Louisana Dishes with a Twist

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“Clean” Dirty Rice Recipe

Dirty rice could be served as a side here in Louisiana, however, I have turned this into a one-pot healthy meal! By upping the protein content and adding veggies, this healthy dirty rice recipe can be served up all week long. It may not have the traditional ingredients, like chicken giblets, gizzard juice, or sausage, but my southern hubs still loved it.

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For 4-5 servings:

4 cups cooked brown rice, chilled

1 pound ground turkey

1 Tablespoon garlic powder

1 Tablespoon onion powder

1 Tablespoon garlic salt

Salt and pepper to taste

Creole seasoning to taste (at the end)

1 bell pepper – chopped fine

1 onion – chopped fine

4 cloves garlic – minced

3 large celery stalks- chopped fine

1 Tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil

2 Tablespoons Worcestershire

4 large cabbage leaves from the head of a cabbage (optional)

1). In a large pan on medium heat, brown your ground turkey and break up into small pieces. Season with onion powder, garlic salt, pepper, garlic powder. Place in large mixing bowl with all juices.

2). In the same pan, in oil, lightly saute your bell pepper, onion, and celery. Add in a pinch of salt and pepper, about 1/8 teaspoon. After about five minutes, add in your garlic. Saute 1-2 more minutes, pour in large mixing bowl with your meat.

3). Add in your brown rice to your mixing bowl. Add Worcestershire, mix all ingredients together.

4). If you want to wrap the dirty rice in cabbage leaves, lightly steam cabbage in a large pan over medium heat in about 1/8 Cup water. Close lid and cook about 4 minutes or until leaves are tender enough.

5). Place dirty rice mixture in cabbage leaves. Garnish with creole seasoning (to taste).

 

More Posts:

{ Healthy Creole Spinach Artichoke Chicken }

{ Healthy Easy Breakfast On-the-Go: Egg Squares } Recipe 1 of 2

{ Healthy Shrimp n’ Grits Recipe }

About the Blogger:

Shannon Gagnon is the healthy recipe developer, food stylist and food photographer behind Crawfish & Crunches. She often shares health tips and southern recipes that she turns slightly healthier. On her blog you can find just what the tagline says, “Realistic recipes, rich southern culture, and health conscious habits.”

For inquiries about positioning your brand in front of Shannon’s followers click here.

For the long version about how the site was born, read more.

For information on Shannon’s social media management business, click here.

 

 

HEALTHYSHRIMPANDGRITSCRAWFISHANDCRUNCHES primary blog

If you are not southern, you probably won’t know you like grits until you try this recipe. This healthy shrimp n’ grits recipe is one that you can make on a weeknight in just a short time.

Make sure to Pin more healthy southern recipes on Crawfish & Crunches Pinterest.

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For 5-6 servings:

  • 1/4 cup butter or coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup almond flour or whole wheat flour
  • 1 package (2 links) chicken sausage
  • 1 onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 Tablespoon creole seasoning (plus more for taste)
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire
  • 3 strips turkey bacon, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped for garnish
  • 5-6 servings quick cooking grits

1 ) Cook grits according to package. Set aside

2 ) For your roux: In small saucepan stir butter with almond flour or whole wheat flour on low til golden brown. Set aside

3 ) In large saucepan brown chicken sausage. After that has browned, remove from pan then brown onion, green pepper, red bell pepper, 4 cloves minced garlic.

4 ) Coat shrimp In juice of one lemon and creole seasoning add to Pan, add worcestershire

5 ) Add roux to large pan. Add sausage and chicken broth, cover bring to boil then simmer on low 10 min

Depending on how thin or thick you like your sauce, you may want to add more chicken broth.

