Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Shrimp with lobster sauce

I love ordering Shrimp with lobster sauce at Chinese restaurants. A couple of weeks ago, my sister-in-law had mentioned that she tried making Shrimp with Lobster sauce. So it inspired me to pull out my recipe binder and cook it for dinner tonight, since I haven't made it in a while. I found this recipe on when I was trying to find a quick and easy Shrimp with Lobster sauce recipe. Contrary to its name, it does not contain Lobster. Very misleading, but I'm sure it would taste even more awesome if it did. hmmm.....I see an experiment of this recipe in the future. Maybe.

3 tsp. cornstarch
4 tsp. cooking sherry
1 1/2 lb. shrimp - peeled and deveined
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups water
4 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 cold water
2 eggs, beaten

1) In a medium bowl, dissolve 3 tsp. cornstarch in the sherry. Add shrimp and toss to coat.

2) Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over medium heat. Add shrimp and cook until pink. Remove shrimp and place on a plate, leaving as much oil in the pan as possible.

3) Add garlic to the hot oil. Combine 2 cups water, soy sauce, sugar and salt. Stir into wok and bring to boil, about 2 minutes.

4) Mix together the remaining 3 Tbsp. cornstarch and 1/2 cup cold water. Pour into pan.

5) Return shrimp to pan. Bring to a simmer. Quickly stir while drizzling beaten egg. Cook for another minute. Serve over hot rice.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Creamy Chicken and Mushrooms

So on my last blog post, I said I would probably be cooking a lot of crock pot recipes because I bought a crock pot cookbook. Well, I couldn't resist this recipe because it looked pretty simple. And it tasted pretty good too.

1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. paprika
3 boneless, skinless chicken, cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 3/4 tsp. chicken bouillon granules
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup water
1 can evaporated milk

1) Combine salt, pepper and paprika in a small bowl. Sprinkle over chicken.

2) Layer chicken, mushrooms, green onions, and bouillon in slow cooker. Pour wine and water over mixture. Cook on low for 5-6 hours. Transfer chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm.

3) Combine milk and cornstarch in a saucepan, stirring until smooth. Add 2 cups cooking liquid from the crock pot. (note: if your liquid is less than 2 cups, add chicken broth to make 2 cups). Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Pour mixture over chicken and serve over rice.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Crockpot Beef Burgundy

I recently purchased a Crock pot cookbook which has over 500 recipes. So you know I'll be doing a lot of crockpot cooking. Especially now, since hubby has been out late for school.

This recipe reminds me of beef stroganoff, without the sour cream. It was pretty simple to assemble. I didn't have red wine in stock, so I substituted with white wine. I don't know how much of a difference the taste would've be, but it was still delicious.

1 1/2 lb. beef round steak or beef stew mat, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 cup red wine
1 small onion, chopped
1 can sliced mushrooms, drained
1 package dry onion soup mix
1 Tbsp. minced garlic

1) Combine all incredients in slow cooker. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or until beef is tender. Serve over egg noodles.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Red Velvet Cake Bon-Bons

I got the idea of making bon-bons out of cake from a few websites that I visited. So I decided to make my own versions. Making cake bon-bons is pretty easy. And you don't even have to make the cake from scratch. You can buy any boxed cake mixes to make different varieties of bon bons, but make sure the frosting you use matches the cake. If you decide to make the cake from scratch, you should still use the store-bought frosting so that the bon bons have a longer shelf life.

This Red Velvet cake bon-bon was made out of my red velvet cake recipe. I'm not a chocolatier, so some of the bon-bons aren't so "pretty," but it still tastes awesome. If you're a huge fan of red velvet cake, like my sister is, you'll love this one. My sister ate up most of the batch and is begging me to make more. This was a huge hit when I brought some to my office. One of the guys at work even asked for my recipe so he can try to make it for his girlfriend for Valentine's day. How sweet!

Prepared Red Velvet cake
1 jar of store-bought cream cheese frosting
2 bags of white chocolate chips

1) Make sure the cake is completely cooled. Crumble cake in a large bowl. Mix in frosting until it is well incorporated and the consistency of the mixture is almost like play-doh.

