Let the good times roll.

Toe-tapping fiddle music, colorful Mardi Gras parades, and plenty of good eating are quickly envisioned at the very mention of “Cajun” cuisine. Or, as they say in New Orleans – Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Entertaining the Creole way means the host needs to have fun, too. Make the entertaining easy. One easy way to give side dishes and salads that “French Quarter” flair is to spice things up by using Creole seasoning in place of salt. Sprinkle on an authentic, all-purpose blend of Creole spices, readily available in the supermarket spice aisle.

Enjoy The Big Easy, the sweet onion version of the famed muffaletta sandwich, a New Orleans tradition. Choose ingredients with big Creole flavor, easy preparation and that little something extra, or “lagniappe,” as they say in the French Quarter.

Plan for leftovers, because some dishes taste better the next day after their ingredients have had a chance to mingle. Keep refrigerated leftovers fresh in tight-sealing plastic containers and pop in the microwave and to enjoy your treat another day.

 

The Big Easy

1 cup green olives, preferably Italian, pitted and chopped

1 cup chopped sun-dried tomato (packed in olive oil, drained)

1-1/2 tablespoons capers

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon chopped, fresh oregano

(1 teaspoon dried)

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or other red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large round loaf Italian bread, about 7 inches in diameter

1 OSO Sweet onion, thinly sliced, separated into rings

1/4 pound thinly sliced mozzarella

1/4 pound thinly sliced salami

1/4 pound thinly sliced ham

1/4 pound thinly sliced provolone

1/4 pound thinly sliced mortadella

 

Mix the chopped olives and the next 6 ingredients; stir in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Store, tightly covered, in the refrigerator at least 12 hours to marry flavors. Olive mixture can be made up to a week ahead. Cut bread in half horizontally; remove bread from bottom and top of loaf (discard or save for bread crumbs) to form a thick shell. Spread half the reserved olive mixture (with liquid) on the bottom half, then half the onion rings. Next, layer the cheese and cold cuts in the order listed. Top with remaining onion slices, then remaining olive mixture. Sandwich can be made up to 6 hours ahead. Wrap tightly; store in the refrigerator. Return to room temperature before serving. Cut into 6 wedges.

6 servings

Courtesy of: OSO Sweet Onions

 

Peanut Butter Cake With Banana Buttercream Icing

1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar

3/4 cup peanut butter

3/4 cup butter, softened

6 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract

3 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

 

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray pan with nonstick vegetable spray. In large bowl, beat brown sugar, peanut butter and butter until light and creamy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Beat in combined flour, baking powder and baking soda until smooth. If desired, stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 40 to 45 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean when inserted in middle. Remove cake from oven and cool on cake rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on cake rack.

 

Banana Buttercream Icing:

3/4 cup solid vegetable shortening

3/4 cup butter

1 1/2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract

6 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar (approximately 1 1/2 pounds)

3 tablespoons milk

1/2 teaspoon banana extract

 

Cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and banana extract. Beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep icing covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Re-whip before using. Yield: 4 1/2 cups.

 

Blackened Rib Eye Steak

4 (10-ounce) Omaha Steaks Rib Eye Steaks

2 teaspoons Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning

Heat cast iron skillet on high for 5 minutes. Season steaks on both sides with 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning.

Place seasoned steak in hot skillet. For perfect medium rare, cook 3 minutes, then turn and cook 2 minutes more. Serve with Dirty Rice and Creole Vegetable Kabobs.

Serves 4

Courtesy of: The Glad Products Company, Omaha Steaks and Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasonings

 

Orange Walnut Bread With Sweet Marmalade Butter

Bread:

1-1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

4 eggs

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup orange juice

Zest from 1 orange

3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups chopped walnuts

Marmalade Butter:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 tablespoon powdered sugar

3 tablespoons orange marmalade

 

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease bottoms only of two (9 x 5-inch) loaf pans or five (5-1/2 x 3-inch) mini loaf pans. Set aside.

Combine sugar and butter in large bowl. Beat at medium speed until creamy. Add eggs; mix well. Add sour cream, orange juice and orange zest; mix well.

Reduce speed to low. Add flour, baking powder and baking soda; mix well. Stir in nuts.

Divide batter evenly among prepared pans. Bake 45 to 55 minutes in 9 x 5-inch pans (35 to 45 minutes in mini loaf pans) or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Let stand 10 minutes; remove from pans. Cool completely.

