Recipe: Tuscan Chicken Pasta

It’s around that time of the month when the stocked food in my fridge are beginning to run low and all I’ve got to work with for the fam’s lunch are a couple of frozen chicken breasts, some strips of bacon and pantry staples such as pasta and parmesan cheese.

Plus, I’m coming in from a late morning Zoom meeting (the bane of work-from-home moms, am I right?) and I’ve barely got enough time to prepare a meal, eat with the family and make it to my afternoon meetings.

Hmmm… what can I possibly whip up quickly and easily during my lunch hour?

Luckily, this recipe for Tuscan Chicken Pasta came to my rescue.

Tuscan Chicken Pasta

What I love about this is that it made use of the remaining frozen food as well as incorporated wholesome and fresh produce that made for a hearty and tasty meal for the family. Also, I didn’t have to use a lot of utensils to cook the dish; it’s basically a one-skillet recipe. (However, I made use of Hubby’s trusty wok as it gave me a sizable surface area to cook in and it distributed the heat quite well. I hope the wok purists won’t come after me!)

Check it out!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 kilo spaghetti noodles, cooked per package instructions (reserve 1 cup of the water these were boiled in)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 boneless and skinless chicken breasts, thawed and filleted into 4 flat pieces
  • salt to taste (I used Himalayan sea salt from Goodness MNL but you can use ordinary table salt)
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 10 slices of bacon cut into short strips
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 to 6 fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 kilo Baguio spinach
  • 1/2 c heavy cream
  • 1/4 c grated parmesan
  • 6 basil leaves for garnish

Procedure:

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. After seasoning the chicken breast fillets with salt and pepper, fry them for 7 to 8 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove them from heat and allow them to rest for 10 minutes before slicing them into thin strips.

Tuscan Chicken Pasta

Using the same skillet, fry the bacon pieces over medium heat for 8 minutes or until they reach your desired crispiness. (I prefer my bacon to be fried just enough to curl up but not be too crispy). Drop them on a plate lined with a paper towel to drain them of excess oil. Set aside.

Tuscan Chicken Pasta

Again, using the same skillet, pour out half the fat from cooking the chicken and the bacon before sautéing the garlic and tomatoes over medium heat.

Tuscan Chicken Pasta

Add the spinach and cook for two minutes until the leaves are slightly wilted.

Tuscan Chicken Pasta

Season with salt and pepper prior to adding the heavy cream, parmesan and half of the reserved pasta water. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes then remove from heat. (If the sauce becomes to thick, stir in some more of the pasta water).

Tuscan Chicken Pasta

Toss the cooked pasta in sauce until well coated, then toss the chicken and bacon strips until evenly distributed.

Tuscan Chicken Pasta

Garnish with freshly torn basil leaves before serving.

Tuscan Chicken Pasta

Try this recipe and let me know how it goes!

Tuscan Chicken Pasta

Tuscan Chicken Pasta

Tuscan Chicken Pasta

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

Guilt-free recipes made with Mega Tuna

One of the more benign, even beneficial, effects of the quarantine is the renewed interest in home cooking.

In the earlier days of the lockdown, with dining out prohibited and food delivery options quite limited, the metro’s denizens took stock of their pantry and set about creating their culinary masterpieces with ingredients they have on hand.

Guess what’s invariably present in Pinoy kitchen cabinets. Canned tuna!

Tuna is one of the most eaten fish in the world. It can be eaten fresh – either raw or cooked – as well as canned, which involves pre-cooking. In the Philippines, canned tune may be available in several variants such as in oil, in water, in flakes, hot and spicy, Spanish-style or corned, among others.

Mega Tuna Recipes

Mega Tuna Recipes

Canned tuna lends itself well to home cooking. It is flavorful enough to appeal to the palate (it can even be eaten straight out of the can) yet flexible to be applied to many dishes from canapes and salads to pastas. Canned tuna is also healthier than meat, generally having lower levels of saturated and trans fats as well as higher levels of omega 3 fatty acids compared to beef.

Mega Tuna Recipes

Mega Tuna Recipes

In a Zoom event hosted by Mega Tuna last December, brand ambassador Chef JP Anglo of Sarsa Kitchen shared some new recipes made with Mega Tuna that can form part of the holiday spread.

