pastalaya

Pete & Jules’ Pastalaya Recipe

pastalayaI’ll never forget the first time I tasted Pastalaya, it was about seven years ago. There’s something about the blend of three different meats, pasta, and spices that burned its flavors deep in the recesses of my mind causing me to crave it for a year when I finally had another bowl. It’s definitely not an ordinary Alabama meal. Some of our good friends from Louisiana come to the Antique Engine & Tractor Show at Tannehill State Park each July and treat us to this dish. They cook for hours before traveling to the show to share their dish with all the visitors and vendors Saturday night.

These friends have treated us to some amazing dishes, over the years, from Crawfish Etouffee, to mustard battered fried fish, Boudin Balls, and Pastalaya. Our favorite dish, Pastalaya is basically Jambalaya, but with pasta instead of rice. The flavor is beyond anything any Alabamian I know has cooked. There’s a reason Cajun restaurants draw crowds from all over. I mean, who doesn’t like Cajun food? Our friends were kind enough to share their recipe with me, and I will in turn share it with you. Thanks Pete & Jules!

Pastalaya

Ingredients
1 ½ lbs boneless skinless chicken thigh meat, chopped
1 ½ lbs smoked pork sausage,sliced
1 ½ lbs boneless boston butt pork, cubed

1 ½ lbs onions, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 small bell peppers (green, red, or yellow), chopped
1 bunch of green onions (shallots), chopped
½ cup parsley flakes
1 tablespoon sweet basil
3 bay leaves
3 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
1 14 oz. can Del-Monte Cajun recipe stewed tomatoes
1 ½ lbs. No.3 Luxury Spaghetti
4 ½ cups water

Dash of your favorite hot sauce (Crystal or Tabasco)
Dash of black pepper
Dash of cayenne pepper
Dash of Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons A-1 steak sauce

Directions
Brown the chicken sprinkled with Tony’s seasoning then remove from pot. Brown pork first, then boil down with some water until tender (about 30 minutes) and most of the water has reduced. Add sausage to pork and brown for about 10 minutes on medium heat while constantly stirring. Next add onions, bell pepper, celery, Cajun recipe, bay leaves, basil, parsley flakes, fresh garlic, and dash of hot sauce. Let cook down on medium heat while carefully stirring to prevent sticking. Vegetables will make extra water. When cooked thoroughly and vegetables are wilted, add the water (4 ½ cups) and return chicken to the pot. Next season mixture with pepper, garlic powder, worcestershire, A-1 and Tony’s.

Remember that pasta will absorb the seasonings, so make sure the water tastes just a little more salty and peppery than you would like. Next raise the heat to medium high so water starts boiling. Break pasta in half and sprinkle into mixture. Be careful that pasta does not stick together and clump. When all the pasta has softened and absorbs most of the water, lower heat to medium-low, and add the green onions. Stir carefully; place lid on pot for 3 minutes. Next lift the lid, stir pot completely, then replace the lid. Lower heat to very, very low, and cook for 15 minutes.

Finally turn the heat off, DO NOT REMOVE THE LID, and let sit for 30 minutes. After this, lift the lid, stir the pot over, and your dish is ready to serve – Enjoy! Serves 8. Cast iron works best.

Pastalaya

Pastalaya

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ lbs boneless skinless chicken thigh meat, chopped
  • 1 ½ lbs smoked pork sausage,sliced
  • 1 ½ lbs boneless boston butt pork, cubed
  • 1 ½ lbs onions, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 small bell peppers (green, red, or yellow), chopped
  • 1 bunch of green onions (shallots), chopped
  • ½ cup parsley flakes
  • 1 tablespoon sweet basil
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 14 oz. can DelMonte Cajun recipe stewed tomatoes
  • 1 ½ lbs. No.3 Luxury Spaghetti
  • 4 ½ cups water
  • Dash of your favorite hot sauce (Crystal or Tabasco)
  • Dash of black pepper
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • Dash of Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons A-1 steak sauce

