Crowd-Control Sloppy Mikes

Here’s a larger, crowd-pleasing version of my southwest winning Sloppy Joe recipe, made with five pounds of ground chuck. This recipe will serve 4-6 sandwiches per pound. I’ve tweaked the recipe to include a few ingredients I had on hand for a social get-together at work this week.  Enjoy!



5 pounds lean ground chuck
5 10.75 oz. cans tomato soup
4 full cans hot water (use one of the soup cans for this purpose)
2 large Spanish onions, peeled and diced
4 ribs celery, with greens, diced
2 dashes Worchestershire sauce, (about 1 tbs.)
1/2 heaping cup of chili sauce
2 tsp. salt, to taste
4 tsp. garlic powder (not salt!)
4 tsp. whole cumin seed, toasted, then ground by hand in a mortar
2 tbs. packed brown sugar
2 tsp. ground dry mustard
1 tsp. ground Mexican oregano
2 tsp. dry basil

6 tbs. ground pure chili powder comprised of:
-1 tbs. medium-hot Chimayo chili
-2 tbs. Ancho chili
-3 tbs. smoked paprika

1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 large sweet red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced



Dice the onion, bell pepper and celery and set aside. Using two large heavy skillets (preferrably cast-iron) brown the ground beef in batches until no longer pink, over medium-high heat. Drain of fat and place back in the pans with the onion and celery. Reduce heat to medium and saute for 5-7 minutes, until the onions and celery are softened. Remove and place in a six-quart Nesco covered roaster with the tomato soup and water. Stir to incorporate and keep covered over medium heat.

Add the Worchester sauce, chili sauce and dry spices. Mix well. Bring to a rolling boil and let simmer for two to three hours until reduced and thickened. Stir occasionally. Add the red bell pepper during the last hour. Reduce heat and cover until ready to serve.

Serve on buns with pickle chips and sliced Colby cheese.


Serves 20-25 individual sandwiches with plenty of second helpings.


Country Buttermilk Biscuits

This is a great recipe for southern-style country buttermilk biscuits. I’ve had great success using my Breville Sous Chef food processor. The buttermilk makes for richer, more flavorful biscuits.



2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the countertop work surface
1⁄4 tsp. baking soda
1 tbs. baking powder
2 tsp. white sugar
1 tsp. table salt
6 tbs. cold unsalted butter
3/4 cup buttermilk (more if needed)
1/4 cup melted butter

Softened real butter for serving



Preheat your oven to 450°F. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, or in the work bowl of a food processor.
Cut the butter into small squares and add to the bowl. Using a pastry cutter, cut into the flour until it looks like coarse crumbs.
If using a food processor, use the pulse feature so you don’t overwork it. It will only take a few seconds. Add the buttermilk and mix until just combined. DO NOT overwork.
If it appears on the dry side, add a bit more buttermilk. The consistency should be wet.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board. Using your hands, gently pat down until the dough is 1/2″ thick. DO NOT use a rolling pin or your biscuits will not rise as high, and be dense. Fold the dough about 5 times, and gently press the dough down to 1″ thick. Use a round cutter to cut into ten rounds. The folding will produce a flaky, layered texture.
You can gently knead the scraps together and make a couple more, but they will not be as fluffy as the first ones.

Place the biscuits on a cookie sheet leaving about 1″ of space between each. The biscuits will rise higher if they are touching. Brush each with a bit of melted butter.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes (default to 10 minutes to ensure they don’t overcook.) When done, they will be a beautiful light golden brown on top and bottom.
Do not over bake.

Serve with softened real butter.


Makes 10-12 biscuits

Eula Mae’s Maque Choux (Stewed Corn and Tomatoes)

A classic, Acadian French-Indian inspired side dish from Louisiana.


2 tbs. butter
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup seeded and chopped green bell pepper
4 cups kernel corn (canned, fresh or frozen, but thawed)
1 medium-sized tomato, peeled and chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. Tabasco® hot pepper sauce


Melt butter in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring often until soft – about five minutes.

Add the corn, tomato, salt and pepper sauce. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered, until the corn is tender, about 10-15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Note: the traditional method uses rendered bacon fat instead of butter.