Mega Tuna Recipes

Mega Tuna Recipes

Check them out:

Tuna Arroz Caldo

Ingredients:

  • Mega Tuna Spanish Style
  • 350g white or brown rice
  • 150g chicharon
  • 20g fresh garlic
  • 50g ginger
  • 30g fried garlic
  • 30g spring onion
  • 5g black pepper
  • 20ml patis
  • 4pcs calamansi

Procedure:

In a pot, pour the oil from the can of Mega Tuna Flakes in Spanish Style, then saute the ginger and garlic.

Add a liter of water and cooked rice, and cook for twenty to thirty minutes.

Pour the arroz caldo in a bowl, add the Mega Tuna and top with spring onions, fried garlic, chicharon and black pepper.

Season with patis.

Mega Tuna Recipes

Mega Tuna Recipes

Tuna Soba Noodles

Ingredients:

  • Mega Tuna Sweet and Spicy
  • 500g soba noodles
  • 30ml sesame oil
  • 20g sesame seeds
  • 60ml oyster sauce
  • 5g salt
  • 3pc fried eggs
  • Chili garlic (optional)

Procedure:

Cook soba noodles in hot water (make sure not to overcook them).

Toss all ingredients with the noodles and add half of the tuna and half of the oil from the can to flavor the noodles.

Pour the mixture into a bowl and top with the remaining tuna, fried garlic, spring onions and fried egg.

Mega Tuna Recipes

Mega Tuna Recipes

I was able to try these delicious dishes since I received a box containing these dishes as well as Mega Tuna’s four variants: in Oil, Spanish Style, Sweet and Spicy and Hot and Spicy.

Mega Tuna Recipes

Mega Tuna Recipes

Mega Tuna Recipes

Mega Tuna Recipes

Hubby found the Mega Tuna variants well-suited to his midnight snacking.

The holidays may be over but we can carry over these recipes into the new year as we continue to create delectable viands from our kitchen staples such as Mega Tuna.

Mega Tuna is available in leading supermarkets and grocery stores as well as in Shopee and Lazada.

Recipe: Baked Salmon in Lemon Butter Sauce

Just like that: 2020 is no more and we’re off to welcome a brand new year!

Guess what: I embraced 2021 with a new recipe for baked salmon for the fam’s Media Noche feast.

This past Christmas Eve, as I’ve done for several past Christmas Eves, I whipped up my tried-and-tested Cheesy Baked Salmon for our Noche Buena feast. It’s certainly a family favorite and even my friends have been trying it out for their own holiday feasts.

However, I opted to do something different for the fam’s Media Noche feast. This time around, at Hubby’s suggestion, I decided to go a ease up a bit on the cheese but go heavy on the butter. And the result is awesome.

Baked Salmon in Lemon Butter Sauce

Baked Salmon in Lemon Butter Sauce

So here it is: check out my recipe for Baked Salmon in Lemon Butter Sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 1 salmon fillet (600 grams or more)
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 5 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 8 thin slices of lemon
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • French beans and carrot strips, blanched and lightly stir-fried in butter

Procedure:

Thaw salmon and pat dry.

Rub half of the minced garlic over the fillets. Pour three-fourths of the lemon juice over the salmon, then set the fillet aside for ten minutes to allow the salmon to marinate.

Preheat the oven to 190 deg C (375 deg F).

Arrange the lemon slices at the bottom of an aluminum baking pan.

Remove the salmon from the marinade, scraping off excess garlic, and place the fillets skin-side down on a on top of the lemon slices. Set aside.

Baked Salmon in Lemon Butter Sauce

Place the butter in a microwave-safe bowl and place it in the microwave for one minute to melt the butter.

Whisk in the remaining one-fourth of the lemon juice, the honey and the remaining half of the minced garlic into the melted butter.

Season the fillets with salt (I used Himalayan sea salt from Goodness MNL for its health benefits but ordinary table salt will do) and freshly ground black pepper.

Spoon three-fourths of the butter mixture onto the salmon fillets and reserve the rest of the remaining mixture.

