Meats & Seafood

HEALTHY CREOLE SPINACH ARTICHOKE CHICKEN

Creole spinach artichoke chicken crawfish and crunches blog2

I’ve made this healthy chicken recipe about four times now. I make big batches and freeze some for lunches and easy dinners to heat up. It’s so darn good and tastes like spinach and artichoke dip, except it’s a completely healthy recipe! Of course I had to add a little southern creole twist, it just makes everything that much better.

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For 3-4 servings:

3 spreadable Laughing Cow cheese wedges – Garlic & Herb is great, but try swiss if not

1/2 C frozen steamed spinach – or steam your own from a large bag of fresh spinach

1/2 C chopped canned artichokes

1 Teaspoon garlic powder

1 Tbs onion powder

1 Teaspoon garlic salt

1/8 Teaspoon pepper – or to taste

4 thin sliced chicken breasts – you can purchase them in the store this way

Creole seasoning to taste (at the end)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Warm and drain all liquid from your spinach by squeezing in paper towels. Place in mixing bowl
  3. Pat your artichokes dry, place in mixing bowl.
  4. Place cheese and all spices (except creole seasoning) in mixing bowl. Stir to combine
  5. While chicken breasts are in package, pound lightly with a meat mallet to thin even more. This saves time from placing them between two sheets of plastic wrap, but your choice.
  6. Spray a 8×8 casserole dish with non-stick spray. Lay out your chicken breasts and spread cheese mixture evenly on one side of the breasts. Roll up. Toothpick optional. If you have a container where they can fit snugly, they should stay rolled.
  7. Bake about 20 minutes uncovered. Do not overcook! It will dry the chicken out. Check with two knives on your biggest thickest chicken breast to make sure there is no pink.
  8. Serve and sprinkle on a tiny bit of creole seasoning on for an extra kick of flavor.

Notes: the photo shows them chopped in small wedges, but for serving for a family or yourself, no need to slice it all fancy!

 

 

 

HEALTHY VENISON RECIPE WITH EASY GRAVY

venison crawfish and crunches blog2Do not be scared about cooking or eating venison! It is so healthy and lean. To me – it was even better than a steak. With an easy marinade, a quick sear on the grill, and an optional easy gravy, you can be enjoying the meats of your labor in no-time. This recipe happens to be for backstrap, but I will be posting more recipes of other cuts of venison in the future.

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Marinade ingredients:

1 venison backstrap

1/2 Tbsp garlic powder

1/2 Tbsp Montreal Steak Seasoning

1/2 Tbsp onion powder

1/4 Tbsp pepper

1/4 Tbsp seasoning salt

2 Tbsp Worcestershire

2 Tbsp Soy Sauce

1/4 C Italian Dressing

For grilling: 1/8 Cup Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce

For the gravy:

Pan drippings

1/2 C milk (Almond milk, skim milk, cream, your choice)

1/4 C almond flour or whole wheat flour

Salt and pepper to taste, pinch of Steak Seasoning

  1. Cover the meat in plastic wrap over a cutting board. Lightly tenderize meat with the pointy edge of a meat mallet.
  2. Marinade all ingredients in Ziploc bag for at least four hours, less than 24 hours. Massage the bag to make sure all seasonings and liquids are evenly distributed around the meat.
  3. Heat your grill to high. Sear both sides of meat 5-8 minutes per side. Peek for those grill marks!
  4. As it’s searing, brush lightly with barbecue sauce.
  5. Once you have seared both sides – be very careful not to overcook the meat, even the slightest bit. Do not pierce with a thermometer or the juices will escape you. Instead, try this finger test. In most cases, I would have my meat cooked medium-well, but with venison, I would prefer medium-rare due to it’s tendency to toughen up.
  6. Allow the meat to rest in a Tupperware container for at least 10 minutes, only cover slightly. Save all juices for the gravy.
  7. In a small saucepan, whisk the juices from the Tupperware, milk, flour, and seasonings over medium heat. Bring slowly to a bowl and keep whisking. Return to low and simmer for a few moments. Make sure you like the taste at this point, add more seasoning if necessary. Pour over venison. To loosen the sauce later, add more milk or chicken broth.

Notes: It is best to eat this one night only, not recommended as leftovers. If you do need to re-heat meat, simply heat up the gravy in the saucepan and allow your meat to warm in the sauce. Microwaving the meat will only dry it out.

 

 

SloppyJoes2CrawfishCrunches

{ Healthy Easy Turkey Sloppy Joes – With a Louisiana Twist }

These sloppy joes are super healthy and super easy. I love making a big batch in the beginning of the week, almost three times this recipe size for the husband and I, and then eating it all week long for lunch or dinner. I don’t even use the bread! I personally like pairing it with sweet potatoes sometimes. You can get creative too.  The Louisiana twist is the creole seasoning. It’s not spicy – just flavorful. We add it to just about everything down here.

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Serves about 5:

  • 1 lb raw lean ground turkey
  • 1 T dry steak seasoning blend
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 3 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 T red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 T garlic powder
  • 1 T onion powder
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 1 3/4 cups canned crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 5 light hamburger buns
  • 1 t creole or cajun seasoning  – low sodium optional

1)  In a large saute pan, cook your ground turkey on medium high heat. Break up into small crumbles with spatula. When there is no pink color left in the pan, drain in a colander.

2) Add your onion and bell pepper to the pan. Saute about five minutes.  Add in garlic and saute one more minute. Add in ground turkey again, stir in with remaining ingredients except bun.

3) Simmer on low heat for at least 10 minutes to allow the flavors to come together. I think it’s even better the next day!

4) Serve on whole wheat buns. For a quick slaw recipe try this.

SloppyJoes3CrawfishCrunches

More Posts:

{ How to Curb Your Sweet Tooth with Healthy Alternatives }

{ Healthy Crockpot Creole Turkey Meatballs in an Heirloom Tomato Sauce }

{ 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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pulledporkcrawfishcrunches4

{ Healthy Crockpot Pulled Pork Recipe }

Maybe it’s just me, but I CRAVE pulled pork. I think I blame it on my mom’s delicious pulled pork recipe that I always had growing up. Now, with all due respect to momma’s recipe, it wasn’t exactly healthy. This recipe will satisfy your barbecue cravings without all the added sugar and carbs.

Make sure to check out crawfish.n.crunches on Instagram.

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pulledporkcrawfishcrunches3

For the rub:

  • 1 bone-in pork shoulder or butt roast, about 5-6 lbs;
  • 3 T smoked paprika
  • 1 T garlic powder
  • 1 T dry mustard
  • 3 T sea salt
  • 3 T black pepper
  • 1 T olive oil or coconut oil

For the sauce:

  • 1 large onion, diced small
  • 3 T low sodium soy sauce
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 T cumin
  • 1 T dry mustard powder
  • 1 T oregano
  • 1 T basil
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2-1 tsp stevia powder (or sweetener of choice)

Optional garnish, serving suggestion: Green onion, lime wedges, creole seasoning to taste

1) Whisk all sauce ingredients except onion in the bottom of the crockpot.

