When my husband requested tuna casserole for dinner yesterday evening, I didn’t want to take the easy way out and just serve up a box of Tuna Helper. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Miss Betty Crocker, but since I hadn’t cooked in a while I figured I should put in more than minimal effort. The words, “This is better than my mom used to make,” might have escaped the husband’s cheese covered lips. Or maybe it didn’t. I’ll add a bit of mystery to this post.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 12 oz. Farfalle pasta
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1 small, chopped onion
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 pint whipping cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 1/2 cup baby peas
- 3/4 cups chopped roasted red peppers
- 1 package chopped Shiitake mushrooms
- 20 oz. tuna packed in oil
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper
- 2 more tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- pinch or 2 of basil leaves
Here’s how to get cookin’:
- Prepare your noodles al dente. Set them aside for later.
- Chop your onions and mushrooms separately. Set them aside.
- In a large saucepan, melt 4 tbsp butter for your base. Sautee your onions.
- Add flour and stir. Whisk in your whipping cream and milk. Bring the mixture to a boil until it thickens, then remove from heat.
- Add your pasta, tuna, mushrooms, peppers, cheese, and peas. Season with salt and pepper.
- In a skillet, add the remaining 2 tbsp butter. After it melts, add the breadcrumbs and mix well. Remove from heat.
- Put casserole into six, single serving casserole dishes for portion control, or one large casserole dish. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture on top.
- Bake at 425 °F for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Garnish with red pepper flakes and basil leaves
Tasty Tuna Casserole
Serve and enjoy!
Now that we’re happily married, my husband (it’s super exciting that I get to call him husband now) likes to remind me that I promised him I would start cooking again after the wedding festivities were over and I wasn’t so concerned with my “wedding diet.”
This is one of the easiest meals to prepare and it will not disappoint. It takes about 10 minutes to prep and 35 minutes to cook. Quick, painless and tasty!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- 1 can (10 3/4 oz.) cream of mushroom soup
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 cup uncooked long grain and wild rice mix
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- a few sprinkles of your favorite seasoning (I use Mrs. Dash)
Preheat your oven to 375. Spray a 2-quart shallow baking dish with non-stick spray. Stir the soup, water, rice, paprika, black pepper, and salt in your dish. Top with the chicken.
Scoop some of your soup and rice mixture over your chicken and sprinkle additional seasonings on top to add more flavor.
Bake for 35 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is tender. Let stand for 10 minutes and enjoy!
These weekend mornings we’ve been having here in the Delta have made for some good fishing weather. Wanting to break away from the obvious fish fry, I searched for new, delicious recipes my fiancé and I could both agree on to cook our impressive catch. Fish tacos were the answer! This quick, easy and, most importantly, tasty recipe is great for a weeknight dinner, World Cup parties, and is sure to impress the neighbors this July Fourth if you’re bored of burgers.
First things first, you’re going to need some fish! You can use the fish of your preference, as long as they’re white and flaky. We have an abundance of catfish in Lake Chicot, so we used some big ole slime daddies. They make the perfect, taco-sized filets.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 lb flaky, white fish
- vegetable or olive oil
- 6 small (6 in) tortillas, corn or flour depending on your preference
- 2-3 limes, depending on lime size
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups Italian bread crumbs
- 3 tablespoons fat-free mayonaise
- 3 tablespoons reduced fat sour cream
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
- your favorite slaw
- salt and pepper at your own discretion
Go ahead and preheat your oven to 425° while you get your fish prepped. Spray a baking pan or sheet with non-stick spray and set it aside. You’ll need two dishes: one for your bread crumbs and one for your vegetable or olive oil. In one dish, whisk together your bread crumbs, 3 tablespoons of vegetable or olive oil, chili powder, one squeezed lime, and a few dashes of salt and pepper. In the other dish, pour enough vegetable or olive oil to cover the bottom and add a pinch of chili powder. Soak your filets in the vegetable or olive oil then coat them with your bread crumb mixture.
Once you have all of your filets breaded and in your baking pan, pop them in the oven for fifteen minutes (or until cooked thoroughly).
Now it’s time for your cilantro crema sauce. If you haven’t already, chop your cilantro and grate 1 teaspoon lime rind.
Mix your mayonaise, sour cream, cilantro, garlic, lime rind, and 1 squeezed lime. Voila! Your cilantro crema sauce is complete for consumption. Keep in mind when you’re topping your taco with this sauce you don’t need too much. It’s got a nice zing to it and you don’t want to over-do it.
