Tag Archives: Cooking at home

Recipe: Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Creamy Chicken and Broccoli

Every once in a while, I get lucky in the kitchen and make something good out of things I just throw into a pot. Yesterday was one of those times.

We had a power outage early yesterday evening. It only lasted a little over an hour, but I was left with barely any time to make dinner. I have this thing about not opening the fridge when the power is out (thanks to my mom and the frequent Manila blackouts of the 90’s,) so I really didn’t move until the electricity came back on. Then the mad dash to make dinner began. It’s a good thing I stocked up on some of my essential pantry staples over the week, and was equipped to make something on the fly. 

And so my Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Creamy Chicken and Broccoli was born. This is one of those dishes that’s so simple and easy to make, it doesn’t actually need a recipe. But in case you want to try making it yourself (and also so I remember how to do it next time haha,) I’m writing it down here.

Before anything else, a quick tip when making simple recipes with few ingredients. Quality matters. Because your dish doesn’t contain much, most if not all flavors can and will stand out. So if you put something in there that’s not that good, you’ll taste it. Trust me on this. Okay, moving on.

Quick. Easy. Healthy. Delicious. My idea of an awesome dinner.

This recipe starts with 250g of whole wheat spaghetti. I bought mine from Earth Origins, my go-to place for organic, healthier eats. We’re all out of gluten-free pasta at home, and I think that this might be the next best thing. It doesn’t look like our skin is reacting badly to it. Maybe our problem isn’t exactly with gluten, but more specifically with bad, over-processed, commercial gluten. That’s something worth exploring.

Boil the pasta as you normally would. Make sure to salt your water. I didn’t start doing that until my brilliant Pinay-American-Italian friend, MommaNManila Mish, told me to. It has made my pasta so much better. Cook until al dente. I always pull out a noodle and take a bite just to be sure it’s cooked just right. That rhymes. I don’t put oil in my water or on the noodles after they’re done, but some people do. You could, too. That also rhymes.

Set aside the noodles, and set aside some pasta water because you will need it later. 

In the same pot (yay for less-mess cooking!) heat some good olive oil. I used Molinera EVOO for this. I recently switched to this from another brand that got voted “Not good” by my trusted circle of cooking mommy friends. It’s worth it. Once the oil is hot, sauté onions then garlic in that order. Onions first so the garlic doesn’t burn. 

Next, add one cup of your favorite chicken that’s been shredded. I used leftover Baliwag lechon manok for this. You can use homemade roasted chicken, your favorite rotisserie chicken, whatever. When I buy from Baliwag, I usually take the chicken home whole. That way I can slice it up myself and keep the bones of the body intact for when I make stock. When we’re all done eating, I shred whatever meat is left, put it in a jar, and stick in the freezer for future use. This recipe is what I mean by future use.

Once the chicken is nicely warmed up, add cut up broccoli florets. I have no idea how much broccoli I used here, to be honest. You can just use as much as you want to use. I’m not kidding. I told you this recipe was simple. My broccoli is also from Earth Origins. I like buying this particular veggie organic because it’s hard to clean, and I always worry that there’s still pesticide and chemical residue in there somewhere that I missed. So yes, for broccoli, go organic.

After tossing the broccoli and chicken together for a bit, add liquid to the pot. I used 1/2 cup of homemade veggie stock plus about 1/4 cup of pasta water. The pasta water helps thicken the sauce. I make the veggie stock myself using vegetable scraps. It’s unsalted. I salt as needed when I cook. Don’t forget that the pasta water is salted. Taste as you go along. You can use plain water if you don’t have stock. You can even use all pasta water. It’s really up to you.

Bring the pot to a boil, lower the heat, then add cream. I used about half a small brick of all-purpose cream. I also added 1/4 cup of yogurt because I find that it cuts through the richness of the cream, and gives the sauce a tiny hint of tartness, which I really like. I used homemade yogurt but you can use any PLAIN yogurt. Emphasis on plain. Unsweetened. You can also add some lemon juice instead of yogurt. This works, too. Just enough so the cream isn’t nakakaumay. What is nakakaumay in English?

Next, add a teaspoon or two of pesto into the pot. I used bottled pesto for this because I don’t really make everything from scratch haha. This adds a nice herby, green taste to the creamy sauce. Stir a little, then add a some Parmesan cheese into the sauce. Just eyeball it. Add as much as you want. This helps make the sauce thicker, and also saltier. I don’t add any more salt to this dish. The cheese and pasta water are enough for me.