2) Pat your roast dry, season with all dry rub ingredients. In a large pan on high heat in oil, sear on all sides until brown (not cooked through). Transfer to crockpot.

3) In the same pan, lightly brown your onion, scraping up all brown bits. Transfer to crockpot.

4) To make sure you scrape up all brown bits, lower heat and drizzle a tablespoon or two of chicken broth into pan and it will de-glaze the pan. Transfer all liquid and brown bits to crockpot. It’s full of flavor!

5) With a large spoon, coat pork with sauce. Cook 8-9 hours on low. Skim some fat with a spoon off the top and discard. Shred with two big forks and serve.

Pairs well with: { Louisiana Peach Cobbler with Pecan Praline Streusel } for dessert!

 

More Posts:

{ How to Cut Back on Bread – Recipes, Tips, and More }

{ Ways to Use Greek Yogurt Your Totally Missing Out on }

{ 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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Whiskey Bacon Crispy Chicken Drumsticks crawfish & crunches2{ Whiskey Bacon Crispy Chicken Drumsticks Recipe }

You will not believe that these delicious crispy, saucy drumsticks are not had bad for you. Now of course, it depends on your definition of healthy, but to me, low carb, turkey bacon, and minimal sugar is the way to go.

Pairs well with  { Grilled Cantaloupe Summer Salad } and { Quick & Skinny Southern Banana Pudding }

Make sure to check out my Pinterest for more recipes.

Tag me on Instagram in your creations.

 

Whiskey Bacon Crispy Chicken Drumsticks crawfish & crunches1

Recipe inspired by Best Recipe Box and Recipe Tin Eats

For the sauce:

  • 6 slices turkey bacon, diced into small pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ½ cup brown sugar ( can use sugar substitutes if preferred )
  • ¼ cup whiskey
  • 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon (like 4 flakes!) red pepper flake
  • salt and pepper to taste

for the chicken wings:

  • 2 pound chicken drumsticks
  • 2 T baking powder
  • 2 T crunchy sea salt
  • Cooking spray
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Pat chicken dry and leave it in the fridge for a few hours to dry out on paper towels. If you don’t have time for that step, pat dry very well with paper towels
  3. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions.
  4. Line a baking tray with foil, then place a cooling rack on the foil. Spray the rack with cooking spray.
  5. Place wings in a large bowl or in a ziplock bag. Add the baking powder and salt, then toss to coat evenly.
  6. Place the wings on the baking tray in a single layer with the skin side up.
  7. Place wings on the lower middle oven rack and bake for 30 minutes.
  8. For the sauce, crisp up your bacon in a small saucepan and reserve about half for a garnish later. In the same saucepan, let your garlic cook on low for a few moments, then whisk in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil then simmer while your wings cook.
  9. Move wings up to the upper middle rack and increase the oven temperature to 425F. Bake for 40 – 50 minutes. Rotate the back side of the tray to the front halfway through cooking.
  10. Remove baking tray from the oven and let it stand for 5 minutes.
  11. Taste sauce to see if it needs more salt, pepper, or any sweetener such as extra brown sugar.
  12. Drizzle sauce over wings. Garnish with crispy bacon. Serve with celery and blue cheese dressing.

 

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:

{ Quick & Skinny Southern Banana Pudding }

{ Skinny Kickin’ Tuna Melts }

{ skinny New Orleans muffaletta chicken }

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Sweet & Spicy Creole Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin crawfish & crunches

 

Father’s Day { Honey Creole Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin }

This is my second, not so perfectly healthy recipe for Father’s Day. Why? Because it’s not about me! It’s about Dad. He deserves a treat on his big day. If you are following a low-carb diet, this will actually be right on point. If you really want to, you can make this with turkey bacon and you will be right on track.

You won’t believe how simple this is! Pairs well with some nice greens.

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.

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For 4-5 servings:

  • 1 pork tenderloin
  • 1 package bacon or turkey bacon
  • 4 T honey
  • 1 T creole seasoning
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 T pepper
  • 1 T olive oil

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pat your pork dry and season with salt, pepper, and creole seasoning.

2) In a large cast iron skillet or regular skillet if you don’t have it, on high heat, sear your meat on all sides in 1 T olive oil.

3) Once your meat cools slightly, lay your bacon flat and roll your pork tenderloin to cover like a blanket. Kind of like swaddling a baby!

4) Transfer meat back to oven proof skillet or casserole dish. Bake in oven for 20 minutes. Broil on high for last five minutes (watch closely) to brown bacon.

5) Serve. Season with salt and pepper if necessary.

Sweet & Spicy Creole Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin crawfish & crunches 2

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:

{ father’s day recipe: whiskey peach ginger barbecue baby back ribs }

{ cajun caviar }

{ low carb jambalaya skewers }

 

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father's day whiskey peach barbecue baby back ribs crawfish & crunches 2

{ father’s day recipe: whiskey peach barbecue baby back ribs }

Sorry folks, if you thought this one was going to be a healthy recipe, you are at the wrong blog. Since this blog is all about balance, after a week of clean eating I am treating my family and I to a little barbecue this Sunday. Now I am sure there are plenty of “paleo” barbecue sauce recipes out there, so go find one if that’s what your interested in. This recipe wasn’t about myself, it was about treating Dad!

Father's day whiskey peach barbecue baby back ribs crawfish & crunches

I combined some of my three favorite people’s recipe ingredients and cooking methods for the ribs into one heavenly recipe. It combines my husband and I’s favorite things about ribs. I love the sweet chunky peach preserves my mom puts in her sauce, and I love the cooking method that my great friend and great cook Heather uses. I also tend to love Pioneer woman so I threw in some of her ideas as well – mostly the whiskey. She just gets me. The husband hates when barbecue is sweet, so there are a few adjustments for him as well. See? We can all be happy!

father's day whiskey peach barbecue baby back ribs crawfish & crunches 3

Finally, I threw in a little seasoning at the end called Kissed by the Sun. They were kind enough to send me a sample of the “Ragin’ Cajun” organic seasoning blend. Can you image the possibilities when combining the terms “cajun” with “healthy”!? Right up my ally, since this blog is about cooking southern staples just slightly healthier.

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:
  • 1 large slab baby back ribs
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 whole Yellow Onion, Diced
  • 1 whole peach or nectarine, diced fine
  • 1/4 cup Whiskey
  • 12 ounces Barbecue Sauce
  • 1/4 jar Peach Preserves
  • 1/3 cup ginger ale
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Peeled
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 T Kissed by the Sun Ragin’ Cajun seasoning

1) Preheat oven to 250. Heat your grill to high heat. Make sure to clean and rub down with oil on a towel so your meat doesn’t stick.

