follow my quantities, it should not be overly salty.  In fact, I added some finishing salt to my serving.

I just added a bag of mini carrots to my roast.  But you can also add onion and potatoes and whatever else you want.  Red wine and mushrooms for a French spin?

I served this on a toasted hoagie with a little mayo and Tabasco.  It was so good!  Leftovers were served over rice.  If you go the rice route, I suggest thickening your gravy at the end on the stovetop with a cornstarch slurry.

No Prep Crock Pot Roast

  • 3 pound boneless beef chuck roast
  • 1 (.87 ounce) packet less sodium brown gravy mix
  • 1 (.6 ounce) packet zesty italian salad dressing mix
  • 1 (1.0 ounce) packet ranch dressing mix
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • veggies: carrots, onions, potatoes, etc…

Place veggies in the bottom of the crock pot.  Mix the three packets together.  Rub on the roast and place roast in crock pot. Pour the water around the roast (don’t pour on top, which will wash off the “rub”.)  Add rest of seasoning (if you have any left) to water.  Cook on low until the roast is easily pierced by a fork, around 6-8 hours.

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Also, you can freeze leftovers!

Cilantro Verde Enchiladas

I made the yummiest enchiladas for dinner!  I went on a search for a recipe featuring cilantro since Geoff loves cilantro and found this.  It was perfect.  I used a rotisserie chicken, so there was minimal prep work.  It also calls for canned salsa verde rather than making your own, but you adjust it with your cilantro and seasonings.  So kind of semi-homemade.  Perfect for a weeknight meal.

I served these enchiladas with a side of refried black beans.  Mmmm.  These enchiladas are very filling.  Also, I froze four of the enchiladas before baking so we have another meal for another week!

Cilantro Verde Enchiladas

  • 1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups salsa verde (I used Herdez)
  • 1 medium-large onion, quartered
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and sliced (keep some seeds if you like heat)
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp salt or to taste (this will depend on the salsa verde you use)
  • 8 ounce cream cheese, softened
  • 10 tortillas
  • 4-5 cups diced or shredded cooked chicken (I just shredded a rotisserie chicken)
  • 2 cups monterey jack cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a blender combine onion, salsa, cilantro, garlic, jalapeno and salt. Blend until smooth. Stir in softened cream cheese and blend til combined. Pour half of the sauce over the chicken and stir until well coated. Reserve remaining sauce to pour over the enchiladas.

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Scoop about a 1/2 cup of chicken mixture in each tortilla, roll up and place side by side in a lightly greased 9×13 pan.  Pour reserved sauce over finished enchiladas and cover with tinfoil.

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If you are going to freeze some, freeze at this point.

Bake for about 30-35 minutes.  Remove foil and sprinkle evenly with shredded cheese. Bake uncovered for 10-15 more minutes.

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Crockpot Southwestern Chicken Chili

I made the yummiest crockpot dinner.  A chicken chili that is perfect for fall.  It is my favorite crockpot recipe to-date.  It is also the best chili I’ve made.

The chili has southwestern flavors, shredded chicken, and some added protein by way of quinoa.  No shame in saying I (and my husband) went back for seconds (edit: thirds for husband).  We are looking forward to the leftovers already.

Also, there is no prep work (unless you count draining liquid).  So obviously, it is crazy easy.

Crockpot Southwestern Chicken Chili – from Queen Bee Coupons

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of quinoa, rinsed
  • 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 2 16 oz cans of black beans, rinsed, drained
  • 15 oz can of corn, drained
  • 3 cups chicken stock (I used broth, which worked fine)
  • 2 large chicken breasts, frozen or thawed
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 tsp chili powder

Put all ingredients into slow cooker and stir to combine.  Cook for 6-8 hours on low, or 4-7 hours on high.  For frozen chicken, it will be on the higher end of time.  Shred the chicken with two forks (if it does shred easily, you will know it is done).

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Serve your chili  with your fave toppings – cheese, sour cream, etc…

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Enjoy!

Spicy Orange Pork Stir Fry

When I’m looking to cook something healthy with what I have on hand, I almost invariably cook Chinese food.  I have found the yummiest light Chinese recipes on Cooking Light’s website.  My favorite is the orange shrimp stir fry.  Well, I didn’t have shrimp or green onion for it, so I subbed it with pork and chopped onion, and it was still delicious.  I do think I prefer the shrimp, though.

Everyone is crazy about Sriracha now, but I love chile paste with garlic, which is like a concentrated version of Sriracha with red pepper flakes in it.  If you keep that, honey, ginger (which can be frozen), garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil on hand, you will always have the makings for a delish stir fry.

Spicy Orange Pork Stir Fry

  • 1 1/2 pounds of pork tenderloin or deboned pork chop, sliced into strips
  • 1 tablespoon of corn starch
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh juice from orange
  • zest of half an orange
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chile paste with garlic (such as sambal oelek)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

Sprinkle pork with cornstarch and toss well to coat. Set aside.

