Chef Ryan

Cajun Chef Ryan

Feeling & sharing a world of cooking ~ more than your average Cajun


How to Make Authentic Chicken Enchiladas: A Step-by-Step Guide

December 8th, 2023 · No Comments

Mexican cuisine is a rich tapestry of flavors, colors, and traditions that have evolved over centuries. Among its many culinary delights, chicken enchiladas stand out as a beloved dish that has become a symbol of Mexican comfort food. In this exploration, we’ll delve into the fascinating history, cultural significance, and influences that have shaped the delightful journey of chicken enchiladas in Mexican cuisine.

Before we explore the recipe inspired by the Community Table at Lowes Foods and the Chicken Kitchen, lets review more about how we got here today!

Chicken Enchiladas in the pan and Lowes Foods recipe card
Chicken Enchiladas in the pan and Lowes Foods recipe card

A Tapestry of Flavors: The Origins of Chicken Enchiladas

The roots of chicken enchiladas can be traced back to ancient civilizations, where corn and chilies were dietary staples. The Aztecs, known for their sophisticated culinary techniques, are credited with the creation of tortillas and the art of rolling them with various fillings – a precursor to the modern enchilada. The word “enchilada” itself comes from the Spanish verb “enchilar,” meaning “to season with chili.”

Evolution Through Time: Adapting to Local Tastes

As Spanish conquistadors introduced new ingredients such as dairy products and meats, the enchilada underwent a transformation. The fusion of indigenous and Spanish flavors resulted in the diverse array of enchiladas we enjoy today. The addition of cheese, crema, and other ingredients not only enhanced the dish’s taste but also reflected the evolving cultural landscape of Mexico.

Regional Variations: A Culinary Mosaic

Mexico’s vast and diverse geography has given rise to regional variations of chicken enchiladas. In the coastal regions, seafood enchiladas are a delicacy, featuring fresh catches and vibrant salsas. Inland, mole sauce adds a rich, complex flavor to the dish, showcasing the influence of indigenous ingredients like chocolate, nuts, and spices. Each region’s unique climate and agriculture contribute to the distinctiveness of their enchilada recipes.

Celebrations and Traditions: Chicken Enchiladas in Mexican Culture

Chicken enchiladas are not just a dish; they’re an integral part of Mexican culture and celebrations. From family gatherings to holidays and fiestas, these flavorful delights often grace the tables, symbolizing warmth, togetherness, and the joy of shared meals. The preparation and consumption of enchiladas are deeply embedded in the fabric of Mexican hospitality.

Influences on the Global Stage: Chicken Enchiladas Beyond Borders

The popularity of Mexican cuisine, including chicken enchiladas, has transcended borders. Mexican restaurants worldwide offer their interpretations of this classic dish, adapting to local tastes while preserving its essence. The global appeal of chicken enchiladas speaks to the universal love for the bold, harmonious flavors that characterize Mexican cooking.

The Recipe

During my tenure at Lowes Foods as the Community Table Manager at both the Cary, and Knightdale stores in North Carolina, I had the incredible opportunity to foster a sense of community through the shared experience of food. Guiding the creation and execution of events at the community table, I facilitated a space where customers came together to connect, learn, and savor the joys of good food. From organizing cooking classes to hosting local artisans, my role involved curating a diverse range of events that not only enriched our customers’ culinary knowledge but also strengthened the bonds within the community. Through this role, I discovered the power of food as a catalyst for building connections and creating memorable moments in the heart of the community.

I prepared this recipe several times and when I made it again at home last week, the smells and flavors reminded me and took me back to the store, fond memories as I share the recipe card. Note the check marks on the card, I used each recipe card as my shopping list as I went through the store collecting the items I needed for the cooking demonstration and tasting.

