Merci Cooking

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Recipes for the creating a simple lifestyle for the busy soul

Stuffed Mirliton

January 16, 2018

4 Mirlitons (Chayotes), boiled until tender

1/4 lb (4 ounces) medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 ounces onion, chopped

1 ounce bell pepper, chopped

1 ounce celery, chopped

1/2 cup + 3 ounces Italian bread crumbs

Salt, to taste

Black Pepper, to taste

Cayenne Pepper, to taste

Garlic Powder, to taste

1/2 stick of butter

 

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Cut cooked mirlitons in half lengthwise then use a spoon to remove insides of the squash and place in a bowl. When removing the insides, the goal is to have an even medium to thin layer to act which is sturdy enough to hold the filling. In a saute pan, heat butter over a medium heat then add the chopped vegetables. Saute until onions become translucent then add shrimp and continue cooking for about two minutes. Once shrimp begins to cook, add the mirliton filling and 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs. Mix until well combined then add spices and remove from heat. Season mixture to your spice preference.

 

Stuffed each mirliton with a heaping portion of the filling then place in a lightly greased baking dish. Once filled, sprinkle the top with remainder bread crumbs then bake for 20- 25 minutes or until the top is slightly browned. Remove from oven and serve with your favorite meal.

Happy Cooking!!

Easy Peppermint Bark

December 02, 2017

''Tis the season to indulge!! Decorations, gifts, parties, food, beverages and cheer is all here.

The holiday season for me is decorating, spreading cheer and indulging. I love, love, love eating during the holiday season. Baking, cooking and experimenting with mixology is how I like to spend the holiday season. Here is one of the easiest recipes that will be a hit at the next holiday party.

Easy Peppermint Bark Recipe

1 lb, Almond Bark, Vanilla Flavored
8 oz Peppermint, crushed
1 oz Peppermint, crushed, (Garnish)
1/2 tsp Peppermint Oil, optional
Wax
Paper
Holiday Tin


Line baking sheet or 9 x 13 baking pan with waxed paper. In a microwave safe bowl, break bark into pieces and place in microwave. Follow instructions on back of package to melt. Once bark is completely melted, add 8 oz crushed peppermints and peppermint oil then stir until blended. Spread on wax paper and top with remainder peppermints.. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes or until solid. Once chilled, break into chunks and place in your festive tin that has been lined with wax paper. Share with family and friends then ENJOY!

Happy Holidays!!
-Brandi
Merci Design Decor

Crawfish Étouffée Recipe

November 04, 2017

1 lb. Crawfish Tails, fresh or frozen
1/2 Stick of Butter
2 oz Vegetable Oil
2 oz All Purpose Flour
2- 8 oz cans of tomato sauce
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 cup of " The Holy Trinity"
4 oz onions, chopped
2 oz green bell pepper, chopped
2 oz celery, chopped
1 tbsp parsley, chopped (Use 5 minutes before removing from heat.)
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 cups of water
Cayenne Pepper, to taste
Black Pepper, to taste
Kosher Salt, to taste
Garlic Powder, to taste

Directions:
In a large sauté pan, melt butter then add 4 oz of the Holy Trinity and garlic. Sauté for 2 minutes then add crawfish tails. Continue to sautéed for another 5 minutes then remove from heat.

In a heavy saucepan, heat vegetable oil then add flour to make a light roux. Cook over medium heat while continuously stirring. Roux should have a light brown color and nutty aroma once it has met the right consistency. Add the remainder of the Holy Trinity and combine well then add the cream of mushroom soup.

With a whisk, add tomato sauce and water. Whisk until well combined. Lightly season and simmer over a low heat for 8- 10 minutes or until sauce has a slightly thick consistency. If sauce becomes too think, slowly add water until it reaches the desired consistency. Add crawfish mixture to sauce and adjust seasoning. Cook another 15- 20 minutes while stirring occasionally. Add chopped parsley and adjust seasoning if desired. Simmer for 5 minutes then remove from heat. Serve immediately over white rice. Enjoy!

SALMON EN PAPILLOTE (SALMON IN PAPER)

November 01, 2017

2- 7 oz Salmon Fillets
1 Medium Tomato, chopped
1/2 Small Onion, sliced
1/2 cup Mushrooms, quartered
1 Cup Fresh Spinach
Olive Oil, as needed
Salt and Pepper, to taste


Parchment Paper (two pieces big enough to wrap each salmon fillet)

Heat oven to 350F. On a sheet tray, place salmon on parchment paper. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Layer spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes and onion on top of salmon fillet. Lightly drizzle olive oil and season with salt/pepper. Fold parchment paper, creating a pouch that the fish is enclosed in. Do not roll too tight, leave some space in the paper pouch. Place in oven and bake for 15- 20 minutes. Serve salmon with your favorite side dish and enjoy!

