Cajun Inspired Holiday Recipes

Cajun Inspired Holiday Recipes

Serve up a Cajun inspired menu at this year’s holiday dinner!

Want to spice things up this holiday season?  Then try out some of these Cajun inspired recipes at your holiday dinner this year.

Appetizer: Cajun Spiced Pecans

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • ½ teaspoon Tony’s (i.e. Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning)
  • ¼ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ pound pecan halves

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients (except pecans) in a small dish and whisk together until combined.
  2. Place pecans in a medium bowl and pour liquid mixture on top.
  3. Stir until well coated.
  4. Arrange pecans into a single layer on a jelly-roll pan. (I line the pan with aluminum foil for easy clean-up).
  5. Bake at 300 degrees for 15-20 minutes, stirring once after about 8-10 minutes.

Main Course: Cheesy Shrimp and Grits

Ingredients:

  • 1/2-3/4 pound deveined and shelled shrimp
  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup yellow corn grits
  • 2 ounces cream cheese (I used reduced fat)
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 green onion stalks, chopped
  • 2 slices bacon
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet cook two slices of bacon over medium heat until crisp, remove bacon from skillet, roughly chop. Wipe skillet clean and set aside to use later for the shrimp.
  2. In a medium to large sauce pan bring chicken broth to a boil, add grits and reduce heat to low. Cover and let grits simmer for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. When grits have absorbed the liquid add cream cheese, shredded cheese and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Stir mixture well, cover and remove from heat.
  5. Place shrimp in a large plastic bag or mixing bowl, add Old Bay, Italian seasoning, garlic powder and smoked paprika and toss until shrimp is coated.
  6. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add shrimp and cook 3 minutes on each side or until shrimp is pink and tender.
  7. To assemble the shrimp and grits add a heaping serving of grits to two shallow bowls. Top with shrimp, chopped green onions, chopped bacon and additional pepper.

Side Dish: Cajun Greens

Ingredients:

  • 16- ounce bag of clean and cut greens, (collards, mustard, or country mix are all fine)
  • 1 slice bacon, diced
  • 1/4 onion, diced (you’ll surely use the rest this week)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • four dashes hot sauce, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar

Directions:

  1. For the greens, heat a 12″ skillet or stockpot over medium-high heat. (Dice the bacon and onion while skillet heats.) Add bacon and onion to skillet and saute, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown.
  2. Reduce heat to medium, and add greens to skillet a couple handfuls at a time. Stir and let wilt slightly before adding more. After adding all the greens, season with salt and hot sauce, add 1/3 c. water, and stir. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until dinner is ready to serve.

Dessert: Pecan Pie Bread Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups bite-sized bread pieces
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon maple or vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 cup pecans, halved or chopped

Directions:

  1. Prepare an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish by lining it with parchment paper and spraying well with a non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Place all of the bread pieces into the baking dish.
  3. Pour the melted butter over the bread.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, corn syrup, brown sugar, granulated sugar, maple or vanilla extract, cinnamon, and the salt.
  5. Stir in the pecans. Pour evenly over the bread pieces. Use a rubber spatula to push and “prod” the bread pieces around in the dish until all are coated in the syrupy mixture.
  6. Bake at 375º for 45 minutes. Serve warm with a dollop of whipped cream!

Whip up these dishes to give your holiday celebration a Cajun kick!  Love Cajun food and can’t get enough?  Then mark your calendar for the next Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival.  In summer of 2018, Simi Valley will come alive with Cajun music and food, zydeco music, blues music, a Mardi Gras parade, zydeco dance lessons, and more!  To learn more about this exciting local event, contact Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival today.