There are several reasons people embrace the vegetarian lifestyle. For some, it’s a matter of morals and a desire to protect all life. Others, however, recognize the key health benefits associated with eating more fruits and vegetables. Or, like my daughter, just prefer the taste of fruits and vegetables over meat.
This recipe is based on the parmesan chicken recipe from Simply Recipes and it has become a favorite especially with my youngest daughter who just loves yellow squash! The chicken, the carnivore dad also deemed passable for the regular menu. Me, I like it because it’s so darn easy to cook that it easily qualifies for my weekday one hour meals list. This plate definitely should have some greens on it for nutritional balance’s sake, but I kind of like the yellow color scheme on this plate, don’t you?
The baked parmesan chicken and squash were served along with baby lima beans and rice pilaf.
The thing to remember here is to first batter your yellow squash before the chicken in order to avoid cross contamination.
After you’ve battered both the yellow squash and chicken, you can bake them in the oven together for pretty much the same amount of time and you’ll have dinner on the table in no time!
The only change I made from Elise’s recipe is that I didn’t cut the thighs into pieces but rather left them whole. I extended the cooking time to 20 minutes instead of 15 just to be on the safe side and it worked out perfectly.
Although it was scorching hot and humid outside, we couldn’t resist having one of our favorite soups, oxtail soup. The weather has never been a hindrance to our enjoyment of soups. Why whenever we are in Las Vegas, we must have our dose of Oxtail Soup at the California and you know how hot it gets over there!
The last time we were in Las Vegas was last summer. It had been several years since we were last there, but since my mother decided to retire and moved there, we decided to go check out her new house and also get re-acquainted with the town. My, have things changed! When we used to go there as kids, there was little for us to do aside from hanging out at Circus Circus. Nowadays though, even with six kids in tow there was plenty of things to do in Vegas. The girls were not bored for one second, and it was painful for them when it came time to leave.
Of course while we were there, we had to work in a midnight run to the California hotel just to have their oxtail soup which they don’t start serving until 11 p.m. for the night owls, the gamblers, the hung over and the plain obsessed like us. The late night service is one reason my daughters have yet to sample the oxtail soup at the California. My mom, my sisters and I don’t mind the late hour, we actually like it better because as anyone knows, it’s hard enough getting around Vegas much less downtown Vegas during the day. Late night traffic is much more manageable.
This was the last bowl I had at the California. See all the grated ginger and chopped cilantro floating about? It’s making me hungry just looking at it again.
The way my sisters and I talk about the soup, it’s no wonder my daughters have been hankering for a taste too. So a couple of weeks ago when we chanced upon some good-looking oxtails at the grocery store, my daughter immediately requested for soup.
This time though, I didn’t put the usual aromatics that normally flavors the Hawaiian style soup served at the California. I made this one Nilaga style. Nilaga is the Pilipino term for boiled and is a general term applied to a lot of boiled soups in the Philippines. What sets it apart from the Hawaiian version is that it doesn’t use as many spices as the Hawaiian version, depending instead on the strong beef flavor that oxtails impart. It is a much lighter broth but also very good at highlighting whatever vegetables you choose to have with it instead.
This soup is good enough and hearty enough for a main meal but the broth is also flavorful enough for a starter soup with any meal.
2-3 lbs Oxtails, cut into 1-2 inch slices
4 cloves Garlic, peeled and left whole
1 large Onion, sliced
2 inch fresh Ginger, peeled and sliced
4 small Potatoes, quartered
1 Bok Choy, cut into serving pieces
3 Tablespoons Patis (fish sauce)
1 teaspoon Szechuan Peppercorns
Salt, to taste
10 cups Water
1 Tablespoon Oil
Heat up oil and quickly sear the oxtail slices. Remove them from the pot and set aside.
Into the remaining oil in the pot, add the garlic, onions and ginger and stirfry for a few minutes until fragrant.
Add the fish sauce and the oxtails and stir a few times.
Add the water, cover and let it come to a boil. Once it been boiling for 10 minutes, lower the heat to a simmer and let it cook for 1.5 to 2 hours or until the oxtails are falling off the bone tender.
Once the meat is tender, adjust the seasoning, adding more salt if necessary.
Add the potatoes and let them cook for ten minutes.
Add the vegetables, Bok Choy in this case, and let it cook only until it turns bright green and wilted but still has plenty of crispness. Don't overcook.
Turn off the heat, and serve.
You can use any vegetables you want in this soup. Some suggestions:
or any green, leafy vegetables (turnip and mustard greens work well too)
You can also use other cuts of beef instead if oxtails is not your thing. I have used beef shortribs for this recipe and traditionally beef shanks is used for Nilaga. The main thing when making this soup is to use meat on the bone. All the good beefy flavor comes from the bones.
With the cold weather, it seems that a lot of food blogs (Baby Rambutan made Pho, Sassy made chicken soup, for example) have been cooking lots of soups. I actually was looking for ox tails like what chef Celia had, but couldn’t find any. I did find fresh ham hocks, so I decided to make sour soup.
Place pork hocks in a large pop and add 10 cups or enough water to cover, and bring to a boil. Skim off the scum from the top as it rises (or if you forget to check like I did, pour off the scummy water and start anew).
Turn the heat down to a slow boil and cook until tender (about 60-90 minutes).
When the pork is tender, add the onions and sigang mix and let it cook for another 20 minutes or so to get the flavors to blend.
Adjust the seasoning. Add green beans and cook until almost tender; then add the bok choy, cook for one minute and turn off the heat so as not to overcook the vegetables.
Most sinigang dishes have tomatoes in them as an added souring agent. However, I didn't have any when I cooked this. Definitely add them if you have some!
There are many other vegetables that you can add to this sour soup dish. Some of the ones commonly used are mustard greens, cabbage, spinach, radishes, okra, peppers and eggplants. Whatever vegetables you like, you can probably add to this soup.
After Karen saw this post, she emailed me to enter this recipe for the IMBB event since it had green beans in it. This prompted me to come up with another recipe with beans since I was planning on cooking beans this weekend anyway. I came up with the Pork and Beans recipe above. Thanks for the prompt, Karen! 🙂