Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Pulled Pork Muffulettas

Smithfield Pork is hosting their Shake It Up Contest and they asked for people to send in their best ideas and pictures of ways to Shake Up dinner in your kitchen using their pork products. 
Having grown up in New Orleans, my love for muffulettas runs deep and I knew immediately what I would make for this challenge - Pulled Pork Muffulettas

This contest wanted a picture and a brief description of your recipe idea. Here's what I submitted:

"I shake up a New Orleans classic by filling my Muffulettas with Smithfield Pork Butt instead of deli meats! Dusted with Cajun seasoning, slow cooked and shredded, the pork is the star of the show! Pile on toasted buns, top with provolone cheese and olive relish and dinner is ready in no time!"

I'm thrilled to say that I was chosen as one of the Top 20 Finalists and the prize is a $100 gift card. The grand prize winner gets $5,000 (WHAT?!?!) and was supposed to be announced on the 20th. I will not tell you the embarrassing amount of times I've checked to see if it's been announced yet but I will say that I have my fingers crossed that they pick my dish as the winner. Wish me luck!!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Little's Lunches

Happy Monday!
This is the last Monday of the school year and my kids are SO ready to be off for summer! This week of lunches used up a lot of leftovers from a weekend BBQ. My kids love grilled sausages as their main protein. Served with BBQ sauce or ketchup and some pretzel sticks to stick them with, my kids are very happy! At the middle school my son has access to a microwave to heat them up, but the elementary school doesn't have that option. My daughter doesn't mind eating them cold, so luckily that's not a problem for us. 
 Monday: pretzel sticks, oranges, BBQ sauce, edamame and red bell peppers, sliced grilled hot dogs, cucumber slices
 Tuesday: sliced smoked sausage, garlic bread, BBQ sauce, cucumber slices, green olives and red bell peppers, oranges
 Wednesday: pineapple cubes, colby jack cheese, sour cream dip, celery, carrots and red bell peppers, sliced grilled hot dogs, garlic bread
 Thursday: Brianna made her own lunch today! I am out of town so she packed: meunster cheese, sliced smoked sausage, BBQ sauce, carrots, strawberries and pretzel sticks
Friday: strawberries, pretzel sticks, 3 cheese ranch, carrot slices and red bell peppers, dried mango, meunster cheese and pepperoni slices

Monday, May 13, 2019

Little's Lunches

 Happy Monday! I hope you all had a great weekend and Mother's Day!
Instead of fighting the crowds and going out, I made the biggest cheeseboard I could and my husband boiled crawfish for me. It was delicious!
As for lunches, my daughter has declared Friday's lunch to be her favorite lunch of the whole year! Pretty funny since it's almost the end of school, but I'll take it! The grilled sausages are just leftover from dinner, the pretzel sticks are used as toothpicks to pick up the sausage and BBQ sauce is her new favorite, so that was a hit. 

Monday: layered fruit bar, Yogurt Berry Star Crackers, babybel cheese, prunes, mini red bell peppers, potato salad
Tuesday: Yogurt Berry Star Crackers, black beans, 3 cheese ranch, red bell peppers, babybel cheese, black olives, cucumber, kiwi
 Wednesday: Trader Joe's mini cheese sandwich crackers, layered fruit bar, kiwi, babybel cheese, sliced grilled chicken spinach sausage, prunes, edamame
 Thursday: meunster cheese, sliced grilled smoked sausage, strawberries, black olives, edamame, baby tomatoes, pretzel sticks
 Friday: strawberries, sliced grilled chicken spinach sausage, meunster cheese, BBQ sauce, edamame, pretzel sticks

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Boozy Berry Grilled Pound Cake with Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream

Mother's Day is Sunday and I think this should be the dessert of the day. Make it for your mom, make it for yourself, either way you'll thank me. It's so stupid simple to make, you only need 7 ingredients to get it done and I personally think it's a showstopper.
I took store bought pound cake and grilled it so it's warm and toasty - by all means, if you want to bake a home made pound cake go for it! But the store bought one worked perfectly fine and was the perfect thing to soak up all the juice from those marinated strawberries. You'll get bonus points if you put the extra Strawberry Elderflower syrup in some prosecco too!
Let's take a moment to talk about this vanilla bean whipped cream too. Can you see the flecks of vanilla in there?! Makes me want to dive in. 
I know fresh vanilla beans seem extravagant, but I promise you it's so very worth it! After you scrape the vanilla beans from the pod put the empty pod in your sugar canister - now you have vanilla sugar for baking or your coffee that will be divine!!

Boozy Berry Grilled Pound Cake with Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream
4 cups sliced strawberries
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 Tablespoons Elderflower liquor
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 (10.75 oz) pound cake

In a small mixing bowl gently stir together the strawberries, sugar and liquor. Let sit in the fridge for 30 minutes.

While the berries are soaking, prepare the whipped cream. Place the whipping cream, vanilla bean seeds and powdered sugar in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment and whip on high speed until stiff peaks form.

