Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Moussaka is basically a Greek lasagna-type dish made with either eggplant or zucchini instead of pasta. I'm not a huge fan of eggplant, so I use zucchini, which I absolutely LOVE. I learned about this dish while watching Diners, Drive-ins and Dives on the Food Network. I saw how it was made, and looked pretty easy like lasagna, so I decided to do my own version. I made this with my bolognese sauce with ground turkey. But this can totally be a vegetarian dish if your sauce doesn't have any meat. I especially like the topping, which is basically a white gravy/beschamel sauce that I make. This is another one of my signature potluck dishes. Its a great way to sneak in a little vegetable into someone's diet. I did with my daughter!

4-6 zucchini, sliced lengthwise into 3 pieces
5 cups of your favorite spaghetti sauce (I used my bolognese sauce)
1/4 cup bread crumbs

2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cup warm milk
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
salt & pepper to taste

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grill zucchini slices until half-way done. Spread bread crumbs on the bottom of a casserole dish.

2) Place a layer of grilled zucchini slices on top of the bread crumbs. Pour 1/3 of spaghetti sauce on top of zucchini. Place another layer of grilled zucchini and then spaghetti sauce. Repeat procedure until you have used up your zucchini slices or until you have made 3 layers.

3) TOPPING: In a saucepan, melt butter on medium heat. When butter begins to bubble, add flour and whisk for about a minute to make a roux. Gently pour in milk while vigorously whisking, to avoid lumps. Cook mixture until it begins to boil, stirring occassionally to avoid burning. When mixture begins to boil, remove from heat. Add nutmeg, salt & pepper to taste.

4) Pour topping over prepared zucchini layers. Bake in oven for 35-40 minutes. Serve hot or cold.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Sopas (Filipino style chicken noodle soup)

Another thing my daughter likes to eat is sopas. Although its been too hot to be eating soup, I thought I'd make this today to get my daughter to eat more. She's been really low on her weight, so I needed to make foods that she likes to eat a lot of. This is great to eat during the cold winter. She ate pretty good at dinner tonight, so I think this was a success.

1 Tbsp. oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped cooked chicken
6 cups chicken broth
1/4 lb. small elbow or shell macaroni
1/2 cup milk
salt & pepper to taste

1) Heat oil in a stock pot on medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook for about a minute. Add carrots and celery and continue cooking for another 2 minutes.

2) Add chicken, chicken broth and pasta. Cook until pasta is halfway down. Add salt & pepper to taste. Add milk. Continue cooking until pasta is completely done.

Fresh Peach Ice Cream

I've come to learn that my daughter LOVES peaches. So we've been buying loads of different kinds - peaches, white peaches, nectarines, white nectarines. We also love peach ice cream, so I decided to look up a recipe. A lot of the peach ice cream recipes out there calls for eggs in the recipe to make it a custard. I've never had luck when making a custard ice cream. It never seems to come out smooth. But I found this recipe from that doesn't require eggs. I've cut the recipe in half because it wouldn't fit in my ice cream maker. Its real simple to make. One thing I have to say though, is, ice cream makers can be pretty tricky. If your ice isn't "cold" enough (if that's even possible), the mixture won't churn well. It happened to me with this recipe, but I simply ran the ice cream machine again with more ice than water that the manufacturer's instructions called for.

6 ripe medium peaches (or nectarines), peeled, pitted and pureed
1/2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 cups chilled heavy cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. almond extract (optional)

1) Chill freezer container. Combine pureed peaches, lemon juice and sugar. Let sit for 15-20 minutes.

2) Combine remaining ingredients and add to peach mixture and mix thoroughly. Pour mixture into chilled freezer container two-thirds full. Place in ice cream maker and run according to manufacturer's instructions for 40-50 minutes, or until mixture starts to firm up.

3) Pour mixture in a container with a tight fitting lid and freeze for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Pasta Bolognese

I love cooking pasta dishes. I especially love eating Spaghetti. Spaghetti was one of the first few dishes I started making when I was younger. Back then, my spaghetti sauce would always taste different every time I made it. I never had a recipe. Toss in a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, until it comes out to be something edible. I still do that sometimes, but I've gotten a little better at it. This recipe is like a spaghetti sauce, but has a few other extra ingredients. I like making huge batches of sauces so that I can put them in little sandwich bags and freeze them for a later use. Its a great time saver for a working mom like myself and in a rush for a home cooked meal. I use this sauce for spaghetti or any pasta, lasagna, baked ziti and moussaka. Its a really versatile sauce.

