1 Tbsp butter

1 tsp olive oil

1 lb. ground chuck

1/3 green bell pepper, minced

1/2 large yellow onion, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp tomato paste

2/3 cup ketchup

1/3 cup water

1 Tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp yellow mustard

3/4 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tsp salt


Heat butter and oil in large skillet, over MEDIUM heat.  Add beef and brown, breaking apart into crumbles as it cooks, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to colander to drain.

Add onion and bell pepper to same skillet and cook 2-3 minutes, until soft.  Add garlic and cook 30 seconds or so, until fragrant.  Add beef back to the skillet and add tomato paste.  Stir well.

Add ketchup, water, brown sugar, mustard, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, salt, red pepper flakes (if using), and black pepper.  Stir well to combine.

Cook over MEDIUM heat for 10-15 minutes, until mixture has thickened to your liking.  Remove from heat and serve over toasted buns.

Hot Corn Chili Dip (The Pioneer Woman)



5 ears fresh corn, shucked
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapenos, seeded and diced finely
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 cans diced green chilies
1 1/2 cups grated pepper-jack cheese
8 ounces cream cheese, softened.
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
3 green onions, sliced thin.
Tortilla chips or pita crisps, for serving


Heat a grill on medium heat. Grill the corn until lots of the kernels have color. Cut off the kernels and set aside.
If serving immediately, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, jalapenos, onions and green and red bell peppers. Cook for a few minutes, until the peppers get great color on the outside. Add the chiles and stir for 30 seconds. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine 1 cup of the pepper-jack, the cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream and green onions and stir until combined. Add the corn mixture and stir to combine thoroughly. Pour into a small baking dish. Bake immediately, or cover with foil and refrigerate up to 48 hours.
Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup cheese over the top and bake until bubbly, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips or pita crisps.

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

gumbo chicken and sausage


1 lb. Andouille Sausage, cut into ¼” thick slices

4 Skinned Bone-in-Chicken Breasts

Vegetable Oil

¾ Cup All Purpose Flour

1 Medium Onion, chopped

½ Green Bell Pepper, chopped

2 Celery Ribs, sliced

2 Quarts Hot Water

3 Garlic Cloves, minced

2 Bay Leaves

1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

2 tsp Creole Seasoning

½ tsp Dried Thyme

½ to 1 tsp Hot Sauce

4 Green Onions, sliced

Hot Cooked Rice

Garnish: Chopped Green Onions



Cook the sausage in a Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until browned.  Drain on paper towels; reserve drippings in Dutch oven.  Set sausage aside.

Cook chicken in reserved drippings in Dutch oven over medium heat 5 minutes or until browned.  Drain on paper towels; reserve drippings in Dutch oven.  Set chicken aside.

Add enough vegetable oil to drippings in the Dutch oven to measure ½ cup.  Add flour and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 20 to 24 minutes or until roux is chocolate colored.

Stir in onion, bell pepper, and celery, and cook, stirring often, 8 minutes or until tender.  Gradually add 2 quarts of hot water and bring mixture to a boil.  Add the chicken and the garlic along with the next 5 ingredients.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer stirring occasionally, 1 hour.  Remove chicken; cool.

Add sausage to the gumbo and cook another 30 minutes.  Stir in the sliced green onions; cook 30 more minutes.

Bone chicken and cut meat into strips.  Return the chicken to gumbo.  Simmer 5 minutes.  Remove and discard bay leaves.

Remove gumbo from heat.  Serve over hot cooked rice.


Why are Moon Pies Thrown from Parade Floats for Mardi Gras?

Moonpies Mardi Gras

Throwing Moon Pies originally began in Mobile, AL, where they are still the catch of choice for the parades there. Why a Moon Pie? A lot of people that aren’t that familiar with the Mobile style should know that before 1974, food has always been involved as a throw ever since 1949, when Crackerjacks, (peanuts and caramel nuggets) were throw by a lot of krewes as a treat for the revelers. Crackerjacks, were brought about because of the cheap alternative it presented to beads.

