All Saints’ Day Chicken Sandwich

I don’t know when the tradition of bringing chicken sandwich on All Saints’ Day started in our family.  One thing I’m sure though, my Aunt has been doing that for as long as I could remember.  Their mausoleum’s is not far from ours, and she’d always hand a loaf of chicken sandwich over every single year.  So, even if I can make our own sandwich now, still I’m hands down to my Ninang Ate’s chicken sandwich.  Hers is still the best, mine will probably come in second, lol!

(’Ninang’ means Godmother and ‘Ate’ means big sister.  She’s the sister in law of my mom and the Godmother of my brother.  We grew up calling her that thinking ‘Ate’ was her name, and we feel like she’s everybody’s Godmother, so ‘Ninang Ate.’

Now that she’s a Grandmother or ‘Lola’, my nephews and nieces would call her ‘Lola Ninang Ate’.)

For this recipe, you’ll need:

Your favorite loaf bread

1 chicken breast, about half a kilo, boiled and shredded

½ kilo Mayonnaise

2 tbsp. minced pickles

1 tbsp. minced onion

Salt and pepper

‘Dish’ is how I do it:

I simply mix all the ingredients together!

It’ll be ideal to let it sit for about 30 minutes to let all the flavors blend in together.  But of course, you can make your sandwich right away if you want to.

Tips:

For the chicken, I prefer just dicing the meat.

I’d rather squeeze the juice out of the pickles, I find it too sour, and also I think it makes your chicken spread watery.

Others are not a big fan of onion, so you can omit that.

You can season it according to your taste, I like mine with lots of pepper!  If you think your spread turns out too sour, you can add a pinch of sugar.

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Baked Macaroni

For this year’s All Saints’ Day, I decided to make baked macaroni and chicken sandwich.

Part of Filipino tradition is to visit departed loved ones at the cemetery on the 1st day of November (although November 2 is the actual All Souls’ Day, more people are visiting on the first day).  All Saints day or “Undas” is an official Holiday here.  Pre-All Saints’ Day preparation includes buying candles and flowers for offerings.  On the day itself, you light up those candles, offer a little prayer and stay put to watch over it.  Yes, some will even stay almost the whole day.  That’s why, you’d often see people setting up tents (if they don’t have mausoleums) and bringing food with them.

This year, we opted to have orchids for flowers.  We also bought some red roses.  I baked some macaroni and prepared chicken sandwich for snack.  We also have some chips and drinks.  We spend half of our day in the cemetery.  The kids, as always, enjoy collecting candle drippings.  Most kids would sell it for 10 pesos a kilo, I think.  My nephew and nieces on the other hand just want to play with the candles.  It’s sort of a rite of passage for young kids, lol, you have to experience collecting candle drippings as a child!  Of course they knew they get to do that only on All Saints ’ Day.

For this recipe, you’ll need:

800 grams of macaroni noodles

1 cup of coarsely grated cheese

For the meat sauce:

Cooking oil for sautéing

Onion and garlic, diced

1 kilo of ground pork (or beef)

1 pack of bacon (usually about half a pound), cut across into small pieces

2 cans of button mushroom, diced or sliced thinly

1 kilo tomato sauce

Salt and pepper

For the white sauce (béchamel sauce):

½ cup butter

½ cup flour

2 cans of evaporated milk

2 cans of all purpose cream

Salt and pepper

‘Dish’ is how I do it:

Cook the macaroni noodles according to package instruction. While it is simmering away, you can prepare the meat and the white sauce.

Meat sauce.

In a large skillet or pot, I sauté onion and garlic in oil, then add the ground meat and let it simmer until it sweats all the fats.  You may scoop some of the fats if you want.  I prefer to just leave it on, for flavor.  I then add the bacon and let it simmer for about 3 more minutes.  Add the mushroom as soon as the bacon cooks, stir and let it simmer for another 3 minutes.  Add the tomato sauce, salt and pepper.  (Take it easy on the salt, bacon is salty already).  Let it gently boils, occasionally stirring, for 5-10 minutes.  Set aside.