2) Form 2-inch balls out of the mixture. Place cake balls on a pan, lined with wax paper. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

3) Melt white chocolate chips in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir chocolate. Continue to melt chocolate in 30 second increments until the chocolate is smooth.

4) Dip cake balls in white chocolate. Return bon-bons on the wax paper. Cool in the refrigerator until chocolate hardens.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

100th Post and a weekend full of food and celebration


I've been really moving this blog along. I can't believe in less than a year, I've managed to write 100 posts. Who would've thought a busy, working mom like myself would have time to maintain this. lol. I surprise myself sometimes. Food blogging has become a hobby of mine that I've come to enjoy. It keeps me more aware of the food I eat and how it looks, so I can make sure it looks good enough to photograph for the blog. My main goal has remained the same, though. To provide a place for anyone to look up my recipes. And its done just that. I'm glad others have been able to enjoy what I like making.

Anyway, this has been quite a busy weekend celebrating 3 birthdays and an anniversary. On Saturday for lunch, we were at my brother-in-law's house to celebrate his and his son's birthday. Lot's of food to grub on, like my mother-in-law's famous spaghetti, which my daughter enjoyed. I didn't want to stuff myself, because in the evening we were also going out to dinner for my parent's wedding anniversary.

Yummy! Lawry's English Cut Prime Rib, topped with Au jus, with sides of mashed potatoes, creamed corn (my fave!), and Yorkshire pudding. My parents really love going to Lawry's, even though my mom can no longer eat the prime rib. She had the salmon. My parents love this place so much, that my dad is one of their "members" and he gets discounts and special deals everytime we have dinner there.

The next day, my cousin invited us out to dinner to celebrate one of my nephew's 21st birthday at Bucca di Beppo. Its been a while since we've eaten at a Bucca di Beppo, but I remember the portions to be HUGE. Its definitely a family-style dinner place.

Wine bottles hanging from the ceiling......I had to take picture of the ceiling where we sat at dinner. It looked pretty cool.

For starters, we had the calamari. Always a family favorite.

I had the Linguine frutti di Mare. It was so yummy, that I took some home ;)

They also served this salmon dish.

And this stuffed manicotti.

No birthday is complete without the birthday cake! So my nephew was presented with this tri-colored birthday cake.

Delicious. It was a cross between a red velvet cake and coconut cream cake. They also served Tiramisu, but I was so satisfied with this decadent dessert.

Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary everyone!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Chicken Kabobs

I love chicken kabobs. I especially love eating it with rice pilaf, tzatziki sauce and pita bread. I found this recipe from a monthly Costco magazine that I received in the mail probably 2 years ago. Its really easy. I used fresh oregano from my herb garden that has been growing wildly now. I still don't have an outdoor grill to cook in, so I used my grill pan and cooked the kabobs indoors for dinner tonight.

1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
zest of 1 lemon
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
bamboo skewers, soaked in water overnight to prevent burning
salt and pepper to taste

1) Combine oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes and lemon zest in a large bowl. Mix well. Add chicken and marinade for at least an hour.

2) Thread the chicken on skewers, making sure that there is space in between the pieces so that they cook evenly. Season chicken with a little salt and pepper.

3) Grill chicken on both sides until done, about 8 minutes.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Monkey Munch

A lot of people know that I was a HUGE Jon & Kate plus 8 fan up until its final episode a few months ago. But it was all I watched throughout my pregnancy with my daughter. Even more so when I was put on bed rest during my last month of pregnancy. I actually got this recipe from watching one those episodes. I made it all the time during my pregnancy, until I was put on bed rest. I haven't made it since then.

While searching for new recipes online, I came across a recipe for something called Puppy Chow. Its the same as my Monkey Munch recipe. I guess there were a lot of different names for this delicious, chocolatey snack. But no matter what name you call it, its always delicious.

9 cups corn Chex cereal
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar

1) Place chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter in a large bowl. Melt in the microwave for 1 minute. Mix thoroughly. Microwave for another 30 seconds until mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla.

2) Pour cereal in the mixture and stir until well coated. Pour in a 2 gallon storage bag or container with a lid. Add powdered sugar and shake until well coated.

3) Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Spread mixture over the cookie sheet and cool for about an hour, until the chocolate has hardened. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Chicken and Shrimp Gumbo with Andoullie sausage

I think the first time that I can remember eating Gumbo was at Disneyland last month. I may have had it a while back, but the Blue Bayou's Gumbo at Disneyland has left me a lasting impression. After that meal, I was on a hunt for another great recipe.

My friend Stacy raved about her roommate's Seafood gumbo, so I asked her if she can ask for the recipe for me. But just like a great chef, she did not want to reveal her secret. I don't blame her. There were times when I don't like giving away my recipes either. Except for this blog and a few chosen people. So I guess I was on my own.

I found this recipe and decided to give it a try. It was delicious! I never really liked okra. My mom used to put it in some of her dishes, which I never really cared for. So I could definitely do without all the okra in this gumbo. I think next time, I'll either lessen the amount or eliminate it altogether. Though I think the okra is what gives the dish its texture. This recipe will be great with any kind of shellfish such as crab or lobster. I know it seems like there are a lot of ingredients in this recipe, but it was pretty easy to make. I'll play around with this recipe some more, but I'm definitely making it again. I cut the original recipe in half, because it was too much for just 2 people to eat. I didn't feed it to my daughter because it was a little spicy. Hubby liked it. And just like me, he could do away with the okra.

1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup flour
1 cup chopped bell peppers (I used green bell pepper)
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz bag of frozen cut okra
1/2 lb. andoullie sausage, sliced
1/2 lb. chicken, cut into small cubes
1/2 lb. shrimp (peeled, deveined)
1 quart chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. oregano
3 Tbsp. gumbo file
a few dashes of Tabasco sauce to your taste
2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups cooked rice

1) Heat oil in a stock pot. Slowly whisk in flour. Stir constantly until the "roux" turns golden brown.

2) Add all the chopped vegetables and stir. Let cook for about 1 minute. Add herbs and seasoning and continue cooking.

3) Slowly add chicken broth, stirring constantly on high heat. Let boil for a few minutes.

4) Add chicken and cook for a few minutes, until it starts to become no longer pink. Add the sausages, shrimp and rice. Continue cooking until the shrimp is done. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Chicken Cacciatore

I've always wanted to try Chicken Cacciatore. But I think I became even more inspired to try to make this when I saw Kate, of Jon & Kate plus 8, make this for her brood of 8 kids. Her kids seemed to really like it, so I thought of making it for my daughter.

This recipe came from Stacy, my friend from work (Thanks Stacy!). When I first looked at the recipe when she printed it out for me, I was worried that there wasn't enough salt in the sauce. But she assured me that seasoning the chicken was enough flavoring for the whole dish. And she was right! It was so tasty and so flavorful. It kind of reminds me of the filipino Afritada, which is a tomato-based chicken stew. I modified the recipe a bit by adding some red bell peppers in it, which is what I was accustomed to seeing in many chicken cacciatore dishes. Hubby liked it and my daughter definitely liked it. She actually asked for seconds! You can serve this with white rice or pasta. I served it with both - I ate it with pasta, while hubby and daughter ate theirs with rice.

3 1/2 lbs. chicken thighs (rinsed and patted dry)
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced onions
2 garlic cloves, crushed
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup white wine
2 cups peeled and chopped tomatoes (or canned plum tomatoes)

1) Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onions and cook until translucent. Push onions to the side. Add garlic and chicken, skin-side down. Cook until skin is golden brown. Turn chicken over and brown the other side. Season both sides of the chicken with a good amount of salt and pepper while browning.

2) Add wine and simmer until reduced by half. Add tomatoes. Lower the heat and cover the skillet with the lid slightly ajar.

3) Cook the chicken in the simmering liquid, turning and basting from time to time, until the chicken is tender, about 40 minutes.