2) Pat your ribs dry and season liberally with salt and pepper. Now, if you aren’t afraid of spice, you can add your Cajun seasoning now to the ribs. If you are leery or if you have guests who are picky, let them garnish with it on their own once the ribs are plated.

3) Sear your ribs on high heat on grill only about 2 1/2 minutes per side.

4) In a large aluminum bin, dutch oven, or cast iron pot, place your onion and peaches then ribs. Pour over remaining ingredients and give it all a toss to coat the ribs.

5) Cover with foil and cook for at least 6 hours in the oven.

Pairs well with a side salad or my creamy crowd pleasin’ corn grits.

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 }

{ cajun caviar }

{ low carb jambalaya skewers }

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Balsamic Caprese chicken crawfish and crunches

{ the ultimate skinny summer balsamic caprese grilled chicken }

Gosh. Sometimes my recipe names are just so fancy and intricate because I can’t help myself. BUT, they are not to scare you away! I promise this couldn’t be easier, and it will leave you feeling healthy and summery.

Marinating chicken breasts is the way to go people. They often get so dried out or are just plain boring. But if you take the time to throw them in a Ziploc with some olive oil, vinegar, and spices, you will be in for a treat.

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.

Grilling balsamic chicken crawfish and crunches

For Four:

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, if the medley of colors are available – event better!
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 T black pepper
  • 2 T salt
  • 3 T garlic powder – or minced garlic
  • 3 T onion powder
  • 3 T italian seasoning
  • 1 small package of mozzarella (not the shredded or sandwich kind)
  • 6 cups baby spinach
  • Balsamic reduction to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Balsamic Caprese chicken two crawfish and crunches

1) First, remove veins and fat from chicken. On a cutting board, between two big sheets of plastic wrap, pound your chicken thin with a meat mallet. It should be about 1 inch thick, don’t butcher it!

2) In a large Ziploc bag or Tupperware, mix and massage your chicken with olive oil, balsamic, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, Italian seasoning. Make sure all the chicken is coated. Lay flat in your fridge about 6-8 hours.

3) When you are ready to grill your chicken, make sure to heat the grill to medium and rub with olive oil with a towel to avoid sticking. Grill your chicken on each side about 5 minutes, but be sure to check with a meat thermometer. Let meat rest about five minutes covered with foil.

4) While your chicken is grilling or resting, chop your cherry tomatoes in half. (The photo shows them on the grill, but I didn’t like how soft they got.) Lay out your spinach on your plate and top with salt and pepper. Layer your spinach, then chicken, then sliced mozzarella, then tomatoes.

5) Drizzle with balsamic reduction and a little extra balsamic if you prefer. If you don’t want to make the balsamic reduction, balsamic dressing will do.
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Soul Food smothered Porkchops 3 crawfish and crunches Soul Food smothered porkchops 2 crawfish and crunches

{ Soul Food Smothered Pork chops }

Now “soul food” and healthy may sound like an oxymoron, but I promise you that this recipe is not all that bad for you! My husband and I loved every bite so much I’m pretty sure we didn’t talk through dinner because our mouths were full. There is no canned soup in this and it makes a great amount of gravy so you can freeze it and save it for another dish! Serve with something crunchy, like roasted cauliflower or 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 4-6 servings

  • 3 T olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1 T dried parsley
  • 4-6 pork chops, thick, boneless
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 medium onion, diced fine
  • 1 Large box mushroom – about 4-5 cups sliced
  • 1/4 C whole wheat flour
  • 1 T dried oregano
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans (14 oz) chicken broth – low sodium
  • 1 T dried thyme
  • 1/2 T dried bay leaves (fine)
  • 1 T Montreal steak seasoning or poultry seasoning of choice

1) Pat your pork chops dry, season with Montreal steak seasoning and salt and pepper on both sides. In a large, large skillet heated with oil on HIGH heat, brown your chops on both sides. You want to see golden brown – brown in color in some spots. Remove and set aside, making sure to catch all those juices.

2) Turn down your heat to medium. Saute your mushrooms until they begin to caramelize and brown. Saute your mushrooms and as the mushrooms release moisture, be sure to scrape up brown bits from the pan.

3) Once they soften and reduce in size, add your garlic. Saute a few minutes. Add flour, thyme, bay leaves, oregano, parsley. Stir to combine. Pour over 1 can chicken broth and stir, making sure to combine all ingredients well.

4) Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Nestle back in your chops – making sure to cover them completely in sauce. Simmer about 45 minutes. Your chops should cut very easily with a knife.

5) Once you remove pork chops to serve, check your gravy. Taste it and see if it needs salt or pepper. If sauce is too thin, increase your heat to medium-high and continue to stir for about five or ten minutes. If it’s too thick, add in more chicken broth and stir. When serving the next day or freezing, you may want to add in more chicken broth as well to loosen it up.

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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Texas Taco Style Bell peppers crawfish and crunches_1

{ Texas Taco Style Stuffed Bell Peppers }

Love love love stuffed bell pepper recipes. So versatile, so healthy. I even got funky once and did a Cheesesteak Stuffed Bell Pepper. Now, to stick true to the southern theme of the blog, I did them Texas style this time. What makes them Texan you might ask? Well, these flavors remind me of some of the foods I ate in Texas during my visit with my husband’s family. Just think of your bell pepper as your taco.

If you need some carbs in your life, try these with a little brown rice on the side, or mix it in!

Don’t forget to Pin it or visit my Pinterest page for more recipes.

Get the blog straight to your e-mail by clicking “Follow” on the lower right of the blog.

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For Four:

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 onion, diced small
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 can tomato paste
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed, drained
  • 2 T cumin
  • 2 T paprika
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 2 T oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 bell peppers, tops removed, seeds removed.
  • 2 T olive oil

Toppings: salsa, fat free greek yogurt or sour cream, green onion, fat free shredded cheese, hot sauce, avocado

Texas Taco Style Bell peppers crawfish and crunches_2

1) Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a casserole dish lay your bell peppers facing downward and arrange your tops alongside them. Drizzle with 1 T olive oil, season liberally with salt and pepper. Bake 20 minutes.

2) In a large skillet in 1 T olive oil, saute your onion over medium-high heat. Allow them to deeply brown and caramelize, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile chop your garlic, rinse and drain your beans, open your tomato paste can, etc.

3) Add in your garlic, then ground turkey. Chop up ground turkey as you cook. Can cover with a lid to speed up cooking time. Once it is almost completely white or light brown, add in your tomato paste. Add in all spices, black beans. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer on low about 20 minutes. Taste. Add salt and pepper if necessary.

4) Fill your bell peppers with the mixture. Top with garnishes of choice.