Community Table ~ Lowes Foods ~ Chicken Enchiladas Recipe Card
Community Table ~ Lowes Foods ~ Chicken Enchiladas Recipe Card
Chicken Enchiladas Plated
Chicken Enchiladas Plated

→ No CommentsTags: Mexican · Recipes

How to Prepare Creole Catfish Delight: A Southern Comfort Cuisine Recipe

December 7th, 2023 · No Comments

Creole Catfish with creamed spinach side
Creole Catfish served with creamed spinach on the side

Creole cuisine, with its rich blend of flavors and cultural influences, has an irresistible charm that captivates the taste buds. One dish that truly embodies the spirit of Creole cooking is Creole Catfish Delight. This recipe takes the succulent, mild flavor of catfish and infuses it with a medley of spices, creating a dish that’s both comforting and exciting. Let’s dive into the world of Creole flavors and create a delightful Creole Catfish experience in your own kitchen.

In the heart of the South, where the air is thick with the aroma of spices and the warmth of hospitality, there lies a culinary masterpiece that embodies the spirit of the region – Creole flavors paired with local catfish. This blog post invites you on a gastronomic journey, exploring the vibrant palette of Creole cuisine intertwined with the succulence of fresh, local catfish. Join us as we delve into the rich cultural tapestry that makes this pairing an unforgettable culinary experience.

Embracing Creole Flavors:

Creole cuisine is a celebration of diversity, blending influences from French, African, Spanish, and Native American culinary traditions. The result is a symphony of flavors that dance on the taste buds. From the robust kick of Creole seasoning to the aromatic blend of onions, bell peppers, and celery, each element contributes to the unique and soul-satisfying taste that defines Creole dishes.

Local Catfish: A Southern Delicacy:

Nestled in the waterways of the South, catfish is a local delicacy cherished for its mild, tender flesh. Sourced from nearby rivers and farms, local catfish adds a touch of authenticity to Creole-inspired dishes. Its versatility allows it to absorb the bold flavors of Creole seasonings, creating a harmonious marriage of taste and texture.

This recipe utilizes diced red onion, diced tomatoes, sliced okra, minced garlic, white wine, chicken stock and then ends with poaching the catfish in the flavorful liquid.

Recipe: Creole Catfish Delight


1 teaspoon olive oil
½ red onion, diced
1 rib celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon Creole seasoning
½ teaspoon garlic salt
1 cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 can diced tomatoes with garlic and basil (14.5oz)
2 cups sliced okra
Juice of 1 fresh lemon
2 catfish filets (6-oz each)


  1. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add the onions and celery and sauté until transparent. Add the garlic and Creole seasoning and continue to cook for 1-minute. Add the white wine and reduce by 2/3. Add the chicken stock, diced tomatoes and liquid, and okra, bring to a simmer, cover, reduce heat and continue simmering about 10-minutes
  2. Add lemon juice and catfish filets, and cover the filets with some of the okra and tomatoes. Cover and simmer until catfish is cooked through to 145˚ F internal temperature, or about 8-10 minutes.
  3. Serve each catfish filet with the okra and tomatoes.

The Perfect Pairing:

Creole Catfish Delight is not just a meal; it’s a celebration of regional identity and culinary prowess. Pair this delectable dish with local sides like creamed spinach, collard greens, hushpuppies, or cornbread for an authentic Southern feast. Whether shared with loved ones or enjoyed in solitude, this pairing captures the essence of Southern comfort on a plate.

In every bite of Creole Catfish Delight, you taste the soul of the South. It’s a culinary journey that transcends flavors, connecting you to the rich history and cultural tapestry of the region. So, roll up your sleeves, gather your ingredients, and embark on a gastronomic adventure that brings Creole flavors and local catfish together in perfect harmony.

