Flipping recipes: Cajun Seafood Alfredo

Let’s be honest, sometimes we get bored with cooking the same things week in and week out. At least I know I do. I’m always looking for ways to transform meals we already love into something new and better. And I think I accomplished it with this dish!!! Y’all this was soooo good!!! Those several people I have the pleasure and honor of being the mama of DEVOURED THIS!!! Everyone loved it (Bean said there was a lot of cheese, he isn’t the biggest cheese fan lol, but he still gave it his approval)! I shared the process of how I made this delicious creamy, cheesy filling lasagna in my Instagram stories and I added to my highlights for reference. It was easy to make because we skipped the step of making a ricotta or cottage cheese filling. Here’s the recipe and I hope you and your family makes it especially before the new year because this is NOT diet friendly!!!

Cajun Seafood Lasagna

Ingredients

For the filing:

  • 1 cup of red, green, yellow, or orange bell peppers chopped – use a mix of any combo or only one
  • 1/2 cup of red onion (can substitute white or yellow)
  • 1/2 cup of mushrooms chopped (optional)
  • 1 to 2 cups of Shrimp, Crawfish tails, and/or crab (imitation or real). I just used shrimp and crawfish tails only.
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • Salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning, garlic powder, and onion powder. I also used Crawfish/Crab boil seasoning but leave this out if you don’t want a spicy lasagna.

For the sauce:

  • 2-3 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • Liquid from filling (see one directions)
  • 1/2 cup of chicken broth
  • 1-2 cups of half and half or heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (I use the one that has basil, garlic and oregano already added from Aldi)
  • Garlic powder or garlic salt or you can also use a tablespoon of minced garlic, salt and pepper.

You’ll also need 1-2 (16oz) bags of shredded Mozzarella and Italian Blend cheese and lasagna noodles. I used oven ready noodles but partially cooked them beforehand because I wasn’t sure if there would be enough sauce to cook them in the oven. Next time I would just use regular lasagna noodles.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil noodles in water according to directions. Add oil and some crawfish/crab boil if using to the water to prevent sticking and add flavor.

For the filling:

  • Add the olive oil and 1/2 the butter to a sauté pan on medium high. Once butter has melted add onions, peppers and mushrooms. Add garlic (always add garlic to something already in the pan because otherwise it will burn and destroy the flavor of your food). Cook until softened. Add more butter and add shrimp crawfish and seasonings. Cook for 2-3 minute until shrimp are done. Add diced 2-3 tablespoons of diced tomatoes There will be liquid at the bottom of you pan. Remove veggies and seafood and strain liquid and set to the side. This will go into you sauce and give it great flavor so don’t skip this step.

For the Sauce:

  • In same pan you cooked the filling add butter on medium low heat. Once melted add 2 tablespoons of flower and cook. Makes sure you cook the flour, you don’t want raw flour taste in your sauce!!!
  • Once cooked add preserved liquid by whisking in slowly until combined. You should have a thick paste consistency. Slowly whisk in chicken broth if using then half and half or heavy whipping cream. Then add Parmesan cheese. Add seasoning and diced tomatoes. Make sure to taste food to see if additional seasoning or cheese is needed. Turn off heat. Sauce should thicken while standing.

To assemble the lasagna:

  • In a sprayer 9×13 pan add 1-2 tablespoons of sauce. Then add lasagna noodles to cover bottom.
  • Top noodles with sauce, then seafood/veggie filling, then mozzarella and Italian blend shreds cheeses. Repeat until you have at least two to three layers. Top with sauce and cheese. I added chopped green onions and fresh basil to the top prior to putting in the oven but that’s optional.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes. Remove from oven and let lasagna set for an additional 15-20 minutes before serving.

We ate this with a side salad. The kids are already asking when am I making this again. This recipe was a little work but definitely worth it. Let me know if this is something you would try and if you do please make sure to tag me on Instagram @severalpeoplesmama

Need easy but delicious meals for dinner?Check out my cookbook available for purchase now: Click here.

Love Ricki

Money Saving White Queso

Hi y’all! I wanted to share a quick and easy alternative to the Velveeta and Rotel combo we always use when we want nachos! If you haven’t noticed a block of Velveeta is almost $8!!! I actually stopped buying the brand awhile ago and usual get the store generic brand but even that can get pricey. Enter White Queso which comes together easy and fast using only a few ingredients. You can also add whatever else you want to it to suit your tastes but I have included the basic recipe below. If you try this tag me on Instagram @severalpeoplesmama and let me know what you think!

White Queso

Ingredients:

  • One package of American white cheese (you can find this in the cheese section, but I wouldn’t suggest you get the individually wrapped slices)
  • One small can of green chiles
  • 1/2. Cup of Half and Half or Milk
  • 1-2 Teaspoons of diced tomatoes with green chilies (rotel) or diced tomatoes (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of taco seasoning (or add more to taste) You can also use salt to taste.

Directions:

Shred cheese or chop into little cubes. Spray pot and spoon you will be using to make the Queso, this will make for easier clean up. Add half and half or milk and warm. Add cheese a little at a time stirring in until melted. Add can of green chilies. Add diced tomatoes or rotel if using. I wouldn’t use too much as you want to keep this the milky white color. Add seasoning to taste.

And you’re done! Of course I’m extra so prior to adding the half and half I sauté a few chopped onions and a clove of minced garlic. I also add fresh chopped cilantro at the end. Feel free to add whatever flavors you want. The cheese used is not strong so it takes flavor really well!