Recipe courtesy

Blackened Catfish

Authentic Louisiana Blackened Catfish

Traditional Louisiana-style blackened catfish seared
on an outdoor grill in a cast-iron skillet

This authentic recipe is taken directly from a restaurant in New Orleans. The seasoning is quite hot, so you may want to experiment with the cayenne powder the first time. A good, heavy cast-iron skillet is a must with this recipe. The high temperatures required for the blackening process will warp or burn the nonstick coating off of most other pans.

The process puts off a lot of smoke, so open up your windows and turn on the exhaust fan! I’ve also had great success cooking this on my outdoor charcoal grill.

The aroma is quite pungent, but ohhh so good!


Click here for the Rub.

One or two fresh catfish fillets, pressed flat
Milk, buttermilk or olive oil
Butter for searing
Fresh lemon
Scallion for garnish


Mix the dry rub ingredients well and store in an airtight jar in your fridge or cupboard. Will keep for up to one year. This recipe uses only a couple tablespoons for dusting, so you will have plenty leftover for next time.

Make sure the catfish fillets are washed and patted dry. Press them flat with a heavy spatula. This will ensure more even cooking.

Dip each fillet in milk, buttermilk or olive oil. Shake off the excess and put in a plastic bag with about two tbs of dry rub. Shake evenly to coat.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet to medium-high. Put a pat of butter in skillet and sear each fillet for about 2-3 minutes per side until blackened. Depending on the thickness of the fish, actual time will vary. TURN ONLY ONCE OR YOU WILL PULL THE COATING OFF. Check the thickest part of the fish for doneness; it should flake easily with a fork and the juices should run clear.

Remove immediately and serve with lemon wedges and chopped scallion for garnish.

Red Beans and Rice

This is an easy version of Red Beans & Rice that goes well with a number of main dishes like ribs, chicken and even steak. Make it as hot as you’d like. The chimayo controls the heat.


2 cups long-grain uncooked rice (basmati or other variety)
1 14oz. can chicken broth
1 14oz. can stewed tomatoes (plain)
1 14oz. can red beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 lb. bacon
2 medium Spanish or white onions – coarse chopped
4 cloves garlic, mashed
1 tbs. new-mex hot chimayo powder
1 tsp. mexican oregano
1 tsp. ground cumin from toasted seed
1/2 tbs. salt (go easy on the salt)


Saute the onions and bacon in a large skillet until slightly browned. You may want to start the bacon first.
Place in a 5-quart cast-iron dutch oven on medium heat.

Add broth and stewed tomatoes. Crush the tomatoes on the bottom of the pot with a masher. Add spices and simmer for 15 minutes, covered.

Add beans and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add dry rice and cover. Stir once and reduce heat to absolute minimum. Cook for 15 minutes more. Fluff and serve with Tabasco on the side.

Serves 6-8.

Chicken-Fried Steak with White Gravy

From most references, the history of this recipe originated somewhere in Texas during the Depression Era. Other accounts indicate that it came from the German people who settled in the Lone Star state around 1844-50.

The first written reference to “chicken-fried steak” appeared around 1952. This is an entirely-Southern inspired dish which is very economical to prepare. Serve with mashed potatoes and grilled corn-on-the-cob. Enjoy!


1/3 cup vegetable oil or 1/2 stick real butter
2 lb. tenderized round steak
Meat tenderizer to coat steak
1 cup all-purpose flour for dredge (reserve 3 tbs. after for gravy)
1/4 cup corn starch
2 tsp. salt (or Lawry’s seasoned salt), to taste
1 tsp. fresh-ground black pepper
Dash of cayenne pepper, to taste
1 tsp. garlic powder
4 eggs, beaten
2 1/2 cups milk, warmed to room temperature
1 small onion, cut in rings
Dash of Worchestershire sauce


Put the flour, corn starch, garlic powder, salt cayenne and black pepper in a shallow dish reserved for dredging the meat. Mix well.

Beat the four eggs and place in another shallow dish large enough to coat each side of the steaks.

