Simple Wednesday Night Dinner

I tried something new at dinner tonight. I was a little lazy to look at recipe books and look for something interesting. So instead what I did was just take some chicken breast from the fridge and let my hands and mind take over. What did I end up making? Well my invented name for it is Creamy Chicken. And yes, it was delicious and I wrote the recipe down after so I wont forget it.

I started with chicken breasts sliced into bite size pieces. I seasoned the chicken with salt, pepper, garlic powder, chicken powder and paprika. Then I pan fried the chicken in some olive oil until it was half-cooked. I set it aside and cleaned my pan. In the same pan, I melted about 4 tablespoons of butter. To that, I sauteed some onions, mushrooms and poblano peppers. I added the chicken when the onions were almost translucent and let it simmer until the chicken was fully cooked. I seasoned it with a little Knorr seasoning and Worcestershire sauce. Just before serving, I added a little heavy cream and some frozen peas to add some creaminess and color. Serve it with hot white rice and dinner is solved.

 

Who says you need recipe books? Just choose your main ingredient, then scan your fridge, and let your mind and hands do the cooking. 🙂

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My Ultimate Comfort Food

Many people think of comfort food as a staple for stress, or even blankets and a comfortable couch. For me, my comfort food not only relieves stress and is wonderful to eat on a comfy sofa – it also brings back many fond childhood memories. For some it can be a hot bowl of soup, a cheesy Mac ‘N Cheese, or to others it may be something as elegant as steak. My comfort food is a bowl of Frosted Flakes with boiling hot milk. Cornflakes as my mom would call it when I was a child, brings back all those breakfast mornings as a child with me and my mom!  I would have it at least 5 to 6 times a week without fail.

What’s your comfort food?

Homemade Sushi

Sushi has become an international mainstream food. Sushi is now enjoyed by different kinds of people from different parts of the world. The only problem is – Sushi can get pretty pricey if you buy them in restaurants. Many people are afraid of sushi because it “seems” hard to make, but let me tell you it is very easy. I got the hang of rolling the sushi on my first try. YES, my first try. My aunt taught me how to roll sushi and I must say it is one of the best things I’ve learned to do. Now I make sushi anytime I want, it’s not one of those never to be touched foods. I sometimes even make it at the end of a long and tiring day.

When making sushi, the most important thing to remember is the rice. Many Japanese restaurants or asian food markets sell pre-made sushi rice, but I prefer to make my own rice. Japanese rice is different from other kinds of rice because it is short grained.

The rice should be rinsed 5 to 7 times depending on the transparency of the water. Then when the water is transparent, soak the rice for about 20 minutes. I just used a plain rice cooker when making the rice. I use 2 cups of rice and 2 cups of water. When the rice is cooked, loosely spread the cooked rice on a shallow dish for faster cooling. Do not leave it in the rice cooker because it will become mushy. When the rice is cooled, add the sushi seasoning (do not pour everything, leave about 1 tablespoon which will be used later). For the sushi seasoning, I used 1 cup of a pre-made seasoning I bought from an Asian grocery and to that I added 1 tsp of salt and 1 tbsp of sugar. Mix the seasoning until the salt and sugar dissolves.

Now for the fun part, assembling the sushi! Virtually anything can be used. There are basic Japanese staples like cucumber, fish roe, crab meat and salmon that are in majority of these rolls, but really anything can be used. For my sushi, I just used the very basic ingredients – mango, cucumber, crab meat imitation, avocados and cream cheese. I used three ingredients in each roll and just made different combinations. My favorite was cream cheese, crab meat and avocado.

You will also need nori or dried seaweed sheets and a bamboo mat for rolling the sushi. I made the sushi with the nori on the outside so I did not wrap the bamboo mat in plastic wrap. But if you want the rice to be outside and the nori inside, then it would be a good idea to wrap the bamboo mat in plastic wrap so the rice does not stick to the bamboo.

Place your bamboo mat on a cutting board and then spread a thin layer of rice on the nori. You can either use your hands or the back of a spoon. I prefer the spoon but whatever is comfortable should work. Place your ingredients on the lower part of the sheet. Spread it horizontally. Always remember that less is more – if you put too much, it will come out from the sides when you start rolling. When you have everything you want, then it’s time to roll. Start by lifting the bottom and lifting it to cover all the filling, with the bamboo mat covering the roll, squeeze it hard to form the roll, but not too hard because the filling might come out from the sides. Then lift the bamboo mat and roll again, then squeeze again until you get to the end. Although this not my property, this video from YouTube is showing exactly what I’m trying to say.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8fKVK6Fo68&feature=related

Place your rolled sushi in the chopping board so you can start slicing. With a spoon or your finger lightly coat the blades of your serrated knife with the remaining sushi seasoning. Doing this will allow for easier cutting and adding a little more flavor in each slice. For one roll, you can get 6 to 8 slices depending on how big or small you want your sushi to be. I prefer smaller pieces, so I cut mine in to 8 slices. Start by slicing the center, then slicing each smaller piece to your desired size. Sushi is best served in a large platter for everyone to share.

I like to enjoy mine with a dollop of Japanese mayonnaise on each piece and a dipping sauce of soy sauce, wasabi and lemon juice.

So give it a try! It’s not hard and you might even surprise yourself!

Easy Tuesday Night Dinner

When I have to cook dinner and I’m exhausted after a long day, all I do is get some can of soup and heat it up, toast some buttered bread and voila –  an easy dinner. I have even given my soul to the ramen gods (not my proudest moment). But recently, I have found it easy and pleasurable to cook and enjoy food sitting down at the table and enjoying every bite. Last night’s dinner as exhibit A – chicken and corn soup & chili lime shrimps served with brown rice.

