Creole Macaroni Salad

It doesn’t take a whole lot of changes to make a pretty much run-of-the-mill pasta salad different. This Creole macaroni salad has buttermilk in the dressing, giving it that wonder tangy flavor. I love buttermilk so I instantly thought how great this salad would be with buttermilk fried chicken (and it was!). The salad also has tomatoes and (Anita’s favorite) olives. Her motto is: You can’t have too many olives.Creole Macaroni Salad
This recipe comes from Paul Kirk’s Championship Barbecue Cookbook, a huge book of everything barbecue. Get it. It’s packed with recipes like this great salad and whole lot more.

I would (and did) add more cayenne pepper to give this Creole macaroni salad even more kick. I think the dressing has a somewhat cooling effect, so a bit more heat isn’t going to hurt anything.

Also try my Hawaiian-style potato and Mexican macaroni salads.

Creole Macaroni Salad

Course Side
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings 12 servings

Ingredients

For the salad

  • 1 pound elbow macaroni or whatever pasta you prefer
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese diced
  • 1/2 cup celery diced
  • 1/2 cup onion diced
  • 1 small green bell pepper diced
  • 1/4 cup stuffed green olives halved

For the dressing

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions

  • Place all of the salad ingredients into a large bowl or resealable container.
  • Whisk together the dressing ingredients and pour over the salad. Toss gently to coat.
  • Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving

Easy Creole Meatloaf

There’s one rule I have about meatloaf: the veggies have to be chunky. I want some crunch to offset what is essentially a large brick-of-meat. Nothing wrong with a brick of meat, but put some nice chunky vegetables in it. This easy Creole meatloaf hit the spot and it definitely did not break my meatloaf rule. Great flavor. Moist. And just a hint of spiciness.
Easy Creole MeatloafNow, I will say that leftover super chunky easy Creole meatloaf does make for a pretty messy sandwich. But then, who really sits around dreaming of a nice, neat leftover meatloaf sandwich? Not me. It is not something to be ashamed of if you have to go open-faced with your meatloaf sandwich.

Also try my Cajun meatloaf and my copycat of the meatloaf from Cracker Barrel.

Easy Creole Meatloaf

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 3 slices white bread
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 cup onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery chopped
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tablespoon ketchup plus more for topping
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Spray a 9" x 13" baking dish with non-stick spray.
  • Place the bread in a large bowl and add the milk. Let soak for a few minutes.
  • Add the remaining ingredients to the bread except for half of the ketchup and combine well.
  • Form into a loaf in the baking dish.
  • Spread the remaining ketchup over the top of the meatloaf.
  • Bake, covered, for 45 minutes.
  • Remove cover and bake for an additional 30 minutes.
  • Let stand 5 -10 minutes before slicing.

Creole-Style Bean Soup

You had me at ‘okra’. I love okra. Grilled, fried, sauteed, roasted… or tossed into this Creole-style bean soup. The okra helps thicken up the broth and adds such a great flavor. All the flavors of a gumbo, along with some hearty beans to boot. Easy to make and fantastic on a cold day.
Creole-Style Bean SoupI don’t add the shrimp to the entire pot of soup if I’m not going to eat the entire batch at once. Reheated shrimp are not my favorite thing. They get too tough. Instead, I transfer some of the soup (just enough for dinner) to a separate pot and then add the shrimp. It’s a bit more trouble but I think it’s worth it. I could leave out the shrimp entirely and still have a great soup, but it wouldn’t be the same, that’s for sure.

Also try my smoked turkey and file gumbo pie.

Creole-Style Bean Soup

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 6 -8 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 3 15 ounce cans beans, rinsed and drained (I used kidney, red and cannellini)
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 14 ounces smoked sausage sliced thin, browned first if desired
  • 2 stalks celery diced
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • A few shakes of hot sauce
  • A few pinches of dried red pepper flake
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 pound frozen sliced okra
  • 1 cup small medium shrimp shelled and deveined

Instructions

  • Place all ingredients except the okra and shrimp into a large pot or Dutch oven.
  • Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and let simmer for 45 minutes.
  • Add the okra and shrimp.
  • Return to a boil and boil for 5 minutes then reduce again to a simmer and simmer until the shrimp are done.

