Cooking is my hobby, my passion, and my way to winning hearts because let’s face it, everyone loves to eat. Though I haven’t had any official training, I have dabbled in cooking classes and watched enough Food Network to wing owning cafeterias and a successful catering business. Since Sunday is the day that I am generally at home watching TV and writing travel stores, I use this time to try out new recipes and fine tune my cooking skills. If my family is around, they join me for my Sunday feast but if not, I may invite a friend over, share it with my dog, eat it all, or save the leftovers for later in the week.
Super Bowl Sunday is my favorite day of the year to cook. At our house, the menu is always the same: Shrimp Creole with cornbread. Nom! I learned to make this Shrimp Creole recipe over 20 years ago at the New Orleans Cooking School and no matter how many other recipes for creole that I try, it is the best. There are quite a few steps to this Sunday Supper meal, but this is actually pretty easy, super impressive and delicious. Don’t be intimated about the length of ingredients: you are only chopping onion, peppers, celery, and mincing garlic; the rest is canned or measured spices.
A great thing about Shrimp Creole is that you control the spices, so if you like hot dishes, add extra Tabasco. If not, add less. The Shrimp Creole is served over white rice and I’m going to share a shortcut with you for how to get perfect rice every time. Pick up some deli-made cornbread to add the perfect Southern accompaniment. Finish off your meal with our melt-in-your-mouth Smore’s Lava Cakes. Let’s cook Shrimp Creole!
- Canola or vegetable
- Use white and green parts
- Fresh or refrigerated jar kind
- Or any color will be fine
- I love tomatoes, so I add more
- If you like spicy food, use more like 1-2 tsp
- Size does not matter
- I use small shrimp so it is easier to eat but large works fine, too
- Make a dark roux with flour and oil. This means to add the flour and oil together and cook on low to medium-low, stirring almost constantly, for 20-25 minutes. It is a lengthy procedure but this makes or breaks Creole dishes. It will look like dark chocolate when its “done”
- Add onions, green onions, celery, green pepper and garlic to the roux. Cook slowly until veggies are soft or al dente.
- Add tomato paste, tomato sauce, chopped tomatoes, water, salt, pepper, cayenne, hot sauce, bay leaves, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce.
Simmer slowly 1 hour, covered.
- Add shrimp to creole mix during the last few minutes of cooking. Cook with the shrimp 3-5 minutes. Do not overcook as the shrimp will be tough. PRO TIP: Add only enough shrimp for you to eat this serving. If you plan on having leftovers, save the remaining shrimp for when you reheat so the shrimp will be perfect and not chewy.
- Readjust for salt and pepper as you like. Spoon your Shrimp Creole over a bowl of rice and garnish with parsley, if desired.
I learned this trick from a Chef that used to work for me. Cooking rice, though simple as can be, has always been a pain to me due to measuring, cooking a certain time, and keeping it from burning. Not anymore! First, figure out how much rice you will need. For this recipe, let’s use 2 cups of white uncooked rice (the size of the grain doesn’t matter, I typically use short-grain) and an equal amount of water. Add both ingredients to a 10×13 baking pan (or anything shallow and somewhat big in size…a 2 qt round bowl will not work for this). Cover the rice/water mixture with foil tightly. Place in a preheated 350° oven for roughly 30 minutes. The size of your dish will determine the cooking time but we don’t like rules, so check at around 20-25-30 minutes. You will know when the rice is done because it will fluff perfectly with a fork, without any water remaining in the bottom. Sprinkle generously with salt (I prefer Sea Salt or Kosher for more flavor) and place in a serving dish.
To reheat this rice, add to a saucepan with a few tablespoons of water. The water will revive the leftover rice and it will be as good the second, third, fourth time around as it was the first. You can make rice in bulk and keep refrigerated for up to 5 days, using this procedure to reheat each time.
S’Mores Lava Cakes
1/2 cup unsalted butter, divided
16 large marshmallows, divided
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 large eggs plus 1 extra egg yolk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- Spray 4 ramekins (6 oz) with non-stick baking spray with flour; set aside.
- In a skillet, melt 2 Tbsp unsalted butter over medium heat. Stir in graham cracker crumbs and sugar, cook, stirring 2-3 minutes. Set aside.
- Preheat broiler. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil, spray with Pam. Place marshmallows on the pan.
- Broil marshmallows until toasted but not burned. (Watch carefully!). Set aside. Change oven temp to 400°.
- Temper chocolate in microwave by placing in a microwave-safe bowl with remaining 6 Tbsp unsalted butter. Heat at 20-second intervals, stirring between, until melted and smooth.
- To the melted chocolate, whisk in powdered sugar, flour, and salt until batter is thick. Whisk in eggs, yolk, and vanilla until smooth.
- Pour batter into prepared ramekins, filling halfway full. (reserve remaining batter)
- Press 2 marshmallows into the center of each ramekin. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs. Spoon remaining batter into ramekins, covering the crumbs and marshmallows completely.
- Bake 10-12 minutes. Let cool for 2-3 minutes, then run a knife along the insides of the ramekin to release cakes.
- Carefully invert onto serving plate (individual), top with remaining marshmallows and sprinkle with leftover graham cracker crumbs. Enjoy!