Mussels with Creole Sauce

"In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king." - Desiderius Erasmus

Let me make a quick announcement: I lost 2 pounds! It may not seem like much to you, or much to me when I think of the -45 pound goal I have for myself, but baby steps count, specially if you've been having weight-loss battles your entire life. I've been watching what I eat, working out for at least 30 minutes a day, and drinking almost half my weight in water, and I feel better and healthier. Now that the weekend's coming up, it's going to be a little hard to keep the goal in mind, but this is where I can start to experiment with healthier foods or tastier alternatives to junk food. Such as this recipe, for example. I've always associated eating mussels as part of paella, but I've never thought of making them separately as the star of the show. In comes this recipe from my Better Homes & Gardens book. It seemed like a great recipe to try, with lots of seasonings and flavor, and hey, how unhealthy can it really be? The heartiness of this recipe makes this a great dish to either serve as an appetizer or as a main dish. It's also really easy to make, so it can serve as a good date-night recipe to either cook with your partner or cook for your partner. When making, it's your choice whether you'd like to use fresh mussels, or frozen, but I used frozen. I bet all the herbs and ingredients in the Creole Sauce can be used to even adapt this recipe to fish, or chicken. Hmmm... makes me wonder. For any of you who know more about Creole cooking, does this recipe or do the ingredients match up to an authentic Creole flavor profile? I'd love to hear feedback, since I've never dabbled in it before! Also, I'll make sure to keep you updated on my progress even though I'll still be diversifying my posts between healthy and not-so-healthy; I hope to have your full support! Only positive vibes allowed :)

Mussels with Creole Sauce
adapted from: New Cook Book 14th Edition by Better Homes and Gardens

*makes: 4 servings*

"If you buy live mussels, place them in an open container, cover them with a moist cloth, and chill them for up to five days. Remove the beards just before cooking. Once debearded, the mussels will die."

1 1/4 lbs frozen mussels in shells
1 cup salt
1 small green sweet pepper, finely chopped
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp sweet unsalted butter
1 tsp Louisiana Cajun seasoning
1 cup white cooking wine
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 tsp snipped fresh oregano
2 tsp snipped fresh thyme
8 French dinner rolls
lemon wedges

1) Scrub frozen mussels under cold running water. In an 8-quart Dutch oven, combine 4 quarts cold water and 1/3 cup of the salt. Add the mussels; soak for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse, discarding water. Repeat twice with the remaining salt and additional water.
2) In a large Dutch oven, cook and stir sweet pepper, onion, and garlic in hot butter over medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Add Cajun seasoning; cook and stir for 2 minutes more.
3) Carefully add wine; bring to boiling. Add mussels. Cook, covered, for 5 to 7 minutes or until shells open and mussels are cooked through. Discard any that do not open.
4) Using a slotted spoon, transfer mussels to a large shallow serving bowl; set aside. Stir tomato, oregano, and thyme into cooking liquid in Dutch oven; heat through. Pour tomato mixture over mussels. Serve with bread and lemon wedges.

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