Monday, October 31, 2011

Music Monday: Marc Broussard

So, since one of the "secrets" to a successful blog is probably "Post more than once a week", and I sadly don't get to cook as often as I'd like (last night's dinner was a very non-cajun dish of Asian-style Steamables veggie medley + canned baby corn + canned water chestnuts + Ramen noodles + an assortment of sauces to make what I now refer to "holy cr@p, hurry up & eat fast, the trick-or-treaters won't stop ringing the doorbell" stir fry). So I started thinking about other things we can talk about here. Because life in Louisiana is about so much more than just food (although food is a VERY important component).

I mean, I moved down there, knowing NO ONE, for grad school...and then even when the opportunity presented itself to move back home after Katrina smacked us (& then her sister Rita snuck up & kicked us while we were already down), I stayed. For 5 more years. And as much as I REALLY love food, you don't stay somewhere just for the food. You stay for the people, the weather, the culture, the festivals, the work, the music--the whole life experience.

So...Monday,'s an alliteration, and we'll run with it. People in Louisiana love good, authentic, home-grown music. One of my favorite places in Louisiana was The Blue Moon Saloon, an outdoor bar built on to the back of a hostel--so it's essentially like going to a backyard house party. The stage is situated on a wooden "porch" attached to the back of the house. And with fabulous evening weather during 10 out of 12 months of the year, why WOULDN'T someone love an outdoor bar? If you're ever in Lafayette for any reason, I highly recommend you check it out. Then kick back on a bench with an Abita and enjoy.

Today's Music Monday artist, however, I never saw perform at the Blue Moon, although I did see him at several other venues, since he's originally from the Lafayette "metro" area, out around Carencro: Marc Broussard. This guy has a wicked talent & a powerful voice. I think the best example I can give to you is this scenario:

A while back, a friend of mine was feeling down in the dumps, so I made her a CD, with Marc's song "Let The Music Get Down in Your Soul" as the first track (one of my favorite songs of all time). A week after I gave her the disc, we had coffee and she told me, "you know, I really loved that first song on the CD you gave me, so I looked that guy*lowered voice* Did you know he's white?"

I guffawed...because I'd had the same thought the first time I heard him.

Here's this rather precious looking boy-next-door-looking chap...with a voice that makes you think he was somehow medically created in a lab using DNA from Wayne Brady & Luther Vandross.

I was hooked from the first song, and now celebrate his entire collection.

And I'd like to share.

You can download his CD "The Atlantic Recordings", legally and FREE OF CHARGE, from Not just samples--the whole CD. Here's the link.

Enjoy, and happy All Saints Day!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Oven "Fried" Fish, Macque Choux, and Creole Vinaigrette.

Okay, big entry! With not one, but THREE recipes. This meal was inspired by one of my favorite things: Missouri sweet corn:

Fresh corn was 4/$1 at the supermarket last week, so I got a HUGE craving for macque choux.

So, if you didn't grow up in Louisiana, you might be asking, "WTF is macque choux and why would I want to make it?"

Essentially, it translates as "smothered corn", or some refer to it as "cajun-style stewed corn". Imagine...the best creamed corn you could ever have. It's also one of my absolute favorite cajun dishes. Buttery, spicy, and creamy...and gawdawful for you, like most truly delicious things.

Thankfully, we have our good friend Chef Jude Theriot to the rescue!

If you ever stumble across this cookbook, I suggest snatching it up. It's 288 pages of pretty-doggone delicious stuff, and a staple in my cooking repertoire.

So, how do we get from a book, to THIS?

Well, since it takes the longest, we start with the macque choux. For 4 servings, you'll need the following:

4 ears of corn
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter (or, if you have it, bacon grease. I highly recommend the bacon grease; you'll get a ton of added flavor with the same amount of calories/fat)
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large tomato, seeded & chopped
2 tsp cajun seasoning
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup skim milk

First: enlist your sweet husband to help with the chopping, including scraping the kernels off the corn. Be sure to get as much of the corn off as possible, including the liquidy "milk", as this will help with the creaminess of the dish.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat; add the olive oil & heat so that the pain gets well coated. Add butter (or bacon grease), onions, bell pepper, and garlic; saute until the onions are translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the corn & cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often.