Texas Taco Style Bell peppers crawfish and crunches 3

Related Articles:

{ Cinco De Mayo Slow Cooked Beef Barbacoa }

{ Kickin Cajun Crunchy Tuna Salad }

{ lil’ bit lighter guacamole }

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Shrimp stuffed portobellos crawfish and crunches

{ gulf shrimp stuffed portobello mushrooms }

When I think of stuffed mushrooms, I think of the ones I’ve had at weddings or at Olive Garden. While decadent and dreamy, they can also be fried or greasy or little high calorie bombs! Well at home, I knew I could make them guilt-free and to my liking. This recipe is simple yet so flavorful. You won’t even realize there was no cheese involved.

Serve over a bed of greens or over a salad. Pairs great with green beans and brown rice.

Don’t forget to pin it, or tag me on Instagram. Tag me in your creations!

For four:

  • 8 portobello mushrooms (for 2 per person)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup crab cake mix such as Zatarains ( or your own mixture of whole wheat bread crumb, and spices )
  • 3 T olive oil mayo
  • 1/4 cup fat free greek yogurt
  • creole or cajun seasoning (low sodium option available) to taste
  • Green onion for garnish
  • 1 lb peeled, shrimp, thawed

1) Set your oven to 350. Scoop out dark brown flesh of your mushrooms. Drizzle your mushrooms on both sides with olive oil. Then season liberally with salt and pepper.

2) Bake your mushrooms for about 20 minutes, flesh side down. Remove from oven and set aside.

3) In a large mixing bowl, mix your egg with crab cake mix, then add yogurt and mayo, mix. Fold in your shrimp.

4) Spoon mixture into portobellos. Lightly season with a little cajun or creole seasoning on top. If you have kids or have any picky eaters, they can do this once the food is plated if necessary.

5) Bake mushrooms and shrimp in the oven for about 20 minutes or until shrimp turn light pink. In the last few moments of cooking, broil just long enough to brown the tops slightly. Keep careful watch!

6) Serve with a little chopped green onion on top.

Shrimp stuffed portobello 2 crawfish and crunches

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eggs benedict over crawfish cakes crawfish and crunches

Mother’s Day Brunch: { Eggs Benedict over Crawfish Cakes }

There are really no words. It’s decadent. It involves butter. It involves crawfish.

Many of you know that my food blog is based around southern recipes with a slightly healthier twist, however you may also know that I truly believe in balance. Mother’s day is meant to be a treat, and hollandaise sauce isn’t really hollandaise sauce without butter. So treat your momma, or yourself this Sunday brunch.

This also involves a few steps, but don’t let them scare you! It’s really not that hard.

eggs benedict over crawfish cakes crawfish and crunches 3

For the hollandaise sauce, about 4 servings:

  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 T warm water
  • 1T fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 t coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  1. In a blender, combine all ingredients except butter and blend until frothy.
  2. In your microwave, heat your butter until just melted.
  3. As your blender is running, slowly pour in the butter and keep blending until sauce is thick and combined.
  4. Set aside your sauce. Can reheat in a small saucepan or in microwave, may need to add 1 T water to loosen it up before serving. Careful not to scramble your eggs by heating too high!

For the crawfish cakes:

  • 1 lb cooked thawed or fresh crawfish tails
  • 1 packet crab cake mix (I used Old Bay) found in seasoning aisle*
  • 1 egg
  1. In a large bowl, mix your crawfish tails with crab cake mix and egg.
  2. Form into medium sized patties. Spray your baking pan with nonstick spray, lay patties on pan.
  3. Bake at 350 until golden, about 15-20 minutes. Don’t want to dry them out!

* If you don’t have crab cake mix, you can use about 1 T Old Bay or seasoned salt, 1/4 C breadcrumb instead. You just want to make the patties stick together.

For the poached eggs:

  • 4 eggs
  1. In a 12-inch straight-sided skillet, heat 2 inches water over medium until bubbles cover the bottom and sides of pan.

  2. Crack each large egg into a separate small bowl. Do not use broken yolks. When a few bubbles have broken the surface of the water, gently pour each egg into the pan, leaving room between them. Can do two at a time to allow them room.

  3. Cook eggs, undisturbed, until white is just set and yolk is still runny, 3 to 4 minutes.

  4. Using a slotted spoon, remove eggs. Lay paper towel on plate, lay eggs over top to soak up moisture.

Plate your bed of greens, then crawfish cake, then egg, then hollandaise sauce. Serve with extra salt and black pepper, and if your from the south, extra hot sauce, and cajun or creole seasoning.

eggs benedict over crawfish cakes crawfish and crunches 2

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lemony chicken piccata crawfish & crunches

{ Lemony Chicken Piccata } & a Cajun Seasoning Epiphany
After meeting with an awesome guy, VP of Marketing for Slap Ya Mama seasoning today, my mind was blown. When I asked him what direction he wants to take the company, he explained that they do have adventurous customers in 50 states who are putting Slap Ya Mama on their pizza, their fries, and their coffee (yes, that wasn’t a typo). However, he still wants to educate the rest of the country that Cajun seasoning can be sprinkled on so much more than southern food. Jack Walker of Slap Ya Mama explained that when he goes to food shows and conventions across the country, people are hesitant to use his product, stating, “Oh, I don’t cook jambalaya or gumbo.”

That’s when it hit me. He was so right. I realized that no matter how I cook something or how it tastes, whether it’s chicken, steamed veggies, eggs, or tacos, it is still sprinkled with a little Slap Ya Mama once it’s plated. It truly takes the place of boring old salt. The rest of the world should really join in on that tasty fun.

If you are wondering how that story may tie into Lemony Chicken Piccata, the recipe is to inspire chefs, cooks, health nuts, and anyone serving up a meal to open their eyes to cooking in unexpected ways with delicious southern food products. In a dish like this, the Slap Ya Mama white pepper blend makes your sauce pop. As always, a little sprinkle of the seasoning salt once it’s plated makes all the difference. Serve with a green salad and voila. Dinner is served.

Ingredients

2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise, pounded thin
2 T Slap Ya Mama white pepper blend
1 T salt
2 T onion powder
2 T garlic powder
whole wheat flour for dredging
4 tbsp butter, unsalted
2 tbsp olive oil
⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
½ cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
¼ cup brined capers
⅓ cup fresh parsley, chopped
Slap Ya Mama seasoning to taste

Instructions

1) Season chicken with white pepper blend, salt, onion powder, garlic powder. Dredge chicken in flour.
2) In a large skillet melt 2 tbsp of butter with the olive oil, over medium to high heat.
3) Cook chicken for about 3 to 4 min per side until browned. Remove chicken from skillet.
4)Remove skillet from heat. Add lemon juice, wine, capers, chicken broth as you scrape up the brown bits from the pan. Return to heat, bring to a boil.
5)Add remaining butter and continue to stir. Reduce heat to simmer about 5 minutes.          6) Remove from heat once your sauce has thickened to desired consistency.
7) Remove pan from heat and let cool slightly. Nestle chicken back in the pan to coat in sauce.
8) Garnish with parsley. Once plated, sprinkle a little Slap Ya Mama over top.

