Jun 18, 2016

Bacon Potato Salad

You know we like a certain food item so much when it gets replicated in my kitchen. Siempre because it would be too costly and cumbersome to keep going back to a certain restaurant to get your fix of that favorite, di ba?

Pancake House's Warm Bacon Potato Salad is one such favorite of ours. My second son still orders it everytime we come to dine in Pancake House, but it's still a delight that I can whip up a batch anytime the craving kicks.

Pancake House serves this salad warm, maybe because it's freshly made and hadn't had time to chill. But it still tastes great at room temp and even chilled.


What's In It?

500 g potatoes
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and minced
100 g bacon, fried to a crisp, drippings reserved
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
Alfalfa sprouts (for garnish)

Kitchen Conjugations:

Wash potatoes well and cook in boiling water until fork tender. Remove from fire, drain water and set aside potatoes to cool.

Break bacon into bits.  Set aside.

In a salad bowl, make the dressing by combining mayonnaise and Dijon mustard. Add in about a teaspoon of bacon drippings and the minced onion. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and stir to combine.  Do a taste check of the dressing, adding a little more salt or pepper if needed.  Set aside.

Cut the unpeeled, cooked potatoes into chunks, and combine onto the mayo-mustard dressing.  Toss to coat well, adding the bacon bits.

Serve on a bed of lettuce garnished with alfalfa sprouts and more bacon bits.  Enjoy!

Jun 17, 2016

Birthday Boy's Bento Box

This is my version of the Kiddie Meal, served in my youngest son's birthday party in school last year.

Buying party meal packs from Jollibee or McDonalds would have been simpler and less taxing for me, but I went the DIY route because:

1) I wanted to serve smaller portions, because I saw how kids often had leftovers from JB/MD packs, and
2) I had wanted a meal-lootbag-souvenir in one, to simplify distribution, and of course, to cut down on costs.❤️

I also think the Bento Box is a practical souvenir, one that can be used and reused long after the party is over. To personalize it, I scanned the lid to get the actual size of the stickers I need to make to cover the existing ones, and made my own on Photoshop.

What's In It?

  • Homecooked Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, with star-shaped cheddar cheese 
  • Jelly-marshmallow strips that I shaped into an M, my son's initial
  • Cocktail hotdogs
  • Chocolate and jelly cups
  • Ham and cheese mini-sandwiches
I cut out star-shaped holes on the mini sandwiches to allow the kids to see the filling, and entice them to eat.
I wanted to make the contents as colorful and kid-friendly as much as possible as I do not want any of the food to go to waste.

Based on the reactions of the kids (and the teachers), the birthday bento box idea is a success. :)

Jun 10, 2016

Tuna Garden Salad

My mom comes home from Australia for a vacation every two years and stays with me.  As she misses Filipino food and I miss her, we make up for lost chances by indulging in what she likes. When she leaves, she leaves with excess poundage, but is not worried, confident that she'd easily lose the weight because she won't be indulging in Aus as much as she did back here.

Meanwhile, ako, not as lucky.

So in attempt at a 'Balik Alindog' program, I'm trying to eat light dinners such as this.


What's In It?

For the Salad:

3 cups shredded mixed salad greens (Romaine, Lola Rossa, Iceberg lettuce)
1 small carrot, peeled and sliced into thin wedges
1/8 cup black olives, pitted and sliced
1/8 cup green olives, pitted and sliced
2 salad tomatoes, halved and sliced into wedges
1 small red onion, peeled and diced
1 can tuna flakes in brine

For the dressing:

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Knorr seasoning
2 teaspoons honey or brown sugar

Kitchen Conjugations:

Wash and dry salad greens; transfer to a serving bowl.  Garnish with the other salad ingredients.

In a separate bowl, combine ingredients for salad dressing, stirring well to ensure the sugar is dissolved.

Pour dressing onto salad and toss.

Jun 9, 2016

Pizza Muffins

I originally made these pizza muffins as part of the menu for my youngest son's 3rd birthday party in school.
I had wanted something popular with kids, something that's already portioned and easy to distribute, and something that can be in kid portions.

I got the recipe from an issue of Yummy magazine, and tweaked it to suit my taste.

I think these pizza muffins are also good as baon for both schoolers and their parents. :)  It's also a quick snack you can whip up if you have surprise guests, or something your kids can make by themselves. :)

What's In It?

2 cups flour
14 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
12 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cheddar cheese, cubed
1 cup sour cream (1 cup milk with 1 teaspoon vinegar)
2 eggs
14 cup butter, melted
12 cup bell pepper, finely chopped
1⁄2 cup sweet-style pizza sauce
12 cup shredded quickmelt cheese

Toppings: Small slices/bits of Italian Sausage, Salami and Ham

 Kitchen Conjugations:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together sour cream, eggs and butter until smooth. 
  2. Add in flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Stir until all the flour and sugar have dissolved.
  3. Stir in cheese cubes, Italian seasoning and diced bell pepper.
  4. Spoon mixture into muffin cups, until three-fourths full.
  5. Spoon a tablespoon of pizza sauce on top of each muffin, top with shredded cheese and other toppings of choice.
  6. Bake at 200C for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean. 
  7. Cool on on a wire rack and remove from molds.