To warm your tortillas, place 3 on a plate under a wet paper towel. Cook them in the microwave for 30 seconds. Repeat with your other 3 tortillas. Keep them under the wet paper towel until you’re ready to eat; this keeps them soft and warm. After your crema and tortilla prep, the fish should be done.
Now prepare your taco! We used 2 filets for every tortilla, a handful of slaw, and 2 light spoonfuls of the crema sauce.
And finally, time to enjoy!
Today we’re excited to share the release of chef and author Georgia Pellegrini’s new book, “Modern Pioneering: more than 150 recipes, projects, and skills for a self-sufficient life.”
Georgia has been a regular visitor to the Paul Michael store through the years and has featured a number of our items on her website. She has also done several book signings in our Lake Village store and will be doing one in our Lafayette store in April, so stay tuned! Today we’re having her share a recipe from her new book as well as tell you more about her food philosophy. First, be sure to watch the Official “Modern Pioneering” Video Trailer:
In Georgia’s Words:
I read a quote somewhere recently that said: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Climb mountains not so the world can see you, but so you can see the world.”
For the last few years I’ve been offering women a chance to try new and daring things, giving them a safe space to fail and laugh-until-it-hurts in the process, to cheer each other on, and embrace each other when they had success. My Adventure Getaways have continued to motivate me to find new and accessible ways to offer a broader audience the opportunity to “step off the grid” in their own way, even if it’s just from their own studio apartment in the heart of the bustling city.
I set out to create more recipes and projects for a self-sufficient life, with the idea that self-sufficiency is not only the ultimate girl (and boy!) power, but also brings you immense joy whether you are a full-time homemaker, a busy professional, or simply looking to do more by hand.
My new book, “Modern Pioneering” is full of recipes, projects, and skills for a self-sufficient life. This is your guide for how to delight in the vegetables growing on your fire escape, to mark the seasons by the scents of the herbs growing on your windowsill, lit by the mason jar lantern you’ve made with your own hands. Whether you’re living on your rural homestead or sharing a studio apartment, Modern Pioneering is all about learning how to step off the grid in your own way, one that is uniquely yours.
Divided into four parts, The Garden, The Home, The Wild, The Rest, Modern Pioneering includes more than 100 recipes, small space gardening advice, DIY projects, and superwoman skills.
I hope the book empowers you to be more self-sufficient and brings you a ton of joy and fun in the process! It is available wherever books are sold for the first time today and can be ordered HERE.
As a bonus incentive, anyone who sends a screenshot of their order by midnight on March 4th to firstname.lastname@example.org, gets free bonus content sent to their inbox!
To get you all started and into the Modern Pioneering spirit, I wanted to share one of my favorite recipes, Fresh Mozzarella Cheese.
Silky, stringy fresh mozzarella really can be made in only 30 minutes, so long as you have the right kind of milk. In general, the key to cheese making is to find the purest form of milk possible, one that has not been ultra-pasteurized, since the high-heat treatment of the milk will prevent curds from forming. Raw milk is the best option if your state allows it; otherwise, search at farmer’s markets and health food stores for whole milk that is as unadulterated as possible. Even organic milks can be ultra-pasteurized, so read the labels.
Cheese-making kits are available with everything you will need other than milk, but you can also buy citric acid tablets and rennet online. If you want to make the curds in advance, store them in an airtight container for two weeks, or freeze the curds and reheat them. Save the whey, which you can freeze and use for baking high-protein bread or even scones.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Inactive Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Makes 12 ounces
1½ teaspoons citric acid powder, either tablet form or powder form
¼ cup nonchlorinated water, such as spring water, distilled water, or filtered water from a Brita or other filtration system
1 gallon whole milk (not ultra-pasteurized; raw milk works best)
¼ rennet tablet (vegetable or animal) combined with ¼ cup of cool nonchlorinated water (also comes in a liquid form, and the proportions remain the same)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh herbs, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, red pepper flakes, chopped garlic, or other optional seasonings
Sprinkle the citric acid into a large, nonreactive stockpot. Pour in the nonchlorinated water and stir to dissolve the powder, with the heat off.
Pour the milk into the citric acid solution and stir it vigorously to combine. Turn the burner to medium heat and let the milk’s temperature rise to 88°F if it is raw/unpasteurized and 90°F if it is pasteurized (use an instant-read digital thermometer). You may see the milk begin to curdle, which is what you want.
