Friday, February 28, 2014

Copycat Stouffer's Macaroni and Cheese



Copycat Friday!


What time is it? It's cheese time folks! Copycat Friday has just went cheese crazy.

Today, I present to you my copycat version of Stouffer's Macaroni and Cheese!

Yes, I said Stouffer's Macaroni and Cheese, it's one of the only "cooked" foods that I will eat from frozen.

This reminds me of childhood, I don't why because my mother always made macaroni and cheese from scratch, lol.

Maybe I ate this at someone's else home when I was a kid and just can't remember who!


I used Campbell's Cheddar Cheese soup to give my knock off version some extra creaminess.


I made a sauce with lots of jack and sharp cheese, and don't forget the spices.


Fold in the macaroni and bake at 375 degrees in a greased casserole dish.


After 30 minutes, it's time to serve this baby up! This is a full meal, I don't need any meat with this dish.

I want my taste buds to focus strictly on the macaroni, cheesy goodness people!


Grab that fork and dig in folks!


Copycat Stouffer's Macaroni and Cheese

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

3 cups large elbow macaroni pasta
2 cups skim milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1 1/2 cups jack cheese, grated
5 ounces Campbells cheddar cheese 
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons creole seasoning
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix seasonings and set aside.  Mix flour and cornstarch together and set aside.

Reserve 1 cup of grated cheese to top dish prior to baking.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta 1 minute less than package directions state.

Drain, rinse well in warm water, drain again, coat in a little olive oil to prevent sticking.


While pasta boils prepare the sauce. Add butter and olive oil to a sauce pan over medium heat, whisk in flour/cornstarch mixture.

Add milk and cream and whisk well. Add seasonings and whisk well. Add cheeses and cheese sauce by the handful, whisking well after each addition. Add lemon juice.

Fold pasta into the cream sauce, transfer to a greased casserole dish, sprinkle remaining cheese on top and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.




Thursday, February 27, 2014

Zone Perfect Blog Forward Challenge!





Yep, it's that time of year again, time to reflect on goals, resolutions, and accomplishments!

The choice to eat healthier and stick to it, is often the hardest thing to accomplish!

I am so honored to be chosen as a Zone Perfect Blog Forward Challenger!

image provided by zone perfect

What's a Zone Perfect Blog Forward Challenger you ask?

It's like a Brand Ambassador for Zone Perfect. Myself and lots of other bloggers are creating healthy resolutions throughout the year, and along with Zone Perfect we're sticking to them!

My top 3 resolutions are:
  1. Eating breakfast daily. I often skip breakfast because I am so busy working. This is not a good idea. I will make an effort to create a healthy, nutritious breakfast daily.
  2. Refueling my day with Zone Perfect Bars, instead of cookies and unhealthy snacks.
  3. Exercise, Exercise, Exercise, get moving and stay in the Zone with 30 minutes of exercise daily.
My 2014 Resolution Letter to Myself:

Hey Lisa,

Girl, you know what to do, you always have. You know you gotta use that gym you just created in your home and get moving. Yes, you're the Creole Contessa and you have a love of cheese, and that's perfectly o.k.

Moderation is key and making healthy choices throughout the day to keep your body properly fueled.

You got this, you're strong, motivated and determined to make 2014 the year of making healthier decisions. With the help of Zone Perfect, you're already succeeding.

Keep up the good work Girl, Life is Beautiful, and so are you!

Love, Lisa


This is not just about me folks, you too are included in the Zone Perfect Challenge!

Why not turn this into a family event.


Don't forget, we're taking it one day at a time, so stay in the Zone!


You can do it, and continue to check back throughout the year, as I share my Zone Perfect journey with you!



Full disclosure: I was provided a box of Zone Perfect bars free of charge as part of this program. I am not, however, actually affiliated with Zone Perfect, and am allowed to speak positively or negatively about the product, so like in all of my reviews, any opinions expressed are mine and based on my experience, and do not reflect the opinions of Zone Perfect or anyone else.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Easy Banana Pudding




I love eating a big bowl of creamy banana pudding, who doesn't?