Simmer for a few minutes. Season with pepper and your favorite herbs. Once the sauce tastes right, and is as thick as you want it to be (I wait until it coats a spoon nicely,) add the noodles back into the pot. Mix, mix, turn off the heat, add more cheese on top, and you’re done. The whole process took me 30 minutes, including ingredient prep. How easy is that?

Don’t you just love quick and easy dinner recipes? Let me know if you try making this, okay?

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Creamy Chicken and Broccoli
Serves 4
A quick and easy dinner recipe made with pantry staples and leftovers.
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Total Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 250g Whole Wheat Spaghetti
  2. Half a head of garlic, minced
  3. 1 Small red onion, finely chopped
  4. 1 cup Shredded leftover roasted chicken
  5. 1-2 cups Cut up broccoli florets
  6. 1/2 cup Vegetable stock
  7. 1/4 cup Pasta water (from cooking the noodles)
  8. 1/4 cup All-purpose cream
  9. 1/4 cup Plain yogurt
  10. 1-2 teaspoons Prepared pesto sauce
  11. Parmesan cheese
  12. Black pepper
  13. Fresh or dried herbs for seasoning (Oregano, thyme, basil)
Instructions
  1. In a medium-sized pot, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Save pasta water.
  2. In the same pot, heat olive oil. Then, saute onions and garlic.
  3. Add shredded chicken and toss until warmed and slightly browned. Add broccoli, and toss for a few seconds.
  4. Pour in veggie stock and pasta water. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat, then add cream and yogurt. Stir and allow to simmer for a few minutes.
  5. Add pesto, then Parmesan cheese into the sauce. Mix well. Simmer a little more. Season with pepper and herbs.
  6. Add spaghetti back into the pot. Mix into the sauce. Top with more cheese. Remove from heat.
  7. Serve with a smile and a side salad. Garlic bread, too, if you wish. Enjoy!
At Home With MrsC http://www.mrspcuyugan.com/
#100HomeCookedMeals

100 Home Cooked Meals

I love to cook, but there are also days when I’m just too lazy to get to work in the kitchen. Thing is, we live within walking distance of a lot of good restaurants, so it can get really tempting to just order in or go out to eat.

If I don’t make an effort to snap out of my no-cooking funk, we could go for up to a week without having a home cooked meal for dinner. I know this for sure. It has happened before.

After that week, though, my fussy stomach was feeling really lousy already. I was sluggish and always tired, most likely because of all the crappy food we were eating. The boys started asking to eat my food, too. So, I had to get off my lazy, low-energy butt, and cook. 

#100HomeCookedMeals
Now that I finally have a kitchen of my own, I know I should make good use of it.

 

Truth: We all feel better when we eat well. It also makes me happy when I see my family enjoying a home cooked meal that I prepared with love. In my heart, I know that laziness is a lame excuse. And so, I am challenging myself to do better.

100 Home Cooked Meals. This is my way of making sure that I cook more often, and that I don’t give in to my lazy urge to just cross the street and buy lechon manok for dinner.

 

Pork adobo with hard boiled eggs #100homecookedmeals

A photo posted by MrsC | Patricia Cuyugan (@mrspcuyugan) on

 

The goal is to prepare meals at home from scratch each day unless we have a valid reason to go and eat out, like a party or family dinner. Some days I need to be out for work, and those are the most challenging ones, as far as my home cooking mission is concerned, but I guess I’m just going to have to figure out how to make things work. Hello, freezer meals.

I’ve already started posting photos of my dishes on Instagram, and soon I’ll start sharing the recipes for these here, too. I’m excited to try out new recipes, and I also hope that the boys are ready to try new dishes. My collection of magazines, cook books, and saved recipe links are finally gonna be put to good use. 

 

4. Penne in tomato sauce with a little too much Parmesan cheese. #100homecookedmeals

A photo posted by MrsC | Patricia Cuyugan (@mrspcuyugan) on

 

It would be great if you guys could follow along. Just keep an eye out for my #100HomeCookedMeals on Instagram. That way, I’ll feel even more guilty when I’m unable to post a new home cooked meal. Lol. 

Any recipe suggestions? Maybe you could share links to some of your favorites (or your own recipes!) in the comments. 

September #BaonPlan

Hello, September! I can’t believe you’re here. It’s been a full and eventful 2014 for me so far. It feels like the end of the 3rd quarter is coming around so quickly, and yet it also feels like this year is such a long one.