Add in the tomatoes, cajun seasoning, pepper, and milk:


Then reduce heat to medium low, cover, and simmer, stirring often until the corn is tender, about 10-15 minutes.



So--while that's cooking down, we move on to our fish. The recipe calls for four 6oz pieces of catfish, but any whitefish you have around the house will work fine--we used about eight crappie (which Louisianians refer to as sac-au-lait) filets.

You'll need a wet mix & a dry mix for your fish--but first, heat the oven to 450 degrees.

Wet ingredients:
1 egg white, beaten
1/2 cup skim milk
2 tsp hot sauce

Dry ingredients:
1/4 cup corn meal (um...yeah, I totally didn't have corn meal in the house, so I improvised with a box of cornbread worked okay.)
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 tbsp flour (if you use the cornbread mix, you can bypass this ingredient)
2 tbsp cajun seasoning
1 tsp dried basil

Combine the ingredients in separate bowls, like so:

Wash the fish filets well, then pat dry; then place into the wet ingredient bowl. Move filets over into the dry bowl & coat well, shaking off excess before you move them onto a baking sheet. If you have a pan with a wire rack, you can use that, or, you can lightly spray a cookie sheet with Pam & use that. Lightly spray the tops of the filets with the cooking spray (butter flavored works best), then place in the oven for 12-14 minutes, or until the fish flakes when touched with a knife:

So while your fish & corn are finishing up, howsabout whipping up a quick creole vinaigrette dressing? (NOTE: this recipe comes from the 1971 Time Life cookbook I talked about in the last blog post.) Super quick & easy. You'll need the following:

This makes about 1/2 cup of dressing (about 8 servings):
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp Creole mustard (NOTE: I used Tabasco Spicy Brown mustard; Dijon mustard would also work just fine)
1/2 tsp cajun seasoning
6-8 tbsp olive oil
Salt (to taste)

Combine all the ingredients except the oil in a bowl & stir to combine. Then whisk in olive oil slowly until no more oil is absorbed by the emulsion. Taste, & add salt if desired.

Serve over mixed green salad.

So what's the damage here?

Macque Choux
Calories: 125 (35 from fat)
Fat: 4g
Protein: 3g
Carbs: 23g
Cholesterol: 3mg
Fiber: 1.7g
Sodium: 115mg

Fish (per serving)
Calories: 388 (72 from fat)
Fat: 8g
Protein: 41.9g
Carbs: 32.6g
Cholesterol: 101mg
Fiber: 0.9g
Sodium: 952mg

Dressing (per serving):
Calories: 73.2
Total Fat: 8.1 g
Saturated Fat: 1.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.7 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 6.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 122.4 mg
Potassium: 9.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 0.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.1 g
Sugars: 0.2 g
Protein: 0.0 g


So, this was my first time trying all these recipes. Our verdict? The macque choux was to-die for. Already planning to make that again for Thanksgiving this year. The dressing was nice too--different, but in a good way. The bitter, spicy kick really went well with the salad. The fish we were kinda "meh" about--possibly because we used the cornbread mix. It just ended up being kind of sweet. If I had it to do over again, I think I'd make this pan-fried catfish dish from a previous entry instead, to tie into the flavor of the mustard in the salad dressing.

So, enjoy folks! Happy Eating!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cajun Antique: 1971 Time Life Cookbook.

Our local library was having a massive used book sale this past week, so I had to hit it up...thousands of books for a dollar each? Count me in.

My prize of the day was this:

A 1971 Time Life Acadian & Creole Cookbook. I have several of the books in this series (Germany, Classic French, Austria, Southern, etc.---yes, I collect cookbooks. It's a little quirk.) but didn't know this one existed.

The thing I love about old cookbooks is that they're typically filled with things that no human being under the age of 35 would eat...lovely things like aspics and "salads" that step out so far beyond green, chicken, or tuna salads that they could fall off the edge of the horizon. My friend found a Betty Crocker "Meat Cook Book" that showed some sort of casserole that actually had a crust make of hotdogs:

Oh Betty....what have you DONE????
(the fact that my friend is a vegetarian made it all the more gruesome.)

