Monday, May 31, 2010

If you're looking for a good brand of 'real' nachos, try Mega Mexicana:

This is the brand that I used for the nacho salad in my previous post. My officemates also like this brand. Heck, this brand can survive on a catsup-mayo dip alone. It costs around 50-70 pesos and is available at SM supermarkets.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The summer heat is driving everyone crazy! Add to that, the rising Meralco bills! We don't have A/C at home so you can just imagine how hot it can be especially during the afternoons and at night. I manage by doing yoga whenever I find the time. It cools down my body significantly plus I get to sweat off all the toxins stored inside. We also eat light - lots of fruits, juice, liquids and salads. I try to stay out of the kitchen as much as I can. I've been preparing fast and easy meals nowadays. Here's an example.

You will need:
  • Nachos
  • homemade salsa (prepare this ahead of time so you can chill it)
  • olives
  • lettuce
  • some mayo or sour cream
  • beef mixture
  • grated cheese (I used Romano)
Again, prepare the salsa ahead of time then refrigerate. Just click on the link to see my recipe. In a pan, put some olive oil then add some chopped garlic. When fragrant, add the ground beef. Cook until the liquid has evaporated and the beef is brown. Season with cumin , salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a bowl, assemble lettuce leaves and nachos. Top with the beef mixture then the salsa then the olives and sprinkle with grated cheese. You can also top this some more with sour cream or mayonnaise.  

Here's my plate:

MB and I finished the whole bowl. Serve this with a glass of ice cold juice or soda and you'll have a very satisfying summer dinner.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

If you're tired of whacking your brains out figuring what to have for breakfast or what to feed your family who are always on the go, try this:

biscuits, pears and Nutella. Yum!


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I made honey-orange chicken! It's quite simple. Just marinate some chicken breast fillets in OJ, honey and garlic. Add some soy sauce or salt and pepper. I marinated this for about 2 nights then grill or fry in a little oil. Don't worry if the chicken browns fast. That's supposed to happen because of the honey. I personally like it when my chicken is that color in the picture. 

I served this with some leftover pasta (using the Koalas) and some mashed potatoes. Have a lovely dinner!

Monday, May 24, 2010

What attracted me to this juice is the 'NO Preservatives, NO Added Sugar' print. I'm all for natural juice. I don't buy juice mixes. If I can't buy natural juice, I juice some oranges or lemons or calamansi. 

I was very excited to try this for breakfast. Sadly, it disappointed big time. It tasted weird, like chemicals or something. MB didn't like it. I had a tummy ache from drinking 1/4 glass of it. Seeing that it's too expensive at P40.25 for a 300 ml bottle, I wracked my brains trying to figure out how to salvage the remains. 

What did I do? Check out my next post for what I did with the leftover juice. 

Friday, May 21, 2010

Do not be deceived! This may be one of those simple gisa dishes that we Filipinos make but it comes with a twist. 

The twist is in the broth. When we cook this sautéed green beans and carrots dish, we normally use water and just season it with patis (fish sauce). For this dish, I used the Lee Kum Kee seafood hot pot broth. Yeah!

The broth is a bit spicy and oozes with seafood goodness. It totally made a difference on this dish. 

The downside is, you can't use the broth if you're only cooking for two. Since the broth is concentrated, you will need to add at least 6 cups of water. Your vegetables will "swim" in this dish. I made that mistake (sheepish grin). What I suggest is, use half of the broth and freeze the other half and use for some other dish.

Anyway, for people who are not familiar with this dish, here's the recipe:

You will need green beans (sliced thinly and diagonally), carrots, garlic, onions and mini shrimps. Saute the garlic and onions in a little oil. Add the carrots then the shrimps. Pour the broth and add water. Bring to a boil then add the beans. Serve with lots of rice.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

It looks like that because it's frozen. I made this the night before and stuck it in the freezer so it won't spoil when I bring it to work the following day. When I arrived in the office I put this in the freezer too and just nuked it in the microwave come lunch time. 

