#QuarantineCookbook: Easy Creamy Pesto Chicken

Even while stuck at home because of the quarantine, I’m still a busy working mom. The demands of my job often precludes me from spending too much time in the kitchen.

This means that I rarely get enough time to devote to discovery and exploration of culinary possibilities to expand my family’s menu beyond the usual staples or to make dishes and ingredients from scratch.

This is why I’m so glad that I have a jar of The Saucier Homemade Classic Pesto in my ref.

In case you’re wondering, a saucier, also known as the saute chef, prepares the sauces, stews and the hot hors d’oeuvres as well as sautes food to order.

With The Saucier’s homemade and preservatives-free sauces and dressings in my cooking arsenal, it’s like I have my own saucier right in my kitchen. Coming up with an extraordinary home-cooked meal is so much easier when half the work is already done.

The Saucier

For our dinner last night, I made a new fam favorite: Creamy Pesto Chicken. Check it out!

Ingredients:

  • Half-kilo of boneless chicken thigh fillets (I prefer chicken thighs to chicken breasts as these tend to be juicier and more flavorful. Fortunately, I can get a pack of boneless filleted thighs at Landers.)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 1/2 tbsp The Saucier Homemade Classic Pesto
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan

Procedure:

Rub the chicken pieces with salt, pepper and pesto sauce.

Easy Creamy Pesto Chicken

Prepare the sauce by whisking together the flour, garlic, pesto sauce and evaporated milk. Season the mixture with salt and pepper and mix well.

Heat the olive oil in non-stick pan then fry the chicken pieces for up to five minutes on each side or until thoroughly cooked. Set aside.

Easy Creamy Pesto Chicken

In the same pan, cook the cherry tomatoes in medium to high heat for up to a minute or until they begin to soften.

Easy Creamy Pesto Chicken

Add the sauce mixture to the skillet and bring to a boil.

Easy Creamy Pesto Chicken

Place the cooked chicken back into the pan and cook for up to three minutes until heated through and well-coated by the sauce, then remove from heat.

Easy Creamy Pesto Chicken

Easy Creamy Pesto Chicken

Serve your Creamy Peato Chickeb with pasta, rice, or in my fam’s case, some sliced Ciabatta and Special Dip from Chef Jessie which really strengthened our meal’s Italian flair.

Easy Creamy Pesto Chicken

Easy Creamy Pesto Chicken

Easy Creamy Pesto Chicken

Once again, my foray into the kitchen has yielded a hit with the fam!

Try this recipe out and let me know how it goes!

For more details or to get your hands on The Saucier’s sauces and dressings, as well as its tasty Mushroom Burger, visit The Saucier on Facebook or call +63 2 76233600, +63 2 79015526 or +63 917 8870125.

The Saucier

Looking for other easy-to-cook dishes to try out while in quarantine? Check out my other kitchen adventures:

#QuarantineCookbook: Sausage Pasta with The Saucier’s Creamy Sundried Tomatoes

Today, I was faced with a Mommy Problem: What do you do when dinner time is near and all that’s left in your freezer are some Hungarian sausages?

How did I get to this state? Well, I blame it on the quarantine… and, okay, on me too.

I thought I stocked the ref with two week’s worth of meats for the fam’s ulam, but apparently, I was one day short. Here’s the thing: during the quarantine, my city imposed specific market days when residents of a certain area can go to the wet markets or grocery stores to restock on food items.

When is our area’s next market day? Tomorrow. When did we run out of beef, pork or chicken for our ulam? Today.

Yikes!

Fortunately, I espied a package of Hungarian sausages and some fusili pasta that I bought at the nearest Landers branch during my last grocery run. Plus, a friend of mine recently sent me a bottle of Creamy Sundried Tomato from The Saucier.

Sausage Pasta with Creamy Sundried Tomatoes

So I had an idea: why not make a Sausage Pasta using The Saucier’s Creamy Sundried Tomato?

In the culinary industry, a saucier, also known as the saute chef, prepares the sauces, stews and the hot hors d’oeuvres as well as sautes food to order.

As I discovered, if you have a bottle or two of The Saucier’s homemade and preservatives-free sauces and dressings, it’s like you have your very own saucier in your kitchen.

The Saucier

Sun-dried tomatoes, in case you’re wondering, are made by drying out ripe tomatoes in the sun after treating them with salt so that they lose most of their water content. This is a traditional way of preserving tomatoes in Europe, guaranteeing a steady supply that can be enjoyed and provide nutrition during the winter months. Sun-dried tomatoes also have a more intense sweet-tart flavor than fresh tomatoes, making their use popular across a variety of dishes throughout the world.

