Category Archives: Featured

chicken afritada

Chicken Afritada – Chicken Stew

chicken afritada

This is based on the Filipino Afritada recipe which my family has gotten to simply calling chicken stew. Which, basically, is what it is. I like it because, well, you can only have fried chicken so often (their favorite), and this has both starch and vegetables and a hearty gravy all in one pot so it’s perfect for a quick and healthy weekday meal! You can pair it with rice as is our wont, or just sop it up with a hearty, crusty bread and you’re good to go!

We picked a good amount of bell peppers from the backyard the other day and rather than freezing all of them, I left some out just to make this dish. I usually change up the vegetables I add to this dish depending on what I have on hand.

Chicken Afritada - Chicken Stew
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-5
 
Chicken stew with a tomato based soup. Potatoes and carrots are a must for me but the rest of the veggies are interchangeable. Use what you like or what you have.
Ingredients
  • One whole Chicken or parts, cut into serving pieces (I used 6 legs and 4 thighs this time)
  • 6 cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 1 large Onion, sliced
  • 3 large Roma Tomatoes, diced
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce (Patis or Nuoc Mam)
  • 2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon Paprika
  • 4 cups Chicken Broth or Water
  • 3 Carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch slices
  • 4 Yucon Gold Potatoes, cut into quarters
  • 3 Sweet Bell Peppers, cut into 1 inch squares
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
Instructions
  1. Heat a heavy bottomed pan and quickly sear chicken pieces just to give them some color. (I didn't add any oil to mine but if your pan has a tendency to stick, add a tablespoon of oil first.)
  2. Remove the chicken pieces from the pan and using only the rendered fat, cook the garlic, onions and tomatoes until they are tender and have deglazed the pan.
  3. Add the fish sauce, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, oregano and paprika and stir for a minute or two until the sauce is bubbly.
  4. Add the chicken pieces back in.
  5. Add the chicken broth or water, cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes until the chicken is tender.
  6. Taste and adjust seasonings just before adding the carrots and potatoes. Cook for ten minutes.
  7. Stir, make sure it's not sticking and add more liquid if necessary.
  8. Add the bell peppers and cook for another minute or two. Longer if you like your bell peppers more done. We like it to still have some body and retain some of its natural sweetness.
  9. Turn off the heat and serve.
Notes
As with most of my recipes, I never make them the same way. Only the basic cooking method and ingredients stay the same. Feel free to experiment whenever you're cooking, and always adjust the measurement for spices according to your personal preference. Other vegetables you can add to this stew: Green Peas Baby Lima Beans Green Beans Corn Zucchini and/or Summer Squash

 

Other afritada/apritada recipes online:

Chicken Afritada from Kusina ni Manang

Pork Afritada from the Pinoy Cook

Fish Afritada from Kitchenomics

 

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eggplant

Tortang Talong – Eggplant Fritata

tortang talong

The garden has been doing well this year and the three Japanese eggplants have been very generous. Aside from the new recipes we’ve tried out using eggplants, this is an old standby that we always fall back on, especially for breakfast.

We call this ‘tortang talong’ in the Philippines. It is basically a whole eggplant that is grilled over flame to burn off the skin, and peeled. Some people also simply boil it then peel it, but I am partial to that charred skin flavor. Plus, when you grill it it doesn’t get as soggy as when you boil it.

After you’ve peeled the eggplants, scramble a couple of eggs in a wide bowl. I use a pie pan. Season the scrambled eggs with salt and pepper and dip your whole eggplants in, flattening it slightly with a fork so it can absorb more of the egg mixture.

Next, heat a couple of tablespoons in a skillet and lay your eggplants in, pouring some of the scrambled eggs over and around the eggplants. Let it cook until set.

For a tip on how to flip it over, visit our old post for eggplant fritata. On that version, I was being lazy about having to char the skin and peel the eggplant first, so I simply sliced them up with the skin on. It still worked, but this is the way my grandma used to do it, down to leaving the stem at the end of the eggplant to keep it stable during cooking.

 

eggplant fritata

Looking at that old eggplant fritata post, I realize that it’s very similar to Poqui-Poqui which is supposed to be an Ilocano dish. I’ll have to try cooking it as per Connie’s recipe next time. I think it will be delicious!

