From The Kitchen Of Rachelle Underwood

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Easy homemade Soft Pretzels

I was on the hunt to find a pretzel recipe that was easy, but definitely had the taste factor as well.  I tried this recipe out with preschoolers!!!! and it turned out amazing.  Super easy.  Alot of pretzel recipes require you to cook the pretzel in hot water/baking soda solution.  This recipe uses that method, but you just put the water and baking soda in a shallow dish.  Super simple, and flavorful.  As with all "bread" recipes, it is recommended to enjoy this the day of.  You could do so many options for toppings on these pretzels.  I did cinnamon and sugar, and also pink Himalayan salt (from Costco).  Both were equally good.  Get creative and have fun with this. Recipe and picture credit here.
Image result for soft pretzels

Easy Homemade Pretzels

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 package active dry yeast (not rapid rise yeast) (1 package contains 1/4 oz. or approximately 2 1/4 tsp.)
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided (2 tablespoons for the dough; 3 tablespoons for brushing on finished pretzels)
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/3 cup baking soda
  • Coarse salt, to taste*
  1.  Warm milk in the microwave until very warm; pour into a medium bowl and sprinkle in the yeast. Let the yeast soften, about 2 minutes; stir in the brown sugar and 1 cup of the flour with a wooden spoon. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and stir into the mix. Add the remaining 1 ¼ cups flour and fine salt to make a sticky dough. Add more flour if necessary (you'll probably need a few tablespoons) to form dough into a ball. Either knead doygh by hand or use your kitchen aid mixer and knead for 5 min, adding a little bit more flour to prevent sticking on the sides.  Shape into a ball, place in a clean, lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.. Punch the dough to deflate it, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Roll and stretch each piece with the palms of your hands into a 30-inch rope, holding the ends and slapping the middle of the rope on the counter as you stretch. Form each into a pretzel shape (form a U-shape, then holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press firmly onto the bottom of the pretzel).
  3. Dissolve the baking soda in 3 cups warm water in a shallow baking dish. Gently dip each pretzel in the soda solution, then arrange on a prepared baking sheet (re-shaping if necessary) and sprinkle lightly with course salt. Bake until golden, 10 – 12 minutes. Melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter and brush on baked pretzels. The pretzels are best enjoyed fresh on the same day.
  4. *If you prefer a cinnamon sugar topping, omit the coarse salt. Brush with butter after baking and sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar (1/2 cup sugar plus about 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon)


Monday, March 27, 2017

Artisan Bread (Fool Proof)

I again got this recipe from my friend Jenny J.  She makes homemade bread for her family a ton.  Number one because they are picky eaters and she knows they will eat bread, and number two is because she is a rock star and cooks for her family every night.  This recipe is so easy because there is no kneading involved.  Because of that it's more of a bread to enjoy right when it comes out of the oven.  I usually cut the leftovers up and freeze it in the freezer and use it for toast.  The texture is chewy, with a crispy outside.  The bread is super flavorful. 
    Image result for artisan bread

 Artisan Bread (Fool Proof)

1 1/2 tbs yeast
2 tsp sugar
3 C warm/hot water

Combine these ingredients in a bowl, and let yeast activate.

6 1/2 C flour
1 1/2 Tbs kosher salt
Any other mix ins (dried herbs, garlic, etc)

Add these ingredients to the yeast mixture.  Stir all together to combine and form a ball in the bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap, and let sit on the counter for 2-3 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place a glass loaf pan or 9x13 pan on the lower rack filled with 1-2 cups water.  (This creates steam in the oven for optimal texture).

Pour dour out onto a well floured counter, form into 2 large rounds or 4 smaller rounds.  Place on a jelly roll pan sprayed with cooking spray.  Cut slits using a serrated knife on the top of bread for design.  Let dough rise for another 20-30 min. Bake for 30 minutes in the oven. Remove to a cooling rack. 

Jenny J's Chocolate Chip Cookies

My dearest friend Jenny J lives here in Hawaii with me.  She is a wonderful baker.  She has been a true friend, and a constant support of my life! I love her and will miss her so much when we move apart.
Every year for Christmas she gives us some of her chocolate chip cookie dough, and it is seriously my favorite goodie during Christmas time.  Luckily, she gave me the recipe, and I can eat these cookies year around!   I love these cookies so much that I request them on my birthday for my special treat.

Jenny J's Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 c butter, softened
3/4 c sugar
3/4 c brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2  c + 3 tbs flour
1 c chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine butter and sugars together until blended.  Add egg and vanilla, mix.  Add flour, baking soda, and salt, and mix until combined. Dough will be stiff.  Add chocolate chips, stir. 
Scoop or drop dough by large tablespoons onto a cookie sheet (I use a jelly roll pan).  Bake for 8 min. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Cashew Chicken

This recipe is a hit with my family.  Its quick and easy to throw together and can feed a crowd.  I serve broccoli and brown rice on the side.

Cashew Chicken

 Cashew chicken 9

  • 3/4 cup roasted, unsalted cashews
  • 1-1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenderloins, cut into 1-1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 scallions (1 bunch), white and green parts separated, each cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons hoisin sauce, best quality such as Kikkoman or Lee Kum Kee
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon Asian sesame oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Place the cashews on a baking sheet in a single layer. Toast in the oven until fragrant, about 5 minutes. (They will crisp up as they cool.)
  3. Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat evenly.
  4. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil over high heat until very hot. Add half of the chicken to the skillet and stir-fry (stir as you cook) until lightly browned but not cooked through, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  5. Add the remaining tablespoon vegetable oil to the skillet; then add remaining chicken, garlic and white parts of the scallions. Stir-fry until the chicken is lightly browned but not cooked through, about 3 minutes. Return the first batch of chicken to the pan. Turn the heat down to medium and add the rice vinegar; cook until evaporated, about 30 seconds.
  6. Add the hoisin sauce, soy sauce and water; cook, tossing, until the chicken is cooked through, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Stir in the scallion greens, cashews and sesame oil. Serve immediately

Monday, January 26, 2015

Creamy Lime Cilantro Slaw

Our family loves "slaw".  Its crunchy and a change from eating salads.  This slaw is good as a side or used on BBQ beef sandwiches.  I also have used it with fish tacos and regular tacos.  Super delicious, and when I make this, my boys go back fro seconds.  The dressing made enough for 2 separate meals.  I just put it in the fridge and used it later during the week.

Creamy Lime Cilantro Slaw

1/2 head of cabbage, shredded
2-3 green onion, sliced thinly
1/3 c cilantro, chopped

1/2 c mayo
1/2 c sour cream
4-5 tbs lime juice
1 tsp lime zest (optional)
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Combine dressing ingredients, test for flavor.  Combine slaw ingredients, and add dressing right before serving.  Add enough dressing to make it flavorful.  Refrigerate any leftovers.