What I love even more than eating pudding is my quick method of making pudding!


Yes, you can stand over the stove, whisking custard from scratch for about 30 minutes if you like, and yes, sometimes I do make banana pudding the traditional method.

But, sometimes I just want a quick pudding and this is my go to recipe.

You pretty much just take everything, mix it well in a mixing bowl or blender, fold in some whipped cream topping and that's it!


I layer a little pudding on the bottom of my casserole dish, top the pudding with Nilla wafers, then bananas, more wafers, remaining pudding, and lastly we end with extra wafers on top.


After about 4 hours in the fridge, or preferably overnight, the pudding is set and ready to eat.



The pudding turned out fantastic, and it didn't last long enough to add more whipped cream topping.

Enjoy!


Easy Banana Pudding

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0
Total Time: 10 minutest
Servings: 6

Ingredients:

1 8 ounce package Philadelphia Cream Cheese, room temperature
1 box Nilla wafers cookies
1 box (3.4 ounce) Jello Banana Cream Pudding Mix
1 box (3.4 ounce) Jello French Vanilla Pudding Mix
2 cups whipped cream topping
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3 bananas, sliced
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Add cream cheese to a mixer and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Add milks, cream, and puddings, beat over low speed for about 2 minutes, add vanilla, mix well.

Fold in 1 cup of whipped cream toppings into pudding.

To assemble pudding, scoop about 1 cup of pudding into bottom of a casserole dish, top with Nilla wafers, top with bananas, top with more Nilla wafers.

Pour pudding over Nilla wafers and end with remaining Nilla wafers on top.

Cover and refrigerate for about 4 hours or overnight.

Serve with more whipped cream topping and enjoy!





Sunday, February 23, 2014

Slow Cooker Smothered Short Ribs





It's Slow Cooker Sunday and today I am going straight southern on you guys!

My Smothered Slow Cooker Short Ribs are comfort food at it's best!

 
Traditionally, these Smothered Short Ribs would be cooked on top of the stove in a dutch oven or cooked low and slow in the oven.

 
I decided, why not cook them low and slow in my Crock-Pot Slow Cooker.


The key to this dish is you must take a few minutes to brown the lightly floured short ribs in a pan with olive oil.

This step not only allows you to keep that seasoning stuck on those ribs, it also builds a level of flavor that you only get from browning the meat in hot oil, then using that same oil to saute the veggies in.


Look at this, it's just layers of flavor goodness!

Lastly, cover the slow cooker and cook for about 4 hours on high.

 
Don't forget, during the last hour of cooking time, remove the lid so the gravy will thicken.

The Smothered Goodness is all ready to eat, serve over hot rice, garnished with green onions and don't forget the cornbread!

Slow Cooker Smothered Short Ribs

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

3 lbs short ribs
2 cups beef broth, low sodium
1 cup flour
1 onion, diced
1/2 bell pepper, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons creole seasoning
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
extra virgin olive oil

Directions:


Mix seasoning blend together and set aside.

Add 1 teaspoon of seasoning blend to flour, mix well. 

Rinse short ribs and pat dry, place in a large dish. Drizzle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil over short ribs, season generously with the seasoning blend. 

Coat short ribs in flour mixture, tapping off excess.

Heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, brown short ribs in two batches, cooking for about 3 minutes per side.

Remove from pan and place into slow cooker.

Add vegetables to pan that you browned the short ribs in and cook for about 5 minutes. Add broth to pan, scraping up brown bits, transfer to slow cooker.

Cover slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours, remove lid the last hour to allow the gravy to thicken.

Serve over hot rice, garnished with green onions.

Enjoy!



Friday, February 21, 2014

Panda Express Firecracker Chicken Copycat




 We're back! Copy Cat Friday is a huge hit thanks to you!



