If you know the right tricks, cooking can be a great way to gain control of your calorie consumption. Here in New Orleans we can make just about anything taste great, and healthy foods are no exception. Check out this list of calorie conscious swaps:
For three ounces of Andouille sausage you get a whopping 11 grams of fat. However,
the same three ounces of crawfish contain less than a single gram of fat. Many recipes come in both seafood and meat versions like gumbo, which can be made with crawfish or with Andouille. Skip the sausage and opt for the leaner shellfish!
Everyone loves a good condiment, but unfortunately not all condiments are made equal. Ketchup is high in sugar and mayonnaise is about 75% fat. Try Zatarain’s Creole Mustard (>1g fat per serving!) for a New Orleans recipe that’s been around since the late 1800’s.
“Slap YA Mama” seasoning can make just about any dish better, so why not use it to spice up an otherwise boring low fat/low calorie food? Use it as a rub on fish, a seasoning on cooked vegetables, or an extra kick in your broth-based soup. Seasonings are a wonderful alternative to high fat flavor-fillers like oil or butter.
Make a one-ingredient roux from flour and save yourself 2/3 of the calories of regular oil-based roux! Here is a recipe from Southern Cuisine Blog:
Ingredients: 2 cups all purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Spread flour evenly across the bottom of a 15-inch cast iron skillet
Bake, stirring occasionally for approximately 1 hour
Make sure to stir well around the edges of the skillet so the flour does not scorch.
Cook Flour until the light or dark color is achieved depending on the purpose of the roux. The roux will become darker when liquid is added
When the desired color is reached, cool on a large cookie sheet, stirring occasionally
Store in a sealed jar for future use. 1 cup of oil-less roux will thicken 11/2 quarts of stock to a perfect gumbo consistency
Save Money. Dining in or taking out can become an expensive (and not to mention very unhealthy) habit. We do understand that cooking every night can be dull, particularly in the flavor department. A cooking class, even just one, can expand your skill set and introduce you to new techniques, spices, and meal ideas. Shopping at the grocery store and making something special for your dinner at home is a lot more affordable than paying for someone else’s cooking skills every night.
Improve Your Health. Just the mention of vegetables can send hungry people running for the nearest cheeseburger. However, learning to cook health foods properly can make for a flavorful and especially nutritious meal. Chefs can teach you important tricks to drastically change a meal. Have you ever tried smoked paprika on eggs? Tastes an awful lot like bacon, without the grease of course.
Discover A New Hobby. Cooking can be a lot of fun, especially when you know what you’re doing. Learn to make real Creole and Cajun specialties you can enjoy making over and over again (We suggest spending a little bit of time with Nita Duhe in her Crescent City Cooking Class). Learning to cook new foods will spice up family dinners and impress your friends at dinner parties. Just a tip: Banana’s foster offers instant gratification to all ages!
Bond With Family Or Friends. There’s no kind of bonding like that in the kitchen. Working together as a group with your spouse, kids, or friends to create something everyone can enjoy is the perfect activity any day of the week. Skip the TV dinners and opt for a real meal cooked with the people you love. Even better, do it with the instruction of a real chef.
Enjoy A Cultural Experience. Whether you’re on vacation or just want to get to know your city’s roots a little better, a Cajun and Creole cooking class will show you what New Orleans spice is really about. In a city built on food, there is no better way to experience the heart and soul of NOLA with a true local to show you the way.
With summer coming to an end and school getting ready to start, prepare a delicious Cajun lunch for you and your kids with leftovers from dinner! There are so many creative ways to take a classic Cajun dish and twist it to spice up your lunch the next day. Here are just a few examples of how to enjoy your Cajun dishes for days!
Monday night is a classic for red beans and rice (and the special in our class!), and it is easy to make way too much for dinner. Save your leftovers and use them Tuesday afternoon to make a Mexican inspired salad! Use the red beans and rice to top on lettuce as a healthy lunch option filled with protein to keep you going all day long.
Cajun Tomato Pasta
It is a well-known secret that Italian meat sauce tastes even better the day after. Make a little extra next time you treat your family to pasta, and save the leftovers for the next day! Use tomato pasta for a healthier version with less fats and calories. Simply spice up your meat sauce (or plain tomato sauce) with a little hot sauce and Cajun seasoning to put a Cajun spin on it. Add vitamins in minerals by adding extra onions and peppers. Heat it up before lunchtime over whole-wheat pasta or use it as chili or to dip your grilled cheese in! Promise it may taste twice as good as the night before!