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grits and grillades crawfish.n.crunches
{ emeril’s grits & grillades with a slightly healthier twist }

If you are wondering what are grits and grillades? They are actually seared cuts of beef, or sometimes veal, served over grits with the holy trinity and a brown gravy. They are often served in New Orleans at brunch time, and they are not grilled at all!

Now, I would never mean to insult the creole king himself, Emeril Lagasse, but I did take his recipe and just made some very little tweaks to make things a little easier and a tiny bit healthier. This does not mean butter will not be involved people! The cheese grits are well worth the extra steps and some things just can’t be messed with.

For 6 servings:

Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds beef top round, cut into 2-inch pieces, about 1/4-inch thick
1 pound veal top round, cut into 2-inch pieces, about 1/4-inch thick
2 C beef stock
1/2 C dry red wine
4 T finely chopped parsley leaves
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
1/2 C whole wheat, plus more for dusting work surface
1/2 C coconut oil
2 C chopped onions
1 C chopped bell peppers
1 C chopped celery
2 C chopped tomatoes
2 T chopped garlic
1 t chopped dried bay leaves
1/4 t dried thyme
1/4 t dried oregano
1/4 t dried basil
2 T creole seasoning
2 t seasoned salt
1 T garlic powder
1 T onion powder

Roux:
1/4 cup wheat flour
1/4 cup butter or coconut oil

Baked Cheese Grits:
1 tablespoons butter
6 cups chicken broth
1 T seasoned salt
2 cups quick-cooking white grits
2 cups grated sharp white Cheddar

Directions
1) Pat meat dry and season with creole seasoning, 1 t seasoned salt, black pepper. Dredge meat in whole wheat flour. Flour your counter top or cutting board and pound meat thin on both sides.

2) Heat 1/4 cup oil in large skillet over high heat. Once pan gets piping hot, quickly sear your meat on both sides, about 5 minutes. Set aside meat. Do this in batches if necessary – adding more oil to the pan as necessary. Do not overcrowd pan.

3) Turn heat to low – add your roux flour and fat to the pan. Stir for about 15 minutes, scraping up browned bits until well combined and brown in color.

4) Add bell pepper, onion, celery to the pan. Season with 1/2 t seasoned salt. Stir and scrape any brown bits up from pan. Cook about 5 minutes or until veggies are tender or translucent. Add tomatoes and garlic. Keep stirring another 4 minutes. Add bay leaves, oregano, thyme, basil, beef stock and red wine.

5) Add your meat back to the pan. Bring the pan contents to a simmer, cover partially and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 2 hours. Stir from time to time and check meat at 1 3/4 hours for tenderness.

For cheese grits:

1) Heat oven to 350.

2) Grease baking pan or casserole dish with non-stick spray.

3) Bring chicken broth, 1/2 T salt, and butter to a boil. Stir in grits and reduce heat to medium-low. Keep stirring and once grits begin to thicken – add in 1 cup cheese. Stir to combine.

4) Pour grits into pan and sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top. Sprinkle on 1/2 T salt. Bake about 20-25 minutes or until cheese is golden-brown.

5) Serve grits onto a plate, top with grillades and sauce. Sprinkle parsley over top.

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Creole Turkey Meatballs crawfish.n.crunches

{ creole turkey meatballs with homemade red sauce }

I was really craving red sauce. I mean really craving it. I even love the store-bought kind, terrible I know. To reduce the sugars a little bit and control the salt on my own, I ventured into making my own sauce. I have done this plenty of times, but my husband and I can never get over how much fresher and lighter it tastes. So worth it! Plus your house will be filled with the aromas of tomato and garlic as it simmers away.

This recipe was inspired by The Creole Contessa and I tweaked it to make it a slightly healthier recipe. Because that’s what this blog is all about :)

Sauce:

1 C water 1/2 can tomato paste
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes with liquid 1 C cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp. creole seasoning
2 T onion powder
2 T. garlic powder
2 T Italian seasoning
1/2 C chopped Italian parsley
1 T crushed bay leaves
1/2 bell pepper 1/2 onion 4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

1) In a large pan (with enough room to eventually add back in your meatballs), heat EVOO over medium heat. Add veggies and saute about 7 minutes, then add garlic and saute about 3 more.

2) Add tomato paste, parsley, cherry tomatoes, crushed tomatoes with liquid, water, seasonings. Bring it to enough heat that your cherry tomatoes burst then reduce heat to a simmer. Let it simmer for about 2 hours.

Meatballs:

1 lb. ground turkey
1/2 bell pepper, diced small
1/2 onion, diced small
3 stalks celery, diced small
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 T creole seasoning
3 T Italian Seasoning
3 T onion powder
3 T black pepper
2 T smoked paprika
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup parmesan cheese (optional)                                                                                  1/4 t red pepper flake

1) Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients in a bowl with your hands. Roll into small balls. On a large baking sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, place small meatballs. Bake 20 minutes and remove from oven.

2) Place meatballs and any pan drippings or brown bits into the red sauce. Let simmer for about 30 minutes to an hour.

3) Serve over zoodles or with a fresh, crisp salad. Top with parmesan cheese if you prefer. Some may prefer to add extra creole seasoning on top.

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Easter Sunday Siracha Brown Sugar Glazed Ham

{ Easter Sunday Siracha Brown Sugar Glazed Ham }

Even though having ham on Easter Sunday isn’t a staple on every family’s table in the South, it does bring me right back to my mom’s Easter dining room table. We had ham, corn, macaroni and cheese, pineapple fluff casserole and green beans. It was like a second Thanksgiving. Since this Sunday will be a bit different, rolling up our sleeves and picking crawfish out at the pavilion, I decided to cook up my traditional Easter favorites all week.

This ham could not be anymore delicious or EASY. You won’t believe it. 3 main ingredients. Watch and learn.

For about 8 servings:

  • One 4-5 pound bone in picnic ham (cooked)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup siracha sauce
  • 1 T cornstarch

1) Get either a cast-iron skillet screaming hot, or your grill. Sear the ham until brown on all sides.

2) Place in crockpot. Rub brown sugar and sriracha all over the ham. Cook on low about 6-8 hours. In the last hour, shred lightly with your fork. Don’t shred every piece, just enough to let all the juices flow in and absorb into the meat.

3) Drain out your liquid into a small sauce pan. Let it sit in the fridge for about an hour, separate and remove fat.

4) Stir 1 T cornstarch into cold water then stir into your sauce. Bring to a boil, then simmer until reduced. The sauce should be thicker. Serve over your ham.

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super lean and mean mexican skillet crawfish.n.crunches

{ super lean and mean mexican skillet }

When you need an easy one-pot week night, healthy dinner recipe. This is the route to go. With lean ground turkey and a pretty rainbow of vegetables, you won’t even miss the tortillas.