Another eggplant recipe that I want to try out soon is this Chili Eggplants from Feast Asia and also written by Connie

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togue

Bean Sprouts and Mushrooms

Bean sprouts & mushroom stirfry

This is another simple, fast and extremely satisfying vegetarian dish that is a favorite with my girls. We have been having lots of meatless meals lately and no one but the husband is complaining 🙂

When this photo was taken, we had it for brunch along with eggplant omelette and garlic fried rice. It was perfect!

Bean Sprouts and Mushrooms
Author: 
Recipe type: Main, Side Dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
In Filipino cooking, this is simply called 'Ginisang Togue' and there are as many variations of it as there are cooks. So this is my version which includes my other favorite, mushrooms.
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. Bean Sprouts
  • 8 oz. White Button Mushrooms, chopped
  • ½ of an Onion, Sliced
  • 2 cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 3 stalks of Spring Onions, sliced thin
  • 1 Tablespoon Oil
  • Salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat wok to or heavy skillet to high and add the oil.
  2. Add the onions and garlic and stirfry for a minute.
  3. Add the mushrooms and stir fry for another minute or two
  4. Add the bean sprouts, quickly stir fry for another minute.
  5. Season with salt and turn off the heat.
  6. Add the sliced green/spring onion and mix or you can just sprinkle them on top.
Notes
I like the sprouts to still have lots of crunch so I barely cook them. Just enough to heat them, really. If you prefer your veggies to be cooked a bit longer, you can leave them until your desired doness.

 

Other variations for Bean Sprouts:
Ginisang Togue from Overseas Pinoy Cooking

Spicy Bean Sprout Beef Rice Bowl from Rasa Malaysia

And for soup lovers, bean sprouts and chicken soup!

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Jan29 006

Lettuce Wrapped Chicken

This is an update to an old recipe which is a favorite in our house especially once the weather starts getting too hot to cook inside or out. It hasn’t got that hot yet though, the weather has been still pleasantly comfortable. Yet whenever I try to think of something light, refreshing and still filling, this recipe comes to mind.

My husband does not bother with the lettuce cups or lettuce tacos as he calls it. He dumps the mixture over rice, and he’s good to go. The girls and I like it wrapped in lettuce with extra scallions and cilantro on top with an additional hoisin sauce. Yummy!

So here’s the recipe in the new microformat:

Lettuce Wrapped Chicken
 
Ingredients
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, diced fine
  • 4 dried shitake mushrooms – soak in warm water and dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 bunch of green onions, finely sliced (about a cup)
  • Cilantro, chopped roughly
  • Lettuce leaves
  • Hoisin sauce
Instructions
  1. Cooking sauce: Mix together the cornstarch, dry sherry, oyster sauce, and water in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a wok or large pan, heat oil and saute’ the chicken until opaque and set aside.
  3. Heat up a bit more oil and saute’ the ginger, garlic and onions until fragrant.
  4. Add the dried mushrooms, stir fry for a couple of minutes and add the chicken back in the pan.
  5. Add the 'cooking sauce', half of the chopped green onions (reserve the other half for adding on top of each lettuce cup) and stir.
  6. Remove from heat. Serve
Notes
To serve, spread a little Hoisin sauce on a lettuce leaf, add a spoonful of the chicken, and sprinkle with green onions and Cilantro. Wrap up in the lettuce, and enjoy! ADDITIONAL NOTES: Cut up the chicken while still partially frozen and you'll get a finer mince (almost ground). Since I use the frozen, boneless, skinless chicken breasts, I don't thaw them out ahead of time. I set them out for the few minutes that I'm chopping the other ingredients and by the time I'm done with that, the chicken should be a little less rock hard and easier to chop through.

 

Other Chicken in Lettuce Cups recipes for reference and good karma 🙂 :
Chicken Lettuce Wraps from Spoon Fork Bacon
A spicier Thai Style Chicken in Lettuce Cups from Fine Cooking
and from the Nutmeg Nanny, Chipotle Chicken Lettuce Cups

 

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Nov15 009

Tilapia Baked with Miso

Tilapia is the most common fish that I can get around here that’s easy to prepare, easily found and affordable. So it’s a staple in our freezer especially since I found the kind that are individually flash frozen fillets. They are really convenient especially when you just want something quick and only need a fillet or two.

