Archive for September, 2012

Triple D King Ranch Casserole

September 20, 2012

I have few talents in general but my best one is my ability to watch a cooking show and write down the steps and ingredients and re-create the recipe. I love doing this and the feeling of success when a dish comes out just right. I think my hubby is pretty lucky as most guys probably watch Diners Drive-Ins and Dives and drool over the delicious recipes shown with no hope of ever tasting them. But my hubby saw a recent recipe and told me he wanted me to make what he saw and I accepted his challenge. My hubby loves most things I cook and I make a lot of the same staples over and over. But when he tells me that he wants to “crawl into a vat of casserole and live in there, it was so good” I know I hit the nail on the head.

The episode of Triple D was in Texas and Matthew McConaughey joined Guy for their taste testing. The diner made a King Ranch Casserole which is a traditional Texas dish and it looked amazing. I tried to google “king ranch casserole” and there was no shortage of recipes to pop up. But none of the recipes I found had the steps or ingredients I saw on Food Network, so instead I watched the episode on Food Network as a guide. Many people got close with their versions but a can of cream of mushroom soup and cream of chicken soup? Come on, it is not hard to make a roux and use fresh stock and mushrooms. Don’t be fooled by imitations, this is the closest version!┬áHere is the recipe I invented:

Triple D King Ranch Casserole

Ingredients (guesstimated measurements I eyeballed my version):

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 large onion chopped

1 large green bell pepper chopped

2 small stalks of celery chopped

6 cloves of garlic minced

6 oz of button mushrooms chopped

1/4 or 1/3 cup of white wine

a couple teaspoons of kosher salt, or more to taste

1/2 tsp or more of black pepper, or more if you like

1 tablespoon of cumin, or more if you like

1 tablespoon of chili powder, or more if you like

1 can of Rotel tomatoes with chiles

about 1/3 cup of flour, enough to make a roux

2 cups of chicken stock

about 1/2 cup of whole milk or half and half

corn or flour tortillas, about 1 dozen, I used flour

a block of monterey cheese

a block of cheddar cheese

a whole rotisserie chicken from the deli, dark and light meat removed and shredded (I bought the “smokehouse bbq” flavor and it was perfect)


Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Get a large casserole dish or 9×13 pan out. Start by heating your vegetable oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Then saute your onions, pepper and celery till translucent. Add your minced garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Then add your mushrooms and cook through, I added a bit more veg oil to help the mushrooms cook. Deglaze your pan with the white wine and cook veggies in wine till mostly absorbed. Add salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder and Rotel with chiles and mix together, let cook for a minute.

Then add your flour to make a roux. Whisk flour in slowly till the veggies and flour form almost a gravy, dough or a thick paste like concoction. After it has thickened add the chicken stock and whisk to get the roux to loosen up and combine with the stock. Once it has loosened into sort of a soup, add the half and half or milk and whisk. Cook over medium/low heat for a few minutes to bring all elements together and reduce to thicken into a nice sauce.

Take off heat and put a few spoonfuls of sauce in bottom of casserole dish so tortillas won’t stick. Then put down a layer of tortillas, 1/3 of shredded chicken and 1/4 of shredded cheeses, topped with dots of the sauce sort of spread out over it. Then repeat layers 2 more times, so there are 3 layers of yumminess total. Top with additional layer of tortillas, sauce and then cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or so uncovered and keep an eye on it, mine was done at about 35 mins in my oven. Slice in to this puppy and enjoy the best dish my husband says I have made in a long time. It is sort of like a mexican lasagna or enchilada casserole and you won’t be disappointed!

Real Deal Red Velvet

September 13, 2012

Ok I am a very naughty blogger. I forgot to snap a pic of my creation before it was gone. But that is a good sign right? The cake was so delicious that there was not even a crumb left to photograph. I love trying new recipes. My hubby gets a random craving now and then and he asked me to make him a red velvet cake. I am pretty sure it had nothing to do with the cake part but everything to do with the cream cheese frosting part. I went to my trusty food network site and found this recipe by Alton Brown. Most of Alton’s recipes are pretty technical and advanced but I like a challenge. Why he puts measurements in complicated metrics is beyond me, but luckily I had a chart in my Giada cookbook to help me convert all his ounces. I also used my kitchen scale to get some of the ingredients just right.

What is really is red velvet all about? Well red velvet cake is really a chocolate cake with food coloring. But originally it came about because the buttermilk and cocoa created a chemical reaction in the cake and gave it a reddish hue. Now with the processed cocoa this doesn’t quite happen, hence the food coloring (thank you wikipedia). Either way, Alton’s version was mouth watering and so moist and his version of cream cheese frosting was the best I have had yet. I will be using this as my go to frosting in all my other recipes, carrot cake and more. I halved the recipe (hello algebraic equations) to make single 9 inch round. We each enjoyed a slice or two and gave the rest to Nana and Poppa so we would not feel too gluttonous for eating a whole cake. So if you have seen red velvet on cake competitions and wondered what it is all about, don’t buy the version in the red box, make your own version and you will have a real sweet treat!