Thursday, October 27, 2011

Baked Macaroni and Cheese With Sage and Thyme

My good friend Robbie made plans to visit me tonight after work because I haven't seen him for a few months. The plan was to have dinner at a nearby restaurant in Fremont or maybe go to our favorite place in San Jose @ Santana Row. By mid-day, I decided that I will just make his favorite food to eat and enjoy more of our time at my own home and catch up without the distraction and noise of restaurants.

This mac and cheese recipe was adapted from Fannie Farmer's Classic Baked Mac and Cheese cookbook and I added a few ingredients to make it my own. I doubled the ingredients so that the rest of the family in the house can enjoy it. This recipe yields for 6 servings.


2 (8 ounces) package macaroni
8 tablespoons butter
8 tablespoons flour
3 cup milk
1 cup cream or buttermilk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 cups cheddar cheese

2 cups Jack or Gouda Cheese
10 pieces fresh Sage leaves
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I used Smoked Chipotle Pepper)
1 cup breadcrumbs


Preheat oven to 400°F

Cook and drain macaroni according to package directions; set aside

In a large sauce pan melt butter 

Add flour mixed with salt and pepper, using a whisk to stir until well blended.

Pour milk and cream in gradually; stirring constantly, Bring to boiling point and boil 2 minutes, reduce heat and cook (stirring constantly)for 10 minutes.

Add shredded cheddar little by little and simmer an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese melts.

Add the cayenne pepper, sage and thyme

Remove from heat and pour in the baking dish with macaroni and coat with the cheese sauce.

Transfer macaroni to a buttered baking dish.

Sprinkle with breadcrumbs.

Bake 20 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Serve hot!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Banana and Nutella Cupcakes

A friend from church asked me to make cupcakes for her boyfriend's birthday. I gave her several flavor options and we decided on Banana Nutella with Cream Cheese Nutella Frosting. The other flavor option she picked was Lemon and Raspberry with Butter Cream with Raspberry preserves which I will blog separately.

This recipe yields for 3 dozen cupcakes.  One dozen went to the birthday party. My husband took one dozen to work and we kept one dozen for us to enjoy at home! Enjoy baking!


3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs at room temperature
2 1/3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups coarsely mashed very ripe bananas (about 5 large)
3/4 cup Nutella
1/4 cup greek style yogurt or regular plain yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla


- Heat oven to 350°F

- Line a muffin/cupcake pan with cupcake paper cups
- Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into a bowl.
- Beat together eggs and sugar in bowl of electric mixer with a whisk attachment at medium-high speed until very thick and pale, and the mixture forms a ribbon when beater is lifted, about 10 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add oil in a slow stream, mixing, then mix in bananas, yogurt, Nutella, and vanilla. Remove bowl from mixer and fold in flour mixture.

- Scoop 1/4 of a cup in each cupcake (about 3/4 of each liner)
- Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean/dry.
- Let cool before frosting.
- Top with a fresh strawberries and sprinkle powder sugar on top and enjoy!

Frosting Ingredients:

- 2 8oz Philadelphia Cream Cheese (room temperature)
- 1 cup of butter (room temperature)
- 3 cups of confectioners sugar (add more if you like your frosting sweeter)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Whisk the cream cheese until it is light and soft about 1 minute. Add the buter and whip for another one minute. Add the sugar and the vanilla extract and whip until the frosting comes together. Using an icing spatula or a piping bag and tip of your choice, frost each cupcake. You can also use a ziploc bag to pipe the mixture for frosting.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Chicken Rice Porridge (Arroz Caldo)

I woke up this morning craving for some rice porridge. I have been feeling a little under the weather and even my husband has a bad cold. Rice porridge or Lugaw or Arroz Caldo, as we call it in the Philippine culture somehow always makes me feel better. As soon as I got up from bed, I went straight in the kitchen and grabbed all the ingredients I needed. This recipe is intended for 2 servings only. You can double the ingredients if you want to cook more than 2 servings.

I had 2 bowls and I feel better already so I decided to blog the recipe! 


3 chicken drumsticks or wings
3 fresh garlic cloves (minced)
1 1/2 inch of fresh ginger (chopped)
3 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup uncooked white rice
2 tablespoon fish sauce (or substitute with a pinch of salt)
2 green onions and chopped (for garnish)
6 cups of water
1/4 slice of Lemon or Calamansi juice for tasting


Sauté the garlic in oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer the garlic to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and set aside. Add the ginger and saute for about 2 minutes.  Add the chicken and brown for about 5 minutes. Add the rice, water and fish sauce (or salt), cover the pan, and simmer over medium to low heat. Stir frequently and simmer until the chicken and rice are cooked through, about 30 to 45 minutes.

