With Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's behind us for another year, my husband, Ron, and I are glad to change from traditional, rich seasonal favorites to basic menus and simple foods that are the signature "taste of our home."

We've entertained and been entertained…and now we really enjoy just sitting down together for a simple but delicious meal like Chunky Crawfish Spread, Citrus Quencher, Sunday Shrimp Pasta Bake, Olive-Cucumber Tossed Salad and No-Bake Chocolate Pie.

The Sunday Shrimp Pasta Bake isn't just for Sunday, but it is that good. This delicious dish also serves us well on a Saturday night before a big football game or even during the week, if time allows.

I work full time in a medical office, but I still look forward to preparing a nice supper for us. I go into the kitchen, turn on my favorite radio station and cook. It's very relaxing to me. 

Seafood is plentiful here, so we enjoy it often. Shrimp (or "shrimps," as my 101-year-old mother-in-law, Bertha, calls them) are Ron's favorite.


Enjoy Appetizers Anytime

Crawfish are my favorite, and Chunky Crawfish Spread is just the right touch for conversation and snacking while the main course is finishing up in the oven.

We often enjoy crawfish and shrimp at the same meal. But if not, I make sure to rotate the two.

The Olive-Cucumber Tossed Salad can be prepped ahead and plated up at the last minute. I combine the dressing with the olives and sliced cucumbers in advance.

Complementing the food with just the right tartness, my Citrus Quencher is sparkling and refreshing. It’s so easy to mix up that I serve this sunny beverage year-round.


Wait for Dessert?

Sometimes dessert has to be served a bit later, as this is a filling meal. But when you bring out the No-Bake Chocolate Pie, no one will turn it down. It's a winner on any occasion.

Leftovers are not a problem when I prepare this meal for just the two of us. We appreciate these foods the second time around, or I'll take the leftovers to share at work the next day. There’s always plenty to go around because I cook"big." It's the way I learned.

Since I work away from home full-time, friends have asked how I manage to find time to cook. I tell them…lists. That's my secret. Lists. It's actually a bit of a joke with those who know me well. I organize a meal—the menu, the shopping list, even the seating arrangement for special occasions. The bonus for me is that Ron cleans up.

We were married 7 years ago. Ron was born in New Orleans and spent most of his life there. He's retired from the U.S. Postal Service.

I'm a Bogalusa native and have a son, a daughter and son-in-law, and two young grandsons. My family loves Ron as if he has been with us always.


A Late Bloomer at Cooking

Field editor Sundra H.

My personal cooking pleasures didn't begin until I was an adult. I have come a long way and am even asked to prepare foods for weddings and showers on occasion now. I must admit, however, that I much prefer the simple pleasures of cooking for my husband, family, friends and co-workers.

Ron enjoys his retirement and the outdoors. He has worked as a nature guide at a local boys' and girls' summer camp and is active in the Knights of Columbus.

I'm a member of the Secular Franciscans (a Roman Catholic fraternity), play in a Po-Ke-No group and enjoy "Eight Is Enough"—a group of ladies who get together several times a year.

Together, Ron and I like what we call "day-tripping" taking jaunts around Louisiana and nearby Mississippi.

Often, our destination is Baton Rouge for a visit with our grandchildren. "The grands" are our hearts, so we visit for any occasion that comes up—from soccer games to birthday parties and "good grade" celebrations.

I hope you all enjoy my recipes as much as we do, and I thank you, TOH readers, for your many prayers and kindnesses offered to us here in Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. May God bless you all for your goodness of heart.


Quick seafood recipes»