From The Kitchen Of Rachelle Underwood

Friday, December 30, 2011

Homemade Hummus

This recipe is really good! I have always, always, always loved hummus. I have never made it, because the one ingredient I was always missing was tahini (ground sesame seed paste). Well, I bought it at the store today, and I made it. I can't believe I have not made hummus myself until now. I love that I can pull it out of the fridge and dip baby carrots into it for a quick snack. Pita bread and pita chips would be simply TDF with this hummus. This hummus would also be amazing served along grilled chicken and a salad. Don't do what I did and put off making your own hummus until you buy tahini. Buy it on your next grocery trip!

Homemade Hummus

3 tbs fresh lemon juice
1/4 c. water
6 tbs tahini
2 tbs olive oil
1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans (rinsed and drained)
1 small garlic clove
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cumin

In a food processor or blender combine garbanzo beans, cumin, garlic clove and salt. Pulse until ground, scrape down the sides. In a small measuring cup combine water and lemon juice. Slowly pour water/lemon juice mixture into food processor while it is running, and let run for about 1 minute. Combine tahini and olive oil, and while the processor is running, slowly pour that mixture in. Pulse until nice and creamy. Serve with any vegetable, pita bread or meats. Garnish with cilantro, flat leaf parsley and or paprika.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Jared's Mixed Berry Pie

For Christmas day I was planning a menu. I consulted with my husband to find out what he wanted, and i suggested to him that I could make a mixed berry pie. He loves tart desserts, and I had just bought a big bag of mixed frozen berries at Costco. (This is the only way to do berries in Hawaii, they are SUPER expensive and they don't last the boat ride over.) So I used Mabel's Pie Crust found here, and looked at different recipes for the filling. I like this recipe because it has lemon zest and lemon juice, which add another layer of flavor. The pie turned out fabulous. It was nice and tart, served with vanilla ice cream, it will be his new favorite. If you want a slightly sweeter pie, add a few more tablespoons of sugar to the filling.

Jared's Mixed Berry Pie

1 recipe for Mabel's Pie Crust found here
4 c fresh or frozen mixed berries
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. flour
1/8 tsp salt
2-3 tsp lemon zest
3 tbs lemon juice
1 1/2 tbs butter

If using frozen berries, partially thaw them in a colander before hand. Make pie crust for two pies. For filling, mix all ingredients except for butter. Make sure to mix lightly, as berries are very delicate. Pour filling into unbaked pie crust, top filling with dots of butter. Place top crust on pie, seal, and cover the edges of pie crust with foil. Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until crust is golden. Remove foil the last 15 minutes of baking. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Cheesy Potato Casserole

YUM! I love this side dish during the holidays. I really only eat it this during the holidays because it is super rich, feeds a crowd, and goes amazing with ham. This recipe is nothing new to the general public. However, since it is one of my favorites, I thought I would add it to the collection. This can be served alongside any type of meat, its like a sped up version of potatoes gratin. Enough said, here is the recipe.

Cheesy Potato Casserole

30 oz. bag frozen, shredded hash browns
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 c. sour cream
1 1/2 c grated cheddar cheese
1/2 c melted butter
1/2 c chopped onion

In a sauce pan, saute butter and onion until onion is transluscent. Combine all ingredients into a large bowl, and mix well. Pour mixture into an ungreased 9x13 pan, bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes or until bubbly and hot.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Candy Bar Cookie Cups

I tried a new recipe. I get a couple of cooking magazines, and this recipe comes from the Betty Crocker magazine for this month. There were a ton of recipes that were very tempting. I decided to try this one, because I liked the ease factor and also the flavor combination. I have always really liked the Betty Crocker cookie mixes that you just add an egg and a stick of butter to. They are really good, and speed up the whole baking process. You could use any candy bar for this recipe, they would be good with any. If you really want to go easy, buy the frosting in the tub, but I just had to make my own. And by the way, these would be good anytime of year, especially if you want to get rid of old Halloween candy.

Candy Bar Cookie Cups

1 pkg Betty Crocker Peanut Butter Cookie Mix (prepared as directed on the package)
18 miniture Snickers bites, cut each one in half
1 container pre-made chocolate frosting (or make your own...that's what I did)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Shape dough into 36, 1-inch balls. Press into ungreased mini-muffin pan. Press a piece of candy bar into the middle of each ball. Bake for 9-10 minutes, until edges are light golden brown. Cool completely in the pan before removing them. Spoon frosting into a small zip-lock bag. Cut the corner tip, and pipe the frosting on top of each cookie cup. use sprinkles to decorate the top.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Vanilla Cupcakes with Apple Cider Buttercream

This is a new recipe that I'm really excited about. I got the idea for it when I saw the grocery store ad, and apple cider packets were on sale. I thought, wouldn't that be an awesome flavoring for a frosting? Well, it did turn out to be exactly what I thought, TDF! I also found a really good "made from scratch" vanilla buttermilk cupcake recipe on Baking Bites, a food blog on the web. Combine the two and this cupcake is a winner. This recipe can be doubled if you want to make 24 cupcakes. The true test taste was my husband. He ate one when he got home from work, and I didn't tell him what was in it. I asked him what he thought it tasted like. He replied saying he thought it tasted apple cinnamon like.....YES! Just what I was looking for! (P.S. try using a cream cheese frosting and add the flavoring to that would be really good.)

