Cajun Seasoning

cajun seasoningSo my previous post about Blackened Cajun Chicken with the Fettuccine Alfredo needs the Cajun Seasoning listed.  Don’t stop there, this mix can be used for all things Cajun!

I use this in my Gumbo.

I use this on shrimp to make Cajun Lettuce Wraps.  (Oh yeah!  A little of this on raw shrimp, drop them onto a hot skillet, and cook until the shrimp just barely looses that translucent, or clear, bit in the center.  Wrap in lettuce.  Eat.  Simple and delicious.)

Sometimes I just put a little on whatever needs a creole kick in the pants.

And it makes a lot, but a little goes a long way.  And it stores well for several months in a tightly sealed jar or freezer bag.  So what are you waiting for??  Go make some and enjoy it!


Cajun Seasoning
Recipe type: seasoning
Cuisine: Creole
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Cajun spice mix, a little goes a long way.
  • ¼ cup salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tablspoons paprika
  • 1½ Tablespoons onion powder
  • 1 Tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon ground white pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon ground mustard
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  1. put all spices into a zip top freezer bag and combine well.


Enchiladas de Carne

pork carne enchiladaSo we made the Mexican Carne yesterday for my wife’s sister’s family, who is in town visiting.  But we made way too much.  Like, several pounds too much.  And I love the stuff, so it is not a problem to eat it all week, except they have plans for the rest of the meals for the week.  And I do not dare upset the plans of the sisters, lest I not get to eat what they come up with.

So a new plan was needed.  And my beautiful wife came up with the idea of a freezer meal.  That’s where you make the entire dish, put it in a disposable oven container, and put it in the deep freeze.  Sometime in the next couple of months, you then pull it out, put it in the oven, and voila!  You have a ready to eat meal that is better than a TV dinner.  only one question remained: what could we make out of the Mexican Carne that would freeze well, and heat well?

The answer tonight was Enchiladas!

So off the the wonderful internet to find a good enchilada sauce.  And we found one.  it is really good.  Check out the post over at Add a Pinch.

Of course I could not leave well enough alone.  So I adjusted it to better work with the pork version of the Mexican Carne.  Meaning I cut some of the sugar she has in there, and only used half the Chicken stock (and yes, you can use water if you don’t have stick on hand).


Start by making a base similar to a French Roux, only thinner.  Combine the oil and flour in the pan, and put it on low to medium heat.  Whisk the entire time (about two minutes), to keep from burning, and to cook the flour a little bit (since nobody likes the taste of raw flour).  Once it no longer smells like flour, you can lower the heat and add the crushed tomatoes, spices, and whatever else is on the list.  Sauce will thicken fairly quickly when stirred together with the roux.

enchilada sauce Stir it together and set to a low simmer for ten to fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally.

enchilada sauceTaste and adjust the seasoning as needed.

pork carne enchiladaIt really is quite tasty.

If you are making it into a freezer meal like we did, simply roll up the Mexican Carne in flour tortillas, line them side by side in a disposable pan, smother them in the Enchilada Sauce, and tightly cover the pan with aluminum foil.  Label it with a permanent marker, and put it in the deep freezer.  Whenever you choose to use it in the future, put it into a 350 degree oven for an hour, then check it.  If the center of the middle ones isn’t heated through, put it back in the oven until it is.

Enchilada Sauce
Recipe type: Sauce
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Truly Good Enchilada Sauce, adapted from
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • ½ cup chicken stock, or water
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon packed brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. Mix together vegetable oil and flour in a medium saucepan. Put over medium heat and whisk constantly for two minutes, until you no longer smell raw flour.
  2. Turn down heat and add crushed tomatoes, spices, and the remaining ingredients. Stir together.
  3. cook on a low simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Taste and adjust spices as needed.



Spaghetti alla Bolognese

spaghetti alla bologneseI am actually not sure if this is really spaghetti alla bolognese.  But is it really tasty, and when given to me was only named Ragout.

Story time.

We always are on the lookout for good restaurants, especially those little ones in out of the ay places with really good food.  When we lived in Florida we found many like that, but one of our favorites was this small Italian place tucked into a strip mall behind a grocery store.  (It was off of Waters and Dale Mabry in Tampa, if that helps anyone with a local map).  The people running the place were very welcoming, professional, and friendly.  They spoke with a heavy accent, and I am pretty sure the lady that ran the kitchen didn’t speak much English.  It had the feel of authentic food, and everything we tried there was delicious.

