I need a "real" (but simple) Cajun recipe for kid's school

My son has to take a Cajun dish to school on Tuesday. No real guidelines except that we can’t just add Cajun spice to a regular dish and then label it “Cajun Whatever.”
I can always do red beans and rice, but maybe there’s something a little more fun that my fellow Dopers make and serve. It can’t be too time-consuming due to my work schedule; otherwise, anything goes.
Ideas? thanks!

If you do go with red beans & rice, this is the sort of thing to look for otherwise it will likely be too thin. Don’t forget the andouille!

We made a big pot made with those a couple nights ago and I just finished it off for lunch.

You can’t beat a crawfish boil for quick and easy Cajun, but it really is best if you boil them right before eating. That’s probably not such a good choice for a project he takes to school.

The same applies to fried items like hush puppies and catfish. Darned easy and quick, but you want to eat them right away.

Jambalaya and gumbo are both slow-cooked. That might not fit the bill for quick or easy, but you don’t have to hover over the stove the whole time. You could probably even do it in a crock pot. These are dishes that would actually benefit from sitting overnight and being reheated the next day.

Dirty rice would probably fit the bill for you. Traditionally, the rice is colored and flavored by chicken liver and if the kids aren’t told that, they’ll probably like it quite a bit. (The liver breaks down so there aren’t pieces of it.) There are a lot of options for what you put in and how you season it - for example, I automatically think of smoked sausage (andouille) in dirty rice. Search around for a recipe that should appeal to kids of your son’s age group. You can probably even find some that leave the liver out

Another idea that might work: blackened fish sandwiches. Make the blackened fish like normal and put it on a small hamburger bun with some tartar sauce and lettuce (or whatever else you feel like adding). These might be best if eaten while still hot, but should be OK later.

How about crab cakes? Can those be considered Cajun? I’m thinking I could make them small and then they’d divvy up nicely.
I think the trick is going to be making it…and then not eating it all before he has to take it to school! Everything so far sounds good and now I kind of want to cook!

Mardi Gras season. How about googling for a simple recipe for king cake?

Or this Cajun spice cake with praline icing sounds and looks good:


This should work.

If you’re making a dish for multiple people ahead of time, gumbo is the obvious answer.

Beignets, though they may not hold up to being prepared ahead of time.

Found this at the same link:

We will probably have to go with beans and rice or gumbo, it looks like. We have to make the dish the evening before, and all the good things I REALLY want to make, like beignets and catfish, may not work as well to be warmed up the next day. I suspect the class will have 6 or 7 different versions of gumbo and a like number of beans/rice dishes. :slight_smile:

Those cakes and puddings sound good too, though. Hmm. This will take a little thought.

Found this cake…we can manage a doctored cake mix, I think, and the frosting sounds awesome. We will have to make two, of course; so we can do quality control here at home. :slight_smile:

Macque Choux would be a good choice, easily reheated and unlikely to be brought by another student. And tasty!

I’ll add another vote for king cake or red beans and rice. Nothing beats homemade, but Zatarain’s mixes are reliable and you can find easy king cake recipes using canned cinnamon roll dough.

One more recommendation – po boys cut across into mini sandwiches.

Trust Epicurious to come up with something on the elegant side. Usually the king cakes have green, purple and gold icing on them but I think I prefer this sprinkling of colored sugar better as far as appearance goes.

My recipe for a simple chicken etouffeé. You can substitute shrimp or crawfish if you prefer. If there’s a Trader Joe’s near you, a bag of their frozen langoustine tails is delicious.

1 1/2 sticks butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 lb. diced chicken (precooked)
2 tbl. tomato paste
1 cup water
Salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning to taste
Scallions (optional)

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, and sauté until transparent. Stir in the garlic, celery, and pepper and cook for one minute. Stir in the flour until well blended. Gradually stir in the tomato paste and water, then add the chicken and bring to a simmer. Add the salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve over hot cooked rice. Garnish with chopped scallions, if you like.

Oh, that recipe sounds good. Monday evenings are Cooking Class Night here in the papergirl household, so I am adding that to the list of things the kids are going to be making. Right now they are learning things like grilled sandwiches so it may be a few months. :slight_smile:
I bought several boxes of Zatarain’s along with some andouille for school and shrimp for home. Tonight we cook!

Since nobody’s mentioned it, cornbread.

Former resident of Lafayette here. Etouffee is far the best choice. I prefer crawfish, but shrimp will do well. Never even heard of chicken etouffee when I lived down there, but it will do if you want to save money.

Beignets are not Cajun. Blackened anything is not real Cajun. Paul Prudhomme invented it, but no restaurant in Lafayette served blackened fish when I lived there, pre K-Paul.
Boudin is real Cajun, but impractical unless you can buy some. Jambalaya and gumbo works also, but etouffee is simpler.

King cake is a New Orleans dish, not a Cajun one. There is a real distinction which most Yankees miss. When I lived there there was very little Cajun food available in New Orleans - except maybe a Don’s seafood.

Another fairly easy possibility is a fried oyster po’ boy. Not super Cajun but there was a lunch place near school which made them real well.

And be sure to spell things right - like Geaux Ragin’ Cajuns. Or the Cajun dog Phideaux.

So do you guys in Lafayette make a distinction between Cajun and Creole jambalaya based on the absence/presence of tomato? Just curious. Seems to be a prickly point with some people.