To make Marmalade Butter, combine butter, powdered sugar and marmalade in small mixer bowl. Beat at medium speed until creamy. Cover; refrigerate until serving time.

Makes 2 loaves or 5 mini-loaves

Courtesy of: National Butter Promotion

 

Cool Down Cranberry Lemonade

2 cups water

2 cups sugar

2 cups ReaLemon lemon juice from concentrate

4 cups cranberry juice cocktail

Fresh mint sprigs

 

In skillet, combine water and sugar over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved and mixture is simmering. Simmer 10 minutes to make a sugar syrup. (should have about 2 2/3 cups). Remove from heat and cool.

Combine sugar syrup, lemon juice from concentrate and cranberry juice cocktail. Stir well.

Serve in tall glasses over ice.

As a festive touch, garnish with fresh mint sprigs.

Makes 2 quarts

Courtesy of: The Catfish Institute, Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Magic Seasoning Blends, and ReaLemon

 

Creamy Bronzed Catfish Dip

2 U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish fillets (about 6 ounces each)

2 tablespoons Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Seafood Magic, divided

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 pound cream cheese, softened

1 tablespoon ReaLemon lemon juice from concentrate

2 teaspoons Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Magic Pepper Sauce

1/4 cup chopped green onions

 

Sprinkle each side of fillets with 1 teaspoon seasoning. Drizzle 1 teaspoon olive oil over one side of each fillet.

Place skillet over high heat until pan is hot, about 4 minutes. Place fillets in pan, oiled side down. Cook, turning once, until fillets are just cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Fish is cooked when flesh flakes away easily. Set aside and cool.

Chop catfish into 1/2-inch pieces and set aside.

In food processor, combine cream cheese, lemon juice from concentrate, pepper sauce and remaining 2 teaspoons seasoning. Process until cream cheese is fluffy and soft. Transfer mixture to mixing bowl and gently fold in reserved catfish and green onions. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

Serve with your favorite crackers, or if you are watching carbohydrates, try this dip with celery sticks.

Makes about 3 cups

Courtesy of: The Catfish Institute, Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Magic Seasoning Blends, and ReaLemon

 

Creamy Chocolate Honey Decadence

Spread onto shortbread or biscuits, heat and drizzle over ice cream or serve with fresh fruit.

2 (4-ounce) bars German sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

4 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate

1 cup honey

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup heavy cream

 

Melt all ingredients together in top of double boiler over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Transfer to decorative bowls and cover with plastic wrap. Store in refrigerator, tightly covered, up to 1 month.

Makes about 3 cups

Variation: After removing from heat, stir in 2 to 3 tablespoons of liqueur. Try Grand Marnier, Amaretto or Chambord.

Courtesy of: National Honey Board

 

Steak Jambalaya

1 tablespoon oil

1/2 cup yellow onions (1/2-inch chop)

2 teaspoons chopped garlic

1/2 cup red peppers (1/2-inch chop)

1/4 cup celery (1/2-inch chop)

1/4 cup sliced okra

1 teaspoon Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning

1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes in sauce

1 cup water

1 Omaha Steaks Blackened Rib Eye Steak (see recipe) sliced thin, then halved

 

Heat oil in skillet. Add onions and garlic; cook until soft. Add peppers, celery and okra; cook until soft. Stir in Creole seasoning. Add diced tomatoes in sauce and water; simmer 1 to 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and fold in steak slices. Serve over Dirty Rice.

Serves 4

Courtesy of: The Glad Products Company, Omaha Steaks and Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasonings

 

Dirty Rice

2 ½ cups cold water

1/2 cup chicken livers and gizzards

1/2 cup cubed pork shoulder

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons diced onions

1/2 tablespoon chopped garlic

2 tablespoons diced celery

1/4 cup sliced frozen okra

2 tablespoons minced green onions

1/2 tablespoon Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning

1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 cup uncooked converted rice

 

Place chicken livers, chicken gizzards and pork shoulder in cold water. Bring to boil and skim off any fat or foam that rises to top. Reduce heat to simmer and cook 30 minutes.

Strain off chicken and pork. Reserve liquid and finely chop meat.

Melt butter in large saucepot. Add vegetables and garlic. Sauté until vegetables are soft.

Add reserved liquid from meat and the rest of the ingredients plus Creole seasoning, Worcestershire sauce and rice, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook 15 to 20 minutes, until rice is cooked and most liquid has cooked away.

Serves 4

Courtesy of: The Glad Products Company, Omaha Steaks and Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasonings

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