Anyway, last summer when we went to California to visit my family where a visit inevitable leads to a road trip. We were debating to drive up north to visit more family and maybe sneak in some sonoma wine tours akin to the movie Sideways. But then we realized we’d have the kids with us, so ended up in Vegas instead.

Wait…. what kind of twisted reasoning is that, you say? Well, it’s not as bad as it sounds and the kids actually have a great time in Vegas. For one, their grandma is there and the hotel pools are always a great distraction for them. Vegas is really quite more family friendly than you think!

Anyway, when in Vegas, we always have to have our fix of Oxtail Soup at the California. But if you’re in Vegas for a week, you can’t have oxtail soup every night. So for a change, after finding ourselves at the California late at night and hungry again, we decided to try something different.

Baked Fish with Miso at California Hotel, LV

That’s when I tried the halibut and swordfish with miso. I was hooked after the first bite! It was something different, and yet so simple that I knew I could make it at home.

I think this recipe works best with more substantial fish like halibut or swordfish. The tilapia was ok, but for me, it just didn’t have enough body to it. It carried the flavor wonderfully though!

My photos suck, but you get the idea, and it really did taste much better than it looks

Miso baked Tilapia with Pasta and Fried Zucchini

 

Tilapia Baked with Miso
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-3
 
Tilapia fillets baked with miso sauce.
Ingredients
  • 2-3 Tilapia fillets
  • 2 Tablespoons Miso paste
  • ¼ cup Mirin
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Lay the tilapia fillets on a foil covered baking sheet
  3. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning to your taste.
  4. Slather the mixture over the fish fillets and bake for 20 minutes or just until the fish is done and the miso is bubbly and slightly browned.

 

You can get Miso paste (fermented soybeans) and Mirin (Japanese cooking wine) at most Asian markets.

For other unique ways to bake fish, check out these recipes:

Baked fish in parchment with lots of veggies is an easy meal in a bag.

For the fullest of flavors, try baking a whole fish with garlic chili sauce.

If you love fish tacos, then try out this Blackened Fish Tacos for a healthier, baked version than the usual fried.

 

 

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Nov13 029

Cheesy Breakfast Casserole

 

A while back, I received a coupon for Simply Potatoes as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program. Simply potatoes are supposed to be fresh and never frozen, prepared potatoes. They have been peeled and shredded and some even already pre-seasoned as the Southwest Style Hash Browns that I used in this recipe. Of course, you don’t have to use the packaged stuff; you can always peel and grate your own as I am normally wont to do.

This is a fairly quick casserole that I put together one weekend just to try out Simply Potatoes, and it turned out quite well, if I do say so myself! The girls said you couldn’t tell that the potatoes were pre-packaged so that alone was a good endorsement for me. However, for the cost, it is of course still cheaper to peel and grate your own potatoes, but for the convenience, Simply Potatoes does quite nicely.

 

 

Breakfast Casserole
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast, casserole
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Perfect for a filling breakfast or brunch, this casserole utilizes common pantry items and flexible enough to use up leftovers.
Ingredients
  • 2-3 oz. or 1 substantial slice of Neese's Sausage
  • 15 slices of Pepperoni, sliced into strips
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 small Onion, diced
  • ½ cup Greens or Spinach
  • 4 Eggs
  • 4 Tablespoons Milk
  • ½ teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1 cup Cheese, grated
  • 1 pack Simply Potatoes
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Scramble eggs, milk and nutmeg together, set aside.
  3. Heat a cast iron pan over medium heat and brown the sausage until it renders fat.
  4. Add the garlic and onions and let it cook for a few minutes until fragrant. About 2 minutes. Add the pepperoni (optional) or any other meat item you have on hand.
  5. Add whatever vegetables you have, in this case, turnip greens. Let it warm up for a minute or two and remove the mixture from the pan. Turn off the heat.
  6. In the same cast iron pan, spread half the pack of Simply Potatoes to cover the bottom of the pan.
  7. Next layer, spread the sausage/vegetable mixture and top with a half cup of cheese.
  8. Add the remaining pack of Simply Potatoes and pour the scrambled egg mixture evenly over the pan. Top with the remaining cheese.
  9. Place the pan in the pre-heated oven and bake for 20-30 minutes until bubbly and the cheese is melted.
  10. Cut into wedges to serve
Notes
Note that this dish aims to utilize whatever leftovers you have or ingredients readily available in your pantry. Cheese - I had a small amount of cheddar and swiss so that's what I used. This will change depending on what I will have available next time I make this dish again. Vegetable - I had about a cup of turnip greens so I used that. You can use spinach, broccoli, mixed vegetables or whatever else you may have. Meat - I was cooking Neese's breakfast sausage for the husband so I simply broke off a bit of that to flavor this version. I also had a small pack of pepperoni from when the Clone made pizza so rather than let it go bad, I sliced them up and used them for this casserole. As you can see, this dish can be very flexible and adaptable. Don't be afraid to try different variations.