Creole Catfish Delight
Creole Catfish Delight

Exploring Creole Resources

Exploring Creole flavors can be an exciting culinary journey, and there are various online resources that provide recipes, insights, and information about Creole cuisine. Here are some websites and platforms where you can find valuable resources for Creole flavors:

  1. Southern Living – Creole and Cajun Recipes:
    • Website: Southern Living Recipes
    • Southern Living features a collection of Creole and Cajun recipes that showcase the diverse and delicious flavors of the South.
  2. Allrecipes – Creole Recipes:
    • Website: Allrecipes Creole Recipes
    • Allrecipes has a dedicated section for Creole recipes, offering a variety of dishes that highlight Creole spices and techniques.
  3. Food Network – Creole Recipes:
    • Website: Food Network Creole Recipes
    • Food Network provides a selection of Creole and Cajun recipes from renowned chefs, along with video tutorials and cooking tips.
  4. New Orleans Online – Creole Recipes:
    • Website: New Orleans Online Creole Recipes
    • New Orleans Online, a hub for all things related to New Orleans, offers a variety of Creole and Cajun recipes inspired by the city’s rich culinary heritage.
  5. Epicurious – Creole and Cajun Cuisine:
    • Website: Epicurious Creole Recipes
    • Epicurious features a curated collection of Creole recipes, along with expert advice on cooking techniques and flavor combinations.
  6. Saveur – Creole and Cajun Dishes:
    • Website: Saveur Creole Recipes
    • Saveur’s collection of Creole recipes includes traditional dishes and modern twists, celebrating the flavors of Louisiana.

Exploring these resources will not only provide you with delicious recipes but also deepen your understanding of the unique and vibrant flavors that define Creole cuisine.

→ No CommentsTags: Creole · Seafood

Spice It Up: The Ultimate Guide To Homemade Pepper Jelly – Easy Recipe And Creative Pairings For A Flavorful Culinary Adventure!

December 4th, 2023 · No Comments

Pepper Jelly
Pepper Jelly

This recipe is modified from our Aunt Debbie’s recipe and I modified it again from my first batch, as I doubled bell pepper and jalapeño quantity.

Welcome to a world of vibrant flavors and culinary excitement! Today, we’re diving into the realm of pepper jelly, a versatile and mouthwatering condiment that adds a spicy kick to your favorite dishes. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a kitchen newbie, making your own pepper jelly is a rewarding adventure that will elevate your culinary creations to new heights.

Unveiling the Magic of Pepper

Jelly Pepper jelly is not just a condiment; it’s a flavor-packed revelation that can transform ordinary meals into extraordinary culinary experiences. The marriage of sweet and spicy creates a symphony of tastes that dance on your taste buds, leaving you craving more. The beauty of pepper jelly lies in its ability to pair seamlessly with both savory and sweet dishes, making it a kitchen essential.

The DIY Pepper Jelly Advantage

Why settle for store-bought when you can craft your own pepper jelly masterpiece? DIY pepper jelly allows you to control the heat level, experiment with unique pepper combinations, and tailor the sweetness to your liking. Plus, it’s a fantastic way to impress friends and family with a homemade treat that showcases your culinary prowess.

Pepper Jelly Pairings That Will Blow Your Mind

Get ready to elevate your meals with tantalizing pairings! From spreading it on warm, crusty bread to glazing meats with its sticky goodness, pepper jelly knows no bounds. Explore the world of unexpected flavor marriages, like pairing it with creamy cheeses, using it as a glaze for grilled vegetables, or even incorporating it into desserts for a sweet and spicy twist.

The Pepper Jelly Pantry Staples

To embark on your pepper jelly adventure, you’ll need a few key ingredients that are likely already hiding in your pantry. Stock up on fresh peppers, high-quality vinegar, sugar, and pectin, and you’ll be well on your way to creating a batch of pepper jelly that will have everyone asking for your secret recipe.

In conclusion, pepper jelly is the culinary secret weapon that adds pizzazz to your dishes and makes you the star of your kitchen. With its explosive flavor profile and endless pairing possibilities, homemade pepper jelly is a delightful journey into the world of culinary creativity. So, roll up your sleeves, gather your ingredients, and get ready to embark on a pepper jelly adventure that will make your taste buds sing!