Remove the pot from the heat and pour in the rennet solution. Give the mixture a gentle, circular stir for about 30 seconds. Then use the spoon to stop the motion of the milk so it will be still. Place the lid on the pot and walk away for 5 minutes if the milk is pasteurized, 10 minutes if the milk is raw or unpasteurized. When you return, the mixture will resemble a very soft custard, with a clear separation between the curds and whey (the liquid that separates from the curd). If this hasn’t happened let it set for a few more minutes.
With a long knife or offset spatula that reaches to the bottom of your pot, cut the curd into a 1-inch checkerboard pattern. This will separate the curds, making them easier to stir.
Return the pot to the burner and stir it gently over medium heat until the temperature of the whey reaches no more than 90°F for raw or unpasteurized milk and 105°F for pasteurized milk. Remove from the heat and continue to stir for about 5 minutes.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the curd to a colander set over a large bowl. It will look stringy. Slowly spin around the colander once the curds are in it to allow the whey to drain from the curd, which will now have a soft-cheese consistency.
Remove the curds from the colander and gently squeeze them a few times to drain off more excess whey. Then transfer the curds to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds.
Remove the bowl from the microwave and pour off as much whey as you can into another container, pressing the curd together with your hands to get more whey out. Add salt to the curds at this point, if you wish.
Return the curds to the bowl and microwave them again on high for 30 seconds, then remove the bowl from the microwave and drain the whey, pressing the curds together. The more whey you can get out, the more dense the cheese will be and the longer it will store in the refrigerator.
Stretch and knead the curds like taffy to drain more whey, then microwave them one last time for 30 seconds. The cheese should be at an internal temperature of 135°F at this point in order to stretch properly. If at any point it feels too hot or too liquid to stretch, run it under cold water to help it cool slightly before working with it.
Roll the cheese into a neat ball, or into smaller balls for bocconcini. You could even braid it or turn it into string cheese–sized pieces.
Fill a medium bowl with tap water that is at a temperature of about 50°F. Set the cheese ball(s) into a water bath for 5 minutes to cool.
Fill another medium bowl with water and ice, then transfer the cheese into it and let it rest until totally cool, about 15 minutes. This step will ensure that the texture stays silky rather than grainy.
Remove the mozzarella, pat it dry with paper towels, plate it, and top it with your favorite seasonings, like chopped garlic, fresh herbs, or red pepper flakes, along with a drizzle of olive oil. It is best to eat the mozzarella within a day, or it can be kept in water in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
These cold wintery days always give me a craving for comfort food. Usually, my inspiration for a recipe comes from ingredients that are available and this recipe is no different. Our local grocery store was having a sale on whole brisket so I thought, “let’s see what comfort food I can create.”
PMC Cooks Tuscan Brisket
Unwrapping the whole brisket, my first challenge was the realization that this was a huge hunk of untrimmed meat. I wasn’t sure where to begin so I stared at it and decided to call on Paul to trim the brisket. He does such a good job cleaning our deer, I figured the principles for the cow can’t be much different.
Here is what the piece of meat looked like….yours will be a lot like this if you choose to buy a whole brisket. If I was preparing this again, I would buy an already trim one because so much fat came off that it was a lot of weight that I paid for and just threw away. I think I might have trimmed a little too much off, though. That top part is called the fat cap. It is usually at least 1/2″ thick and I removed most of the cap.
PMC Cooks Tuscan Brisket
When Paul finished with the brisket, we ended up with two pieces. The A.”flat”, which corned beef, pastrami and your meat market trimmed brisket is made from. And, the B.”point”, which is much thinner and the grain runs in a different direction. I saved it for a later recipe.
PMC Cooks Tuscan Brisket
Paul and I went to New Orleans for the New Year and enjoyed the most amazing Tuscan pork rib prepared by our brother-in-law, Mike. That recipe was my inspiration for this brisket. After the meat was trimmed I combined all the ingredients (recipe below) and basically made a dry rub. I then place the brisket in a zip lock bag for about 24hrs.
PMC Cooks Tuscan Brisket
PMC Cooks Tuscan Brisket
PMC Cooks Tuscan Brisket
- 2 tablespoon(s) extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoon(s) chopped rosemary leaves
- 1 1/2 tablespoon(s) kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoon(s) fennel seeds
- 2 teaspoon(s) freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoon(s) chopped sage
- 2 teaspoon(s) chopped thyme
- 2 teaspoon(s) sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon(s) crushed red pepper
- 1 teaspoon(s) ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon(s) ground allspice
- Balsamic glaze (at very end, to taste)
- 3 tablespoon(s) balsamic vinegar, preferably one aged for at least 5 years
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare your meat by trimming excess fat. Watch this video on how to trim your brisket (it goes on to tell you how to barbecue it).