Instructions

  1. Brown the chicken sprinkled with Tony’s seasoning then remove from pot. Brown pork first, then boil down with some water until tender (about 30 minutes) and most of the water has reduced. Add sausage to pork and brown for about 10 minutes on medium heat while constantly stirring. Next add onions, bell pepper, celery, Cajun recipe, bay leaves, basil, parsley flakes, fresh garlic, and dash of hot sauce. Let cook down on medium heat while carefully stirring to prevent sticking. Vegetables will make extra water. When cooked thoroughly and vegetables are wilted, add the water (4 ½ cups) and return chicken to the pot. Next season mixture with pepper, garlic powder, worcestershire, A-1 and Tony’s.
  2. Remember that pasta will absorb the seasonings, so make sure the water tastes just a little more salty and peppery than you would like. Next raise the heat to medium high so water starts boiling. Break pasta in half and sprinkle into mixture. Be careful that pasta does not stick together and clump. When all the pasta has softened and absorbs most of the water, lower heat to medium-low, and add the green onions. Stir carefully; place lid on pot for 3 minutes. Next lift the lid, stir pot completely, then replace the lid. Lower heat to very, very low, and cook for 15 minutes.
  3. Finally turn the heat off, DO NOT REMOVE THE LID, and let sit for 30 minutes. After this, lift the lid, stir the pot over, and your dish is ready to serve – Enjoy! Serves 8. Cast iron works best.
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My morning quiet time

quiet time on porch

Early morning quiet time, and the cows didn’t want to cooperate. When they see a person they just can’t help but to “call” them to come feed. The birds were singing and it balanced everything out, it was a beautiful morning.

volunteer zucchini plants-crop

And the Zucchini Shout “Pick Me!”

volunteer zucchini plantsLast year I noticed a volunteer squash/zucchini plant growing in the middle of the yard. I mentioned it to my husband fascinated and happy to have an unintended garden. He heard it as “Dave, why don’t you cut that sucker down it’s in my way?”. So the next time the grass needed to be cut, he chopped that sucker down like a good hubby. And I was sad. No free food.

This year it happened again and I made sure to let him know that I’m happy they are there. So here we have ’em! I’m still not convinced they are zucchini and not plain squash. Only time will tell.

I’m hoping to make Chicken Zucchini Casserole once they start to put out. It sounds absolutely yummy – like something my family would love.

From SixSistersStuff.com
Chicken Zucchini Casserole

Ingredients
  • 6 ounce package of boxed stuffing mix (I used Stove Top)
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 4 cups of zucchini, diced
  • 2 cups of cooked chicken, cubed
  • 10.75 ounces Cream of Chicken Soup
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • ½ cup of sour cream
Instructions
In a large bowl, combine the stuffing mix and melted butter. Set aside ½ cup of the mixture for the topping. In a large bowl add the zucchini, chicken, soup, onion and sour cream to the remaining stuffing. Place the zucchini mix into at greased 9×13″ glass pan and spread out evenly.Sprinkle reserved ½ cup stuffing mix on top and bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes or until golden brown.
tex mex casserole

Tex-Mex Beef Casserole

tex mex casseroleFor a month or more I’ve not been myself. I’ve contributed it to yet another birthday, and while I’m not so ignorant to believe I’m old by any means, I do know I am older. Since my birthday in January, I’ve thrown my lower back out (a first for me), in a separate incident I have 10+ muscles in my upper back and shoulder that are angry – or so says my Chiropractor – and now I have a mean sinus episode in which I hack and gag like a 90 year old three-pack-a-day-er.

Suffice to say my family has been eating microwave meals, frozen corn dogs, hot dogs, and chicken fingers regularly. This past weekend I started feeling pretty spunky and much like my pre-January self. I decided one Saturday while my hubby and kids were working the cows all day that I would actually bake a real meal – one with a side and everything! You guessed it, this recipe is what I made. It was a first for my family, but not a first for me. I was saving it for something special because I just knew they would love it. Good flavor, nice texture, and enough spice for the men-folk without too much for my dainty flower of a girl. It was a tremendous success and we ate it happily as left overs as well.