Slice the pound cake into 8 equal slices. Heat a grill pan over medium high heat until very hot (about 3 minutes). Grill the pound cake slices for 1-2 minutes per side, or until lightly toasted and you can see the grill marks.

Top grilled cake slices with the soaked strawberries and a spoonful of whipped cream. 

Monday, May 6, 2019

Little's Lunches

 Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend, enjoyed Cinco de Mayo and ate alllll the tacos!

Today is the last day to help me out by voting for my Crawfish Remoulade Campanelle with Succotash Salsa and Crispy Andouille for Barilla's Bayou to the Bay contest. Crossing my fingers I make it to the top 10 in this one!

Also, be sure to come back on Wednesday- I've got an absolutely fabulous new recipe, perfect for Mother's Day that I'll be posting- you don't want to miss it!
 Monday: sliced strawberries, pita bread, pepperoni, 3 cheese ranch dip, yellow and orange bell peppers, deli sliced turkey
 Tuesday: Mixed Berry Yogurt Crisps, strawberries, coleslaw, baby tomatoes, deli sliced turkey
 Wednesday: Turkey and Meunster Pita sandwiches, raisins, vanilla yogurt with chopped strawberries, mixed bell pepper slices
 Thursday: deli turkey slices, pita bread, radishes, baby tomatoes, kiwi, 3 cheese ranch dip, cucumber sticks, carrot slices
Friday: Garden salad with croutons and Italian dressing, deli sliced turkey, prunes, strawberries

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Crawfish Remoulade Campanelle with Succotash Salsa and Crispy Andouille

I am taking part in the Barilla Bayou to The Bay recipe contest and my recipe is up for voting! 
If you have a moment would you please consider voting HERE
This recipe is a combo of some of my favorite southern flavors- crawfish, andouille, remoulade and succotash all come together in a dish that I couldn't be more proud of!
Crawfish Remoulade Campanelle with Succotash Salsa and Crispy Andouille
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons finely minced shallot
2 tablespoons finely chopped celery
2 teaspoons minced flat leaf Italian parsley
1 ½ Tablespoons creole mustard
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon horseradish
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 cup baby lima beans
¼ cup canola oil
2 cups cubed andouille sausage
1 cup freshly cut corn kernels
1 ½ cups sliced fresh okra
2 minced jalapeno peppers
1 cup baby tomatoes, halved
½ teaspoon creole seasoning
1 pound Barilla Semolina Campanelle Pasta
1 pound cooked and peeled Louisiana crawfish tails

Place the mayonnaise, shallot, celery, parsley, creole mustard, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, horseradish, garlic powder, Worcestershire, salt and white pepper in a medium mixing bowl and whisk together.

Place lima beans in a small saucepan and add just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce to medium-low, and simmer until beans are just tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Place oil in a large cast iron pan over medium high heat. Add the diced andouille and fry for 5-10 minutes, or until browned and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel lined plate.

Add the corn kernels to the andouille oil and cook for 8 minutes, or until kernels are slightly charred. Remove the corn and place in a medium mixing bowl. In the same cast iron skillet over high heat, place the okra slices in the pan and allow to roast until browned, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the okra, lima beans, jalapeno, tomato and creole seasoning to the corn and stir together.

Boil the pasta in a large stock pot for 10 minutes in rapidly boiling heavily salted water. Drain and allow to cool slightly.

Stir the pasta, remoulade sauce and crawfish together. Plate the pasta, sprinkle with andouille sausage and line the plate with the succotash mixture.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Little's Lunches

 I usually try to post lunch ideas on Monday morning, but after the insanely full weekend we had, today was the best I could do! I hope these suggestions give you some new ideas for your lunchboxes to get through these last few weeks of school!
 Monday: Ham and Cheese Quesadilla on a spinach tortilla, three cheese ranch, carrots and celery, raisins
 Tuesday: Ham and Cheese pinwheels on a spinach tortilla, Everything Bagel Salad Dressing, cucumbers and radishes, baby tomatoes, kiwi
 Wednesday: ham, Parmesan Cheese Star Crackers, three cheese ranch, potato salad, cucumbers and baby tomatoes, kiwi
 Thursday: ham salad wrap, yellow and orange bell peppers, three cheese ranch, potato salad, strawberries
Friday: strawberries, hard  boiled egg, pita bread, ham salad, ranch dressing, yellow and orange bell peppers

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Crock Pot Caramelized Fennel and Onion Dip

Debating on what delicious appetizer to make for Mother's Day?
May I suggest my ultra easy and completely decadent Crock Pot Caramelized Fennel and Onion Dip?
It's so creamy, really rich and disappears quickly. Perfect with thick kettle chips, baguette slices or veggies and you can totally make it ahead if you need to!
 I love my crock pot. I actually have three of them if you want to get technical about it, and I use them all year round. They are an easy (and most of the time) fool proof way to get a delicious meal almost completely hands free while you're busy with other things. I started making caramelized onions in my crock pot years ago when I had a huge costco size bag of  onions to use up and no time to stand over the stove for 45 minutes stirring them. The house smelled absolutely amazing and I did little to no work to get there.
Now, by all means, if you want to take the time to stand at the stove and cook these on low heat for about 30-45 minutes, you absolutely can and forgo the crock pot portion of the recipe. It'll come out just as delicious either way!
Crock Pot Caramelized Fennel and Onion Dip
4 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons olive oil
4 cups thinly sliced fennel
4 cups thinly sliced onion
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons sugar

3 ounces room temperature cream cheese
1 cup sour cream

Place the butter, olive oil, fennel, onion, salt, pepper and sugar in a crock pot and set on low heat for 8-10 hours. 
Once the onion and fennel are caramelized, pour the mixture into a mixing bowl and allow to cool. 

