From The Kitchen Of Rachelle Underwood

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Frog Eye Salad

I know, I know, this recipe title sounds disgusting.  But, honestly I couldn't alter the name for it.  It is what it is.....sort of.  My friend Kristi made this salad for our family a year ago probably, and I loved it.  She said that Hawaii didn't sell Acini De Pepe which is the small ball pasta.  However, our Safeway got some in a couple of months ago.  So like the Hawaiian Hoarder, I stalked up like we usually have to do.  This sweet salad is incredibly light and delicious.  If you like rice pudding or tapioca pudding this is definitely a salad for you.  I like this salad because you make your own pudding, and anything with sweetened condensed milk is always a winner in my book.  (Dad, you will love this one)
However, do NOT call this salad by the name that it is titled when your kids are around.  I would just say it is "fruit salad".  My kids totally would not try it because of the lame.  They missed out.

Frog Eye Salad

1 1/4 c acini de pepe (in the pasta section)
1 (20 oz) can of pineapple chunks (cut into tid bits)
1 (11oz) can of mandarin oranges, cut in half
1/2 c shredded, sweetened coconut
3 tbs cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c plus 2 tbs sugar
2 c milk
1/4 c plus 3 tbs sweetened condensed milk
1/2 tbs vanilla

Cook acini de pepe according to package directions.  Drain pineapple chunks reserving pineapple juice in a cup.  After pasta is done, place into a bowl, and add pineapple juice, toss to coat, and let cool completely.  In a medium sauce pan combine cornstarch and sugar, whisk to get rid of any lumps.  Add milk, sweetened condensed milk, salt, and vanilla to the pot.  Over medium low heat continually stir milk mixture until thickened like pudding (This takes about 10-12 minutes).  Transfer pudding to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, and chill.  Combine pasta, pudding, coconut and fruits together.  Let chill in fridge for at least an hour before serving.....delicious!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Andes Mint Bars

I have a wonderful recipe for you!  Perfect for the holidays or whenever you are needing an Andes Mint fix.  Some stores sell Andes Mint baking bits.  If you see them, buy them (they are REALLY good).  They have the original chocolate and green mint bits, and then during the holidays they have the white chocolate peppermint bits.  You can use either in this recipe.  I loved how easy this recipe was to throw together.  (This recipe can be halved, if you prefer)

Andes Mint Bars

3 c flour
1 1/2 c butter
3/4 c sugar
pinch of salt
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed
2 c Andes Mint baking bits (any flavor)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a bowl combine the flour, sugar, butter, and a pinch of salt.  Using a fork incorporate ingredients together until nice and crumbly.  Press half of the crumble into the bottom of a 9x13 pan.  Set remaining crumble aside.  In a medium bowl, combine sweetened condensed and 1 cup of the Andes Mint baking chips.  Microwave the mixture, stirring frequently until chocolate has melted into the sweetened condensed milk.  Pour milk mixture onto crust.  Combine the rest of the Andes baking bits with the crumbly top, and sprinkle it over the sweetened condensed milk layer.  Bake for 20 minutes or until slightly golden around the edges.  Let cook completely before cutting.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Chewy Apple Cider Cookies

These cookies are making me really happy right now.  Seriously. Not because I haven't made a baked good in over a month, but because they taste so amazing.  The texture of this cookie is absolutely perfect.  Perfectly chewy, spiced and little bit of tang from the apple flavoring.  I added white chocolate chips to my cookies to round it all out.  The original recipe had caramel in the middle, which I'm sure is amazing.  I just didn't have the caramel on hand. These are the perfect cookies for the holiday season. 

Chewy Apple Cider Cookies 

(Makes about 1 1/2 dozen very large cookies, double if needed)

1/2 c butter, softened
1/2 c sugar
1/4 tsp salt
5 packets of instant apple cider
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Mix butter, sugar and cider packets together.  Add egg and vanilla, mix well.  Add dry ingredients to wet, and mix just until incorporated.  Add white chocolate chips, and stir to combine.  Bake for 11-12 minutes.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Asian Beef and Broccoli

This recipe is awesome.  Chinese food for me, is so hard to duplicate.  I can cook it, but it doesn't mean it tastes like something you would get at PF Changs.  This recipe however was the real deal.  The 2 key elements are searing the beef getting a slight crispiness, and oyster sauce.  If you don't have a wok, use a large skillet.  The leftovers were out of this world good.
I used London Broil/or Top round steak.  But you seriously could use any type of steak meat.  Don't try and make it with a roast type of meat, stick to the steak category.  London Broil/Top Round is the cheapest cut that you can get in the world of steaks.  I buy the family pack when it is on sale, and then freeze each steak individually. A good tip for slicing steak really thin is to stick it in the freezer until almost frozen, and then slice it.  Don't be intimidated by cooking with steak!