That day I felt much like my favorite blogging, photographing, homeschooling, farm mama – The Pioneer Woman. Although I have no pictures to show you, I do have 4 satisfied smiling family members. We finished the day off sitting on the deck underneath the glow of my new lights and planters my favorite husband built for me for Mother’s Day.

Tex-Mex Beef Casserole

Ingredients

  • 2# ground chuck
  • 8oz. cream cheese
  • 1 packet (1 oz.) taco seasoning (I always use Old El Paso brand)
  • 2 T milk
  • 1 can (14oz.) fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (11oz.) corn with red and green bell peppers, undrained (Mexicorn)
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • 3 cups cooked white rice
  • 1 cup shredded colby & Monterey Jack cheese or cheddar
  • 1 cup crushed tortilla chips

Heat oven to 350˚. Brown meat in a large skillet. While that’s cooking mix cream cheese, taco seasoning, and milk until blended. Drain meat; return to skillet. Add cream cheese mixture, tomatoes, corn, and onions; mix well.

Combine rice and ½ cup shredded cheese in casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray; spread to cover the bottom of dish. Top with meat mixture and remaining cheese, cover. Bake for 45 minutes, or until heated through. Top with crushed chips.

Tex-Mex Beef Casserole

Ingredients

  • 2# ground chuck
  • 8oz. cream cheese
  • 1 packet (1 oz.) taco seasoning (I always use Old El Paso brand)
  • 2 T milk
  • 1 can (14oz.) fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (11oz.) corn with red and green bell peppers, undrained (Mexicorn)
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • 3 cups cooked white rice
  • 1 cup shredded colby & Monterey Jack cheese or cheddar
  • 1 cup crushed tortilla chips

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350˚.
  2. Brown meat in a large skillet. While that's cooking mix cream cheese, taco seasoning, and milk until blended.
  3. Drain meat; return to skillet.
  4. Add cream cheese mixture, tomatoes, corn, and onions; mix well.
  5. Combine rice and ½ cup shredded cheese in casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray; spread to cover the bottom of dish.
  6. Top with meat mixture and remaining cheese, cover.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes, or until heated through.
  8. Top with crushed chips.
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recipe-blocks-Dollarphotoclub_99138499

Smothered Hamburger Steak

cornbread-mamas-iron-skilletI found this recipe and modified it years ago. I have been using it ever since. It does work for low-carb-folk, even though there are some carbs, I’d say as long as you’re not eating it with real mashed potatoes, you should be just fine. We’re enjoying this for supper tonight! Give it a try some time.

Smothered Hamburger Steak

1 packet of dry onion soup mix

2 eggs

1/2 tsp black pepper

3 slices white bread

2-3# lean ground beef/chuck

1 large can cream of mushroom soup

1/2 large soup can of water

1-2 dash worcestershire sauce

Whisk together eggs, onion soup mix, and pepper in large bowl. Tear bread into pieces, add to egg mix, and let soak for a few minutes (stir). Mix ground beef into mixture with hands & form into patties when thoroughly mixed.

Heat heavy skillet or electric skillet over meat-hi heat. Fry patties until no longer pink. About 8 mins each side. Remove from skillet.

Remove excess grease (I don’t usually) & whisk mushroom soup, water, & worcestershire sauce in skillet until smooth. Place patties back in & spoon sauce to cover. Bring to boil, and reduce heat to simmer. Cook until sauce is thickened and patties are done. Usually about 30 minutes.

Great with mashed potatoes or for us low-carb-folk, maybe some faux cauli-potatoes. Even these garlic “mashed potatoes”. I mean, what’s not better with garlic?