The recipe


2 boxes Sure Jell
3 cups water
13 cups sugar
3 cups apple cider vinegar
4 cups finely chopped bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped jalapeño peppers (red and green)
4 drops green food color


2 small pots
1 large processing pot with spacers
1 large jelly pot
1 wooden spoon
14 1/2-pint mason jars with 14 lid/band sets
Jar clamp tool
Large tongs
Lid tool
Head space measure tool
Funnel tool


  1. Wash and sanitize jars, lids, and bands. Transfer the lids and bands to a small pot covered in water and keep on a low simmer to sanitize. Set up a processing pot with spacers, add jars, cover, and bring to a simmer to sanitize.
  2. Add Sure Jell to 3 cups water in a small pot, whisk well and bring to a simmer for 2 minutes over medium heat. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In a very large pot add sugar and vinegar stir to dissolve with a wooden spoon over medium low heat. Bring to a boil stirring constantly for about five minutes.
  4. To the sugar/vinegar mixture add peppers, dissolved sure jell and food color, simmer 2 minutes then turn off the heat and stir constantly for about 10 minutes
  5. Put jelly in jars with 1/4” headspace. Wipe rims and seal with lids and bands finger tight.
  6. Place in water bath covered at least 1-inch. Process jars 10-minutes. Turn off heat, let sit for 10-minutes, remove jars from water bath. Cool to room temperature on a kitchen towel. Once fully cooled, tighten the bands, wipe any spilled jelly and label. Store in a cool dry place for up to 1-year.
  7. Recipe makes 14 half pint jars, plus a small amount leftover to enjoy immediately.

Notes from Debbie: I use the frozen bell peppers, chopped, and in the jar of chopped jalapeño peppers makes life really easy, but if y’all have fresh, that is great, you can use any color bell peppers you want.

→ No CommentsTags: Canning · Recipes

Missed My Guest Spot on ‘Chew On This’ Radio Show? Don’t Worry – Listen to the Podcast Now! – Episode 09/02/2023

September 7th, 2023 · Comments Off on Missed My Guest Spot on ‘Chew On This’ Radio Show? Don’t Worry – Listen to the Podcast Now! – Episode 09/02/2023

Listen to my first guest radio appearance on WGSO radio show “Chew on This” hosted by Don and Patty as they talk with me about my cooking experience, cookbooks, gumbo, jambalaya, and answering questions about other Cajun and Creole preparations.

WGSO Chew On This Radio Show

The podcast of the show which aired at noon CT on Saturday, September 2, 2023 is available for listening from the link below, you can listen anytime.

Comments Off on Missed My Guest Spot on ‘Chew On This’ Radio Show? Don’t Worry – Listen to the Podcast Now! – Episode 09/02/2023Tags: Recipes

A Wholesome Twist: How to Make Soft Mexican Tostadas Using Two-Ingredient Dough

August 14th, 2023 · Comments Off on A Wholesome Twist: How to Make Soft Mexican Tostadas Using Two-Ingredient Dough

Embark on a flavorful journey to Mexico with our unique take on a classic dish – Two-Ingredient Dough Soft Mexican Tostadas. In this blog post, we’ll not only guide you through the simple and delicious recipe but also delve into the rich history, vibrant culture, and culinary heritage that make these tostadas an iconic part of Mexican cuisine.


Table of Contents:

  1. The Origins and Heritage of Tostadas
  2. Two-Ingredient Dough: A Modern Twist
  3. Recipe: Two-Ingredient Dough Soft Mexican Tostadas
  4. Step-By-Step Tostada Dough with Pictures
  5. Toppings and Variations
  6. Serving and Enjoying Tostadas
  7. Conclusion

1. The Origins and Heritage of Tostadas: Tostadas have a long-standing history in Mexican cuisine. Derived from the Spanish word “tostar,” meaning “to toast,” tostadas are believed to have originated from the ancient Aztec and Maya civilizations. These civilizations utilized maize (corn) as a staple food, and tostadas became a creative way to use leftover tortillas by toasting or frying them until crispy. Tostadas eventually evolved into a versatile dish, featuring various toppings that reflect the diverse culinary influences of Mexico’s regions.

