Louisiana Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

When it comes to states in our Great Nation, hands down Louisiana is my favorite. At least from a culinary perspective. While I waffle back and forth between French and Italian as my favorite type of food, when it comes to the French influence in America hands down it’s New Orleans French Foods.

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Louisiana Slow-Cooker Baby Back Ribs

The best part about living in Central California in October is the weather. The days are pleasant and there are street fairs everywhere. Take a drive up through the foothills, look at the colors of the trees and attend a dozen little small town events in a single weekend.

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Jazzy Cajun Fish over a Bed of Yellow Rice

Next month we have three different festivals up in the Gold Rush country of California. These events are all on the same day. It’s going to be hard to pick just one.

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Louisiana Shrimp and Andouille Sausage Gumbo

There ain’t nothin’ in this world more awesome than Gumbo. Even the name – Gumbo – is awesomely fun to say. There may be some “traditions” when it comes to Gumbo, like most stew-soups, just about anything goes into the pot and often does.

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Bayou Country is Calling Me

While I have wintered in the South Pacific and summered in the Pacific Northwest, I have never stepped foot in the state of Louisiana. That’s not a reflection on the great state of Louisiana, I’ve just never been there. Yet, for reasons I have never understood, every June I get a hankering way deep down inside my soul for bayou country. I hear Credence  Clearwater Revival playing in my head.

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Cajun Chicken Noodle Soup

Today is the 13th of March. It is National Good Samaritan Day, Earmuff Day, Open an Umbrella Indoors Day, K9 Veterans Day, Jewel Day and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day. Hum, not much inspiration there. I suppose we could bake up some doggie treats while wearing earmuffs and standing under an open umbrella in the kitchen. We could wear our best jewels while making sure the doggie treats are healthy for our K9 veterans. And who could argue that passing out treats to strange dogs isn’t an act of a Good Samaritan? A bit much, huh?

Oh, did I mention today is also National Chicken Noodle Soup Day? Thank goodness, because that’s something I can work with.

Did you know that Campbell’s first introduced their canned soup in 1934? It was called Noodle Soup with Chicken. During a radio promotion on “Amos ‘n Andy”, Amos misread his script and plugged “Chicken Noodle Soup”. Within a few weeks, Campbell’s changed the name of their canned soup.

While my Cajun Chicken Noodle Soup isn’t exactly what Campbell’s had in mind, and the Pasta Rings aren’t what you think of when thinking about Chicken Noodle Soup, what is a noodle but pasta, right? So go with it – and there’s a whole new array of Chicken Noodle Soup out there.

Cajun Chicken Noodle Soup
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 cup White Onion
1 cup Red Bell Pepper
2 Celery Ribs
1 teaspoon Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, plus more for drizzling
1 lb. Chicken Breast, boneless
Kosher Salt to taste
1 tablespoon Cajun Seasoning (without salt)
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1 tablespoon fresh Lemon Juice
32 oz. Chicken Broth or Stock
1 cup Pasta Rings
1/4 cup Italian Parsley, chopped

Peel and mince garlic. Set aside.

Peel and chop onion. Set aside

Core, seed and dice bell pepper. Set aside.

Rinse celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch slices. Set aside.

In a large pot over medium-high heat, warm olive oil. Season chicken with salt and cook until golden brown all over, 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate to cool, then chop into 1/2″ cubes and set aside with any leftover drippings.

Return pot to medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil, garlic, and onions. Cook until softened, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add celery, red bell pepper, Cajun seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and salt and cook, 3 to 4 minutes. Add lemon juice, broth, and 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil.

Add pasta and cook according to package instructions.

While the pasta is cooking, chop the parsley and set aside.

Once the pasta is cooked, stir in the chicken with leftover juices. Sprinkle with parsley and heat until warmed through.

Ladle into bowls and enjoy.

New Orleans Savory Creole Shrimp and Crab Cheese Wheel

Now that we’ve gotten Fat Tuesday’s dessert out of the way, let’s talk about something sinfully delicious to get this party started. I love shrimp. And thanks to Forest Gump, I cannot think New Orleans Gulf Shrimp without thinking Bubba Gump Shrimp Company.

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Cajun Sea Scallops over New Orleans Style Risotto

Years ago, Hubby and I loved to dine out at a place called the Voodoo Steakhouse at the Rio in Las Vegas. While off the strip, the Voodoo Steakhouse; located on the 50th floor had a spectacular view of the city lights. The upscale steakhouse with a New Orleans twist served up amazing dishes and signature drinks.

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