Smothered Hamburger Steak

Ingredients

  • 1 packet of dry onion soup mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 3 slices white bread
  • 2-3# lean ground beef/chuck
  • 1 large can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 large soup can of water
  • 1-2 dash worcestershire sauce

Instructions

  1. Whisk together eggs, onion soup mix, and pepper in large bowl. Tear bread into pieces, add to egg mix, and let soak for a few minutes (stir). Mix ground beef into mixture with hands & form into patties when thoroughly mixed.
  2. Heat heavy skillet or electric skillet over meat-hi heat. Fry patties until no longer pink. About 8 mins each side. Remove from skillet.
  3. Remove excess grease (I don't usually) & whisk mushroom soup, water, & worcestershire sauce in skillet until smooth. Place patties back in & spoon sauce to cover. Bring to boil, and reduce heat to simmer. Cook until sauce is thickened and patties are done. Usually about 30 minutes.
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cornbread_mama_egg_cups

Baked Ham, Egg, & Cheese Cups

BREAKFAST … DAH-DAH-DAAAAAAAHHHH!

The word that strikes fear into Mom-hearts everywhere. What to make, when to make it, and how to get the kids to eat before time to rush out the door? That truly is the question.

It’s also hard to find low carb & easy things (that I like, because I’m picky). Most of my favorite breakfast foods are full of starchy-carby-goodness, something I’ve been avoiding for the past 8-plus months. The obvious answer to that – EGGS! Sadly, I’ve never been a huge fan of eggs (unless they are in cheesecake, wink-wink). Scrambled eggs, fried eggs, boiled eggs, they’re all just sort of MEH to me.

As a child my mother once made me eat scrambled eggs with cheese … I’ll save you the play-by-play … suffice to say, I don’t like cheese eggs. She never asked me to eat them again. Sorry Mom.

However, my pal Diana recently changed my mind with these hand-held, on-the-go, low-carb, & easy baked egg breakfast cups. Another plus – you can freeze them once cooked and reheat for those crazy mornings when you’re rushing to get out of the door. Just wrap each baked cup in freezer paper and place in a plastic freezer bag to freeze. Either thaw overnight for morning and reheat or try it directly from the freezer. You may need to play with thawing/heating times to get it just right.

While you can add any “fixin’s” you’d like, it would be hard to top Diana’s combination of egg, cheese, ham, onion, bell pepper, and mushroom.

Baked Ham, Egg, & Cheese Cups

Ingredients for a 12-cup muffin tin

1 dozen eggs

12 slices of ham (Land-o-Frost is our favorite brand)

Shredded cheddar cheese (I use mild)

Chopped onion, bell pepper, and mushroom (as much or little as you’d like)

Directions

Spray the muffin tin well with cooking spray. Line each muffin cup with a slice of ham. Sprinkle cheese in each cup. Add your other ingredients, like onion, bell pepper, and mushroom to the cups.

cornbread_mama_egg_cups_2With a whisk or fork beat 12 eggs with a little milk, salt, & pepper. Pour egg mixture into each cup.

cornbread_mama_egg_cups_3
I forgot to add the salt & pepper to my eggs while beating, it also works to sprinkle atop the cups before baking.

Bake at 350 degrees until done (about 20-25 minutes). Remove with a fork and you have a hand-held easy-peasy low-carb breakfast.

Baked Ham, Egg, & Cheese Cups (12 cups)

Baked Ham, Egg, & Cheese Cups (12 cups)

Ingredients

  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 12 slices of ham (Land-o-Frost is our favorite brand)
  • Shredded cheddar cheese (I use mild)
  • Chopped onion, bell pepper, and mushroom (as much or little as you’d like)

Instructions

  1. Spray the muffin tin well with cooking spray.
  2. Line each muffin cup with a slice of ham.
  3. Sprinkle cheese in each cup.
  4. Add your other ingredients, like onion, bell pepper, and mushroom to the cups.
  5. With a whisk or fork beat 12 eggs with a little milk, salt, & pepper.
  6. Pour egg mixture into each cup.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees until done (about 20-25 minutes).
  8. Remove with a fork and you have a hand-held easy-peasy low-carb breakfast.
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Big Mama’s Roast Recipe

big mama big daddyAs far back as I can remember we spent most Sunday afternoons eating lunch with my grandparents, Big Mama & Big Daddy. Neither of which were big. It’s only been in the last 10 or so years that we stopped. Big Daddy has since passed away, but Big Mama is still going strong at 78. I have such good memories of spending that time with my grandparents and eating Big Mama’s roast.