Also a lot of you asked how I prepare my taco meat. It’s super easy and makes for a thicker consistency (similar to Taco Bell). I brown my ground beef then drain any grease. I think add a packet of taco seasoning (I use Aldi version) and half a pack of dry ranch dressing mix. I will add a tablespoon of so of water but I never add as much water as the package says. I will also add more taco seasoning/ranch seasoning to taste. It’s important you taste your food! You know #itsbetterwhenitsseasoned around here!!!

I hope you enjoy the recipe! And in the comments let me know what else quick and easy recipes you’d like me to make. I’ll also be adding the IGTV video as well (IG is making me trim it so I’m still editing ugh) My Cook Yo Meals FB group is coming soon and I look forward to all the fun we’re going to have over there!

Love Ricki

Cook with Me: Taco Ring

Hi Y’all! I recently filmed a Grocery Haul & Cook with Me on YouTube sharing the infamous Taco Ring Recipe. I figured I would also write it out for anyone that wants to try it! Hope you enjoy and don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe to this blog and my YouTube channel for more content on the single mama life on a budget!

Looking for more recipes like these? Check out my new cookbook available for purchase here: https://payhip.com/b/WN19

Love Ricki

Meal Planning for People who don’t like to Meal Plan

I don’t understand why people have to be rebels and not get with the program. Meal planning is where it’s at!!! *Insert clapping hands* It saves time, money and it’s waayyyyy less stressful than standing in front of the refrigerator and squinting and frowning because you don’t know what the hell you’re going to make for dinner! Plus you’ll have less wrinkles. BUT I know it isn’t for everyone so that’s why I am writing this post. Some people just like to live on the edge and they can afford botox so meal planning is not a top priority. However, I want to show you how you can meal plan even if you don’t like it and I also included some meal ideas for when you are stumped on what to make. So here are my tips:

  1. Keep a stocked pantry/fridge/freezer. To be able to cook meals on the fly you have to have inventory. Make sure you have the basics you need to make simple recipes and your favorite recipes. This way you are always able to make the process of choosing what to have for dinner easy.
  2. Make your own recipe book. It doesn’t have to be fancy. You can get a notebook from the dollar tree and write down every recipe you ever made or want to make. Or you can just keep a master list in your phone. Or dedicate a board on Pinterest. The key is to have a list that you can refer to when trying to come up with an idea of what to make for dinner. And even if you DO like to meal plan you should have a list of recipes to refer to when planning out your meals for the weeks anyway.
  3. Assign a theme to every night. Sunday – Soul food Sunday, Monday – meatless Monday, Tuesday – Taco Tuesday, Wednesday – Italian Night, and on and on. You assign it based on what your family usually likes. That way at least you have an idea to start with on what to make. For example for Taco Tuesdays you can make tacos, nachos, enchiladas, chimichangas etc.
  4. Have a Fend for Yourself (FFY) night or nights – I actually include this in my meal plan but it’s an easy idea that everyone should follow. This actually doesn’t involve eating out. It means you get the night off from cooking and everyone figures it out. I have older children and no husband so this is pretty easy for me but this can be done with smaller kids by buying their favorite lunchables and snacks & fruit and letting them eat it for dinner. I promise YOU WON’T GO TO JAIL FOR FEEDING YOUR KIDS SNACKS FOR DINNER! I mean just don’t do it everyday, Or do. I won’t tell anyone. Little kids are usually snack lovers anyway so in my opinion it’s a win/win for everyone. And as far as the husbands, since I no longer have one I probably am not the best person to follow advice from but I’m pretty sure they can figure it out too. I’m just saying! *shrugs shoulders*
  5. My final tip is utilize the internets. Google is your friend. So is Pinterest. And blogs like this one. If you have some ingredients on hand and you are not sure what to make, put it in a search and see what recipes you can come up with. I will warn you though this is truly living on the edge because you may not like what you try but then again you just might. That kind of living raises my blood pressure because I HATE wasting food and my money but if you got it like that…heeyyyyyy.

So those were my tips for meal planning for people that are so against the awesome idea of planning what to eat in advance so they are not stressed and hungry. No judgement from me lol. Below I have listed a few meal ideas for when you THINK there’s nothing to eat in the house. And of course they are all budget friendly. Let me know what you thought of this post and if you meal plan or if you’re a rebel and choose to live life dangerously hungry!

Simple Meal Ideas:

Soup & Sandwich – Can of soup and your favorite sandwich with deli meat or a bowl of Top Ramen with the deli meat or leftover chicken in it.

Quesadillas – Anything can go between two tortillas and some cheese. Beans, meat, veggies, the options are endless.

Baked potato bar – Baked potatoes are super filling and can be plain or topped with whatever you can think of.

Pasta night – You can use any shape pasta you want, any sauce and add any topping and you are even better than Chef Boyardee.

Pizza & Salad – Frozen pizzas (even those cheap ones for a dollar!) and a simple salad can satisfy hunger. Or you can make your own by buying the pre made crusts or using tortillas, bagels, garlic toast or even a slice of bread. Pretend you’re at Mod’s and pile on the toppings, it’s free (kinda).

Love Ricki

Back to YouTube!

Hi Y’all so you asked and I delivered! I am have relaunched my YouTube channel and I am so excited with all the ideas for content I plan on bringing you! Please make sure you subscribe and check out my first video back below!

Don’t forget to like and comment!

Love Ricki