Round steak by nature is a slightly tougher cut of meat. Try to buy round steak that has been run through a tenderizer by your butcher. If this is not possible, you can use a meat mallet and pound each side. If the steaks are large, cut each in half. Sprinkle both sides with meat tenderizer and set aside on a plate and allow to warm up to room temperature.

Preheat a large 12″ cast-iron skillet (please, no other skillet will produce the same results with this recipe) to medium heat and lightly spray with non-stick cooking oil.

Dredge the steaks in flour, then the egg (ensuring that they are evenly coated) then back into the flour and place in the skillet with enough vegetable oil or butter to just coat the bottom surface. Increase heat to medium high and brown each side about 4-5 minutes. Work in batches, cooking two steaks at a time. Add more butter or oil if needed. Fry the sliced onion until lightly carmelized.

If the heat is too high, the batter will come off the steaks. Turning them only once will ensure the batter sticks.

When steaks and onion are done, remove from skillet, reduce heat to medium-low and reserve in a heated covered baking dish or dutch oven placed in your oven at 275 degrees.


In the same skillet, reserve three tbs. of the pan drippings. Add three tbs. of the reserved seasoned flour and three tbs of butter. Stir with a spatula until mixed. Add the milk and a dash of worchestershire sauce.

Increase heat and bring gravy to a low simmer, stirring constantly to deglaze the skillet. Taste and correct the seasoning if necessary. When thickened, transfer the gravy to a serving dish.

When ready, spoon gravy over steak and mashed potatoes.

Serves 4-6.

NOTE: For more flavor, add a small amount of rendered bacon fat to the pan when frying the steaks. It will create a richer gravy.

Chicken & Andouille Jambalaya

There are literally hundreds of variations of Jambalaya. No other dish quite captures the flavor of Louisiana. The recipe featured here is an instant classic by Emeril Lagasse. It is unbelievably good and quite spicy. Make this on a cold winter night for a football game and serve among friends. You will not be disappointed.


1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 cups chopped spanish onion
1 cup chopped bell pepper
3 tsp. salt
1-1/4 tsp. cayenne powder
1 pound andouille sausage, cut into 1/4″ slices
1-1/2 pounds boneless white chicken, cubed
3 bay leaves
3 cups medium-grain white rice*
6 cups water
1 cup chopped scallion


Heat the oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven. Add the spanish onion, bell pepper, 2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. cayenne pepper. Stir and carmelize.

Add the andouille and brown. Season chicken with remaining cayenne and salt. Add the chicken and bay leaves to pot. Stir until browned.

Add the rice and stir to coat. *NOTE: DO NOT USE THE QUICK-COOKING 5-MINUTE RICE. IT WILL TURN TO MUSH IN A VERY SHORT TIME. Add the water, stir well and cover. Cook over medium heat for 30-35 minutes until rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed. Stir once during this process; there is no need to fiddle with it constantly.

Remove from heat and let stand covered for 2-3 minutes. Remove the bay leaves. Add the scallion, stir and serve.

This dish is even better the second day. Serve with cornbread and a nice spinach salad.


Jambalaya Origin: 1872
The word jambalaya in English dates from 1872 as a borrowing from the French of the Cajuns in Louisiana. It appears in the New Orleans Times for June 28, 1872: “Those who brought victuals, such as gumbo, jambalaya, etc., all began eating and drinking.”

The word is from Provençal, the Romance language of southwestern France, where jambalaia is composed mostly of rice and chicken or other fowl. In Cajun culture jambalaya is a staple of everyday cooking. Its contents are so varied that it has been said, if you have it in the kitchen you can put it in the pot. Popular ingredients besides rice and chicken include sausage, seafood, tomatoes, celery, onion, and green peppers. And don’t forget the cayenne pepper, garlic, thyme, and rosemary.

The traditional way to cook it, as with most stews, is for a long time. But like everything else, it is available nowadays as Fast Food too. In Louisiana, jambalaya is used figuratively too, for “a mixture of ingredients.” The Times-Picayune of New Orleans noted in 1951, “A Creole beauty, a murder in a fashionable French home, an illicit love affair…–these are the ingredients of the movies’ latest jambalaya.”