BBQ pulled pork sliders {with pineapple jalapeño cole slaw}

BBQ pulled pork sliders {with pineapple jalapeño cole slaw}

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Hi everyone! I hope everyone is doing well. I have had the best weekend of cooking and just hanging out, which is exactly what I needed. I spent some time watching the Food Network and the Cooking Channel, which always inspires me in the kitchen.

I really wanted to work on a recipe for the 4th of July. We will be celebrating the 4th at my husband’s grandmother’s camp in beautiful Toledo Bend. Terrent’s uncle recently built a beautiful boat house that is perfect for fishing, cooking, drinking and relaxing. there are even steps going from the boat house into the water, and we spend most of our days swimming. Shelby loves her swing on the boat house, where she overlooks the water and enjoys the day. My step kids love to fish and swim. And my husband and I love to soak up some sun and drink a few cold ones.

We are so excited to go to the camp for the 4th of July and I am thinking about what we should cook while we are out there. Of course, BBQ is always good, and my favorite is BBQ pulled pork. My husband found a really nice cut of pork shoulder on sale for only 99 cents a lb. so we experimented this weekend and made BBQ pulled pork and it was amazing! It made a ton of pork, perfect for us to enjoy throughout the week.

I made some coleslaw to go with the pulled pork. Terrent does not care for cole slaw but he loved this one! It has fresh pineapple, fresh jalapeño, and fresh cilantro with greek yogurt, a little mayo and lots of yummy seasoning. The sweet, spicy kick from the cole slaw was perfect with the pulled pork- and we piled it all high on top of hawaiian sliders. It’s the perfect 4th of July celebration meal out on the lake–or just at home. Also, the beauty of it is, after we seared the meat, we finished it off in our crock pot–which is not only super easy, but it doesn’t heat the house.

I hope you all have a great 4th. Thank you to all the men and women who serve, and have served, our country. It’s because of you that I have the freedom to cook, write, and enjoy life. Here’s to you!

Here we go!

Music pairing: Kenny Chesney, Jimmy Buffet, Bob Marley…any island music will do

Wine pairing: True myth cabernet sauvignon

Ingredients: 

7 lb bone-in pork shoulder

Grey poupon

Rib rub from The Shed (I bought this in Mississippi when I visited. If you ever have the chance to go, do it!)

2 tablespoons liquid smoke

2 tablespoons chili powder

about 1/4 cup Tres Bien Que BBQ sauce (Local BBQ sauce, made in Baton Rouge. I found this at Hollydays in Baton Rouge and we love it)

1 teaspoon paprika

1/4 cup cajun power

parsley flakes

red and black pepper to taste (we use a lot)

1/4 cup muscadine jelly (we had it in the fridge and just threw that in the pot. if you don’t have it, it’s ok)

Grey poupon

1 bay leaf

Pack of hawaiian bread- we used sliders

Pineapple jalapeño cole slaw:

3 color deli slaw

pineapple, diced–I used about 1/2 cup

1 jalapeño, diced

fresh cilantro to taste, we like a lot

1/4 cup greek yogurt

1/2 cup mayo (use more or less depending on if you like it creamy or crunchy)

juice of half a lime

salt, pepper to taste

chili powder, about 1 tablespoon

paprika, about 1 teaspoon

Instructions: 

Coat the pork shoulder in grey poupon, or any dijon mustard you have on hand. then, coat the meat with rib rub.
Sear the meat on each side for about 8 minutes per side, or until browned. We used a big magnalite pot. Once meat is brown, remove from the pan and place in crock pot.

Do not rinse out pan. Use the drippings from the meat to make your sauce.

To the pan, add cajun power, Tres Bien Que BBQ sauce, liquid smoke, paprika, pepper, muscadine jelly, parsley flakes, bay leaf. Stir well to combine. I added some water to make more liquid. A dark beer would be good, too. Add the juices to the crock pot.

Let the roast simmer in the crock pot for 8-10 hours, until the meat is tender and falls apart with a fork. Warning: picture ahead NSFW

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Look at that big platter of sexy pulled pork.

Now to make jalapeño pineapple cole slaw.

Put bag of slaw in large bowl. add diced pineapple and diced jalapeño to bowl. In a separate bowl, mix greek yogurt, mayo, salt, pepper, chili powder, and lime juice. Add this mixture to the slaw, pineapple and jalapeño. Stir to combine.

Toast your Hawaiian bread, top with pulled pork, a little drizzle of the leftover sauce, and top that with cole slaw. We put some red onion on top of that.