Serve over grits top with parsley and crumbled turkey bacon, some prefer extra hot sauce

 

 

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NewOrleansBarbecueShrimpcrawfishcrunches

{ 3 Healthy Southern Shrimp Recipes that Aren’t Fried }

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In the south, especially at restaurants, everything is fried! Fried shrimp po’boys, fried okra, fried pork chops, you name it. That doesn’t mean I don’t love a good crispy salty fried shrimp every once in awhile, but for cooking during the week shrimp is delicious grilled or sautéed. It doesn’t even need the batter and oil! Here are a few healthier shrimp recipes:

In the first photo  the { No Guilt New Orleans Barbecue Shrimp }. While the traditional version has about 4 sticks of butter, this recipe cuts down on that greatly while maintaining a tasty sauce.

shrimp-stuffed-portobellos-crawfish-and-crunches

For a healthier take on those decadent seafood stuffed mushrooms you find at weddings and restaurants, try these { Shrimp Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms } 

Finally, shrimp and grits is a creamy southern staple that can be made healthier right in your own home! { Heavenly Slightly Healthier Shrimp & Grits Recipe }

 

 

 

More Posts:

{ Healthy Easy Sloppy Joes – with a Louisiana twist }

{ Healthy Tailgating Recipes – Appetizer, Main Course, and Dessert }

{ Super Healthy Crock Pot Sweet Potato and Steak Tips }

About the Blogger:

Shannon Gagnon is the recipe developer, food stylist and food photographer behind Crawfish & Crunches. She is known for turning delicious southern staples into slightly healthier versions that can be enjoyed all week long. On her blog you can find just what the tagline says, “Realistic recipes, rich southern culture, and health conscious habits.”

For inquiries about positioning your brand in front of Shannon’s followers click here.

For information on Shannon’s social media management business, click here.

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Creole Turkey Meatballs Crawfish & crunchesMeatballs are a healthy dinner staple in this house. I make them so many different ways! Today I’m taking my traditional creole turkey meatballs and letting them simmer all day in a light broth, chock full of veggies in the crockpot.

Serve it with a { New Orleans Muffaletta Salad }

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For 2-4 servings

You will need:

  • 2-3 T olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth

For the sauce:

  • 1 large can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cups cubed eggplant
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 2-3 cups ripe tomatoes, cubed or halved
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 T onion powder
  • 1 T black pepper
  • 1 T salt
  • 1/2 T crushed dried bay leaves
  • 2 T Italian seasoning
  • 2 T tomato paste

Meatballs:

  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1/2 bell pepper, diced small
  • 1/2 onion, diced small
  • 3 stalks celery, diced small
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T creole seasoning
  • 3 T Italian Seasoning
  • 3 T onion powder
  • 2 T black pepper, 1 T salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten

Creole Turkey Meatballs 2crawfish & crunchesDirections:

1) In a large pan on high heat, brown onion in olive oil. Transfer to crockpot. Repeat with batches of eggplant, then mushrooms.

2) Place remaining sauce ingredients in crockpot and stir.

3) Mix your turkey meatball ingredients lightly with your hands or a spatula. Do not over mix. Skillet should be on medium-high heat and have either non-stick spray or olive oil on the bottom of the pan. Form small balls in your hands and then drop onto skillet. Brown on each side, being very careful not to break them. Do not cook through.

4) Gently transfer meatballs to crockpot and lay on top of veggies.

5) Pour chicken broth into hot pan and scrape up any brown bits, transfer liquid to crockpot. It may seem like there is not much liquid at this point, but all the veggies will release a lot of liquid.

6) A few hours into cooking, transfer some of the broth on the bottom of the crockpot to drizzle over the meatballs.

7) Cook for 6-8 hours and serve with fresh green salad and/or whole wheat pasta. Add more salt and pepper, or creole seasoning to taste.

 

 

More Posts:

{ No Excuses! Tips for Getting Your Workout Done When Traveling }

{ Healthy Grocery List Essentials: A Few of My Favorite Products }

{ 3 Tips and Tricks for Packing Healthy Snacks When Flying }

About the Blogger:

Shannon Gagnon is the recipe developer, food stylist and food photographer behind Crawfish & Crunches. She is known for turning delicious southern staples into slightly healthier versions that can be enjoyed all week long.  On her blog you can find just what the tagline says, “Realistic recipes, rich southern culture, and health conscious habits.” 

For inquiries about positioning your brand in front of Shannon’s followers click here

For the long version about how the site was born, read more.

For information on Shannon’s social media management business, click here.

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NewOrleansBarbecueShrimpcrawfishcrunches

{ Guilt Free New Orleans Barbecue Shrimp }

The funny thing about traditional New Orleans Barbecue Shrimp, is that it has nothing to do with barbecuing! The sauce resembles a barbecue sauce, but no need to hit the grill in this summer heat.  This summer recipe is adapted from Emeril Lagasse, but made slightly skinnier and slightly healthier.