Asian Beef and Broccoli

Meat Marinade
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tbs cornstarch
2 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs oil
1 1/2 pounds of steak

The Sauce
1 tbs rice wine vinegar
2 tbs chicken or beef broth
5 tbs oyster sauce (in Asian food isle)
1 1/2 tbs brown sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp cornstarch

Broccoli (about 3 large crowns)
1/3 cup water
6 cloves of garlic, minced (2 tbs)
1 inch piece of ginger, grated
1 tsp oil

Mix marinade ingredients in a small bowl.  Slice steak into super thin slices, against the grain.  Place meat in a bowl, add marinade, and let sit for an hour.  Mix up ingredients for the sauce, and set aside.  Cut broccoli into florets, and set aside.  Minced garlic and grate ginger, set aside in a small bowl mixed with 1 tsp oil.
Over high heat, heat skillet with 1 tbs oil, and sear beef slices adding more oil if needed between batches.  Do not over crowd the pan, and do not touch the beef until it is almost cooked through.  Work in batches until all the beef is seared and browned.  Remove cooked beef to a bowl and set aside.  Add broccoli, and stir fry until bright green, add water, and let cook stirring until tender crisp.  Move broccoli over to the side of pan, add garlic and ginger.  Stir fry for 30 seconds.  Add beef back to the wok or skillet, and then add sauce.  Cook until thickened.  Serve over hot sticky rice.
Recipe adapted from:

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Chicken Tikka Masala

I know I have been a slacker lately on updating this blog.  I go through phases where I'm inspired by certain recipes I see or cooking shows I watch. I have a couple of recipes that I have made, and have loved, but just haven't gotten around to posting them.
If you have a really yummy, "To Die For" recipe, please email me at  I would love to experiment with your recipes.  I will test them (because I love to test recipes), and then post on the blog.
Here is an awesome recipe.  I absolutely loved this meal.  It was so good when I made it, and the leftovers were delish!  If you are not familiar with Chicken Tikka Masala, it is chicken that is marinated and grilled and then  thrown into an incredible creamy, spiced tomato sauce, served over rice.  Alot of Chicken Tikka Masala recipes use heavy cream in the sauce, but I opted for fat free half n half.  It still tasted decadent.
If you don't have some of the random seasonings, just leave them out, it will still taste good.  But try and get at least 3 of the spices in there if you can, especially the cinnamon...YUM.

Chicken Tikka Masala

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips

1 c plain Greek yogurt
1 tbs lemon juice
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
3 garlic cloves minced
2 tsp salt

For the Sauce:
1 tbs butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (leave seeds in if you want spicy)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp coriander
1 tsp garam masala (or 1/2 tsp cinnamon)
1/2 tsp salt
8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 c. half n half
1/4-1/3 c chopped cilantro

Place all ingredients for the marinade in a large ziplock, then add the chicken.  Marinade for at least and hour or more.  Grill or broil chicken strips, set aside.  Get the rice going while you make the sauce.  To make the sauce, over medium heat add butter to large sauce pan, and then add jalapeno and garlic.  Let cook until softened.  Add all of the spices, including the salt, and let cook for about 1 minute.  Add tomato sauce and half n half, and let simmer for 20 minutes on medium low.  Add grilled chicken to the sauce, and let simmer for another 10 minutes.  Serve over white rice, and garnish the top with chopped cilantro.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Pumpkin Bread with Orange Cream Cheese Swirl

It's fall.  It doesn't feel like fall in Hawaii, except for a little bit more rain here and there.  Thank goodness for Pinterest to snap me into reality that the seasons are in fact changing.  I absolutely LOVE pumpkin.  I stocked up last year at the end of the season, so I have had 4 large cans in my pantry that are good thankfully until 2014.  I think pumpkin in general is pretty expensive given that it is a canned food, but pumpkin in Hawaii...super pricey.  What isn't here though, right?  So this bread is a true treat.  I did some research on this recipe, and decided to pair it with my pumpkin bread recipe, and tweak the swirl to have more of a unique flavor.  Hence, you've got the cream cheese mixture flavored with orange zest.  It's awesome.  Not only is this a new twist on pumpkin bread, but it looks amazing.  I love a good presentation.  Of course if you wanted to add nuts, raisins, or chocolate chips, by all means it's your call.  If you don't want to flavor it orange, leave out the zest.

      Pumpkin Bread with Orange Cream Cheese Swirl

1/2 c oil
1 1/2 c pumpkin
2 c. sugar
2 c. flour
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda

8 oz cream cheese
1 egg
zest of an orange
1/4 sugar

 Preheat oven to 340 degrees. In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, oil, sugar, and vanilla, mix well. Combine dry ingredients to the wet ones until well combined. In a separate bowl, mix cream cheese, sugar, egg and orange zest together until well blended. Spray loaf pans with cooking spray (2 medium loaf pans or 4-5 small ones).  Spread a thin layer of the pumpkin batter on the bottom of the loaf pans.  Divide cream cheese mixture among the loaves, then top with remaining pumpkin batter.  Take the end of a knife and swirl each loaf around.  Bake for 30-40 minutes or until set. Let sit for 10 minutes, and then remove from pans.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Roasted Broccoli with Parmesean, Garlic, and Lemon

Tired of having the same old steamed broccoli?  Well this recipe is a great twist on the side that many of us love.  My kids LOVED this recipe, and they were begging for more.  When you roast the broccoli at a high temperature, it gets nutty, and not soggy.  Broccoli is super flavorful when roasted.  In our family we like vegetables to be tender crisp.  Heaven forbid if I cross the line into the soft baby food one will eat them.  When you roast the broccoli is comes out soft crunchy and we loved it.  By all means if you want  use fresh parmesan cheese and garlic.  I was just into simplifying my life tonight. My last comment, is that fresh lemon is a MUST!