But as I sat at home flipping through the pages of that Acadian/Creole cookbook, I saw only one or two items that aren't still commonplace in Southern Louisiana (one of those things being stuffed ponce, which might ACTUALLY still be somewhat common at boucheries, or a party built around a hog roast where dishes are made from EVERY part of the pig):

But the majority of the gorgeous full page photos, while a bit dated, still show the dishes which DEFINE Louisiana cooking, even 40 years after the publishing of this book, because they were around for a couple hundred years BEFORE the cookbook ever came about.

And the lovely thing about these Time Life books is that they're 50% cookbook, 50% cultural history lesson, this one in particular written by a New Orleans native, and his love for the food of his state jumps out from the pages at you.

"Cafe brulot and its counterpart cafe diable...seem to fuse one's taste buds so that one's tongue retains the meal's bouquet for the rest of the evening. In my friend's kitchen, I too had a taste of cafe brulot after dinner. It melted the bright edges of my vision until the guests who rose from the table and passed through the distant doorway dissolved into dream figures that floated and finally faded."

Aside from recipes, there's a whole chapter on the traditions of Mardi Gras:

Not to mention detailed instructions on exactly how to peel a crawfish:

I'm itching to cook something from this book, but can't decide---so I'm letting you, my few but fabulous readers, vote!

So...what shall it be?

Eggs Hussarde? (Had this at Brennan's for brunch once and fell in love...)


Traditional bread pudding?


One of these stuffed beauties? (alas, I can only do the chicken-stuffed tomatoes or the ham-stuffed eggplant...the other (top right) is shrimp-stuffed mirliton, and I can't get mirlitons here in Missouri....but I could possibly switch those around a bit & do a shrimp-stuffed eggplant.)

There are MANY other recipes in the book I'd like to try, but we'll start with one of these three.

Leave your vote in the comments section!!!

PS--Saving this page for Mardi Gras 2012...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Grilled Shrimp Po-Boys, Darrell's Style.

Okay, squeezing this one in before my hubs comes to pick me up, & then we're headed to St. Louis for GAME ONE OF THE WORLD SERIES! (NOTE: In case it's not obvious, I started writing this blog update yesterday. And the game was AWESOME.)

As you can tell, I'm pretty stoked. The tickets cost us a pretty penny (several pennies, actually) & it's supposed to be in the 50's around game time, but hey--once in a lifetime experience, and we figure we ought to go now, when it's being held a mere 4 hours away, and when we don't have kids & babysitters to worry about yet.

So anyway...where were we? Ah yes---FOOD.

The other night I got a craving for a po'boy...and not just ANY po'boy, but something very very very specific: A Grilled Shrimp Po-boy from Darrell's in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Once upon a time (aka, when I still lived in Louisiana), my work took me to Lake Charles rather often, and Darrell's was the prize waiting at the end of a gross, humid day in the southwestern Chenier wetlands.

THIS is a shrimp poboy from Darrell's:

What makes it so special, you ask? I assume you're only asking because you've never BEEN to Darrell's. I have been waiting YEARS for Darrell's to get selected for Diners, Drive-ins, & Dives, because it's oh-so-very deserving. It's a hole-in-the-wall sports bar, and their menu is limited to their po-boys...but the thing about a limited menu is that when you focus on something so intently, you have the time to get every little detail right.

Fresh french bread, buttered & grilled for that perfect crunch...then, not one, but TWO kinds of cheese melted onto the bread...then, piled high with buttery, garlicky, piping hot cajun-seasoned grilled Gulf shrimp...then dressed with shredded lettuce & tomato upon request...but the piece de resistance...the jalapeno mayo slathered along the inside. Holy moly. It's just all anyone could ask for as far as flavors go inside a sandwich. Serve it up with a pickle spear, Zapp's potato chips, and (if you're off the clock) a nice cold beer, and life is perfect.

It's also a gawd-awful amount of calories to take in. I can't say for sure (since the limited menu doesn't include NutriFacts), but I'd estimate a cool 600-800 just for the sandwich. It's all that delicious butter, cheese and mayo---the things that make this sandwich so FRIGGIN' awesome! does one satisfy a craving for something that is not only 12 hours away, but also horribly bad for you?

We modify, of course....and we end up with this:

(Normally I would also include lettuce & tomato, but this particular sandwich was made for one of those folks who hates vegetables. Bunch'a sillies...)