I used our fantastic real Portuguese porcelain serve ware to bake the brisket. Our entire family loves to cook and entertain but have always found it hard to find the large size bakeware and serving pieces it takes when we all get together. On a buying trip to Europe, we found a wonderful small Portuguese manufacturer. It bakes beautifully and I love the way my recipes just look so professionally presented in them.
Large Rectangular Porcelain Platter
I used our large rectangular platter. I coated the platter in olive oil and then added the aged balsamic vinegar.
After trimming your brisket, mix all of the dry ingredients together and coat the brisket. If you have a convection oven, use that setting for approximately 20 min. You want the top to sear. You can also accomplish that task with a cast iron skillet.
Cover and lower heat to 325*. Cook for 2 hours.
At the very end, brush with the balsamic glaze. Check the cooking time because depending upon the thickness of the meat it will vary. It was delicious. The leftovers we will turn into BBQ sandwiches for another night.
Grits + greens + duck wraps = party in yo’ mouth!
The cold weather can’t stop us from having a good time or a good meal for that matter. Since it’s been so chilly the last few days we decided to bring a little heat to our meal time festivities with spicy cheese grits and bacon-jalapeno duck wrap kabobs.
Cube duck breast on cutting board.
Cut jalapeno into 1/4 inch thick rounds. If you place slices of jalapeno in between duck wraps on skewer they will be spicy but not overwhelming.
Place cubed duck breast and hunk of cream cheese on bacon slice. Roll and place on skewer. Add slice of jalapeno between each wrap for a little kick!
Baste your kabobs with a little honey, then it’s time to put them on the grill. Cook bacon on one side then flip.
Once bacon is crispy on both sides remove from grill and enjoy.
Ingredients for Spicy Cheese Grits:
1 cup yellow stone-ground grits
2 large creole tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped bacon
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup sliced garlic
3 cups water
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp salt
2 tbsps canned chopped green chiles
1/4 cup mild Cheddar cheese
In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, cook bacon until crisp. Reserve drippings in pan. Add tomatoes, butter, and garlic. Saute until garlic is tender. Mix in water, cream, salt, and chiles then bring to a boil. Gradually stir in grits, blending well. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened. Remove from heat and then blend in cheese until melted.
As the mercury rises and falls this holiday season inevitably so will your temperament. Take a few minutes at the end of the day to relax and get back in that good head-space with an adult beverage or as we south of the Mason Dixon like to refer to it as…a toddy! The recipe I will share with you today can be enjoyed warm or cold.
2 parts Apple Cider
1 part Cranberry Juice
1 part Bourbon- Bulleit is my preference!
Squeeze of lemon
*Thyme simple syrup to taste- this isn’t necessary but it sure is a nice touch! (recipe at end of post courtesy of Debbie Michael)
Garnish with Rosemary
Once you have combined all of your ingredients pour over ice in shaker. Shake and pour into glass.
Add lemon slice and spring of Rosemary for garnish. Sip and enjoy!
If the cold weather has you down try drinking this holiday treat warm. Heat seems to make the Rosemary more pronounced so I left it out of this version.
Thyme Simple Syrup Recipe
2 parts suagr
1 part water
1 package of fresh thyme or grab some from your garden if the cold hasn’t killed it
- Bring the water to a boil.
- Dissolve the sugar into the boiling water, stirring constantly.
- Place thyme in cheesecloth and drop in pot
- Once the sugar is dissolved completely, remove the pan from the heat. (Note: Do not allow the syrup to boil for too long or the syrup will be too thick.)
- Allow to cool completely and thicken, then bottle.
Hi guys! Today we are excited to be sharing a recipe from our favorite “Girl Hunter” and chef extraordinaire, Georgia Pellegrini. For those not familiar she is fierce, feminine, and fabulous- a real “Jane” of all trades. No worries, we asked permission before we borrowed this recipe previously posted on her blog which you should definitely check out!
Fun fact- The venison used in this dish came from Paul’s hunting camp on the Mississippi River. For more details on that trip take a look at this post of Georgia’s blog.
See below for the original post
I brought a nice venison haunch back from my Girl Hunter Weekend in Arkansas. Ain’t it a beauty?