Roasted Broccoli with Parmesan, Garlic, and Lemon

1-2 heads of broccoli, cut into florets
1 1/2 tbs olive oil
1/4 c grated Parmesan (I used the stuff in the can)
1 1/2 to 2 tsp garlic salt (more or less if you like)
1/2 lemon (I zested the lemon, and then used the juice)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  On a large sheet pan place broccoli, olive oil, Parmesan cheese and garlic salt.  Toss together with your hands and settle into an even layer.  Place into oven.  Every 10 minutes stir broccoli with spatula, and settle into a single layer.  Broccoli should be done with the broccoli tops start to turn brown.  Take out of oven, and add lemon juice and zest, toss to coat. Serve.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Mixed Berry Sauce

We miss fresh berries in Hawaii.  You can get them, but they cost a fortune.  So, I have resorted to buying frozen berries from Costco, which are delicious.  I originally made this recipe over father's day, when I made my husband pancakes with berry sauce.  He loved it.  This sauce is not too sweet, but just right.  My new favorite thing to do it make this sauce up, store it in the fridge and add it on top of my Greek yogurt, it is super good!  This sauce could go on top of cheesecake, waffles, ice cream, angel food cake, pancakes, yogurt, and probably many other things.  You can use any type of frozen berry for this recipe.

Mixed Berry Sauce

2 c frozen berries
1/3 c sugar
1 tbs lemon juice
zest of one lemon
pinch of salt
1 tbs cornstarch

Combine all ingredients into a medium pot.  Set heat to medium high heat.  Bring mixture to a boil until desired thickness.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Thai Style Chicken and Vegetables

Thank you Rachel Ray for this amazing recipe.  I loved the flavors in this dish.  I'm always looking for something easy but interesting in a recipe.  I modified the original recipe just a bit to suit my taste.  The original recipe called for a cup of basil, which I did not have.  I left it out, and didn't even miss it.  But by all means, if you have an abundance of basil try it! This was super yummy and something special to make!

Thai Style Chicken and Vegetables

4 tbs oil
1 1/2-2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite sized peices
Salt and pepper
1 c shredded carrots
1 onion, sliced thinly
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 inch piece of ginger, grated
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
3/4 c chicken broth
1 (13.5 oz) can light coconut milk
1 (10 oz.) box of frozen peas
1/4 c fresh cilantro leaves, coursely chopped
1 lime, zested and juiced

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat with 2 tbs of oil.  Season chicken generously with salt and pepper.  Add chicken to the skillet and brown it for about 5 minutes.  Remove chicken to a plate.  Add remaining tbs of oil to the skillet, then add carrots, ginger, onion, garlic jalapeno, and bell peppers and cook, stirring frequently for about 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken broth and coconut milk, turn the heat up to high and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add chicken back to skillet and cook for another 3-4 minutes.  Remove from the heat and add frozen peas, cilantro, lime zest and lime juice.  Serve with white rice.
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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Flavorful London Broil

It has been way too long since my last post.  My family and I went to the mainland for 5 weeks!  I can't believe I was gone that long.  It is good to be back in Hawaii, now I need to find time to schedule some beach time.
While I was staying at my in-laws house, I made London Broil.  My mother in law asked if I had posted this recipe on the blog yet, and I replied that I had not.  I didn't feel like it was worth posting about, because it is so easy.  She convinced me, that someone like her would want to know how to cook a steak, and what to marinate it in, so that it turns out juicy and flavorful.  Do not be intimidated by steak.  I have talked to many friends that don't even know what to do with a steak.  Trust me, it is sooooooo easy.
The story behind this recipe, comes from my childhood.  Growing up, every once in a awhile, my family would have London Broil, baked potato, and a salad with Good Seasons Italian Dressing on it. This is a perfect combination of flavors in my book, I still love it. It was a major treat to have steak, and my parents could afford feeding a family of 7, when they made London Broil.  London Broil always goes on sale.  You can get it as cheap as 2.00/pound on the mainland.  So buy it!  The way you stretch this steak, is by slicing it thinly rather than giving each person a hunk of beef.  Plus since it is a very lean piece of meat, you must slice it thinly, or it will be too tough to eat. Any leftovers are great for steak tacos, steak and eggs, or steak sandwiches.

Flavorful London Broil

1 London Broil
1/2 c Italian dressing (any kind)
1 tbs Lawry's Season Salt
1/2 tbs Montreal Steak Seasoning
1/2 tbs garlic powder

Place all ingredients in a freezer ziplock bag.  Let marinate at least 3-4 hours, or up to 6.  Turn broiler onto high.  Place steak onto a broiler pan, or a jelly roll pan with a cooling rack on it.  Place in the oven, with the rack as close as it can go to the broiler and cook for 6-7 minutes on both sides.  Remove steak to a plate, and let rest for 10 minutes.  Using a sharp knife, slice steak thinly against the grain. Serve.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Garlic, Rosemary and Parmesan Oven Fries

I have been making oven fries for a long time.  I started out just sprinkling season salt on the potato wedges, and while that is good, this recipe is better.  These have a ton of flavor, and go with any meal. I usually always make these to go along side a burger to get the "burger and fries" feel.  Tonight I made them with grilled chicken and a salad.  My husband, and two boys don't like potatoes very much, but they love these.  In fact, my 3 year old eats the brown skins off the potato wedge first because they are his favorite part.  Fiberlicious!
You can really add any dry herb you want.  Thyme, oregano, basil are some variations that would be good. Don't waste your money on getting freshly grated Parmesan, you really can't tell the difference.  I normally don't use canned Parmesan cheese on anything except marinades and roasted vegetables.  You get the same flavor as using expensive, freshly grated Parmesan in this recipe.

