Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Chicken ala King Cups

I've learned this recipe from my mom.  She used to cook this for us when we're tired of eating chicken adobo and fried chicken. I've updated her recipe a little bit. First, I'm going to share the recipe for the Chicken ala King, then how to make it into cups. It became a Chicken ala King Cups since puff pastry was not readily available before; and we just made use of slices of loaf bread and muffin tray. 

If you're avoiding rice and just limiting yourself to bread, this is the right viand for you. Kids will love this new way of serving food to them. You can even ask your kids to help you in preparing this one. It will be a lot of fun. 

Actually, my son, Joaqui, helped me in preparing the Chicken ala King Cups. He loved grating the cheese, brushing the bread with butter and sprinkling the cheese on top. 

Happy Cooking!

Chicken ala King


500 grams chicken breast fillet, cut into cubes
1 big carrot, cubed
2 medium size potatoes, cubed
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup frozen green peas
1 soup pack of Cream of Chicken dissolved in 1 1/2 cups of water or 1 can of Cream of Chicken soup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon canola/olive/vegetable oil 


  1. Heat a medium size skillet over medium fire. Once the pan is hot, put the butter and oil. 
  2. Saute the garlic and onion until translucent and fragrant. 
  3. Add in the chicken breast fillet. Season with salt and pepper. 
  4. Once the chicken has changed its color, put the carrots and potatoes in the pan. Saute it for a minute or two. 
  5. Pour the dissolved soup in the pan. Mix well. 
  6. Let it simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. 
  7. Add in the frozen green peas and mix well. Turn off the fire. 
  8. Set aside. 

Chicken ala King Cups


1/4 cup melted butter
12 slices of loaf bread
2 cups of cooked Chicken ala King
3/4 cup grated quickmelt cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (or you may use a toaster). Grease the muffin pan with melted butter (or you may use individual muffin cups if you don't have a muffin pan). 
  2. Gently put a bread slice in each muffin hole/cup, making it look like a small pot/flower. 
  3. Brush the bread with melted butter. 
  4. Scoop the Chicken ala King (use a medium size ice cream scooper or about 2 tablespoons) into the bread slices. 
  5. Brush the filling with melted butter. Top it with the grated cheese. 
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes. If you're using the toaster, bake for 5-7 minutes or until the cheese melts. 

Baking as a Therapy

It's not easy writing about this, opening up what my family and I went through two months ago. After suffering a miscarriage in my first trimester, deep sadness overwhelmed me. But life has to move on, for I have a six-year old boy and a husband who are counting on me. As I fight off depression, I turned to a lot of things (reading the bible & other comforting books, interacting with women who suffered miscarriages too, researching about my condition), another one is rediscovering my passion, my love for baking. Actually, I was testing myself if I still find joy in what I've been doing before. And I did!

For this, I decided to bake Sour Cream Breakfast Buns. I wanted to try something different from my new cookbook "The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook" by Allysa Torey and Jennifer Appel. 

Baking was my therapy. I've always tried to cook or bake whenever I was really stressed out.  Baking was a stress-reliever for me.  My mind and body were kept busy. I just had to concentrate on the tasks at hand. If my mind wandered off, I would have lost count of how many cups of flour I should put in the batter. If my hands were not steady, I would have added more sugar in the buns. For one whole hour, I did not think about what I've lost.  It kept me mind from negative thoughts. It was bliss. 

With less than a dozen of ingredients, I was able to create something wonderful for my son and relatives. The buns grew in size, the sugar & cinnamon caramelized on top and the pecans became more crisp. My house smelled wonderful. After the tinkering and spending so much energy in the kitchen, I would be happy with the result of my hard work - freshly baked and delicious buns! 

It was a great day! I had a lot of realizations after this "therapy session."

 After baking these delicious buns, I have rediscovered the simple joys of life, like enjoying the fruits of your labor (literally & figuratively),  and began to appreciate once again what our Creator has provided for us abundantly. Just like in cooking/baking, you just have to do with what you have and make the most out of it.