I bought these disposable foil tins from Japan Home, P88 for a pack of 12 tins.

Jun 7, 2016

Starbites Cake Pops

One night in April 2014, apart from the Espasol, I also made Brownies...but from a mix. I don't know why, but while I followed the box instructions to the letter, the brownies didn't turn out as I expected...they were more 'cake' than brownies...more crumbly than fudgy. Fail! 

So I crumbled the cake, stuffed it into silicon molds and turned it into cake pops. Presenting...'Starbites.'

You could do the same for stale cake and similar cake fails. :) I think this is a good idea for kiddie parties or bring-to-school goodies to share. It's also a quick pop-in-the-mouth sweet tooth craving. :)

What's In It?  

Two pouches of Triple Chocolate Brownie Mix + water + vegetable oil + 2 eggs, mixed and baked according to package directions.

Multi-colored M&Ms or Nips

Kitchen Conjugations:

Crumbled the cake and pack them into silicon molds. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the cake pops to set.

Unmold and top with M&Ms.

I think this would also be a good base for a Rocky Road cake pop. :) For that you only need to put marshmallows and nuts and maybe drizzle with sugar glaze.


Jun 6, 2016

Bacon and Egg Breakfast Cups

My brothers and I attended a school that was a 30 to 45-minute drive away. But because we rode the school bus which had to pick up several other students, we had to be ready to go by 5:30 am. That meant our mom, who also had to go to work, had to be up as early as 4am to make breakfast, our baon and also to get ready for work. On many days we simply took our breakfast with us and ate on the ride to school.

I look back on those days as, coincidentally, the new schoolyear starts today for most students in the country. Portable breakfasts like this are important for schoolers and workers on the go. However, it's also a great brunch served with a salad, as a savory snack or as an appetizer.


What's In It?

6 Bread slices, ends removed
1/4 cup melted butter
6 bacon slices
6 eggs
Italian seasoning
1/8 cup cooking oil

*Other things you'd need:
6 large aluminum or glass muffin cups
Round cookie cutters
Oven/oven toaster

Kitchen Conjugations:

Preheat oven to 150-200C. Prep muffin cups, brushing the sides with cooking oil.

Dip the bread slices into the melted butter to soften them. Cut into circles so that they fit the bottom of the muffin cups. Line the muffin cups with the round bread slices.

Line the sides with bacon. Crack one egg into the space in the middle and sprinkle a little Italian seasoning.

Bake in the oven for about 5 minutes or until the eggs are cooked and set.

Bon Apetit! :)

Jun 2, 2016

Stir-fried Sirloin with Snowpeas

Because I've not been using my BPI Express Online account often enough, I've forgotten my password and had to reset it, and to activate the new password, I had to go to the nearest ATM and perform the activation.

Getting there I found that all the parking slots near the ATM were taken, and the only vacant slot was that reserved for Fresh Option customers. So it was two things -- either kapalan ko ang mukha ko and park even if I was actually going to the ATM, or buy something from the Fresh Options meatshop.

I suppose you know what happened. And that's where I got the sirloin for this recipe.


What's In It?

500 g sirloin, cut across the grain into 1.5" x 0.5" strips
3 T oyster sauce
3 T light soy sauce
2 T rice wine
5 T cornstarch
2 T brown sugar
1.5 t ground black pepper
1 t sesame oil
1 medium onion
half a head of garlic
3 T cooking oil (for sautéing)
1/2 cup water
200 g snow peas

Kitchen Conjugations:

Prepare marinade by mixing oyster sauce, soy sauce, rice wine, brown sugar, black pepper and sesame oil. Mix in sirloin strips and cornstarch, blend well.  Set aside and allow to marinate for at least 20 minutes.

Wash snowpeas and remove ends.  Set aside.

Peel and slice onions.  Peel and mash garlic.  Set aside.

Heat water in a wok or frying pan until it boils.  Drop and blanch the snow peas for half a minute.  Remove from pan and set aside. 

Drain water from the pan and add cooking oil. Over medium heat saute onion and garlic for about 2 minutes. Turn up heat then add in marinated sirloin, stir a little and cover to allow the beef to cook, for about 2 minutes.  Uncover and turn the beef slices to allow the other side to cook. Cover and leave to simmer for 2 minutes.

Stir then check seasonings.  Adjust if necessary. Add in snow peas, stir a little to allow some of the beef drippings to coat the pods for half a minute.  Remove from fire and serve hot. 

Best enjoyed with steamed rice. :)