Garlic, Rosemary and Parmesan Oven Fries

4-5 russet potatoes (you could use red potatoes too.)
4 garlic cloves, pressed
2-3 tbs olive oil
1 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/3-1/2 c Parmesan cheese (in the can)
1 1/2 tsp salt or more to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Slice potatoes in half the long way, take the 2 halves and slice again the long way. Cut 3 wedges of potatoes from what is left after you cut the potatoes.  Place potato wedges on a jelly roll pan or large cookie sheet.  Add olive oil, salt, herbs, 1/4 cup of cheese and garlic.  Toss potatoes to coat evenly, and settle potatoes into an even layer on the pan.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden and crisp. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Healthy Mexi-Bowls

As I have said in recent posts, my family LOVES Mexican food.  I made these healthy Mexi-bowls last night for dinner, not because I planned it really.  Two nights ago I had made tacos for dinner, and with those tacos I had made some Pico De Gallo (minus the avocado).  I had some left over.  And while I was at the beach with my kids, I of course was thinking about what I was going to throw together for dinner.  I had leftover grilled chicken from tacos, leftover Pico De Gallo, Crock Pot pinto beans in the mind started to put all these things together.  I made some white rice with a little bit of toasted orzo in it,  and cooked it with chicken broth.  Then when the rice was done, I fluffed the rice while incorporating the Pico De Gallo.  So really, that was only thing I actually cooked.....rice.  This is a great, healthy, well balanced meal that does wonders for leftovers. If your kids are picky...just serve them rice by itself, beans by itself and chicken by itself.  Then you can please both kids and adults. All recipes for this meal are highlighted here for your convenience.
Healthy Mexi-Bowls

1 c white rice
1/2 c orzo (if you don't have orzo, just use another 1/2 c rice)
1 tbs olive oil
2 c chicken broth
1 c pico de gallo
2 c whole pinto beans (or 1 can pinto beans, heated)
2 chicken breasts, cubed, shredded or sliced (cooked however)
2 c lettuce, finely shredded

salsa (optional)
avocado (optional)
sour cream (optional)
cheese (optional)

For the rice, heat olive oil in a medium pot, add orzo and stir over medium heat until orzo is golden.  Add white rice, and stir around for about a minute.  Add chicken broth, and bring to a boil.  Cover and let simmer on low for 17 minutes.  Fluff rice with fork and drain any juice on the pico de gallo and add pico de gallo to the hot cooked rice. 
To assemble the mexi-bowls:
In a bowl start with rice, then beans, then chicken, then lettuce, then any garnishes you would like.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Butter Mochi

This is another one of those Japanese/Hawaiian treats that I have learned to love while living in Hawaii.  I'm almost afraid to post this recipe, because mochiko flour (rice flour) may not be available on the mainland unless you go to a Japanese specialty store. If you can get your hands on mochiko flour, make this awesome recipe.  It's a buttery, coconut, chewy type of custard that my friend Jenny and I have been foaming at the mouth about lately.  I looked at several recipes and kind of came up with my own to suit my taste.  This recipe makes alot, but is always a hit.  I definitely like this version of mochi one hundred times better than just plain mochi (the one with no butter).  You can make this in a 9x13 pan, but I like to make these in a muffin tin,because then you get optimal chewy edges.  In the muffin tin, this recipe makes about 36 servings.

Butter Mochi

1 stick of butter, melted
2 1/4 c sugar
1 box of mochiko flour
1 can of evaporated milk
1/2 c water
1 can coconut milk
4 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
3 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix melted butter and sugar together until combined.  Add eggs, beating them one at a time.  Combine evaporated milk and water in a separate container and whisk them into the egg mixture.  Add vanilla and salt, mix.  Add mochiko flour and baking powder, mix until combined.  Lastly add coconut milk, whisk until smooth.  Using a 1/3 measuring cup, scoop batter into well greased muffin tins.  Bake mochi for about 20 minutes or until the edged are nice and golden.  Do not under bake these.  Believe it or not they are better the more golden they get!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Healthy Nutella Banana "Ice Cream"

Want to eat ice cream and not feel guilty about it?You need to make this right NOW.  If you want you can just use bananas but I decided to amp up the  "ice cream" a little bit by adding some addictive nutella to the mix.  Let me tell you how easy this is.....Slice bananas, freeze bananas, puree frozen bananas with nutella, and enjoy smooth, creamy "ice cream", made with no cream, and except for the added sugar in the nutella, is made with natural sugar from the bananas.  Bananas have the amazing characteristic to turn into an amazing, smooth, cold, creamy treat.  If you don't believe me, you need to test this recipe out.  I was skeptical, but I'm a full on believer.  Yes, yes, full fat, full sugar ice cream is to die for, but rarely do I find a healthy alternative that I actually want to eat.  You could add in a little vanilla extract, cinnamon, maple syrup, peanut butter, berries or peaches or cocoa powder to flavor your "ice cream".  After you puree your "ice cream", store in an air tight container in the freezer.  Enjoy! The original recipe and idea for this healthy dessert came from here.