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sour cream

1 1/3 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
2 teaspoons cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease muffin pans. 
  3. To make the buns: In a medium-size bowl, sift together the flour, the baking powder, and the baking soda. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, on the low speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter with the sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Mix in the sour cream. Spoon the batter in the muffin cups.
  5. To make the topping: In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, the pecans, and the cinnamon. Sprinkle the topping evenly and generously over the buns.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes (for large muffins)/18 minutes (for regular size muffins) or until a cake tester inserted into center of bun comes out clean.

It makes 18 buns.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Baking with Kids

My son Joaqui, as early as three years old, started to help me in the kitchen. We would make no-bake desserts and bake cookies and cupcakes. He likes to measure, sift and mix dry ingredients.

Baking is our bonding activity at home. It is also a tool used in preschools (usually progressive schools), as part of experiential learning, to teach kids about math - addition, fraction and measurement. It allows children to develop their fine motor skills and imagination. It is a form of art. It is one way of expressing their creativity. You can decorate your cookies and cupcakes in whatever fashion you want. With their imagination, the design of baked goods can be endless. 

To tap their energy and creativity, I let my son, niece and nephews bake. It is one way to introduce to them how to prepare food, so they will value and appreciate the hard work and time spent by people for them to have food on their table. 

Baking is a fun and bonding activity for the whole family. Plus, you get to feed them in the end. :) 

In this session, we baked Oatmeal Muffins which is a healthier choice that you can serve for breakfast or snack. I'm sharing the recipe to everyone. 


2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups fresh milk
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Put cupcake liners in the 12-cup muffin pan.
  3. In a medium-size bowl, mix the oats and the milk. Set aside for 10 minutes. 
  4. In another bowl (large size), mix together the dry ingredients, making a well in the center. Stir in the liquid ingredients and the oatmeal mixture until just combined. Batter may be lumpy. 
  5. Fill the muffin cups about three-quarters full. Bake for 16-18 minutes until lightly golden. 

It makes 16 muffins. 

P.S. The baking session with kids made me think about offering baking lessons to a small group of kids or people who want to learn about baking right at their own homes. Another business opportunity!!! Happy baking!!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Penne Pasta with Special Meat Balls in Tomato Cream Sauce

Pasta is one of my favorite dishes. I'd love to prepare this for family weekends or when we have guests. It is quick and easy to prepare, but really yummy! I consider pasta as one of my comfort foods (I'm sure my girlfriends will agree to this). Kids will surely like this too. I've decided to raise the pasta dish up to notch by adding cream to the tomato sauce. This makes the sauce creamier and a little sweeter even without the sugar. The combination of meatballs, tomato cream sauce & cheese is a sure-fire hit. What makes this pasta special is the meatballs. 

The meatballs is actually a family recipe. I've slightly modified my mom's meatballs. My mom made the meatballs really moist and flavorful. Our meatballs is usually composed of ground round (beef) and ground pork. For a healthier version, you may use ground chicken or turkey. My mom adds 3 slices of bread, cubed and soaked in milk, to the mixture. My modification is that I use bread crumbs and milk altogether. Also, to add more oomph and surprise to the meatball, I put small cubes of cheddar (quickmelt) cheese. If you want to jazz it up some more, you may insert a cube of mozzarella cheese. So when you put the meatball in your mouth, it will really melt. 

500 grams Penne Pasta
1 can (400 grams) Crushed Tomato
1 250 gram Spaghetti Sauce (Cheese flavor)
1 cup heavy cream or all-purpose cream
1/4 cup olive oil 
3 cloves garlic, crushed & finely chopped 
1  large sized white onion, finely chopped 
1 teaspoon dried basil
salt & pepper to taste
1/8 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup grated quickmelt cheese/mozzarella

350 grams Ground Chicken (can be a combination of ground beef & ground pork)
1 large sized white onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed & finely chopped
1/3 cup cheese, cubed
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons fresh milk or evaporated milk
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg

  1. For the meatballs: in a bowl, combine the the ground chicken, white onion, garlic, bread crumbs, pepper and salt. Add the liquid ingredients - worcestershire sauce, milk  and egg. Mix with your hands or spoon. Then, put the cheese and mix slightly (making sure that the cheese will not be crumbled). Form into balls. In a frying pan with olive oil, fry untli the balls are golden brown. Set aside. 
  2. Cook the pasta according to the instructions in the package. 
  3. In a sauce pan with medium fire, saute garlic in olive oil. When the aroma of the garlic fills the room, saute the onions until translucent. Season the garlic and onions with pepper and salt. 
  4. Add in the crushed tomato and spaghetti sauce. Adjust the heat to low fire. Let it simmer for 10 minutes. 
  5. Season the pasta sauce with basil, pepper and salt. Mix in the heavy cream. Simmer for 5 minutes. 
  6. Add the cooked meatballs, mix. Set aside. 
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. 
  8. In a baking dish, spread a layer of the pasta sauce. Put the penne pasta, add the sauce and meatballs. Mix well. Top the pasta with few meatballs and sauce. Sprinkle the grated parmesan & cheddar cheese on top. Bake the pasta for 12 minutes until the cheese melts. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Mocha Reese's Frappe

I want to share one of my coffee concoctions. It is cheaper and convenient to brew your own coffee at home. There is no need to step out of your comfy home. Here is a drink that will perk you up and satisfy your sweet tooth. 


2 cups Freshly brewed strong coffee or 4 oz. Espresso, cooled slightly
3 scoops Vanilla Ice Cream
1/4 cup Fresh Milk
9 pieces Reese's mini cups (reserved 3 pieces for toppings)
1 cup crushed ice
3/4 cup chilled whipping cream (can use all-purpose cream)
1 Tablespoon Sugar (optional)


  1. Whip the cream until stiff. Set aside.
  2. In a blender, mix the coffee, milk, vanilla ice cream, crushed ice, 6 pieces of Reese's mini cups and sugar until you reached the desired consistency. 
  3. Pour the mixture into tall glasses. Top with whipped cream and bits of Reese's mini cups. 

This recipe has three servings. 

Marshmallow Bars

Another recipe that is easy to do. It uses three ingredients only. This can serves as baon or snack or dessert for kids & adults. It is a healthier alternative to processed chips. I prepare these bars whenever the craving for a crunchy but healthy snack hits me. Since I'm allergic to most of the chips (made of corn & wheat) available in the market, I usually rely on my cooking/baking to satiate my appetite. 


2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
3 Cups Marshmallows (preferably the white ones)
2 Cups Rice Crispies


  1. Line a 8 x 8 square pan with wax paper or grease the pan with butter. 
  2. In a thick-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter first using low heat. Then add the marshmallows.
  3. Stir continuously until the marshmallows are melted. 
  4. Pour this mixture into the bowl of rice crispies and mix well. 
  5. Spread the said mixture into the greased/lined square pan. 
  6. Let it cool for 4 hours before slicing the bars. 

To add more crunch and texture to the snack, you may add 1/4 cup of crushed peanuts or cashew to the mixture. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Vigan Longganisa Pasta

I got this idea (Vigan Longganisa Pasta) from eating at Aveneto. We ordered the Hungarian Sausage Pasta, considered to be one of their bestsellers. It had spaghettini in olive oil with slices of hungarian sausage, slivers of garlic, dried basil and parmesan cheese. Whenever I dine out, I always try to figure out what's in the food and how they cook it.  I thought that I could use any kind of sausage for this pasta dish. So to put a Filipino stamp on an Italian dish, I used Vigan Longganisa. I've always like this kind of sausage because it's garlicky and really flavorful. Luckily, I was able to buy an organic Vigan Longganisa, which is available in Centris Sunday Market. Here is my recipe:


400 grams Spaghettini or Angel Hair
250 grams Vigan Longganisa, remove the casing
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) plus more for drizzling
20 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
1/2 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
Salt & Pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese


  1. In a large pan, boil 5 liters of water and season it with salt (about a 1/2 tablespoon). Once it reaches boiling point, add a tablespoon of oil, then add the pasta. Cook the pasta according to package. For this spaghettini to be al dente, it took 8 minutes. Drain and rinse the pasta with cold water (to stop the cooking process) and drain again. Drizzle it with a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil so the pasta will not stick together. 
  2. In another pan, saute the garlic in Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Add the Vigan Longganisa to the pan. Cook the meat until it is brown. Season it with salt & pepper. 
  3. Over low heat, add the noodles, dried basil, salt & pepper to the pan. Stir well until noodles are well-coated with the 'sauce.' Remove from fire. 
  4. Top the pasta with parmesan cheese and parsley. 