The Saucier’s Creamy Sun-dried Tomato is made of sun-dried tomatoes, cream, olive oil and spices, definitely no preservatives. Since it already has cream incorporated in the sauce, it saved me the effort of experimenting the ratio of cream to sauce that would have plagued me if what I had on-hand was just plain sun-dried tomato. Whew!

Sausage Pasta with Creamy Sundried Tomatoes

Wanna know how my bright idea turned out? Here’s the recipe I used:

Ingredients:

250 grams fusili pasta, cooked according to package instructions and drained well
5 links of Hungarian sausage, boiled for twenty minutes until cooked, then sliced thinly
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 chicken bouillion cube, dissolved in 1 cup hot water (my substitute for 1 cup chicken broth)
1/2 cup The Saucier’s Creamy Sun-dried Tomato
1/4 cup grated Parmesan (apparently, I also ran out of this cheese, so I used the remaining half tablespoon of parmesan and substituted the rest with ordinary cheese)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Procedure:

In a large saucepan or casserole over medium heat, melt the butter in the olive oil. Add the garlic, and cook for up to two minutes, stirring frequently until fragrant.

Whisk in the flour for one minute until it turns light brown, then gradually whisk in the chicken broth whisking constantly for up to two minutes until the flour is well incorporated into the broth.

Stir in the creamy sun-dried tomato, cheese and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper.

Stir in pasta and sausage until these are well-coated with the sauce.

The resulting pasta dish is rich in taste and has a creamy texture.

Sausage Pasta with Creamy Sundried Tomatoes

Well, if the emptied-out casserole and the happy faces of my fam are any indication, I would say this makeshift dinner was a success, thanks in large part to the new and wonderful flavors introduced by The Saucier’s Creamy Sundried Tomato.

Sausage Pasta with Creamy Sundried Tomatoes

Sausage Pasta with Creamy Sundried Tomatoes

Sausage Pasta with Creamy Sundried Tomatoes

For more details or to get your hands on The Saucier’s sauces and dressings, as well as its tasty Mushroom Burger (more on this coming soon!), visit The Saucier on Facebook or call +63 2 76233600, +63 2 79015526 or +63 917 8870125.

The Saucier

Looking for other easy-to-cook dishes to try out while in quarantine? Check out my other kitchen adventures:

#QuarantineCookbook: Homemade Avocado Ice Cream Cake

Relief from this summer’s oppressive heat and humidity is few and far between.

It makes me want to cool down with some frozen treat. How about you?

Well, since I recently learned how to make homemade ice cream, I set about learning how to add a twist to it: make it into a cake!

And of course, I just had to try it with my favorite fruit: the avocado!

Homemade Ice Cream Cake

This fruit has been having quite a resurgence lately, appearing in a variety of trendy and previously unheard-of dishes from toasts to pastas. However, the avocado’s real siren call to me is as a dessert. Its rich and creamy texture, as well as its earthy flavor make the avocado absolutely sensational when sweetened, making it a great showcase ingredients for desserts such as this homemade avocado ice cream cake.

It turned out to be so easy!

Ingredients:

For the crust:

2 cups crushed Christia toasted bread (can be replaced by an equal amount of crushed Graham crackers)
1 stick of softened butter
3 tbsp white sugar

For the ice cream:

1 cup avocado puree (made by pureeing the flesh of two ripe avocados in a blender)
1 300ml can of condensed milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream

Procedure:

In a bowl, combine the crushed Christia toasted bread, butter and sugar. Press the crumb mixture onto the bottom of two 6″ x 2″ cake tins then set aside.

Homemade Ice Cream Cake

In another bowl, mix together the avocado puree, the condensed milk and heavy cream at low speed until the ingredients are well-combined and the mixture begins to thicken.

Increase the mixer speed to medium and continue mixing until the mixture forms stiff peaks.

Transfer the mixture into the prepared cake tins, gently pressing the mixture into the containers and smoothing out the top using a spatula.

Freeze for at least six hours or overnight.

What you get is a wonderful creamy blend of avocado sweetness and crumbly buttery crust with each spoonful. My kids (and I!) absolutely love it!

Homemade Ice Cream Cake

Homemade Ice Cream Cake

Well, it sure looks like I’ve got new favorite dessert!

Homemade Ice Cream Cake

Plus, wouldn’t you know it! You can use this recipe to make other fruit-based ice cream cakes! You might need to adjust the amount of condensed milk you use depending on the native sweetness of the fruit you’re using. Check them out:

Mango!

Homemade Ice Cream Cake

Banana!

Homemade Ice Cream Cake

Strawberry!

Homemade Ice Cream Cake

If ever you need to bring dessert to a potluck party or want to give out ice cream cakes as gifts, you know you can always whip ’em up in a jiffy.

