Electric Lunchbox #91: Strawberry Nesquick Mochi

I always have this big can of Nesquick Strawberry mix as my son loves it mixed in his morning mug of milk. I started buying it when I was pregnant, as I didn’t like chocolate then, so was happy to see they offered it in strawberry flavor! It was the only way i could drink milk then. I guess it got passed on to my son! 😊

When I was making the mochi recipes for the ELB, I happened to see the can of Nesquick and immediately thought of using it as flavoring. And here is the result of the experiment!

I would add more Nesquick next time as the flavors and color was minimal. Otherwise, the mochi was chewy, sweet, and delicious enough for a snack.

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup mochiko rice flour

1/4 cup sugar

2- 3 tablespoon Nesquick Strawberry drink powder

1/2 cup water

Katakuriko or cornstarch for dusting

Procedure:

1. In a bowl, mix rice flour,

2. Sugar,

3. Nesquick powder,

4. And water,

5. Mix well until blended.

6. The mixture will be thin, see photo below.

7. Spray the medium or large ELB bowl with nonstick spray.

8. Pour mochi mixture into the bowl. Cover with foil and place in the ELB base. Pour 3 ELB cups of water in the base, cover and let steam until it shuts off, about an hour.

9. Carefully open the ELB, and check if mochi is set. Add more water to the base and steam longer if needed.

10. Dust the top with katakuriko or cornstarch.

11. Turn out onto a plate dusted generously with katakuriko or cornstarch.

12. Using a plastic knife, cut mochi into bite sized pieces.

13. Dust with more katakuriko or cornstarch to prevent sticking.

14. Enjoy!

Electric Lunchbox #91: Taco Soup

Taco Soup!

Perfect for the cold weather we are having right now…not that it compares to the snow storms experienced in Texas and other states. But still, everyone needs a good recipe for a delicious warm soup, right?

This is another Brentwood recipe, one that we tasted at a potluck more than once and got the recipe to make it ourselves at home whenever we craved it. It’s got everything to make it hearty and filling yet it’s not too heavy. A perfect balance of flavor and healthy ingredients.

I like my taco soup with all the fixings…sour cream, cheese, green onions, chopped onions, tortilla chips…but it’s also delicious as is.

Hope you try this ELB version, stay warm and safe my friends!

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*

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Ingredients:

1/4 cup canned Pinto beans, drained

1/4 cup canned kidney beans, drained

1/4 cup canned corn, drained

1 cup canned diced tomatoes, with liquid

1 tablespoon canned green chili

1 tablespoon taco mix powder

1 tablespoon ranch mix powder

4 oz can chicken meat, drained

1 cup water

1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

2 ELB cups water for the base

*Sour cream, grated cheese, chopped green onions, tortilla chips, to serve

Procedure:

1. In the big ELB bowl, place pinto beans,

2. Kidney beans,

3. Corn,

4. Tomatoes,

5. Green chili,

6. Taco powder

7. Ranch powder,

8. Water,

9. Chicken,

10. Water,

11. Cornstarch,

12. Mix everything together. Place in the ELB base. Add 2 ELB cups of water to the base. Cover and let steam until it shuts off, about 40 minutes.

13. Carefully open the ELB, and stir the soup. Taste and adjust seasoning to taste.

14. Serve hot with all the fixings! Enjoy!

Electric Lunchbox #90: Polenta

Polenta….in the ELB! 😱 I know, I know, but hear me out…

Polenta is a creamy cornmeal porridge that is commonly served in Italian homes and delicious served with meats and stews. I also like it with some cheese stirred in, or let it cool and harden, then slice it and fry! Any way you eat it, it is delicious!

But if you were ever taught how to make this “properly”, you might just not make it. Too many rules, too many “you HAVE to this and you MUST that”

First off, know that you can use any medium or coarse cornmeal, no need to search for one that is labeled “Polenta” – specially if you already have cornmeal in your pantry. No harm in using actual “polenta” but just letting you know that you do not have to.

You don’t have to use water if you want it more flavorful. Here I used chicken stock. of course you can use water if you want to.