MB and I love gata dishes, dishes with coconut milk. And we both love spicy food so this is a slam dunk dish for us.

You will need some large shrimps, dried chilies, S&P, 1 teaspoon turmeric, finely chopped ginger, garlic, EVOO, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon mustard seeds, onions, coconut milk, green chilies, juice from one calamansi (optional).

Place the shrimps, dried chilies, salt and pepper, turmeric, ginger and garlic in a bowl and set aside. Heat the oil in a pan and saute the cumin and mustard seeds until fragrant. I skipped the cumin because I didn't have any. Add the onions and cook until transparent. Add the shrimp mixture and saute. Add the coconut milk and sliced green chilis. You can also add the calamansi juice at this point if using. 

You can adjust the amount of coconut milk as you please. MB likes the sauce so I used a whole can. You can use just a cup for 1 1/2 lbs of large shrimps for a drier dish. 

I wanna hear from you! What's your favorite gata dish?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Nothing makes me happier than a full breakfast with lots of choices. It reminds me of the childhood summers I spent in Bicol. In my grandmother's home, we were always served a variety of dishes for breakfast. We have bread, fried rice, eggs, hotdogs, different spreads, fruit, coffee, hot chocolate, pancit, etc. The table was always overwhelming but the nice part is, all the family plus the extended ones (that's us. She's my grandma's sister) are all eating together. The smiles and the jokes and the stories passed around the table are simply priceless. Now that's how you start the day.

Back here in Manila, everything is always in a frenzy but I still try to have a good sit-down breakfast with MB either at home or in the office. For me, breakfast bentos are always more fun to prepare than the lunch ones. 

For this particular breakfast bento, I put Calasiao puto, frozen melon balls, scrambled eggs with Spanish sardines, garlic, onions and tomatoes and some butter for the puto (rice cakes) together. We must have been very hungry that day as I also packed some whole wheat pan de sal. I tell you, if you start your day like this, you will be happy and will be able to tackle the day's work with ease.

How about you guys? What's your favorite breakfast memory?

Monday, May 17, 2010

What did you guys do during the weekend? Did the election fever finally let up? I slept through the weekend. It's amazing how I was able to finish most of my chores. Lately I've been getting tired easily and getting sleepy more than usual. I guess my body is adjusting to the climate transition. With that, I try to combat stress and fatigue with lots of rest, sleep, movies and what else, FOOD! 

Have I told you how much I love ramen? I've tried Teriyaki Boy's recently and it was delicious! It's also fairly cheaper than Sumo Sam's and the serving is just right for one. But I can't always eat at Teriyaki Boy. That's why I'm so lucky that I was able to find a decent tasting instant ramen at the Landmark. It costs P33 and the price is absolutely worth it!

The pack comes with flavoring and some nori strips. The flavoring is soup base. You can have this in seafood flavor too. 

Sorry for the blurry pic. My batteries were dying at this point. 

This instant ramen is made in Japan. That's important if you like ramen as much as I do. Don't ever buy ramen that's made in the US. It tastes horrible! It's not even close to ramen or to a decent bowl of Asian instant noodles. I absolutely abhor Maruchan. So stay away from that brand.

Don't you just love how Japanese food is packed? They're so creative and innovative. They really try to make you feel as if you're not eating instant food. Why can't we be this creative locally? Calling makers of Lucky Me! (I don't eat Lucky Me or any local noodles for that matter as I can't digest it. Seriously.)

Since the rainy season is coming, better stock up on soups and comfort food. For 33 bucks, you bet I'm going to stock up on these.

What's your favorite instant noodle brand?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Have you tried this? If not, you should especially if you love shrimps! This is another shrimp snack but it's much cheaper than the Pringles shrimp chips. One bag costs only P16 and is available at the Landmark. It's made by Leslie, the makers of the classic Clover Chips.