Healthy Nutella Banana "Ice Cream"

3-4 bananas, sliced
2 tbs nutella (or any other add in you have on hand)

Slice bananas into chunks.  Lay flat on a cookie sheet, cover with plastic wrap.  Place into freezer until almost frozen solid.  In a food processor or blender, place almost frozen bananas.  Blend until almost smooth, add nutella, and puree until smooth and creamy.  Freeze leftovers in an airtight container.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

To Die For German Apple Pancake, wow, wow, wow.  This is the best recipe for a German apple pancake I have EVER had.  Surprisingly it didn't have 6 tablespoons of butter and half and half in it either.  It's almost hard to put it into words how much I loved the texture and flavor balance in this recipe.  The apples and brown sugar caramelized underneath a crepe like custard.  It puffs up in the oven, is beautiful when it's done, and makes you feel very "chefy". My kids LOVED this.
You could use any apple in this recipe besides red and golden delicious.  I didn't bother removing the apple peel, because I don't mind the texture and added fiber (or hiber as my 3 year old says it).  Please, please make this recipe this weekend for your family, or just for yourself.  You will love it.  I will definitely be making this for my mom and dad as well as my mother and father in-law when we go to the mainland this summer....they are going to love it!

To Die For German Apple Pancake

4 eggs
1 c milk (I used non-fat, but you can use any you have on hand)
1 c flour
1 1/4 tsp vanilla
2 tbs sugar
1/8 tsp salt

2 apples, cored and sliced thinly
2 1/2 tbs butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
pinch of salt
1/3 c brown sugar

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  In a large bowl, slightly beat the eggs.  Add milk, sugar, flour, salt, and vanilla.  Whisk until smooth.  Let sit on the counter while you prepare the apples.  In a 12 inch oven safe skillet, melt the butter.  Add sliced apples, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt to the skillet.  cook over medium high heat stirring occasionally for about 6-7 minutes.  Add the brown sugar, stirring to coat all the apples, and let cook for about 3-4 minutes.  Spread apples so they are even in the skillet. Moving quickly, pour egg batter over apples, and place skillet in the oven for 15-17 minutes.  Do not open oven door.  Don't be surprised when the pancake puffs up and gets beautifully golden.  Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on the pancake or powdered sugar when it comes out of the oven.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Pico De Gallo con Avocado

Do you like my Spanish? Look at me whipping it out...We eat Mexican a ton here in good old Hawaii.  Not alot of Mexican restaurants to choose from here, so I get my fix several times a week at home.  I love the fresh element that pico de gallo adds to tacos, burritos, tostadas, salads or even quesadillas.  The question is why make separate guacamole and pico de gallo?  Why not combine the two and save some time?  Plus, since avocados are so expensive, you actually don't need as much avocado as you would if you were making a full side of guacamole.  If you don't have the jarred salsa, add a few dashes of any kind of hot sauce, but make sure you season really well with salt and pepper. Love this!

 Pico De Gallo con Avocado

1/4 c. onion, minced
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
1/3 c or 1/3 bunch of cilantro, chopped
Juice of half of a lemon
1/4 c jarred salsa (like Pace Picante)
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together well.  Check for seasoning, and season with salt according to your liking.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Napa Cabbage Slaw

This is a wonderful slaw type salad that I have been making once a week for my family.  I guess the reason why I have been making it so frequently is because my kids devour this slaw, and ask for more.  What kid wants more salad? Seriously.  I also like it because it is inexpensive, and easy to throw together as a side.  It is very, very easy. The dressing is actually made from my recipe for Amazing Asian Dressing, so there is definitely an Asian flair. I half the dressing if I use only half of the head of cabbage.  Keep in mind that you could throw ANY type of veggie in this salad.  Sugar snap peas, bite size broccoli, carrots, zucchini, cilantro etc.  The recipe that I have listed is what I usually have on hand, but be creative and add your own spin to this one. I like to serve this with Spam Musubi (if you live in Hawaii you know what this is) or grilled chicken and rice.  The rice soaks up the dressing and it is delish.

Napa Cabbage Slaw

1 head of Napa cabbage, sliced thinly
1/2 onion, cut in half and sliced thinly
1 red bell pepper, sliced thinly
1 more tbs. of mayo added to the dressing
1 recipe for Amazing Asian Dressing (click on title for the recipe)

Combine all ingredients together, and let sit for 15 or so minutes in the fridge.  If you want a little more salt, add some soy to your desired taste.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Chewy Sugar Cookies

I think I have about 3 recipes now for sugar cookies on the blog. What can I say, I love a good cookie! Each one has their purpose, and this one has a great texture that is chewy and flavorful. I was hesitant about putting cream cheese into the cookie batter, but that must be the ingredient that gives the cookie a chewy texture. You could add lemon zest, orange zest, almond extract or whatever other flavoring to these cookies. These cookies are sweet enough so no frosting is necessary.