Once cooled, add the cream cheese and sour cream.

Serve immediately or chill and serve with kettle cooked chips, cut up veggies or baguette slices.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Little's Lunches

 Happy Monday! I hope you all had a great Easter weekend!
Ours was full of BBQ, crawfish and Easter candy!
Monday: raisins, cheddar cheese, pineapple, baby tomatoes, 3 Bean Salad, Yogurt Berry Star Crackers
Tuesday: Parmesan Cheese Star Crackers, Cheddar cheese, tomatoes and cucumbers, Everything Bagel Salad Dressing, pineapple, little smokies
Wednesday: Parmesan Cheese Star Crackers, little smokies, BBQ Sauce, Babybel Gouda cheese, tomatoes and cucumber salad, layered fruit bar
Thursday: dried apple slices, celery sticks, Everything Bagel Salad Dressing, chex mix, little smokies, Babybel Gouda cheese
Friday: baked ham, Parmesan Cheese Star Crackers, potato salad, deviled egg, strawberries

Friday, April 19, 2019

Beyond the Burger and Fries

Happy Friday!! I woke up to some pretty awesome news- my Blackened Cajun Shrimp Burgers with Remoulade Sauce and Crispy Okra Fries WON the Hellmann's Beyond the Burgers and Fries contest and $750!!! I am so thrilled that the judges liked my dish and chose it among all of the other entries. Usually I don't get to hear judges feedback but along with the announcement they included this:
"The judging for this one was tough. The quality of entries was higher than we have seen before. 
The judges loved the tangy and sweet combination of the tartar and ketchup in the remoulade creating a sauce for multiple uses. The cajun inspired dish was unexpected and simple to make using real, natural ingredients."

How cool is that?!

 The competition in this contest was fierce and really challenged me to bring my best ideas to the table. Here re all of the entries that I submitted:

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

3 Cheese Bacon, Eggs and Grits Breakfast Pizza

3 Cheese Bacon, Eggs and Grits Breakfast Pizza
This might be the perfect thing for: 
Easter morning, your next lazy morning brunch, Mother's Day, Breakfast for Dinner night
It literally checks all of the boxes AND gets bonus points for being gluten free!

I wasn't totally sure how the grits crust would come out the first time I tried it but I'm so excited to say that it was a home-run on the first try! Once it cools off a little you can literally pick a slice up like a traditional piece of pizza! With a hint of garlic and pepper jack cheese, and the way it gets browned and crisp all around the edges, it's already delicious before you top it with anything.
3 Cheese Bacon, Eggs and Grits Breakfast Pizza
4 slices bacon
1 Tablespoon butter
2 cups whole milk
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ cup yellow stone ground grits
2 ounces grated pepper jack cheese

1 Tablespoon butter
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 Tablespoons whole milk
½ teaspoon Cajun seasoning

1 cup shredded cheddar and Monterrey jack cheese blend
1/8 cup sliced green onion
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Cut bacon into ¼ inch strips and place in a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Cook until crisp, about 10-12 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan and reserve the bacon grease into a small measuring cup. 

Place 1 Tablespoon of the grease, the butter, milk, salt and garlic powder into the pan and raise the heat to medium high. Allow the mixture to come up to a simmer and then slowly whisk in the grits. Cook for 5 minutes, whisking constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and add the pepper jack cheese. 
Brush a large pizza stone or cookie sheet with 2 teaspoons of the reserved bacon grease. Once the cheese has melted and the grits has slightly cooled, whisk in the egg. Pour the mixture onto the prepared stone and using an offset spatula, spread the grits out into a 12-inch round. 
Bake for 25 minutes.

In a small non-stick skillet, melt the butter over low heat. Whisk the eggs, milk and seasoning in a small bowl. Pour the eggs into the melted butter and cook while constantly stirring, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat as soon as the eggs look like they’re coming together. 
Once the crust is ready sprinkle it evenly with the scrambled eggs, cheese and bacon crumbles. Return the pizza to the oven for 5 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. 
Remove from the oven, sprinkle with green onion and serve.
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Look at those crusty crispy edges! It was really hard for me not to pick them all off to snack on!

Pulled Pork Muffulettas

Smithfield Pork is hosting their Shake It Up Contest  and they asked for people to send in their best ideas and pictures of ways to Shak...