Ps. My husband had thirds. That is all.

For 4:

  • 1 lb ground turkey, lean
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 T cumin
  • 1 T paprika
  • 1 T onion powder
  • 1 T garlic powder
  • 1 T oregano
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 1 package low sodium taco seasoning
  • 1/4 cup low fat shredded mexican cheese (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 dollop non fat plain greek yogurt
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 T black pepper
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 T cooking oil
  • 2 T salsa
  • 1 T hot sauce
  • 1 fresh lime

Directions:

1) Start caramelizing your onion in a pan on low-medium heat in a little olive oil. Make sure the pan is large or else it will steam, not brown.

2) In another large pan on medium-high heat, start browning your ground turkey. Break into small pieces. Once brown, begin to sprinkle in your cumin, oregano, paprika, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, and taco seasoning. Turn heat to simmer and close lid. After about five minutes, see if you need to adjust the liquid. Either drain some, or add some to make sure the meat is moist and juicy.

3) You should be able to add your bell pepper to the onion pan at this time. The bell peppers don’t have to be totally soft, a little crunch is nice.

4) Once your onion and bell pepper is cooked through, pour over your meat. Layer the ingredients like you would with a taco dip. In large circles, then the circles get smaller as you add ingredients. Like this:

lean and mean mexican skillet crawfish.n.crunches 2

5) Your next layer with be your cheese. You may need to cover to let it melt. Next, your tomato, next your avocado, your dollop of greek yogurt, your chopped cilantro. Squeeze with lime juice all over the top of the pan and crack some flaky sea salt and black pepper overtop.

6 ) Serve with additional salsa, hot sauce, and greek yogurt.

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crab and shrimp stuffed merliton

{ Crab and Shrimp Stuffed Merliton }

I’ve been meaning to make this recipe forever. This dish is often offered at somewhat fancier southern seafood restaurants. I had to sample a few different ones to determine how I would put my own original twist on it. In Louisiana you can find merlitons in the grocery store. They look like little bright green pears. In other states, they ship in chayote squash. It’s almost the same thing, they are just grown in different locations.

Here is how I made this dish, traditionally ladened with filler, breadcrumb, mayo and cheese, a little lighter. In this recipe you will actually taste the fresh seafood.

For 2 servings:

  • 2 merlitons or chayote squash, halved
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 lemon, squeezed for juice
  • 1 lemon for garnish
  • 1 T old bay
  • 1 T creole seasoning
  • 1 T pepper
  • 2 T green onion, chopped for garnish
  • 1/2 lb lumb crab
  • 1/2 lb shrimp, uncooked, peeled
  • 4 T grated parmeson (optional)

1 ) Preheat your oven to 350.

2) Boil your merlitons for as long as it takes until you can scoop out the center with a spoon. It can take up to 20 minutes depending on where they were grown or their size. They will be very hot and have to cool a few moments, and when you scoop them they release a lot of water. Do this on your cutting board or over the sink. Save the pulp and set aside.

3 ) In a large saute pan, on medium low heat, saute your shrimp and crab in butter, seasonings, lemon. You can add in the pulp of your merlitons, mashed, or you can choose to omit it.

4 ) Once your shrimp is cooked through and the flavors have been sauteed together, begin to use this mixture to stuff your merlitons. Lay your merlitons in a oven-safe casserole dish. The seafood mixture will only pack loosely and that is okay! Let the extra mixture spill over into the casserole dish.

5 ) I put another small pad of butter on top of each one, but that part is optional. Some parmesan cheese on top would be delicious, but also optional. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes at 350.

6 ) Top with green onion for garnish. Serve with extra lemon. This goes great alongside brown rice, but I served with creamy marinated mushrooms.

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whiskey charred chicken crawfish.n.crunches

{ whiskey charred chicken }

Ya’ll. This ain’t yo grandma’s chicken. This is some serious flavor. It may be a little time consuming, but so well worth it you can eat it again and again all week. Believe it or not, the ingredients aren’t completely terrible for you, but I wouldn’t call it clean eating. Remember, life is about balance :) Serve with a crunchy side salad if you need a little greenery.

For four:

  • 2 chicken thighs
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 chicken drumsticks
  • 2 T cajun or creole seasoning
  • 2 T cracked black pepper
  • 2 T seasoned salt
  • 1 T paprika
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup whiskey
  • 1/3 cup ketchup – low sodium or low sugar optional
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 1/4 c low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 T coconut oil

Directions:

1) Pat your chicken dry and place in large ziploc bag or bags.

2 ) Pour in all ingredients and massage, shake, get it all covered and coated.

3 ) Marinate for about 6 hours in fridge. Make sure to turn and massage every few hours.

4 ) Preheat your oven to 350. Set your large cast-iron skillet to a high heat. Coat the bottom of the pan lightly in oil. Sear your chicken heavily on each sides. Could take up to five-seven minutes per side. If necessary, do this in batches so you don’t over crowd the pan. Overcrowding will promote steaming and not charring.

5 ) Once your chicken is seared, pour marinade over top.

6 ) Bake in oven at 350 for 1 hour.

7 ) Let rest for 10 minutes. Serve with crunchy side salad, or cornbread if your feelin’ southern.

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super easy spicy beef stir fry crawfish.n.crunches{ super easy spicy beef stir fry }

I am all about a short cut or two in the kitchen. Sometimes, just sometimes I am human and I don’t feel like doing all the chopping or buying the five different types of veggies. My short cut here is a frozen bag of stir fry veggies, hey! I wanted the water chestnuts and the snap peas and those little baby corns. My husband and I stay pretty low carb during the week so we didn’t even need the rice. This dish is super flavorful and you can add a little kick, if you like things spicy.

Inspired by Rachel Ray’s 5 spice beef stir fry

For 4:

  • Brown rice (optional), 1 to 1 1/2 cups, prepared to package directions
  • 2 T cooking oil
  • 1 T Montreal steak seasoning
  • 1 1/2 pounds beef sirloin or beef tenderloin tips, trimmed, placed in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes then thinly sliced
  • 3 T low sodium soy sauce
  • 3 T Hoison sauce
  • 2 T Cracked black pepper
  • 1 T sesame seed for garnish
  • 1 T grated ginger
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 family size pack mixed stir fry vegetables, frozen
  • 1/4 t red pepper flake (optional)

Directions

1) Boil water for rice and prepare to package directions.

2) Pat your meat dry and season with steak seasoning.

3) Heat a wok shaped skillet or pan over high heat. Add oil and meat bits. Stir-fry meat until lightly browned on the outside, about 3 minutes and remove from pan. Do not over cook! A little pink in the center is okay to keep it tender. Do this in batches if necessary, cover with tin foil when you reserve.

4) Now add your veggies to the pan. Add your soy sauce, hoison sauce, red pepper flake, garlic and ginger. Saute until they are cooked through. Fold back in steak just to warm through.