Vanilla Cupcakes with Apple Cider Buttercream

Vanilla Cupcakes:

1 1/3 c flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. butter, softened
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 c buttermilk (or 1 cup milk and 1 tbs vinegar, combine and let sit for 10 min.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees line muffin pan with liners. Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl. Mix together sugar and butter, add egg and vanilla, and mix well. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternatively until just combined. Evenly distribute batter into muffin pan. Bake for 15-20 or until done. Do not over bake! Let cool, frost with apple cider buttercream.

Apple Cider Buttercream:

1/4 c. butter, softened
1 packet instant apple cider
1 tbs. water
dash of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
milk for desired consistency
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon
2 1/2 - 3 c. powdered sugar

In a small bowl dissolve instant apple cider with water, stir and let sit for a minute. Combine butter, sugar, pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon and apple cider liquid. Add a pinch of salt to bring out flavor. Add milk to reach desired consistency.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Mabel's Pie Crust

Making your own pie crust can be very intimidating. My mother has always made a perfect flaky crust, and I just now feel like I can measure up to that. This recipe was found in a 1971 Betty Crocker Cookbook that was my Grandma Mabel's. She passed away almost 15 years ago. She was known for her amazing pies. I love having a hard copy of this recipe book because in the pie section there are splotches of whatever pie she was literally whipping up. So, when I'm cooking from this book, I am reminded of her free spirit, giving, and accepting mentality. Most of all her love of cooking that I feel was genetically determined in myself.

Don't be afraid to try making your own crust. Practice makes perfect. Get the courage and just do it! (Double recipe for a 2 crust pie)

Mabel's Pie Crust

8 or 9 inch one-crust pie

1 c flour
1/2 rounded tsp salt
1/3 c plus 1 tbs shortening
2-3 tablespoons cold water

Measure flour, salt and shortening into a bowl. With a fork, cut the shortening into the flour until mixture resembles pea sized balls. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing with a fork each time, until dough comes together. Dough should not be too wet. When you push on the dough it should stick together. Lightly flour table surface and roll dough out to a 10-11 inch round. fold circle in half and transfer to pie plate, unfolding crust once it is in the plate. Trim excess pie dough if needed. Bake according to recipe that you are making. (If doing a pre-baked pie crust, prick pie crust all over with a fork, and bake at 475 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Light Loaded Potato Soup

Living in Hawaii, I have had a hard time being inspired by “fall weather” food. I live in the endless summer, where you never ever hear yourself saying, “Oooo, lets get our warm jammies on and cuddle underneath a blanket.” My house never has any windows closed, and when it is dumping rain, my boys are playing outside under our lanai. However, I love, love, love soups! They are easy, one-pot meals. My husband does not like soups, he says they make him sweat…especially in Hawaii. Anyways, this recipe is simply to die for. Not only is it WAY less fattening than the other recipes out there, but the flavor is amazing. I used to feel bad about eating creamy-based soups,but this recipe I don’t. I use skim milk, reduced fat sour cream, and way less butter than what normal cream based soups call for. Triumph! Granted this soup doesn’t have a gravy like thickness that the full fat version has, but that kind of “eeks” me out anyways. It gets thicker, the longer it sits, so I usually make it ahead, and leave it on the stove for a little bit. This was pretty fast to throw together as well, as long as you have all the ingredients in hand.

Light Loaded Potato Soup

6 slices bacon
1/2 c onion, chopped
4-5 russet potatoes, depending on size
2 tbs butter
2 tbs reserved bacon drippings
1/3 c flour
4 c skim milk (or whatever you have on hand)
1 can chicken broth
1 c reduced fat sour cream
1 1/4 c. medium or sharp cheddar cheese, grated
4-5 green onion, sliced thinly
Salt and pepper to taste

Peel, and cube potatoes. In a large pot, bring potatoes to boil, salt water to flavor (should be almost like the ocean water). Cook until done, drain, and set aside. In same pot cook bacon until crispy and brown. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain. Reserve 2 tablespoons of bacon grease in the pot. Add onion and butter, cook until translucent and soft. Add flour, to onions, and continue to stir and cook for about 1 minute. With a whisk, slowly add milk, whisking constantly to break up any lumps, add chicken broth. Over medium heat continue to stir, for about 5-7 minutes. Place about 2 cups of cooked potato into a bowl, and smash it with a fork, add this to the soup. Add remaining cooked potatoes, cheese, and bacon. Stir over medium/high heat until a slightly thick consistency. Turn off heat, add sour cream and green onions. Salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Amazing Asian Dressing

This dressing so awesome! I love it! You could throw it on anything and it tastes good. You could drizzle it over any kind of meat for an Asian flare. The recipe doesn't make a ton as written, but could be dobled, or tripled. I love the strong sesame taste, and this tastes as good or even better than any Asian dressing I hvae had at a restaurant.