I've received numerous request for me to recreate peoples favorite restaurant eats.


Today, I am sharing with you, Panda Express Firecracker Chicken Copycat recipe. 


This recipe includes chucks of chicken breast, sauteed with pineapple and peppers, all smothered in a spicy firecracker sauce.


 After about 20 minutes, we have recreated food deliciousness!


I serve this dish over hot rice, but noodles would work great!

Copycat results: better than the original!

I believe my version is packed full of flavor and spice with a nice sweet balance due to the pineapple chunks!


This is so quick and simple, it will take you less time to make this at home, so take a break from take out and create a wonderful from scratch meal!

 
Panda Express Firecracker Chicken Copycat

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb chicken breast, boneless, skinless
1 cup bell pepper, diced
1 cup pineapple chunks
2 teaspoons creole seasoning
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 garlic clove grated
3/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
extra virgin olive oil
green onions to garnish
hot rice

For the Sauce:

1/4 cup pineapple juice
2 tablespoon sweet and sour sauce
1 tablespoon chili garlic paste
1 tablespoon sriracha
1 tablespoon oyster sauce

Directions:

Mix seasoning blend together and set aside.

Mix all sauce ingredients together, add 1 teaspoon of seasoning blend and mix well.

Rinse chicken and pat dry, cut into 2 inch cubes and place in a bowl.

Top chicken with seasoning blend, grated ginger and garlic, mix well.

Mix cornstarch and flour together in a separate bowl.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.

Lightly coat chicken in corn flour mixture and place in skillet, cooking 3 minutes per side, remove chicken and repeat. 

Don't crowd pan when sauteing chicken.

Add peppers and pineapple chunks to pan and cook for about 3 minutes, add sauce to pan, put chicken back into pan.

Coat chicken in sauce cooking for about 2-3 more minutes.

Serve over hot rice, garnished with green onions.




Thursday, February 20, 2014

Chocolate Pecan Bayou Brownies




It's that time again...Brownie Time!

I wanted to do something different then my traditional fudgy wudgy brownies I always make.

I wanted a brownie that's so rich, you would need two glasses of milk to wash it down.


Found it folks, right on the pages of Southern Living Magazine!   

Bayou Brownies are made using butter, cream cheese, nuts, did I mention butter, and yellow cake mix.


Well, I didn't have any yellow cake mix, but I did have Duncan Hines Devils Food Chocolate!

Let the baking begin people.


This recipe is so simple, but the flavor is out of this world!



Mix the chocolate cake mix, melted butter, nuts and one egg together, press that mixture into a greased 13X9 inch baking pan.

Next, mix remaining eggs, cream cheese, vanilla and powdered sugar.

Top the chocolate mixture with the cream cheese and bake for about 40 minutes at 325 degrees.


All done, ready to eat, and pass the milk!!!!

Chocolate Pecan Bayou Brownies

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 12 brownie squares

Ingredients:

1 box Duncan Hines Devils Food Chocolate Cake Mix
3 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 stick butter, melted
1 8 ounce package Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 16 ounce box powdered sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Mix cake mix, 1 egg, pecans, and melted butter together, press into 13X9 inch greased baking pan.

In a mixer add remaining eggs, powdered sugar, cream cheese and vanilla. Mix well until creamy, pour on top of chocolate mixture.

Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes.

Remove from oven, allow to cool, cut into bars.

Top of brownies will be gooey when you remove from oven, they will set up as they cool.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Easy Slow Cooker Pulled Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches




Yes, I know it's not Slow Cooker Sunday. Remember all the computer issues I had this pass weekend, well I solved them all!

Yep, all those pictures I had stuck in my camera have now been uploaded and ready to share.

Therefore, Slow Cooker Sunday will be Slow Cooker Tuesday, this week only!

My Slow Cooker Pulled Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches are seriously a simple one pot meal.


Take boneless skinless chicken breast and place it in your Crock-Pot Slow Cooker.

