Write, read, cook (sometimes) and eat!

Here are some of my favorite recipes from my family, Cajun cooks, readers and strangers who like to share! Many of these recipes are mentioned in my books! 

Want more recipes? 

Visit me during my appearances (I often carry extras with me) and check in the back of some of my books.



Mr. Co-Man’s Creamy Cajun Red Beans

Tina DeSalvo’s Mr Co-Man’s Creamy Cajun Red Beans

Tina DeSalvo’s Mr Co-Man’s Creamy Cajun Red Beans


My darlin’ Cajun husband whom I refer to as Mr. Co-Man, makes the best Red Beans and Rice (on any day of the week, not just the traditional Monday when locals like to cook it!). I love seeing him at the stove cooking -- not just because I know we’re going to have a fabulous meal (and I didn’t have to prepare it!), but because it makes my heart happy seeing my herostirring a steaming, savory pot of deliciousness at the hot stove with the music blaring and a contented smile on his face.  I hope you enjoy Mr. Co-man’s personal recipe for one of our family’s favorite meals. He has even included his favorite brands for some of the ingredients. Bon Appetit y’all! td 

With Mr Co-Man!

With Mr Co-Man!



1 pound of red kidney beans (my favorite brands are Blue Runner or Camellia)


1 red bell pepper

1 medium yellow onion

1 stalk of celery

2 cloves of garlic

¼ stick of butter (1oz)

6 oz of salt pork

2 cups of long grain rice (I like to use Louisiana grown rice!). 


3 links of pork smoked sausage (Bryan’s tastes best!).

Crispy French bread, buttered with minced garlic on top.


Rinse the beans and place them in a thick bottomed pot.

Add 1 gallon of water 

Heat on high until the water starts to boil, then lower to medium heat and cover, stirring occasionally.

Chop the pepper, onion and celery into small pieces add butter and sauté on medium heat.

chop the garlic and add to the sauté- stirring often.

Mash the beans thoroughly while cooking, stirring often so that it doesn’t stick to the pot and burn.

Add the sautéd vegetables to the beans, stirring thoroughly.

Cut up the salt pork into small pieces and place into the sauté pan.

Cook pork stirring often for 10 mins on medium.

Add the pork to the beans and 4 cups of water and stir on low heat and cover.

Cook for 1 ½ hours stirring and scraping the bottom and sides of the pot every 15 mins.

Put on a pot of rice, grill the smoked sausage and toast the garlic bread.

Turn off heat, let sit for 30 mins and skim the fat.

Serve the beans over rice with half a link of sausage and a piece of bread.

Salt and season to taste. Serves 6-8

Tina DeSalvo

Tina DeSalvo




Here is a local Cajun favorite desert recipe that is typically served during family celebrations and gatherings. I’ve used this recipe to make BOUILLE (pronounced Boo-yee) for many of my author guests who have visited my home. It’s always a hit — enjoy this taste of a Cajun Christmas!

Bouille is basically a sweet egg custard poured on top a plain butter sheet cake. Tarte a la Bouille features the same delicious concoction served in a tart crust. The custard can also be served over angel food cake topped with fresh sliced strawberries. I hope y’all enjoy this recipe during the holidays or anytime of the year. Bon Appetit!


  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk

  • 1 12 oz. can Pet Milk (evaporated milk)

  • 2 12 oz. cans whole milk (use Pet Milk can to measure whole organic milk)

  • 8 heaping teaspoons cornstarch

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla OR to taste

  • 1-1/2 cups Louisiana Cane sugar (if available)

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 cup of good organic butter


Mix sugar, eggs and cornstarch together. Set aside.

Heat 1 can of Pet milk, 1 can of whole milk and 1 cup of butter. When the butter is melted, slowly add in the remaining Pet milk, whole milk, and egg mixture making sure you continue to stir it well with a whisk until the mixture thickens. Stir in vanilla and condensed milk. Remove from stove and set aside.

I like to serve it hot! Yum!! Pour the Bouille over slices of warm buttered cake. And yes, it is really good cold too.



Oyster Dressing

Everyone living down the bayou knows that oysters taste best in months ending in “r”. One way to enjoy oysters is in an oyster dressing for Thanksgiving (November) and Christmas (December).



4 pints fresh oysters, drained and coarsely chopped, reserve the liquid

1 stick of butter

The Trinity: 3 medium bell peppers chopped

3 stalks of celery finely diced

2 medium onions chopped


1     bunch green onions (scallions)                   

1/4 cup minced garlic

2     loaves of French bread, crumbled

4     ounces Parmesan Cheese

2     cups plain bread crumbs

fresh parsley chopped

1     tbsp cayenne pepper

2     tbsp white pepper

Salt to taste


Sauté the vegetables in butter until soft. Add the oysters and continue sautéing for 4-5 minutes. Add the reserved oyster liquid. Add the crumbled bread, cayenne pepper and white pepper. Mix well. If the dressing seems too wet and soggy (remember it will be baked), add the plain breadcrumbs as needed. Spread the mixture into a 13x9-baking pan and add cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees.



