Chef Ryan

Cajun Chef Ryan

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


Make Classic Savoring Scallops Provençal: A Quick Easy Sustainable and Flavorful Delight

August 4th, 2023 · Comments Off on Make Classic Savoring Scallops Provençal: A Quick Easy Sustainable and Flavorful Delight

Step into the world of exquisite flavors and culinary traditions with our Scallops Provençal recipe. This delightful dish is a beautiful fusion of the bounties of the sea and the vibrant flavors of the Provençal region in France. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the history of scallops, explore the rich culinary heritage of Provence, and share a sustainably conscious approach to enjoying this delectable seafood treat.

Scallops Provençal with a side garden salad
Scallops Provençal with a side garden salad

Scallops have a fascinating history that spans centuries. These bivalve mollusks were not only a prized food source for indigenous coastal communities but were also revered in ancient mythology. In Greek mythology, Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, was often depicted riding a scallop shell. The shell’s iconic fan-like shape has made it a symbol of pilgrimage and travel, as evidenced by the scallop shell motifs along the famous Camino de Santiago pilgrimage routes.

Provence, a picturesque region in the south of France, is renowned for its vibrant culinary scene. The cuisine of Provence is a celebration of fresh, locally sourced ingredients and bold, aromatic flavors. Provençal dishes often feature olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, herbs like rosemary and thyme, and a medley of vegetables. This culinary style captures the essence of the Mediterranean coastline and is a perfect match for succulent scallops.

Before embarking on your culinary journey, it’s important to consider the sustainability of your seafood choices. Overfishing and habitat destruction have posed significant challenges to scallop populations in various parts of the world. To enjoy your Scallops Provençal guilt-free, opt for scallops that are certified by reputable sustainability organizations such as the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC). These certifications ensure that the scallops are sourced responsibly, promoting the health of marine ecosystems.

Scallops Provençal Recipe

Scallops in the pan with a white wine reduction
Scallops in the pan with a white wine reduction

This is my take on the WW recipe that’s only 3 points per serving, and in only 18 minutes you can be dining on the classic French culinary Scallops Provençal fruit de mer (froo-ee duh mehr), or “fruits of the sea”.

3 Points® – Total Time: 18 min – Prep Time: 10 minutes – Cook Time: 8 minutes – Serves: 4


  • 1 pound sea scallops, wash and dried (about 16 scallops)
  • ¼ tsp Table salt
  • ¼ tsp Black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1½ Tbsp Olive oil
  • ¼ cup Shallots, chopped, minced
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • ½ cup White wine
  • 3 Tbsp Fresh parsley, minced


  1. Season scallops with salt and pepper.
  2. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat; add oil. When oil shimmers, add scallops to pan, flat-side down; cook until just browned on bottom and you can see moisture appearing on top of scallops, about 2 minutes. Flip scallops and brown on other side, about 1 minute; reduce heat to medium.
  3. Add shallots and garlic to skillet; cook, stirring frequently, until shallots are lightly browned, about 2 minutes (be careful not to burn garlic). Add wine; stir and cook until liquid starts to reduce, about 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley; serve. Yields about 4 ounces scallops per serving, or 4 scallops per serving.

Scallops Provençal is a delightful testament to the harmonious marriage of exquisite seafood and the vibrant culinary heritage of Provence. By choosing sustainably sourced scallops, you not only indulge in a delectable meal but also contribute to the preservation of our precious marine ecosystems. So, don your apron, embrace the spirit of Provençal cooking, and savor each bite of this Mediterranean masterpiece. Bon appétit!

Comments Off on Make Classic Savoring Scallops Provençal: A Quick Easy Sustainable and Flavorful DelightTags: Recipes · Seafood · Weight Watchers

Make Classic Homemade Basil Pesto with This Easy 5-Ingredient Recipe

July 22nd, 2023 · Comments Off on Make Classic Homemade Basil Pesto with This Easy 5-Ingredient Recipe

This recipe is adapted from one I made while under the culinary guidance of Chef Chris Canan at the Columns Hotel in New Orleans, LA. Chef was an advocate of using local ingredients way before it came into vogue, as this was in the mid-1980’s. We obtained all of our fresh herbs from Crickhollow Farms out of Jayess, Mississippi and the weekly delivery also included farm raised rabbits, edible flowers and some organic baby vegetables and wild mushrooms as well. The basil pesto was primarily used for the Pasta Pesto Alfredo Shrimp appetizer, it was also used on occasion for other buffet menu items as well.