Amazing Asian Dressing

2 tbs sesame oil
2 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs sugar
2 tbs rice vinegar
2 tsp pepper
1 tbs sesame seeds
1 tbs mayo
1 tsp lemon juice

Mix all ingredients together well to make sure sugar has dissolved. Serve on any salad, drizzled over meat or vegetables.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Smallest Batch of Cookies...EVER!

Sometimes I get a craving at night for cookies. Cookies are my 1st choice of dessert, and because they are so tempting to me I sometimes don't want alot of them around. I also sometimes don't want to cook a million batches late at takes too much time.
My sister Lana and I, most of the time resort to making a batch of No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Oat Cookies (I need to post this one, recipe to come). We have dwindled down the recipe so that it makes only about four or five cookies. That recipe is easy to downsize because it has no eggs or baking soda in it.
This cookie recipe is awesome for those times where you want a batch of chocolate chip cookies but don't want a ton..just enough to satisfy a craving. There are many variations to this recipe. Try putting whatever chips, nuts, or candy you want in them. For a peanut butter taste, add a tablespoon of peanut butter to the mix. If you want oats, add 2 tablespoons of oats. If you don't have a measuring spoon that measures out 1/8th of a tsp...eyeball it using the 1/4th measure.

The Smallest Batch of Cookies...EVER!

3 tbs butter, softened
3 tbs sugar
3 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs egg (crack egg into bowl, whisk it really good, and measure it into a measuring spoon.)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt (just slightly under)
1/2 c flour
however many chips or mix ins you want (about 1/3 c)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine butter and sugar until creamy. Add vanilla and egg, mix well. Add baking soda, salt and flour, mix until combined. Add mix-ins. Spoon dough onto cookie sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes or until desired doneness. Makes about 8 cookies.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Chicken, Mushroom and Spinach Alfredo Lasagna

If you like lasagna, this a an excellent twist on a recipe that I found on Food Network. I changed it a little bit to fit my palate. Be aware, this is a decadent meal (so don't think about the calories), but tastes very restaurant quality. Surprisingly it is pretty quick to throw together, and my kids loved it. You could omit or add any extra ingredients that you have. You could put many other vegetables and call it a Lasagna Primavera! That would be awesome.To make it a little lighter, I'm sure you could use 1 percent milk, but I would not recommend using nonfat. Using no boil lasagna noodles also reduces clean up and time. This makes a ton of food!

Chicken, Mushroom and Spinach Alfredo Lasagna

1/2 c butter(1 stick)
1 pound of mushrooms, sliced thinly
1 c onion, finely chopped
3 tbs garlic, minced
1/2 c flour
7 c milk (I use 2 percent or whole)
2 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 pound of spinach (I bought the frozen leaves in a bag)
2 c Parmesan cheese, grated
1 c mozzarella cheese
2 pounds of chicken breast, cooked and cubed (season w/ salt and pepper)
1 pound of No boil lasagna noodles

Melt butter into a large saucepan. Add mushrooms and cook until browned. Add garlic and onion and cook until onion is translucent. Add flour and stir for about 1 minute to cook the raw flour taste out. With a whisk, slowly add the milk, making sure there are no lumps. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1 1/2 cups of the Parmesan cheese and spinach. Cook on medium high heat until thickened slightly. (5-10 minutes) Taste white sauce to make sure it is seasoned enough. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray cooking spray on a 9x13x3 inch pan (make sure the pan is deep). Put a small layer of white sauce in the bottom of the pan. Layer noodles on top, then chicken, then parmesan cheese and mozzarella, then white sauce, and more noodles. repeat these layers until all ingredients have been used up. Sprinkle the top with the last of the mozzarella cheese. Place on a cookie sheet and back for 45 minute until brown and bubbly on top. Let sit for 20 minutes until serving.

Note: You may need slightly less than the entire package of lasagna noodles, depending on the pan used for the casserole. Also, you may be able to fit more than 3 pieces of pasta in each layer, depending. The pasta can be broken into smaller pieces to fill in the gaps.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

Every time I think of this recipe, I want to make these incredible cookies. It has every flavor profile: sweet, salty, chewy, soft, flavorful! It's yet another way that chocolate and peanut butter go so well together. I love the addition of oats for some chewy texture. You could put any kind of chips in these. If you are a HUGE peanut butter lover, peanut butter chips would take these over the top in the peanut butter category. If you are feeling even more devilish, try putting a thin coat of chocolate frosting on the top. (Not that they need anything...they are good as is).

Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

1 c sugar
1 c brown sugar
1 c butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 c peanut butter
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 c flour
2 c oats
3/4-1 c milk chocolate chips

Combine sugars and butter until fluffy. Add eggs, and vanilla, mix. Add peanut butter, until combined well. Add dry ingredients to wet, mix until incorporated. Add chocolate chips. Bake at 325 degrees for 10-12 minutes (depending on how well done you like your cookies, adjust the time to more or less)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Flour Tortillas (Gorditas)

It's been awhile, I know. Life has not been abnormally busy, but I just needed to take a break from recipe experimentation. But, I'm back and have some new recipes coming your way! I'm thinking about publishing all the recipes on this blog into one cookbook, including some bonus recipes. However, I wanted to know from my followers/friends if this is something worth putting time into. Answer the poll question to your left! Thanks!
I have another flour tortilla recipe on this blog, but it has alot more shortening in it. While it's good, this recipe is awesome! The tortilla has body to it, kind of like a gordita that you would get at Taco Bell. These tortillas are super good for wraps, tacos, and a replacement for pita bread or any flat bread. They are super flavorful, soft, and make any meal TDF! They store very well in the fridge, you just need to reheat them in a dry skillet on high until warmed. Don't worry if you can't roll out a perfect circle. My tortillas are not perfectly round, they are much more rustic looking.
You could try substituting one cup of whole wheat flour to these a little more healthy. However, I like white and not wheat....and can't we all agree white tastes better anyways?

Flour Tortillas (Gorditas)

2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp oil
3/4 c lukewarm milk (2 percent is fine)
2 tbs shortening

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and shortening. With your hands, mix the ingredients, incorporating the shortening into the flour. Stir in milk and oil until combined. Pour mixture onto the countertop (it will be dry and crumbly at first, but after kneading, it will come together) and knead until smooth and elastic (about 4 minutes). Return kneaded dough to bowl, cover and let sit for 30 minutes (this is to let the gluten relax, the dough will NOT rise). Using a knife or kitchen scissors, cut large dough ball into 8-10 pieces. Preheat a pancake griddle or a large skillet to medium high heat. Roll out small dough balls until very, very, thin and at least 8-10 inch wide. (the dough will shrink once placed on the griddle). Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side or until done.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Mango Muffins

We have a mango tree in our backyard. Mango season in Hawaii is in the summer, so we have been enjoying amazing mangos! They taste so incredibly good straight from the tree. They are slightly warmed from the sun (I know warmed mango sounds gross, but it's so good). We have probably had about 50 mangos from our trees so far, and probably another 50 to go. My husband eats 3 a day!
We have breakfast for dinner at least once a week in our family. I decided to make these muffins to go with our eggs and bacon. Muffins are a great way to have something sweet on side, when you don't want to make pancakes. Plus, we eat the leftover muffins the next day for breakfast. I think this muffin base is good for any fresh fruit. I packed mine FULL of mangos. My husband said they tasted like mango/peach cobbler. I guess that's a compliment??? if you do not have or like almond extract, leave it out. But, you know how I love anything almond!

Mango Muffins

2 mangos, peeled, and chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 c shredded coconut
2 1/2 c flour
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c brown sugar
1 tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c oil
2 eggs
1 c milk
1 tbs vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract (optional)

In a separate measuring cup, measure milk and vinegar, stir, and then let sit. (You are creating your own buttermilk) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin pan with cooking spray, set aside. In a medium bowl combine sugar, oil, and eggs, mix well. Add vanilla and almond extract, mix. Combine salt, baking soda, and flour in a bowl. Add milk and flour a little bit at a time, until combined. Stir in chopped mango and coconut. Fill muffin tins to the top. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until done.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Corn and Black Bean Salsa

We had some corn on the co leftover from Memorial Day, and I decided to make a corn salsa with it. This is super simple, and you don't have to use fresh corn. You can buy frozen petite white corn, and it will taste super fresh as well. I served this with my fish tacos recipe found here. This would be good as an appetizer with chips or on top a salad with grilled chicken. You could use pinto beans instead of black beans, and you could also use lemon juice instead of lime juice. I used whatever I had on hand. There are so many versions out there, but this is the one I made. I decided against adding any heat, so that my kids could eat it. But, adding 1/2 a jalapeno would make this really good and spicy. The key to a good corn salsa: acidity and salt.

Corn and Black Bean Salsa

2 ears of corn (already cooked) or 1 c frozen white corn, defrosted
1 large tomato, diced
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 c cilantro, minced
1/4 c onion, minced
1/2 tsp garlic salt
juice of one lime
salt and pepper to taste

Mix ingredients all together. Salt and pepper to taste. Let sit in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Stir before serving.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How the process is done....

So, I have decided to share with my followers and friends the process which it takes to keep this blog going. 2 years ago, I typed up a bunch of my recipes, and copied them off, bounded them together, and created a cookbook called TDF Recipes. It was so much work to type every single recipe out at one time. I decided that I was going to start a blog, to make it easier to compile my recipes. I discovered along the way how much I loved this new publishing hobby of mine. It is fun for me to help others in the kitchen with ideas, recipes, and tips. And it is so nice when someone asks me for a recipe, I can say "its on the blog". Besides the fact that now, I have a great collection for myself online.I think it is absolutely necessary to have a picture with each recipe. I HATE recipe books without pictures, I won't even attempt to make a recipe if it doesn't have a picture. So, to get my pictures, after I cook the recipe that I post, I go to google images and match the picture that matches best with my outcome. I make sure there aren't any ingredients in the picture that aren't in the recipe. This saves me a ton of time. I'm not a photographer,and I don't have any interest in being one. This blog is a hobby, not a business.
The process of getting my recipes comes through several different outlets. I watch alot of Food Network cooking shows, read cookbooks, and read other cooking blogs. Through these outlets, I'm able to learn what flavors go together, and then I customize the recipe to fit my palate.
This hobby is so much fun for me, and I enjoy the "no pressure" element that comes with my food blog. I appreciate all the followers and readers that visit my blog regularly. It really makes my day when a recipe turns out for you. Thanks again for reading! I look forward to sharing many more TDF recipes with you! And just because I can't resist, here is a recipe for an easy party's a family favorite!