Blackened Dry Wings

I love blackened chicken. I make a mean blackened chicken alfredo dish. Being that I’ve been on a major chicken wing kick lately (ever since discovering dry wings), I wanted to  get that great blackened seasoning flavor on a wing. And I did. Oh, did I. Blackened dry wings are truly a great thing. Spicy, with hints of onion and garlic. Great eats. I found myself licking all the seasoning off my fingers and still craving more.
Blackened Dry WingsThis is one time I was not shy with the seasoning on my wings. I usually like to be a little light, just so I can still taste the chicken. But blackened seasoning has to be over-the-top. It can’t be done lightly or there just isn’t any point to it. I love dry wings. For a another variation try my garlic Sriracha dry wings.

I absolutely love chicken wings, cooked any way, with any sauce (or without). I love them so much that I created a free eCookbook that is full of my favorite wing recipes.

Blackened Dry Chicken Wings

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 4 -8 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

For the wings

  • 4 pounds chicken wings separated
  • 4 tablespoons or more, to taste blackened seasoning (I used Zatarain's), divided
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Instructions

For the wings

Slow Cooker Delta Sausage

Two bites into the slow cooker Delta shrimp I made the other day and I already knew I was going to make it again, but this time with sausage. Not that the shrimp version wasn’t absolutely fantastic, oh no. The vegetable mixture has such tremendous flavor, still a tad bit crunchy, and is perfect with anything from shrimp to sausage to chicken.  Perfect.
Slow Cooker Delta Sausage
I use fire-roasted diced tomatoes almost exclusively now when a recipe calls for canned diced tomatoes. They have so much more flavor.

Smoked sausage is great in this slow cooker Delta sausage dish, but if you find  Andouille sausage, use it instead. It’ll add even more flavor to an already delicious meal. Oh, and if the sausage you are using is fresh, not cooked, cook it thoroughly before adding it to the slow cooker.

Also try my crawfish etouffee.

Slow Cooker Delta Sausage

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 sweet onions chopped
  • 1 cup celery chopped
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 14 1/2 ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 green bell chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 pound smoked sausage or andouille sausage sliced

Instructions

  • Melt butter in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onion and celery and cook until starting to soften.
  • Stir in the flour and allow to thicken.
  • Slowly add the water and stir.
  • Pour mixture into a slow cooker set to low.
  • Add the remaining ingredients except for the sausage. Stir and cook for 3 1/2 hours. If the sauce gets too thick add a bit more water and stir.
  • Meanwhile, heat a splash of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and brown lightly.
  • Transfer to the slow cooker and cook another 30 minutes.
  • Server over cooked rice.

Slow Cooker Delta Shrimp

The sauce on these slow cooker Delta shrimp is absolutely incredible. It’s another example of how simple Cajun-inspired ingredients can produce a fantastic dish. Although I used large Louisiana shrimp, you can easily substitute sliced Andouille  sausage or chopped chicken pieces.
Slow Cooker Delta ShrimpThe original recipe for slow cooker Delta shrimp called for fresh, diced tomatoes, which are definitely not in season here right now. So I substituted the next-best-thing: canned fire-roasted diced tomatoes. They add much more flavor to the sauce than just ‘regular ole’ tomatoes. I recommend substituting fire-roasted tomatoes into any dish that calls for tomatoes if you can’t find fresh.

Slow Cooker Delta Shrimp

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 sweet onions chopped
  • 1 cup celery chopped
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 14 1/2 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 green bell chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 pound medium shrimp peeled, deveined
  • Cooked rice for serving

Instructions

  • Melt butter in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onion and celery and cook until starting to soften.
  • Stir in the flour and allow to thicken.
  • Slowly add the water and stir.
  • Pour mixture into a slow cooker set to low.
  • Add the remaining ingredients except for the shrimp. Stir and cook for 3 1/2 hours. If the sauce gets too thick add a bit more water and stir.
  • Add the shrimp and cook 30 more minutes.
  • Serve over hot cooked rice.