Old Fashioned Bread Pudding with Rum sauce



  • 4 cups of milk

  • 4 eggs, separated

  • 10 slices of stale bread (or use French bread)

  • 1 ½ cups of sugar (cane sugar is best)

  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla

  • I small can of evaporated milk

  • 1 regular size can of condensed milk

  • pinch of salt


  • Heat the milk and pour it over the bread. Mash it together.

  • Cream the egg yolks and sugar together. Add it to the bread mash.

  • Add evaporated milk, vanilla, salt, and half of the condensed milk to the bread mash and mix well. Make sure it is very moist but not runny.

  • Place in a buttered, rectangular pan and bake uncovered at 375 degrees for about an hour. Make sure the eggs are cooked and mixture is springy to touch.
    —Extra: This is not necessary, but you MAY want to add this to the pudding. Take the egg whites and combine it with four tablespoons of sugar and beat until it is dissolved and stiff. Pour it over the top of the pudding and return it to the oven and brown at 350 degrees.

  • Drizzle the remainder of the condensed milk over the top and serve warm.

Rum Sauce

If you want to add a Rum Sauce to the top of this bread pudding, here is a recipe you may enjoy:

  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter

  • ¼ cup water

  • 1/3 cup sugar (cane sugar is best)

  • 1 ½ tablespoon dark rum

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • Bring the butter, sugar, water, and rum to a boil in a small saucepan. Cook until the sugar dissolves, making sure to stir continuously. This should take about 3–5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Let it stand for a couple of minutes, pouring it warm over the pudding. YUM! You can top it with a little bit of whipped cream too.



Molasses Cookies (for Dogs!)

Molasses Cookies recipe (for dogs or three-legged deer)

Aurora would have baked these in Tina’s Novella Christmas at the Inn on Cloud Hill.


  • 2 cups cornmeal

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 tbsp molasses

  • 1/2 cup chicken broth

  • 1/2 cup powdered milk


Preheat oven to 400º. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients. Blend until smooth. Roll this mixture out ¼ inch thick and cut into shapes or shape into dog biscuits by hand. Place 1 inch apart on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.



Dill Pickle Soup

Ania’s Dill Pickle Soup from Outlanta, a Second Chance Novella


  • 1 whole Yellow Onion

  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

  • 1 Tablespoon Butter

  • 2 cups Water

  • 2 14.5 Oz. cans of organic Chicken Broth

  • 1 cup Dill Pickle Juice

  • 5 whole Large Potatoes

  • 4 whole Dill Pickles

  • 1 whole Rib Of Celery

  • 1 whole Carrot

  • 1 teaspoon Salt

  • ½ teaspoons Black Pepper

  • 1 cup Sour Cream

  • 2 Tablespoons Flour


1. Peel and finely dice the onion.

2. Heat the oil and butter in a stockpot over medium heat and add the onions. Cook until translucent, about 4 or 5 minutes. Add water, broth, pickle juice and turn heat to high and bring to a boil.

3. While the liquid is heating up, peel and dice potatoes, shred the pickles, peel and dice the carrot, finely slice the celery.

4. Once liquid is boiling, add the vegetables, pickles, salt, and pepper. Cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

5. As the vegetables are cooking, whisk the sour cream and the flour in a bowl. Scoop about 1/2 cup of the liquid from the pot and slowly pour it into the sour cream while you whisk. Repeat this 2 more times to temper the cream so it doesn’t curdle when you add it to the soup.

6. When the potatoes are tender, reduce heat to medium and add the sour cream mixture to the pot and stir until you have a nice creamy soup. Cook about 5 minutes to thicken the soup and heat it through.

7. Serve immediately. It is traditional to garnish with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of fresh chopped dill. It taste really good to serve it with toasted rye bread.



Cajun Sticky Chicken

Down-the-Bayou Cajun Sticky Chicken


  • 3 lbs frying chicken pieces (legs and thighs best!)

  • 3 tbsp Canola Oil 

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Tony Chacheré Original seasoning to taste (or add garlic and onion powder)

  • 2 tbsp of water 

  • Black Cast Iron Skillet (best but any skillet can be used)


  • Coat chicken with salt, pepper, and Tony Chacheré seasoning. Heat oil in skillet. Place chicken in skillet and let it sit without turning until it “unsticks” when you shake the skillet. Flip chicken and repeat until all sides are sticky and a beautiful orangey/dark golden brown color—about 20–30 minutes. Add water at the end to deglaze the skillet.
    C’est si bon…td


Stay in touch with Tina