Now, Emeril serves his shrimp alongside homemade biscuits. Delish. It is also commonly served with a big loaf of French bread for sopping up all the juices. I just happened to have grits on hand so I served it with grits. The following day I just ate the shrimp with veggies and coated my veggies in the sauce as well. Low carb!

So light you will have room for { Skinny S’mores Ice Cream Sandwiches } for dessert.

Make sure to check out my Pinterest for more recipes.

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Tag me on Instagram in your creations.

  • PREP TIME: 30 minutes
  • TOTAL TIME: 2 hours
  • YIELD: 4 servings
  • 3 pounds large Gulf shrimp, peeled, deveined, tail on
  • Cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 T crushed dried bay leaf seasoning
  • Juice of 3 lemons
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter substitute
  • 2 T creole seasoning
  • Pat shrimp dry with paper towels. Sprinkle shrimp with 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning and fresh cracked black pepper. Toss shrimp with the seasonings. Refrigerate the shrimp while you make the sauce.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large pot over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the remaining Creole seasoning, the bay leaves, lemons, water, Worcestershire, wine, salt, and black pepper. Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat, allow to cool for about 15 minutes.
  • Place over high heat, bring to a boil, and cook until thick, syrupy, and dark brown, for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool about 5 minutes.
  • Whisk milk and butter into barbecue sauce base.
  • In a large saute pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the seasoned shrimp and sauté them, occasionally shaking the skillet, for 2 minutes. To blacken, or get a darker color, cook shrimp in batches.
  • Serve shrimp alongside bread, grits, or biscuits, and drizzle sauce over top.

NewOrleansBarbecueShrimpcrawfishcrunches3

About the Blogger:

Shannon Gagnon is the recipe developer, food stylist and food photographer behind Crawfish & Crunches. She is known for turning delicious southern staples into slightly healthier versions that can be enjoyed all week long.  On her blog you can find just what the tagline says, “Realistic recipes, rich southern culture, and health conscious habits.” For inquiries about positioning your brand in front of Shannon’s followers click here. For the long version about how the site was born, read more. 

More Recipes:

{ Skinny Kickin’ Tuna Melts }

{ Summer Sweet Corn & Crawfish Chowder }

{ skinny New Orleans muffaletta chicken }

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CrawfishCrunchesHoneyCajunBakedChickenTenders4

{ Honey Creole Baked Chicken Tenders }

I’ll tell the truth. I tried to make a baked version, or a healthy version of fried chicken. Let’s just say it’s not an easy task. Don’t get me wrong, these chicken tenders were moist and delicious, however I would never call them a healthier version of “fried” chicken because I think the southerners might hunt me down. They weren’t crispy enough to call them fried. Stay tuned for another go at it. In the meantime, if you want to serve up some fun on a weeknight or even a weekend, get to dippin’ these tenders in every sauce your little heart desires! I tried buffalo, ranch, and barbecue. Yum.

Pairs well with { cajun caviar } or { Super Simple Pound Cake Pudding Parfait } for dessert.

Make sure to check out my Pinterest for more recipes.

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CrawfishCrunchesHoneyCajunBakedChickenTenders2

For 16 Tenders or about 4-5 Servings:

Marinade:

  • 2 C Buttermilk
  • 1 T garlic powder
  • 1 T onion powder
  • 1/2 T chili powder
  • 1 T paprika

Breading:

  • 1 T creole seasoning
  • 1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 Cup Whole Wheat Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 T paprika
  • 1/2 C cornmeal
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 T pepper

Nonstick cooking spray

3 T butter or butter substitute of choice

1 T honey

Dipping sauces of choice. Barbecue sauce, buffalo sauce, Ranch

1) Marinate chicken in marinade for up to 24 hours in either Ziploc bag or airtight container.

2) Drain chicken in a collander. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Spray large baking sheet with nonstick spray. Spread pads of butter onto baking sheet.

3) Dredge your chicken in breading mixture. Lay out on baking sheet.

4) Bake for 10 minutes on 400 then broil until the top side becomes golden. Flip chicken carefully then broil the other side until golden brown. Watch carefully.

5) Remove from oven and drizzle lightly with honey. Serve with a fresh salad and plenty of dipping sauces.