Cover the salmon with a sheet of aluminum foil then seal the fillets by crimping the ends together with the pan to produce an air-tight cover for the fillets.

Place the baking pan in the oven and allow the salmon to bake for 17 minutes.

Baked Salmon in Lemon Butter Sauce

Take out the baking sheet from the oven and remove the top cover. Spoon the remaining butter mixture over the salmon pieces then allow the salmon to broil for five to ten minutes until the salmon fillets turn golden.

Baked Salmon in Lemon Butter Sauce

Serve with the buttered French beans and carrot sticks.

Baked Salmon in Lemon Butter Sauce

Baked Salmon in Lemon Butter Sauce

I’m glad to note that this dish has my Hubby and kiddos’ seal of approval in terms of taste and texture. Hubby even prefers it to the Cheesy Baked Salmon.

Baked Salmon in Lemon Butter Sauce

Baked Salmon in Lemon Butter Sauce

My compromise is to go for the Cheesy Baked Salmon for Noche Buena as its richness will be well-suited for it being the central dish. For Media Noche, wherein it will be one of many dishes atop a traditionally overflowing table, the simpler buttery version will be more appropriate.

Baked Salmon in Lemon Butter Sauce

Baked Salmon in Lemon Butter Sauce

Try this recipe and let me know how it goes!

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

#QuarantineCookbook: Basque Burnt Cheesecake Cups

One of the food items that trended during quarantine is the Basque Burnt Cheesecake.

An adaptation of tarta de queso which was popularized by the cafe La Viña located in San Sebastian in the Basque region of northern Spain, it is characterized by its parchment paper wrapping, scorched top that dips into a gooey, almost molten-like, center.

I had my first taste of Burnt Basque Cheesecake last year during lunch with my officemates at Sourdough Cafe and again this year when I had a whole cake delivered to my home from Sweet Samthings for my birthday celebration.

Sourdough Cafe, Tomas Morato

Sweet Samthings

What I love about it is the buttery caramel-like taste of the top layer that gives way to the rich tanginess of the cheesecake filling.

Basque Burnt Cheesecake

Basque Burnt Cheesecake

Basque Burnt Cheesecake

This decadent dessert makes use of easily accessible ingredients: cream cheese (of course!), sugar, eggs, flour and cream.

Basque Burnt Cheesecake

I’m considering giving some away as gifts to family and friends so I decided to try making this dessert as mini cups.

Basque Burnt Cheesecake

Basque Burnt Cheesecake

Basque Burnt Cheesecake

I also used fresh cage-free eggs for this recipe. This type of eggs are grown in farms that provides environments that allow egg-laying hens to exhibit their natural behaviors unlike those with battery-cage systems which provide no space for the hens to stretch their wings, perch, or forage. Cage-free eggs have been found to be of higher quality and have a healthier nutritional profile than other eggs such as less saturated fat and cholesterol, higher levels of protein, vitamins and omega fatty acids. You can read more about the virtues of cage-free eggs here.

Basque Burnt Cheesecake

Basque Burnt Cheesecake

Basque Burnt Cheesecake

Ingredients:

  • Two 225g bars of cream cheese
  • One cup granulated sugar
  • Three cage-free eggs
  • Two-and-half tablespoons all purpose flour
  • One-eight teaspoon of salt
  • One cup whipping cream
  • One-fourth teaspoon melted butter

Procedure:

Preheat the oven to 250 deg C.

Using a mixer on medium speed, soften the cream cheese for three minutes then add the sugar until well combined.

Add in the eggs one at a time and beat for a minute until the mixture is smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the salt and continue to beat for another minute until the ingredients are well incorporated into the mixture. Set aside.

Place the flour in a separate bowl and whisk in the whipping cream a little at a time, making sure that there are no flour lumps.

Pour the cream mixture into the cheese mixture while mixing at slow speed.

Line the cups of two muffin pans with cupcake liners (or you can use two square pieces of parchment papers placed on top of each other such that the corners alternate with each other). Brush the liners with a bit of melted butter.