However, people kept getting beaned with the end of those rectangular boxes that the treats came in, and those box ends were hard and sharp. Sensing something needed to be done the mobile city official banned the candied popcorn as a throw about 1972.

The first to throw moon pies were the krewe of “Maids of Mirth” in 1974 as an alternative to the recently banned boxes of cracker jacks. Soon other krewes were following the action as the throw caught on.

Moon Pie is a trademarked name of the Chattanooga bakery in Tennessee. These are still wrapped in the colorful package. That bakery still put out the original moonpies which are still ordered by some. There are, however, other companies, out there, that sell other styles and brands of moon pies to the krewes by literally the ton. These should be called Mardi Gras pies.

The Chattanooga Bakery began making moon pies in 1916. They first came in graham cracker cookies with a marshmallow center. Now, the famed cookies come in chocolate, banana, coconut, orange and vanilla.

Mardi Gras pies are smaller than the original pies and come in a silver wrapper, often with an organization’s emblem on the wrapper. Mardi Gras pies come now in strawberry, and apple.




If you’ve never been to New Orleans, you can still get a taste of its cuisine with our recipe for New Orleans Beignets from scratch, the official state doughnut of Louisiana.


1 cup lukewarm water

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 large egg, room temperature and beaten

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1/2 cup evaporated milk

4 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons instant active dry yeast

Vegetable oil for deep frying*

Powdered (confectioner’s) sugar for dusting

* Use just enough vegetable oil to completely cover beignets while frying – approximately 2 inches deep in the pan.


Using a Stand-Up Mixer with a dough hook, place water, sugar, salt, egg, butter, evaporated milk, flour, and yeast in the bowl. Beat until smooth. Remove dough from bowl and turn out onto a lightly-oiled surface. Form dough into an oval, place in a lightly-greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until well chilled (3 to 4 hours) or overnight.

Remove the prepared dough from the refrigerator and roll out on a lightly-floured board to 1/2-inch thickness. Using a sharp knife, cut dough into approximately 3-inch squares, triangles, or circles (your choice); set aside. In a deep fryer or large pot, heat vegetable oil to 360 degrees F.

Slide the dough pieces slowly into the hot oil (this is to avoid splattering) and fry the beignets (2 or 3 at a time) approximately 2 to 3 minutes or until they are puffed and golden brown on both sides; turning them in the oil with tongs once or twice to get them evenly brown. The beignets will rise to the surface of the oil as soon as they begin to puff.  NOTE: If the beignets don’t rise to the top immediately when dropped into the oil, the oil is not hot enough. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.

While the beignets are still warm, sprinkle heavily with powdered sugar. An easy way to coat the hot beignets in powdered sugar is to place the powdered sugar an a clean bag. Add the beignets to the bag, hold bag close and shake to coat evenly.

Serve while still warm. The dough can be kept for up to 1 week in the refrigerator – it actually improves with age; just punch down when it rises. Dough can also be frozen; cut and roll, or shape doughnuts before freezing.)

Étouffée: A Cajun Classic



2 pounds unpeeled, medium-size raw shrimp*

1/4 cup butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

2/3 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper

1/4 cup chopped celery

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 (14-oz.) can chicken broth

1/3 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup chopped green onions

1 tablespoon low-sodium Creole seasoning

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

1 (16-oz.) container fresh crabmeat, drained and flaked

5 cups hot cooked long-grain rice

Garnish: chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Peel shrimp; devein, if desired.

Melt butter with oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat; stir in flour, and cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until caramel colored. Add chopped onion, green pepper, and celery; cook, stirring constantly, 4 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add minced garlic and sauté 1 minute.

Stir in chicken broth, white wine, and next 6 ingredients, and cook, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Add shrimp. Cover; reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.

Stir in crabmeat; cook, stirring often, until thoroughly heated.

Spoon shrimp mixture into individual serving bowls. Spoon hot cooked rice on top of shrimp mixture. Garnish, if desired.