The best, of course, was their Spaghetti alla Bolognese.  Rich with flavor, full of vegetables, and obviously slow cooked over a several hours, it was incredible.  I couldn’t get enough of it.

Then we moved across the country.

I have tried several recipes for Spaghetti alla Bolognese.  And they were good, but not as good as that place in Tampa.  And then my friend offered his wife’s recipe to me.  I knew it was authentic Italian, since he and his wife are authentic Italian.  In Italy.  So I made her sauce.  And it is AWESOME.  In fact, it is better than the one in Tampa (although if I find myself in Tampa, I will still go back to that restaurant).  It is one of my more cherished recipes.  And now I have permission to share it with the world.

I’ve included the original in Italian at the end of the port, plus it’s Google translated version.  My version here trades out the wine.  Feel free to use the original, as it’s even better!

Also, I usually triple the recipe, as my kids eat a lot, and for this, I like leftovers.

Start by chipping all your vegetables.

spaghetti alla bologneseMelt the butter. (I never said it was low fat)

spaghetti alla bologneseadd the vegetables.

spaghetti alla bolognese  Saute them until they are wilted, or onions are translucent.

spaghetti alla bologneseAdd pork, beef, and pancetta. Cook for ten minutes.

spaghetti alla bologneseAdd beef stock, and balsamic vinegar. Reduce slightly.

spaghetti alla bologneseAdd crushed tomatoes, and half the vegetable stock. Stir it together.  Cover, and reduce heat. Simmer for two hours, stirring occasionally, and gradually adding the other half of the vegetable stock.

spaghetti alla bolognesespaghetti alla bolognese

Once the sauce has reduced enough to be sauce, add the cream (or milk).

spaghetti alla bologneseCook the pasta al dente and season generously.

spaghetti alla bolognese


Spaghetti alla Bolognese
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Authentic Italian ragout
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 3½ ounce lean ground pork
  • 3½ ounce lean ground beef
  • 1¾ ounce pancetta
  • ½ cup beef stock
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 9 ounce crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon heavy cream (may replace with 2 Tablespoons milk)
  1. Saute onion, celery, and carrot in the butter until wilted, or onions are translucent.
  2. Add pork, beef, and pancetta. Cook for ten minutes.
  3. Add beef stock, and balsamic vinegar. Reduce slightly.
  4. Add crushed tomatoes, and half the vegetable stock. Cover, and reduce heat. Simmer for two hours, stirring occasionally, and gradually adding the other half of the vegetable stock.
  5. Once the sauce has reduced enough to be sauce, add the cream (or milk).
  6. Cook your pasta al dente and season generously.


Original ragout recipe:

Pulire e tritare grossolanamente  una cipolla media, una costola di sedano e una carota e farle soffriggere in 50 G di burro.

Quando si sono appassite aggiungere la carne macinata ( 100 G di polpa di maiale, 100 G di polpa di vitello, 50 G di pancetta) e cuocere per 10 minuti.

Versare un bicchiere di vino rosso e farlo evaporare per metà; aggiungere 259 G di passata di pomodoro, sale, pepe e 1/2 bicchiere di brodo vegetale (fatto facendo bollire nell”acqua le verdure: carote, patate, sedano, etc. e poi togliere le verdure e usare il brodo).

Incoperchiare eabbassare la fiamma al minimo facendo cuocere almeno per 2 ore, aggiungendo man mano 1/2 tazza di brodo.

Quando il ragout si è ristretto abbastanza (a fine cottura) aggiungere due cucchiai di latte o un cucchiaio di panna.

Cuocere la pasta al dente e condire generosamente.

Translated to English

Clean and coarsely chop a medium onion, a stick of celery and a carrot and fry them in 50 g of butter.

When you are wilted add the minced meat (100 g of lean pork, 100 g of lean beef, 50 g of bacon(panchetta)) and cook for 10 minutes.

Pour a glass of red wine and let it evaporate to half; 259 G add tomato puree, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup vegetable broth (made ​​by boiling in “water vegetables: carrots, potatoes, celery, etc.., and then remove the vegetables and use the broth).

Put the lid and reduce heat to low and cook for at least 2 hours, gradually adding 1/2 cup of broth.

When the ragout has shrunk enough (after cooking), add two tablespoons of milk or a spoonful of whipped cream.

Cook the pasta al dente and season generously.