If it's that time of the month when you ladies are craving for something salty, grab a bag and enjoy with a glass of soda or ice tea. But you know that we're not supposed to indulge our salty cravings right? It will make us feel much worse later on. But I guess, when you're craving, you're craving. These are salty (sometimes very salty) chips that have the right shrimp flavor and an extra zing. Don't worry if you don't like spicy food. It's just a little. The crunchiness is like Clover Chips. The thing with this is, it feels as though one chip is not enough to satisfy your flavor curiosity. It feels like there's something lacking so you get one more then another one and another one. Before you know it, you've finished the whole bag! It's not addicting but it goes really good with an ice cold soda.

What's your cheap grocery find of the week?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

If you've read my post about the tanigue stew, you've read that I suggested serving this with mashed potatoes. That's exactly what I did with the leftovers with a little something else:

Buttered corn with Romano cheese! The flavors were well matched. I loved how the potatoes balanced the tomato taste of the stew. Add the buttery/cheesy goodness of the corn and you get one tasty dinner! You won't be sorry that you're eating leftovers. Even MB who was already tired of all the tomato based dishes ate this with gusto. 

So if you're picky with leftovers or if your family is, I suggest adding little extras to make the leftover dish appealing. You can add some steamed, buttered vegetables on the side, or some soup if you're serving meat. You can also serve some interesting salads, drinks and desserts. For kids, add some fun by using animal shaped noodles, fun faces and colors. You can browse the archives for leftover ideas. It's always a good practice to maximize the food that you buy and took time to prepare. Try it and compute how much money you'll save.  

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Do you remember the chicken and vegetable hot pot? How about the koala noodle soup that I made with the leftovers? If you think I'm done experimenting with that amazing batch of soup, think again. I kept some soup and used the leftover raw vegetables for this dry noodle dish.

I used the baby corn and chopped them up into smaller pieces. I also used the oyster mushrooms and the pechay. I didn't even add garlic and onions to this dish. I just reheated the soup, added the vegetables and seafood and then seasoned it with a little bit of Kikkoman then added the rice noodles. Wait for the noodles to cook. If the liquid dries up, add some water but taste to make sure that the dish won't go bland. Add some more Kikkoman or fish sauce or any seasoning of your choice if bland. 

This is great for a light summer dinner. How about you? How do you maximize the use of your ingredients? 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I have a few breakfast staples in my fridge - bread, eggs, butter, milk, fruit and meat (bacon, sardines, etc). I prepared this pizza the night before and just reheated in the microwave come morning. Spread some instant Italian pizza sauce on half a pan de sal. Sprinkle some grated quickmelt cheese on top, add some sliced Spanish sardines and top with parsley and some finely grated Romano cheese. I also sprinkled some olive oil. Pop in the oven or oven toaster then serve with some ice cold milk and some fruit. I love it when the edges turn brown and crunchy. For the fruit, watermelons are the best for a refreshing summer breakfast. 

Monday, May 10, 2010

I hope you were able to vote today! My family and I were able to vote but not without difficulty. I think my grandmother was the only one who was able to vote quickly and without a hitch. They give priorities to senior citizens, disabled and pregnant women. It takes quite a while but please have patience. This is important for us as a nation. 

On with the food program: 

I was on a seafood roll the week I made the tanigue stew. And because I still had some leftover white wine, I decided to cook a simple seafood casserole. I only used 3 kinds of seafood - fish, shrimps and squid. I didn't want to add shellfish as I heard some people in Makati Med discussing the dangers of shellfish saying that the toxins that they ingest stay in their bodies and thus transferred to humans when we eat the shellfish. I don't know if this is true but there's no harm in not eating shellfish. The result was still excellent.

This is great to cook in the same batch (or week) as the tanigue stew because of some similarities in the ingredients. That way, you get to maximize the use of your ingredients.

You will need some olive oil, some chopped onions, leeks (which I didn't have at the time), garlic, canned tomatoes, 2 bay leaves, chopped parsley, 1/4 cup white wine, salt and pepper, seafood of your choice and fresh oregano to garnish. I didn't have fresh oregano so I sprinkled some dried oregano on the sauce.

