Spicy Eggplant

Spicy Eggplant…this is one of my favorite dishes to order when eating out at an Asian restaurant. Of course with COVID-19 I had been cooking almost all of our meals at home for over a year.

Most of the meals I like to eat are easily made at home so I just had to recreate this recipe too as I have been craving spicy, salty, sweet foods lately. Must be because we are in this pandemic longer than anyone thought we would. This dish checks all the boxes – spicy, sweet, and salty – truly delicious with plain steamed rice. As a bonus, you get your veggie serving in there too!

You can make this vegetarian by cooking it as it is but my boys like meat and frowns if they cannot find meat in their plate so I did add a couple of handfuls of chopped meat in there. You can also make it spicier buy adding more chili paste. As always, feel free to tailor my recipes to your tastes!

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For the Sauce:
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon plain white vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili paste (sambal oelek)
1/2 teaspoon ground bean sauce (or hoisin sauce)
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

To finish cooking:
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 pound eggplant, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water

*I added about 200 grams chopped pork to this recipe when I was taking photos of it for this article. You can leave it out if you want, but it sure makes it taste better!*

1. Prepare the sauce by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl and mixing well. Set aside.

2. Heat oil in a wok to 350 degrees F.

3. Add the diced eggplant and cook, stirring once, for about one minute. Remove the eggplant with a slotted spoon and set on paper toweling to drain.

4. Remove all but about a teaspoon of oil from the wok. Turn the heat to high and add the garlic.

5. Add the chopped pork and let it brown for a few minutes.

6. Carefully pour in the sauce.

7. Let the sauce come to a simmer for 30 seconds.

8. Add the eggplant back to the wok and cook for 10-15 seconds while stirring.

9. Combine the cornstarch,

10. and water to make a smooth paste.

11. Stir it into the eggplant mixture.

12. Keep stirring until it thickens.

13. Let it come to a boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

14. Serve hot with lots of steamed white rice.

15. Enjoy!

Trader Joe’s Thai Style Yellow Curry Sauce

I love the convenience of bottled simmer sauces that are becoming available at the grocery stores. They are truly life savers for when you come home late from work and need something on the dinner table real quick. The trick is finding out which ones you like, which means trying out a few brands.

I’ve always been lucky with almost anything I get at Trader Joe’s. They’re reasonably priced and always delicious, but sometimes you get hooked but you can never get it again. I had some favorite cheeses and sauces that was not available anymore when I came back for more. Sad.

So if I see something I want to try, I usually buy a couple to start with. They do have expiration dates so I cannot really get a dozen or so as we will get tired of it if I cook it too often. 😊

So…this is my most recent find!

I’ll cook this with some cut up chicken, garlic, onions, carrots, potatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, and a couple of bell peppers from the garden.

You can definitely eyeball the amounts and adjust anything to your taste.

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Begin by preparing all of your ingredients. I used the following:

1-2 tablespoons oil

3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1 onion, peeled and diced

1 pound of chicken breast, cubed

1 big potato, peeled and diced

1 carrot, peeled and diced

1 zucchini, trimmed and cut into half moons

A handful of mushrooms, chopped

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 bottle of Trader Joe’s Yellow Curry Sauce

Water

Freshly cooked rice and chopped cilantro, for serving

1. Heat oil in a saucepan. Sauté garlic and onions until lightly browned and fragrant, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned. Next add the potatoes and carrots. Stir and cook for a few minutes.

3. Add the zucchini, mushrooms, and bell pepper.

4. Pour the curry sauce over. Fill the bottle halfway with water, cover and shake to get every last bit of the delicious sauce, open the bottle then pour contents into the pan.

5. Stir the mixture and cover with a lid. Lower heat to medium low and simmer until chicken and vegetables are done, around 10-20 minutes.

6. Serve over freshly cooked, hot rice. Top with chopped cilantro. Enjoy!

Mackerel Pate

Hello my friends!

Today I’ll be making a delicious fish sandwich spread. As you might know, I make our bread at least once a week and of course, I want the best sandwich fillings to go with it.

My very favorite will always be butter and orange marmalade, but tuna salad, and BLT are close contenders.

We do have the usual Turkey and/or Ham with cheese and mayo quite often too.

My mom was taking about how she eats some canned mackerel more often now as it is very good fo your health, so imagine how excited I was when I found these at Trader Joe’s.

I was going to mix it up like my tuna salad but figured out I can make a more tasty spread using cream cheese. It makes a thicker spread that you can thin out using some mayonnaise. I hope you’ll like it!

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Ingredients:

1/4 red onion, chopped

4-6 tablespoons cream cheese, at room temperature

Pinch of garlic powder

Pinch of ground black pepper

Pinch of Salt

1 6oz can mackerel, drained

1 hard boiled egg, peeled and chopped

*you can add 1 – 2 tablespoons mayo to loosen up the pate if you like it more spreadable*

Procedure:

1. In a bowl, mix together onions and cream cheese.

2. Add garlic powder,

3. Ground black pepper,

4. And salt.

5. Open the can of mackerel and drain well.

6. Place the fillets in the bowl.

7. Mash and mix everything together.

8. Add in chopped eggs.

9. Mix well. Add mayonnaise if using.

10. Spread on a thick slice of toasted bread.

11. Enjoy!

Moo Goo Gai Pan

Here is a quick and easy version of a staple Chinese restaurant take out!

Once in a while I’d crave Chinese food really bad. Most good restaurants are not close to where I live so it’ll be about a 20-30 mile drive to get to one and I’m too lazy to drive out to hunt them down. So I made this using an older cookbook I saw at the library a while back.