4 Tbsp. olive oil
4 Tbsp. butter
4 Tbsp. onion, finely chopped
4 Tbsp. celery, finely chopped
4 Tbsp. carrots, finely chopped
1 1/2 lb. ground turkey or beef
salt to taste
1 cup milk
3/4 cup white wine
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2-28 oz cans of tomato sauce
3 Tbsp. sugar

1) Heat oil and butter in a deep stock pot in medium heat. Add onions, celery and carrots. Cook for about 2 minutes.

2) Add ground meat, making sure to break up any large pieces with a fork. Add salt to taste. Cook meat until it is no longer pink.

3) Carefully add wine and turn the heat up to medium high. Cook until wine has evaporated, stirring occasionally.

4) Turn the heat down to medium and add milk and nutmeg. Cook until milk has evaporated, stirring frequently. Add tomato sauce and cook until sauce begins to bubble. Add sugar. Turn the heat to low and simmer uncovered for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add more salt during the simmer as needed. Serve over your favorite pasta.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Embutido (Filipino style meatloaf)

The original recipe for this called for ground pork. But since I bought so much ground turkey, and I've been trying to cook healthy lately, I decided to use it in this recipe. It tastes the same as it would if you used pork. This is one of my favorite filipino dishes.

1 3/4 lb. ground turkey
1 cup finely chopped carrots
1 can vienna sausage, minced
1 red bell pepper, minced
1/2 cup sweet pickle relish
1/2 cup raisins
3 eggs
1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar or mozzarella)
couple of dashes of worcestershire sauce
salt & pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. cornstarch

2 hard boiled eggs, cut into wedges
1 can of vienna sausage
foil sheets (approximately 8)

1) Prepare steamer. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until well blended.

2) Spread and flatten mixture onto the center of a sheet of foil. Place one vienna sausage and a wedge of egg near the bottom edge of the flattened mixture. Roll mixture with the foil until the ends of the mixture covers the egg and sausage. Tighten both ends of the foil to form a tight log.

3) Repeat the procedure with the remaining mixture. Makes approximately 8 logs. Place all logs into steam basket and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Slice into 1 inch patties and serve with steamed white rice and banana ketchup/sauce.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Guinisang carne (sauteed meat)

I had bought a lot of ground turkey meat at Costco a few weeks ago, hoping to use it instead of ground beef. I'm trying to be a little more healthy. Its very hot out today, and I didn't want to slave over a hot stove. So I decided to make this easy filipino dish. Again, I go back to the concept of simple sautee of garlic and onions to make a dish. This dish can be made with ground beef, ground pork, or ground chicken as well.

1 Tbsp. oil
3/4 lb. ground turkey
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 small potato, diced
1 tomato, diced
1/2 cup frozen green peas
1/2 Tbsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

1) Heat oil in a large sautee pan. Add garlic then onions. Sautee for about a minute. Add carrots and potatoes and continue sauteeing until the carrots begin to soften (about 3 minutes).

2) Add ground turkey and stir until meat is no longer pink. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper then the green peas. Continue cooking until the peas are no longer frozen. Serve over steamed white rice.

Canada, eh?

After a 2 1/2 hour flight, we arrived in Vancouver, Canada last Friday. Vancouver is very cosmopolitan city. But very touristy. And its a huge melting pot of different cultures such as Chinese, Korean, Indian, French, English, etc. We met my parents here, who had arrived a day earlier. Since we only had a few days, we decided to start the sight-seeing right away and took a "hop-on/hop-off" bus.

Our first stop was Granville Island to see the Public market. Here, we saw an array of fresh local produce, flowers, locally made artifacts and yummy foods. My mom's purpose for the trip was to buy some of these:

Lanzones and Rambutan, for my non-filipino friends. I haven't had these other than in the Philippines. Unfortunately, these fruits aren't locally grown in the U.S., other than in Hawaii. So whenever we get a chance to buy these, we buy them by the boat load. I, on the other hand, came for these as well:

Rugula. I know, I can find these here in the U.S. too. But these seem to taste differently from what I buy here from, say, Canter's, where I normally buy my rugulas. My mom first brought back some of these for me when she and my dad went to Canada a few years back. And since then, its one of the things I ask her to bring back for me. The filling and dough has a slight crunchy texture. My favorite filling is the chocolate/brown sugar walnut, which I haven't found here. So I bought 2 dozen to bring back with me.