Ladle the porridge into a soup bowl and garnish with the chopped green onions and fried garlic. Squeeze the lemon or calamansi juice for taste.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Roasted Potato and Apple Medley

I was thinking what to cook for dinner tonight and I immediately thought of the bag of potatoes I bought last week. I really did not want to make the usual bake potato or breakfast style potato so I searched for a new recipe online. My favorite website of bloggers always inspire me to challenge myself and prepare a dish that looks and taste good! I found this recipe which was also adapted from Martha Stewart Recipe. I made it my own and use some of the fresh herbs from my garden and a Penzey Tuscan Sunset seasoning that I just bought over the weekend. This is a good side dish with your favorite grilled meat. I paired it with pan grilled breast of chicken that were marinated for a few hours.


3 medium size Russet potatoes
3 medium size red apples
4 tablespoons butter (melted)
3 tables spoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons Penzey Tuscan Sunset seasoning (or your choice of seasoning)
2 tablespoons fresh basil (chopped)
sea salt and black pepper for taste


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine oil and melted butter. Brush the bottom of a baking dish with some of the mixture. 

Peel and slice the potatoes and apples very thin crosswise with a sharp knife or mandoline.

Arrange the potato and apple slices vertically in the baking dish, alternating the colors randomly. Brush the remaining butter mixture on top of the dish and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper to taste.

Bake for 1 1/4 hour. Remove from oven and add chopped fresh basil or your favorite herb such as thyme or rosemary and return to oven. Bake for another 25-30 minutes until the dishes reaches your desired brownness.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Adobong Balut (Duck Egg)

Balut.....Baluuuut....Baaaaluuuuut.... Ah, yeah! Thats the sound of vendors selling this delicacy. If you're Filipino and grew up in the Philippines, you've heard them and may have eaten balut at least once. If not, maybe you've heard about it and felt disgusted by the sound of it. You may even have seen it on the tv reality show Fear Factor. Even Andrew Zimmern, a Food Writer and TV Personality guy enjoyed it! Well, I can tell you that I am not afraid to eat this delicacy because it's tastier than a regular hard boiled egg and its high on protein.

The inside of the balut with the juice - the best part that you suck/slurp while peeling!

Balut is a boiled fertilized duck egg with a 9 – 14 day old embryo inside. It is commonly sold as a streetfood in the Philippines during night time by a vendor roaming the streets and carrying a basket of full of warm baluts.

I finally bought a couple of raw baluts to cook because I have been craving them for sometime now and trying to dare my husband to try it sometime. Since halloween is coming up, I thought this is a good dish to serve your guests because it looks like something gross that you may only see in movies or a tv show. I did not take a photo of the embryo because I usually don't eat that part anyway and I myself get disgusted by looking at it! The photos I took below will suffice to give you the best view of the inside.

But if you like Filipino Chicken Adobo, then try this and then you can say that you've had least, the sauce and juice from the balut!


2-3 Balut, boiled and peeled

2 tbsp cooking oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 yellow onion minced
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup vinegar
½ tsp sugar
3 pcs bay leaf
1/2 tsp peppercorns

Sauté garlic in cooking oil until brown then add onions and caramelized
Add Balut and fry for a few seconds
Pour soy sauce and vinegar
Bring to a boil without stirring
Simmer for a few seconds
Add bay leaf, sugar and peppercorns
Simmer for about 5 minutes and its done

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Chicken and Broccoli In Oyster Sauce

The most common chinese dish that is easy to order is beef and broccoli. I used to date someone who will order this dish every time we have chinese food for lunch or dinner. I will usually just eat the broccoli and not the beef because I do not like the taste of the beef cooked at Chinese restaurants. So to ease my crave for broccoli cooked in oyster sauce, I decided to use chicken instead of beef.


1 piece of breast of chicken (diced)
1 head of broccoli, cut in florets
3 cloves of fresh garlic (minced)
1/2 yellow onion (diced)
5 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon corn starch
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Heat up a large frying pan or a wok and add oil and garlic until brown. Add onions and stir for 2 minutes.

Add the chicken and stir until chicken is no longer pink

Rinse the broccoli, add and stir well

Add the black pepper, oyster sauce, soy sauce and hoisin sauce and stir, coat well
Mix corn starch with water and mix well and pour in the pan. Stir and cover, cook in medium high heat and cook for about 5 minutes

Turon (Philippine Banana Eggroll)

I have been craving for some Turon (Philippine Banana Eggroll) lately and I finally had the time to buy some Saba, a cooking banana. The saba must be really ripe to make this dessert. Easy to make and you can pair it with your favorite ice cream.