Fill the cups two-thirds of the way, then bake for thirteen to fifteen minutes until the tops are slightly scorched (I prefer that over totally burnt) and the centers are still wobbly.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool up to ten minutes to allow the cakes to set.

Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

I was able to make twenty-four mini cakes and one (thin!) cake in an eight-inch round tin.

Basque Burnt Cheesecake

Basque Burnt Cheesecake

Basque Burnt Cheesecake

These cakes have my kiddos seal of approval, and my mom’s as well, as I sent the tin cake over to her as a present.

So if you’re on the lookout for something new to bring to your Noche Buena table, or to give away as gifts to your nears-and-dears, do give this recipe a try.

Basque Burnt Cheesecake

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

#QuarantineCookbook: Easy Mac ‘n Cheese

Last Sunday morning, in a bid to stop me from buying a mass-produced mac ‘n cheese packet when we went grocery shopping (or probably to flex his cooking muscles yet again!), Hubby promised me that he would make some macaroni and cheese for me and the kids.

Fast-forward to the afternoon of the same day, my Significant Other is bustling about in the kitchen (in between watching scenes from his latest Korean drama binge-fest) to make what was arguably my daughter #ExhibitA’s favorite macaroni dish.

Easy Mac ‘n Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese (affectionately called Mac ‘n Cheese by its aficionados) is a dish of cooked macaroni pasta in cheese sauce (normally cheddar). Traditionally, this dish is baked in an oven as a casserole but it may also be prepared on a stove using a saucepan. Or you can just add water to a packaged mix and zap it in the microwave.

Easy Mac ‘n Cheese

Similar dishes have been around in Europe since the 14th century. Since then, Mac ‘n Cheese have grown in worldwide popularity, even being considered comfort food in the US.

In his valiant effort to provide the fam with a filling snack that Sunday afternoon, Hubby improvised on an existing Mac ‘n Cheese recipe he found online.

Ingredients:

2 cups of uncooked macaroni
4 cups of milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup parmesan
1/4 cup grated processed cheese
2 tbsp butter

Procedure:

In a large pot, bring the milk to a boil.

Add the macaroni into the pot, stirring constantly for about ten minutes until the pasta is al dente.  The milk would have been greatly reduced by then.

Turn off the heat, add in the cheddar and mix well.

Then add butter, parmesan and grated cheese.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve while hot.

I love how milky and creamy this pasta dish is. And, well, Hubby’s version is way better than the packaged mix. 🙂

Easy Mac ‘n Cheese

Easy Mac ‘n Cheese

Try this recipe out the next time you want a yummy snack or appetizer, or when you need to contribute something hearty to a family potluck and let me know what you think.

Easy Mac ‘n Cheese

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

 

#QuarantineCookbook: Easy Banana Crisp

Sure, banana breads has become more popular lately as newly minted home bakers have tried their hands on making this ubiquitous pastry.

Well, how about another sweet incarnation of banana as a dessert, say a banana crisp?

Banana Crisp

A crisp is a dish of baked fresh fruit with a streusel topping that typically includes oats. As the dish bakes, the oats will crisp up, adding another level of texture to the dessert, hence the name.

Banana Crisp

Unlike banana breads that require overripe fruit, banana crisps need the bananas to be just ripe.

This is a makeshift banana crisp recipe that I improvised with ingredients that I already have on hand when I was struck with one of my cravings for something sweet again.

Check it out:

Ingredients:

Banana Crisp

  • 4 bananas sliced into thin circles
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup instant oats (my substitute for rolled oats)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp butter, softened

Procedure:

To make the topping,combine the flour, sugar, oats, cinnamon and salt a medium bowl. Add in the softened butter and work the mixture with your hands or a whisk until crumbly. Set aside.

Evenly distribute the banana slices into two cake tins. Cut up some of the bananas to fill in the smaller spaces in between slices.

Sprinkle the topping mixture over the bananas, enough to cover the fruit.

Place inside the oven pre-heated at 205 deg C (400 deg F) and bake for ten to twelve minutes until the topping becomes firm and gets a golden brown color.

Serve while still warm from the oven.

Banana Crisp

Banana Crisp

Enjoy as is or topped with vanilla ice cream (see my recipe for Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream).

