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Posts Tagged ‘cajun’

cajuntilapia

I am always hearing the question, “What can I do with tilapia?” One of our all-time favorite tilapia preparations is this Cajun tilapia. For a while I kept this Cajun seasoning in the pantry and even gave it out as a Christmas gift in mason jars a couple years ago.

So I was looking for a way to jazz upĀ  the Cajun tilapia. I usually just serve it with roasted potatoes (sprinkled with the Cajun seasoning) and a vegetable. I found myself with some peppers and mushrooms in the fridge and decided to saute them and serve the fish over polenta. It was great!

If you’re looking for a new idea for tilapia and you like a little spice, this recipe is for you!

Cajun Tilapia with Polenta and Peppers
(Recipe source: Tilapia – Cooking Light, Polenta – Joy of Cooking, Vegetables – a Bakin’ and Eggs original)

Ingredients:

FOR THE CAJUN SPICE MIX
3 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons red pepper
2 tablespoons thyme
2 tablespoons oregano
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon sugar

Mix everything together and store in a airtight container. You can use this Cajun seasoning on anything – poultry, pork, fish, vegetables.

FOR THE FISH
1 pound tilapia fillets
4 tablespoons Cajun seasoning mix (enough to coat fish fillets)
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for coating fish
Sliced lemons (optional for garnish)

FOR THE POLENTA
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup onions, finely diced
2 1/2 cups water, divided
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup yellow cornmeal
Salt, to taste

FOR THE PEPPERS
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

FOR THE FISH
Coat each fish fillet in olive oil. Coat with Cajun seasoning.

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and heat until shimmering. Carefully add fish fillets and cook about 3-4 minutes per side. Fish should be opaque and flaky. Internal temperature should read about 145 degrees.

FOR THE POLENTA
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1 1/2 cups water and 1 1/2 cups chicken stock and bring mixture to a boil.

While the mixture is coming to a boil, mix together 1 cup water and 1 cup cornmeal. Gradually stir into the boiling water and then reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the cornmeal is thick and leaves the side of the pans when it is stirred. About 25 minutes. Add extra water or chicken stock in small amounts if necessary while cooking the polenta. Season with salt to taste.

FOR THE PEPPERS
Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and heat until shimmers. Add sliced peppers and mushrooms and cook about 8-10 minutes, or until vegetables have softened a bit. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

YIELD: 4 servings

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Barbecue Shrimp

bbqshrimp

I love barbecue shrimp but I’m usually scared away from serving it reguarly because of the amount of butter in the sauce. And you know you have to eat all the sauce – the best part is dipping your bread in it! My dad used to always order this dish when we were on vacation at the beach. He worked for several years to perfect his at home version and that’s the recipe I’ve always used when I make this. And sorry to disappoint…but you’re not getting the full fat version today. You’re getting my first (and very successful) attempt at scaling it back some. While Brandon said it’s definitely not the same as the real version, it’s pretty darn good for a substitute.

If you’ve never had barbecue shrimp make sure to serve it with good French bread for mopping the sauce. Also, leave the shells on the shrimp. I know it’s tempting to take them off. But trust me…part of the fun of this dish is getting a little messy!

So I promise to give you my dad’s recipe in the future. But try this version and let me know what you think. It’s different but I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised…and walk away from the table with slightly less guilt!

Barbecue Shrimp
(Recipe adapted from Cooking Light)

Ingredients:

1/4 cup reduced fat Caesar dressing (recommended Newman’s Own)
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more! depending on your spice tolerance – we like this dish spicy!!!)
1 teaspoon hot sauce
3 bay leaves
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 pound shrimp (deveined but shell on – you can just butterfly the shrimp to devein)
1/4 cup chicken broth
Salt and pepper, to taste
Lemon wedges

Directions:

Combine the first 10 ingredients in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Bring mixture to a boil. Add in shrimp and chicken broth and cook for 3-5 minutes, until shrimp turn pink (depending on size of your shrimp).

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with lemon wedges and French bread.

Yield: 2-3 servings

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cajjambalaya22

I look for any excuse to cook for a special occasion – especially fun things like Fat Tuesday, St. Patricks, Cinco de Mayo, even the opening ceremonies of the Olympics (we had friends over for a Chinese feast!). While menu planning this week, I knew Fat Tuesday had to be Cajun themed.

We started the day out at IHOP for free pancake day. If you didn’t hear about it you missed out! IHOP was giving away a free short stack of pancakes to everyone to raise money for The Children’s Miracle Network. Fat Tuesday was originally known as “Shrove Tuesday” – the day before the Christian time of fasting and prayer called lent. Apparently, one of the Shrove Tuesday traditions is eating pancakes. Read more on Wikipedia

On to dinner. I’d been craving jambalaya for the last few weeks so there was no hemming and hawing over what to make (which is abnormal for me – usually I pour over recipes for hours). I’ve tried several recipes over the last few years and have recently found my favorite – it’s Emeril’s Cajun Jambalaya. I love all the veggies along with the trio of shrimp, andouille and chicken – it also has a great flavor and a good amount of heat. Surprisingly enough, this comes together relatively quickly, especially if you buy deveined shrimp. I definitely recommend this next time you are in the mood for a cajun dish!

cajjambalaya

Cajun Jambalaya
(Recipe source Emeril Lagasse)

Ingredients:

12 medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped
4 oz chicken, diced (can sub chopped cooked chicken if you have some on hand)
1 tbsp creole seasoning (Emeril’s Essence or any other cajun seasoning)
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes (I use drained diced if I don’t have fresh on hand)
3 bay leaves
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp hot sauce (or more if you like heat)
1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional – not included in the original recipe but good if you like heat)
3/4 cup white rice
3 cups chicken stock
5 oz andouille sausage, sliced
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

In a bowl, combine shrimp, chicken and Creole seasoning. If you’re using pre-cooked chicken do not add the chicken in with the shrimp. Work in seasoning well.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in onion, celery and bell pepper and cook about three minutes. Add garlic, tomatotes, bay leaves, worcestershire, hot sauce and cayenne. Stir in rice and slowly add broth. Reduce heat to medium and cook until rice absorbs liquid and becomes tender, stirring occasionaly, about 15 minutes. Then add shrimp, chicken and sausage. Cook until meat is done, about 10 more minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper and creole seasoning.

Yield: 4 servings

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