6 pieces of Saba bananas
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups vegetable oil
12-15 pieces of eggroll wrapper (use any brand eggroll wrapper)

Slice bananas lengthwise to avoid eating uncooked part. Dredge banana pieces in brown sugar. Then, place one banana piece on a large egg roll wrapper and wrap. Fold up the bottom to cover the banana, fold in the right and left sides, and roll up until the wrapper is closed. Moisten the top flap of the wrapper to seal. Do the same for the rest. This recipe yields for one dozen of turon.

In a pan, heat oil over medium/medium-low heat. Shallow-fry or deep-fry turon until golden brown. Serve warm and crispy.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Monkey Bread

A few weeks ago, I was craving for something sweet and I didn't want to make cupcakes again. I wanted something different and that I have not had in a while. I stared at the items I had in the fridge for a few minutes and the Pillsbury biscuits caught my eyes. I suddenly thought about the monkey bread I had at a friend's bridal shower for breakfast. I remember exactly how it was made by the maid of honor and I got excited and checked if I had all the ingredients. I was disappointed that I didn't have butter!!! I always have blocks of butter in my fridge and I realized that I have not been to the store lately. So I had to wait the next day to ease my craving because I was too lazy to step out of the house! So the day after, I bought my butter and made these amazing easy to make dessert! I also made individual serving so that they are easy to serve. These can be served for breakfast or as a dessert.


1 tube of Pillsbury Grands Biscuit dough
1/4 cup of white sugar
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup melted butter


Heat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a bundt pan or mini bundt pan (6 individual serving) with a cooking spray. In a large ziploc, mix white sugar and cinnamon. Separate dough into 8 biscuits and cut into quarters. Shake in ziploc bag to coat with cinnamon sugar. Arrange dough in pan and pack all dough inside. If using the mini bundts, arrange 5-6 pieces of the dough in each mini pan. In a small bowl, mix the melted butter and brown sugar. Pour over the biscuits.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before turning upside down onto a serving plate. Scrape down the sides of the pan with a butter knife or spatula to loosen the bread so that it comes out in one piece. Serve warm and pull apart to serve or individually if baked using the mini bundt.

Fresh Fruit Bruschetta

We were invited to attend a BBQ party today and the host asked that we bring a side dish or an appetizer. I knew about this a few weeks ago and I still couldn't make up my mind on what to bring and finally told my husband that I will just prepare a tomato salad or bruschetta. On our way to church today, I have decided that I will just make Bruschetta since I wasn't able to go to the Farmer's market and get the heirloom tomatoes I needed for the tomato salad. I thought it'll be nice to make something different than typical bruschetta (tomato/basil). I used fruit instead and they came out very tasty! Try making them for your next party.


1 loaf of french bread (2-3 days old) or regular baguette (sliced thinly)
1 cup of red grapes (sliced in halves)
1 cup of blueberries
1/2 cup finely diced cucumber
10 fresh mint leaves (minced)
1 large nectarine (seeded and chopped in tiny pieces)
1/2 cup fig jam (or any fruit jam)
1 block of cream cheese


Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Arrange the thinly sliced bread/baguettes on a flat cookie sheet and bake until slightly brown. Remove from oven and cool.

Heat the jam in a small pot and liquify in low heat then cool for about 5 minutes. 

Mix the cream cheese and half of the mint. Spread the cream cheese on each sliced bread/baguette carefully with a butter knife

Mix the fruits and cucumber in a big bowl with the other half of mint. Pour the cooled liquid jam in the fruit bowl and mix thoroughly.
Top a spoonful of the fruit mix on each bread/baguette. ENJOY!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Banana Pancakes

I love waking up in the morning and the first thing I want to do is COOK! I'm always thinking what to eat for breakfast and what my family will enjoy. Weekend mornings are always the best days to prepare something special because I don't have to rush out to go to work and the kids are still in bed taking their time to get out of bed. I know that I should do that too but I always find myself waking up early so why not do what I enjoy.....COOKING!

As I walked in the kitchen, first item that caught my eyes were the over ripe bananas. I know that no one will eat those anymore because we all like firm bananas. I contemplated for a minute and thought.....banana pancakes or banana biscuits? or save them later for banana bread or cupcakes? I had to based my decision on what other ingredients I have in the pantry and fridge. Well, they all have the same ingredients so I decided on making the pancakes since it is breakfast time after all!


2 cups all purpose Flour
2 tablespoons Sugar
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 cups regular milk or 2% milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg
3 ripe bananas, mashed


- Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In a separate bowl, combine the milk, butter, and egg. Add to the dry ingredients.
Add the mashed banana
- Heat up a large griddle or skillet on low heat
- Spray with pan or melt a little butter and pour 1/3 cup of batter for each pancake
- When the top side of the pancake is all bubbly, flip and cook for about a minute
- Enjoy with slices of bananas, confectioners sugar and your favorite syrup. You can also top it with whipped cream.
- Enjoy the left over pancakes in the afternoon with some ice cream!