Banana Crisp

Banana Crisp

Banana Crisp

Banana Crisp

Try this recipe out and let me know what you think.

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

#QuarantineCookbook: Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

Hey, foodie!

Come on, let’s list the uses for vanilla ice cream!

  • A dessert on its own
  • A topping for dessert pies and crumbles
  • The thing that floats in a root beer float
  • The thing that makes milk shakes extra decadent
  • The thing that’s sandwiched when you typically make ice cream sandwiches

I’m sure there are lots more that good ole’ plain vanilla ice cream can contribute to the enjoyment of foodies everywhere.

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

Surprisingly, I’ve been having trouble finding vanilla ice cream in my neighborhood grocery and convenience stores the past few days. And with the modified enhanced community quarantine just around the corner, I can be sure that ice cream deliveries to these local stores will be delayed.

This is quite unfortunate as I have hankering for pies and shakes that include this treat.

Since necessity is the mother of invention, I decided to make vanilla ice cream myself.

Here’s how:

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup milk + 1/2 cup all-purpose cream (my substitute for the 1 cup half-and-half that the original recipe called for)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla

Procedure:

Combine the milk, all-purpose cream, sugar and vanilla in a bowl. Mix until well blended.

In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream until it begins to double in volume or form stiff peaks.

Mix in the vanilla mixture until well combined.

Freeze overnight.

Now, I have vanilla ice cream ready to use for pies and milkshakes!

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

Try this recipe out for yourself!

Banana Crisp

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

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

#QuarantineCookbook: Calamansi Muffins

It’s already the rainy season and the metro is still in the grips of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is not the time to let up on our nutrition, especially Vitamin C. Also known as ascorbic acid, it is touted as one of the safest and most effective nutrients. Vitamin C can help in fortifying immune systems weakened by stress, preventing serious complications arising from cold, reducing the risk of stroke, as well managing skin aging.

How fortunate that we Pinoys are blessed with an abundance of ready sources of Vitamin C: the calamansi!

Pickfresh Calamansi Juice

But don’t hassle yourself juicing all those little fruits by hand. You can have concentrated calamansi juice by the bottle, thanks to Pickfresh.

Pickfresh Calamansi Concentrate is organic and all natural with no use of extenders or preservatives. Available variants include unsweetened (best for diabetics), sweetened (for the kids) and with honey.

Pickfresh Calamansi Juice

To make yourself a glass of refreshing calamansi juice, just stir in two to three parts water into one part of the concentrate, adjust to taste, then add ice. Each bottle of Pickfresh yields fifteen to twenty glasses of calamansi juice.

Pickfresh Calamansi Juice

Now, some people might not be too excited about drinking calamansi juice (it may be an acquired taste) but how about some calamansi muffins?

Pickfresh Calamansi Juice

Pickfresh Calamansi Juice

Fluffy, tangy and sweet, these little yummies are sure to get you eager for your dose of Vitamin C.

Pickfresh Calamansi Juice

Pickfresh Calamansi Juice

Here’s how you can whip ’em right up!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/5 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup Pickfresh Sweetened Calamansi Concentrate

Procedure:

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Combine the milk and the calamani concentrate in another bowl. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar together for two to three minutes until well combined. Add in the eggs and mix well.

Add in the milk mixture and flour mixture, mixing until all ingredients are well-blended. For fluffy muffins, take care not to over-mix.

Scoop the mixture into paper-lined cupcake pans then bake in a preheated 350 deg F (170 deg C) oven for 18 to 23 minutes.

Feel free to enjoy your calamansi muffins, along with a glass of calamansi juice, as you relax while watching your favorite shows…

Pickfresh Calamansi Juice

Or when you take a snack break while working from home!

Pickfresh Calamansi Juice

To get your bottle of Pickfresh Calamansi Concentrate (Php180/liter), send a message via Facebook or Instagram. Online payments via BDO or BPI are accepted.

Pickfresh Calamansi Juice

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

#QuarantineCookbook: Lemon Square #SiksikSaSarap Recipes

One of the few bright spots of the community quarantine and being stuck home is the emergence of many a newbie baker’s latent genius in the kitchen.