Lunch Topped With Etouffee
Crawfish or shrimp etouffee are both Cajun dinner favorites. But don’t forget about their versatility for leftovers, they can make lunch even more delicious. You don’t even need a full dish to compliment your lunch. Prepare cooked pasta, fish or chicken, top with the leftover etouffee, and enjoy – it will have the whole office smelling like a Cajun restaurant! You can also use the ettouffee as sauce for breakfast dishes such as the “hollandaise” in eggs benedict or place is over biscuits for a new twist on biscuits and gravy.
There are many ways you can enjoy your classic Cajun dishes for days to come. If you want to learn how to make these dishes like a true Cajun chef, come check out one of our cooking classes http://www.crescentcitycooks.com/classes.asp or just stop by our shop to pick up all your Cajun cooking essentials for dinner tonight!
I know what you’re thinking, how can Cajun and Creole food that tastes as rich and delicious in actually be healthy for you? Surprisingly, there are many healthy ingredients and spices that are staples for almost all Cajun and Creole dishes.
First off, onions are a delicious ingredient used in almost every dish. Don’t dismiss them to fight bad breath or watery eyes! Onions actually have been proven to fight diseases such as heart disease and cancer with their anti-inflammatory properties. Not only do they fight disease, onions also have anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties that prevent colds and infections.
Next is the almighty power of tomatoes in Creole dishes. Tomatoes are great anti-oxidants since they are filled with Vitamins A and C that also neutralize free radicals in the blood stream. They are also known to help with diabetes and heart problems. Vitamin A in tomatoes will improve your vision and keep your hair strong and shiny, along with strengthening your teeth, skin and bones!
Lastly, don’t underestimate the greatness of peppers. All peppers are rich in vitamins A, C and K, but these properties are most prevalent in red peppers. These vitamins prevent cell damage and disease related to aging and support immune function. Cayenne peppers are the star in Cajun cooking, but the wonderful taste comes along with amazing health benefits with some of the highest amounts of vitamins and minerals. Both hot and sweet peppers contain substances that increase body heat production and oxygen consumption after eating them, which means your body is burning extra calories for weight loss!
So what are you waiting for, get rid of your vitamin supplements and jump start healthy eating with a Cajun and Creole diet full of vitamins and minerals! The bold tastes found in Cajun and Creole cooking are the exact ingredients that help fight against diseases, protect against illness, fight aging and promote weight loss (just don’t add all oil and butter that the recipes call for!). In your next meal, don’t forget to pile on extra tomatoes, peppers and onions!
The Fourth of July is here! Having family in town? Hosting a dinner party for your friends? Simply enjoying a beautiful New Orleans summer barbeque? Well whatever the event to celebrate this fun holiday, we have the perfect New Orleans-inspired dish made with many of our festive spices and sauces, Cajun Buffalo wings!
3 lbs. chicken wings
1 tsp. pecan oil (sold in our store)
1 small onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced (Garlic Chop sold in our store)
1/2 cup Cajun pepper sauce (Slap Ya Mama is our fav! Sold in our store)
1/2 cup cane syrup
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbs. or more, Slap YA Mama hot sauce (Sold in our store)
1 tbs. prepared horseradish
1 tsp. flavoring and browning sauce (sold in our store)
1 tsp. chili powder
Cajun seasoning to taste (Our “Slap YA Mama” shake)
Remove wing tips from wings and place in a large bowl and season with Cajun seasoning.
Heat oil in large, heavy pot and cook onion and garlic for 5 minutes or until soft. Stir in Cajun pepper sauce, cane syrup, vinegar, hot sauce, horseradish, flavoring and browning sauce, and chili powder. Over medium heat, cook for 5 minutes, until bubbly. Allow to cool.
Pour half of the sauce over wings, to coat, and cover and refrigerate overnight. Drain sauce and discard. Arrange wings on a baking sheet lined with heavy-duty aluminum foil and bake in a preheated 400-degree oven for 10 minutes on each side.
Meanwhile, bring other half of sauce to a boil and boil for 1 minute, reserving some for dipping, if desired. Brush half of the remaining sauce over wings and continue baking for 10 more minutes. Turn and brush with remaining sauce and bake for 10 more minutes or until no longer pink inside.