Which fruits would you like to make into homemade ice cream cakes? Try this recipe with your favorite fruit and let me know how it turns out.

PS: Truth be told, the recipe originally called for Graham crackers but after scouring through three supermarkets looking for this out-of-stock item, I decided to use Christia toasted bread as a substitute. It had a buttery flavor and a more crumbly texture that went well with the ice cream. Still, if you want a more conventional crust for your ice cream cake, you may opt to stick to the crushed Graham crackers.

Looking for other easy-to-cook dishes to try out while in quarantine? Check out my other recipes:

#QuarantineCookbook: Bulalo Steak from Leftovers

Hmm… What to do with leftover Bulalo? Make a Bulalo Steak with it!

Anybody who knows me is aware that almost nothing gets my hackles up than wasting food.

That’s why when Hubby (again!) flexed his culinary muscles to bring about some steaming-hot Bulalo for our family’s lunch and had a lot of leftovers – whick included meat, potatoes and broth – I just had to find a way to finish off all that food within the day.

Bulalo Steak Recipe (beingjellybeans.com)

(Note, though, that the leftovers resulted from his overestimation on the fam’s capacity to devour two kilograms of meaty beef shanks, despite how yummy the resulting dish was. )

Bulalo Steak Recipe (beingjellybeans.com)

Well, thanks to the leftovers, the Bulalo Steak for the fam’s dinner was quite easy to whip up using ingredients which were already on-hand.

Bulalo Steak Recipe (beingjellybeans.com)

Ingredients:

(Leftover from the Bulalo)
1 kilo cooked beef shanks, sliced into 1 1/2-inch thick pieces
2 cups of cubed boiled potatoes
1 1/2 cups Bulalo broth, strained

(Additional Vegetables)
1 bunch of French beans (could be substituted with Baguio beans)
1 large carrot, cut into thin strips

(Additional ingredients for the sauce)
6 tbsp butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup sliced Champignon mushrooms
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tbsp liquid seasoning

Procedure:

Re-heat the cooked beef shanks by placing them in a baking dish and into a 200 dec C oven for twenty minutes.

Bulalo Steak Recipe (beingjellybeans.com)

In a saucepan over low heat, melt four tablespoons butter, then add the flour, mixing to form a paste. Add in the milk and broth, mixing to avoid lumps until it thickens to your desired consistency, then add in the mushrooms. Add more beef broth little by little if you want to thin it down.

Bulalo Steak Recipe (beingjellybeans.com)

Parboil the French beans and the carrot strips before sauteing them along with the boiled potatoes in two tablespoons butter. After sauteing, arrange them in the baking dish with the reheated beef shanks.

Bulalo Steak Recipe (beingjellybeans.com)

Bulalo Steak Recipe (beingjellybeans.com)

Bulalo Steak Recipe (beingjellybeans.com)

Pour the sauce over the beef shanks and buttered vegetables. Serve immediately. It is best enjoyed with lots of steamed rice.

This recipe serves five, with 530 calories per serving.

Bulalo Steak Recipe (beingjellybeans.com)

Bulalo Steak Recipe (beingjellybeans.com)

If you want to make this dish but don’t have leftover Bulalo, you can boil up to 2 kilos of beef shanks (with enough water to fully over the meat) in a large pot for up to 2 hours or until tender. Or you can cook them in a pressure cooker for up to an hour. Be sure to save the resulting broth.

Also, if you happen to have a sizzling plate, you can make this dish a Sizzling Bulalo Steak. Arrange the cooked solid ingredients on a heated sizzling plate then pour the sauce over them until it sizzles.

Looking for other easy-to-cook dishes to try out while in quarantine? Check out my other recipes:

Delicious home-cooked meals from The Happy Kitchen

There is something magical that happens when family and friends sit down together over a home-cooked meal.

When people get together at the dinner table, an array of freshly cooked dishes spread before them, good conversation, good vibes and good times are not far behind.

However, with today’s hectic lifestyle and busy schedules, not everyone would have the time to constantly slave over the stove to come up with mouth-watering meals.

Enter The Happy Kitchen.

And by enter, I mean invite it to your home to bring you and your loved ones the flavors you love and grew up with.

The Happy Kitchen (or THK) is the brainchild of Risa Cirineo, a full-time food entrepreneur based in Cainta, Rizal.

She originally operated a canteen in her home to take advantage of a new business opportunity presented by a new school opening nearby, as well as an office canteen in a car dealership.

When she had to close down the office canteen, she jumped on a new and more practical business opportunity: selling party trays online.

In 2018, she started doing exactly that: selling party trays of comfort food such as Beef Caldereta, Kare-Kare and Sisig on Facebook to anywhere in Metro Manila.

