Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Where You Taste The Love

Broccoli, Chicken, And Rice Casserole

2016-04-20 20.49.53

What a great weeknight meal!  Casseroles are a magical thing. Everything baking together in one dish. Hot and bubbly, with a golden brown cheesy top. What’s not to love about that?  My cheesy chicken, broccoli, and rice casserole will set you on the path to “Comfort Town”.

Not as traditional as most of the chicken, broccoli, and rice casseroles you may have encountered, I like adding mushrooms and a combination of a yellow and English white cheddar to this dish.

Why an English white cheddar you’re wondering? I’ve compared all kinds of white cheddar cheeses in the past, English white cheddar is the best.

I’m fortifying the flavor of my poached chicken for this dish. All that means is I’m using the poaching liquid to enhance the chicken flavor. This is my Broccoli, Chicken, And Rice Casserole.

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Parmesan Cheese

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Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Equipment:  1 (9 x 11 x 2) baking dish

Ingredients:
1 quart of unsalted chicken broth (poaching liquid)
4 boneless- skinless chicken breasts

1 tablespoon of good olive oil
1 cup diced onions
1 pint of cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon of a Fresno chili (approx. 1/2 a Fresno chili, seeded and minced)
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 1/2 cups of cooked white rice (Success, boil-n-bag rice, 2 packets, substitute brown rice)
2 1/2 cups of thawed frozen broccoli florets, roughly chopped
3 cups of cooked diced chicken (4 boneless skinless chicken breasts)

Cheese Sauce:
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, plus 2 tablespoons for the topping
2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (8-ounces) Philadelphia Whipped original cream cheese, room temperature (or substitute 1 cup sour cream)
2 1/2 cups of whole milk, heated
1 3/4 cups of grated English white cheddar
1/4 cup of grated yellow cheddar
2/3 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese, plus 4 tablespoons

Directions:
Spray a 9 x 11 x 2 baking dish with cooking spray.

Note: Make sure the frozen broccoli florets are completely thawed. Transfer the broccoli florets to a large plate lined with a paper towel and pat dry as much as possible. Transfer the florets to a cutting board and give them a rough chop. Place into a bowl and set aside.

In a large saucepot, over medium heat, add 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (in a single layer), dried thyme, Kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Pour 1 quart of unsalted chicken broth, enough to cover the chicken. Once the liquid comes to a boil, turn down the heat to a low simmer and cover. This process should take anywhere from 10-15 minutes.

While the chicken is poaching, start with the boil-in-a-bag rice. Follow the instructions on the box. Once the rice and water are brought to a boil, boil for 8-10 minutes, remove the rice from the bag and transfer to a large bowl, set aside.

The chicken should be opaque in color and have an internal temperature of 165-degrees. Remove the chicken from the poaching liquid and transfer to a plate. Next, dice the chicken into 1-inch cubes. Transfer the diced chicken to a bowl and set aside.

Next, in a large sautè pan on medium heat, add the olive oil. Add the diced onions, cook 3-4 minutes, until soft and translucent. To the onions add the sliced mushrooms, minced Fresno chili, and dried thyme, cook for another 4-6 minutes. Continue sautèeing until all the liquid has evaporated and mushrooms are nice and brown. This is the time to add the Kosher salt to the pan, stir through. Finally, add the broccoli florets and continue to cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Transfer the broccoli, mushroom, and onion mixture into a large mixing bowl. Add to that the cooked rice and diced (cooked) chicken. Toss all the ingredients together and set aside for the time being.

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.

Directions For Cheese Sauce:
In a 3-quart saucepan,  over medium heat, melt the butter. Sprinkle the flour over the melted butter. Add 1/4 teaspoon of Kosher salt and whisk. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until the mixture turns blonde in color. Start by slowly whisking the hot milk in about 3 tablespoons at a time, until smooth and combined. Continue by slowly adding the remaining hot milk and whisking until the sauce thickens.

Bring to a boil then turn the heat down to low, switch to a wooden spoon and continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes.

First, add the cream cheese, stir until smooth and combined. Next, add the grated Parmesan, white, and yellow cheddar, again stir to combine. Transfer the cheese sauce to the large bowl containing the chicken and vegetables, mix to combine.

Pour into a 9 x 11 x 2 greased baking dish and spread evenly. Sprinkle 4 tablespoon of the grated Parmesan cheese over the top. Dice 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter into tiny cubes. Take the tiny cubes of butter and *DOT the top of the casserole.

Bake for 25 minutes or until completely heated through. Turn broiler to the ON position and cook another 3 to 5 minutes, until the top is golden brown. There you have it my Broccoli, Chicken, And Rice Casserole.

*DOT: a food process involving the placement of small bits (butter) and/or pieces of food to evenly distribute particles over the top that are to be melted or absorbed.

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Pasta Carbonara

2016-05-01 17.44.35

A match made in heaven, are peas and pancetta. My Pasta Carbonara highlights these two ingredients perfectly. One main ingredient, in this dish, is freshly cracked/ground black pepper. From what I understand, many years ago, this dish got its name from woodcutters who made charcoal for fuel. Those men would come home dirty and black from a hard day’s work. Therefore the black pepper in this dish represents that look.

eggs

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: deep-sided frying pan, 6-quart saucepot, chef’s knife, 2 large mixing bowls, 1 small mixing bowl, a 10-cup food processor, colander spoon

Ingredients:
2 boxes of Gemelli (substitute 1 pound of spaghetti)
1 package of thawed frozen peas
1/4 pound of pancetta, diced
1 shallot, finely diced
1 teaspoon of olive oil
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup of dry white wine (substitute unsalted chicken broth)
4 whole eggs plus, 1 yolk
2 cups of grated Parmesan cheese (reserve 1/4 cup back to top serving dishes)
1 pinch of Kosher salt to taste (a good handful of Kosher salt for pasta water)
1 tablespoon of fresh ground black pepper
3 tablespoons of Italian parsley flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Directions:
Place a large saucepot on the stove filled with water over medium-high heat. This will allow you time to prepare the ingredients for the dish while waiting for the water to boil.

