Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Mac n Cheese for ONE

Most of the time, I cook for two.  But cooking for one is doable too.  Most people are too lazy to cook for one, not I.

I am modifying my Macaroni and Cheese recipe so that you can make just one portion.  I'm not an environmentalist but if you see the way I live, you would think that I was.  Don't like to waste foil, saran wrap for leftovers.  That's why I usually cook JUST ENOUGH.

This is easy and fast.  

Mac n Cheese for ONE
Prep Time: 0 min     Cook Time: 15 min
1/2 + cup of macaroni (or other pasta)
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp flour
1/2 cup shredded cheese
a dash of garlic salt (to taste)

Fill a small pot with water and boil on stovetop.  When the water boils, throw in the pasta (this can take 7-12 min according to the kind of pasta you use).  Strain when done.

While pasta is cooking, whisk milk and flour until there are no lumps.  Use the same pot (after you cook pasta) to pour the milk+flour mixture.  On medium heat, stir the mixture until it thickens, about 1-2 minutes.  Mix in cheese and garlic salt.  When cheese melts, mix in the pasta.  Done!

Spinach Mac n Cheese - Add frozen spinach after the sauce thickens (before adding cheese)
Bacon Mac n Cheese - Add bacon after the sauce thickens (before adding cheese)
The possibilities are endless...

I use a little more than 1/2 cup pasta.  You could put in 2/3 cup pasta also.

If you are a big eater, you might want to just make half of the regular recipe instead.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Healthy Chicken Salad Sandwich

Today's dinner was a Chicken Salad Sandwich accompanied with a green salad.

Looks ordinary at first.  But my husband took one bite of the Chicken Salad Sandwich and exclaimed, "WOW!  What did you put in this?  It's really good!!"

I just smiled.  He started by saying that it didn't taste like a lot of mayo..  I had him guess the secret ingredient.  Told him that something was mashed in.

Secret Ingredient??


Chicken salad sandwich usually comprises of chicken, mayo, and some crunch factor. Replacing mayo for avocado adds healthy fats.

Healthy Chicken Salad Sandwich
Prep Time: 10 minutes
12.5 oz of chicken white meat (You can buy it in a can at most grocery stores)
1 avocado (I recommend one large avocado or two small ones)
some chopped celery
some mayo (optional: only if your avocado isn't large enough)
2 slices of bread (I use Safeway Brand 15 grain bread)
sea salt and pepper to taste
paprika to taste (optional)

In a medium sized bowl, mix chicken, avocado, diced celery.  If your avocado is not big enough (like mine, I only had a small avocado on hand), add a tablespoon or two of mayo depending on the consistency.  Add sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

Put one slice of bread on the plate.  Spread a generous amount of chicken salad.  Place the other slice of bread on top.

Easy, tasty dinner (or lunch) !!  Serve with a salad.


I made this a second time but used a large avocado instead.  Did not need any mayo then.
So either use one large avocado or two small ones.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Mini Apricot Pie (Filling)

Mini Pies!  Filling is easy to make.  I usually buy premade crust.  So all you have to do is fill them and bake.  You can use any fruit actually.  Add the desired amount of sugar and cornstarch.  Read from bakers about the correct amount but it ends up being to your liking.  Some like them sweeter, some don't.  Some like more liquid (or thicker liquid), others want more fruit.

Filling for Apricot Pie
Prep Time: 10 min      Bake Time: 30 min
Serving Size: 6 mini pies
1 lb apricot (fresh apricots sliced)
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
a dash of salt (little less than 1/8 tsp)

Mix the apricot, sugar, cornstarch, and a dash of salt.  Fill your mini pies evenly.

Bake at 375F for 30 minutes.

*Note: Apricot pie is a bit tart.  If you want, you could add more than 1/4 cup of sugar.
*Note: I did much reading to see how to make a pie less messy, not too watery.  Read debates about using cornstarch vs flour vs minute tapioca.  Finally decided to use cornstarch (I don't like cornstarch but flour makes the final product grainy white).


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Easy (Easiest) Turkey Spaghetti Meatballs

My husband LOVES LOVES LOVES spaghetti and meatballs.  I usually use ground beef but thought that I should switch it up this time.