Also, you do not need to keep stirring constantly. Something I am happy to discover while making this recipe as I have a lot of arm issues. So I only ask you to stir this recipe twice! Easy!

You also don’t need to add the polenta slowly, into a pot of boiling water, nor have to stir in only one direction. And you do not have to use a wooden spoon…😊

All these rules are things I’ve learned but I’ll happily share with you that I found out it’s all unnecessary. Maybe my polenta will be frowned upon by purists, but I am okay with that if more people will try it because it’s easy and accessible. Which this recipe is! I hope you try it and I also hope you’ll like my “short cut polenta” made in the ELB! No constant stirring required.

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*

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Ingredients:

1 cup chicken stock

1/4 cup corn meal

Pinch of salt

Pinch of pepper

3 ELB cups water for the base

Procedure:

1. In the big or medium ELB bowl, place the chicken stock,

2. Cornmeal,

3. Salt and pepper.

4. Stir until mixed and cover with foil.

5. Place bowl in the ELB. Add 3 ELB cups water to the base. Cover and let steam until it shuts off, about 1 hour.

6. Carefully open the ELB and remove the foil. Stir the polenta and serve hot. It will thicken as it cools so cool slightly if you prefer it a bit thicker.

* This is the texture I like for polenta. It is not gritty at all, just smooth and creamy. But if you want it thinner, increase your chicken broth or decrease your cornmeal. If you want it thicker, decrease the broth or increase the cornmeal.

*Feel free to stir in some cheese or herbs if desired. You can also add a dab of butter to make it taste richer! Yum!

Electric Lunchbox #89: 1 hour dinner rolls

Delicious steamed bread in the ELB, done in about an hour or so, and enough for one, or two, or even three if you feel like sharing!

Made with only 6 ingredients, which I believe everyone has in their pantry, you could prep this before 5 pm and have fresh, hot rolls by around 6 pm! Perfect to serve with soup or stew!

Or make them in the morning for hot breakfast bread! Either way, I promise you a very tasty, soft, and delicious bread that you might want to make this often!

I like to use olive oil and enjoy the mild flavor in the finished bread, but feel free to use canola oil if you prefer a more neutral flavored bread.

You can also knead in some chopped rosemary, chopped olives, cheese cubes and jalapeños, or fill the dough rolls with whatever filling you like. I like an – red bean paste, ube – taro paste, cream cheese, cream cheese and strawberry jam, sliced chinese sausage, Filipino Menudo, or nutella. Make it your own!

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*

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Ingredients:

1/4 cup warm water

1 1/2 tablespoons olive or canola oil

1/2 tablespoon sugar

1/2 tablespoon instant yeast

3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

Procedure:

1. In a small bowl, place water,

2. Oil,

3. Sugar,

5. And yeast.

6. Mix everything together. Set aside for at least 15 minutes.

7. This is what it’ll look like after 15 minutes.

8. Add flour and salt to the yeast mixture. Stir everything together until it forms a ball.

9. Knead for about 3 minutes, until the dough looks smooth.

10. It should look like this after kneading. Divide dough into 3 or 4 pieces. Roll into smooth balls and pinch seams.

11. This is how it would look like after shaping the dough into balls.

12. Spray the medium or large ELB bowl with nonstick spray.

13. Place the dough balls in the greased bowl, leaving space between them as they will puff up. Cover with foil and place on the ELB base. Add 2 ELB cups of water to the base, cover and set aside for 10 minutes.

14. Turn the ELB on and let steam until done, about 30 – 35 minutes.

5. Carefully open the ELB and check bread for doneness. Add more water and steam longer if needed.

6. Enjoy the bread warm with butter and jam, soup, stew, or curry dinner!

Electric Lunchbox #88: Chocolate Lava Cake

Good morning everyone!

It’s already the 5th day of February! Oh my goodness! Is it too early to post a Valentine’s recipe?

Well, I am posting a Chocolate Lava Cake recipe today so you can make a few trial runs of it before the actual Valentine’s Day – you know, for quality control or testing purposes! 😉 Think of it this way…I can’t be the only one eating all these yummy experimental food and sacrificing my figure for a good recipe, right?