About the Blogger:

Shannon Gagnon is the recipe developer, food stylist and food photographer behind Crawfish & Crunches. She is known for turning delicious southern staples into slightly healthier versions that can be enjoyed all week long. On her blog you can find just what the tagline says, “Realistic recipes, rich southern culture, and health conscious habits.” For inquiries about positioning your brand in front of Shannon’s followers click here. For the long version about how the site was born, read more.

More Recipes:

{ gulf shrimp stuffed portobello mushrooms }

{ cajun caviar }

{ skinny New Orleans muffaletta chicken }
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crawfish & crunches

{ skinny New Orleans muffaletta chicken }

This healthy recipe is inspired by the local New Orleans famous muffuletta sandwiches, which have a variety of meats like ham and salami, as well as olive salad, and provolone. The sandwich – not so healthy but oh so delicious. With this dish you get all of  those great Italian flavors without all the calories or bread.

Pairs well with a fresh green salad.

Make sure to check out my Pinterest for more recipes.

Follow the blog on the homepage right hand side to receive recipes to your inbox.

Tag me on Instagram in your creations.

For 4 servings you will need:

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 T onion powder
  • 1 T garlic powder
  • 1 T italian seasoning
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 C red pasta sauce of choice
  • 1/2 package turkey pepperoni
  • 1 C reduced fat provolone cheese
  • 4 slices low-sodium ham
  • 1 jar green olives with pimentos – drained
  • 1 jar pickled vegetables – drained
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional fresh parsley garnish

Muffaletta chicken crawfish & crunches

1) Preheat your oven to 350.

2) Remove any excess fat and veins from chicken. Place between two pieces of plastic wrap on your cutting board. Pound thin with a meat mallet. You don’t want to destroy the meat, just level out the thick parts so it will cook up nice and tender.

3) Pat chicken dry and in a large ziplock, shake with flour, onion powder, garlic powder, and italian seasoning to coat.

4) In olive oil in large pan on medium-high heat, allow your chicken to brown lightly on each side. No need to cook all the way through, it will finish in the oven.

5) In a large casserole dish, place your chicken. Layer chicken with ham, pepperoni, then drizzle with as little or as much tomato sauce as you like. Top with cheese.

6) For your olive salad, in a food processor, pulse 1/2 C pickled vegetables with 1/4 C olives. Sprinkle over top casserole dish.

7) Bake at 350 for about 20-25 minutes. You may check chicken with a meat thermometer or cut open one of the thickest pieces to make sure there is no pink.

8) Serve with salt and pepper to taste and chopped fresh parsley.

About the Blogger:

Shannon Gagnon is the recipe developer, food stylist and food photographer behind Crawfish & Crunches. She is known for turning delicious southern staples into slightly healthier versions that can be enjoyed all week long.  On her blog you can find just what the tagline says, “Realistic recipes, rich southern culture, and health conscious habits.” For inquiries about positioning your brand in front of Shannon’s followers click here. For the long version about how the site was born, read more. 

More Recipes:

{ New Orleans Beignets with Salted Caramel & Cream Cheese Icing }

{ tangy avocado dream dressing }

{ low carb jambalaya skewers }

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Sirloin Steaks with creamy mushroom crawfish sauce crawfish & crunches

{ sirloin steaks with healthy creamy crawfish sauce }

Per usual, this is another one of those recipes that sounds and looks super fancy, but it’s super easy. If you follow a low carb diet, it’s even decently healthy for you! No cream of mushroom canned soup or even butter involved. Wait til you hear the tricks I have up my sleeve.

Go ahead – serve this for a date night in or even for a group of friends. If you have someone, cough, husband, cough do the steaks on the grill, all you have to do is whip up this simple sauce. If you need some carbs, it would pair well with my { creamy crowd-pleasin’ corn grits }

Make sure to check out my Pinterest for more recipes.

Follow the blog on the homepage right hand side to receive recipes to your inbox.

Tag me on Instagram in your creations.

For 4 (If serving for two, you will want the leftovers for the following night)

  • 4 Sirloin steaks, about 4 ounces per person
  • 2 T Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • 1/4 C whole wheat flour
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 T onion powder
  • 1 large pint mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 lb crawfish tails, cooked
  • 1/2 T cajun or creole seasoning + more to taste
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 C green onion
  • 2 T fresh chives
  • Sprinkle of parsley for garnish
  • 2 C chicken broth
  • 1 C plain nonfat greek yogurt

1) Pat your steaks dry and season with Montreal Seasoning on both sides. Read more for grilling instructions. I use a meat thermometer and often undercook slightly the first day so that when they are heated up the second day they don’t dry out.

2) Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. In 1 T olive oil, saute all of your sliced mushrooms. Once they reduce down and are lightly golden brown, reduce heat to medium-low and add in your garlic and saute a few more moments.

3) Whisk in your flour until it absorbs up all the moisture from the pan. You may need to add 1 T olive oil to soak it all up. Pour in 1 C chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add in your green onion and chives.

4) Stir in 1 T salt, 1 T pepper, onion powder, cajun or creole seasoning. Once your sauce has thickened, reduce heat back down to low and simmer. Stir in your cooked crawfish. Stir in 1 C plain nonfat greek yogurt. Do not cook on too high of heat or the dairy will not mix in and blend evenly.

5) Taste sauce. If necessary, add more cajun or creole seasoning, salt and pepper. If you want your sauce thinner or to loosen it the following day, add a little more chicken broth.

6) Garnish with parsley and serve sauce over steaks.

About the Blogger:

Shannon Gagnon is the recipe developer, food stylist and food photographer behind Crawfish & Crunches. She is known for turning delicious southern staples into slightly healthier versions that can be enjoyed all week long. On her blog you can find just what the tagline says, “Realistic recipes, rich southern culture, and health conscious habits.” For the long version about how the site was born, read more.

More Recipes:

{ Texas Taco Style Stuffed Bell Peppers }

{ grilled cantaloupe summer salad }

{ low carb jambalaya skewers }
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Jambalaya skewers1 crawfish and crunches
{ low carb Memorial Day jambalaya skewers }
Now, us southerners know jambalaya is a rice based recipe. But on Memorial Day, everyone needs a little room for their beer and cocktails right? These skewers are healthy, simple, juicy, and will satisfy your craving for a summer char-grilled flavor.

Here is what you will need for 4, but feel free to half it for 2 or have delicious leftovers:

  • 1/2 bottle of Fat Free Italian Dressing
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 lb chicken sausage (I use a brand with green onion in it)
  • 1/2 lb chicken breasts, trimmed of fat
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup celery
  • Creole or cajun seasoning to taste
  • 3 T olive oil

1) Chop your chicken breasts in large chunks. You want to make these abnormally large so they don’t dry out on the grill. They will cook much faster than the sausage. Chop your sausage in thin slices. They will cook slower on the grill.

2) Chop the rest of your ingredients in bitesize pieces.
3) Marinate your chicken, sausage and veggies for 6-8 hours in Italian dressing, salt and pepper, and sprinkle of Creole or Cajun seasoning. I say a sprinkle, or 1 T because some may not like it spicy, and others can add additional seasoning once it’s plated.
4) After marinating, skewer your meat and veggies. Be careful not to overcrowd them so that they cook evenly.

5) Heat your grill to medium-high heat. Once the grill is hot, scrape grates with a wire brush to clean. With a towel, rub olive oil up and down your grill grates. This is so your food doesn’t stick, so be generous.

6) Place your skewers horizontally over grill grates. Cook for 5-8 minutes covered. Then rotate and cook 5-8 minutes more. You want to see crispy edges, but not dry out the meats.

7) Remove from grill. Can cover with tin foil to keep warm.
jambalaya skewers 2 crawfish and crunches

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healthy spin on emeril's bolognese sauce crawfish and crunches

{ Healthy Spin on Emeril’s Famous Bolognese Sauce }

When I think of bolognese, I think of a delicious, creamy pasta I ate al fresco one summer at a very Italian friend’s house. A bowl of heaping pasta is good for the soul once in awhile, don’t get me wrong, but as the weather heats up in New Orleans to the mid 80’s, the sound of it makes me sweat! Well I didn’t want to miss out on all my Italian favorites just because of the heat or the carbs, so I created a lighter take on my pretend boyfriend’s traditional dish. Don’t fear the zoodles! This dish can be made with whole wheat pasta as well.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil (butter or oil would work as well)
  • 5 strips turkey bacon, diced
  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 chopped yellow or white onion
  • 1 C finely chopped carrots
  • 1 C finely chopped celery
  • 2 C thinly sliced button mushrooms
  • 4 T minced garlic
  • 1 t ground nutmeg
  • 1 T oregano
  • 1/3 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 C red wine
  • 1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken stock or broth
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 4 zucchini, spiralized, or shaved with vegetable peeler
  • sprinkle of parmesan optional