The cooking process takes no time at all so make sure to prep everything in the beginning (chop, dice, mince…)and have it all ready to go.

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Ingredients:

1 pound chicken breasts, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons Chinese shao xing wine

2 teaspoon cornstarch

1/3 cup chicken stock

1 tablespoon oyster sauce

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons oil

2 teaspoon garlic

2 teaspoon minced ginger

6 oz snow peas

8 oz mushrooms, sliced

Salt and pepper

Green onions, to serve

Procedure:

1. Prepare all ingredients and set close by.

2. In a medium sized bowl, mix together chicken, soy sauce shao xing wine, cornstarch, chicken stock, oyster sauce, and sugar.

3. In a wok, heat up oil. Sauté garlic and ginger until fragrant.

4. Drain chicken, keeping the marinade, and add the chicken to the wok. Stir fry until cooked through, about 5 – 10 minutes.

5. Add the snow peas, and stir fry for a minute.

6. Add the mushrooms and stir fry for another minute.

7. Add in the reserved marinade and boil for 3-4 minutes. Make sure you boil it.

8. Serve hot with freshly cooked white rice.

9. Enjoy!

Electric Lunchbox #93: Meatloaf

Meatloaf in the ELB…it might not look as amazing as oven baked ones, but convenience wise, it can’t be beat.

You just mix everything in a bowl, shape into a patty or 3, fit them in the ELB bowl, steam, and tada! A wonderful meal.

If you want to prep this the night before (like if you need it for next day’s lunch), you can follow the directions up until it’s covered with foil then refrigerate it until needed. Place in the ELB when ready and steam until done. I like to use a thermometer to make sure the meat is cooked through.

You can pair this with rice, veggies, Cornbread from this recipe https://athomewiththeresa.com/2020/05/07/electric-lunchbox-beef-stew-and-corn-bread-with-optional-flan/ or even this Bacon Grease Cornbread here https://athomewiththeresa.com/2020/10/26/electric-lunchbox-63-bacon-grease-cornbread/

Hope you like this recipe!

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

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Ingredients:

1 heaping cup of ground pork

1 egg

1/3 cup Ritz cracker crumbs (or plain bread crumbs)

1/4 cup plain yogurt (or milk)

2 tablespoons chopped onions

1/4 teaspoon salt (I used celery salt)

Ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/4 cup ketchup

2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Procedure:

1. In a bowl, combine ground pork,

2. Egg,

3. Ritz cracker crumbs,

4. Yogurt,

5. Chopped onions,

6. Celery salt,

7. Ground black pepper,

8. And Italian seasoning.

9. Mix well to incorporate everything together.

10. Since there are 3 of us in my home, I divided the mixture into 3 roughly equal sized portions. I shaped them into individual logs, and squeezed them into the medium ELB bowl. It would definitely work in the big ELB bowl too. Set this aside for now.

11. In a small bowl, combine ketchup,

12. Worcestershire sauce,

13. And brown sugar.

14. Mix well to combine.

15. Use this sauce to coat the tops of the meatballs.

16. Cover the bowl with a piece of foil. Set the bowl on the ELB base. Add 3 ELB cups of water to the base. Cover and let steam until it shuts off, about an hour.

17. Carefully open the ELB and check the meat for doneness. I use a thermometer to make sure. 😊

18. Serve hot and enjoy!

Chicken Satay

Right after I was done with college, my mom, dad, and I got into this habit of driving around without a destination, just looking to relax and unwind. In the process, we got to try a lot of different restaurants all over Luzon, in the Philippines.

One of our favorite was Thai restaurants. The delicious Chicken Satay, bagoong rice with green mangoes and scrambled eggs, and delectable peanut sauce served with it is enough to keep us dreaming till the next Thai meal. Rounded out with Thai Iced Tea and we’ve got fuel enough to take us wherever that full tank of gas can go.

Fast forward 21 years later, allergic to shrimp, I have not been able to eat this in a restaurant because of possible cross contamination. So what was I to do? Make it at home, so that I am sure of what went into my food!

This is a very delicious meal, even without the Bagoong rice. If you are not allergic to shrimp, I recommend you try this with the Bagoong fried rice. I did provide an easy guide at the very bottom of this article.

2 pounds chicken breasts, sliced into pieces about 1”x2.5”

MARINADE:

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon chopped red chili, optional

2 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons minced ginger, or ginger paste

2 teaspoons curry powder

1 heaping teaspoon turmeric

2 tablespoons plain yogurt

SAUCE:

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1/3 cup water

Procedure:

1. In a medium sized bowl, mix together all marinade ingredients until well blended.

2. Add chicken slices and mix well to coat evenly.

3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, up to overnight, to allow the chicken to absorb the flavors. In the meantime, soak short bamboo skewers in water.

4. Skewer 3 – 4 pieces of chicken in bamboo skewers and set aside.

5. Grill until done on one side, then turn to cook the other side. I used my stovetop griddle/grill plate as it was too cold to grill outside today.

6. Repeat with all remaining chicken skewers.

7. Place all the ingredients for the sauce in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. *Forgot to take a picture of this sauce! Sorry! I will update once I make it again!

8. Serve with chicken and rice. Enjoy!

*This is usually served with fermented shrimp paste rice. My son and I are both allergic to shrimp so we do not serve it this way. If you do want to make it, though:

Heat a pan and add some canola oil. Saute minced garlic until golden then add chopped onions. Cook until onions are golden and soft. Add a few spoonfuls of bottled bagoong (fermented shrimp paste). Mix well and add cooked rice. Stir to heat up the rice and distribute the shrimp paste evenly. Season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with scrambled eggs sliced in long strips.

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 #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!