Basil Pesto
Basil Pesto

Basil pesto history and common uses

Here’s a brief overview of the history and common uses of basil pesto:

Pesto originated in Genoa, Italy and has been made there since at least the 16th century. The name comes from the Genoese word “pestâ” meaning to pound or crush.

Traditional basil pesto is made by crushing basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, and hard cheeses like Parmigiano-Reggiano together to form a thick sauce. The original recipe called for using a mortar and pestle to pound the ingredients together, but blenders are typically used now.

Basil pesto became popular outside of Italy in the 1980s and has since become a staple sauce in many cuisines. It is commonly used as a pasta sauce, as a topping on pizza, in sandwiches and wraps, with grilled meats or fish, as a dip, and more.

While traditional pesto uses basil, pine nuts, and Parmesan, many variations have emerged using other herbs like parsley or arugula, and different nuts like walnuts or almonds. The basic recipe remains basil, cheese, nuts, garlic, and olive oil pounded into a texture that can coat and cling to food.

Pesto is valued for its strong herbal flavors from the basil, sharpness from garlic and Parmesan, creaminess from the nuts and cheese, and rich texture from the olive oil. It can be made fresh in batches and freezes well for long term storage. Its versatility makes it a popular condiment worldwide today.

Now, onto the recipe for making your very own delightful basil pesto.


  • 1/4 cup garlic cloves
  • 1 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2-pound fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 cup olive oil, extra virgin
  • To taste Salt and pepper (optional)


  1. Add the garlic and pine nuts to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until smooth.
  2. Add the basil and pulse until finely chopped
  3. Add the parmesan cheese and blend while slowly pouring in the olive oil until a smooth paste forms.
  4. Optionally, season to taste with salt and pepper
  5. Transfer the basil to a storage container and keep refrigerated for up to 7-days, or freeze for several months.

Uses for basil pesto

Here are some popular recipes that use basil pesto:

Pesto pasta – Toss hot cooked pasta with pesto sauce for a quick and easy meal. Add vegetables like tomatoes or spinach. Such as this recipe for Shrimp and Pasta Pesto Alfredo.

Shrimp and Pesto Alfredo Pasta
Shrimp and Pesto Alfredo Pasta

Pesto pizza – Spread pesto over the pizza dough, then top with mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and other toppings.

Pesto chicken – Coat chicken breasts with pesto, then bake or grill them.

Pesto salmon – Top salmon filets with dollops of pesto before baking or pan-searing. Such as this recipe for Pesto Salmon.

Pesto Salmon
Pesto Salmon

Pesto bruschetta – Top toasted bread with pesto, tomatoes, and Parmesan.

Pesto wraps – Smear pesto inside tortillas or flatbread then fill with greens, deli meat, or veggies.

Pesto sandwiches – Use pesto as a flavorful spread on sandwiches in place of condiments like mustard or mayo.

Pesto eggs – Top poached eggs with basil pesto.

Pesto Eggs
Pesto Eggs

Pesto dressing – Whisk pesto into oil and vinegar for bold salad dressing.

Pesto dip – Thin pesto with a little olive oil to make a dip for bread, crackers, or vegetables.

Pesto potato salad – Fold pesto into warm boiled potato chunks along with other vegetables.

Pesto baked brie – Top a wheel of brie with pesto and bake until melty.

Pesto Corn – Top ears of corn with pesto in place of butter.

Pesto Corn
Pesto Corn

The possibilities are endless! Pesto can be swirled into soups, baked into frittatas, stirred into risotto, and more. Get creative with this versatile green sauce.

