Thursday, October 25, 2007

Cajun Night

Two summers ago, I was perusing through the announcements bulletin during church and I came across something that caught my attention. The women's ministry was going to be taking over the wednesday night dinner program, and in particular, their focus was going to be on making home-cooked meals. Of course, my heart raced at the thought of participating in such a culinary adventure and, in a momentary lapse of consciousness, I somehow volunteered to help head up the whole project. When I came to and realized what I had just committed myself to, I was a tad overwhelmed. But in midst of being overwhelmed, I was working with a fantastic bunch of women who were committed to preparing quality meals and having a great time of fellowship in the process. We made it through the year with flying colors. This year, I've pulled back quite a bit and am only involved twice a semester to plan a meal and then work with a team of women to prepare and serve it. My most recent meal was our Cajun Night and I'm excited that this will be the first menu I'll be sharing on my newborn blog. Sorry to say, though, that if you're looking to cut calories and fat, this probably won't be the meal for you. When I multiplied the jambalaya to serve 150 people, it used like 9 sticks of butter...mmm, cholesterol! (But be on the lookout...healthier menus and recipes will be posted soon!)
Whenever I say the name, it always makes me think of Newman from Seinfeld, on the "Soup Nazi" episode. He ordered some and ran down the street saying, "Mmm, Jambalaya!" Although it's technically not soup, but don't get me started.
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large green pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
  • 1 lb. fully cooked andouille sausage, cut into 1/2 inch-thick slices
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups instant rice, uncooked
  • 1 cups diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • 1/2 cup green onions, diced
  • 2 T. fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 T. worcersteshire
  • 1 T. hot pepper sauce
  • 1 T. browning sauce
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper

In a large skillet, saute the onions, green peppers, and garlic in butter until crisp-tender. Place in a large bowl; stir in the remaining ingredients. Transfer to a greased, shallow 3-qt. baking dishes. Cover and bake at 375° for 45-50 minutes or until rice is tender, stirring twice.

Yield: 8 servings

Homesteader Cornbread

I've never had much success in finding a cornbread recipe that resulted much better than mediocre. In pursuit of a better cornbread, I stumbled across this one on It's described as "a moist, sweet cornbread with a crisp crust is the goal, fully realized with this recipe." After making it myself last year, I gotta say, that is the honest truth!

  • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, combine cornmeal and milk; let stand for 5 minutes. Grease a 9 x 13 baking pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Mix in the cornmeal mixture, eggs and oil until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Yield: 15 servings

**Note: This cornbread freezes well. With a family of three, we have little use for 15 pieces of cornbread, so I'll freeze the extras, putting 3 or 4 pieces in each bag. That way, when I need some for a meal, I can just grab one bag, with enough for one meal. Voila!

Caramel Praline Cheesecake Squares

  • 1 16 oz. package Pecan Sandie cookies, crushed
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 2 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 - 12 oz. jar caramel topping, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups cold milk
  • 1 - 5.1 oz. pkg. instant vanilla pudding
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans

Combine cookie crumbs and butter; press into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool.

Beat cream cheese and 1/2 cup caramel topping until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk milk and pudding for 2 minutes. Fold into cream cheese mixture. Spread filling over cooled crust. Sprinkle with pecans. Cover and refridgerate for at least 6 hours. Before serving, drizzle with remaining caramel topping and cut into servings.

Yield: 12 - 15 servings


Janna Mawhinney said...

I found your blog through Rebecca T's blog, and I'm SO excited about it! Thank you for sharing such yummy recipes! We had our own "Cajun Night" tonight, and the jumbalaya & corn bread were super yummy! I held off on the dessert since we have way too many sweets in the house already. :) Keep up the blogging! :)

Sarah said...

Yay! Thanks for responding, Janna. I've seen your name often on my dear friend, Rebecca's, blog and I'm so excited that you visited here. Thanks for the encouragement, and I'm so thrilled that you enjoyed the Cajun food! Happy cooking!