Combine juice, zest, soy sauce, honey, vinegar, and chile paste, stirring with a whisk; set aside.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion; sauté 3 minutes or until tender.  Add your pork, ginger, and minced garlic and saute around 6 minutes or until your pork is cooked through.  Add your juice mixture and cook around 2 minutes until the sauce thickens up.

Serve over rice or noodles!

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Lightened Chicken Nuggets and Roasted Butternut Squash Fries

So Geoffrey and I are attempting to eat healthier (some of the time).  We have both gotten carried away eating whatever we want here. Hey, I dieted for a wedding – I deserved the break.  Anyway, despite my attempt to eat healthier, I kept thinking of yummy fried food.  So I went in search of a healthy alternative.  For dinner, we had nuggets and fries, healthified!  Sometimes, you just wanna eat like a kid.  It was delicious and easy, and it felt like we splurged.  This is a super kid-friendly meal.

The squash fries really blew us away.  I’ve tried baking different kinds of fries before – regular potato, sweet potato, etc…  These butternut squash ones were my favorite at-home fries yet!!  Your kids will NOT miss the more starchy alternative and or the fried-ness.

We served both with low-sugar ketchup spiked with Tabasco.

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Lightened Chicken Nuggets – from skinny taste (if you want to eat healthy food, but not gross diet food, check out her website! It’s one of my go-to sites.)

Serves 2-3. Ingredients:

  • 16 oz skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into even, bite sized pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 6 tbsp whole wheat Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp panko
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • olive oil spray

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425°. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil spray.  Put the breadcrumbs, panko and parmesan cheese in a bowl and stir to combine.

Season your chicken with salt and pepper as desired and add your olive oil to chicken – mix thoroughly.

Add your oiled and seasoned chicken, a few chunks at a time, into your breadcrumb mixture.  Toss to coat.  Then put your chicken on your sprayed baking sheet.  Lightly spray the top of your chicken with olive oil spray.

Bake for 8-10 minutes.  Then, flip your chicken and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes – or until cooked through.

Roasted Butternut Squash Fries – found on Pinterest at this site

Serves 2-3.  Ingredients:
  • 1 3/4 pounds fresh whole butternut squash (approximately 2 small whole squash)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika (we substituted with cayenne pepper for some spice)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
Preheat oven to 400°F and line a sheet pan or two with parchment paper.

With a potato peeler, carefully peel the entire whole butternut squash of its skin.  Cut the top and bottom off of the squash, and then cut in half length wise.  Scoop out any and all seeds from inside and discard.

Cut squash into 1/3″ thick french fry pieces and add to a bowl.  The secret is to make them uniform so they cook evenly!! I cut them thin to cut down on cooking time.  Add your oil, salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder and mix to combine.

Spread fries on your sheet pans in one layer and bake 50-55 minutes, flipping the fries over half way through cooking to evenly brown. Check every 15-20 minutes to make sure they aren’t burning.  But to crisp these up, they should be neeeear burnt, so they aren’t soft.  The fries are done with they have crisped up and browned along the sides.  Serve immediately!

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

I used to make this recipe a good bit some years back, and I forgot about it for awhile.  My husband’s favorite foods are wings and pizza, so making this for him should have been a no-brainer.  But you have to hold out some of your tricks til later, amIright?  When I got some pizza dough at the farmer’s market, I knew immediately what I would make.  And it was deeelicious.  Perfect Friday night dinner date with a movie.   My husband turned to me and said, “I have the best wife EVER.”  Is there a better compliment than that?

Buffalo Chicken Pizza – found on Food Network

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 pound chicken breast cutlets
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 2 teaspoons grill seasoning, (recommended: McCormick Montreal Seasoning) eyeball it
  • 1 pizza dough, store bought or from your favorite pizzeria.  If you want to make your own dough, here is a very easy recipe. http://gottalittlespacetofill.blogspot.com/2009/09/roasted-garlic-pizza.html
  • Cornmeal or flour, to handle dough
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, eyeball it (optional)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons hot sauce, medium to spicy heat
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup favorite shredded cheese, a few generous handfuls – I used a mix from Trader Joe’s of mozz, monterey jack, and cheddar
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles (if you aren’t a fan – gasp – feta goes very well in this recipe, too)
  • 3 green onions
  • 2 stalks of celery

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Preheat grill pan to high.  Place chicken on a plate and drizzle extra-virgin olive oil over the chicken then season with grill seasoning.  When grill is hot, add chicken and cook about 3 minutes on each side.

Stretch dough to form pizza using cornmeal or flour to help you handle it.  Set pizza on pizza pan or baking sheet.

In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt butter and stir in Worcestershire (optional), hot sauce, and tomato sauce.  Taste and add more hot sauce if you want it spicier.

Remove the chicken from grill and thinly slice it.  Also, slice up your green onion and celery, keeping them separate.

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Cover the pizza dough with the sauce, then the sliced chicken, then the cheeses, and, finally, the green onions.

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Bake 18 minutes or until crisp.

After removing the pizza from the oven, top with the sliced celery!!  Enjoy!

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