One of the quickest ways to cut down calories is to also trim the portion size. A Darrell's po-boy could easily make two meals, if you could pry the delicious thing away from your mouth. So instead of an 8" slice of loaf (which has about 300 calories all by itself, look for a bag of large whole wheat or 7-Grain dinner rolls at the store, which will only cost you about 120 calories--and the less processed grains are just a nice bonus.

NOTE: If you're looking for a low-sodium recipe, you might have to make some modifications to this, as the end result has about 1000mg of sodium, which is just about half of your daily recommended intake. BUT--if you're reading this blog, and you're interested in low-salt cooking, you possibly already have salt-free cajun seasoning onhand, which will knock that down a reasonable bit. But aside from that, this recipe is pretty much chock-full of goodness.

- butter flavored cooking spray, or if you have an oil mister, use that with some garlic olive oil (because either option will add flavor without all the fat... NOTE: if you'd like to know how to make your own garlic infused olive oil, check out this entry from the Garlicster blog)
- (1) 1-pound bag of shrimp (because if you live in a landlocked state like me, fresh is probably not an affordable option). You can get pre-cooked or uncooked, or whatever size you prefer...I prefer the large to jumbo size for most things, but for this purpose, mediums are just fine, since they're going inside a sandwich. If you can get Louisiana shrimp at a good price, I always recommend that---always good to support domestic fisheries. I know more than my share of Louisiana commercial fishermen--they're good peeps. I usually go with pre-peeled fresh frozen shrimps, so I don't accidentally overcook them....and because peeling shrimp is a pain. If you get the tail-on shrimp, you'll want to remove those prior to cooking as well. :D
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp cajun seasoning
- 1 tsp dried green onion
- 1 tsp Butter Buds (you can add more of this to taste if you'd like your shrimp to be more buttery flavored...also, they now make a Bacon Butter Buds if you want to give your sandwich a whole extra layer of flavor)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- shredded lettuce (OR--I like to use Dole's Broccoli Slaw mix because a) it seems to be on sale ALL the time, b) it stays fresh longer in my fridge, c) it adds a really great crunch to just about anything, and d) it's better for you than plain ol' shredded iceburg lettuce, with one serving containing a mere 25 calories, but 35% of your daily Vitamin A and 120% of your Vitamin C.
- ripe tomato, sliced
- two different kinds of 2% milk cheese slices. Pick your favorites. I like to use cheddar and pepperjack together, but regular american, swiss, white american, etc...any would work. You'll need one slice of each per sandwich. You can go the fat free route if you want, but I think the 2% melts better.

And for the jalapeno mayo: (note--this will make enough for about 4 sandwiches. I usually only make two sandwiches at a time, but my husband & I like the jalapeno mayo so much that we make extra to use on other sandwiches throughout the week.)
1/2 cup light mayo (NOTE: Miracle Whip will NOT work right for this recipe....just not the same flavor. And I'm normally a Miracle Whip person, so trust me on this.)
6 pickled jalapeno slices (NOTE: I love the flavor of jalapenos, but sometimes the heat is a little overwhelming--if you're the same way, I recommend Mezzetta's Tamed Jalapeno Slices--there's no seeds, so they're not quite as hot. My husband, however, LOVES jalapenos, so if I make it with the tamed slices, he ends up adding extra jalapeno slices to his sandwich. With only 5 calories in a serving, feel free to add as many as you want if you need to up the heat (You crazy heat-lovin' fool, you!!!)

1. Make the mayo first, since the flavors need a little while to blend. Super simple--dice up the jalapeno slices, mix into the mayo. Add a splash of the juice from the jar. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

2. Then heat a frying pan over medium heat. Spray the pan with your oil. Once the pan is nice & hot, add the shrimp & all your seasonings, including the Butter Buds, and toss well to coat. Add the water & quickly cover pan with a glass lid (so you can see what's going on in there--no funny business, shrimps!) and "shuffle" the pan to keep everything moving. Keep covered for at least one minute, Then set the lid aside and stir. Your "sauce" should thicken up a little & look nice & buttery (and it will probably smell awesome, too). Once your shrimp are nice & pink (check one to make sure they're cooked through), turn the heat to low to keep them warm while you prep the bread.