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And now my mouth is watering.

There you have it. Pretty simple, right? I think it’s perfect for a weekend at the camp. We can put it in the fridge and people can fix it all weekend long.

I hope you all have a great 4th! Remember, if you’re looking to have a good time, you just need 3 simple ingredients: good food, good family, and good music. You cannot have a bad time with those…it’s a fact!!

xoxo- Cajun Queen

 

 

 

 

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Red Curry with Shrimp {and a little love from the Cajun Queen}

Red Curry with Shrimp {and a little love from the Cajun Queen}

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So, I have wanted to share my recipe for curry with all of you for about 1 week now. I wanted to share how I came to love this amazing dish from Thailand with a great friend whom I ate with on a weekly basis. This friend of mine is a new mom and I am so happy for her, so this recipe development was extra special to me, as I thought of her the whole time. However, the recent events in our country have left me dumbfounded and speechless, and I sat down at my computer and couldn’t think of anything appropriate to write. That’s a first.

First of all, I am just so sad. I’m sad that a mad man went into a place of love and fun and killed 49 innocent people. I’m sad that 50 plus more people were injured. I’m sad for the LGBT community. I’m sad that our country is so divided by politics that it seems like we will never be able to solve this horrendous problem of mass shootings, terrorism and hate crimes. I’m sad because I feel helpless as I watch it all unfold before me.

I’m not getting political. I’m not going on some rant with no end. I’m just really disappointed in the bad news that seems to flood our media outlets. I’m a very sensitive person, and these stories affect me to my core. It seems that one incredibly devastating news story isn’t enough. A pregnant woman is found murdered near my hometown. A mother and father watched their little boy die after being attacked by an alligator at the “Happiest Place on Earth”. I’ve decided lately to try to unplug from the media. Wednesday after work I skipped the gym and decided to take my daughter to Barnes and Noble, to watch her eyes grow in fascination at all the books. I’ve decided to spend time in the kitchen, creating new and exciting dishes for my husband. I’ve decided to spend time in prayer. I’ve decided that enjoying the little things is my way of reacting to all the tragedy.

So, with that being said. Here is my recipe for curry. I love curry. Curry makes me happy. I hope it makes you happy, too.

Here we go!

Music: Classic country (I played music that was nostalgic and brought back memories of simpler days. Play whatever that is for you)

Wine: Rombauer Chardonnay (treat yo self)

Ingredients:

1 lb shrimp- marinate in JJ dressing

½ red bell pepper

½ yellow bell pepper

½ orange bell pepper

1 onion

4 cloves of garlic

1 can coconut milk

Fresh basil leaves- about 4

Chopped cilantro (as much as you want. I like a lot)

Curry paste (I found Roland Curry at Rouses and love it!)

Frozen Asian veggies (I love the steamfresh bag with baby corn, carrots, broccoli, etc. but there are lots to choose from in the frozen section!)

1 small can water chesnuts

1 small can bamboo shoots

Jasmine Rice

Ginger (either fresh or ground. I used ground because I had some. But fresh ginger is fragrant and delicious!)

Instructions:

Let bag of frozen Asian veggies defrost

Marinate shrimp in Johnny Jambalaya’s Herb Dressing and Marinade

Cook shrimp until pink and no longer translucent. Set aside in bowl.

Slice onion and bell peppers into half inch slices. Season with salt, pepper and ginger.

Cook over medium high heat until soft. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant.

Add curry paste to pot. Stir to combine. Enjoy the fragrant beauty of curry!

Add frozen veggies. Stir to combine.

Add can of coconut milk. Stir to combine. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, about 8 minutes.

Add fresh basil and cilantro.

Serve with jasmine rice and enjoy. The fresh basil leaves add a certain something special to this dish. It really is a delicious treat that I’ve loved for years and I could not believe how easy it was to make at home once I tried! We’ve been pretty hooked on this recipe lately and it’s so fun and easy to make.

I hope you enjoy it. Please join me in cooking and living with happiness and purpose. We all have so much to be thankful for.

Side note: It’s Fathers Day weekend! I miss my dad so much and would do anything to spend that day with him. In fact, I see lots of pictures on my Facebook feed of girls with their dad on their wedding day. I lost my dad 1 month before my wedding, so we won’t ever have that picture. Reach out to family. Let go of grudges. Call someone you haven’t talked to in awhile to let them know you love them. You never know when you might lose that chance.