White sauce.

I melt the butter in a large skillet.  Then I slowly add the flour while briskly stirring.  You have to keep on stirring to keep it from burning and to make sure there are no lumps in there.  I’d say for about 3-4 minutes.  Then slowly add the milk and all purpose cream, while stirring continuously. Season with salt and pepper, I prefer mine with lots of pepper.

To assemble.

I combine the meat sauce with half of the white sauce with the macaroni noodles.  I mix it well.  I then lay it out in separate microwavable pans (about an inch to one inch and a half) and then top it with the remaining white sauce and grated cheese.

I bake it for about 30 minutes in an oven toaster at 250 degrees.  Or until the cheese on top browns equally, it’s really up to you how brown you’d want it to be.

Let it rest for about 10 minutes and then it’s ready to serve. Chow!

Chop Suey (Sautéed Vegetables with Quail Eggs)

Kids in general in our family, isn’t really up to vegetables.  You can trick them to eating some carrots or kangkong or broccoli once in a while.  But that’s pretty much it.  But with chop suey, you can entice them with those little quail eggs and young corn to at least eat one serving…or that is until their curiosity runs out.

For this dish, you’ll need:

1 medium size cabbage, shredded, approximately ¼ kilo

1 big carrot cut it in half vertically then sliced it thinly diagonally

1 big red bell pepper, cut into strips

1 big sayote/chayote (vegetable pear), cut in to strips or similar to your carrots

1 pack of young corn, slice diagonally

Onion

Garlic

¼ kilo chicken liver, cut into strips

¼ kilo chicken breast, boiled and then shredded

25 pcs. quail eggs, boil it and then remove the shell

3 tbsp cornstarch, dissolve in about ¼ cup of water

Cooking oil

Salt

Pepper

‘Dish’ is how I do it:

I sauté onion and garlic in oil.  I prefer putting the onion first contrary to what I’ve been thought which is to put the garlic first.  I can still hear my Grandmother saying, ‘bawang at sibuyas’ (garlic and onion).  Back then, they don’t like the onion wilted, they say it tastes like medicine or something like that.  Now a day, you really mean to cook the onion through.  You want it wilted and caramelized to bring out more of the flavor and that certain sweetness in it.  Basically, garlic burns faster and onion needs more time to cook.  So it only follows that you put in the onion first before the garlic.  (Oh well, I still owe my cooking skills to my Granny, so no biggie really, just some pointers I learned on my own.)

After onion and garlic started to smell with its aroma, I add the chicken liver and let it cook for 3 minutes.  I then add the chicken meat and the carrots, give it a few stir.  Then add the young corn, red bell pepper and sayote/chayote.  Give it a good 30 seconds and then add the shredded cabbage on top.  Cover it for 40 seconds or so.  Then add salt and pepper to taste.  Add the dissolve cornstarch in water.  Give it a good stir and then take it off from the stove.  You can add the quail eggs on top, or you can just put it when you’re about to serve it.

To check if the veggies are cooked already, take note of the color.  When it is already at its brightest, then it’s the perfect time to take it off from the stove.  Remember to take it off from the stove, because the residual heat from the burner will cook your vegetables further.  The same thing will happen if you leave the lid on, so remember to take it off as well, or at least slide it to the sides a bit to make sure the heat doesn’t get trapped inside.

Pancit Guisado (Sautéed Noodles)

Sunday is family day!  Everybody gets to eat lunch together, and by everybody I meant even my sibling’s respective families.  Sometimes even my cousin’s family when they don’t have anything set for that specific Sunday.  Oftentimes I also cook something for merienda (snack).  Pancit guisado is one of our favorites, especially when there’s an occasion to celebrate.  (We also have a habit of moving birthday celebrations to Sundays).