After our stroll around the Granville marketplace, we went back on the bus and headed to Stanley park. We ended at our hotel at around 8 pm, hoping to be able to walk around the neighborhood of our hotel and try some of the local foods for dinner. We came to find out that almost everything closes at 5:00 pm. Needless to say, we ended up having McDonald's for dinner. It was one of the few places that was open. Oh well, maybe tomorrow!

The next day, we took a tour bus to Victoria on Vancouver Island. The drive out of Vancouver was a very scenic countryside. We reached the terminal for the ferry to Victoria at Tsawanssen. The Tsawanssen terminal had stalls of foods and different souveneirs that cater to the tourists that stop there. I decided to have some crepe with banana and nutella for a snack.

It wasn't too bad, but I've had better. The crepe wasn't freshly made. They make them in batches. What can you expect from the food court of a terminal?

Unfortunately, because our tour was timed, I wasn't able to venture out and try some of the local foods in Victoria. So we settled on hot dogs for lunch at Butchart gardens. Yeah, I know. What's a foodie like me doing eating hot dogs?!?! When you're hungry, you can practically eat anything.

It was our last day in Canada and I still hadn't really tasted anything native to Canada. But we had breakfast at our hotel and they had pancakes with warm, fresh maple syrup!

Yummy! It was a good way to end my trip. I bought a load of maple syrup with me to take back in my carry-on luggage. Unfortunately, I forgot the 100 ml rule of taking liquids on the plane. So airport security confiscated one of my 500 ml bottles of maple syrup. Lucky for me, there were still duty free shops to buy me another bottle. I don't know what I'd do if I wasn't able to bring back some maple syrup.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

"Double Tree"

Happy Birthday to me!

Since we'll be leaving for Canada tomorrow, my day was hectic today, running errands and doing last minute things. Like get a pedicure. lol! But I did manage to buy myself this beautiful "cake" at a local bakery, Cafe Teramo. Its actually profiteroles covered in a white cream. Its made with a whole bunch of cream puffs, stuffed with chocolate cream, and topped with some kind of zabaglione. It looked so good at the bakery, I had to take it home with me.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Cake batter ice cream

Summertime is in full swing out here in San Fernando Valley, CA, with temperatures nearing the 100 degree mark. So what better way to cool off than a bowl full of ice cream. I love Coldstone Creamery's Birthday Cake Remix, which includes cake batter ice cream, sprinkles and chocolate cake (or brownie) pieces. Yummy! I'm a recipe blog lurker, and so I found a cake batter ice cream recipe from Skinny Food by Amy . It was time to finally break out the ice cream maker after the last time I used it a year ago. So it was perfect timing to try this recipe out. The recipe calls for heavy cream, and I accidently bought half & half. So I modified this recipe using half & half instead. This recipe was so simple to make and it tasted almost as good as Coldstone Creamery's. The only thing missing was the chocolate cake!

3 cups half & half
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 cup funfetti cake mix

1) In a medium bowl, whisk the half & half and sugar until sugar is dissolved.

2) Stir in vanilla. Add the cake mix, making sure there are no lumps. Run the mixture through a sieve to catch all the lumps. The sprinkles from the cake batter will also get caught, you can return that to the mixture.

3) Pour mixture into the freezer bowl of your ice cream maker and let mix for 25-30 minutes. Transfer in a container with a tight fitting lid. Freeze for 5 or more hours to let it firm up.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Peach Cobbler

I didn't really cook dinner tonight because we had so many leftovers that I had to kind of clean out the fridge. But we had so many peaches that were starting to bruise, so I had to do something with them. I've been wanting to make a peach cobbler for a while now, so I asked a couple of my friends from work if they had a really good recipe. I got 2 recipes. Tonight, I tried my friend, Felicia's recipe. She lives in Texas now, but I remember her bringing a peach cobbler to work that her mom had made. Mom's recipes are always the best. I'm not sure if I had a chance to try it when she brought it, but I wanted to try to make it, so she was kind enough to email me her recipe. Thanks Felicia! I used the dough in this recipe, although she said I can also use store bought pie crust. I'll try that next time. This one tasted really good. I may have added a little more sugar than the recipe called for, because she said to keep adding sugar to my taste. And I have a bad sweet tooth. Next time, I'll stick to the recipe when it comes to sugar. I'll have to do the other peach cobbler recipe when I go back on my next Costco trip to buy peaches.