3. Set your oven to Broil. slice your bread/rolls open like a clam shell & place them on a cookie sheet, bread-innards up. Lightly spritz the bread with your garlic olive oil or the butter spray, then place your cheeses onto the bread (tear the slices in half if you need to in order to get them to fit on the rolls properly--stack the cheese together in a layer, two halves of each slice on each side of the upward-facing bread. Then slide them into the top rack of your oven so that they're just a few inches from the broiler & WATCH CAREFULLY so you don't burn them. We just want the bread to get crispy & the cheese to get melty--we're not trying to set anything on fire.

4. Remove the bread from the oven once the cheese is ooey-gooey. Pile your shrimp mixture on the bottom, then some lettuce & tomato, & then slather about 1 tbsp of your jalapeno mayo onto the top. Fold over onto itself & try not to drool.

5. Serve with a pickle spear & chips...Zapps if you can get them, if not, some nice Baked Lays work just fine. :D

Nutritional facts: (per sandwich)

Calories 376.3
Total Fat 14.4 g
Saturated Fat 5.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.7 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.6 g
Cholesterol 154.5 mg
Sodium 1,072.8 mg
Potassium 614.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 32.4 g
Dietary Fiber 5.8 g
Sugars 5.8 g
Protein 29.6 g
Vitamin A 73.7 %
Vitamin B-12 16.4 %
Vitamin B-6 10.6 %
Vitamin C 124.2 %
Vitamin D 32.3 %
Vitamin E 9.3 %
Calcium 41.2 %
Copper 17.1 %
Folate 19.8 %
Iron 24.1 %
Magnesium 16.2 %
Manganese 39.2 %
Niacin 18.2 %
Pantothenic Acid 4.1 %
Phosphorus 25.7 %
Riboflavin 6.8 %
Selenium 65.8 %
Thiamin 8.7 %
Zinc 10.3 %

Monday, October 10, 2011

Crockpot Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya

So obviously I haven't been terribly regular with this blog. My apologies indeed. But hopefully there's someone out there who still gets a little excited when they see Feauxcajun pop up on their Friends List.

So... how've you been? Alls good wit'cha mom & dem? Okay. Me...I got married this year. Thus the insanity which prevented me from doing much cooking at all, aside from making about 500 cream cheese mints in the shape of little blue & green roses & leaves.

But things are finally starting to calm down a wee bit, acclimating to sharing a space with another human being (and our dog), and having a smaller kitchen (less than excited about that bit).

But I was all to excited to take our new Crockpot for a test drive on some feauxCajun food!


(FYI, this is a stock image, because we devoured the jambalaya so fast that I never had a chance to take a picture. But this IS what the end product should look like, just so you have a point of reference during your cooking.)

In all honesty, this was possibly the best batch of jambalaya I've ever made. It's a creole style (aka, tomato base), but the crockpot just got the rice SOO perfect & full of flavor.


1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1 inch cubes
1 pound lean smoked turkey sausage, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds and then halved (I like to do this just so every bite is guaranteed to have some sausage in it)
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice (I used the garlic & oregano variety, because it's nice to add in flavor wherever you can, and sometimes straight-up canned diced tomatoes just end up being too sweet.)
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried parsley
2 tbsp Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tbsp hot sauce
3 c. brown rice, uncooked (we used minute rice to speed things up, and I HIGHLY recommend this method)


1. In a slow cooker, mix the chicken, sausage, tomatoes with juice, onion, green bell pepper, celery, and broth. Season with oregano, parsley, Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, hot sauce, and thyme. Stir well.

2. Cover, and cook 7 to 8 hours on Low, or 3 to 4 hours on High.

3. Stir in the rice during the last hour of cook time (or the last 30-45 minutes of cook time if you're using quick rice). If you are lucky enough to have a hubs who works out of his home, he can help you with this step so that everything is ready and your kitchen smells like Cajun Heaven by the time you get home from work. This is also a good time to taste test, and add additional seasonings to your preference

Makes about 12 servings.



