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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Chicken, Broccoli, 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 cheddars in the past, the flavor of, English white cheddar is the best.

I’m fortifying the flavor of my poached chicken for this dish. All that means is that the poaching liquid I’m using is an unsalted chicken broth to enhance the chicken flavor.

 

 

 

 

 

2016-04-20 20.49.53

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Total Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Yields: 6-8 servings
Equipment:  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 (Succes boil-n-bag rice, 2 packets, now available in brown rice)
2 1/2 cups of thawed frozen broccoli florets, roughly chopped
3 cups of cooked diced chicken (4 boneless skinless chicken breasts)

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 black pepper
1 cup of sour cream, room temperature
2 1/2 cups of whole milk
1 3/4 cups of grated English white cheddar
1/4 cup of grated yellow cheddar
2/3 cup of grated 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. If frozen, place the florets into a large bowl of REALLY warm water for a couple of minutes. Using a colander drain thoroughly. Transfer the broccoli florets to a large plate lined with paper towel to catch any excess water. Transfer the florets to a cutting board and give them a rough chop. Place into a bowl and set aside.

In a large saucepot, on 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 sautèpan 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, sautè for another 4-6 minutes. Continue sautèing 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 mixture turns light brown. Slowly whisk in the milk, about 3 tablespoons at a time, until smooth and combined. Continue whisking until the sauce starts to boil. Turn the heat down to low and continue to cook, whisking for 1 more minute. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes.

Switch to a wooden spoon, add the sour cream, stir to combine. Add the grated Parmesan, white, and yellow cheddar to the milk sauce. Add the cheese sauce to the large bowl containing the chicken and vegetables, stir 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 3-5 minutes, until the top is golden brown.

*DOT: a food process involving the placement of small bits 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 perfect match made in heaven, are peas and pancetta. My pasta carbonara highlights those two perfectly. One of this dishes main ingredients is freshly cracked black pepper. From what I understand, many years ago, this dish got it’s name from woodcutters who made charcoal for fuel. Those men would come home dirty and black from a hard days work. Therefor the black pepper in this dish represented just that.

Yields: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12-15 minutes

Ingredients:
2 boxes of Gemelli ( or 1 pound of spaghetti)
1 package of thawed frozen peas
1/4 pound of diced pancetta
1 finely diced shallot
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 large clove of minced garlic
1/4 cup of dry white wine (optional)
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 ( handful of Kosher salt for pasta water)
3 tablespoons of fresh finely chopped flat leaf Italian parsley
1 tablespoon of fresh cracked black pepper

Directions:
First, place a 6 quart pot on the stove filled with water, and turn the heat up to medium high. This will allow 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.

Dice up the pancetta and add it to a large, deep sided, and cold saute pan with olive oil. 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 back for adding to the top of the served dish.

In another bowl, crack 4 eggs and one egg yolk and beat them together with 1 tablespoon of fresh cracked black pepper. Measure out 1/4 cup of dry white wine, and 1 large garlic clove minced. Once all the ingredients are ready it’s time to make the dish.

Turn the large saute pan with the pancetta and olive oil on to medium heat. Start to render down the pancetta.  Throw a handful of Kosher salt into the pot with the boiling water. Add in the pasta of you choice, giving it a big stir, and follow the cooking time according to the box.

Anywhere from 7-10 minutes the pancetta should be rendered down and crispy. Transfer the pancetta to a plate line with 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 sauteing, scrap 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 back in the crispy pancetta, along with the peas ( the heat will warm the peas through), and egg mixture. Using tongs, toss all this though, while still over the heat, until eggs are barley set. Turn the heat off, but keep the pan on the burner. Quickly add in the grated Parmesan cheese and fresh chopped parsley. Toss those ingredients through then remove from the hot burner. This dish is best served hot. Don’t forget about adding more cheese to the top of your dish!

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Homemade Skillet Tamale Pie

2016-04-28 17.06.59

2016-04-28 17.18.37

Cook Time: 50-55 minutes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Yields: 8 servings
Equipment: Cast Iron Skillet

Ingredients:
1 box of Krusteaz honey corn bread
1 egg
1/2 cup of sour cream
3/4 cup cream style corn
3/4 cup enchilada sauce
2-1/2 pounds of ground pork
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup diced onions
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of chili powder
1-1/2 tablespoon of ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
7 tablespoons of drained Rotel
1/4 cup low sodium beef broth
2 cups of shredded Mexican blend cheese
1/2 cup of chopped scallions for garnish

Directions:
Set oven temperature at 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 Rotel, (tomatoes with green chilies), cream corn, and sour cream. Mix all those ingredients together until well combined. Next, add in the dry ingredients from the box. Mix until just combined. Do not over mix. Pour the batter into the cast iron skillet and bake for 20 minutes.

While the corn breads in the oven baking, start the filling for the tamale pie. In a large saute pan, add olive oil with diced onions. On medium high heat, saute the the onions for about 3-4 until soft, then add in minced garlic, let cook for another minute. Next, add in the ground pork, cumin, chili powder, Kosher salt, dried oregano, and black pepper. Brown the ground pork, onions, and spices for about 10 minutes. To the meat mixture, add in another 4 tablespoons of the drained Rotel along with 1/4 cup of low sodium beef broth. Stir to combine, and let simmer, on medium heat, stirring occasionally, for another 15 minutes or until liquid had evaporated.

Take the corn bread out of the oven. Using a fork, poke holes all over the top of the corn bread. Then add 3/4 cup of enchilada sauce all over the top. Letting the sauce seep down into the corn bread. Using a slotted spoon, (allowing any extra liquid to drain completely from the meat) transfer the meat mixture onto the top of the corn bread.

To the meat, top generously with the shredded cheese. Spray the dull side of the foil with cooking spray. This will ensure the cheese won’t stick. Cover the skillet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and broil for an additional 5 minutes until cheese is golden brown. Top with slice green onions. Remove the skillet from oven and let rest for about 15 minutes to set.

 

 

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Ricotta, Peaches, And Blueberries

2016-04-28 18.11.59

I’m going to go out on a limb here, and say, this is the fastest dessert to make ever! With that said, it’s also one of the most delicious and healthy desserts too.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Yields: 2 servings

Ingredients:
1-8 ounce container of ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons of confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons of honey
1/2 pint of fresh blueberries
1/2 package of thawed frozen peaches (2 fresh peaches pitted and skin removed. Slice each peach into 8 slices)
2 tablespoons of slivered almonds
2 sprigs of fresh mint

Directions:
In a bowl, add the 8 ounce container of ricotta cheese. To the ricotta add the  confectioner sugar and stir to combine. Place half the amount of ricotta mixture in each of the bowls.

Next, add 1 of the slice peaches, or 1/4 package of the thawed frozen peaches to the ricotta mixture in the bowl. To that, add in half the fresh blueberries to one bowl and the other half to the other bowl.

Drizzle half the honey over each one, then sprinkle half the almonds over each one. Garnish each bowl with a sprig of fresh mint.

 

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