Didn't have all the ingredients in my other recipe on hand.  Decided to look for another recipe that fit my ingredients. It's really only mixing turkey, egg, and breadcrumbs; then spicing it up!!

Easy Turkey Meatballs
Prep Time: 15 min     Bake Time: 25 min
1 lb ground turkey
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup breadcrumbs (I used Panko crumbs)
1 1/2 tsp italian seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

Preheat oven to 400F.

In a medium sized bowl, mix all the ingredients. In a 9x13 pan (or what I do is get 8x8 pan and a loaf pan instead), line them with aluminum foil for easy clean up. Use butter, oil, or nonstick spray on the foil. Either use your hands to form meatballs about 1.5 inches in diameter or an ice cream scoop to make them more uniform.

Bake for 25 minutes.

In a pot, prepare spaghetti. In a pan, heat up spaghetti sauce.

Grab a plate, place spaghetti with meatballs on top. Add as much sauce as you wish. 


For the meatball leftovers, I made a meatball sub.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Party: Minnie Mouse Oreos (or Mickey Mouse)

I was helping my friend with making Minnie Mouse oreo cookies for her daughter's birthday. They were super cute. Need to share with the world.

There are many more examples all over the internet with dipping the oreo, putting more embellishments, etc. You can put them on a stick and do a flower pot of mouse ears. We did simple ones.

Minnie (or Mickey) Mouse Oreo Cookies
Prep Time: Depends on how many you are making
Oreo Cookies
Mini Oreos (for the mouse ears)
frosting (any kind since it's just a little for 'glue')

You open the oreo. Remove some frosting so that the ears fit on both sides. After placing the ears in, sandwich back the oreo. That's it.

For embellishment, we used Wilton's Big Hearts to create a bow. Stick the hearts on with the frosting using the toothpick. Done!

Here's another fun way to decorate. I made pink chocolate bows with Wilton Candy Melt in the light pink color. Stuck these with frosting too.

You can also have Mickey and Minnie.

Be creative!! 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Langostino Tails Sandwich (Lobster Roll)

I love buying Langostino Tails from Trader Joe's. All you have to do is defrost them.

This time, I decided to eat them in a sandwich.

Langostino Tails Roll
Prep Time: 5 min      Cook Time: 6 min (if you toast the rolls, otherwise it's 0 min)

1 12 oz bag of langostino lobster tails (or about 1 lb lobster or crabmeat)
1/2 cup greek yogurt
3 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 stalk celery, chopped into small pieces
sea salt, to taste
fresh ground pepper, to taste

Chop a stalk of celery into small pieces.

In a bowl, mix greek yogurt, mayo, celery pieces, langostino tails. Add sea salt and fresh ground pepper (or regular pepper) to taste. Filling is done! (Chill in refrigerator, if desired.)

I bought french rolls for my sandwiches. Open the roll. drizzle olive oil or butter on the inside. Heat the bun with inside side down for about three minute each side.

Take the bun off the pan.

Scoop the filling generously inside the bun.

One bag of langostino tails makes roughly 3 sandwiches.

Here's an open-faced sandwich:

So simple and delicious!!  Enjoy!!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Paleo Fried Chicken (Almond Meal/Flour)

Believe it or not, this was my first time making fried chicken. It's probably because I'm into healthier cooking. Frying just wasn't my thing. But I have become a fan of Paleo Fried Chicken after consuming the deliciousness of my creation.

All the recipes pretty much look the same. You can use butter or oil to fry the chicken.

Paleo Fried Chicken (Note: I cook for two adults. You can alter accordingly)
Prep Time: 15 min     Cook time: 15 min
3/4 cup almond meal/flour
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
a dash of cayenne (optional)

1 egg

2 chicken thighs
6 tbsp unsalted butter

Whisk an egg in a bowl.

On a big plate, add almond flour and all the spices. 

Mix well.

Dip the chicken thigh, one at a time, in the bowl with the egg. Make sure it isn't dripping anymore. Then place the chicken thigh on the plate with the almond flour mixture. Bread both sides of the chicken thigh evenly. Do the same thing to the other one.

