Friday, January 17, 2014

My Holiday Cooking: Shrimp Soup & Broccoli Salad

Hey, Blogging friends!

I know that my blog has been focused lately on the arrival of our sweet, awesome, wonderful, fantastic, adorable, precious baby boy, so I wanted to be sure to add a new post that focuses back on another love of my life: cooking! While my holiday cooking this year was not as intense as last (due to previously mentioned baby), I was able to whip up a couple of my favorite dishes for some family get togethers, and I wanted to be sure to share them with you! If you follow the links, you will be taken to my step by step Snapguides of how to make these delicious dishes.

The first recipe is for a New Orleans classic: Shrimp and Corn Soup. This is one of my FAVORITE soup recipes ever. I could literally eat the entire pot given the chance. The first time I had it, I am pretty sure I went back for fourths or fifths, and it was only the appetizer for the meal! Everyone in the city has their own spin on it. Some people make a roux to thicken the soup, some use this while others use that...but it is always delicious. You can even customize the soup to include your favorite shellfish: crawfish, crab meat...maybe even lobster! This particluar recipe I have is divine! It is slightly sweet, devilishly spicy, and full of cajun flavor. I have NEVER made this for anyone who didn't go back for at least seconds, and at one party, the host packed up the leftovers and stuck them in her fridge before I even got a chance to offer. With the cold snaps going on all over our country right now, this is a must make item! You can thank me later.

Shrimp and Corn Soup

3 lbs of fresh or frozen shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 large yellow onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 stick of butter
1 can of Rotel diced tomatoes and green chiles, drained
1 quart of half and half
1 quart of heavy cream
2 cans of cream style corn
2 cans of whole kernel corn, drained (or an equivalent of fresh or frozen corn)
1 pound of Velveeta, cubed
2 T light brown sugar
2 t dried thyme
3 T cajun seasoning (I like Slap Ya Mama's or Tony's)
1 T liquid crab boil (I prefer Zatarain's)
Melt butter in a large pot on the stove top over medium heat. Dice your onion and finely mince your garlic. Add to melted butter and saute until onions begin to soften and garlic is fragrant. (Be careful not to burn your garlic.) Add your Rotel and shrimp. Stir until shrimp begin to turn pink. Add a capful (about 1 T) of liquid crab boil and the cream and half and half. Stir to combine and bring mixture to a boil. When it starts to boil, reduce the heat to keep the soup at a simmer. Once simmering, add in both types of corn. Toss in the cubed Velveeta and spices. Stir at a simmer just until the cheese has melted. Done!

The second recipe is for a simple Mississippi tradition: Broccoli Salad. You cannot go to a dinner-on-the-grounds at church or a family get together without having this light, crunchy, sweet and tangy salad somewhere on the table. It is a perfect compliment to really rich dishes. I love serving it with my chicken spaghetti. We had it over the holidays with a large family dinner of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and cabbage casserole. (There are so many things right with that sentence!)

Broccoli Salad

2 heads of broccoli
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 C of mayonnaise
1/2 C of white sugar
1/4-1/2 C of white vinegar
golden raisins
sunflower seeds
shredded sharp cheddar cheese
real bacon bits
chopped pecans (optional)
To prepare the salad, chop the broccoli off of the heads into bit size pieces. In a pot of boiling water, blanch the broccoli for about 60 seconds (until bright green). Pull broccoli from boiling water and plunge into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. (You aren't trying to soften the broccoli, just brighten it up.) Drain broccoli through a strainer and allow to sit and dry a bit while you make the dressing. In a bowl, combine the mayonnaise, white sugar, and white vinegar. Taste the dressing and adjust amounts as you see fit. (Although this dressing has mayo, it is more of a vinaigrette consistency than a creamy dressing.) In a serving dish, combine the broccoli, red onion, raisins, sunflower seeds, cheese, bacon bits, and pecans. Pour dressing over the salad and toss together to combine. Serve right away or (preferably) let it sit a couple of hours or overnight for flavors to develop.

I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do. They will make a great addition to any recipe box. They are easy to make and perfect for any occasion. Now, go forth and cook, my friends!

In Christ Alone,


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