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan. Add the onions, leeks and garlic. Cook until fragrant. Add the canned tomatoes, bay leaves, parsley, wine, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Make sure that your mixture doesn't dry up. Stir in the fish (if using), make sure that your fish is firm so as not to crumble up. Simmer for 5 minutes then add the shellfish (if using). Add the remaining seafood. Cover and continue cooking for 5 minutes. 

Cook this when the weather is cooler. You'll enjoy it. If not serving rice, make sure you have some hard bread to sop up the sauce. 

Friday, May 7, 2010

Remember this? How about this? It ended up like this:

Isn't that a nice way to "pimp" up leftovers? Just follow the recipe for the soup then cook the Koala noodles in a separate pot. When the Koalas are done, add them to the boiling soup. Comfort food at its best!

Close up of the Koala

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I've always wanted to try this but found the price tag too hefty. One day, while perusing aisle 33 (again. It's a habit. I always check stuff out at aisle 33 ever since they've remodeled) at Landmark, I found the koalas on sale! Kangaroos are also available. This is a product of Australia. This is such a fun way to feed kids (and grown ups too!). I'll show you how I used this koala noodles? pasta? in my next post.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I suck at cooking fish. The only thing I've perfected is frying fish that's why I'm not too adventurous when it comes to seafood, with cooking that is. Seafood is just too expensive to botch. This particular dish is quite easy to make and I didn't botch it!

It looks all mixed up because I forgot to take a pic of MB's baon. I was supposed to stay home that day but felt better a couple of hours before lunch and so I immediately packed baon for myself. Too bad we ran out of Lock & Lock's so I just put the stew and the rice together in one lunch box. I didn't mind because the rice absorbed the sauce and made it so flavorful!

You will need:
  • 2 tanigue slices
  • olive oil
  • some chopped leeks (you can use a combination of the white and green parts)
  • crushed garlic
  • dried oregano
  • oyster mushrooms
  • 1 stalk celery
  • tomato paste
  • canned tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup white wine
  • basil (if you have fresh use that otherwise use dried)
  • chopped parsley
Heat the oil then add the garlic and the leeks. Cook until soft. Add the oregano, mushrooms and celery. Cook for about 2 minutes. Stir in some tomato paste, about 2T and the wine. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat. Add the fish. Cook the fish, take care not to overcook. Stir in the basil and parsley. Be careful when you transfer the fish to a plate or in my case, a lunchbox, as the fish might fall apart. You can serve this with rice or mashed potatoes. If you're a Filipino, you'll probably serve this with both. = )

*Kids won't probably like this dish because of the complexity of the flavors. If you love pasta and seafood, you might enjoy this dish. 


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Well, almost. I'll soon get around to buying an authentic hot pot. Meanwhile, I'm happy with our non-stick pot. 

I know it's summer but soup comforts me in ways I cannot comprehend nor describe. And a bowl of steaming chicken soup with vegetables is just too irresistible.

Plus, I got this very convenient ingredient for a quick soup:

Sorry for the blurry pic. Our kitchen lighting is bad. This costs around P34 at The Landmark. It's liquid inside and doesn't taste like chicken cubes at all. 

I boiled some sliced chicken breast fillet in water just because I don't like boiling chicken in the same soup. I dissolved the soup base in 6 (to 8, depending on how salty you want your soup to be) cups boiling water. I then added the cooked chicken, some baby corn, native pechay and oyster mushrooms. I just let everything cook. 

Here's the finished product:

This soup is a meal in itself but since we're Filipinos, we ate this with some rice. You have got to try this when the rains come!

Monday, May 3, 2010

On days when my attacks are bad, MB stays home to care for me (read: be my slave for the day). Since I usually prepare all our bentos and baons the night before, all MB had to do was take this breakfast bento out the ref and reheat the muffins and ham squares. Because I was too groggy, I forgot to take a pic when the bento was still full. Well, at least you get the idea. The blueberry muffins are Betty Crocker's and cost about P84 at The Landmark Supermarket for one pack. Just add half a cup of water then pour into pretty molds and stick in the oven or oven toaster in my case.  

*The watermark is for my other blog! Ooops...


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