Comments Off on Make Classic Homemade Basil Pesto with This Easy 5-Ingredient RecipeTags: Columns Hotel · Recipes

Juicy Eggplant Steaks Coated in Aromatic Spices – Easy Vegetarian Dinner

July 17th, 2023 · Comments Off on Juicy Eggplant Steaks Coated in Aromatic Spices – Easy Vegetarian Dinner

Looking for a delicious vegetarian main dish? These spice-crusted eggplant steaks are sure to satisfy! Eggplant has a meaty texture that becomes so juicy and flavorful when roasted. Coating the eggplant slices in aromatic spices gives them an extra kick. Serve these eggplant steaks with rice or quinoa and roasted veggies for a complete meal. The original WW recipe was the source of inspiration for this preparation.

Spice-Crusted Eggplant Steaks
Spice-Crusted Eggplant Steaks (with a side of Pesto Okra)

2 Points® – Total Time: 1 hour – Prep Time: 10 min – Cook Time: 35 minutes – Serves: 2


  • 4 sprays Cooking spray
  • 2 medium eggplants, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch thick steaks
  • ¾ tsp Ground cumin
  • ¾ tsp Garlic powder
  • ¾ tsp Dried thyme
  • ½ tsp Smoked paprika
  • ⅜ tsp Kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp Black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp Olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a sheet pan with foil, then spray the foil with cooking spray. Place the eggplant steaks on the prepared pan.
  2. In a small bowl, combine cumin, garlic powder, thyme, paprika, salt, and pepper. Brush the tops of the eggplant with the soy sauce, then sprinkle 1/2 of the spice mixture evenly over the eggplant slices. Place the pan in the oven and roast for 15-minutes. Remove the pan and flip the eggplant steaks over, brush with the remaining soy sauce and sprinkle with the remaining spice mixture. Return the pan to the oven and roast for another 10-minutes. Serve one eggplant steak per portion.

These eggplant steaks are such a simple way to enjoy flavorful meatless meals. The spices add warmth and depth that complement the eggplant perfectly. Roast up a batch to meal prep for the week ahead. Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 4 days – they make great sandwiches too! Let me know if you give this recipe a try.

Comments Off on Juicy Eggplant Steaks Coated in Aromatic Spices – Easy Vegetarian DinnerTags: Recipes · Vegetarian · Weight Watchers

Amazing Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipe Delicious Delightful and Inspiring!

July 14th, 2023 · Comments Off on Amazing Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipe Delicious Delightful and Inspiring!

Stuffed bell peppers are a popular dish that can be easily adapted to different dietary restrictions, including gluten-free and vegan diets. This recipe uses wholesome ingredients like rice, black beans, and tomatoes to create a flavorful and satisfying filling for the peppers. It’s a nutritious and delicious meal that can be enjoyed by everyone!

WW Points: 9 – Calories: 286 – Total Fat: 2.7g – Sodium: 6mg – Total Carbohydrate: 60.4g – Total Sugars: 7.5g – Dietary Fiber: 4.9g – Protein: 5.8g – Servings: 6 Nutritional information source

Gluten-Free Vegan Stuffed Bell Peppers
Gluten-Free Vegan Stuffed Bell Peppers


  • 6 medium, red and or green bell peppers
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup poblano peppers, chopped
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped
  • 1 can (15.5 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups cooked jasmine rice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Salsa (optional)

For optional toppings:

  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Avocado slices
  • Vegan sour cream or yogurt

Procedure Steps

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.
  2. Start by preparing the bell peppers. Cut off the tops about 1/4-to 1/2-inch down and remove the seeds and membranes from the inside. Rinse them thoroughly and set them into a 9 x 9 baking dish.
  3. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the garlic, onion, and peppers until soft, about 5-minutes. Add the tomatoes, beans, and cooked rice. Stir the mixture well.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared peppers and put the tops back on. Add the 1/2 cup water to the baking dish, and cover with foil. Bake the peppers until soft, or about 45-minutes to 1-hour. Serve with salsa and enjoy!

Note: Feel free to customize this recipe by adding other vegetables or spices according to your taste preferences. You can also sprinkle some vegan cheese on top of the stuffed peppers before baking if you like.