You can use any kind of sausage for the pasta , like Hungarian Sausage, Italian Sausage or Lucban Longganisa.


I had a joint birthday celebrations with my high school buddies, Che and Blue, whose birthdays fall a few days after mine. To have more time to catch up with my old pals, we had a slumber party. 

Like I've said before, I think about a theme when I'm hosting a party or crafting a menu. My friend, Blue, asked me to cook for them the Bagoong Fried Rice with lots of green mangoes. Green Mangoes with Bagoong has always been a staple in my high school buddies get-together. So I thought that it would be a starting point for the other dishes in the menu. It would be perfect to have Thai cuisine on the table. 

Dinner Menu
Green Mangoes & Bagoong
Crispy Fish Flakes (Steamed Hito then flaked and fried)
Pad Thai (Rice Noodles with Tamarind Sauce, Shrimp, Bean Sprouts, Egg and Cilantro)
Mango Pandan (a refrigerated cake - layers of graham crackers, cream, condensed milk and mangoes topped with pandan gelatin)
Estrel's Caramel Cake as our birthday cake
Home-made Lemon Iced Tea

The food kept us through our endless chatter till the wee hours of the morning. As always with slumber party, there is very little sleep involved. After a few hours, the sun was up and I was happy to break fast with my dear friends. I had another surprise waiting for them. 

Breakfast Menu
Home-made Beef Tapa
Adobo Flakes
Sunny-side ups
Garlic Rice
Freshly Brewed Coffee

It was great to have my friends around and share meals with them. I had another memorable party with my dear old friends. Thank you for celebrating my birthday with me!

Monday, February 6, 2012


I figure out that reaching my 35th birthday is a milestone that has to be celebrated. Thus, I had series of birthday celebrations. I like hosting intimate get-together so I can really interact with guests and pay more attention to them. For my birthday, I hosted different intimate parties for different groups of people. 

A week before my birthday, I had simple comfort food for my pre-birthday celebration with my in-laws. I prepared Chicken Pastel and Sauteed Snap Peas with Bacon and Leche Flan for dessert. My in-laws gave me a Red Ribbon Mango Cake as my birthday cake. 

On my natal day, I decided to have a Greek-themed lunch. Why Greek? I wanted something different. I haven't done it before and was curious how will it turn out to be. I'm a great fan of Cyma, so why not do something challenging for an extra special day, recreating the dishes that I love in Cyma. Whooopahhhh! Thanks to Food Magazine (October 2011) for providing the Greek recipes. My Greek-inspired fete had the following:

  • Pita Bread with Tzatziki - a dip made of cucumber, yogurt and dill. 
  • Roka Salata or Greek Rocket Salad - composed of arugula and romaine leaves with candied walnuts and slivered sun-dried tomatoes drizzled with honey balsamic vinaigrette.
  • Penne Rigatoni with Meatball Sauce (for the kids)
  • Chicken Kebab with Garlic Sauce - chicken cubes marinated with herbs, spices and garlic sauce.
  • Four-cheese pizza (for kids & adults too) - home-made thin-crust topped with special pizza sauce,  parmesan, cheddar, mozzarella and swiss edam. 
  • Margherita Pizza - home-made thin-crust topped with special pizza sauce, cherry tomatoes and basil leaves. 
  • Moussaka - layers of eggplant, meat sauce and Greek Bechamel sauce. 
  • Baklava - layers of phyllo pastry, assorted ground nuts (walnuts, cashew & pistachio), cinnamon, sugar and melted butter. 
  • Lemon Cheesecake - cookie crust, cream cheese and cream topped with lemon glaze. This served as my birthday cake. 
  • Home-made Lime Iced Tea - brewed black tea with brown sugar syrup and lime juice. 

