A Cajun Dinner:  SPICY EGGPLANT DIP / CAJUN 15 – BEAN SOUP WITH FAUX BACON – TOMATO – ONION – GARLIC / SPICY CHICKEN WITH SHAKE ‘N BAKE EXTRA CRISPY SEASONING – CAYENNE

–Cajun 15 bean soup mix (one –half, packaged – must be soaked overnight)

–onion (1, divided, medium)

–diced tomatoes (one-half can)

–garlic powder

–Bacn’ pieces (soy bacon)

–smoked turkey slices (sandwich meat, 6 slices)

–lemon juice

–eggplant (1, medium, fresh – cooked ahead of time, to cool)

–red wine (cooking wine is fine)

–parsley (1 handful, fresh)

–mayonnaise (1 tablespoon, optional)

–salt and pepper

–olive oil

–4 chicken tenderloins or breast strips

–Shake ‘n Bake extra crispy seasoning mix (one-half package)

–cayenne pepper

–Cajun seasoning (or try Creole, available in most supermarkets)

–crackers (for eggplant dip)

1 – After soaking all night, place one-half of the Cajun 15 bean package in a slow cooker.  Add one-half chopped onion, one-half can of diced tomatoes, a sprinkle of lemon juice, diced smoked turkey slices, salt, pepper, one-half of the Cajun spices (comes in the package with the beans), two drops of olive oil, a sprinkle of Bac’n pieces, and 3 cups of water.  Stir.  Cook on high in the slow cooker for 8 to 10 hours.  When finished, keep on warm setting.

2 – Wash the eggplant and pierce all around with a fork.  Microwave for 5 minutes on high; then turn over, and microwave for 5 minutes more.  Let cool (you can use the refrigerator).  Chop one-half onion into fine pieces and chop handful of fresh parsley, adding both to mixing bowl.  Add 2 tablespoons of red wine to the bowl.  Open and slice the eggplant two ways, discarding the skin; then place in the bowl.  Season with salt, pepper, Cajun spice, cayenne pepper, olive oil, and garlic powder.  Stir well.  Refrigerate until serving time.

3 – Place the chicken in a plastic bag.  Season with salt, pepper, Cajun spice, cayenne, and olive oil.  Pour half a package of Shake ‘n Bake extra crispy seasoning mix into the plastic bag.  Shake well.  Place the chicken in a covered baking dish with a little water.  Microwave on high for 5 minutes.

4 – Serve the eggplant with crackers as an appetizer.  Then serve a cup of soup with the chicken.

–eggplant dip adapted from Real Simple; bean soup adapted from package instructions; chicken adapted from Shake ‘n Bake package instructions.

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