Calories 198.1
Total Fat 4.7 g
Saturated Fat 1.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 45.2 mg
Sodium 726.4 mg
Potassium 229.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate 21.0 g
Dietary Fiber 1.5 g
Sugars 1.4 g
Protein 16.3 g
Vitamin A 4.3 %
Vitamin B-12 2.4 %
Vitamin B-6 12.0 %
Vitamin C 7.8 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 0.8 %
Calcium 4.0 %
Copper 6.1 %
Folate 1.9 %
Iron 8.0 %
Magnesium 8.8 %
Manganese 4.3 %
Niacin 27.1 %
Pantothenic Acid 3.5 %
Phosphorus 8.1 %
Riboflavin 2.8 %
Selenium 10.0 %
Thiamin 5.8 %
Zinc 5.5 %

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Reduced Calorie Crab & Corn Bisque

This is one of my all-time favorite dishes. And one of the first "cajun" dishes I ever attempted cooking. However, it was certainly NOT "healthed-up" the first time I made it. I don't even want to attempt to fathom the calories that were in that version. So, I've tweaked it over the years, and now it's equally delicious, but much lower in fat (thanks to the many Lower Fat versions of ingredients that are currently available).

Please note that this recipe calls for imitation crab meat...yes, the real stuff is infinitely fabulous, however, a) most of us don't have ready access to fresh crab, b) the frozen real stuff is rather pricey, compared to it's surimi counterpart, and c) the imitation stuff is quite good for you! I will issue fair warning--I use Louis Kemp Crab Delights, and it doesn't flake extremely well when you're breaking it apart for the soup. In fact, it looks a little like noodles. But delicious crab-esque noodles in a rich & creamy soup. So it's all good. :)

This recipe will make 8-10 servings; each serving is less than 300 calories, and approximately 6g of fat. And if you're living just about anywhere other than Louisiana right now, you're probably experiencing this same wicked El Nino winter we are here in Missouri, so it should go without saying (but I'll say it anyway, because I'm obnoxious like that) that this makes a fabulous winter meal alternative to chili or your other winter staples.


Is your mouth watering? It should be. ;)

2 medium onions chopped
2 tbs. olive oil (Extra Virgin)
1/4 large red bell pepper chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 - 16oz. can whole kernel corn, undrained
8oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced (or you can use canned sliced mushrooms, undrained)
1 - 16oz. can Italian style tomatoes coarsely diced
1 tsp. sugar
1 - 10 3/4oz. can 98% fat free cream of mushroom soup
1 - 16oz. can cream style corn
1 lb. Louis Kemp Crab Delights imitation crab, flaked
1 tsp. dried and crushed sweet basil
3 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
4 tsp cajun seasoning (as usual, I have to throw in my plug for Fontenot & A Half right here. It's lower sodium than most of the cajun seasonings around, and is made by two very good friends of mine down in Louisiana, so it's about as authentic as you can get. And it's now available for purchase online!)
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 - tsp. liquid crab boil (not dried)
1 cup fat free Half-N-Half cream
2 tbs. fresh parsley chopped
1/2 lb. light Velveeta
Salt and Pepper to taste
Thinly sliced green onion tops
Your favorite crackers (I get the "Buttery Smooth" club-style crackers)

In a 6 - quart dutch oven (or your largest pot), over medium heat, heat the olive oil, then sauté the onion until transparent. Add bell pepper and celery, sauté until just tender. (I use red bell pepper for the added color, and because for some reason, right now they're the same price as green bells). Season vegetables with a pinch of salt & pepper as they saute.

Stir in the whole kernel corn, mushrooms, tomatoes and sugar. Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes. Add mushroom soup, cream style corn and half of the crab meat mixing well after each addition.

Add the sweet basil, bay leaves, thyme, garlic powder, 2 tsp of the cajun seasoning, and the liquid crab boil.

Lower heat to medium and cook 15 minutes, stirring often to prevent scorching. Turn heat to low and blend in the Half-N-Half, parsley and remaining crab meat. Simmer 5 minutes, then remove the bay leaves (because they're nearly impossible to find in the pot if you do it after you add the Velveeta), then stir in cheese until melted. (I cube up the Velveeta in order to speed up the melting.)

Season to taste with more cajun seasoning, salt, & pepper. Serve nice-n-warm, garnished with green onions. BE SURE TO SERVE WITH CRACKERS, as this is a very rich dish; the crackers help balance everything out nicely.

Nutritional Info:
* Calories: 279.7
* Total Fat: 6.0 g
* Cholesterol: 11.9 mg
* Total Carbs: 47.5 g
* Dietary Fiber: 4.1 g
* Protein: 11.8 g