Party Punch

1 large can pinneapple juice (chilled)
1 (2 liter) bottle Sprite or 7-up (chilled)

Combine the two togther, and serve.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Chicken, Avocado, and Cilantro Open Faced Sandwich

This opened faced sandwich is so incredibly good and original. It is a good way to use up grilled chicken from the night before. I like to use a good quality sourdough bread or an artisan type of bread. You need something substantial. White bread or wheat bread would be nasty! Ciabatta, or any of the Artisan breads you can get at Costco work really well. Remember to toast bread slightly before assembling. The flavored mayo is what makes this sandwich special, so don't leave it out. I have never made this for lunch, it is a balanced meal in itself. You could serve some fresh fruit on the side as well. I love that it has all the textures and flavors : crunchy, creamy, spicy, salty, and fresh. This recipe is based on making 4 sandwiches on large slices of sourdough bread. So, when making the sandwiches, make them until you run out of ingredients!

Chicken, Avocado and Cilantro Open Faced Sandwich

3-4 grilled chicken breasts, sliced thinly
2 avocado, sliced thinly
1 large tomato, sliced thinly
3/4-1 c shredded cheese (any kind)
1/4 c cilantro, minced
juice of 1/2 lime
2 tsp chili powder
1/3 c mayo
salt and pepper to taste
garlic salt

To make the flavored mayo, combine cilantro, mayo, chili powder, and lime juice. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Before assembling sandwiches, toast bread slightly to take some of the moisture out. Lay bread on a jelly roll or cookie sheet. Spread a generous amount of mayo on each slice of bread. Then put the sliced grilled chicken on top. Top chicken with the avocado, and then with the tomato. Sprinkle tomato with garlic salt. Then place grated cheese on top. Turn the broiler on in your oven and cook sandwiches until brown and bubbly on top.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Southwest Potato Soup

I made this soup tonight and I was thrilled with the outcome. I tried to tell my husband how making a new recipe feels when it has that "to die for" factor. He is a biologist and so I decided to break it down for him. I said "The way I feel about this soup is the way you feel after seeing a rare animal in the wild". He got it! I love cooking because I get to make new discoveries every time I'm in the kitchen.
This soup is so flavorful, and different. I was inspired by my friend Jenny. She makes this Loaded Potato Soup that I love, and so I decided to change it around for a new experience for my palate. The result was amazing! I cut out some of the fat and calories of a typical cream based soup, but did not lose any flavor. If you are afraid of jalapenos, just add half of one for the first time you make this and see if it has enough spice. must make this!

Southwest Potato Soup

5-6 slices of bacon, cut into small pieces
3-4 large russet potatoes
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped (remove seeds and veins)
2 tbs butter
1/3 c flour
3 c chicken broth
1 can fat free evaporated milk
1/2 c milk (about)
1/2 c shredded cheese
1/4 c light sour cream
1/4 c cilantro, minced
salt and pepper to taste

In a medium pot, boil potatoes until fork tender, drain and set aside. In a large pot, brown bacon until crispy. Remove bacon with slotted spoon, and reserve 2 tablespoons of drippings in the pot, and add butter. In the same pot over medium heat cook onion, jalapeno, bell pepper and garlic in the pot until soft. Add flour, and stir, cooking for a minute. Using a whisk, add chicken broth slowly, making sure to whisk so that there aren't any lumps. Using a measuring cup pour evaporated milk and enough milk to equal 2 cups. Add milks to the pot and stir. Take half of cooked potatoes and mash with a spoon. Add both smashed potatoes and cubed potatoes to the soup. Cook and stir the soup until a creamy, thick consistency. Turn off heat, add cheese, sour cream, and cilantro, stirring until well combined. Salt and pepper to taste.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Chicken Bruschetta Pasta

I made this dinner the other night and fell in love! It was so easy, and tasted so incredible. I was able to make it in under 30 minutes, and the kids and hubby loved it too! This is great when you have leftover grilled chicken. Or if you need to grill some chicken up, just marinate it in some Italian dressing. If you like garlic you will love this! If you are not so fond of garlic, leave it will still taste good. Remember to salt and pepper to taste!

Chicken Bruschetta Pasta

3 large (or 6 small) tomatoes, chopped
2 1/2 tbs prepared basil pesto (I buy the Costco brand)
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
3 c hot cooked angel hair pasta
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked on the grill

Saute tomatoes in a non-stick skillet until soft and slightly thickened. Add prepared pesto, lemon juice and salt. Add garlic, and let cook for 1 minute more or until sauce has thickened to a nice consistency(taste to make sure it is seasoned). Slice chicken breast finely. Divide angel hair pasta among the plates, as well as sliced chicken. Top with the tomato basil sauce.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm reading a book, and at the end of each chapter there is a recipe that goes along with the chapter, and somehow it fits into the story. I came across this recipe, and I have heard of it, but was attracted to the method of turning the oatmeal into a powder form. I love the combination of oatmeal, chocolate, and walnuts. I used to be a "no nut" kind of girl, but in certain recipes, nuts make all the difference. This is a unique chocolate chip cookie recipe, has great flavor, and I will definitely make again. Having a food processor or a really good blender makes all the difference. I ground up the oatmeal until powdery, then I chopped the nuts in the food processor until they were fine. Then I took some chocolate chips and instead of putting grated chocolate in the batter, I pulverized the chocolate until it resembled small crumbs of chocolate. This created a batter that was speckled with nuts, oatmeal, and chocolate. The ingredients were evenly distributed, resulting in the perfect bite every time. I baked my cookies for 8 minutes and no longer. They will set up once they have cooled to room temperature. YUM!

Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/2 c oatmeal
1 c butter, softened
1 c sugar
1 c brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 c nuts (your choice)
4 oz grated chocolate (any kind)
1 c semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a food processor, measure out the oatmeal and then blend until powdery. Combine sugars and butter until fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs, mix until thoroughly combined. In a food processor, chop nuts finely (a couple of pulses). Grate or chop chocolate until chocolate resembles crumbs. Add flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, oatmeal powder, nuts and grated chocolate to the wet ingredients. Stir until combined. Add chocolate chips, and stir. Scoop by rounded tablespoons (I used my tablespoon scooper) onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 minutes.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Rachelle's Shoyu Chicken

There are many, many shoyu chicken recipes out there. I have been experimenting with some lately, and I think I have got the right combination of soy sauce, sugar, garlic and ginger (according to my palate) Not saying that there are not better ones out there, I just like this one the best for me.
I recently went to a church function the other night, and Shoyu Chicken was the main dish. I get a little apprehensive about Hawaiian food, but this was really good and I went back for seconds. Shoyu is just a fancy, Japanese way of saying soy sauce. This is a very popular dish here in Hawaii, and I'm glad I finally have a staple Hawaiian thing to cook for the guests that come visit me. (Note to guests: you will be eating this when you come to visit). The key is definitely chicken thighs, and I love that you can buy them in a big bag at Costco boneless, skinless. The extra fat content helps make the meat tender, flavorful and moist.
I love serving this with sticky rice and a side salad with homemade ranch on it. Super yummy flavor combination. The leftovers are just as good.

Rachelle's Shoyu Chicken

2 1/4 C soy sauce (Aloha Brand is the best)
3/4 C Water
3/4 Brown sugar
3 Garlic clove, minced
1/2 tbs ginger, minced (you could use ground ginger, use 3/4 tsp)
4-5 lbs skinless boneless Chicken thighs (about 8-9 thighs)

In a large pot, combine first 5 ingredients. Add chicken and cook for 30-40 minutes, or until tender. Serve w/ sticky rice.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites

I have yet another TDF recipe for you! I tried these a couple of years ago from one of my friends in Carlsbad. I fell in love with them, and could not stop eating them. I don't know why I haven't made them myself until now. They are the perfect treat when you don't want to turn on your oven, and have a craving for sweet, salty, crunchy, chocolate, peanut butter. My son Brent helped me make these and he enjoyed matching up the pretzel squares to sandwich the peanut butter filling. You can use either milk chocolate or semi-sweet to dip the bites into. White chocolate may be a cool alternative as well. We made a half batch yesterday on Saturday, and they are gone!

Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites

1 c. creamy peanut butter
2 tbs butter, softened
1/2 c powdered sugar (may need a little more)
3/4 c brown sugar
1 bag of chocolate chips (semi sweet or milk)
1 bag of Snyders square shaped pretzels (called snaps)

Combine the first 4 ingredients to form a dough. You should be able to roll the dough between your hands without it sticking. If it sticks add a little more powdered sugar. Roll dough into teaspoon measured balls and set aside. Take 2 pretzels, sandwich a peanut butter ball in between, and press down slightly to form a sandwich. Place on a sheet tray and freeze for 30 minutes until slightly firm. Melt chocolate in microwave (start with 1/2 bag of chocolate chips to minimize waste). Dip each sandwich halfway into chocolate, place on a cookie tray lined with wax paper or foil. Refrigerate until set.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Best Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches

This is another winner from my friend Jenny Johnson. She made this for her husband's birthday party and gave me some to try. She warned me that she thought that they would fall into the TDF category and was she ever so right! I had them, and was blown away at how perfectly the texture and taste was. She used mint ice cream, but you could use any type of ice cream you prefer. You could also use whatever toppings you like, such as toffee chips or crushed candy bars and roll the ice cream edge in the toppings and then freeze as normal. (Very cute, very yummy)
They were super decadent on their own, but Jenny insisted that dipping them into hot fudge sent them over the top...YUM. I think by using a cake mix for the base of the cookie, you get the right texture, and the cookie is still slightly soft when frozen with the ice cream. LOVE THEM! My next goal is to make these using a yellow cake mix, adding some brown sugar, vanilla, and chocolate chips to make a "Big Ed" version of my own.

Best Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches

1 pkg chocolate cake mix (devils food, milk chocolate, German chocolate..any kind)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 c semi-sweet chips
1/2 gallon of favorite ice cream

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease baking sheets.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, butter, vanilla extract, eggs, and chocolate chips. Roll dough into 2-inch balls and place them onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Do not overbake; the cookies should be set, but still soft. Let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before removing to finish cooling on wire racks.
  3. Using an ice cream scoop, mold the softened ice cream into a ball about the size of the cookies. Place scoop of ice cream between two cookies and gently press together. If you like a smooth edge, run the back of a spoon around the edge of the ice cream sandwich. Working quickly, fill all of the cookies, lay out on a baking sheet, and place in the freezer to harden. Serve when the ice cream has frozen solid. Sandwich cookies can be stored in a freezer bag for up to two weeks.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Chocolate Milk Brownies

I love chocolate milk, and what better way to have chocolate milk than in a brownie form. I got this recipe from my friend Eliza Hirokawa. This recipe is unique because you use Nesquik chocolate milk powder as the chocolate in this brownie. I made a few changes just to amp the flavor a bit by adding some salt and vanilla. This recipe is so easy and so versatile. I sprinkled milk chocolate chips on top of the brownies before they cooked. You could certainly add anything you want to the base of this brownie. The brownie has a milk chocolate flavor as opposed to a dark chocolate flavor. I love them because they are not cakey and very moist. Very yummy, and slightly different from your average brownie.

Chocolate Milk Brownies

2 c sugar
2 c flour
1 1/2 c chocolate Nesquik
4 eggs
1 c butter, softened
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/4-1/2 c. milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla and salt, mix until combined. Add flour and chocolate Nequik, stir just until combined. Spread into a 9x13 greased pan, sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake for 30 minutes (this recipe can be halved and put into an 8x8)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Bars

Have I got a recipe for you! This recipe is courtesy of my friend Jenny Johnson. She is a wonderful baker, and I love her treats. After I tried this I came home and told my husband that I had a new top 10 favorite treat, and these are it! First of all, this recipe is so easy. Second of all, I had never had these before and the flavors/textures were PERFECT in my book. The bottom layer is a peanut butter/oat cookie, followed by a thin chocolate layer, followed by a thin layer of peanut butter buttercream frosting. So, so, good! This recipe makes a ton. If you want to half this recipe, it works out great. My friends, family, and followers MUST try this one. If only I could attach an audio of my voice describing how much i love would be convinced.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Bars

1 c sugar
1 c brown sugar
1 c butter, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 c creamy peanut butter
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 c flour
2 c quick oats
1 1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/3 c butter, softened
1/3 c peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 c powdered sugar
dash of salt
milk for desired consistency

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine butter and sugars until fluffy. Add peanut butter, vanilla and eggs, mix well. Add dry ingredients to wet until combined. Spread into a greased cookie sheet. Cook for 15 minutes. When the cookie layer comes out of the oven, sprinkle chocolate chips evenly all over the cookie layer. Let chocolate chips sit until they turn shinny. Spread them evenly over the cookie layer until covered. Let cool completely. Mix frosting ingredients until desired consistency reached. Spread a thin layer of the buttercream over the chocolate layer.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Thai Peanut Sauce

I have been busy! I have felt the need to post, but have not had the time lately. What can I say, living in Hawaii is rough! I have plenty of recipes to post about, but I wanted to get this recipe up first. My friend Kristi Collins made this incredibly awesome sauce to go with grilled chicken. This recipe is so easy and can really jazz up a boring meal. The sauce is also a healthy as it contains peanut butter, and no oil. My kids love it to dip chicken in because the sauce has the familiar taste of peanut butter. I sometimes like to use it as a salad dressing, thinning it out with water for the right consistency. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

Thai Peanut Sauce

2 tbs smooth peanut butter
2 tbs coconut milk
1 tbs lime juice
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Serve with grilled chicken.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Upside Down German Chocolate Cake

This dessert is really something. It is extremely gooey, and moist, and very simple to throw together. This is a great dessert to make instead of a regular cake or a pan of brownies. My husband approved of it, and he is becoming quite the critic these days. He lets me know if a recipe is "blog-worthy" or not. I completely trust him, he has been testing my recipes for 7 1/2 years now.
Anyways, this is a fun, easy alternative to your regular German chocolate cake with the frosting. Very simple and easy...give this one a try.
I found this recipe here.

Upside Down German Chocolate Cake

1 German cake mix, prepared according to box directions
1 cup coconut
2 cups chopped pecans
1 cup melted butter
1 pound powdered sugar
8 ounces cream cheese

Preheat oven to 340 degrees. Make cake mix according to box directions. Set aside. Grease a 9x13 pan and sprinkle the bottom of pan with nuts and coconut. Pour cake mix into pan. In a small bowl combine melted butter, powdered sugar and cream cheese until well combined. Drop by spoonfuls all over the cake batter. Using a butter knife, gently swirl the cream cheese mixture into the cake mixture....don't over swirl. Bake for 1 hour, and don't over bake! Serve with vanilla ice cream. YUM!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Grilled Chicken

So my sister Lana called me up tonight, and wanted to tackle the never ending problem of making and planning meals for the week. I sent her an email with a list of meals to give her some ideas, and thought I would share the list with my followers. One thing that has helped me out alot is to grill up to 6 chicken breasts and use them for different meals throughout the week. I usually butterfly (slice in half) the breasts I'm using because they are huge, so I end up with 12 small breasts. A simple marinade for my chicken is this:

Grilled Chicken

3/4 c cheap bottled Italian dressing
1 tbs garlic powder
1 tbs seasoned salt

I cook these up on the grill, and for the first night we have a grilled chicken breast as the star of the meal, and some sides to go along with it. Then I will put the rest of the chicken in a freezer zip lock and store it in the fridge to use all week long. Here are some of the meals you can use with grilled chicken. They are not really specific on how to make each thing, but hopefully it will help you get some ideas! Good luck!

Chicken quesadillas (onion, bell pepper, cheese)

Chinese chicken salad (mandarin oranges, chow mein noodles, cilantro, Chinese chicken salad dressing, toasted almonds)

BBQ chicken salad (corn, beans, tomatoes, cilantro, green onions, packet ranch dressing made up)

Chicken burrito supreme (beans, sour cream, cheese and tomatoes)

Chicken tostadas (beans, tomatoes, cheese lettuce, tostada shells)

Chicken tacos (salsa, lettuce, crunchy or soft taco shells, tomatoes,)

Greek chicken pizza (refrigerated pizza crust, mozzarella cheese, feta, tomatoes, olives if you like those)

BBQ pizza (BBQ sauce, onion, cheese, cilantro) just coat chicken in BBQ sauce, don't worry about making a sauce)

Pesto Chicken Pizza (pesto sauce, mozzarella, tomatoes, artichokes, refrigerated pizza crust)

Chicken tortilla soup (on the food blog, substitute poached chicken for grilled chicken, avocado, chips, cilantro, canned tomatoes)

Grilled chicken open faced sandwiched (cilantro, mayo, chili powder, 1 tsp lime juice, cheese, tomatoes, avocado, bread)

Loaded chicken nachos (beans, cheese, tomatoes, avocado,)

Chicken and avocado BLT sandwiches (avocado, bacon, tomatoes, lettuce)

Chicken, cilantro, tomato pasta (on blog, just substitute chicken in)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Macadamia Coconut Cookie Bars

These are super delish! Sometimes cookies can be so much work because you have to do things in batches, and wait for cookies to cook, etc. These are like a giant cookie that you can cut into squares. You only need a couple of ingredients, and trust me, no one will ever know. I'm all about making things from scratch, but sometimes you really can't tell a difference. I usually buy the Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix, I trust this brand. If your not into the nuts, leave them out, the bars will still taste amazing! This is a major crowd pleaser. They are really sweet, so cutting them into small squares for a serving size will satisfy.

Macadamia Coconut Cookie Bars

1 pouch dry sugar cookie mix
1 c chopped macadamia nuts
1 c shredded coconut
1 c white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix cookies according to package directions. Add white chips, coconut, and nuts, stir until combined. Spread dough into a 9x9 ungreased baking dish. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove and let cool completely. Cut into squares.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Chicken Broccoli Cassarole

Here is an oldy but goody. This is one of my husband's favorite dinners. He LOVES it! Seriously? After all the TDF food I make for him, and this is his favorite? Luckily it is very easy to make, makes good leftovers, and can be frozen for convenience in the the future. Make sure that you drain the broccoli VERY well, so that there is no extra water in the casserole. I don't always have buttered bread crumbs, but it does really make the dish extra special. This a good family meal, and my kids eat the broccoli which is always a good thing.

Chicken Broccoli Casserole

2 cans cream of chicken soup
1/2 c mayo
2 c sour cream
6 c broccoli, trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces
3-4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 c shredded cheese
1 c buttered bread crumbs (optional)

Season chicken with Lawry's season salt and microwave on high until done. Shred chicken. Steam broccoli until crisp tender. Drain completely. Layer broccoli on the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan, and then top with shredded chicken. In a large mixing bowl combine soups, mayo, sour cream, garlic salt, pepper, lemon juice and 1 cup of the cheese. Pour sauce over chicken and broccoli. Top casserole with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35-45 minutes or until bubbly. Top with buttered bread crumbs if desired.