I put it in the refrigerator to set better.

In a big pan, melt the butter on medium heat. Carefully place the chicken thighs as flat as possible into the pan. Let it cook until the breading is crispy. For me, this took about 8 minutes. Flip them to crisp the other side. Finish cooking for about 7 minutes.

I paired my fried chicken with asparagus. Think I'll be making fried chicken more often...


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Easy Coconut Curry (Basic)

After sifting and sifting through recipe after recipe, I decided that Tina's blog, Oh Snap! Let's eat!, was that one I was going to try. This is the first, of many, curry from scratch recipes that will cook in my kitchen.

I didn't want to buy sauce packets like everyone else. So I'm experimenting. Didn't know it was that easy. Well, I still need practice to get the heat and spices correct or change my curry powder, but it was delicious.

Easy Coconut Chicken Curry (For vegetarians, substitute chicken for veggies)
Prep Time: 20 min      Cook Time: 45 minutes
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp curry powder (This time, I used Trader Joe's Curry Powder)
1 can coconut milk
1 tsp salt

1 tbsp oil
1 onion, sliced
1 tbsp crushed garlic (Or use 4-5 cloves)
2 lb chicken (I used chopped chicken thighs)
3 medium potatoes, cubed
1 tbsp brown sugar (optional)
1 tsp cayenne

In a big pot or pan with medium heat, melt butter. Swirl in curry powder. Pour the coconut milk in and stir some more. Add the salt.

In another pan, heat oil on medium heat. Cook onion slices until softened for about three minutes. Add garlic to cook with the onions. Then add the chicken to cook with the onions and garlic for about 5 minutes. Then add the potatoes to pan. Cook for another 10 minutes.

Now pour the chicken and onions into the other big pot of sauce. Simmer on low heat for half an hour. At the end, stir in some brown sugar and cayenne to your liking. That's it!!! Serve it with your favorite kind of rice (I use brown rice).

I had to add more cayenne since the Trader Joe's curry powder had no kick to it. After the cayenne, it started tasting more like curry to me. I will try many many variations of this basic curry to get the spices down.

Next time, I plan to make my own curry powder. Stay tuned!!


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Espresso Bourbon Chocolate Brownies with Pecans

Sweet Cravings!!!

It's time to try a new recipe just in time for Valentine's Day!!  


Last night, I was looking at many brownie photos. But I didn't decided to bake until I saw this one from Lemon&Anchovies.

Coffee with Whiskey and Chocolate and Pecans?? HUBBY'S HEAVEN!!!

Espresso Bourbon Chocolate Brownies with Pecans
Prep Time:  15 min      Bake Time: 30 minutes
1/2 cup (or 3 oz) chocolate chunks (This will be melted with the butter)
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup bourbon (any Whiskey)
2 tbsp instant coffee
1/2 cup pecans
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a double boiler (Create yours by getting a pot with water with a bowl on top.  Make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl.), melt butter and chocolate.  Remove from heat to transfer to a mixing bowl.

(In a small bowl, stir the whiskey with the instant coffee.)

Add the sugar into the mix.  Beat eggs one at a time.  Add vanilla.
Now pour the whiskey-coffee mixture.

In a separate bowl, mix flour and baking soda.

Pour the flour mixture into the same bowl as the wet ingredients.  Once everything is incorporated, stir in pecans and chocolate chips.

Use cooking spray or foil in your 8x8 pan.  Pour the batter in.  Bake for 30 minutes.

My hubby LOVED it.  First you taste chocolate with the aroma of coffee. Then you are hit with the alcohol.

WOW.  This one's a keeper -- like my hubby!!!

Happy Valentine's Week!!  

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Curried Crab Endive Boats

Many years ago, I was at an event with Gelson's (Grocery Store) catering. It was the first time I had ever consumed endive spear appetizers. They had put beef inside the spear. After that bite, I had to search for them for seconds and thirds. I've had these in the back of my mind. This recipe is with crabmeat, not beef.

