Monday, April 4, 2016

Currey's King Ranch Chicken - What Can I Bring Cookbook - Cookbook for NEW Cooks

Book review first... But scroll down to see the recipe for this dish...

OH BOY do I love this cookbook (What Can I Bring? Cookbook (Cake Mix Doctor) ).  Here's what has to say about it...

 Potlucks and picnics, dinner parties and church socials, fundraisers, toasts to the teacher, reunions, cookouts—it's the busy age of shared meals, which means with every invitation comes the question: " What can I bring?" Anne Byrn, an inspired cook, problem solver, and bestselling author of The Cake Mix Doctor cookbook and other books with over 2.6 million copies in print, knows exactly how to answer the question. Cutting through menu block—a condition familiar to everyone who cooks—here are over 200 delicious suggestions for crowd-pleasing food that’s designed to travel.

There are finger foods, canapes, and "trios"—Trio of Marinated Goat Cheese, Asian Summer Rolls with a Trio of Sauces, Trio of Pastry-Wrapped Camemberts. 25 surprising salads: White Corn Salad with Fresh Thyme, Asparagus and Grilled Peppers with Asian Soy Dressing. Main dishes for a party, from Southern-Style Pulled Pork to Creamy White Bean and Spinach Lasagne. Desserts (of course, 25 of them), and a full chapter of loaves and other gifts from the kitchen, including Chocolate Sour Cherry Bread and Sun-Cooked Peach Preserves. Each recipe comes with Tote Notes (how best to transport the dish), Big Batch (how to multiply the dish), and When You Arrive (how to put the finishing touches on the dish). Plus there are "Grab & Gos"—super-quick recipes—for each section, etiquette tips for working in someone else's kitchen, and a "Notes" area for each recipe, to jot down tips and log in when you made the dish and for what occasion, so you don't repeat yourself.

And sure enough... This book is a dream for any cook,.. experienced good cooks to novice boiling water challenged.

Each recipe has plenty of easy to follow directions, as well as a personal story to show that the author does indeed make the dish, as well as notes to make your cooking the dish easier.

The book was published in 2007, still in print (a sign of a great cookbook), and just about as useful a book as I can imaging.

I would give this a 5 star review, the only issue is that there are very limited numbers of photos.  Especially for a new cook, I like to have photos available as examples of how to make the dish look correct.  Unfortunately most dishes do not have any illustration or photos, knocking the book down to 4 stars from me.

BUT, if I were giving a gift to a new cook, this would certainly be at the top of my list!

Keep scrolling, recipe below...

This dish is called, Currey's King Ranch Chicken... According to the author's notes,
"Variations of this Texas recipe have been around for years.  This version comes from my (her) friend Currey Thornton from Nashville, who used to cater and knows how to serve crowds successfully.  It's an ample recipe of chicken, peppers, spicy tomatoes and flour tortillas in a creamy cheese sauce and goes well with a green salad or a fruit salad."

OK... Here's her recipe and my notes on what I did...

King Ranch Chicken

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, about 1-1/2 Pounds
  • 1 tsp Italian Seasonings
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seasoning
  • 1 Tsp Salt (My Note - I left this out, there is plenty of salt in the soup... Optional if you like salt.  Can always be added later if needed)
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 TBS (1/4 Stick) Butter
  • 1 Medium Size Green Bell Pepper, Large Dice
  • 1 Medium Size Onion, Large Dice
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 Cans, NOT Drained (10 ounces each) Ro-Tel brand Chopped Tomatoes and Green Chilies
  • 1 Can Cream of Mushroom Soup, undiluted
  • 1 Can Cream of Chicken Soup, undiluted
  • 12 small Flour Tortillas, cut into quarters
  • 3 Cups Mexican style shredded Cheese
Cooking Directions
  1. Cook Chicken (My Note - I baked the chicken in a casserole pan, no water or oil, just add the chicken to a clean casserole pan.  I dusted the chicken with a BBQ spice mix.  Bake at 325 degrees until internal temperature of the thickest part of the chicken is 160 degrees, about 30 minutes.  In the book the author advises braising chicken until well cooked and then shredding.)
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a large 9X13 Casserole dish with non-stick spray.
  3. Heat the Butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the diced Onion, Bell Pepper and Garlic.  Saute for about 5 minutes until peppers are soft and the onions are translucent.
  4. Add the Ro-Tel tomatoes and the cans of Soup. Season with the Cumin and optional Chili Powder.. Stir to evenly mix.
  5. Ladle 1 cup of the sauce on the bottom of the casserole dish.  Add 1/3 of the tortilla chips.  Add a layer of chicken and a layer of cheese... repeat the layers, ending with a layer of cheese.
  6. Bake COVERED with aluminum foil for about 45 minutes until the sauce is bubbly. UNCOVER and bake an additional 15 minutes, allowing the cheese to get golden brown and delicious.
  7. Let rest for 5 minutes, serve HOT and ENJOY!
This casserole was FANTASTIC!  Filled with flavor and will be repeated often in my house.

And indeed I did take this to my church for a PotLuck... Best compliment, the dish came back empty and several folks enjoyed a second helping since they enjoyed the first so much!

Enjoy indeed.