 

 
Other Breakfast Casserole Recipes:
A more traditional mix of Bacon, Potato and Egg from the Kitchn
For something sweet, try the Pineapple Breakfast Casserole from Dessert for Two
And this Sweet Potato Oatmeal Breakfast Casserole sounds good and healthy to me!

DISCLOSURE: “As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received Simply Potatoes coupons in order to sample the product”

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Apr17006

Green Salad with Corn and Strawberries

Eating with the season is the best way that I can describe this salad. My husband’s best friend brought over a large tray of freshly picked strawberries over the weekend and this salad immediately came to mind.

My girls have been into adding fruits with our green salads lately and what with strawberries and corn being in peak season right now, I thought I might as well post this recipe even though I don’t usually post salad recipes. Well, if you think about it, there really isn’t a recipe is there? When I put a salad together, it all depends on what’s in the fridge, the garden or the fruit bowl.

I always thought salad recipes are self explanatory. You can see what’s in it, but given the number of comments on my main blog when I posted a photo of this salad asking for the recipe, I suppose I might as well.

Green Salad with Corn and Strawberries
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
This salad uses fresh corn and freshly picked strawberries when they are in season.
Ingredients
  • 1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped into bite size pieces
  • A couple of hand fulls of mixed salad greens (or whatever other greens you have on hand. Spinach will work too)
  • Half of one Sweet Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 8 oz pkg. of Button Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 Cucumber, sliced
  • 1-2 cups Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • Half of one small Red Onion, sliced
  • 1 Carrot, shredded or sliced
  • 1-2 cups of Strawberries, cut into halves or fourths
  • 1-2 cups of Corn (sprinkle on top of each plate)
  • Boiled Eggs (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place all of the ingredients above in a salad bowl except for the Corn and Eggs.
  2. Plate the salad and top with a few spoonfuls of corn and egg.
  3. Dress with your choice of dressing.
Notes
I didn't add a dressing recipe for this because everyone at my house have a preferred dressing; Some people can't get away from ranch and others just have to have Asian Dressing on everything. So use whatever salad dressing works for you and your family. For me, a simple drizzle of olive oil and a generous spritz of lemon with a sprinkling of salt and pepper are just enough to waken the flavors. If you can get fresh corn like we can right now, and they are as fresh and sweet as they can get, you can just take them off the cob without even cooking them! My girls and I don't mind eating raw corn. However, in a pinch, canned corn or frozen corn will work with this salad too. Finally, this is a salad so the measurements are not exact. Just throw in a handful of this and that. The measurements I wrote above are approximates only as I rarely measure when I'm making a salad.

Other Salad Recipes Using Strawberries and/or Corn:
Summer Chicken Salad with Feta, Strawberries and Corn from The Frugal Foodie Family

Sweet Roasted Corn and Strawberry Salad with Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon from Cara’s Cravings

Roasted Corn, Strawberry and Avocado Salsa from Your Home Based Mom

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moussecake

Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake

Are you on Pinterest yet? If not, you’ve got to go on there. It’s addicting. That’s where I found this recipe and it’s there that I have pinned several recipes that I want to try out. The photo looked so tempting that I just had to try it. While I had a few mis-steps as you can see from the photos below, we have fallen in love with this recipe and have made it a few times since then. As a matter of fact, I still have a couple of slices in the freezer from when we made it for my daughter’s birthday a couple of weeks ago.

The recipe is at the end of my post. It is the exact same recipe from MUPPY’s  with just a few adjustments that I made in the measurements and instructions.

Here’s a few notes on the mishap I made the first time I made the recipe (I did better the second time):

The major mistake was not reading the pan size correctly. Here, I used a 8 inch pan instead of a 10 inch pan. The cake filled the pan, leaving no room for the mousse layers.