*2 (16-oz.) packages frozen unpeeled, raw shrimp, thawed according to package directions, may be substituted.

Shrimp Po Boy



1 pound medium shrimp, shelled, deveined and with tails removed

3/4 cup fine cornmeal

3/4 cup flour

1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, beaten

Peanut oil for frying

1/2 head iceberg lettuce, shredded

2-3 tomatoes, sliced about 1/4 inch thick

4 small French sandwich rolls


1/4 cup mustard, preferably Creole mustard

1 1/4 cups mayo

2 teaspoons prepared horseradish

1 teaspoon pickle juice or vinegar

1 teaspoon hot sauce

1 large garlic clove, minced and smashed

1 Tbsp sweet paprika

1-2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning


If you are making your own remoulade, mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and set aside for 30 minutes or so; you don’t have to wait that long, but the sauce will be better over time.

Pour enough peanut oil in a large frying pan to come up about 1/4 inch, and set the pan over medium-high heat until a small amount of flour sizzles immediately when you drop some in.





1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch cubes

1 pound Johnsonville® Polish Kielbasa Split Rope Sausage, cut into 1/4-inch


2 cups chicken stock

1 large green pepper, chopped

1 cup chopped sweet onion

2 celery ribs, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons Creole seasoning

1 teaspoon seafood seasoning

1 teaspoon pepper

1 pound uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 cups uncooked instant rice


Place the first 10 ingredients in a 5-qt. slow cooker. Cook, covered, on low 3-4 hours or until chicken is tender.

Stir in shrimp and rice. Cook, covered, 15-20 minutes longer or until shrimp turn pink and rice is tender.


Muffaletta Flatbread Mardi Gras


For the red pepper pesto

1/2 cup roughly chopped roasted red peppers, drained and patted dry

1 tablespoon capers, rinsed

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra

2 tablespoons toasted walnuts

For the olive salad

1/2 cup green olives

1/2 cup black olives

1/4 cup chopped sweet cherry peppers

1/4 cup chopped pickled vegetables

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried Italian herb blend

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

For the flatbreads

20-ounce ball pizza dough, room temperature

2 1/2 ounces sliced salami, cut into thin strips

3 ounces sliced provolone cheese, cut into thin strips


Heat the oven to 500 F. Lightly coat 2 baking sheets with vegetable oil or cooking spray.

To make the pesto, in a food processor combine the roasted red peppers, capers, olive oil and the walnuts. Pulse until very finely chopped, then transfer to a bowl.

To make the olive salad, in the food processor (no need to clean it) combine both olive varieties, the cherry peppers, pickled vegetables, garlic, pepper, Italian herbs and red pepper flakes. Pulse until roughly chopped. The pieces should be no bigger than a 1/4 inch.

Divide the dough into 6 pieces. Stretch or roll the dough into long, thin ovals, about 4-by-9 inches. Arrange the dough on the prepared baking sheets and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

If needed, stretch out the dough ovals again. Lightly brush each piece of dough with olive oil. Top each with alternating stripes of pesto and olive salad across the dough, then top with strips of salami and provolone. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the dough is crisp and the flatbreads are lightly browned. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.

Olive Salad

Olive Salad Sandwich Mardi Gras



1 (1-quart) jar mixed pickled vegetables

1 purple onion, quartered (optional)

1 (16-ounce) jar pitted green olives, drained

2 (2 1/4-ounce) cans chopped ripe olives, drained

1/4 cup chopped pepperoncini peppers

2 tablespoons capers

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 cup olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 (7.25-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and coarsely chopped (optional)


Drain pickled vegetables, reserving 1/4 cup liquid.

Pulse pickled vegetables, onion, if desired, and next 10 ingredients in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Stir in reserved vegetable liquid and, if desired, roasted red peppers; cover and chill 8 hours. Chill leftover mixture up to 2 weeks.

Serve on top of your favorite meats and cheese in toasted bread.

Note: I used mixed pickled vegetables that contained cauliflower, onion, carrot, pepper, and celery.