Creole Bologna on the Char-Broil Big Easy

Why didn’t I think of this before? How could I not have known just how fantastic a bologna chub would be when roasted high-and-fast on a Char-Broil Big Easy? Well, now I’ve gone and done it, and done it good! And to make sure it was even better than I could’ve dreamed, I first rubbed the chub down with a big of Creole mustard. The mustard gave it just a little kick, a little something extra that you taste as you bite through the lovely light crust into warm bologna goodness. Yes, you need to make Creole bologna on your Char-Broil Big Easy today!

Creole Bologna on the Char-Broil Big EasyI sliced the cooked bologna thick and served it on warm buns topped with plenty of good ole yellow mustard, thick red onion slices, tomato, and lettuce. It’s the best darned bologna sandwich you can have.

It’s as good as time as any to point out (if it wasn’t obvious) that my bologna scoring skills are essentially non-existent. You don’t have to do it, but it does give the mustard (or whatever you are applying to the outside of the chub) a little something to hold on to. It’s completely optional, and if you’re as bad at it as I am, it’s ok. Don’t cut too deep, just 1/4″ – 1/2″ at the most.

Also try cooking up some Spam on your Big Easy. No really. Try it. You’ll thank me.

Love your Big Easy as much I love mine? Check out my Big Easy Add-Ons page and my free Big Easy eCookbook!

Creole Bologna on the Char-Broil Big Easy

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 1 5-6 pound bologna chub packaging removed
  • Creole mustard to taste (or substitute your favorite rub, mustard, sauce... you name it)

Instructions

  • Fire up your Big Easy.
  • Score the bologna as desired.
  • Rub all sides of the chub with the mustard or whatever you are using.
  • Place chub in the Big Easy basket and lower into the cooker.
  • Cook for about an hour. Keep an eye on the chub after 40 minutes. Depending on conditions it might char quicker than 1 hour. The chub is already cooked, so you're just giving it some color, extra flavor and good looks.
  • Remove and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing as desired.

Louisiana Burgers

These Louisiana burgers are absolutely incredible. They are the best burgers I’ve ever had. Wonderful grilled seasoned beef, kick’n pepper jack cheese, remoulade, crunchy red onion and my favorite, spicy homemade Tasso that just melts in your mouth. All on homemade buns.

Every bite is fully of fantastic flavor.
Louisiana BurgersI could’ve used some Kaw-Cajun Comeback sauce on these burgers, but I went with a bottle of Louisiana Fish Fry Product’s remoulade sauce instead. It has a nice zesty taste that is also great on po boy sandwiches. You can find it in your grocer’s southern foods section.

If you love big flavors, you’ll love these burgers. Also try my spicy bacon burgers.

Louisiana Burgers

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
  • 8 thin slices pepper jack cheese
  • 4 hamburger buns split
  • Remoulade sauce homemade or use Louisiana Fish Fry's bottled sauce
  • 8 slices thinly sliced Tasso ham
  • 1 red onion peeled, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices, soaked in cold water for 15 minutes then drained

Instructions

  • Fire up your grill.
  • Combine the spices and mix into the meat in a large bowl.
  • Form the meat into 4 patties.
  • Grill the burgers as desired.
  • Toast the buns.
  • Slather the buns with the remoulade sauce. Top with the burgers, Tasso, red onion, and cheese.

Homemade Tasso Ham

I love all foods Creole and Cajun. I love making jambalaya, étouffée, gumbo, and dirty rice. To really make authentic, unbelievably tasty dishes I like to add homemade tasso ham. Sometimes it’s hard to find tasso ham here in Indianapolis, so I set out to make my own and I couldn’t be happier with the results.

