Emma Rogers and Tyson Bird are junior journalism majors who write "Dinner for 2ish" for the Daily News. Their views do not necessarily agree with those of the paper.

We started cooking together in the summer of 2015 and have planned and cooked a dinner every week since. Our recipes are often inspired by the New York Times’ cooking website but are adapted to fit Muncie availability and a college budget. For Fat Tuesday, we made a Cajun/Creole dish called "étouffée," a spicy stew served over rice.


Estimated cost per serving: $3.25

Ingredients bought for this recipe Ingredients we had on-hand
  • Green onions (Marsh, $0.50)
  • Celery (Meijer, $2)
  • Bell pepper (Meijer, $1)
  • White onion (Meijer, $1.50)
  • Garlic (Meijer, $0.50)
  • 1 can Rotel (Meijer, $1.50)
  • 3 cups chicken stock (Target, $3)
  • 3 cups cheddar cheese (Meijer, $3.50)
  • 1 cup half and half (Meijer, $3)
  • 1.5 teaspoons Tony Chachere’s 
    Creole Seasoning (Meijer, $3)
  • 1 lb cooked meat (we used crab
    but sausage, chicken or vegetarian
    would also be good)
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • Rice (for serving)
Equipment used:

Small and large pot, stove, knife


1. Chop the green onion, celery, bell pepper, white onion and garlic and place them on a plate. You want to end up with about a cup of each, but we didn’t really measure. If you aren’t a big fan of something, the taste won’t be affected much by reducing an ingredient.

2. Start cooking your rice. If you like instant rice, this could be done as a last step.

3. Next, make a roux. This is a fancy word for flour and fat — in this case, melt the stick of butter and whisk in the 1/2 cup of flour. 

4. Once the roux is golden brown, add all of the chopped vegetables and cook over medium-high heat until everything gets soft. We cooked the mixture for about 10 minutes, but it could have gone longer.

5. Add the chicken stock and bring the whole works to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until it thickens (about 10 minutes). Stir in the cheese, one cup at a time, then add the half and half and creole seasoning. If you like spicy food, feel free to add more.

6. Once the half and half has reduced a little bit, add the meat (if desired) and you’re ready to eat!

7. Serve the étouffée over rice. We added a side of bread topped with butter and creole seasoning (baked for a few minutes until toasty).


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