Fizzy Holiday Cocktail

December 02, 2017

It's the holiday season!!! Decorations, shopping, food, fun, friends, family, gifts, parties and let's not forget about drinks. All of these things come to mind when thinking about the holidays but what helps some of us survive it all would be the holiday cocktails. The holiday season can be rather taxing and complicated but not this cocktail. It's very simple and quite delicious. This drink is not limited to the holidays. It's good any time of the year.

Fizzy Holiday Cocktail:
1 Bottle Sparkling Wine or Champagne, chilled
4 ounces Whiskey
3 ounces Blood Orange Liquer
Mix all ingredients in a pitcher or decanter and serve in champagne flutes. Add a cute paper straw and enjoy the holidays!

Please drink responsibly and Happy Holidays!

Simple Breakfast- Egg Sandwich

November 05, 2017

We have all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If you're anything like me, eating breakfast is not always feasible. When I am able to eat breakfast, it's usually something not healthy and probably costly to the pocketbook.

 

  I'm not one to wake up early to watch the news or read the paper while eating breakfast before work so I had to figure out a quick solution. So I figured that I couldn't  go wrong with a sandwich yet alone a breakfast sandwich. It may not be the most healthy but it's saves time and money which is what I'm all about . It takes less than 10 minutes and I can take it on the go. Simple and tasty! Try out this recipe or create your own sandwich. 

 

1 English Muffin, toasted

1 Egg

1 oz Spinach, fresh

2 Tomato Slice

1 Cheese Slice of Choice

1 Slice Deli Turkey

Salt and Pepper, to taste

 

Heat skillet on medium heat and add a little oil or non stick cooking spray. Once pan is hot, add egg, season with salt and pepper then allow to cook on both sides until desired temperature. Place cheese slice on egg and allow to melt for a few seconds. Take turkey and add to bottom half of english muffin then later with egg, spinach, tomato and top of muffin. Most importantly....Enjoy!!!!

SIMPLE LOUISIANA MEAL- SMOKED SAUSAGE AND RED GRAVY

November 04, 2017

The history of Louisiana cuisine has created some of the best dishes. I don't consider myself Cajun but I did grow up in Cajun country (Southwestern Louisiana, Opelousas to be exact). Cajun cuisine was created by using whatever was on hand while throwing something extra in. People often confuse Cajun and Creole Cuisine while there are similarities but very different. Creole Cuisine is more refined and closely related to to French cuisine where as Cajun is viewed as country cooking and has more spice. Take gumbo for instance..... Gumbo is prepared all over the state of Louisiana but will taste different in each region of the state. 

 

In Cajun county, there are so many dishes that may seem weird to someone outside of the region especially to people out of state . Smoked Sausage in Red Gravy may be one of those dishes. This could sound weird but it's delicious and very simple. All you need is a few ingredients, 30 minutes for prep and cooking then of course time to eat. Check it out if you dare.

 

1 lb smoked sausage, sliced

8 oz tomato sauce 

1 cup water

1/2 cup onion, diced

1/4 cup green bell pepper, diced

Creole Seasoning or Salt and Pepper, to taste

Chicken Breast, seared and diced 

White Rice, cooked

Corn, seasoned and cooked

 

Sear sausage over a medium heat with a tablespoon of oil. Add onion and bell pepper then continue cooking until onions are translucent, two- three minutes. Stir in tomato sauce and water then turn down heat to low. (If added chicken, do so now) Add seasonings then simmer for 10- 15 mins while stirring. Adjust seasonings to taste and remove heat. Serve with white rice and corn then enjoy!

Sauteed Brussels Sprouts

October 29, 2017

Never would I have imagined to like this tiny vegetable the resembles mini heads of cabbage which is indeed part of the cabbage family. The only way I can enjoy Brussel sprouts is by sautéing or roasted which is very easy to do. If you are looking to incorporate more vegetables in your diet, try this simple recipe.