These recipes can be done on a Sunday with every ingredient from scratch, or done on a weeknight with store bought items. Since I did this on a weeknight after an exhausting day, I used many store bought ingredients.

I started my dinner with an easy chicken and corn soup. The main ingredients here are chicken and a can of cream style corn. I had some left over rotisserie chicken which I shredded into pieces and used in the soup. Other alternatives can be fresh boiled chicken or even chicken chunks in a can from the grocery. The recipe is simple. Heat up a can of cream style corn and add a cup each of water and chicken stock. When it starts to simmer, add the chicken pieces and let it completely boil. When its boiling, remove it from the heat and add one beaten egg (the hot soup should cook the egg nicely). Once the eggs are cooked, just serve it up and enjoy a hot soup. This can also be altered in different ways. Instead of chicken, you can add seafood like mussels, shrimp or crab meat. This can also be vegetarian by removing the chicken and chicken stock and replacing it with blanched vegetables and vegetable stock.

The next part of dinner was the chili lime shrimp which I got from a cookbook called Fresh Food Fast. Like the soup, this was a very easy recipe. It needed very few ingredients and only took less than 10 minutes to cook. Sauté some onions in olive oil, when it becomes translucent, add the shrimp (I used frozen because that’s what I had at home, but fresh shrimp would definitely taste better) and some chili powder. When the shrimps are done, remove the pan from the fire and add lime juice, butter and salt & pepper to taste. When the butter melts, garnish it with chopped spring onions and serve with brown rice. While I was eating, I realized that this could also be served with French bread, sour dough, texas toast or even ciabatta bread. Something about dipping the bread in the chili lime sauce seemed appetizing. For a completely different recipe, you can add some cream to tone down the acidity of the lime and spice of the chili, and toss the shrimps in pasta. Don’t let your creativity stop you!

Best Homemade Pizza Ever

My sister and I made a pact to start eating healthy. We said we would not diet but just make a lifestyle change. Lifestyle change – meaning we still can eat a lot of the carbs and starch but eat everything in moderation and make healhtier choices. Thus my post for today…

We found a cookbook with light and healthy recipes. One of the recipes we tried was a grape and arugula pizza. Grapes and arugula pizza??? Why would that taste good? I was skeptical too but believe me, it was amazing!

We decided to use a wheat crust the first time we made and when we tried again to make it, we couldn’t find personal size wheat crusts so we just used regular white crusts. Both times the pizza was amazing.

The first step is to preheat your crust for 8 to 10 minutes depending on the size of your crust. Then on the heated crust, layer sliced grapes, crumbled blue cheese (I think the Kraft Crumbles worked well with this recipe) and the walnuts.

Then arrange a layer of arugula on the top of the pizza. You can use the bunched arugula or the salad in a bag variety. As long as the arugula has that tart flavor, it will do.

Place the pizza in the oven to bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until the arugula  slightly wilts and the blue cheese  starts  to heat up and moisten. The reason the crust was pre-heated was so that the arugula would not wilt and loose its color.

While the pizza is in the oven, heat in a sauce pan some balsamic vinegar until it reduces and thickens. Remove the pizza from the oven and drizzle some of the balsamic reduction on top.

For even more flavor, I spritzed a little balsamic dressing (I used Wishbone). It gave the pizza some kick and sweetness. I had this pizza two days in a row because I was too good that I just wanted more.

Bacolod – Namit gid!

I recently went to Bacolod with some co-workers and even though it was a fun sightseeing trip, it was most definitely a scrumptious trip too. One of the places we visited was Father Gaston. He grew up in Bacolod and still lives in his ancestral home. He is an avid cook and has been featured in Food Magazine. It was a delight to actually flavor some of his food. We started out with this wonderful salad of lettuce, tomatoes, eggs, and bacon bits topped with a creamy vinaigrette made out of olive oil, white wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar and heavy cream. I know the combination sounds weird but trust me – it was amazing.

He also served us deep fried tilapia which was so crunchy that you could eat the entire thing and not worry about the fish bones.

After eating at Father Gaston’s, we visited one of our co-worker’s relative who is based in Bacolod and because the Negrense are considered to be the most hospitable people in the Philippines (in my opinion), we obviously had another feast.

We were given for dinner the famous Bacolod Lumpia (Spring Rolls) and Arroz ala Cubana. We also had roasted chicken and ofcourse, no feast would be complete without the famous LECHON!

Finally, a trip to Bacolod would not be complete without trying the famous Chicken Bacolod. There are a lot of restaurants in Manila that serve Chicken Bacolod and honestly before this trip, I thought they tasted pretty good. But nothing can top the original Bacolod Chicken House. (I know the picture doesn’t look appetizing but believe me it is when you taste it)

It was my first time in Bacolod and I think I will be coming back to try some more of the food! As the Negrense would say – NAMIT (everything good!)

Welcome Food Lovers! (adventurous ones or not)

Hi! I’m Malini and I love sampling food from different restaurants or homemade goodies. I love to cook and bake as well so you will see a lot of my creations.

I created this blog to share with you some of my favorite dishes and restaurants because its my passion. I am thankful when a friend recommends a new dish or restaurants to try and now I want to return the favor. I love to travel too so you will see restaurants and delicacies not only in the Philippines but some from other countries. What can I say, I have an international palette. With that said, LET’S EAT…………..