Next top the chicken with hot sauce, spices, and a quick homemade barbeque sauce, and don't forget the ranch salad dressing.

After three hours on high, the chicken is ready to shred and pile on a soft sandwich roll.


I decided what would go best with Buffalo Chicken, HELLO...lots of blue cheese!

This sandwich is da bomb!

Baby Girl and I loved the chicken so much, we just ate it with a fork, straight from the slow cooker.

Yes, we do that sometimes, trying to save time on washing all those dishes, lol.

Oh, and those are my new favorite chips, you gotta try them.

Enjoy!

Easy Slow Cooker Pulled Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients:

2 lbs chicken breast, boneless, skinless
1 cup ranch salad dressing
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup hot sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon creole seasoning
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
blue cheese to top sandwich 

Directions:

Place all ingredients into slow cooker, minus blue cheese, mix well. Cook 3 hours on high, remove lid the last thirty minutes of cooking time to allow sauce to thicken.

Remove chicken from slow cooker.

Use two forks to shred chicken, place chicken back into slow cooker, mix well.

Serve on soft sandwich buns topped with blue cheese.

Enjoy



Monday, February 17, 2014

Stuffed Cheese Curd Turkey Sausage Burgers




People, it's been a rough weekend!

My USB, I think that's what it's called broke, then my SD card slot broke, so I couldn't upload all the pictures I took.


I had to skip Slow Cooker Sunday, which was not good, because I had a great recipe to share with you.

 
All is not lost on the weekend, look what I made today, Stuffed Cheese Curd Turkey Sausage Burgers...try saying that quickly!

I took burger meat, I am using ground turkey, but ground chuck would work as well.

 
I seasoned the meat, divided the meat into four balls, then took each ball and divided it again, stuffed the burger with cheese curds.

YEP...cheese curds, topped the curds with the other half of burger and closed the sides well.

I let my burgers chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes. This not only gave me time to fry up my sausage, I think the burger holds its shape better when they chill out.

I didn't want to risk my curds popping out during cooking.


I fried these babies up with olive oil, using my cast iron skillet.

Believe me, all the grease flying everywhere is worth it!


Look what we created in less than 30 minutes folks!


This burger is fantastic!

It also requires big bites to get your mouth around all this food goodness that is happening!


I must say, eating this just made be forget all the computer problems I've faced.


I am not sure what you're waiting for, but you need to make this today!

It's time to eat this up people, gotta go.


Stuffed Cheese Curd Turkey Sausage Burger

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb turkey, ground
1 lb turkey sausage
4 hamburger buns
1 cup cheese curds
4 slices provolone cheese
4 slices cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons water
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
2 teaspoons creole seasonings
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
extra virgin olive oil
lettuce
tomatoes
mustard

Directions:

Mix seasoning blend together.

Place turkey in a bowl, add half the seasoning blend, water, and mix well.

Divide mixture into four balls. Take one ball at a time and divide in half, flatten.

Place about 1/4 cup of cheese curds into half of burger, top with other half of burger and pinch sides tightly to close.

Season both sides of burger lightly and repeat until all burgers are done. Refrigerate burgers for 30 minutes if you have time.

While burgers chill, fry sausage up cooking according to package directions, approximately 8-9 minutes per side.  Slice sausage in half and fry the half another 3 minutes per side to brown.

Remove burgers from refrigerator, place about 2 tablespoons of olive oil into pan over medium heat. 

Add patties to pan and cook 8-9 minutes per side.

Top cooked burgers with provolone and cheddar slices, cover with lid to melt.

Assembles burgers with extra cheese curds and your favorite toppings.



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I must confess I love great food. I decided to create The Creole Contessa blog after cooking and eating a great meal with my family Big Goo the hubby of almost twenty years and my lil’ Contessa Summer aka “Baby Girl." I told Big Goo and Baby Girl, it is just not fair to not share these great recipes with the world; and the Creole Contessa blog was born.

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