If the stew begins to dry out, add a few tablespoons of water.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Basil Pesto Pasta

I've been dying to have a basil garden again. So after a long wait, we were finally able to plant some basil before the winter season started a couple of months ago. We also have parsley, Thai basil and oregano. Alas, because hubby's been busy with school, I haven't had time to care for my herb garden and haven't kept up with watering them. We've had a few good days of rain during these 2 months. Unfortunately, it isn't enough as the basil started withering. So before they become completely useless, I decided to hurry it up and find a way to use up all that basil.

I've never had pesto before but have been wanting to make it for a while, ever since I started growing herbs a few years back. But I never got around to it. I've seen it being made on TV and thought how easy it was. I found this pesto recipe and decided to make it for dinner tonight. It obviously goes great with pasta, but I could see this being used to dip a good crusty italian bread or used as a marinade. It smells insanely good. If you're not a huge garlic person, you can probably cut the garlic to only 1 clove. I also added a little salt and pepper to put a more flavor to it. This recipe received a "thumbs up" from hubby.

2 cups fresh basil
2 large garlic cloves
1/2 cup pine nuts or walnuts
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1) Place basil, garlic, walnuts and parmesan cheese in a food processor. Turn on machine and slowly pour in olive oil while machine is running. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with your favorite pasta.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy Twenty Ten!!!!

I know I haven't been keeping up to date with this blog lately. After Disneyland, Christmas came and I didn't want to start trying anything new. So our meals consisted of a lot of leftovers and repeated recipes. Nothing worth blogging about.

Today, though, starts a new year and a new blog entry. New Year's in our family usually entails setting up the house to help for a prosperous year. Filipino tradition requires that on the eve of New Years, one must place a large basket of 13 different kinds of fruits on the dining table for a bountiful year. This is what my bountiful basket looked like:

Yes, there are 13 different kinds of fruits in there. You must also have 7 of each of those fruits in there. Every year, my dad and I usually go to a local produce market to buy all the different kinds of fruits. I wasn't able to set up my house last year because I didn't take the 31st off. This year, I decided to take it off so I can have time to prepare for the new year.

I also hung 13 pieces of grapes on the vine over all the doors that enter my house, as well as over our bedroom doors. These represent good luck for the new year as well. For luck in money, I tossed coins into the house leading to our bedrooms. So I had coins all over our floors to help bring money into the house. Finally, a full basket of mandarin oranges sat by our front door for more luck. This, I believe, is a chinese tradition that my mom came to learn about.

I know doing all of this can be quite cumbersome. But as my parents put it, it doesn't hurt to put a little effort to bring in more luck. So I always make the effort to carry out as much of the traditions as I can. And that's what its all about - tradition. Its part of my culture, a part of who I am, and how I grew up. I want to be able to share this with my daughter and have her become accustomed to it. A lot of traditions get lost from generation to generation for many people. Mainly because they don't want to put the effort into it. So for me, doing this is not cumbersome. Its quite fun for me, actually.

After we get our house set up, we head off to my parents for the New Year's celebration. They also have their house set up, as well as a large spread of food on their table:

My parents believe that having a large spread of food to ring in the new year means you'll always have plenty of food on the table for the year. So on top of my mom's foods, I also put in my share by bringing or cooking more food. This year, I brought in some cupcakes from my favorite cupcake store, Yummy Cupcakes. I also cooked my Zuppa Toscana, that they always seem to request me to make every new year's eve, and my Creamed Corn. The theme of the food every New Year's is anything round-shaped so that your luck is never-ending. Cupcakes, fruits, round filipino delicacies (such as puto and kutsinta, both of which are a versions of rice cakes), stuffed get the idea. We also had baked ham on our table. There is a saying that my mom follows, and this is as close to the translation as I can get, which means that for every cock that crows, it will also mean struggle or hardship. Therefore, poultry is never served or eaten during New Year's eve by any of us. Hence the baked ham.

My family is quite superstitious, to say the least. But if it means good luck for me for the year, I say it doesn't hurt. I believe that in order for the luck to happen, each fruit we bought for the basket must be eaten. There is no way that hubby, daughter and I would be able finish all that fruit! I have so much fruit left over that I'll most likely end up bringing them to work to share with everyone. Its good to share, especially at the start of the new year.

Happy New Year everyone! May you all have a prosperous and bountiful year!!!!