Have ready, a whole package of thawed frozen peas in a bowl.

In a large cold sauté pan add olive oil and diced pancetta. Do not turn the heat on just yet.

Next, grind up 2 cups of Parmesan cheese in a food processor. Transfer the grated cheese to a bowl and set aside.

Note: Reserve 1/4 cup of the grated cheese to top individual servings.

In another bowl, crack 4 eggs and one egg yolk and beat them together with 1 tablespoon of fresh cracked black pepper. Measure a 1/4 cup of dry white wine (or chicken broth), and have the minced garlic set to one side. Once all the ingredients are ready it’s time to make the dish.

Turn the deep-sided frying pan with the diced pancetta and olive oil to medium heat. Start to render down the pancetta, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Add a handful of Kosher salt into the pot of boiling water. Add the pasta, of your choice, giving it a big stir, and follow the cooking time according to the directions on the box.

Once the pancetta is crispy transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel. Drain off all but 3 tablespoons the pancetta fat in the pan. If you don’t think you have that much, you can add a little olive oil.

This process goes fairly quickly. Pan still on medium heat, next, add in the minced garlic, diced shallot, and the wine. Using a wooden spoon, and while shallots and garlic are cooking, around 3 to 4 minutes, scrape up all those delicious pancetta bits that are trapped in the bottom of the pan. Let that liquid bubble up for about a minute until the alcohol has cooked out.

To the pan, using one of those large colander spoons, transfer the pasta into the pan. Next, return the cooked pancetta to the pan. Make sure to coat the all pasta with the pancetta fat, wine, and garlic that has remained in the pan. Note: if the pasta seems a little to dry and sticking together, add in a little olive oil to loosen it up.

At this point, add the crispy pancetta, the peas (the heat will warm the peas through), and the egg mixture. Using a pair of tongs, toss to combine while still over the heat, until eggs just start to set. Turn the heat off, but keep the pan on the burner. Immediately add the grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley. Toss those ingredients through then remove from the heat.

Pasta Carbonara is best served hot. Don’t forget about adding more cheese to the top of your dish!

Pasta Carbonara Souffle

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Homemade Tamale Pie

2016-04-28-17-18-37

2016-04-28 17.06.59

My HomemadeTamale Pie is a combination of cheesy ground pork-topped cornbread and it’s to die for. I add a few secret ingredients to the store-bought cornbread mix that sends this dish over the top.

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Sour Cream And Ricotta Cheese

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Stuffing (2)

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Yields: 8 servings
Equipment: 1 (12-inch) cast-iron skillet, 1 (12-inch) sauté pan, large mixing bowl, aluminum foil, chef’s knife

Ingredients:
2 1/2 pounds of ground pork (substitute ground beef)
1 (15-ounce) box of Krusteaz honey cornbread
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 cup (4 ounces) of sour cream, room temperature
1/4 cup (2 ounces) of whole milk ricotta cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup cream-style corn
3/4 cup enchilada sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup onions, small dice
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of chili powder
1 1/2 tablespoon of ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
7 tablespoons of RO*TEL, drained
1/4 cup beef stock, unsalted
2 cups of shredded cheese, Mexican blend and/or Colby Jack
1/2 cup of green onions, (white and green parts) thinly sliced, on the bias, for garnish

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.
First, wipe down the cast iron skillet with a paper towel that’s been lightly greased with vegetable oil. Follow the directions of the back of the corn bread box. To a large bowl, add the egg, milk, and vegetable oil. To those ingredients, add in 3 tablespoons of drained RO*TEL, (tomatoes with green chilies), cream corn, ricotta cheese, and sour cream mix to combine. Next, add in the dry ingredients from the box. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, mix until just combined. Do not overmix. Pour the batter into the cast-iron skillet. Bake for 20 minutes.

While the cornbread is in the oven baking, start the filling for the tamale pie.

In a large sauté pan, over medium-high heat add olive oil with diced onions. Stirring frequently, cook the onions for about 3 to 4 or until soft and translucent. Add minced garlic, stir, cook for 1 minute more.

Next, add in the ground pork, cumin, chili powder, Kosher salt, dried oregano, and black pepper. Stirring frequently, cook the ground pork, onions, and spices for 10 minutes, or until meat is no longer pink, about 6 minutes. To the meat mixture, add the remaining 4 tablespoons of the drained RO*TEL and beef stock, stir to combine. Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for another 15 minutes or until all the liquid evaporates. Drain fat, transfer meat mixture to a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

Take the cornbread (in the skillet) out of the oven. Using a fork, poke holes all over the top of the cornbread. Add 3/4 cup of enchilada sauce. Spread evenly over the top. Letting the sauce seep down into the cornbread. Generously top with shredded cheese.

Spray the dull side of the foil with cooking spray. This will ensure the cheese won’t stick. Tightly cover the skillet. Bake for 20 minutes.

Switch oven to broil, remove the foil, broil for 5 minutes until cheese is golden brown. Remove the skillet from the oven and let rest for about 15 minutes to set. Garnish with green onions.

Guacamole, Chunky-Style

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