2. Two-Ingredient Dough: A Modern Twist: Incorporating the concept of two-ingredient dough into traditional Mexican cuisine adds a delightful modern twist. This dough, made from self-rising flour and plain non-fat Greek yogurt, creates a soft, chewy base for our tostadas, offering a healthier alternative to the traditional fried tortillas. Its simplicity and versatility make it an ideal canvas for exploring authentic Mexican flavors.

NOTE: If you don’t have self-rising flour, no problem, just add and stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to every 1 cup of all purpose flour…Boom! Done!

3. Recipe: Two-Ingredient Dough Soft Mexican Tostadas:

This recipe is inspired from the WW recipe for Two-ingredient-dough soft Mexican tostadas, available from their website too. At only 5 points per serving, this recipe is a must have in your kitchen repository if you love Mexican cuisine like we do!

5 Points® – Total Time: 37 min – Prep Time: 15 min – Cook Time: 22 min – Serves: 4


  • 1 cup plain fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup white self-rising flour
  • ¼ tsp table salt
  • 1 cup fat free refried beans
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • ½ cup canned white corn, or yellow corn
  • ½ cup grape tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 Tbsp cilantro, fresh, chopped
  • 4 splashes hot sauce, or to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place yogurt and flour in a large bowl; stir well with a wooden spoon until just combined and then keep mixing dough in bowl with your hands until smooth (about 2 minutes of kneading). If dough is too sticky to knead, add more flour, 1 Tbsp at a time, until no longer sticky. Let rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Place a large piece of parchment paper on a work surface or sheet pan and sprinkle with a little flour, place dough balls on paper. Measure out the dough into 1-ounce portions and place on the parchment, keep covered with a slightly damp kitchen towel. Use a rolling pin to roll each piece of dough into a 6-inch circle; slightly curl up edges to make a crust with a center. Or use a tortilla press (see photos below). Place tortillas on griddle and brown on both sides for about 3-4 minutes per side. Place browned tortillas on a sheet pan.
  4. Stir together the beans and chili powder. Spread ¼ cup beans on each tostada and top with 2 Tbsp corn, 2 Tbsp tomato and 1 Tbsp feta. Garnish with the cilantro. Serve with hot sauce, if desired.
  5. Serving size: 1 tostada

4. Step-By-Step Tostada Dough with Pictures:

Two-Ingredient dough resting 5 minutes
Two-Ingredient dough resting 5 minutes
Scale 1-ounce dough ball
Scale 1-ounce dough ball
Dough balls resting on parchment
Dough balls resting on parchment
Dough on tortilla press lined with a zip-type bag
Dough on tortilla press lined with a zip-type bag
Lower and hold down top of tortilla press with dough ball inside plastic sheets
Lower and hold down top of tortilla press with dough ball inside plastic sheets
Pressed dough into tostada with plastic lifted up
Pressed dough into tostada with plastic lifted up
Tostadas on the grill
Tostadas on the grill
Tostada ready for the oven
Tostada ready for the oven

5. Toppings and Variations: The beauty of Mexican tostadas lies in their diverse toppings. Some traditional options include:

  • Refried beans
  • Shredded chicken or beef
  • Sliced avocado
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Crumbled queso fresco
  • Sour cream or Mexican crema
  • Salsa or pico de gallo

Feel free to get creative and add your own variations or explore regional toppings like cochinita pibil, tinga de pollo, or ceviche.

6. Serving and Enjoying Tostadas: Arrange your cooked tostadas on a platter and set out bowls of your chosen toppings. Invite your guests to create their own customized tostadas, layering flavors and textures to their liking. This interactive and communal aspect of enjoying tostadas captures the essence of Mexican dining culture.

7. Conclusion: Two-Ingredient Dough Soft Mexican Tostadas bridge the gap between tradition and innovation, honoring the historical roots of tostadas while embracing a contemporary approach to preparation. As you savor each bite of these soft, flavorful tostadas, remember that you’re not just enjoying a meal but also experiencing the rich tapestry of Mexico’s culinary history, culture, and heritage.

Buen provecho!

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