I’ve been through a baking phase a few years ago but I gradually lost interest due to lack of time and the increasing demands of my job.

When the quarantine was put in place, however, I found myself with more time on my hands and eager to get back into the kitchen to whip up tasty treats for the fam. Being the sweet tooth I am, these dishes tend to be desserts.

I was also recently issued with a challenge: create a snack or dessert using Lemon Square Cheesecake as one of the ingredients.

Lemon Square

Lemon Square is a thirty-five-year-old brand that has been serving up real goodness through affordable and nutritious snacks. It has a family of flavors that cater to every personality and snacking quirk in the brood, starting from its flagship variant, Lemon Square Cheesecake, to snack cakes Lemon Square Whatta Tops and Lemon Square Lava Cake, as well as Lemon Square Whatta Flakes crackers and Lemon Square Cookie Bites.

Well, challenge accepted!

Here are – not one, not two, but – three desserts using four of Lemon Square variants. Check them out:

Crema de Fruta with Lemon Square Cheesecake

Lemon Square Recipes

Lemon Square Recipes

Ingredients:

1 pack (10 pcs) Lemon Square Cheesecake
1 small can (432 g) of fruit cocktail (drain the fruits and reserve 4 tbsp of its syrup)
1 small can (108g) condensed milk
1 pack (250ml) all purpose cream

Procedure:

In a bowl, mash the Lemon Square Cheesecake pieces until they break apart into small crumbs. Add the reserved fruit cocktail syrup until the crumbs form a loose, streusel-like mixture.

In another bowl, mix together the all purpose cream and condensed milk until well-blended.

In an eight-inch tin can, assemble the crema de fruta in alternating layers of crumbs, sweetened cream and fruit pieces.

Refrigerate overnight to allow the dessert to settle. Serve well-chilled.

Lemon Square Recipes

Lemon Square Recipes

Tipsy Chocolate Cake with Lemon Square Lava Cake and Chocolate Cookie Bites

Lemon Square Recipes

Lemon Square Recipes

Ingredients:

1 pack Lemon Square Chocolate Cookie Bites
4 pcs Lemon Square Lava Cake
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp Baileys Irish cream
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Procedure:

Crush the Lemon Square Chocolate Cookie Bites until they form a fine powder. Set aside.

In a bowl, mash the Lemon Square Lava Cake until they form into thick crumbs. Press them to the bottom of an eight-inch tin can. Set aside.

To make the tipsy ganache, add the Baileys to the heavy cream in a saucepan. Stirring periodically, heat the mixture over low fire until just before the it begins to boil. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate until well-combined.

Allow the mixture to cool for three minutes before pouring it on top of the mashed Lava Cake in the prepared tin can.

Using a strainer, dust the top of the ganache with the powdered Chocolate Cookie Bites.

Place the tin can in the refrigerator overnight until the cake is fully set.

Serve chilled.

Note: You can lessen the amount of Baileys you put in or take it out all together to make this dessert more kid-friendly.

Lemon Square Recipes

Lemon Square Recipes

Avocado Ice Cream Cake with Whatta Flakes Spanish Bread

Lemon Square Recipes

Lemon Square Recipes

Ingredients:

For the crust:

6 packs crushed Lemon Square Whatta Flakes Spanish bread
1 stick of softened butter

For the ice cream:

Three avocados peeled and seeded (equivalent to 2 cups)
1 300ml and 1 108ml cans of condensed milk
4 cups heavy whipping cream

Procedure:

In a bowl, combine the crushed Whatta Flakes Spanish bread with the butter. Press the crumb mixture onto the bottom of five 8-inch cake tins then set aside.

In a blender, puree the avocado while mixing in the condensed milk until well-blended. Set aside.

Whip the heavy cream at high speed until it thickens. Gradually mix in the avocado puree until well-blended.

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

Freeze for at least six hours or overnight. Serve frozen.

Note: This is an update of the Avocado Ice Cream Cake recipe I published a few months ago, incorporating some improvements I discovered after making this dessert quite a number of times.

Lemon Square Recipes

Lemon Square Recipes

There you have it: three #LemonSquareSiksikSaSarap dessert recipes that you can easily whip up to experience real goodness at home.