So what did I do to fix it? I ate it…

I took the sides off the springform pan off, cut the cake in half, and put the bottom layer back together with the sides of the pan.  Since I had to peel off the paper liner around the pan, I also replaced the parchment paper collar around the cake (this is to make sure the mousse/cake separates from the pan without breaking). The extra cake that I cut off…. it was delicious with a cup of coffee while I waited for this dessert to set!

The other mistake (which is not as bad as the first one) is that I did not realize that by cutting the excess top of the cake layer off, the sides kind of shrunk in. So when I poured the mile chocolate layer, it filled in the sides so you couldn’t see three layers on the outside shot, just two: milk chocolate and white chocolate. That’s because the dark chocolate cake is buried under there.

After the chocolate milk layer is set, pour the white chocolate mouse layer on top and return to the refrigerator or freezer to set.

See, all ended up still looking delicious and tasted like it too! Note on this photo, the outer edge of the bottom layer where it pulled away from the side. Try to avoid that by using the right sized pan 🙂

Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake
 
Ingredients
  • 6 Tbsp. Butter
  • ¾ cup Dark Chocolate
  • 4 large Eggs, separated
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • ⅓ cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. Flour
  • 1 oz. package of Unflavored Gelatin powder + 2 Tbsp. Hot Water
  • ½ cup White Chocolate chips
  • ½ cup Milk Chocolate chips
  • 4 Egg Yolks
  • ¼ cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 cups Heavy Cream (separated)
  • 6 Tbsp. Butter
  • ¾ cup Dark Chocolate
  • 4 large Eggs, separated
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • ⅓ cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. Flour
  • 1 oz. package of Unflavored Gelatin powder + 2 Tbsp. Hot Water
  • ½ cup White Chocolate chips
  • ½ cup Milk Chocolate chips
  • 4 Egg Yolks
  • ¼ cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 cups Heavy Cream (separated)
  • 1 oz. package of Unflavored Gelatin powder + 2 Tbsp. Hot Water
  • ½ cup White Chocolate chips
  • ½ cup Milk Chocolate chips
  • 4 Egg Yolks
  • ¼ cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 cups Heavy Cream (separated)
  • 1 oz. package of Unflavored Gelatin powder + 2 Tbsp. Hot Water
  • ½ cup White Chocolate chips
  • ½ cup Milk Chocolate chips
  • 4 Egg Yolks
  • ¼ cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 cups Heavy Cream (separated)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Grease and line sides of a 10 inch springform pan
  3. Combine butter and chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and melt in the microwave on high for one minute, stirring at the 30 second mark.
  4. Stir melted chocolate and butter mixture until smooth and let cool slightly.
  5. Beat egg whites and slowly incorporate brown sugar until it forms stiff peaks.
  6. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks and vanilla, then add the melted chocolate and butter until well blended.
  7. Whisk in a third of the stiff egg whites mixture into the chocolate mixture.
  8. Fold in the remaining egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture until combined.
  9. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and bake for 20 minutes or until the cake springs back when gently touched in the center.
  10. Leave cake to cook in the pan while you prepare the mousse layers.
  11. Dissolve the gelatin powder in the hot water, set aside.
  12. In a saucepan, combine the 4 egg yolks, ¼ cup sugar and 1 cup of cream and whisk together over low heat until it just starts to thicken.
  13. Remove from heat and whisk in the gelatin mixture until it is well blended.
  14. Strain the custard mixture.
  15. Place the milk chocolate chips in one bowl and the white chocolate chips in a second bowl.
  16. Divide the hot custard mixture evenly between the white and milk chocolate bowls to melt them.
  17. Stir each bowl until the chocolates are melted and well mixed into the custard and smooth.
  18. Whip the remaining one cup of heavy cream until thick and again divide evenly between the bowls of white and milk chocolate custards.
  19. Fold in the whipped cream gently into the chocolate custard mixtures.
  20. Pour the milk chocolate mousse over the dark chocolate cake base and put in the freezer or refrigerator for 15 minutes to set.
  21. Next, pour the white chocolate mousse on top of the milk chocolate and return the pan to the freezer or refrigerator until set.
  22. If you are letting the mousse set in the refrigerator, it may take overnight. If you put it the freezer, it should be set in about an hour.
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