Directions

  • In a large Dutch oven, or your largest saute pan, heat 2 T oil over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until brown. Remove and set aside.
  • Add your carrot to the same pan and saute until tender, about 10 minutes. Add celery, saute, then onion. Cook until tender. Add mushroom. Continue to saute.
  • Add the garlic, nutmeg, oregano to the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Cook your ground turkey until no longer pink.
  • Add the wine, then chicken broth, then coconut milk and simmer over medium-high heat until sauce is thickened and flavorful, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Stir back in your bacon.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste

For the zoodles:

  • On medium heat, saute zucchini over 1 T coconut oil until slightly tender. You don’t want them to be crunchy, but you don’t want them to be completely soggy either.
  • Drain off excess liquid in a colander. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Lay down zoodles on your plate or bowl, then bolognese sauce, then sprinkle with chopped parsley. Sprinkle of parmesan optional.

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crawfish & crunches healthy jambalaya

Jazz Fest Inspired Recipe Series: { Healthy Cajun Jambalaya }

When the brand and app Girls Guide to New Orleans asked me to blog for them about New Orleans Jazz Fest inspired recipes to cook at home, my mind was flooded with healthier takes on the giant food list from the festival. Jazz Fest to me is grabbing a bowl of jambalaya in a little styrofoam cup and strolling by all the stages. Of course, all the rice can leave a girl feeling a little bogged down after jamming in the heat all day. I up the protein a little bit and use slow-burning carbs. Here is my healthier take on a southern staple that you can make in your kitchen.

Serves 6. Feel free to cut recipe in half, but you can eat it all weekend and it freezes well.

Ingredients:

1 pound chicken breasts, diced
2 tablespoon Cajun seasoning – low sodium if preferred
1/4 cup olive oil or coconut oil
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped green bell peppers
1/2 cup chopped celery
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
2 T Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons hot sauce + more to taste
1 1/2 cups dry brown rice
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 pound chicken sausage, sliced, I like Manda’s with green onion
Chopped green onion for garnish
1 T salt, 1 T pepper + more to taste

1) In a large pot of boiling chicken broth, cook your rice according to package.

2) While that is going, in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat, brown your chicken sausage in batches. Set aside.

3) Season your chicken with Cajun seasoning. Lightly cook chicken in the same pan, in 2 T oil. Do not over cook. Set aside.

4) Chop all of your veggies. Pulsing in a food processor is highly recommended. Add your remaining oil to the pan. Add your onion, bell pepper, celery to pan. Cook until translucent, soft, about 10 minutes. Cover to speed up cooking time. Season with salt and pepper. Add garlic and tomatoes, Worcestershire, hot sauce. Allow to simmer on low about 10 minutes longer.

5) Remove pan from heat, stir back in your chicken and sausage. In a very, very large bowl, once your rice is cooked, stir your meat and veggie mixture in with your rice.

6) Serve with chopped green onion over top. Serve with additional hot sauce, Cajun seasoning, salt and pepper for those who might like it. If you are feeling the jambalaya is too dry, or gets drier the second day, just add a little chicken broth.

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crawfish dip crawfish.n.crunches{ creamy Louisiana crawfish dip }

It’s ladies night y’all! That means us girls get to whip up some of our favorite Pinterest finds and devour some dips, wine, and desserts together. What could be better? This recipe is totally meant to be a treat, even though I have substituted a FEW healthy ingredients for some naughty ones.

For 8-10 servings you will need:

  • 1 lb peeled, cooked frozen crawfish
  • 1 1/4 cup fat free plain greek yogurt
  • 1 bell pepper, diced fine
  • 1 4 oz. jar diced pimento
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup green onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 tbsp Creole seasoning
  • 1/4 cup fat free parmesan cheese
  • 1 Whole wheat French baguette
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder (for toast)

1) In a small saucepan saute bell pepper and 3/4 cup green onion in 1 tbsp of your butter about 3 minutes over medium heat.

2) Add in the rest of your butter and Greek yogurt. Melt over low heat, stirring to combine well. Add in crawfish, pimentos, garlic powder, 1 tbsp Creole seasoning.

