Louisiana Cajun Cooking and Cajun Recipe Guide
The holidays are here, which means family gatherings and lots of really good food. But if you’re anything like me, sometimes the traditional holiday meal can seem a little ho hum. So this year I thought I would spice things up a bit, Louisianan Cajun style, and offer a cooking guide that’s just in time for this Christmas holiday and the New Year, complete with links to some fantastic Louisiana Cajun recipes and a few originals right here. Enjoy!
Easy Appetizer Ideas for Any Budget
A Louisiana Christmas or New Year’s Eve party just isn’t the same without a few great appetizers to begin your holiday dinner and offer your guests some time to catch up with the family.
Appetizers don’t need to be expensive to be impressive or tasty. You could offer something as simple as a delicious spinach artichoke dip or shrimp dip, served with fresh veggies or homemade tortilla chips, which are always a favorite at my dinner parties every year and an alternative for health-conscious and vegetarian family members.
Or, if your budget allows, serve up some broiled shrimp and pair it with a savory yet traditional cocktail sauce. I’ve found that many times my local grocery store offers frozen shrimp on sale, that I can easily stock up on and store in my freezer until the holidays arrive.
A Not-So Traditional Main Course
Growing up, our family feasted on the traditional roasted turkey, baked chicken and ham at Christmas dinner. It wasn’t until a about ten or fifteen years ago that I was actually introduced to a very non-traditional fried turkey and smoked brisket at a family Christmas get-together. Never in my life had I imagined being introduced to deep frying or smoking a meat for the holidays, let alone in the middle of winter time, but it has been our favorite way of serving Christmas dinner ever since!
If you’re tired of the same way of cooking, why not try something different? Don’t just limit yourself to the same tried and true holiday meats either. Serve up something unexpected and spectacular like a Cajun spiced duck or goose, or a grilled pork tenderloin. Not only is it a great way to share a new tradition with your family, it also frees up your oven for more important things like dessert!
Dish Up Some Louisiana Sides
No main course is complete without the side dishes, as any great cook knows! Whether it’s traditional favorites like homemade mashed potatoes and cornbread dressing or a classic turned Louisiana style, Cajun potato salad, sides are a must for any holiday dinner.
This season I’m planning to include a few originals like buttered green beans and cranberries, as well as some new dishes to make my holiday meal unforgettable. I’m including sides like twice baked potatoes and a Cajun rice dressing.
Side dishes don’t have to be boring just because you’re on a budget either. Instead of serving canned green beans at this year’s Christmas dinner, choosing fresh or even frozen green beans can give an unexpected and delicious crunch to your holiday meal.
Or if your family loves your traditional canned green beans, why not give them a twist with the addition of bacon or even toasted pecans. Now don’t forget the rolls!
A Love of Holiday Desserts
Nothing completes a great holiday dinner better than a yummy dessert! From pies to cakes to fudge, and candies, desserts are a favorite for any family gathering during the holidays.
From classics like pecan pie and pumpkin pie to fruit cake and gingerbread cookies, there’s sure to be a favorite to satisfy even the most demanding sweet tooth.
And while a store bough ten pie may seem like the perfect solution for a stress-free Christmas, nothing beats a homemade dessert baked completely from scratch! I remember making homemade fudge a few years ago and giving it out as Christmas gifts to loved ones. Everyone loved it and it sure beat trying to fight the holiday crowds and figuring out the perfect gifts for everyone while sticking with the budget! Plus, fudge is so versatile and very easy to make! We even saw a complete fudge-making kit at the grocery store last week.
A Festive Holiday Drink or Two
Last year my oldest child created a festive Christmas Non- Alcoholic Apple Mocktail that our entire family loved. It started out as a project for school and ended up being the hit at our Christmas Party. The recipe is as follows:
Christmas Apple Mocktail Recipe
½ cup apple juice
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp rose grenadine
Green crystal sugar sprinkles
1 mini candy cane
Mix together and shake apple juice, lemon juice and rose grenadine in a martini shaker until blended.
Dip the edge of a martini glass into a shallow dish of water (or lemon juice if you’d like) then into a shallow dish of green sugar sprinkles.
Pour apple juice mix into the martini glass, add the candy cane and serve.
Makes 1 Serving.
Eggnog is holiday beverage favorite that has been around since before my time. Almost anywhere you go, you can find some form of this favored Christmas drink, whether it’s made with various kinds of alcohol, a milk alternative or the old-fashioned way. You can even find it as a flavor for cappuccinos, muffins, cookies and even pies! Yet nothing beats a good cup of homemade eggnog!
Holiday Eggnog Recipe
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk or milk alternative such as soy milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Pinch of salt
In a small bowl or blender, beat eggs, then add milk, cream, vanilla and salt and thoroughly blend.
Pour into mug and sprinkle with nutmeg.
Makes 1-2 servings.
And some of us would love nothing more than a simple cup of hot apple cider, cocoa or coffee after a delicious holiday meal. But, no matter what your favorite dish, dessert or drink may be, there is nothing like the good company of family during this Christmas Season and New Year’s Holiday! May you and your family have a blessed and joyous Holiday season!