With endive leaves, you can be creative with however you wish to float your boat. *pun intended*


Curried Crab Endive Appetizer
Prep Time: 10 minutes
2 heads endive
6 oz crabmeat (canned)
2 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tsp curry powder
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp scallions, chopped
3 tbsp red bell peppers, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Wash and separate the endive heads into individual leaves

Mix all the other ingredients in a bowls. Scoop a generous about into each endive leaf.

You can add whatever you want in your endive boats. I actually used the leftover endive to make a small pear endive salad for the next day. Just cut endives crosswise. then top with small pieces of pear. Drizzle with dressing of your choice (I used sesame viniagrette).

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

BEST RIBS EVER (Made AT HOME!!!) - Dry Rub Included

Make it at home today.

Up to this day, I never attempted to make baby back ribs.  Searched high and low for a dry rub. When I asked friends which dry rub they used, the response was the grocery store bought ones. After poking around recipe land, I found just what I was looking for...

This dry rub utilizes spices that many home cooks have on hand. That's why I love it.

Dry Rub for Meat
Prep Time: 5 minutes 

3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp ground black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp red pepper (cayenne) - you may omit this if you don't want it to be spicy

Stir together and you've created a mix that will make your meats even more delicious!

I ended up making another batch so that I could have a small jar for whenever I need it.



I'm not exaggerating/kidding when I say that I HAD THE BEST RIBS EVER AT HOME!!!  Yes, Yes, IT'S TRUE.

I cook dinner for two. You can increase the pounds of ribs to your liking.

Best Ribs Ever (at Home)
Prep Time: 5 min      Bake Time: 3 hr
Marinate: 3 hr (Dry Rub in Refrigerator)
1 lb pork ribs
dry rub (see above)
1/4 - 1/2 cup BBQ sauce (I put a splash of whiskey in the bbq sauce...heheh)

Put dry rub all over the pork ribs one side at a time. Cover with plastic wrap and place it back into the refrigerator. The flavors will seep in more the longer you wait. This can be done overnight (but mine turned out fine after three hours).

Preheat oven to 300F. Place the ribs in a pan with the meat side down. Cover with foil. Bake in the oven for 2.5 hours.

Carefully take out the hot pan and uncover. Slather on the BBQ sauce generously on both sides of the ribs. Now bake with the meat side up. Cover with the foil again.

Bake for another half hour with the BBQ sauce.

Remove from the oven. Smell the aroma of meat and BBQ sauce. Then prepare yourself for RIB HEAVEN!!! WOW... Moist and juicy...finger licking good. I really should have taken a photo after I cut into the ribs so that you could witness the juiciness but I couldn't wait to taste heaven!!! I am writing about it, I wish I had more ribs next to me to consume. Mmm... Mmm...


Since making this, I have used the dry rub on chicken and steak.
It's delicious on everything!! I'll have to use the dry rub on pork next time.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Oatmeal _____ Chip Bars

I don't make cookies often. I prefer to make bars. The difference??

It's less work!!

The batter is the same but I don't have to roll the dough into balls or use a scoop for cookies. Don't have to worry about the spacing of the cookies in the oven while baking since it spreads. Just pour the entire batter into a pan. Then it's ready to bake.

This is my favorite oatmeal bar recipe. Baked it with cinnamon chips and another batch with chocolate chips.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars
Prep Time: 10 min        Bake Time: 25-30 min

1 cup butter (or 2 sticks)
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cups oatmeal
1 2/3 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts, optional
(3/4 cup raisins, optional)

With a mixer, cream butter and sugars. Then beat in the eggs (one at a time) and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, add flour and baking soda. Stir with a spoon until the baking soda is incorporated into the flour.

Add half the dry ingredients (flour mixture) to the first bowl. Beat with mixer. Dump the other half in using mixer.

Now that the mixer part is done, add oatmeal, chocolate chips (or any flavored chips you desire), and walnuts. Stir with a spoon, fork, etc.

Pour the entire mixture into a 9x13 pan. Smooth out the chunky mixture with a spoon. Bake for 25-30 min. I usually check it at 28 min.

Let the oatmeal bars completely cool; Cut into squares/rectangles. But I put some on top of ice cream for hubby while it was warm.

With cinnamon chips...

With chocolate chips...