Bayou Chicken

Bayou Chicken

IMG_0224This week I am sharing a recipe favorite: Bayou Chicken!

After working at Nottoway for 30 years, my dad felt settled and happy there. Then it happened: Hurricane Katrina.

Katrina had detrimental effects on the entire state of Louisiana. Our home in Plaquemine sustained light damage (nothing like New Orleans), many people were without power for quite some time, and the state was not the same for years. Also, during Hurricane Katrina, my Granny (Johnny Jam’s mom) fell ill and passed away. 2005 was a trying time for my family.
One way Katrina affected my family was its negative effect on tourism in Louisiana, and to Nottoway, and my parents found themselves at a fork in the road. They felt it was time to move on to their next endeavor.
Being from Thibodaux, my dad felt compelled to move back there after living in Plaquemine for 30 years. After all, his entire family was there, in addition to his life-long friends, as well as both of his children who had moved there for college (Geaux Colonels!) My mom loved Thibodaux and was in agreeance.
My dad took a leap of faith and opened a restaurant in the in the country club in Thibodaux, dubbed Johnny Jambalaya’s Bayou Bistro. There, with his talented staff, he served up memorable dishes, had incredible musical entertainment like Dr. John and Luther Kent, and created fun memories for all who were involved. One of his most popular dishes that I’ve been asked to recreate is Bayou Chicken! This dish was simple, but flavorful, and it kept many customers coming back. I hope you enjoy it!
Here we go!
Music pairing: Tab Benoit (any blues will do, but he is one of my favorites!)
Wine pairing: Concannon Conservancy Crimson & Cloves (I found this at Rouses)
4 Chicken breasts (I use organic chicken breast from Rouses. I like the ones that are thinly sliced, my husband likes the bigger ones. They are all juicy and delicious)
Johnny Jambalaya’s herb dressing and marinade
1 onion, sliced
1 bell pepper, sliced
4 slices of bacon
4 slices of pepperjack cheese

Preheat oven to 375
Marinate chicken breast in Johnny Jambalaya’s Herb Dressing and Marinade, enough to evenly coat chicken breast. I marinate chicken overnight.
Take chicken out of fridge about 1 hour prior to cooking.
In a skillet, heat a little olive oil over medium high heat. Once hot, saute onion and bell pepper in the oil, until soft and slightly carmelized. Set aside.
In a cast iron skillet, heat olive oil on high heat. Once hot, add chicken breast and sear. (I seared the thinly sliced chicken breast for 2 minutes on each side, and the larger chicken breasts for 4 minutes on each side).
Once chicken breasts are seared, turn off heat, add a slice of bacon (Cut in half to fit) to the top of each chicken breast, and put in a 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.

Take the chicken out, top with onion and bell pepper and sliced pepper jack cheese. Return to oven and allow the cheese to melt.
Once cheese is melted, take it out the oven and serve with garlic green beans. (recipe below)

Lagniappe Side dish!


Garlic green beans:
It’s hard for me to write this one down. There’s no science to it really. It’s super simple and great any night of the week!
Fresh Green Beans, rinsed, and ends snapped off
6 cloves garlic, minced
Soy sauce
Heat olive oil in skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, add green beans (I added about 3-4 handfuls of fresh green beans) and saute in the pan. Season with a little salt and pepper.
Once green beans are softened, add minced garlic. Stir in, letting garlic become aromatic. Once green beans are to desired softness (I like them a little crunchy, my husband likes them smothered), add soy sauce, about 2 turns of the pan. Stir to combine. Serve aside Bayou Chicken or use as simple side dish for any meal!

I hope you guys enjoy this simple, yet delicious recipe! Cooking the bacon on top the chicken, in the oven makes for a juicy, and delicious chicken breast! My dad loved this one









A Fairy Tale on the Bayou

A Fairy Tale on the Bayou


mom and dad

Raise your hand if you love a good love story! (Eagerly raising my hand). Love is such a beautiful thing. Sometimes it leads to heartbreak, in which it teaches us life lessons about how to get it right the next time. But, if we are lucky, love can lead to a journey of adventure, excitement, loyalty, selflessness, and most importantly a lifetime of memories that make us become the people we are. Pictures, stories, traditions and legacies are passed down from generation to generation. This kind of love is, in my opinion, what makes the world go round. While I love good love stories, there is one love story in particular that I’ve heard since I was a child, and has stayed with me ever since. That love story is the one of my parents: Johnny Percle and Terry Thomassie Percle.

As I’ve mentioned in my introduction, my father was a free spirited, loving, passionate man who enjoyed life and all it had to offer. He had many talents, but cooking, traveling, entertaining, and being around his loved ones is what he lived for. He spent his young years as a bachelor traveling around New Orleans on a bus, equipped with a big pot and the ingredients for jambalaya, in search of new friends to cook for. He orchestrated food for big functions at the Saenger, particularly for musicians such as The Grateful Dead, Bette Midler, Bob Dylan, Jimmy Buffet, The Neville Brothers, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, and the Rolling Stones, to name a few. His love for cooking and entertaining guided him to his next stop, and every move he made was because it felt good.