5) Take an ice cream scooper or a measuring cup to dish out your rice, if you choose to serve rice. Serve your stir fry, top with sesame seed.

mom's famous pulled pork crawfish.n.crunches{ mom’s famous pulled pork }

I mean, you just haven’t lived until you have had pulled pork this way. I won’t eat it any other way, because it just doesn’t compare to my mom’s. I love the nostalgia of this recipe because it originates from a slow cooker recipe book, but all my mom’s notes and modifications are all over it. She wrote, starred and underlined “add 3/4 cup brown sugar” at least three times!

Every region has their own way, slow cooked, smoked, dry rubbed, grilled, you name it. This recipe couldn’t be easier because after a quick sear on the grill or on the skillet, it comes to life in the crockpot all day.

It may not be one of my leaner recipes, but served without the bun ( you don’t even need it ) and next to a green salad it’s not all that poisonous 😉 It also goes great with coleslaw and baked sweet potato fries.

For 8 servings:

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup chili sauce
  • 1/4 cup dijon mustard
  • 2 T cider vinegar or white vinegar
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 t red pepper flakes
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 2.6-3 lb boneless pork shoulder butt roast, trimmed of excess fat
  • 8 kaiser buns (if you prefer)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar

1) Pat your meat dry and season liberally with salt and pepper. On the grill over medium-high heat, or on the skillet over high heat sear each side of the meat until it browns lightly.

2) Meanwhile, mix all the remaining ingredients (except the buns) into your crockpot. Give it a whisk.

3) Place your meat in the crockpot on low for 8-10 hours. Once your meat is seared, if you did it in the pan, pour 1/4 cup water over the hot pan and scrape up all the loose browned bits and seasoning. Make sure to get every last drop of this liquid and flavor into the crockpot.

4) Shred with two forks and serve.

Bourbon Street brown sugar glazed meatballs crawfish.n.crunches{ Bourbon Street Brown Sugar Glazed Meatballs }
These suckers are bound to be a hit at any party. They are great served individually on a tray, or if you would like to make it into a meal, serve in a bowl over some sauteed red cabbage or any of your favorite veggies. If you would like to lean this up even more, use ground turkey or ground chicken instead. I call them my Bourbon Street meatballs because of their spicy creole seasoning.
For the meatballs:
  • 2 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/4 c creole seasoning
  • 2 T worcestershire sauce
  • 3-4 clove garlic zested
  • 1/2 c finely chopped onion
  • 2 eggs
For the sauce:
  • 1 T Herbs de Provence
  • 1/2 cup Ketchup
  • 1 T cumin
  • 1 T paprika
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar

1.) Preheat the oven at 350 F.

2.) Mix the beef with rest of meatball ingredients.

3.) Form the meat into bite-size meatballs and place on a baking sheet.

4.) Combine glaze ingredients in a small bowl brush half of the mixture on the meatballs.

5.) Bake meatballs for about 15 minutes, brush with the rest of the glaze.

6.) Bake for about another 10 minutes. Internal temperature should be 160 F.

7.) Let meatballs rest for about 10 minutes. Garnish with green onion.

mexican style stuffed spaghetti squash crawfish.n.crunches { Mexican Style Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Boats }

So … this happened last night. You wouldn’t believe such a flavorful, filling dish could be so light and healthy for you. Can anyone really say no to those Mexican flavors we all love so much?

For 4-5 servings:

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp evoo
  • 1 package Jennie-O ground breakfast turkey sausage
  • 1 small jar chunky salsa
  • 1/2 bell pepper
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/2 low fat shredded cheddar or mozarella cheese
  • 1 can mild enchilada sauce
  • 1 T cumin
  • 1 T paprika
  • 1/4 cup green onion for garnish
  • avocado (optional garnish)
  • hot sauce (optional garnish)

1) Preheat your oven to 400. Slice your spaghetti squash in half, scoop out seeds and loose flesh. Season with your salt and pepper and drizzle of 1 tbsp olive oil. Place face down on roasting pan and roast for about 40 minutes depending on the size of your squash. To test, you should be able to pull spaghetti like strings out of the squash without to much trouble. Don’t pull them all yet! Just test.

Roasted butternut squash crawfish.n.crunches2) While your squash is cooking. In a large skillet brown your onion for about 10-15 minutes on medium in 1 tbsp evoo. Add in your bell pepper for another 5. Add in your meat and break into small pieces. Saute until the meat is browned.

3) Drain the mixture and excess liquid. Return to pan. Add salsa, cumin, paprika, enchilada sauce. Simmer on low for about 20 minutes.

4) When your squash is done. Pour meat mixture into the hollowed out section of the squash.

5) Top with cheese, broil quickly just until cheese melts in the oven. Watch carefully!

6) Garnish with chopped green onion, avocado, hot sauce.

stuffed bell peppers crawfish.n.crunches 2{ Cheesesteak Stuffed Bell Peppers }

My mom makes the best cheesesteaks in all the land. I’m convinced. As with many of my other recipes, I lightened this one up just a bit so that it could be featured on our weeknight menu. It may be cheesy, even a little buttery, but at least it’s low carb right? 😉

For 6 servings (one bell pepper per person or leftovers for lunch)

  • 6 bell peppers, preferrably green
  • 6 slices reduced-fat provolone cheese
  • 6 slices thick deli-sliced roast beef (it sounds weird, but takes a whole cooking step out and ensures guaranteed tender meat)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 box mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp seasoned salt
  • 1 tbsp light mayo
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup water

1) Preheat oven to 400. In a large skillet on high in your oil, brown your onion for about 15 minutes. Next, brown your mushroom for another 15. Speed up the process by covering with a lid.

2) Meanwhile, chop the tops off your bell peppers. Save the good parts for a later date. Drizzle your bell peppers with a little oil and black pepper. In a large shallow casserole dish, place your bell peppers in standing up. Place about 1/4 cup water in the bottom of the pan. This will help them cook rather than dry out. Bake peppers in oven by themselves 20 minutes.

3) Chop your roast beef into bitesize pieces.

Once your peppers are done, add in the mushroom and onion mixture. At this point I put the little dollop of mayo in. It sounds weird, but my mom puts mayo on her cheesesteaks and I crave them the same exact way she makes them. It will all melt together in the oven. It should look like this: stuffed bell peppers crawfish.n.crunches 34) Let the extra mushroom fall into the pan. Now that your saute pan is empty, quickly warm your meat in the pan with your pad of butter, black pepper, and seasoned salt. Then add to your peppers:

stuffed bell peppers crawfish.n.crunches 15) Layer your cheese on top and broil about 3 minutes until bubbly brown on top. Watch carefully!

stuffed bell peppers crawfish.n.crunches 4

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
skinny buffalo chicken meatballs crawfish.n.crunches{ Game Day Skinny Buffalo Chicken Meatballs }

When you are serving up appetizers for the big game, why not serve something you (or your lady friends) can snack on without feeling any of the guilt? Buffalo chicken meatballs have all of the flavors of those fried chicken wings, without any of the actual frying! I even have a sneaky way to make your dipping sauce a little healthier.