The Happy Kitchen

Today, her product lines include include party trays, packed meals and “paluto” requests of comfort food and party favorites, some of which were sent over for me and my family to sample:

Beef Caldereta (Php650 good for 6 | Php1,100 good for 10). A mainstay in many family gatherings and fiestas, the caldereta is a showcase of Spanish influences on Filipino cuisine. Named after the caldera – the cauldron where the ingredients are stewed in – this dish combines simple ingredients such as marinated beef, rough-chopped vegetables and a bit of liver pate to bring about a comforting and hearty dish. In THK’s version, the meat was melt-in-your-mouth tender while the tomato sauce was rich in beefy flavor with a bit of cheese and just a hint of spice.

The Happy Kitchen

The Happy Kitchen

Special Pork Sisig (Php500 good for 6 | Php850 good for 10). This Kapampangan dish is actually one of my daughter’s favorite viands and would usually order it whenever we dine out. She took a liking to THK’s rendition of this classic dish as it was not overly oily and the crunch chicharon bits gave it added texture and flavor. This dish is great as an appetizer or as bar chow.

The Happy Kitchen

The Happy Kitchen

Chicken Cordon Bleu (Php600 good for 6 | Php980 good for 10). Another party classic, this dish is made of chicken breasts thinned and wrapped around pieces of ham and cheese, then breaded and pan-fried to a golden brown. It’s great as a viand accompanied by rice or by itself as a finger food during cocktails, and is usually a hit with the kids because – duh! – cheese and chicken. 🙂

The Happy Kitchen

The Happy Kitchen

Korean Chicken (Php520 good for 6 | Php880 good for 10). With all things Korean being a hit in the Philippines these days, it’s no wonder that THK began offering Korean-style braised chicken to its clientele. Risa built on her mom’s recipe – a family favorite for years – by adding gochujang to this dish made with tender chicken pieces in a flavorful sauce of aromatics and herbs. This fresh take on a chicken-based viand is a hit with my son.

The Happy Kitchen

The Happy Kitchen

These dishes from The Happy Kitchen showcase the care and pride that Risa puts into her cooking. They feature meats that are tender to the bite, veggies with some crisp freshness and flavors that appeal to everyone in my family.

Many thanks to Risa for sending over these THK best-sellers!

Here’s how you can get these delectable dishes for your family dinner or clan gathering:

  • Visit The Happy Kitchen on Facebook to check out its menu of available dishes.
  • Text the following details to +63 922 3057613 or +63 917 5493643 at least three days in advance: your name, contact number, your orders and your preferred delivery date, time and address or your preferred date and time of pickup
  • Pay via bank deposit or online fund transfer to BPI or BDO: 50% downpayment at least three days before pickup or delivery and the remaining 50% one day prior to pick up or delivery

Aside from party trays, THK’s dishes are also available as packed meals good for meetings or as crew meals, with sets priced at Php110 for 1 viand + 1 rice, Php135 for 1 viand + 1 vegetable side dish + 1 rice, Php165 for 2 viands + 1 rice and Php195 for 2 viands, 1 vegetable side dish and 1 rice.

Disclosure: Product samples were provided to enable an honest review.

Check out my blog posts on other small enterprises and startups in the food business:

Country songstress Martina McBride shares recipes close to her heart in upcoming cookbook, Martina’s Kitchen Mix

In her cookbook to be released this fall, Martina’s Kitchen Mix: My Recipe Playlist for Real Life, country superstar Martina McBride shares her passion other than singing: cooking meals for her family and friends to enjoy.

McBride’s recipes reveal her predilection for entertaining and family gatherings centered around good food and great stories.

Having grown up in a Kansas farm, McBride is no stranger to the kitchen; even at an early age, she began helping her mother in preparing meals with fresh-from-the-field ingredients. Over the years, her travels as a country music singer has exposed her to more gastronomic influences, particularly the use of organic foods and healthy diets, which she has applied to her home cooking.

I like the book’s mixture of recipes and family insider stories, particularly the tweaks that McBride does on the recipes which she labeled “Adlibs.” The book is by no means a strict stick-to-the-recipe cookbook – even the author improvises from time to time! It really does welcome the reader to McBride’s kitchen and some aspects of her life. Plus, the food styling on the gorgeous photos that accompany some of the recipes are really superb.

Some of the ingredients may be expensive or hard-to-find here in the Philippines, but home cooks can draw inspiration from the recipes for their own culinary masterpieces.

Martina’s Kitchen Mix: My Recipe Playlist for Real Life, published by Oxmoor House will be released on October 30, 2018. It is currently available for pre-order on Amazon.com.

Thanks to NetGalley and Oxmoor House for the advanced copy of the ebook in exchange for an honest review.

This post contains affiliate links.

Check our Martina McBride’s other cookbook:

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