Meanwhile, Terry was living a lifestyle of creativity, spontaneity and travel. Having grown up in New Orleans, Terry is a born artist, creating beautiful pieces of work that truly came from her soul. Working at the New Orleans Museum of Art, she fell in love with her surroundings, particularly the King Tut exhibit that passed through the New Orleans Museum of Art. Once that exhibit ended in NOLA, she followed it to Los Angeles and Seattle, prior to moving home to work at Oak Alley Plantation. There, she loved the free lifestyle on the plantation grounds and enjoyed meeting new people who taught her about horticulture, cooking and entertaining for large groups, and life on a plantation. She found happiness there and looked forward to the future.

One night, when Terry was working a large wedding at the plantation, one of the bartenders cancelled and she was in a bind. Not knowing what to do, someone near her said “I know who to call! I’ll call Johnny Percle to fill in”. Johnny was there in no time flat. Being the detail oriented woman that she is, she began instructing him on how she wanted him to tend bar. He interrupted her, saying “I got this”. Sure enough, he had it. He tended bar and was the life of the party. Terry was appreciative of his help, and impressed at his ability to jump right in and work. They talked, became friends, and arranged to see each other the next day. Their first date was at an anti-nuclear rally, and they were married at Oak Alley only a few months after that. They both have always said, that when they met, they knew they were soul mates.

Johnny and Terry quickly began working together at Oak Alley Plantation in Vacherie, LA, where they cooked and entertained large groups of people for weddings and other functions. She was his muse, and he made her laugh every single day. They loved life on the plantation together. They had a dog named Papillon, which is French for butterfly, who ran freely on the plantation grounds, with his ears flapping in the wind like a butterfly. Life was simple and free.

Terry and Johnny soon combined their creative juices to concoct a delicious, flavorful, and unforgettable dressing and marinade that was used as the house dressing at Oak Alley Plantation Restaurant. It was then that Johnny Jambalaya’s Herb Dressing and Marinade was born. Visitors loved the dressing so much, they began to ask to purchase it. Terry then began jarring the dressing in mason jars and selling them to the visitors. Johnny and Terry lived on the plantation grounds, welcomed their son, Jonathan, whom they raised there for 5 years. When I was 1 month old, they were given an offer they couldn’t refuse: to work together at Nottoway Plantation in White Castle, LA as Executive Chef and Food and Beverage Director. They uprooted their family from Vacherie and moved to Plaquemine and worked at Nottoway for 30 years, serving people from all over the world.

dressing pic.jpg

The dressing and marinade was served as the house dressing at Nottoway Plantation for all those years. Past Nottoway employees have vivid memories of making the dressing at work. One past employee even said “I could make that dressing in my sleep”. Visitors came from all over the world to see the beautiful plantation, hear the history of the family that once lived there, and to taste the food of the well-known chef that was serving up authentic Cajun cuisine in Randolph Hall. One thing that all visitors can agree on: the house dressing there was delicious.

After all those years, the dressing is now named Johnny Jambalaya’s Herb Dressing and Marinade and is sold in many stores in South Louisiana. It is also shipped to every state in the United States! This dressing is ideal to marinate chicken, fish, steak and wild game. It is also the perfect choice for grilling vegetables, tossing fresh vegetables, and, of course, eating on any salad you can imagine! My personal favorite is tossing the dressing with tomato, red onion, avocado and cucumber. It is such a fresh, healthy salad that is super satisfying. It’s also great on a spinach salad with boiled eggs, bacon and red onion.

dr john 2

So, now that you know the story of the dressing, I can tell you that it will be used in many of my recipes and I hope you can find it in your local grocery store so you can use it along with me! First, I decided to share a very popular recipe: Shrimp pasta salad! This recipe is great for showers, parties, or just to keep in your fridge to enjoy as a light lunch or dinner. My mom makes this for us often and it is a tried and true favorite.


Here we go!

Music Pairing: Whiter Shade of Pale by Procol Harum

Wine Pairing: Kendall Jackson Chardonnay


2 pounds of shrimp, boiled and peeled 1 box spiral pasta 2 cans Green Giant 3 bean salad (mixture of green beans, wax beans and red beans) ½ cup Johnny Jam’s Herb Dressing and Marinade

½ cup Ranch Dressing

½ teaspoon lemon pepper

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

½ teaspoon parsley flakes

1/2 of a red onion, chopped

4 stalks green onion, chopped

1 cup cherry tomatoes

2 celery stalks, chopped

½ cup olive salad (the kind used for Muffalettas)

10 small pickled okra


Mix Johnny Jam’s Herb Dressing and Marinade with Ranch, lemon pepper, Italian seasoning and parsley flakes in a bowl. (This makes an excellent dressing for any salad or vegetable dip). Boil pasta according to directions on box. Drain pasta, and pour a little Johnny Jam’s Herd Dressing and Marinade on it while hot, so it doesn’t stick. Refrigerate pasta for an hour. Meanwhile, pour all vegetables, including olive salad, in a bowl with a little Johnny Jam’s Herb Dressing and refrigerate for an hour. Mix all vegetables and pasta together, pour the marinade and Ranch mixture over salad and toss carefully. Add shrimp and okra. Toss carefully. Great for parties or with leftover boiled shrimp.