1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
4 cups sliced fresh peaches (6 medium)
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 cup all purpose flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. cold butter
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbsp. sugar for topping

1) Pre heat oven to 400 degrees F.

2) In a saucepan, mix together sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon. Stir in peaches and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes until mixture thickens and boils. Stir constantly. Keep mixture in very low heat until dough is done.

3) In a medium bowl, mix flour, 1 Tbsp. sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut butter into mixture until it becomes crumbly. Stir in milk.

4) Pour peach mixture into a casserole. Drop dough by spoonfuls on top of hot peaches. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp. of sugar over dough. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until topping is golden brown. Serve with ice cream.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Crockpot Moroccan Chicken

In a search for another good crockpot chicken recipe, I came across this one. It looked pretty simple, and I've always wanted to try Moroccan food whenever I came across a restaurant during work. I remember how good their food smelled, but never found anyone adventurous enough to try it with me. So I tried to make it at home, and let me tell you, it smelled just as good as I had imagined. And tastes even better. If you're in to the sweet and savory taste, this recipe is for you. Its real easy.

2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 lbs. chicken thighs and drumsticks
1 Tbsp. oil
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained (optional)
1/2 cup dried apricots
1/2 white wine
1/3 cup raisins
1 package onion soup mix
1 lemon, juiced

1) In a medium bowl, combine cumin, ginger and cinnamon. Add chicken and toss to coat. In a skillet, heat oil and brown chicken.

2) Place chicken in slow cooker pot. Add remaining ingredients. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. Serve with couscous.

(recipe adapted from

Monday, July 6, 2009

Chicken and Pork Adobo

There are only a few filipino dishes I can make from scratch without using the powdered stuff I normally buy from the filipino market. Adobo is one of them. You're not filipino if you don't know how to make adobo. So I had to practice the art of making adobo. My dad would just tell me to add soy sauce and vinegar and garlic "and that's it!" he says. Without providing measurements. I've played around with this recipe a lot. Its a work in progress, but its still pretty good. Adobo is one of the most popular dishes that non-filipinos like to eat. A lot of my non-filipino friends always ask me to make this. Its a typical and simple filipino dish. Not too many people eat pork, so you can eliminate it and double up on the chicken (and vice versa).

1 lb. pork meat (cut into large cubes)
1 lb. chicken wings and drumsticks
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 tsp. whole peppercorn
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 bay leaf
2 clove garlic, crushed

1) Combine soy sauce, vinegar, peppercorns, and brown sugar. Pour sauce over the meat. Tuck in the bay leaf and garlic cloves. Marinate at least one hour.

2) Pour entire mixture in a stock pot. Cook on medium to low for 30-40 minutes, or until liquid almost completely evaporates. Remove bay leaf and serve over steamed white rice.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Slow cooker BBQ Pulled Pork sandwich

Happy 4th of July everyone! I wanted to do a BBQ today, which is what I normally like to do for the 4th of July. But our BBQ grill has still been out of commission. And I still want to have some type of BBQ. So leave it to my trusty crockpot to save the day. We'll be watching some fireworks tonight, and I didn't want too much to clean up after lunch, so I slow cooked the pork overnight and prepared it with the BBQ sauce right before lunch. I served this with coleslaw on top and washed it all down with some Hawaiian Iced tea.

Dry rub
2 Tbsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp. chili powder
2 Tbsp. ground cumin
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
4 Tbsp. paprika
2 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar

4 lb. pork butt
1/2 cup water
liquid smoke (optional)
2 cups BBQ sauce

1) Mix all the dry rub ingredients in a bowl.

2) Massage dry rub onto meat. Cover meat and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.

3) Place roast in slow cooker. Pour water and a splash of liquid smoke on the bottom of the slow cooker pot. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

4) Remove roast from the pot and discard the liquid. Shred the meat with forks. Return the shredded meat into pot and toss in the bbq sauce. Heat on low for another hour. Serve on toasted buns with extra BBQ sauce.

Easy Coleslaw a side dish.....