This recipe will make the perfect dessert to finish a special meal for two, as the size of this little cake is just right.

It is rich and chocolatey that you’ll only need a dusting of powdered sugar to decorate it. Feel free to use a stencil to make it prettier. You can also top it with chocolate dipped strawberries! Double yum!

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*

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Ingredients:

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

1/2 tablespoon vanilla paste or extract

2 eggs

1/4 cup flour

1/2 cup powdered sugar

Procedure:

1. Grease the big or medium ELB bowl.

2. Place the butter in a microwave safe bowl.

3. Add the chocolate chips to the bowl.

4. Melt butter and chocolate chips in a microwave for 30 seconds.

5. Stir and microwave again using 30 second increments until smooth.

6. Make sure to stir as residual heat can sometimes be enough to melt the last few bits of chocolate. Careful to not burn the chocolate. This will take only about a minute or two total.

7. Mix in vanilla,

8. Eggs,

9. Flour,

10. And powdered sugar.

11. Mix well until blended.

12. Pour batter into prepared bowl. Cover with foil and place in the ELB base.

13. Add 2 1/2 ELB cups water to the base. Cover and let steam until it shuts off, about 45 minutes.

14. Carefully open the ELB and check the cake. It should be set but the center should jiggle like the video below. It should NOT be set all the way.

15. Cool the cake on a wire rack. Run a knife along the edges and invert onto a serving dish.

16. Dust the top with powdered sugar to make it look pretty.

16. Serve and enjoy!

Electric Lunchbox #87: Minestrone

It’s been cold this week here in Southern California so when I told my husband that I do not have any ideas on what else to make in the ELB, he said “soup!”

He went on naming different soups he grew up eating in Peru…and I stopped him when i heard Minestrone. I love Minestrone and I haven’t made it in a long time!

When I was a high school student at Herbert Hoover High in Glendale, CA, I chose a cooking/baking as my elective class. Not only as a way to nurture a life skill/hobby, but also to rest my brain between classes. And the basic Minestrone I make all these years always comes back to the recipe I learned in Mrs. Baker’s class.

So here it is! The original recipe I scribbled down when I was 15 years old – sure brings back a lot of memories! I didn’t even have to scale it down for the big ELB bowl as it fits perfectly!

Do not feel like you have to follow the recipe to the letter. Any bean or veggie you want, or have on hand, can be used instead of the ones listed in the recipe but I do encourage you to try the recipe as it is at least once. Then you can make adjustments after you’ve tried the recipe as is.

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*

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Ingredients:

2 tablespoons onions

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon rice

1 tablespoon small pasta

1 tablespoon canned beans

1/2 cup peeled and diced potatoes

1 tablespoon green peas (used celery as I was out of green peas)

Salt and pepper

A few rosemary leaves

3/4 cup beef broth

2/3 cup water

Procedure:

1. Place the chopped onions in the big ELB bowl.

2. Add the butter,

3. Cornstarch,

4. Tomato paste,

5. Rice,

6. Pasta

7. Beans,

8. Potatoes,

9. Celery or green peas

10. Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper, and the rosemary leaves,

11. Add the beef broth and water. Stir to mix everything together.

12. The butter will be a big blob but it will melt as the soup cooks the pasta and rice. It makes this soup rich and velvety!

13. Place the bowl in the ELB base. Add 3 ELB cups of water to the base, cover and let steam until it shuts off, about an hour.

14. Carefully open the ELB. Stir the soup and check the pasta and rice if it’s cooked through.

15. Serve hot! Enjoy!

Electric Lunchbox #86: Jello Mochi

While experimenting with the mochi recipes using pudding mix to add flavor, I can’t help but notice the Jell-O packages next to the pudding mixes at the grocery store shelves. I am aware that there are more flavors of gelatin available than pudding, so a lightbulb went off immediately!

I picked up one that sounds so delicious – mango passion fruit! I only got a pack but now I wished I got more. It tastes like Hawaii…if ever Hawaii was a flavor!