3) Once combined, pour into shallow pie pan or other oven-safe dish. Top with parmesan cheese and other tbsp Creole seasoning. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, then closely watch it as you broil until the topping slightly browns.

4) Remove from oven, garnish with a little extra green onion.

5) While oven is still hot, turn it back to bake at 350. Slice your baguette into bite-size pieces and on a large baking pan drizzle it with olive oil and garlic powder. Bake at 350 for about 5 minutes or until golden brown.

crawfish.n.crunches muffaletta salad new orleansIn New Orleans, a muffaletta is a delish sandwich consisting of meats, cheeses and an olive salad served on Italian sesame bread.

Here is my lighter spin on the traditional sandwich – a fresh and satisfying salad with all the same flavors.

For 4 salads you will need:

  • 2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1/2 cup jarred, drained, pepperoncinis, diced
  • 1 cup low fat salami
  • 1 cup cubed low fat ham
  • 1/2 cup pimento green olives
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, diced
  • 1/2 cup low fat provolone cheese, diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 4-5 tablespoons light Olive Garden Italian dressing
  • Coarse salt and ground black pepper to taste

1. Mix all ingredients your pepperoncinis, salami, ham, olives, red peppers, provolone, and tomatoes.

2. Top your salad of romaine with all of those ingredients, top with salt, pepper, and your dressing. Voila!
southern seafood gumbo{ southern skinnier seafood gumbo }

It is so hard for me to try to rack my brain and write down all of the measurements and ingredients for gumbo. It’s such a “throw it all in the pot” kind of dish. Once you get your roux down pat, it’s hard to mess up! Gumbo has so many great flavors and great veggies and proteins in it. With a few tweaks this dish is both satisfying, belly-warming, and a slight bit skinnier.

Also, I have perfected Emeril Lagasse’s traditional gumbo, and after that I make my own simplified versions, just changing out the proteins and adding what I like here and there. Some southerners like their gumbo thick rich and brown, while others like it lighter and brothy. To make yours thinner, add more water or chicken stock.

If you make this in advance, then re-heat the pot a second time before serving, it gets better and better each time!

For 8-10 servings you will need:
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped celery
2 tbsp Creole seasoning (salt-free if you prefer)
2 tbsp minced garlic
3 (14-oz.) cans low-sodium chicken broth $
4 cups shrimp
1/2 pound chicken sausage sausage, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
2 cups brown rice
1/4 cup chopped green onion

1. In a large pot, make your roux. Over medium heat, whisk your flour with your oil until it becomes a milk chocolate color. Careful not to burn, but you may be able to chop your vegetables simultaneously.

2.Stir in your veggies, seasoning and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes. Stir in your broth.

3. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low for about 3 hours. Stir occasionally. Stir in your shrimp until they turn pink, about five minutes, and serve.

4. While your gumbo is cooking make your brown rice according to package. Serve gumbo over brown rice and garnish with green onion. Hot sauce or Creole seasoning for those who like it spicier.

cajun chicken pasta crawfish.n.crunches2{ Creamy Cajun Chicken “Pasta }

Spicy chicken pastas are a popular dish in the south, often found at restaurants and catered parties. Why not enjoy this dish at home on a weeknight by incorporating some healthy twists?

This dish is made with zoodles, or zucchini noodles, so you have to have an open mind to the pasta substitute. The sauce is made with coconut milk instead of heavy cream and cheese, but don’t worry, a little creole seasoning and blackened chicken turns this dish into something decadent.

For 4 you will need:

1 lb chicken breasts, trimmed of fat and veins, pounded thin

1 tbsp seasoned salt

1 tbsp black pepper

1 tbsp onion powder

1 tbsp garlic powder

1 tbsp oregano

1 tbsp thyme

1 tbsp basil

1 teaspoon cayenne

1 tbsp creole seasoning

1/2 can coconut milk

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

1 tbsp butter

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 orange bell pepper, diced

1 yellow bell pepper, diced

1 tbsp cooking oil

3 zucchini

1) Pat your chicken dry. Mix all of your seasonings in a small bowl, except the creole seasoning. Rub all over chicken breasts.