Lemon Square Recipes

Product samples were provided to facilitate the recipes.

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

#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: Banana Loaf Three Ways

It sure looks like the quarantine has turned me into some kind of maven in the kitchen (if I may say so myself; indulge me, please).

With a little bit of extra time that working from home afforded to me, as well as the greater availability of ingredients from online sellers, I found myself getting bitten again by the baking bug.

I decided to try my hand on an old favorite: the Banana Loaf. It’s a simple enough recipe and the ingredients are easily accessible.

Banana Loaf Three Ways (beingjellybeans.com)

It’s also great as a mid-afternoon snack or an after-meal dessert.

Banana Loaf Three Ways (beingjellybeans.com)

Here’s the twist, though: my kiddos and I have varying preferences when it comes to the Banana Loaf. I love it with nuts (for the contrast in texture), while my daughter #ExhibitA prefers it without; my son #ExhibitB, a sweet-tooth just like his mom, would go bonkers for it if it has chocolate.

What’s a budding baker mom to do?

Well, why not have it three ways? I made a plain Banana Loaf, two loaves with nuts, and a loaf with nuts and chocolate. This way, everybody’s happy (especially me, because I get two loaves, hehehe!).

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

3 ripe mashed bananas
2 tsp lemon juice
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups buttermilk substitute (made by combining 1 1/2 tbsp vinegar with enough fresh milk to make 1 1/2 cups of the mixture)
1 cup roughly chopped walnuts
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Procedure:

Preheat the oven to 135 deg C (275 deg F). Line four 8″x 3″ loaf pans with wax paper and lightly grease the bottom and sides.

In a small bowl, combine the mashed bananas with the lemon juice. In another bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda. Set both bowls aside.

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter, white and brown sugar in a large bowl for three minutes until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then mix in the vanilla.

Mix in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk substitute until evenly combined. Stir in the mashed banana mixture.

Scoop enough of the batter to the first loaf pan to fill it two-thirds of the way. This will be the plain Banana Loaf.

Fold in the chopped walnuts in to the batter until evenly distributed then scoop enough of the mixture to fill two-thirds of the next two loaf pans. These will be the Banana Loaf with Walnuts.

Fold in the dark chocolate chips into the remaining batter then scoop it into the last loaf pan. This will be the Chocolate Walnut Banana Loaf.

Place the loaf pans into the pre-heated oven and bake for sixty to eighty-five minutes (depending on your oven) or until a toothpick you insert into the middle of the loaves comes out clean.

Banana Loaf Three Ways (beingjellybeans.com)

As soon as fully baked, remove the loaf pans from the oven and place them directly into the freezer for forty-five minutes. Doing this will add to the moist texture of the loaves. (I’m not familiar with the exact science behind this but I can’t argue with the results).

Banana Loaf Three Ways (beingjellybeans.com)

Banana Loaf Three Ways (beingjellybeans.com)

Serve and enjoy!

Banana Loaf Three Ways (beingjellybeans.com)

The loaves turned out to have just the right amount of moistness and are not overly sweet.

As it turns out, even #ExhibitA likes the loaf with the chocolate chips. Hmmm…

PS:

If you want to add some more sweetness to the loaves, you can top them with some cream cheese frosting, similar to the one used for my Carrot Cupcakes.

You may also adjust the amount of walnuts or chocolate chips you add into the banana loaf batter for the second loaf pan and so on, or the sequence of adding the tweak ingredients, depending on your family’s preferences (and whose preference reigns supreme!).

Banana Loaf Three Ways (beingjellybeans.com)

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

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: Slow Cooker Pork Roast

Wanna know what my fam and I had for our Mother’s Day meal?

Pork Loin Roast with Herb-Buttered Vegetables!

Slow Cooker Pork Roast

If you find the name of the dish intimidating, don’t worry. It’s actually quite easy to do. (I have a “no-frills, no fuss” philosophy when it comes to home-cooking.)

Well, the ease of preparing this dish, of course, requires that you have the right tools, the most important of which is a slow cooker.