Each Sunday she would make roast & gravy (sometimes ham roast), rice, rolls, green beans, and some sort of salad – either pear salad, or a jello salad – nicknamed either Pink Stuff or Green Stuff – and oftentimes a dessert. Pink Stuff is A.MA.ZING. It’s a strawberry jello bottom with pineapple and a topping that would make anyone slap their mama (I’ll share that recipe later)! I don’t believe Pink Stuff has a real name but Green Stuff is technically called Watergate Salad. I was not a fan of Green Stuff, I’m still not. Leave out the marshmallows … and maybe. It was my sister’s favorite thing.

Her gravy may have been my very favorite thing. I would add gravy to a couple of rolls with some sliced roast in between (& real butter). Yeah, that was probably the beginning of the whole weight problem. It was soooooo good.

At Big Mama’s the Sunday closest to your birthday was your birthday lunch. You would get to pick everything we ate that day. Mine was roast-roast (not ham roast), rice, rolls, pink stuff, and cheesecake (no cherries). I’ve always liked her roast because it had none of those silly vegetables people put in with roast. However, you can add them to this recipe if you like silly vegetables. This recipe is easy & tasty. I hope your family enjoys it as we always have.

Big Mama’s Sunday Roast

Big Mama’s Roast

Ingredients

  • Sirloin Tip Roast
  • Onion Soup Mix - dry - 1 or 2 packs (I like 2)
  • 2 Cups water (water should reach right below top of roast)
  • Cornstarch & water for making gravy.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚. Place roast in a roaster pan, add water around it. Top with dry onion soup mix (it will moisten as the roast cooks and makes the best topping). Bake covered for 3-3.5 hours. (If it begins to smell too strongly, check and make sure the water has not cooked out, if it has, add more). After it is finished cooking remove roast carefully from pan and place on a platter.
  2. Gravy: Pour juices left from the roast into a skillet on med/hi. Add salt. Bring to a boil. In a separate cup mix 1 cup cold water with 2 T cornstarch, stir with fork until dissolved. Add cornstarch/water to the skillet. Stir constantly (if it looks too thick, add water). Takes maybe 5-10 mins.
  3. **I have cooked this in a crock-pot as well if you'd like to try that way.
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Gerti

Gerti the Goat (a.k.a. Gertrude)

Gerti profile pic
Gerti profile pic

Did I tell you I’ve been begging my hubby for a baby goat? He came through with this little beauty, she is my early Christmas gift. I’m so in love!

She has beautiful blue eyes & weighs about 8 pounds. Meet Gertrude, or Gerti for short. She’s a pygmy-nigerian dwarf mix. Right now she’s staying inside until we have her play-yard ready. She will likely only reach 15 inches tall. Her parents are 15 & 16 inches respectively. And if you don’t breed them, they stay smaller. Also, according to several old goat farmers the blue-eyed goats make the best pets.

She’s a wonderful new addition to our family and the farm!

Follow Gerti on Facebook!

Things I’ve learned from Gerti in only a few days:

  • Goats go “MAAAAAH”! Very loudly. Even little goats.
  • Goats are messy eaters.
  • Goats cannot control when they poo. They need diapers.
  • Goats like to snuggle.
  • Goats make good friends.
  • Goats make people happy. Especially this Mama.
  • Goats can have lice. Goat lice is not the same thing as people lice and nothing to run away from. Lavender helps get rid of them.
  • Goats don’t smell nice. Unless you put lavender on them.
  • Red bows look so nice on goats.
  • Goats eat leaves, grass, hay, plastic, clothes … but corn & clover are not good for them.
  • Goats don’t like to be alone.
  • Those little hangy things on their necks are called wattles.
  • Wattles serve no purpose.
  • Of course, goats like to climb. On furniture and/or dads.
  • Some goats have rectangular irises, and they have panoramic vision.