    Gluten-Free Vegan Stuffed Green Bell Pepper
    Gluten-Free Vegan Stuffed Green Bell Pepper

    Bell peppers are not only colorful and flavorful, but they also offer a range of health benefits. Here’s some information on bell peppers sourced from Healthline:

    1. Nutrient-rich: Bell peppers are packed with essential nutrients. They are an excellent source of vitamin C, containing more of it than citrus fruits. They also provide a good amount of vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin K1, folate, and potassium.
    2. Antioxidant powerhouse: Bell peppers are rich in antioxidants that help protect the body against damage from harmful molecules called free radicals. The antioxidants in bell peppers, such as vitamin C and various phytochemicals, contribute to their vibrant colors.
    3. Eye health support: The high levels of vitamin A and other carotenoids found in bell peppers are beneficial for eye health. They can help reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.
    4. Boosts immune system: Bell peppers’ high vitamin C content plays a vital role in supporting a healthy immune system. It helps stimulate the production of white blood cells and strengthens the body’s defenses against infections.
    5. Heart-healthy: Bell peppers are low in calories and packed with fiber, making them a heart-healthy choice. The fiber content aids in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, while the potassium helps regulate blood pressure.
    6. Cancer-fighting properties: Certain compounds found in bell peppers, including capsaicin and various antioxidants, have been studied for their potential anticancer effects. These compounds may help inhibit the growth of cancer cells and reduce inflammation.
    7. Weight management: Bell peppers are a great addition to a weight-loss or weight-management plan. They are low in calories, high in fiber, and can help you feel full and satisfied.

    Remember that the nutritional content may vary slightly depending on the color of the bell pepper, with red peppers being the ripest and highest in nutrients. Including bell peppers in your diet can contribute to overall health and well-being.

    Gluten-Free Vegan Stuffed Red Bell Pepper
    Gluten-Free Vegan Stuffed Red Bell Pepper

    Comments Off on Amazing Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipe Delicious Delightful and Inspiring!Tags: Gluten Free · Recipes

    Sweet Summery Delight: A Low-Sugar Peach Pie Recipe for Your Local Peaches

    July 12th, 2023 · Comments Off on Sweet Summery Delight: A Low-Sugar Peach Pie Recipe for Your Local Peaches

    As summer arrives, so does the abundance of juicy, ripe peaches. What better way to celebrate this seasonal delight than by savoring a delicious peach pie? However, if you’re watching your sugar intake, you may feel hesitant to indulge in a traditional peach pie. But fear not! In this blog post, we will guide you through creating a mouthwatering low-sugar peach pie that will satisfy your sweet cravings without the guilt.

    Peach pie
    Peach Pie


    • 1 reduced fat graham cracker crust
    • 1/4 cup peach juice
    • 1 .3 oz package sugar-free peach gelatin
    • 2 6-ounce containers fat-free peach yogurt
    • 1 8-ounce container sugar-free cool whip, defrosted
    • 1 canned peach half, cut into 8 sliced

    Procedure Steps

    1. In a medium bowl heat the peach juice then dissolve the gelatin into the warm juice, whipping for about 2 minutes until fully dissolved, allow the mixture to cool.
    2. Fold in the yogurt until mixed well, then fold in defrosted cool whip until mixed well. Pour the mixture into the prepared graham cracker pie crust, cover and refrigerate for 4-hours, then garnish the pie with the 8 peach slices, then cut into 8 even portions.
    Peach pie slice
    Peach pie slice

    If you can find local peaches they are a delightful fruit that often takes center stage during the summer months. Known for their juicy sweetness and vibrant colors, these peaches are cherished by many for their unique flavors and the sense of connection to their place of origin. Interested in picking your own peaches, check out the resource page from U-Pick Peach Farms sorted by state.

    With this delightful low-sugar peach pie recipe, you can relish the flavors of summer while keeping your sugar intake in check. The natural sweetness of the peaches, combined with the subtle spices and the flaky crust, creates a dessert that will impress your taste buds without compromising your dietary goals. So go ahead and indulge in this guilt-free treat, and let the sweet aroma of freshly baked peach pie fill your kitchen this summer!

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