I tried making 2 bowls of mochi at a time in my Itaki Jumbo but it didn’t work out so I recommend you only make one bowl at a time, using the big ELB bowl. This way, the steam can concentrate on cooking your Mochi properly.

When I made two, the cooking time was way too long (I was up to 5 ELB cups of water!) and still, it wasn’t cooked through. So I decided to scrap those and start over with only one batch at a time. It worked out better so please try it this way. If you notice the photos, it will show the small ELB bowl. I forgot to take photos of the time I made it using the big ELB bowl, except for when it was done.

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup mochiko

1.5 oz (3 tablespoons) jello mix, any flavor you want (I used Mango Passion Fruit)

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup hot water

Katakuriko

1. Place rice flour in a small bowl.

2. Add Jell-O mix,

3. Sugar….

4. And the hot water….

5. Mix everything well until there is no visible clumps and mixture is smooth.

6. Spray the ELB bowl with a nonstick spray.

7. Pour the mixture in and cover with foil. Set the bowl in the ELB base. Add 3 ELB cups of water to the base.

8. Covers and let steam until it shuts off, about an hour. Carefully open the ELB and check if the Mochi is pulling off the sides and set in the middle. Add more water and steam a bit longer if needed.

9. Dust top of the mochi with kinako, katakuriko, or cornstarch.

10. Dust a plate with kinako, katakuriko, or cornstarch.

11. Run a spatula around the mochi and gently release it from the ELB bowl onto the prepared plate.

12. Dust with more kinako, katakuriko, or cornstarch. Then cut into pieces using a plastic knife.

13. Dust with more powder if needed. Cool completely. Enjoy!

Electric Lunchbox #85: Bodega Beans

I read an article about Bodega Beans a few weeks ago. Have you heard of it? It sounded quite delicious to me that I was planning to make it even before I was done reading the article.

Apparently it is a recipe for when you want a cheap but healthy meal with readily accessible ingredients. And nowadays, who doesn’t want that? It can be a wonderful side dish, if anything!

According to the article, the most basic “recipe” is to sauté garlic and onions in a little olive oil, add a can of drained beans and any seasoning you like, drizzle with more olive oil and you’re done! A sprinkle of cheese is optional, then serve with rice or bread.

I did make it and it was absolutely delicious! I added a few spices to it but feel free to use any that you like or have!

After making it a few times on the stove, I made it in the ELB for you guys! You can prepare rice in the small nesting bowl and you’re all set for a yummy meal!

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*

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I like to add crispy bacon to my bodega beans as my son doesn’t like beans but loves bacon…so beans with bacon is acceptable to him. 😊

Just place the bacon strips in a clean skillet, let the oil render out and brown till crisp. Crumble when cool.

Ingredients:

Bacon, browned and drained, optional but highly recommended

1 tablespoon minced onions

2 tablespoons chopped carrots

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Cumin, paprika, sazon todo, as desired

1 tablespoon chopped celery

1 can beans, rinsed and drained (garbanzo, pinto, red bean, black bean, any will do)

2 tablespoons olive oil or 1 tablespoon each bacon grease and olive oil, more as needed

Parmesan cheese, optional

Avocado slices, optional

Chopped cilantro, optional

Chili pepper flakes, optional

Procedure:

1. Place onions in the big ELB bowl.

2. Add some carrots,

3. Salt, pepper, garlic powder and any other seasoning you like. I love adding a couple of shakes of cumin.

4. Chopped celery,

5. The can of drained beans,

6. Crumbled cooked bacon,

7. Mix everything together. Add the olive oil or bacon grease and olive oil mix. Cover the bowl with foil and place in the ELB base.

* you can place 2 ELB cups of rice, rinsed and drained with 2 ELB cups water to the little nesting bowl to round out your meal!*

8. Add 3 ELB cups of water to the base, cover and let steam until it shuts off, about an hour.

9. Carefully open the ELB and mix the contents. Serve hot with rice, bread, cheese, chopped cilantro, and/or avocado if desired. Sprinkle with chili pepper flakes if you want a little spice.

10. Enjoy!