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  • Writer's pictureTommy Centola

Birthday girl shares favorite recipes

Today is a very special day for me. It’s my wife, Peggy’s, birthday. It also kicks off our birthday week. So instead of putting together a collection of recipes, I asked her what are some of her favorite ones. Obviously, not all of them made this list. Some I have shared recently.

I was able to find an appetizer, entree and dessert that she ask me to cook over and over. The appetizer was created right here in Searcy, Voodoo Rolls. The entree is an old New Orleans classic, Panée Veal. For dessert, I went to my mom’s collection of recipes for Mom’s Cheesecake. These are among her favorite recipes that are cooked often in my kitchen. To celebrate her birthday, Let’s head to the kitchen!

Voodoo Rolls

Of the three dishes here, this is the only one that is my original creation. Once after a crawfish boil, I was thinking of an appetizer I could make with the leftover ingredients. I grabbed some egg roll wrappers at the store and went to work. It’s a great dish that has never been changed since the first time I made it. Peggy loves it.

10 ounces crawfish tails

2 teaspoons Creole seasoning

¼ cup minced onions

3 cloves garlic, minced

6 ounces andouille sausage, cut in a small dice

5 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

20 egg roll wrappers

Put Creole seasoning on crawfish and toss to cover. Sauté onions and garlic in Worcestershire sauce for 2 minutes. Add crawfish and Andouille. Sauté for 3 minutes. Drain and allow to cool. Mix cheese with the cool meat mixture. Place egg roll wrapper on a dry surface. Place 2 Tablespoons of the meat and cheese mixture in a roll in the middle of the wrapper. Fold the sides of the wrapper ½ inch over the mixture. Wet one end and roll the egg roll toward that end. Press to seal. Fry rolls at 375℉ until golden, about 2 minutes. Make sure to turn the rolls so that both sides cook evenly.

Panée Veal

When it comes to entrees, Peggy has simple taste. Case in point is the next recipe; Panée Veal. This dish is also great when prepared with chicken. I honestly feel if it was up to her, she would choose to eat this once a week.

8 3-ounce slices of veal

½ cup flour

1½ teaspoons Creole seasoning

2 eggs beaten

¾ cup seasoned breadcrumbs

¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Olive oil

Fresh parsley chopped

Pound the veal with a meat tenderizer between 2 pieces of plastic wrap until each piece is doubled in size. Mix the flour and Creole seasoning together. On another platter, mix the breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese together. Lightly dust the veal in the flour. Dip the veal in the egg, shaking off the excess. Dredge veal through the breadcrumb mixture, shaking off the excess. Heat about ½ inch olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. It is hot enough when a pinch of breadcrumbs fries quickly. Cook the veal, not crowding the pan, for about 1½ minutes per side, or until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels. Garnish with parsley when serving.

Mom’s Cheesecake

One of her favorite desserts is also one of mine. I fell in love with this cheesecake at an early age. Peggy did shortly after we met. It’s not your traditional cheesecake. It’s more like a cheese pie. It is creamy and silky. My family thinks it’s the best.


2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1 stick margarine, melted

½ cup sugar


2 8oz cream cheese

2 eggs

2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1 8oz sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons sugar

For the crust: Mix graham cracker crumbs, margarine and sugar. Press into 9”pie pan.

For the filling: Blend all ingredients for filling until smooth. Pour into pie crust. Bake at 375℉ for 20 Minutes. Cool for 15 minutes

For the topping: Mix topping and smooth over cooled cheesecake

Bake again at 425℉ for 10 minutes.

Peggy has been very important to me and my writings. She has edited every single article and cookbook recipe I have written. She is a gift from God and I’m blessed to have her as my wife. If you happen to run into her or know her on Facebook, wish her Happy Birthday!

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