Chewy Sugar Cookies

2 1/4 c flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c sugar (plus more for rolling dough in)
2 oz cream cheese
6 tbs butter, melted
1/3 c oil
1 egg
1 tbs milk
2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl. Pour melted, warm butter into bowl and mix well until cream cheese and sugar are incoporated. Add vanilla, milk and egg, mix well. Add oil, and mix until combined. In a separate bowl sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls, and then roll into sugar. Place on an ungreased baking sheet, and slightly flatten with the bottom of a cup. Bake for 11 minutes. DO NOT over bake. These cookies should just barley be golden on the bottoms. Let sit for 2-3 minutes before removing from the pan.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Sweet and Sour Chicken

This recipe is in my husbands words, "super good". You will no longer have to go to a Chinese restaurant to have sweet and sour chicken. I like Chinese food alot, but it is very difficult for me to replicate dishes that you would get @ a place say like Pick up Sticks.
This recipe really delivers on flavor, texture, and ease. I tell the kids its candy chicken, and of course they are very willing to partake. I have not experimented with too many vegetables. I usually just put pineapple and onion in with the chicken. Traditionally there are green bell peppers added to the mix. So, play around with this one, and add what you like. White or brown rice is a MUST. Recipe adapted from here

Sweet and Sour Chicken

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed into bite sized chunks
salt and pepper
1 c cornstarch
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 c oil

1/2 c + 2 tbs sugar
4 tbs ketchup
1/2 c vinegar
3 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high. Season chicken chunks liberally with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken into cornstarch, and then egg. Add to oil and fry until brown and crispy on both sides. This will need to be done in a couple of batches. (Chicken does not need to be fully cooked through, as it will finish cooking in the oven). Using a slotted spoon remove chicken and place into a 9x13 dish. Mix together all the sauce ingredients. Pour over chicken, and add whatever vegetables/pineapple you want. Mix together in the dish, and put into the oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to coat well. Serve over hot cooked rice.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Banana Pancakes with Coconut Syrup

This recipe is TDF. I know, I know, I say that alot, but it is TRUE! A couple of weeks ago, my sister Lana came to visit me in Hawaii. We went to a crepe restaurant, and ordered a dessert crepe that had bananas, coconut syrup, and macadamia nuts inside. My sister Lana had to get some of that coconut syrup to go with banana pancakes! But, she didn't check a bag, so there was no way of getting the coconut syrup home with her to California. So, if you don't live in Hawaii, and your grocery store does not sell coconut syrup, order it online here. It is absolutely to die for!
As for the banana pancakes, this recipe is simply amazing. The texture is perfect, and the flavor of the syrup and the pancakes is the perfect combination. They are so flavorful, and loaded with flavor, you don't even need butter on top of the pancakes. It really is something special.
(P.S. - You may be able to make your own coconut syrup, there may be some recipes online somewhere.)

Banana Pancakes with Coconut Syrup

4 tbs melted butter
1 1/2 c flour
4-5 tbs sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 banana, mashed (the more ripe, the better)
1 c milk
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla

In a bowl, combine dry ingredients. In another bowl, combine mashed banana and eggs, whip them together. Add milk, and vanilla, mix well. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients along with melted butter, stir just until combined, do not over mix. Using a 1/4 measuring cup, cook pancakes on a non-stick griddle. Flip pancakes when bubbles form. Serve with coconut syrup. (Makes about 16-18 pancakes) Garnish with macadamia nuts and more bananas for a special touch.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Jared's Lemon Pie

First off, I would like to thank all the followers of this blog. I appreciate the comments you make about a recipe that you have tried, and the success that it was in your home. It really makes my day when someone that I don't know personally has tried a recipe, and they loved it as much as I do. So, thank you for that.
My husbands birthday was on Tuesday of this last week. I asked him what he wanted for his special day dessert, and he almost picked the mixed berry crisp. But, he asked me to make a lemon meringue pie w/out the meringue. He loves lemon and tart things, so his wish was my command. However, you can't have a pie filled with just lemon curd, you need something to break up the tangy, strong flavor of lemon. I looked through a couple of lemon/cheese pie recipes, and came up with Jared's Lemon Pie recipe below. This pie was really good, and I will definitely make it again. I like it because it doesn't use eggs, and sometimes lemon curd sicks me out because you can taste an eggy element, even though you have cooked the eggs. I have a feeling it will be my husbands new favorite dessert. Also, the recipe for a graham cracker crust can be used with any pie requiring a crust like that. Any cream pie can have a graham cracker crust. As long as you are not baking the filling in the graham cracker crust. It definitely is fool proof and then you don't have to make a pastry dough w/ blind baking and all that. Also, if you don't want to whip your own cream, you could use whipped topping.

Jared's Lemon Pie

Graham Cracker Crust:
1 1/2 c graham cracker crumbs
1/3 c sugar
6 tbs butter, melted

1 1/2 c sugar
6 tbs cornstarch
pinch of salt
1 c water
2 drops yellow food coloring (optional)
2 tsp lemon zest
2/3 c fresh lemon juice
2 tbs butter
3/4 c whipped cream (already whipped)
8 oz. cream cheese
1 tbs lemon juice
1/2 c powdered sugar

Preheat over to 375 degrees. Combine graham crackers, butter and sugar in a bowl and stir with a fork to combine. Press evenly into a 9 inch pie plate and bake for 7 minutes. Remove from oven, and cool completely. For the pie, in a medium saucepan combine sugar, cornstarch and salt, stir to combine. Add water, food coloring, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Bring to boil over medium high heat, stirring constantly. Boil for 2 minutes, remove from heat and stir in butter. Place into a glass bowl and let cool to room temperature. While lemon curd is cooling, beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Remove to a separate bowl. Whipped cream cheese and powdered sugar until fluffy and combined. Fold in 1/2 c whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture until gently combined. spread the cream cheese mixture into the cooled graham cracker crust, and then gently top with lemon filling, spread evenly. Refrigerate at least 6-8 hours. Add 1 tbs powdered sugar to leftover whipped cream to garnish the top of the pie.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Mixed Berry Crisp for Two

Sometimes I get that craving after the kids go to bed for a sweet treat. However, I don't want to make up a huge batch of something, and I don't want the leftovers to tempt me the next day. My hubby loves the tart flavor of berries, and I love the sweet topping on fruit crisps. This recipe is awesome, and can be made fast, and makes 2 servings that are the perfect size. I doubled the topping, so if you want you can half it. (But, why oh why would you do that?). I use the frozen mixed berries from Costco, and they are awesome. This crisp has raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. It is optional to serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream if you have that lying around (which I never do).