1 (16 ounce) package shredded cabbage coleslaw blend
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup white vinegar
salt & pepper to taste

1) Place shredded cabbage in a bowl.

2) Combine mayonnaise, milk and sugar. Mix well. Stir in vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste.

3) Mix dressing with the coleslaw. Refrigerate for at least an hour and serve.

(recipe adapted from

Hawaiian Iced Tea wash it all down....

Whenever my husband and I go to Hawaii, we always make it a point to bring back a few things: macadamia nuts, chocolate covered macadamia nuts, Dole pineapples, Li Hing mui (if you're from Hawaii, you'll know what this is), shortbread cookies, and a couple of 6-packs of Hawaiian Iced tea & POG (Passion, Orange Guava drink). To my surprise, I found a recipe for Hawaiian Iced tea in my Hawaiian cookbook. When I first made it for my husband, he was so nostalgic of Hawaii. So whenever I make this drink, we always reminisce of our times in the islands. I thought this drink was perfect for a summer holiday like today.......

3/4 gallon water
10 black tea bags
2 cups sugar
14 ounces pineapple juice
6 ounces lemon juice

1) In a large pot, boil 1/2 gallon of water. Steap tea bags in the hot water for 5 minutes.

2) Remove tea bags. Add sugar and juices while tea is still warm. Stir to dissolve sugar.

3) Pour into a gallon container and add the remaining water. Refrigerate. Serve with ice.

Malasadas (Hawaiian doughnuts)

Something we always make time for, whenever we're in Hawaii, is to eat the Malasadas - Hawaii's version of donuts. Its origin is actually Portuguese, and brought to Hawaii. They're so awesome, especially when they're piping hot. We order malasadas at the local L & L here in the mainland, but it just doesn't quite taste the same. Someone told us that their recipe comes out of a Pillsbury box. Who knows if that's true, but this morning, the hubby decided to surprise me and my daughter by cooking Malasadas for breakfast. He made sure to keep it a surprise and kept me and my daughter locked up in the bedroom while he was preparing. This was his first time cooking something on his own, and from scratch! And I think he did an awesome job. I helped him sugar the malasadas, but he did all the work himself. He shared the recipe with me and I thought I should include it on here. I'll definitely make him cook these for us again.

1 Tbsp Rapid Rise yeast
1 tsp Sugar
¼ cup Warm water
3 cup Flour
¼ cup Sugar
¼ cup Melted butter
3 Eggs
½ cup Evaporated milk
½ cup Water
Vegetable oil for frying

1) Mix yeast with melted butter, condensed milk, warm water, 3 beaten eggs at room temperature, half of the flour and sugar. Mix well. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Add the rest of the flour, mix well. Let dough rise until it doubles in size.

2) Heat vegetable oil to 375 degrees F. Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop 2 to 3 inch balls of Malasada dough. Cook in vegetable oil until golden brown and cooked through. Set on paper towel to drain oil. Toss malasadas in 1/2 cup sugar mixed with 1/4 cup cinnamon. Serve warm.

(recipe adapted from

Friday, July 3, 2009

(White & Blue) Red Velvet Cake

Making my red velvet cake reminds me of my daughter. When I was pregnant with her, we decided to announce her gender during Christmas celebrations with each of our families. So I baked 2 red velvet cakes. We asked our parents to cut into the cake to reveal the gender of the baby based on the frosting in the middle of the cake - pink if it was a girl, and blue if it was a boy. Well, we all know how that turned out. Everyone was excited. It was a fun way to announce her coming.

My sister was craving red velvet cake last week. So in commemoration of the 4th of July tomorrow, I decided to bake it today......with blue frosting in the middle. And no, I'm not pregnant with a baby boy. ;)

1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 oz red food coloring
3 tsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. butter flavoring
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk

1) Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans and set aside.

2) Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3) In a large mixing bowl, cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in food coloring, vinegar, butter flavoring and vanilla.

4) Add dry mixture into creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Beat until well incorporated.

5) Pour mixture into pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting with cream cheese frosting (recipe follows).

4 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup butter, softened
7 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
6 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth and creamy.

*Set aside about a cup of the frosting and add your choice of food color to spread in between layers (today, I've added blue food color). The outer frosting will remain white.

(This frosting recipe will leave you with more than you need. You can use the remaining frosting as you see fit. enjoy!)

(recipe adapted from