Follow Gerti on Facebook for more interesting facts and adventures! Gerti thanks you!

calf birth

Calf Birth Caught on Camera

Calf birth caught on camera! What more could a blogger and farm mama want?
*FYI Graphic Picture Warning*

After much anticipation our second expectant mother Tallulah had her baby. It’s another bull calf, jet black and healthy, praise the Lord. Every black calf born on this farm this season, every one whose dad is Randy the Bull is a bull calf. Except for one, Chocolate Sunday. Four out of five. How’s that for consistency? Whether that’s a good thing or not we shall see. Last season bull calves were selling higher and we had only heifers. I figure this is the Good Lord’s way of making it easier for Cornbread Daddy to sell them. If we had more heifers, he’d want to keep them, but we’re not at that point right now. Later, for sure!

Now Cornbread Boy didn’t disappoint in deciding on a name, it’s a very uhhhhh … unique name. Nunchuck. The calf’s name is NUNCHUCK. I don’t believe I need to add to that at’all. I may just call him Chuck. (A friend introduced him to this video and that must be where the name came from.)

During the photo shoot Flossie didn’t understand why she couldn’t be the center of attention. See photo below.

flossie-close-up-tongue
“I’m ready for my close-up Mama,” said Flossie the cow. “Wait let me clean my nose.”

You may be wondering how we know when it’s time for a cow to give birth. What clues do cows give that they are in labor?

  • Firstly we notice they are sometimes off alone. Although that was not the case with Tallulah.
  • Secondly, she gets up and down, up and down, over and over. This is a very big clue.
  • She’ll sniff the ground a lot.
  • She can look uncomfortable, kicking at her belly, straining like she needs to poop, and holding her tail off/out to the side.
  • She may grunt more than usual.
  • Finally you’ll see what we call a water-ball. Which is exactly as the name implies. A ball of water that comes out of her rear end. It can be clear to dark color liquid.
  • After this is the calf. It should come out front hooves first, they should be facing as you would imagine. You’ll probably see both at the same time, one on top of the other. If the hooves are facing the wrong way, the baby is coming backward, breech. OR you may have twins. If the cow has twins, most times the first one comes out breech (this happened to us last season).
  • After the amniotic sac bursts there’s a limited amount of time before the calf drowns. This we try to watch closely. I believe this is the first time we saw the sac fully intact as the hooves protruded. For a minute we thought there were two water-balls.

tallulah-waterball-drawing

There are two cows in this photo, don’t be confused by the one in the background. In the front we have the rear end of the cow in question.

In the picture above you can see the hooves at the top of the amniotic sac. They look like white hooves with black legs attached.

tallulah-calf-head-drawing

Calf’s head is now out and she continues to push.

Calf now almost completely out.
Calf now almost completely out.

Now at this point you’d think it would only be seconds until the calf hit the ground, but you’d be wrong in this instance. We were a little worried as she walked around in a circle with the calf like this for what may have been 5-10 minutes. Normally it doesn’t take this long. Finally she pushed him all the way out and then cleaned him up.

Meet Nuchuck the calf
Meet Nuchuck the calf

It did take him a little longer than normal to stand up and get around, but Cornbread Daddy said it was probably rough on him hanging upside down like that for so long. Today, he’s healthy and happy, running around with his brothers and sisters.

I hope this helps anyone who is curious about calving and what to expect. It’s a very scary and exciting time around here. We know so many things could go wrong, but thankfully this season is going well.

One thing that helped us is having this book. We it bought last season, it has really helped us understand so many things about raising cattle. Nothing can substitute for the hands-on experience that Cornbread Daddy has, but this book helps even him with some things he had forgotten about over the years. I HIGHLY recommend this book! {Yes, this is one of those affiliate links & if you purchase from this link I will make a little commission. I will never recommend something I have not tried or would not try.}