It was aged for about 20 days. And since I was having a gathering of a large group of people I decided to put it to good use. I’ve made many stews before so I decided to think a little bit outside the box and made…
You should make it too, it’s amazing. And if you don’t have venison you can also use lamb, beef or bison and it will be delicious. Just be sure to use a tougher cut so that the collagen breaks down and becomes buttery in the stew.
You will need: grape seed oil, venison, lemongrass, garlic, onion, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, dried chili flakes, curry powder, coconut milk, chicken stock, butternut squash, and cilantro.
Dice your ginger, onion, lemongrass and garlic.
In a large heavy bottomed pot, heat the oil until it is nice and hot. You want the meat to brown well.
Season the venison cubes with salt and pepper and add them to the oil, browning them on all sides, about 5 minutes.
Add the lemongrass, garlic, onion and ginger and stir until it exudes its aroma, about 5 minutes.
Add your spices!
Add the bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, chili flakes, and curry and stir well. Your kitchen will start to smell amazing.
Pour in the coconut milk.
…and chicken stock, and stir. Cover and let simmer for about 2 hours, until the venison becomes tender.
After 2 hours, add the squash and cover. Let cook until the squash is tender and the venison cubes fall apart easily.
Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve!
You will love this. It’s great for these cold winter months.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours, 20 minutes
Yield: Serves 10
This recipe also works well with lamb, beef and bison.
- 4 tablespoons grape seed oil
- 1 venison haunch, cubed (about 5 pounds)
- Salt and pepper
- 2 stalks lemongrass, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 6 cloves garlic garlic, minced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon dried chili flakes
- 4 tablespoons curry
- 2 cans coconut milk
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 large butternut squash, cut into cubes
- Cilantro, for garnish
- In a large heavy bottomed pot, heat the oil. Season the venison cubes with salt and pepper and add them to the oil, browning them on all sides, about 5 minutes.
- Add the lemongrass, garlic, onion and ginger and stir until it exudes its aroma, about 5 minutes.
- Add the bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, chili flakes, and curry and stir well.
- Pour in the coconut milk and chicken stock, and stir. Cover and let simmer for about 2 hours, until the venison becomes tender.
- After 2 hours, add the squash and cover. Let cook until the squash is tender and the venison cubes fall apart easily.
- Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve.
I love the mighty muscadine, the “Grape of the South.” It has a heart-shaped leaf with a toothy edge and green tendrils. How much more romantic can a plant be? The fruit the vine bares, plump, greenish-bronze or large, purple orbs, clump together in artistic harmony announcing to all that fall has arrived in the Southeast United States. Sweet wine, grape-hull pie and muscadine Sherbert come to mind. Muscadines and their cousin, scuppernongs, are native to the Southeast but especially honored in the Carolina coastal zones, where they were first discovered and propagated by colonists.Recently Paul and I were on a road trip and spotted an old pickup truck with a hand painted sign on the side saying, “Muscadines”. We quickly turned and found wild, beautiful, freshly picked, thick-skinned, purple bunches of these first signs of fall. Six dollars got us a bag full and we happily shined them on our shirts and popped them into our mouths. We rolled down the windows to spit out the seeds while juices rolled out of the corners of our mouths..
It is hard to describe the taste; a heavy, grape flavor with a tartness the beams through especially when you eat the skin. I dare say they have a slightly musty taste. I am already planning what I will prepare with these big orbs. Never wanting to walk down the conventional road, I Googled recipes but couldn’t find one that matched my vision ….I wanted to create a fruited sauce with a little kick to use on chicken or pork. The following is what I finally decided on. Simple but oh-so Southern!
Recipe: Muscadine Sauce
*All measurements are approximate
4 cups purple muscadines. Hulled and seeded
2 medium shallots finely sliced not chopped
1/2 stick of butter
Pinch of salt
Tsp. of pepper
1-2 gloves of garlic finely chopped.
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup muscadine wine
Cut the muscadines in half and take the seeds out. You can do this with your fingers or a small paring knife.Discard the skins or save for extra juice in your sauce.
Sauté the shallots and garlic in butter. Flavor with the salt and pepper to taste. Add the grape hulls and cook approximately two minutes then add chicken stock and wine. Reduce the liquid to about half or until it is the right consistency to pour over the meat.
I served this sauce over fresh chicken tenders. I seasoned the tenders with garlic powder, paprika, salt, pepper and a little cumin. I heated the cast iron skillet really hot with a little olive oil, and blackened them.The result was a delicious and healthy meal! So delicious that Mr. Michael cleaned his plate. Nothing pleases a cook more than an empty plate!