Xoxo- Cajun Queen

 

Spaghetti and Meatballs {and Steel Magnolias}

Spaghetti and Meatballs {and Steel Magnolias}

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steelmagnolia. Noun. (plural steel magnolias) (chiefly Southern US) A woman who exemplifies both traditional femininity as well as an uncommon fortitude.

Hi everyone!! I hope you are well. Life has been especially exciting/blessed/challenging lately. It seems like we never stop and my hobbies (cooking) tends to take the back burner during those crazy times. I have been spending the last few weeks reflecting on what my next post should be about, and it hit me: I’m going to honor the strong women in our culture, also known as Steel Magnolias. To start, have you all ever seen the movie Steel Magnolias? If you haven’t, you MUST watch it! (RIGHT NOW). Steel Magnolias is my absolute favorite movie of all time. The film embodies what it means to be Southern, particularly from Louisiana. Sally Fields, Julia Roberts, Shirley Mc’laine and Dolly Parton are just a few of the members of this star-studded cast. The movie is set in the 80’s, but is truly a timeless tale of enduring suffering, laughing through the good times, and living this life with a certain grace and wit that inspires those around you. I mean, we can start with the title. Steel Magnolias. A Steel Magnolia is defined as a woman who exemplifies both traditional femininity as well as uncommon fortitude. Of course fortitude is defined as bravery, courage and resilience. So basically, a Steel Magnolia is a woman who is delicate, gentle, and polite, however, she is also a woman who can stand on her own two feet and take care of everyone around her. I absolutely LOVE the idea of that. A true Steel Magnolia is the type of woman who can tell someone to stick it where the sun don’t shine, and follow it with a “Bless your heart” and it all just makes sense. Do you guys know anyone like that? I do. My mom. My mom is truly the most beautiful woman I’ve ever known. You will never see her without makeup and she always has a koozie in her purse, ready for a cold beer. But, She is also the smartest woman I’ve ever met, and has risen us up through the darkness, and helped us see the good when there wasn’t any. When my mom lost my dad, her soul mate, she took her time to grieve. But, she quickly got up, put on some lipstick, and kept living. I’m not saying Steel Magnolias don’t experience pain. A Steel Magnolia feels all emotions to the core. I’m saying that even though Steel Magnolias feel pain, they fight through it and continue to kick ass at life. They don’t complain, nor do they brag about their strength. They just power on through the good, the bad, and the ugly with sophistication and grace.

Being raised by a Steel Magnolia, I learned:

  1. You can never depend on anyone to make you happy. Only YOU can make YOU happy.
  2. Work hard.
  3. Be humble.
  4. Be nice.
  5. Tell the truth.
  6. It’s ok to cry, BUT, don’t cry in public. Remain strong. Those around you are looking to you for strength.
  7. Get an education.
  8. Give of yourself to others, but always take care of yourself.
  9. Love without fear.
  10. There is nothing that can’t be solved by drinking wine in a warm bubble bath with candles lit and music playing. NOTHING!

I think we can all agree that most of us will first think of our moms, or moms we know, or grandmothers as Steel Magnolias. Moms are the matriarchs not only of our families, but our society. These women start giving selflessly of themselves from the moment of conception- changing their eating habits, abstaining from alcohol, and giving themselves physically to the life inside of them. From there, a baby is born, constantly needing their mother for not only survival, but for constant love. Moms continue to give of themselves to their kids forever. Moms are the backbone of families, and they are essential to our family functions as Cajuns. When I think of a family gathering, such as first communion, piano recitals, BBQ’s, showers, and weddings, I think about the women there who make it all happen, and give their love and support to their kids and grandkids as they celebrate special times, always show up with a party dip, and always remember to buy a thoughtful gift that will make you cry. How do moms do it all? As a new mom, I am slowly learning. Hopefully I’ll get the hang of this “mom thing” someday. Who knows, maybe my daughter will one day refer to me as a Steel Magnolia? She better! After all, I named her after the main character in the film, Shelby.

Today’s recipe is all about the Steel Magnolia in your life. Many families have Sunday traditions of getting together and enjoying family time. Growing up, my mom worked a lot of weekends. But, when she had a Sunday off, she often spent time in the kitchen, cooking something for us to enjoy as a family. Her Sunday go-to meal was spaghetti. I always loved her spaghetti. It’s thick and inspired by Italian cooking, full of herbs and garlic, and always topped with parmesan cheese. She’d usually serve it alongside garlic bread and corn. It was the perfect Sunday meal, and she’d always make enough spaghetti to yield leftovers for us for the week, which was especially helpful because she worked nights during the week. I remember she’d always enjoy her spaghetti with a glass of red wine- a treat that I enjoy now that I’m of age. After lunch, we’d all lay down, relax, and nap. Isn’t that what Sundays are all about?