For this recipe, you’ll need:

½ kilo pancit bihon

1 medium size carrot, cut into strips, probably would yield a cup

1 medium size red bell pepper, cut into strips also

1 big sayote/chayote (vegetable pear), also cut into strips

1 medium size cabbage, shredded, approximately ¼ kilo

½ kilo chicken breast, boiled and then shredded

¼ kilo chicken liver, cut into strips (optional)

Onion

Garlic

Cooking oil

¼ cup soy sauce

Salt

Pepper

‘Dish’ is how I do it:

I sauté onion and garlic in oil.  I add the chicken liver and let it cook for 3-4 minutes.  Add the chicken meat, carrots, sayote/chayote and red bell pepper.  Give it a good stir.  After 30 seconds or so, add the shredded cabbage.  Let it cook further for 40 seconds or so.  Add salt and pepper to taste, give it a good stir and then take it off from the stove.  Again, to check if the veggies are cooked already, watch out when its color is the brightest.

Meanwhile, let the chicken stock boil, for half a kilo of noodles you’ll need approximately 5-6 cups (add additional water if there’s not enough chicken stock).  Add soy sauce and a little cooking oil (to prevent the noodles from sticking together). I love pepper, so I add more pepper to it.  Add the noodles (bihon) and let it cook according to package instructions.  If the stock dries out and the noodles aren’t cooked yet, you can add hot water and continue cooking.

When noodles are cooked, you can add about 2/3 of the vegetables and mix it together.  When it’s time to serve it, you can add additional veggies on top and a calamansi or lemon wedge on the side.

I prefer mine with lots of veggies (same with my macaroni soup).  Some prefer it with more of the meat stuff, so you can add chicken along with shrimp or even pork.  When cooking for special occasion, I also add mushroom, chorizo di bilbao, fish balls, and kikiam.

Roasted Pork and Sautéed Cauliflower and Carrots

Roasted pork will definitely classify as an easy dish, perfect for the novice.  No expertise needed, really.  As long as you have an oven or an oven toaster, then you’re all good.

This recipe is so simple yet I can vouch that it’s really that good!  I like making this dish especially when I don’t have much time to spare in the kitchen.  (Or whenever I’m not in the mood to really cook, lol!)  Like tonight, I’m all tied up to the computer so I simply pop it in the oven.  Then 30 minutes before dinner time I simply sautéed the vegetables to go with it.  So who says you can’t have a decent dinner when you’re busy?

For this recipe, you’ll need:

1 kilo Strips of pork belly

¼ cup of soy sauce

¼ cup of vinegar

1 tsp. minced garlic

Salt

Pepper

‘Dish’ is how I do it:

I simply marinade the pork with the rest of the ingredients.  You may want to take it easy on the salt because soy sauce is already salty.  I prefer mine with lots of pepper though.  Overtime, you’ll figure out for yourself how much exactly of the ingredients you’d like to go with your pork.  If for example, you find it too salty, then the next time, you can reduce the soy sauce or omit the salt altogether.

After an hour or so, simply line the pork belly in a pan and pop it in the preheated oven.  I use an oven toaster, so 230 degrees is the hottest it could get.  I leave it for 30 minutes or so, and then I flip it over and let cook for another 30 minutes.

After that, let it rest.  For the mean time, you can simply sauté broccoli flowerets with carrot strips in butter and garlic.

Perfect when serve with rice and chili-soy-calamansi dip!

Tartar Sauce

Great with fried or grilled fish and other seafood, but really it’s great on anything fried.  I’ve tried it with lumpiang shanghai, fish rolls, grilled shrimps, deep fried mushroom, and so much more.  It is so easy to make you can have your Tartar sauce in minutes.  It’ll be great if you can let it sit for hours but nonetheless you can also serve it right away.