I hope you enjoyed this family favorite recipe, as well as an extremely personal look into my family and how I came to become the woman I am.

Until next time….

Mandy B. Cajun Queen

PS: I will be posting a recipe this week that involves the dressing. So, go out and buy some and get some chicken breast marinated. I use the organic, thinly sliced chicken breasts from Rouses.

PPS. for those of you who don’t know the ending to this story, it has a very happy ending of life, love, respect and happiness. 34 years of marriage, 2 children, 2 grandchildren, and countless, special memories.

Here’s to you, Mom and Dad. The two people who taught me how to love.

“It doesn’t matter how much money you have, or how big your house is. All that matters is how much love you have in your home. Don’t let the world get in the way of what’s real”.- Johnny Jambalaya Percle



Working Woman’s Red Beans and Rice


Monday. You bastard! Let’s face it. Mondays suck. And this Monday is no exception. The holidays are over, and it’s a New Year, so everyone around you will be talking about their resolutions to become a “better version of themselves” and it’s nauseating. I, however, will continue to be the same miserable, Monday hating person in 2016 that I was in 2015. Who’s with me?

No, but seriously, I hate a Monday. After a fun weekend of uninterrupted time with my daughter, I have to wake up early, bring her to day care, go to work, and be a human, interacting with other humans. And while I love my job, Mondays still come with challenges. So, after all that complaining, I can finally tell you: I’ve found a cure to Monday blues!

Did you know that it is customary to eat red beans and rice on Monday in New Orleans? My mom, being the good New Orleans Lady that she is, taught us that at a very early age. She also cooked red beans for us on many Mondays. The history behind this tradition tells us that families would gather the meats leftover from their Sunday meals, i.e. ham, sausage, andouille, and add them to a pot of red beans, and let the beans simmer away all day while the women scrubbed their laundry by hand. Today, many neighborhood restaurants in New Orleans serve red beans and rice as their plate lunch special on Monday. You can eat a heaping serving of red beans and rice, often accompanied by sausage, and cornbread. I love how traditions carry on in Louisiana!

With that being said, the idea of scrubbing laundry by hand all day on Monday makes me cringe. Thank you, Jesus for my washing machine and dryer! Also, I, like many women today, work full time, making it impossible for me to keep my eye on a simmering stove top all day. My mom, also a hard working woman, faced this same dilemma. However, she, being the brilliant woman that she is, found a solution. Working woman’s red beans and rice!

Many of you have heard of Blue Runner Red Beans. And yes, that is what is used in this recipe. However, I jazz them up to make them super flavorful, and most importantly, quick and easy to make! NOTE: I have made red beans from scratch before. In addition to the time it took to make them, they, in my opinion, were not creamier and more delicious than Blue Runner. With that being said, I have been a Blue Runner girl ever since.

So, turn on the music, pour your wine, and get ready. You’re about to transform your mundane Monday evening into a memorable night in New Orleans! Here we go!

Music pairing: Rebirth Jazz Band

Wine Pairing: I recently tried 19 Crimes Cab and I love it!


Blue Runner Red Beans (2 26 oz cans, 1 16 oz can) I make a big pot of this because it’s great for leftovers and also freezes well

1 can rotel

1 onion, diced

1 celery stalk, diced

½ bell pepper, diced

3 cloves Garlic, minced

1.5 lb smoked sausage, chopped

Liquid smoke- 2 tablespoons

Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Sauce 3 tablespoons (more or less depending on how much you like spice and garlic. I usually add more than this)

Worcestershire- a few dashes

Salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, dried parsley flakes

Rice- I cooked 2 cups


Bring a large pot over medium high heat. Once warm, brown sausage.

Add holy trinity (onion, celery, bell pepper) to the pot, cooking in the grease from the sausage, and cook until translucent. Season with salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, dried parsley

Once trinity is soft and translucent, add rotel to the pot. Stir to combine.

Add red beans to the pot. Stir, warming the beans through. Once the beans are warmed through, they will thin out. At this point, add the Cajun Power, Liquid Smoke, and Worcestershire. Stir to combine.

Cover pot and simmer on low for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve with a heaping spoon of rice, and some cornbread. Turn up the Rebirth Jazz music, drink your favorite wine (or Moscow mule as pictured above), grab a white napkin, and second line around your kitchen while you eat your delicious red beans. Take that, Monday!!