I did not want to sweat it out on my birthday, so I did most or almost all of the prep work a day before my lunch party. I'm happy with the result. The Greek menu was a hit with my family and friends. 

I had fun cooking and baking the food. Again, it was indeed a labor of love. I did it because I want to nurture my loved ones, and I have so much to be thankful for the past year.

At 35, I will try a new dish every week even if it's complicated. I will prepare more healthy and yummy food. Not just in cooking, I will conquer the fear of the unknown/unfamiliar territory. I will always try and give it my best shot. 


Watch out for the Part 2 of the CELEBRATIONS

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bacon & Egg Fried Rice

I have just recently cooked this one, and it is a certified hit with my family. You can have this anytime of the day - breakfast, lunch or dinner. I've learned that with fried rice, you can mix it up with anything, veggies or leftovers. Fried rice has endless combinations. You  can make Adobo Rice with a leftover Adobo; or add flaked tinapa , scrambled egg and spring onions to make Tinapa Rice; or fried rice with flaked leftover chicken and dried fish, so you can have Salted Fish and Chicken Rice. The limit is your imagination. 

To add twist to our breakfast favorites - bacon and egg, I've decided to add rice to make it a one pot meal. Here is my recipe:


4 cups of cooked rice (preferably 1 day old cooked rice, the ones that you keep in the fridge, to make it a fluffy fried rice), I used red rice 
1 tablespooon vegetable or canola oil
6 bacon pieces, thinly sliced
1 small red bell pepper
1 small broccoli, cut into 2 cms lengths
2 green onions, thinly sliced diagonally
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
1/4 cup light soy sauce
4 eggs


  1. Heat a wok or large frying pan over moderately high heat. Add oil, swirl to coat the surface. Add bacon; stir-fry for 4 minutes or until brown and crisp. Remove from wok. Add bell pepper and broccoli to the wok; stir-fry for 3 minutes. Add onion; stir-fry for 1 minute ore. Add peas, rice and bacon to wok, then drizzle with soy sauce. Toss for 2-3 minutes or until combined and heated. 
  2. Place remaining oil in a large frying pan over moderately high heat. Break eggs into the pan; cook for 2 minutes or until cooked to your liking. Spoon rice into shallow bowls. Top with fried egg. Serve with sprinkled extra onion. 


Thursday, January 19, 2012

This is what I call a feast....

Numerous parties and reunions are held to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and the fresh start of a new year. Aside from the stories exchanged, fellowship and camaraderie gained in these gatherings, the food served and shared made it more memorable. It is during this time that we make extra effort in preparing the food for our family and friends. Allow me to share with you my experience during the holidays. 

The Christmas season made me miss my Mom even more. So, to honor and remember our Mom, my sisters and I made  a Christmas Menu reminiscent of our childhood. We recreated the dishes that Mama used to make for Christmas Day Family Reunion. Our relatives would usually looked for my Mom's trademark dishes.

For our family reunion, we decided to add a little twist to our Mom's classic Christmas Menu. I prepared a Steamed Fish with Mayonnaise, Roast Hainanese Chicken, and Beef Caldereta. My sister, Ate Beng, brought Amber's trio of pansit, Pansit Malabon and pichi-pichi. While my sister, Ate Wendy, made a sumptuous dessert - Heavenly Mango Dulce de Leche Layers (like a Mango Trifle). I baked Leche Flan (Mama's favorite), White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies and Chocolate Chip Espresso Cookies as addition to our dessert buffet. If these were not enough, our Uncle Roger had his Korean Beef Stew, my cousins Chariz, Erika and Innah and niece Sarah added  pasta dishes to the buffet table. Lastly, what we're all waiting for, my Auntie Ruby brought a big Lechon. To cap our lovely meal, brewed coffee was served.

Food is meant to be shared. It is more enjoyable when you share it with your family and friends. Wonderful memories are created in this partaking. I know this for a fact, since my Mom made great and happy memories for us.

Mom, you would have been proud of us, able to pull off your legacy of putting good food on the table on this special occasion. I'm sure my Mom had a great Christmas party in heaven =)


Sorry, it took me awhile to post this piece. But, it's better late than never and I still have the holiday hangover.