September, just like the months that came before it, is gonna be a full one. MrC and I are celebrating our anniversary in 10 days. This month also marks my 3rd blog anniversary, and I’m thinking of a nice give-back giveaway for my mommy blogger and WAHM friends. It’s the 4th month of school, and a start of a new term for the kiddo. The third grade has been quite challenging, but it looks like we’re doing okay. I have a bunch of blog events and activities on my calendar also, and that’s sure to be fun.

I have to admit that between mommy-ing, homemaking, MrC time, and writing for work, it’s becoming a challenge finding time to blog. I really want to continue posting often, regradless of how busy I become. Guess I just really have to make time for it and streamline my writing process. Or something. One adjustment that I’m making as of this moment is instead of 2-week baon plans, I’m going for a monthly post now. I feel that this will allow me less writing time and more cooking time, which is something I need.

Baon Sept
More baon, more fun!

 

I’ve made sure to put a hyperlink on all the recipes that I took from the internet, whether they’re from this blog or elsewhere. It’ll make recipe searching easier on all of us! And, just like before, if I get to try a recipe that I particularly like, I’ll make sure blog about it so that I can share it with you guys. Oh, and I also hope to make use of my newly acquired bento skillsSana.

So, here we go with September’s Baon Plan. I included a pasta dish each week, and I’m extra excited about those. You know how pasta is my happy food. I also added lots of baked stuff as snacks, since my oven and I are now friends again. Hope you guys like the dishes I put together!

Recipe: Perfect Pork Steak

As you know, I am one of those home cooks who likes to make meals ahead and freeze them. Whether it’s a marinate and freeze dish or an extra container of soup or stew, you are sure to find quick to cook or easy to reheat meals packed away in my freezer. Yes, takot ako magutom, and this is proof!

I love marinating meat ahead and then freezing it in portions that are just enough for our family. I find that dishes really do end up tastier this way, and for me, tastier is definitely better. I also prefer to put things away in exact serving portions already to minimize leftovers. I get to maximize our refrigerator space that way.Since we share fridge space with a whole lot of people, it’s best to keep things at a minimum.

This week, I decided to make a batch of Pork Steak for the boys. We’re a small family, so 1/4 kilo of pork loin is actually good enough for 2 meals for us already. Tipid! I have a feeling that this won’t last long, though because Little MrC is slowly but surely starting to eat like a big boy. 

Pork steak was something that I got to eat at MrC’s family’s house more often than my own house. I know for a fact that he misses his family’s homecooking, and so I thought that I’d try to make more of the food that I’d eaten there before. So we started this week off with a yummy, soft pork steak that I am actually pretty proud of. 

Pork Steak by MrsC
Pork Steak by MrsC

 

Pork Steak
Serves 4
A quick and easy pork recipe. Perfect as a marinade and freeze meal.
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Ingredients
  1. 1/4 kilo pork tenderloin aka lomo
  2. 1 tbsp calamansi juice
  3. 3 tbsp soy sauce
  4. 2 tbsp water
  5. 1/2 tbsp sugar
  6. A few dashes of cracked black pepper
  7. 1 small white onion cut into rings
  8. Garlic powder
  9. Vegetable oil for frying
  10. A pat of butter
Instructions
  1. Wash and trim the pork loin. Cut into 1/2" thick medallions.
  2. Make the marinade by combining the calamansi juice, soy sauce, water, sugar and black pepper.
  3. Arrange pork loin in a food keeper and pour the marinade over it. Marinade in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. At this point, you can transfer your container to the freezer if you are making this ahead.
  4. When you are ready to cook, heat some oil in a skillet.
  5. Once the oil is hot, pour in the meat and the marinade and allow to simmer until brown.
  6. Add a dash or two of garlic powder for added flavor, and a pat of butter to add richness to the sauce.
  7. If you prefer your pork steak to be more saucy, add water a tablespoon at a time.
  8. Once the meat is done, add the onion rings. Allow to cook until the onions are a bit wilted but still crunchy.
  9. Remove from the heat and serve over steamed rice.
Notes
  1. If you are marinading and freezing this, remember to thaw the pork steak completely in the refrigerator before cooking.
At Home With MrsC http://www.mrspcuyugan.com/

 Oh hey, if you try this recipe at home, please let me know how you liked it okay? 🙂