For this recipe you’ll need:

1 cup of mayonnaise

2 tbsp. minced pickles

2 tbsp. lemon juice

Salt and pepper


‘Dish’ is how I do it:

I simply combine all the ingredients and give it a good mix!  It will be great if you can refrigerate it for an hour or so but you can also serve it right away.  No worries, it tastes great just the same.

Champorado (Chocolate Rice Porridge)

This is perfect for breakfast or snack especially on a rainy day.  My nephews love it in the morning.  Champorado is so easy to make.  It is great to have on a really busy morning.

Traditionally, Filipinos also love having fried dried fish (tuyo) to go with it (well, actually, I personally don’t, lol! Plain champorado is just fine with me).  The saltiness sort of breaks the creaminess or sweetness of the Champorado.

For this recipe, you’ll need:

1 cup rice (or sticky rice, if you have some, it’s richer in texture)

1 can evaporated milk

Sugar

Chocolate powder

‘Dish’ is how I do it:

I simply boil the rice in a pot with 4 cups of water (or more) until all grains are really cooked (really white in color and looks like popped rice).  I then add the chocolate powder and sugar (depends on how sweet you’d like it to be) and then let it simmer for 15 minutes more.  Then I serve it in a bowl with a swirl of evaporated milk on top.

Tips:

Whatever chocolate flavoring you have in the kitchen will do.  You can use the regular powdered chocolate, or cocoa for a more rustic taste.  I once tried chocolate syrup, too!

You can also add the evaporated milk in the pot with the rest of the mixture.  The milk swirl on top is more like for a pretty presentation, 🙂

You can adjust the consistency according to your preferences; you can add more water for a more soupy texture.

No strict rules whatsoever add more chocolate or milk according to your taste.

I actually make Champorado using instant oatmeal.  I simply put it my mug and add chocolate mix and milk.

Buco Pandan

Whenever we’re in the mood for something sweet, we instantly think of Buco Pandan.  Basically I think because we have easy access to buco meat ;).  Today, you can now purchase readily shredded buco meat for P120-P140 a kilo.  Sometimes you can even ask for free buco juice!  What’s so nice about the buco meat we’re using is that it’s really soft (young coconut) and guaranteed fresh of course.

I’m not sure if shredded buco is being exported now.  I do know they have the canned ones, with a whole buco meat inside with some juice.  It’s definitely not young coconut, it’s almost like a ‘niyog’ (really mature coconut, the ones you grate to juice for coconut milk).

You can actually use the preserve coconut meat known as “Macapuno”.  It’s basically coconut, too, although another type of coconut I think.  It comes in bottles with sweet syrup.  I’m sure all Filipino stores outlet has it.  When using Macapuno sweets, you have to adjust the condensed milk.

My nephews and nieces enjoy making Buco Pandan.  Most kids I know enjoy messing up the kitchen every now and then.  With buco pandan, you don’t have to worry about them messing the recipe up.  It’s so easy to make, they’ll have little to no chance of ruining it, lol!  What I do is that I simply cook the gelatin for them and they can actually take it from there.  Of course I have to make them use a bread knife for cutting the gelatin.  They range from 3-7 years old, ;).

For this recipe, you’ll need:

1 kilo of buco/coconut meat, shredded, set the coconut juice aside

1 small pack of green gulaman

2 cans of condensed milk

1 can of all purpose cream

1 cup of diced or grated cheese, optional

Pandan leaves or pandan concentrate

‘Dish’ is how I do it:

I simply cook the gelatin or gulaman according to package instructions.  I use buco/coconut juice instead of water, add the pandan leaves and let it simmer until completely dissolved.  Then let it set.

Then I cut it into cubes, about 1 centimeter or smaller if you preferred.  Set it aside.  Mix the condensed milk and all purpose cream together in a bowl.  Add the cheese and gelatin/gulaman, give it a good stir.  Then add the buco meat.  Make sure all the ingredients are blended in together.  You can now put it in separate containers and then let it chill for at least 30 minutes.  I preferred putting it in at least three separate containers; it makes it easier to serve.  You don’t risk of spoiling the whole batch, not everybody are keen about using serving spoon ;).