1/2 lb Brussel sprouts, sliced
1 vine tomato (Roma works as well), chopped
1 tsp Olive Oil
Salt, to taste
Cracked Black Pepper, to taste
Garlic Powder, to taste

In a sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add Brussel sprouts and sautéed for 3- 5 minutes. Once sprouts began to brown and become soft, add tomatoes and sautéed for another 3- 5 minutes. Add seasonings then remove from fire. Serve as side to your favorite main dish and enjoy.

Salty Dog Cocktail

October 21, 2017

2 oz vodka (I prefer grapefruit vodka)

3 oz grapefruit juice 

Salt (Kosher salt preferably)

Ice

Shaker or spoon

Rocks Glass (short glass)

Lime, cut

 

Place a little salt on a small plate then take lime and move around rim of glass. Dip glass in salt to rim and place to side until needed. In a shaker, add some ice,  two ounces vodka and three ounces grapefruit juice. Give a good shake then place some fresh ice in the prepared glass. Strain liquid over the rimmed glass and serve. If you don't have a shaker, place ingredients in a separate glass and stir.

 

Enjoy and remember to Drink responsibly!!

Chicken Caesar Pasta

October 15, 2017

Brunch can be so stressful to plan especially when deciding on the menu. Sometimes it is hard finding the right balance between breakfast and lunch. Brunch is a a little bit of both, right? Try this easy recipe for your next brunch or lunch, it's sure to be a hit.

Chicken Caesar Pasta
3 Chicken Breast, cubed
1 Package of Penne Pasta
1 tbsp Olive Oil
8 oz Croutons
4 oz Parmesan Cheese
8 oz Romaine Lettuce, chopped
1 Tomato, chopped
1 cup Caesar Dressing
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Cook pasta as directed on package then drain and place in a medium bowl. Add olive oil and toss until coated. Season chicken breast with salt and pepper then grill or sear in a pan until cooked. Remove from pan and let cool. Add romaine lettuce, tomatoes and half parmesan cheese to bowl with pasta. Cut chicken into cubes then add to bowl. Toss all items then add dressing, salt and pepper then toss once more. Feel free to add more dressing if you would like. Place in a bowl or platter that has been lined with romaine leaves. Top with remainder cheese and croutons.
Enjoy!!

White Wine (Peach) Sangria

October 14, 2017

Try this easy yet refreshing recipe for a hot summer's day.

1 Bottle Sauvignon Blanc or your favorite White Wine
3/4 cup Peach Nectar
1 cup Ginger Ale
1 oz Whiskey, optional
1 oz Tequila, optional
2 small Peaches, sliced
1 tablespoon Sugar

Combine all ingredients in a pitcher or carafe and stir. Taste sangria and adjust alcohol as desired. Refrigerate for a few hours then serve and enjoy. Be sure to include fruit in each glass for additional flavor.

This recipe has a sweet flavor but is still alcohol so please drink responsibly and enjoy.

-Merci Design & Decor

Red Wine Sangria

October 07, 2017

1 bottle of Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon
3/4 cup Peach Nectar
1 cup Ginger Ale
1 oz Whiskey, optional
1 oz blood orange liquor, optional
1 small orange, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
1 lime, sliced

Combine all items in a pitcher or carafe. I used a orange juice bottle since I was bringing this tasty beverage to a housewarming. (If you are using a bottle that may have orange juice left, don't throw away, use it instead of peach nectar.) Shake or stir then taste. Add more wine or whiskey if you want a stronger alcohol presence. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
This may go down like punch but it is still considered alcohol so please Drink Responsibly!

Lazy Chicken

October 02, 2017

After a long day at work, I just want to come home and do absolutely nothing. Cleaning or cooking is the furthest thing from my mind but I know I have to eat dinner and take out won't cut it. Sometimes your laziness can spark some creativity and I created my personal version of a lazy chicken recipe. I used items that I try to keep on hand at all times.

6- 8 pieces of chicken (leg or thigh works better)
8 small red or gold potatoes, cut in half
1/2 cup pearl onions or yellow onion, sliced
2 oz green onion (chives), chopped
3 parsley sprigs, leaves removed from stem
Salt, pepper and garlic powder, to taste
1 oz Teriyaki Sauce or Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 Water

Add all ingredients into an oven safe dish and cover with aluminum foil . Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 30- 45 minutes. Baste chicken with the renderings after 20 minutes inside the oven. Uncover dish after 30 minutes and continue cooking for an additional 10- 15 minutes. This will allow the chicken to receive so color and crisp the skin. Remove from oven and serve with your favorite side dish or just enjoy by itself. Now it's time to relax.

-Brandi
Merci, Design & Dècor

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