2) Heat your skillet to high, add a tbsp oil. Sear your chicken, about 4 minutes each side, then turn to low and cover with a lid in order to finish cooking the center. Make sure to check the center and remove from the pan as soon as it’s white.

3) In the same skillet, on medium, cook your bell peppers. They don’t have to be charred, just saute for about 5 minutes. Add a splash of water to speed it up. Remove from pan.

4) Now that your chicken has cooled a bit, cut into bite-size pieces.

5) Remove all the green skin from the zucchini. With your spiralizer make long ribbons, on the thick setting. In a separate pan, saute for about 5 minutes on medium. Drain all liquid in a colander.

6) In the skillet your bell peppers and chicken were in, pour in your coconut milk, butter, and parmesan cheese. Saute on medium for about 10 minutes until it reduces. Toss your zoodles and bell pepper with the sauce, adding creole seasoning. Add or top with your chicken. For those who like it really spicy, add extra cayenne or creole seasoning on top when you serve.

cajun chicken pasta crawfish.n.crunches
shrimp ettouffe crawfish.n.crunches{ slimmer trimmer shrimp etouffee }

Shrimp etouffee is like a thick gravy over your rice, consisting of vegetables and shrimp. It’s often served at restaurants in Lousiana, but you can make it right in your own home without a doubt. Don’t feat the roux! Once you get that down pat, gumbo, etouffee, and creole dishes will all be a cinch.

I adapted this to be lighter, but it originates from the pro, my main man, my hero Emeril Lagasse

For about 10 servings:

6 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
4 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped green bell peppers
2 cups chopped celery
4 cloves minced garlic
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves 3 tablespoons creole seasoning
1 quart chicken stock or seafood stock if you have it
3 pounds medium shrimp, peeled, deveined
1 tbsp parsley
Steamed brown rice, for serving
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion tops, for garnish

1) Melt the coconut oil in a large stew pot on medium heat. Add the flour and stir constantly to make your roux. Keep stirring until you see the color of peanut butter, about 5 to 7 minutes.

2) Add your “holy trinity” of celery, onion, bell pepper and stir 10 minutes. Add garlic.

3) Add the tomatoes and all of your seasoning, including bay leaves. Cook 5 minutes. Add in chicken stock.

4) Bring to boil. Simmer, cover on low for 1 hour. Stir occasionally.

5) Add shrimp and stir about 5 minutes.

6) Remove bay leaves. Serve over brown rice, top with green onion. Top with more creole seasoning or hot sauce if you prefer it spicy. If you like it extra lean, it doesn’t even need the rice!

shrimp ettouffee crawfish.n.crunches 2
pulled chicken creole crawfish.n.crunches{ pulled chicken creole }

I’m a sucker anything Emeril. That’s why whenever I need to know the traditional New Orleans way of making something, I refer to him. Many of my recipes are adapted from him to be a little healthier and easier. With this dish, my husband and I were shocked at how much chicken were consuming ( in a good way ). It’s a great way to get protein in with clean veggies in the mix too. I ate it sans rice, but my big & tall hubby ate it with rice.
6-8 Servings
Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup wheat flour
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped green bell peppers
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 3 T creole seasoning
  • 2 T chopped bay leaves
  • 1 can diced tomato
  • 1 T chopped garlic
  • Dash of Worcestershire Sauce
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • 2 lb chicken breast, trimmed of fat, veins
  • 2 T dried parsley
  • 1 T thyme
  • 1 T salt
  • 2 Cups chicken broth
  • 1 T pepper
  • 4 cups cooked brown rice
1) In a large cast iron skillet or saute pan, over high heat, melt the coconut oil. Pat dry and season your chicken breasts liberally with salt and pepper, creole seasoning, bay leaves, oregano, thyme. Sear each side of the chicken briefly, then set in empty crockpot. Do not cook through.
2) Add the onions, peppers, and celery to the pan. Sear them, don’t cook through. 6-8 mins. Add them to crockpot.
3) Pour 2 cups chicken broth over your hot pan, scraping up all the loose brown bits and seasoning off the pan. Whisk in your flour. Pour into crockpot.
4) To your crockpot add minced garlic, diced tomatoes, hot sauce, worcestershire, parsley, any leftover seasonings.
5) Cook on low 8-10 hours. Shred chicken lightly. Serve over brown rice. Check seasoning, may need more creole seasoning and my husband added more hot sauce.

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