Tips:

I prefer my gelatin to set a bit harder than usual.  So if the packaged says add 6 cups of water, I only add 5.  If the gelatin is too soft or too wiggly, it breaks easily when stirring the mixture.

You can use bread knife in cutting the gelatin, the rugged edges makes for a nicely cut cubes.

You can adjust the sweetness by adding more or less condensed milk.  Others like adding sugar, I don’t.  I think it makes it watery.

I’d suggest you add cheese.  A little tinge of saltiness really makes a lot of difference.

Lumpiang Shanghai (Pork Spring Rolls)

This dish is perfect with plain ketchup, vinegar and soy sauce dip, or tartar sauce.  It’s almost a staple dish during gatherings or special occasions.  Pork Shanghai Rolls used to be my favorite.  I so love it then that I’ll patiently make a big batch, freeze it and have it for lunch or dinner up to three times in a week.  I can only imagine how many shanghai rolls I’ve eaten up to this day.  Expectedly, overtime, I grew tired of it.  I think I’ve had enough shanghai rolls to last me a life time already.  Now I only make it for special occasions or when somebody requested for it.  I still think it’s a great dish,   great to have on the table every now and then, that I learned by now. LOL!

For this dish you’ll need:

½ kilo of ground pork

½ cup of diced carrots, I think that’s one small carrot

½ cup of diced red bell pepper, probably one medium size

1 tablespoon minced onion

1 tablespoon minced garlic

3 tablespoon flour or instant oatmeal

Salt and pepper

Two eggs, beaten

Shanghai wrappers

Cooking oil for deep frying

‘Dish’ is how I do it:

I simply mix the ground pork with the rest of the ingredients.  The egg and flour or oatmeal will serve as the binding agent.  Mix them all up together.

Put about a tablespoonful of meat mixture on a shanghai wrapper, roll it nicely and then tucked both ends before sealing it.  Just dip your finger in a saucer of water and run it on the wrapper’s edge, and then seal it.  Now, all you have to do is fry it, let it rest on a paper towel, you may cut it in half.  Then serve with your choice of dipping sauce.  Really easy, isn’t it?

Stir Fried Beef with Broccoli

Year after year, I have to come up with something new or at least something different come Christmas time.  That is when I first thought of making beef broccoli for a change.   Of course I’ve tried it way before the actual day, experimenting on a new recipe on the big day isn’t a very good idea.  You don’t want to be discovering this and that, when you’re seconds away from setting the table.   So, what I did is tried the recipe first in our usual Sunday family gathering.  Take ‘constructive’ criticisms (if you can call it that) and took it into considerations the next time I made the recipe.  Somebody comment on the broccoli about being tough, which is quite expected of her because I know she wants her veggies cooked all the way through.  Other than that, they seem to like it in general.  Although I figured that meat should be marinated first and then sear rather than boil in sauce.  I think that meat is more tender but not dry when cooked that way.


For this recipe you’ll need:

1 kilo beef, sirloin preferably but you can use whatever you prefer

Onion

Garlic

1 cup oyster sauce

Broccoli, cut into flowerets

Cooking oil

Salt and Pepper

‘Dish’ is how I do it:

I cut the beef in strips, about two inches long.  Then I marinade it with salt and pepper and the oyster sauce for about an hour.  After one hour or so, I drain the meat and set aside the marinade.  And then I stir fry it in a big pan.  I actually do it in batches because you wanted to make sure that you keep your pan’s temperature really hot for stir frying.  And then in the same pan, I sauté the onion and garlic.  You may want to remove some of the cooking oil if you think there’s too much in it. Add back the beef and the marinade.  Let it simmer for about 2 minutes or until done, and then add the blanched broccoli.  Give it a good stir and you’re basically done!  Best when serve with rice.