Mixed Berry Crisp for Two

For the berries:

1 1/2 c, frozen mixed berries, thawed (I use the microwave)
2-3 tbs sugar
1 tbs flour
1 tsp lemon juice
pinch of salt

For the topping:

4 tbs oats
8 tbs brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbs flour
2 tbs butter
2 tbs chopped nuts (optional, and any kind you have on hand)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix ingredients for the berries together. Put into 2 ramekins or an 2 oven safe small bowls. Mix topping ingredient with your hands until butter has been thoroughly mixed in. Divide topping evenly among the two ramekins. Place in preheated oven for 25 minutes or until you see the berry juice bubbling on the sides. Let cool slightly before eating.

Monday, February 6, 2012

TDF Sugar Cookies

Usually when it comes to making sugar cookies, I take the easy route and use the Betty Crocker pre made mix where you add egg and a stick of butter. I needed a sugar cookie base for my Sugar Cookie Cups, and the key for me was to get a chewy flavorful cookie. This recipe I have used for the base of fruit pizza as well. The chewiness comes from the added corn syrup to the batter. The flavor is buttery, vanilla, and almond in the perfect combination. Now, I haven't tried rolling these out to cut into shapes. However, I think they would turn out perfect for that, as they have the right texture for a cut out cookie. I did scoop this batter like a regular cookie batter, and they held their form. So, if you want a flat cookie, roll into a ball, and use the bottom of a cup to flatten. Or chill slightly and then roll out and cut with cookie cutters. My favorite way to use this recipe is for sugar cookie cups. I sprayed Pam on my mini muffin pan, and then put about a 1/2 tablespoon of dough into each tin, and pressed it down. The batter should almost fill the mini muffin cup. Bake, cool and then fill with whatever frosting. Don't over bake. Sometimes you may think, "it's still doughy because when it comes out of the oven it is still soft. Do not worry! As it cools the cookies will set....that's the magic trick of getting FAB cookies. For variation on flavor, add the zest of a lemon or an orange.

TDF Sugar Cookies

3 c. flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 c. butter, softened
1 1/2 c sugar (use 1 1/4 c. if you don't want it as sweet)
2 rounded tbs corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 egg

Heat oven to 320 degrees. In a large bowl combine sugar, egg, and corn syrup. Add vanilla and almond extract. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix well to combine. The dough will be stiff. Bake for 7-10 minutes or longer depending on how you are using the batter. Dough should just barley be golden on the bottom and edges. Let cool completely.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Devils Food Cupcakes with Mint Buttercream

My almost 3 year old is having his birthday on Tuesday. I wanted to make him some cupcakes for his friends at church. I normally use a box mix, but I didn't want to have 24 cupcakes laying around. So I found this fudgey devils food recipe that uses no milk or eggs. It turned out SUPER moist and fudgey. This will be my new chocolate cupcake base for years to come. Of course the mint buttercream matches perfectly with the cakes. You could really do any buttercream frosting and it would be awesome.

Devils Food Cupcakes with Mint Buttercream

1 1/2 c flour
1 1/4 c sugar
1 tsp soda
1 tsp salt
1/3 c cocoa
1/2 c oil
1 c water
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbs vinegar

Mint Buttercream:
4 tbs butter, softened
1 pound of powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp mint extract
Dash of salt
milk (enough for a good consistency)
green food coloring (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees, line muffin tin with liners. Combine dry ingredients into a bowl. Add wet ingredients to the dry ones, mix well, until smooth and combined. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. My batch made 16 cupcakes. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until done. Do not overbake.

For the frosting. Combine all ingredients except milk and food coloring into a bowl. Add milk a little bit at a time until smooth but still stiff enough to spead. Add green food coloring if desired. Taste frosting, adding a sprinkle more of salt if needed. Frost cooled cupcakes.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Best Buttermilk Pancakes

I'm usually not one to get excited over pancakes. They are pretty ordinary, and I usually buy the pre-made buttermilk pancake mix. Those taste good and get the job done, but if you want something extra special, this a recipe for you. Granted the batter has some butter in it to make it decadent, but the extra addition of sugar send these over the top! I thought I had died and gone to heaven. The buttermilk gave these cakes a great texture and flavor, and they are light and fluffy. I LOVE THESE eyes were rolling when I ate them. I poured real maple syrup over them and they were incredible. The kids didn't notice the difference, but the food snob that I am did, and that's all that matters, right?