Not only tender, spicy and tasty, but incredibly easy to make too, the homemade tasso ham was a success. All you need is a pork butt or shoulder, a few spices, and a smoker.
Homemade Tasso Ham

The process…

Homemade tasso ham takes 3-4 days to age before smoking. I started out with an 8 pound bone-in pork shoulder. Ideally you’ll want a smaller, boneless pork butt, but that day in the market a shoulder was all I could find. Cutting the shoulder into “steaks”, each about 1″ thick, I kept the bone section and smoked it at the same time I smoked the homemade tasso ham. The bone-in section will be great in a pot of beans at a later time.

The meat is generously covered in a cure and placed on a rack in the fridge for 3 hours. It lost a LOT of moisture during this process.

Homemade Tasso Ham

Curing…

Next, I rinsed off the cure and patted the meat dry. Onto a rack and back into the fridge for 3-4 days. The meat will firm up during this time.

Homemade Tasso HamOnto the smoker…

The last day, I sprinkled the meat with rub and put it onto a 250 F smoker over hickory for about 3 hours until the internal temperature reached 170 F. I removed it, rested it, and then sliced it thick for later use in jambalaya, beans, etc.

Homemade Tasso Ham

Yummy results,,,

The end result is a spicy, almost-hammy meat that is absolutely fantastic. Although you could eat it by itself, homemade tasso ham is primarily used for flavoring dishes.

This homemade tasso ham is fantastic in my crispy shrimp in tasso sauce and spicy corn and tasso casserole.

Also try my smoked shanks and homemade Canadian bacon.

Homemade Tasso

Cuisine Creole
Prep Time 3 days 3 hours
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 3 days 5 hours 30 minutes
Servings 2 pounds
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 1 4 pound boneless pork shoulder or butt

For the cure

  • 1 cup salt
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon pink salt

For the rub

  • 2 tablespoons cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon allspice

Instructions

  • Slice the butt into 1" thick "steaks", each about a pound or so
  • Combine all cure ingredients and rub generously over the pork.
  • Place onto a wire rack over a baking pan and refrigerate for 3 hours.
  • Rinse cure off the meat and pat dry.
  • Return meat to rack in the fridge and let it age for 3 days.
  • Fire up a smoker for 250 F cooking. Use hickory or a lighter wood for smoking.
  • Combine the rub ingredients and spread gently over the meat.
  • Smoke for 2 1/2 - 3 hours or until the meat reaches 170 F internally.
  • Foil and let rest for 30 minutes before slicing thick.

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Creole Pasta Salad Version 2.0

Our post on a peas and pasta salad has been the most popular post on Life’s A Tomato for a long, long time. We make it often. Well, I was reading through Paul Kirk’s Championship Barbecue: Barbecue Your Way to Greatness With 575 Lip-Smackin’ Recipes from the Baron of Barbecue when I came across this recipe for Creole pasta salad. I knew it would be a hit. It has everything in it that we love, from crunchy celery, to salty olives, to a great buttermilk dressing. I made a few minor changes to the recipe and made up a big batch. Oh, how it was sooo good. It was even better the next day after the olives got happier in the dressing, giving the entire salad a nice lightly salty olive flavor.

Creole Pasta Salad Version 2.0Paul Kirk’s book is amazing. I can’t recommend it enough. It has recipes for everything from sauces, to meats, to wonderful salads like this one.

If the salad gets a little dry the next day, stir in a little extra buttermilk or mayonnaise.

Also try my Mardis Gras pasta salad and my other other version of Creole pasta salad.

Creole Macaroni Salad

Course Salad
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 12 -16

Ingredients

For the salad

  • 1 pound elbow macaroni cooked, drained, rinsed
  • 2 cups seeded diced tomatoes you can omit these if you want
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese cubed
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced sweet onion
  • 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup stuffed green olives sliced

For the dressing

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 T Creole seasoning optional, more or less, to taste

Instructions

  • Combine all of the salad ingredients in a very large bowl.
  • Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients.
  • Pour dressing over the salad and gently stir to combine.
  • Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.