With this recipe, I challenge you to try to prepare something special for a Steel Magnolia in your life. Maybe it’s your mom, stepmom, grandmother, or a coworker you admire. Invite her over, pour her a glass of wine, cook her a nice lunch, and allow her to relax and soak in some family time. Hey, maybe you can even buy a copy of Steel Magnolias and watch it with her! A true Steel Magnolia lives for tradition, so maybe this Sunday lunch could become a weekly or monthly event. Moms love to see their kids grow in life and love together, and it gives them comfort in knowing that family traditions will live on, even when they are no longer with us.

My recipe for spaghetti is very simple, it’s just something that I throw together, and it changes every time I make it, depending on what I have on hand. Today, I cooked spaghetti with homemade meatballs, and it was a big hit! I prepared my spaghetti with zucchini noodles, because like I mentioned in my last blog post, we are obsessed with our spiralizer! I also cooked regular pasta for the kids to eat, so there were options.

I hope you guys enjoy this recipe. And I hope my post made you think of a woman who is special to you, and reminds you of a Steel Magnolia. Call them and tell them. Cook for them. Let them know you appreciate them. Steel Magnolias love to be appreciated.

Side note: One of the reasons I’m feeling inspired by strong women is because of my recent obsession with Beyonce’s new album, Lemonade. My best friend, and fellow Steel Magnolia, suggested I download it, and thank God I did. I have officially joined the Beyhive! Anyway, in case you don’t know, Beyonce’s album goes through her stages of emotions when she found out her husband was unfaithful. The whole album is a roller coaster, taking you on a very painful, yet redeeming journey. In the album, her grandmother gives a speech at her 90th birthday party, stating “I have had my ups and downs, but I’ve always found the inner strength to pull myself up. I was served lemons, but I made lemonade”. Beyonce shares her grandmothers recipe for lemonade, and says “Grandmother, you spun gold from this hard life”. Today, I challenge you to make lemonade.

Here we go!

Wine pairing: Kendall Jackson Cabernet

Music Pairing: I love listening to jazz music when I cook, especially when I cook spaghetti!

Ingredients:

4 lbs ground meat (I make a lot of sauce and freeze whatever we don’t eat. I used 2 lbs for the sauce and 2 lbs for the meatballs. I used deer meat. Feel free to change the recipe to however much you want to make)

Spaghetti sauce

4 carrots, finely chopped (carrots add natural sweetness to your spaghetti)

Guidry’s produce (onion, celery, bell pepper)

Garlic

½ cup red wine

salt

pepper

dry parsley

dry basil

dry oregano

bay leaf

Crushed tomato- 3 32 ounce cans

Diced tomato- I use Rotel and add 2 cans

Cajun power

Liquid smoke

Zucchini

Pasta

Sauce: in large pot, cook ground meat until cooked through. Drain in a colander in the sink, return to pot. Sauté carrots, onion, celery, bell pepper, and cook until translucent and soft. Add garlic, stir until fragrant. Deglaze the pan with red wine, stir to combine. Season with spices and stir to combine. Add cans of crushed and diced tomato, Cajun power, liquid smoke and bay leaf. Stir well to combine, and let cook over Medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 15-20 minutes. Taste the sauce for seasoning preference. Cover the sauce and let simmer on low as long as possible- I let mine simmer for a couple hours if time permits.

Meatballs:

2 lbs ground meat

½ diced onion

5-6 garlic cloves, chopped

1 cup Italian breadcrumbs

½ cup parmesan cheese

¼ cup fresh parsley

black pepper

2 eggs

Mix above ingredients with your hands, and form into balls, about the size of golf balls. Place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until cooked through. Once cooked, add to the spaghetti sauce and simmer before serving.

In my attempts to eat healthier, I enjoyed my spaghetti and meatballs over spiralized zucchini. It was delicious! However, I also boiled a pot of pasta for the kids to enjoy.

Also, I recently started growing fresh herbs and I loved using my fresh parsley in the meatballs. They added lots of flavor!

I hope you all enjoy this recipe, however, I also hope that you take some time today to honor a Steel Magnolia in your life. Tell her how she’s inspired you.

xoxo- Cajun Queen