A slow cooker is a counter-top kitchen appliance used to simmer food in lower temperatures than other cooking methods which facilitates unattended cooking for many hours. The result: cheaper cuts of meat become fork tender and produce more flavorful stews.

Slow Cooker Pork Roast

You would think that using the slow cooker would entail a lot of hours slaving away in the kitchen.

Well, my hack for this recipe is to place the pork loin in the slow cooker and set the time for eight hours before bed time. The meat will be fully cooked by the time I wake.

So check out how easy it is to make this dish!

Ingredients:

For the rub:

1 tsp ground dried rosemary
1 tsp roasted garlic and herb seasoning
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil

For the roast:

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 1/2 c water
1 1/2 kilo roast pork loin
1/2 pork bouillion cube

For the sides:

5 medium potatoes, boiled then cut into quarters
1 medium carrot, cut into strips then parboiled
1 bundle French beans, parboiled
1 tsp ground dried rosemary
1 tsp roasted garlic and herb seasoning
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter

Procedure:

In a small mixing bowl, combine the rub ingredients until well-mixed. Massage the rub into the pork roast, then place into a Ziplock bag and place in the refrigerator for up to six hours. That will help the meat absorb all the lovely flavors from the rub.

Slow Cooker Pork Roast

Slow Cooker Pork Roast

In a flat pan, melt the butter in olive oil then sear the marinated pork loin for up to 2 two minutes per side.

Slow Cooker Pork Roast

Slow Cooker Pork Roast

Place the pork loin in the slow cooker along with the water and pork cube. Cook on low for eight to ten hours.

Slow Cooker Pork Roast

Place the slow-cooked pork loin in a baking pan. Surround the pork loin with the vegetables. Sprinkle the vegetables with salt, pepper, garlic, rosemary and garlic and herb seasoning. Distribute dabs of butter among the vegetables then place in a 200 deg C oven for fifteen minutes. The meat is already cooked from the slow cooker. This will heat it up for your meal as well further brown the skin of the meat.

Slow Cooker Pork Roast

Lightly toss the vegetables to evenly distribute the melted butter and seasonings prior to serving.

Slow Cooker Pork Roast

This recipe serves ten. My household of five had two takes with this dish, as we had quite a lot of leftovers after the first serving.

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

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#QuarantineCookbook: Homemade Mango Ice Cream

How’s your summer going, foodies?

If you’re feeling the summer heat like I am, you might be craving for some lusciously decadent ice cream packed with the flavors of summer.

And what can be more summer-y than mango? Ooh, just imagine the sweetness of ripe mango bursting in your mouth from the cold, soothing silkiness of ice cream.

If only it was more readily available, right?

I usually had to go to large supermarkets or specialty stores to get a tub of mango ice cream. However, with the enhanced community quarantine, stores would have a lot more difficulty keeping it in stock.

Well, thanks to my mommy, I found out how to keep my own stock of yummy mango ice cream: I just have to make it myself!

Mommy made me a batch of homemade mango ice cream for my birthday. What’s even better is that she gave me the recipe!

Homemade Mango Ice Cream

It’s actually quite simple. Check it out!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of mango puree (made by blending the flesh of two ripe mangoes in a blender)
  • 1 300ml can of condensed milk
  • 2 cups of heavy whipping cream
  • 2 drops of yellow food coloring

Procedure:

  • In a bowl, mix together the mango puree, condensed milk and heavy cream at low speed until the mixture begins to thicken.
  • Increase the mixer speed to medium and continue mixing until the mixture forms stiff peaks.
  • While mixing, food coloring.
  • Transfer the mixture into a small loaf pan or ice cream tub, gently pressing the mixture into the container using a spatula.
  • Freeze for at least six hours or overnight

This recipe serves four, at approximately 680 calories per serving.

Homemade Mango Ice Cream

You might be wondering if you can substitute all-purpose cream for the whipping cream. I wouldn’t recommend it because you would be sacrificing the ice cream-like consistency. Whipping cream has a higher fat percentage which makes it suitable for desserts such as this.

Now, I just need to stock up on ingredients and I know I can easily whip this up and have my mango ice cream fix whenever the craving hits!

Check out my other recipes: