From The Kitchen Of Rachelle Underwood

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.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Skillet Beef Stroganoff

I'm really excited about this dish that I made for my family the other night. As a child we would have beef stroganoff made with cream of mushroom soup and onion soup mixed into it. I don't like that it resembled a gravy instead of a sauce. It also looked very unappetizing. It was semi-good tasting, but this recipe is super delicious. My kids LOVED it! I also liked that it was a quick meal for me to make, and I used one pan to prepare it. A lot of my friends have told me they don't know how to pick out beef for meals, and believe me I'm no pro. However, through the years I have been able to select the cheapest cut for meals, and adapt it to the recipe I'm making. When shopping for top sirloin beef, just make sure it is on sale. On the mainland you will often see it go on sale for 1.99/pound. This is an EXCELLENT price so buy a couple of packages. (So jealous of you "mainlanders", cheap, cheap!) If the label says, "sirloin" buy it! It's more tender than London Broil, and can be used in many recipes. When slicing the beef, slice it pretty thin, so that it can tenderize and is easy to eat. You will LOVE this recipe, I'm making it again for the second time in a week! (Lana, you better make this one!)

Skillet Beef Stroganoff

1 1/2 pounds top sirloin, sliced thinly into strips against the grain
4 tbs vegetable oil
1 pkg white button mushrooms, sliced thin
1 medium onion, minced
2 tbs flour
1 can chicken broth
1 can beef broth
4 cups wide egg noodles
2/3 c sour cream
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
chopped parsley for garnish

Pat beef dry with paper towels, and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tbs of oil in a 12 inch skillet over medium high. Cook half of beef until well browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate, and repeat with the rest of the beef. Heat remaining 2 tbs of oil in skillet. Cook mushrooms, and onions with 1/2 tsp salt for about 8 minutes. Add flour and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in both broths and add beef. Cover and simmer beef for 25 minutes, until tender. Stir uncooked noodles into the beef mixture, cover and cook noodles according to package directions. Take pan off the heat, stir in sour cream, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with parsley if desired.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Lemon Chicken

I love this recipe for 2 reasons. Chicken needs to be jazzed up, and this recipe does the trick. The other thing is, the lemon sauce is slightly sweet from the pineapple juice, and I have never found a good lemon sauce besides this one. This is a fast dinner to pull together as long as you have the ingredients on hand and your chicken is defrosted. I like to serve this with white rice to absorb some of the lemon sauce, and a salad or fresh green beans on the side. The recipe calls for 8 chicken breasts, but since I buy my chicken at Costco, the breasts are HUGE!. So, I usually butterfly (slice in half) the chicken breasts, only using four breasts from Costco. I also think that by slicing the chicken breasts in half you are creating a chicken cutlet that will cook more even and faster. If your breasts are tiny, pound out the breast a little to make them thinner.

Lemon Chicken

4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 8 small
1 c flour
2 tsp coriander
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp salt
1/2 c butter

1/2 c chicken broth
1/2 c pineapple juice
1 1/2 tbs cornstarch
1 tbs butter
1/2 c sugar
2 lemons, zested and juiced

Combine flour, coriander, garlic salt, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken cutlets in flour mixture. In a large skillet, melt butter and cook chicken breasts slowly in the butter (on medium low, turning periodically). While chicken is cooking make the sauce by combining all ingredients in a medium sauce pan and heat until thick and bubbly. Pour over cooked chicken in the skillet they have been cooked in. Serve with white or brown rice.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Chocoholic Chocolate Cookies

TDF!!!!!!! These are the perfect cookie to cure any chocolate craving! I tried this recipe because I wanted a chocolate cookie recipe that would not crumble and fall apart the day after making them. These stayed together pretty well, and tasted better the second day which is a rare find when it comes to cookies. This recipe makes 16 large cookies. Don't be afraid to remove these from the oven even if they still look like they are underdone. They should start to slightly crackle around the edges. This cookie is incredibly chocolatey and I can't wait to try different mix-ins. This may be my new go-to chocolate cookie base. I used semi-sweet chocolate chips, but mint, peanut butter, white, toffee, or any other chips would be good. These would even be fab with your favorite candy bar cut up and mixed into it. YUM!

Chocoholic Chocolate Cookies
(From America's Test Kitchens)

1/3 c sugar, plus 1/2 c for coating
1 1/2 c flour
3/4 c cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp plus 1/8 tsp salt
1/2 c corn syrup
1 egg white
1 tsp vanilla
12 tbs butter, softened (1 1/2 sticks)
1/3 c brown sugar, packed
1/2-3/4 c chips of your choice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder together in a medium bowl, set aside. In a small bowl whisk egg white, corn syrup and vanilla together, set aside. In a large bowl cream butter, and sugars until fluffy. Add corn syrup mixture to butter mixture, and combine well. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, including and mix ins. Stir just until combined (avoid over mixing). Place dough in fridge for 30 minutes to firm up a little. Roll dough into 2 inch balls (2 tbs) and roll into sugar. Place 8 balls on cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes, no longer, DO NOT OVER BAKE! Let cookies rest on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before removing.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Homemade Flour Tortillas

Living in Hawaii presents a dilemma when it comes to obtaining items for Mexican favorite. Bread/tortillas are very stale by the time they get to the island, since they have been on a boat for who knows how long. So, I decided I would make my own. Intimidated the first time? Yes. But, after trying this recipe out, it was so stinkin easy, I probably would be making my own even if I still lived in California. I used my pancake griddle to cook these and turned the temperature up to 400 degrees. It worked beautifully. You are not looking for these to get crisp, you will be able to tell when they are done. They will bubble up on each side. You can divide the dough up into 8 portions for bigger burritos (or cafe rio salad bottom), or make 10-12 smaller ones for soft tacos.

Homemade Flour Tortillas

3 c flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 c shortening
3/4 c very hot water

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles course crumbs. Add hot water, and mix until dough form a ball. Knead dough until smooth (about 1-2 minutes). Place in a bowl and let rest for 1 hour. (The dough will not rise). Divide dough into 8 equal portions, and roll out very thin. Cook on a hot pan or griddle on each side, until bubbly. (Note: my tortillas were very rustic and were not perfect circles, so don't stress)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Vanilla Cupcakes with Passion Fruit Buttercream

Oh my! I made these for New Years Eve this year, and my husband could not get over how good they were. We have a passion fruit tree in our front yard (yes, we live somewhere tropical...Hawaii), and my husband Jared is in heaven! He loves to make juice from them. I'm not really into eating them since they are really sour. However, they have a distinct taste of the tropics, and I thought it would be wonderful to use the juice/pulp of our fresh passion fruits. The result was beautiful! If you don't know, here is what the inside of a passion fruit looks like:

It can either have a yellow skin or purple skin, they taste about the same.

Pretty weird looking, but the juice made a wonderful, tropical buttercream. The vanilla cake was a perfect platform for the frosting, as it was the star of the show. Sometimes scratch cakes are overrated, so I used a box cake mix. If you make sure you don't over cook the cupcakes, you will have the most moist cake. I usually turn the heat down 25 degrees and bake a little longer, that way there is even cooking and the cake does not get brown. If you can't find passion fruit in your grocery store, I have read on some blogs that you can get it in paste form? Anyways, this was fun to make and tasted heavenly!

Vanilla Cupcakes with Passion Fruit Buttercream

1 box vanilla cake mix, prepared using cupcakes
4 tbs softened butter
2 passion fruits, pulp removed and pushed through a mesh strainer (about 4 tbsp juice)
3-4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2-3 tbs milk
1/4 tsp salt ( more or less according to your palate)

Bake cupcakes as directed on the box, let cool completely. To make frosting, remove pulp from passion fruits and push through a mesh strainer to get all the juice out of the pulp, making sure no seeds are in the juice. Combine softened butter, tsp vanilla, passion fruit juice and about 3 cups of powdered sugar. Mix well, and if you need to add milk to thin out the frosting, add a little bit at a time. Add more powdered sugar or milk to get to the right consistency. Spread frosting on cupcakes.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Creamy Tomatillo Ranch

I don't know about you, but salads are only good when the dressing is good. For Christmas Eve I made the Cafe Rio Salad re-creation, and it was awesome to have Mexican food in Hawaii. Hawaii does not have a good variety of Mexican products in the grocery store, and so I find that I don't have Mexican food as much. This is a bummer because it is my favorite food.
I really love this dressing to pieces, and for those of you that don't know about Cafe Rio, it is a Baja Mexican inspired restaurant in the western part of the United States. It started out in Utah, and now they have them in selected western states. This dressing is soooooo incredibly good, and I LOVE that when I make it, I have a whole container of it, instead of the little cup they give you at the restaurant. I serve this dressing with any of the following: meat, salad (of course), rice, beans, pico de gallo, or any other add in you like on your salad.

Creamy Tomatillo Ranch

1 packet Ranch dressing mix (not BUTTERMILK)
1 c. mayonnaise
1 c. buttermilk
2 tomatillos, remove husk, diced
1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic
juice of 1 lime
1 jalapeno, seeded and veins removed
1 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients together in the blender. Store in a container, in the fridge.