You will need:

1 bottle buffalo sauce

2 cups celery, chopped into matchsticks

1 cups carrots, chopped into matchsticks

1 egg

1 lb lean ground chicken

1/4 cup green onion, chopped

1 cup reduced- fat blue cheese or ranch dressing

1/4 cup ff plain greek yogurt

2 tbsp seasoned salt

3 cloves minced garlic

1 tbsp sea salt

1 tbsp black pepper

1) Preheat your oven to 400.

2) Combine your meat with your egg, green onion, seasoned salt, garlic. Easily done with your hands and or spatula.

3) Form into small balls. Place on baking sheet and parchment paper.

4) Bake for 20-25 minutes. When they come out, immediately drizzle your buffalo sauce to coat each one. You don’t have to use the whole bottle, extra sauce can be used for dipping.

5) For your blue cheese or ranch dipping sauce, whisk your dressing with greek yogurt. Crack a little pepper and sea salt over top. Serve with toothpicks or as a meal. Serve with celery sticks and carrot sticks.
Satsuma Marmalade Sweet n Spicy Salmon crawfish.n.crunches{ Southern Satsuma Marmalade Sweet & Spicy Salmon }

Satsumas are the southern version of clementines or mandarine oranges. You would never guess a sweet citrus fruit would pair so well with salmon, but the spicy creole seasoning balance adds an awesome surprise.

If you aren’t from the south, don’t fret! Peach preserves will do.

Here is what a satsuma looks like: satsumas crawfish.n.crunches shannon pierce gagnon

For two:

  • 2 salmon filets, patted dry
  • 4 tbsp satsuma preserves, or peach preserves
  • 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp creole seasoning
  • 1 tbsp old bay seasoning
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 red bell pepper, or 3 small peppers of mixed colors, chopped bite-size
  • 4 cups mixed salad greens
  • 2 tbsp goat cheese
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pad butter
  • 1 tbsp evoo
  • 1 tbsp flaky sea salt

1) Heat a skillet to high, melt pad of butter.

2) Season salmon liberally with all dry seasonings, except flaky sea salt. When pan is hot, add to pan.

3) Add in your bell peppers to the pan. After about 4-5 minutes when your salmon gets a nice blackened sear, flip. Add in your preserves, evoo. Cover to cook salmon all the way through, about another 4-5 minutes.

4) Cut a small piece open in the thickest part of your salmon, make sure that it is done. Meat thermometer optional. Your satsuma and bell pepper sauce should be blackening and syrupy at this point. Yum!

5) Place your mixed greens on two large plates, sprinkle pepper, salt, and balsamic over top. Top your greens with salmon, bell pepper mixture, goat cheese, and squeeze lime over top.

crawfish.n.crunches.too good for a bun burger

{ too good for a bun burger }

Mock me for my lack of bread in our house, but every body is different and welp, I like how I feel when I eat less carbs. The upside is, I have wiggle room for pizza on the weekend! All about that balance, bout that balance, bout that balance.

These burgers are so tasty, you won’t want to mask their flavor with a big ol’ bun. It also feels like steak night in a way, yet ground beef steals the show.

Here is what you will need:

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 3 T Montreal steak seasoning
  • 2 T garlic powder
  • 2 T onion powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 container mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 onion sliced in long strips
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese
  • 3 tbsp steak sauce
  • 1 tbsp EVOO or nonstick spray

1) Place your onion in a skillet over a pad of butter. Saute on low for about 30 minutes. You can caramelize onion in a crock pot overnight as well if you thought that far ahead. Meanwhile get the rest of your ingredients ready.

2) In a food processor, or with your hands, mix ground beef, egg, steak seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder. Form into patties, pressing two fingers lightly in the middle of each patty. Set aside.

3) Add your shallot, then your mushroom to the pan. You may need to drain some liquid from the mushrooms out of the pan. It should not be watery in there at all. Add your wine and bring it all to a boil. Watch as sauce reduces, then simmer on low while you return to your burgers.

4) Send your man out to the grill, or if you don’t feel like grilling use the stove. Over a little olive oil or nonstick spray on high heat, start frying your burgers, About 5 minutes each side depending on their size and how rare you like them. Use a meat thermometer to be safe. You can cover the skillet to speed up cooking time and to finish them in the middle.

5) Serve burgers. Top with goat cheese, onion and mushroom mixture and steak sauce optional. Pairs great with a green salad.
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.

finger lickin southern chicken{ finger lickin’ southern chicken }

Nothing beats barbecue in the South, but aside from barbecue, the South is serious about their chicken. When you don’t want to man the barbecue pit all day, the cast iron skillet will do just the trick. After marinating these puppies all day, you might just find yourself fighting over a drumstick, lickin’ your fingers, or even lickin’ the skillet.

  • 8-10 bone in chicken thighs or legs
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp onion powder

1) Pour all ingredients into large ziplock. Massage and shake bag to mix ingredients. Refridgerate for at least 6 hours, 10 hours at most.

2) Coat the bottom of a cast-iron skillet with a little vegetable oil. Heat the skillet to medium-high. Sear the chicken on all sides, reserving sauce. Turn drumsticks occasionally until brown on all sides. Do not cook the chicken, just sear. It will finish in the oven.

3) Turn the heat off the skillet. Pour over all the sauce from the bag, adding 1 cup water to the pan. Bake at 325 for one hour in cast iron skillet or pour into large oven safe dish. Baste the chicken at least twice throughout the hour, and at the end with the sauce.

This recipe has been adapted to be slightly lighter and slightly easier than a blog I respect very much, South Your Mouth. Thank you Mandy Rivers for the inspiration.

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.

{ Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps }crawfish.n.crunches buffalo chicken lettuce wraps

Craving that buffalo sauce, blue cheese or ranch flavor? What about that irresistable buffalo chicken dip served at parties? We all yearn for it. We are human. However, if we acted on that every craving and hit a wing joint every week, it could do a number on our waistline. Skip the fried wings, or the chicken tenders, or even the wrap. You might be surprised when you bite into the crunch of the lettuce wrap and still get all of those flavors you desire. Not to mention the recipe couldn’t be easier.

For 4 servings

  • 4 chicken breasts, trimmed of fat
  • 8 tbsp mild buffalo sauce
  • Blue cheese crumbles for topping (optional)
  • Fat free ranch or fat free blue cheese for topping
  • 1 head of lettuce, cut in wedges
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • hot sauce to taste

1. Place chicken breasts in small crockpot, drizzle buffalo sauce over crockpot and stir. Cook on low for 8 hours.

2. Shred chicken with two forks. Serve over lettuce, with optional dressings and added garnishes.

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