NOLA, Zatarain’s Style

Last Tuesday we celebrated our recent successes, NOLA style. If you missed that post, you can read it here. I had a blast shopping for Mardi Gras decor, mixing up Hurricane mocktails, and feeding my guests with the great food provided by Zatarain’s.

Zatarains' Care Package

Zatarains’ Care Package

How great was it of them to send me a box full of their rice mixes and seasonings? I chose to make the Brown Rice Jambalaya, Garden Vegetable Rice, and my salmon with the Blackened Seasonings mix.

What I love love love about Zatarain’s:

  • They make everything easy. You can prepare foods per package instructions, or embellish with add-ins of your own. Either way, it’s a complete dish.
  • Their dishes can be served on the side or as a main course. There’s no wrong way to Zat!
  • Let’s be real: It’s authentic New Orleans food. I mean, the shipping label said, New Orleans. Now that just makes This Girl far too food happy.
  • The flavors are more than your regular from-the-box fixings. They know how to package the seasonings, spices, and everything else that goes into a good Jambalaya.
  • Their products work well on a time schedule. I had four food preparations going at the same time, and didn’t sweat a drop.
Zatarain's Big Easy Garden Vegetable Brown Rice Mix

Zatarain’s Big Easy Garden Vegetable Brown Rice Mix

This pouch cooked start to finish in ninety seconds. Ninety seconds! I barely had time to grab the serving bowl before it was ready. Just knead the bag first, microwave for a minutes and a half, let stand one minute, then open and serve a hot, delicious mix of brown rice and vegetables. We ate this as a stand-alone side dish, but I’m already salivating for another pouch so I can toss in some andouille sausage and make it a meal.

Before I popped that in the microwave, however, I started the Brown Rice Jambalaya mix. I simply mixed water and the rice mix in my rice cooker. This one took 45 minutes according to package directions. I did not like smelling that goodness without being able to indulge, but it was worth the wait. Twenty minutes before it was ready, I sautéed a pound of garlic and herb shrimp on the stove-top, and when the rice mix was done I combined the two.

Next was the grilled blackened salmon. A light coating of melted butter on each side and a good sprinkling of seasonings was all it took to have a knock-your-socks-off main course. I love blackened anything, so I made sure to double-coat my filet.

With the abundance of food on the table, we had ourselves a small feast, Zatarain’s style.

NOLA Party, Zatarain's Style

NOLA Party, Zatarain’s Style

I served mayonnaise biscuits, another NOLA-based recipe from my friend, Lindsay Reine’s cookbook. A mixture of fruit juices gave my guests a Hurricane Mocktail, and dessert was this Easy King Cake recipe I found online.

Celebrate with King Cake

Celebrate with King Cake

Are you salivating yet? Then check out the Zatarain’s website. It’s more than just rice product. I can’t wait to get my hands on their root beer concentrate, a frozen pasta dinner, breading mix, some Creole mustard, and even their olives.

There’s a great section to teach you how to speak like a New Orleanian. Words like lagniappe, etouffee, and maque choux.

Zatarain’s. How deliciously simple is that?

And Frankly, My Dear . . . that’s all she wrote!

You may also enjoy reading:
Five Years and a Party
My Real Italian Kitchen: Polenta and Sauce
My Interview with Ms. New Orleans 2014, Lindsay Reine
I am Defined. And I am a Mystery.
FIVE THINGS FRIDAY: The Big Easy

FIVE THINGS FRIDAY: #DoingTheWriteThing

Orange book with feather quill. Five Things Friday at Frankly, My Dear...

Five Things Friday at Frankly, My Dear…

Welcome back to Five Things Friday. My theme for this week is #DoingTheWriteThing. I can’t get tired of it. The more I promote writing, the more addicted to writing I become.

Every conversation I hear, every sight I see, every sense I experience is placed in my mental filing cabinet (and sometimes on paper) for probable later use.

Reading about writing excites me. I’m currently studying Flannery O’Connor’s “Mystery and Manners” and came across this gem, Number One on today’s Five Things Friday.

Flannery O'Connor's "Mystery and Manners"

Flannery O’Connor’s “Mystery and Manners”

1. My writing mentor assigned me to read two books. Flannery O’Connor’s “Mystery and Manners” is the first. I’ve been struggling with how to write a gripping murder mystery while retaining my Christianity. He has been telling me for several months that this book would clear that up for me. Three chapters in, and I see he’s right. The book begins with an essay or two on peacocks, which has rekindled my love for these beautiful creatures. That’s another blog post. The next sections express the importance of Christians writing the grotesque with redemption. For if we write only “rainbow and unicorns” (my words) where is the challenge for others to change their world? Authenticity, not loftiness, is the better writing.

2. I finally released The Unemployment Cookbook for Kindle on Amazon. I spent quite a bit of last week rekeying the text into the proper format, then creating the hyperlinks in the Table of Contents. It’s satisfying to have another title in the stable, as well as a completed project. Novel writing takes years, so to have something to show for all my writing efforts makes me feel productive, but more than that, it gives me the chance to show you, my faithful readers, that your support isn’t in vain or cast aside.

The Unemployment Cookbook, Second Edition

The Unemployment Cookbook, Second Edition

3. All the profits from the Kindle cookbook are going into my #DoingTheWriteThing fundraiser. So even though I have a fundraiser page set up, I’m doing as much as I can to contribute my fair share. Each morning brings me one day closer to the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference and other networking and learning opportunities, and one step closer to being the better writer I know I can be.

Go Fund Me: #DoingTheWriteThing

Go Fund Me: #DoingTheWriteThing

4. I reconnected with old friends last week. My missionary friend, Cynthia, returned home from Germany for a short visit. It’s been quite a few years since we were able to see each other, and I am grateful for the time we had. I was reminded that she, too, is a creative writer. She shared how she’s using her gift to minister to children, teens, and young women near Dresden, Germany.

Three Amigas: Corrie, Cynthia, Molly Jo

Three Amigas: Corrie, Cynthia, Molly Jo

5. I’m promoting the High Desert Chapter of the California Writers Club. I’ve mentioned it before. It’s a wonderful, state-recognized organization for writers to get together. With over one hundred active members, we have formal critique groups, informal salons, monthly meetings with guest speakers, book fairs, networking and sales opportunities. For the last several months I’ve been the official Social Media Marketer. That’s just a fancy way of saying I get to be on social media for the club. I sit up front at the meetings, attend local author book signings, take photos, and share content. There’s something magical about being in a room of like-minded people, those who don’t just see the words on paper, but know how to put them there. I’m very honored to be an active member of this group.

Wordsmith Salon: Dwight, Tess, Richard, Lorelei, Molly Jo

Wordsmith Salon: Dwight, Tess, Richard, Lorelei, Molly Jo

Today’s bonus is for those of you who think I can’t stop writing.

My Favorite Quote From Isaac Asimov "I write for the same reason I breathe - because if I didn't, I would die."

My Favorite Quote From Isaac Asimov

You’re right.

And Frankly, My Dear . . . that’s all she wrote!

You may also enjoy reading:
Five Years and a Party
FIVE THINGS FRIDAY: The Big Easy
“What’s the Word?” Wednesday: Aaron Gansky on Magic and Writing
New Meaning to Ghost Writing
I’ll Fly Away