Best Buttermilk Pancakes

3 c flour
4-5 tbs sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
3 c buttermilk
1/4 c milk
3 eggs
1/3 c butter, melted

Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Whisk eggs in measuring cup, pour into batter. Add buttermilk, milk and melted butter. Stir just until combined....don't whip and over mix. Cook pancakes on a preheated griddle. I use my 1/4 cup measure to pour my pancakes on. Cook until golden on each side.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Asian Style Green Beans

I had gotten some fresh green beans at the farmer's market this last week. So, I started looking for recipes to make these green beans go from blah to fab. Since I always have certain ingredients on hand, these were a cinch to whip up. Let me tell how good they were... I'm not a vegetarian, but eating these with some rice made me think I could turn vegetarian. These were really good, healthy and I will definitely make these again. This one's a keeper!

Asian Style Green Beans

1 tbs soy sauce
2 garlic cloves minced
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp peanut butter
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
2 tsp olive oil
3/4-1 pound of fresh green beans, trimmed on the ends

Combine first 6 ingredients in a small bowl. Heat 2 olive oil in a large skillet or wok, add green beans, and stir fry until green beans are crisp tender. Remove from heat, add sauce and stir to combine.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cilantro Lemon Barley Salad

Want a healthy recipe? Here it is. I really like Tabbouleh salads @ Greek restaurants. They are light, flavorful, and can be served with any kind of meat, or with some pita (or pita chips) for a light lunch. This salad is definitely inspired by the traditional Greek salad. I use cilantro as the herb, pearl barley instead of Bulgar wheat, and some other touches to balance out this awesome salad. Pearl barley has a chewy texture like wheat-berry, so don't keep cooking the barley until soft like baby food...bleh. If you are an olive lover, I'm sure some olives would make you olive lovers love this salad even more. As for me, I can't stand them...if you want to know why, ask me in a comment. Everything in this salad can be adjusted to your taste buds, so have fun with it.

Cilantro Lemon Barley Salad

1 c pearl barley
5 c water
4 tsp chicken bullion
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped finely
1/2 cucumber, seeded, and roughly chopped
2 green onions, minced
3/4 c chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large lemon, juiced
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp cumin
2 tbs crumbled feta cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Combine pearl barley, water and bullion. Bring to boil and boil for 40 minutes. Drain, and rinse with cold water, drain well. Combine all other ingredients in a large bowl. Once barley is at room temperature, add it to the bowl. Mix well, tasting it to make sure it is flavored right. Refrigerate for about 3 hours before serving. It is even better the next day!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Toffee Almond Chip Cookies

These are so good. It's like english toffee in a cookie form. They are the chewiest cookie I have ever had, and that is not a bad thing. I made this recipe during the holidays, and just remembered that I needed to post it. The baking time is finicky, as you do not want to burn the toffee bits. So, even though the cookies may not look done, remove from the oven once the edges start to turn golden and let sit on the cookie sheet. This insures a chewy cookie.They are truly a winner. By all means, if there is an ingredient that does not suit you, leave it out. But, you must, must, must include the toffee chips. (P.S. the dough is soooooooo good!)

Toffee Almond Chip Cookies

1 c butter
1 c brown sugar
1 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
2 c flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2-3/4 bag of toffee chips (I used heath bar chips)
1 c chocolate chips, chopped
1 c oatmeal
1/2 c coconut
1 c almonds, toasted and chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix butter and sugars until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Add flour, salt and baking soda, mix until combined. Add oats, chopped chocolate, coconut, chopped nuts, and toffee bits. Stir to combine. On a baking sheet drop dough by rounded tablespoons. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or just until the edges turn golden. Let cool on cookie sheet before removing.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Moroccan Chicken

I did some adventurous cooking tonight for dinner. My husband took a trip last May to Morocco, and said he really liked the tagines they had. I had never had a traditional tagine, so I didn't really know what I was looking for in flavor. I had found a recipe for easy chicken tagine by Rachel Ray that I have been meaning to try. But, I also wanted to see how the recipe compared to other chicken tagine recipes. Rachel Ray's recipe used prunes in it, and lets face it....those are only used for one reason and one reason only. I had bought some dried apricots instead, and decided to take several elements from a few different recipes, and we have a winner. To put it simply this dish is flavor packed chicken over rice or cous cous. Don't be afraid of the use of some of the ingredients, trust me. After having this tonight, I jumped right onto the blog so that I would have it typed down somewhere. I definitely see myself making this in the future. P.S. the little boys loved it as well.

I don't have a picture of the meal, so here is a picture my husband took in Morocco...:)

Moroccan Chicken

1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/4 tsp salt
3 tbs olive oil
3 large chicken breast butterflied or 4-5 small chicken breast (3 lbs.)
1 tbs butter
1 onion, sliced in half, and then sliced 1/4 inch thick
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 c water or chicken broth (I added water and then 1 1/2 tsp. chicken bullion)
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 tbs tomato paste
1 tbs honey
1/2 c dried apricots (cut into 4th's)
1/4 c raisins
1 tomato, chopped

In a bowl, stir together first 5 spices, add 1 tbs olive oil to the spices, and then add chicken to coat well. In a large skillet heat the rest of olive oil and butter in a skillet, brown chicken on both sides (don't worry if it's not done all the way through). Remove chicken to a plate. Add onion, and 1/4 tsp salt. Cook onion until soft, about 8 minutes. Add garlic, cook for a couple of minutes. Add water and bullion, using a wooden spoon scrape up any brown bits on the pan. Add tomato paste and honey, stir. Add chicken, 1/4 cup cilantro, raisins, and apricots. Cover and simmer on low for 30 minutes. Serve over hot white rice or Cous Cous. Top with fresh tomato and cilantro.