Tikka Masala (Trader Joe’s simmer sauce)

Have you noticed a proliferation of simmer sauces at the grocery store? I like trying things that make cooking (even semi home made!) easier when pressed for time. That explains all my appliances in the kitchen! I work full time, and I’m sure many of you can surely relate to being so busy with homework and after school activities of your kids, that making dinner is the last thing in your mind. I still like to make most of our food from scratch, but some days I truly appreciate Trader Joe’s Orange chicken and gyoza, take out pizza, and burger and fries.

I got two jars of Marsala simmer sauce at Trader Joe’s about a year or two ago. I forgot about them until a couple of months or so later when I saw them in my pantry and finally used it. You just add your protein of choice and simmer away! It was so easy and so delicious. I made a mental note to go back for more but when I did, they said they do not carry it anymore but they have Indian simmer sauces available. So I got those and am cooking it now before it gets pushed to the back of the pantry and forgotten again.

Even though I did not follow the directions in cooking, I was still able to make a quick dish that was really tasty. I will be buying more the next time I go to Trader Joe’s as my family loved it (as we do almost everything we get from that store!). Semi home made cooking but still really good!

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons canola oil

1.5 pounds chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces

1 (18oz) jar Trader Joes Tikka Masala Simmer Sauce

18 oz water (fill simmer sauce jar with water, cover and shake)

3 potatoes, peeled and cubed

1/2 cup green peas

1/3 cup chopped cilantro

Cooked Basmati rice

Roti, naan, or paratha

Procedure:

Heat canola oil in a saucepan over medium heat, until hot. Add chicken pieces and cook until lightly browned.

Pour in the masala sauce and water. Stir. Bring to a boil then add the potatoes and green peas. Simmer until potatoes are done, 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

Serve over hot, cooked basmati rice and/or roti, naan, or paratha

Udon Noodles with Gyoza

Since it has been cold and rainy all week (and for one more week!) in Southern California, I prepared something quick with ingredients I have on hand. We are all supposed to hunker down and try to avoid going out as much as we can to try to slow the spread of the Corona virus. I work in healthcare, so no option to work from home for me. 😞

If you’ve been following the news, grocery shelves are empty almost everywhere as people are stocking up for the worst case scenario. I believe this kind of panic is unnecessary and causes additional, unneeded stress.

On that note, I have always kept my pantry stocked as I try not to go shopping all the time. It makes me truly happy every time I can prepare a dish without needing an additional trip to the store for an ingredient or two as I do work full time.

This recipe is put together using what I have and it’s tastes really good! Hot and filling! Feel free to add anything you want or have in hand.

Enjoy and everyone please stay safe!

1 pack udon noodles frozen or fresh

Ingredients needed per serving:

1 cup boiling water

1 tsp dashi stock powder

1 tsp light soy sauce

1 tsp mirin

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp sugar

Toppings:

  • Frozen gyoza
  • Kamaboko, sliced
  • Steamed vegetables (brocolli, carrots, cabbage…)
  • 1 stalk spring onion, sliced
  • 2 tsp bonito flakes (katsuoboshi)
  • 1 pinch chilli flakes (shichimi togarashi)

Cook udon noodles according to packet directions. 

Place the gyoza in a preheated, lightly oiled skillet and cook until bottoms are golden. Add 1/4 cup water to skillet and immediately cover to completely cook the gyoza. 

Place dashi, soy sauce, mirin, salt and sugar into a bowl and stir. Pour boiling water in and mix well. 

Place cooked udon noodles in the bowl. 

Top with gyoza, kamaboko, steamed vegetables, sliced spring onion, bonito. Sprinkle with chili flakes.

Serve hot.

Grilled Pork Filipino style

“Inihaw na baboy” – grilled pork – is a very tasty dish that is prepared a little differently everywhere. In the Philippines, you could buy this on the street, in a fast food or fancy restaurant, or you may be served this if you are a guest in someone’s home.

I had been wanting to replicate the taste I remembered from when my dad would have parties at our home every single weekend. Of course I do not remember the recipe as the cooks prepared it. I wish I had paid more attention back then instead of just eating.

2 pounds pork spareribs

1/2 cup white vinegar

1/2 teaspoon crushed peppercorns

1/4 cup minced garlic

2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup soysauce

1 teaspoon salt

Place pork in a plastic freezer bag or plastic container. Combine the rest of the ingredients and pour over the pork. Marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

The next day, drain excess marinade.

Grill over hot coals, or broiler, until done.

Serve with a dipping sauce made with 1/2 cup vinegar, 4 minced cloves of garlic, and salt or fish sauce to taste.

Sourdough Crepes

If you are nurturing a pet sourdough, I’m sure you are always looking for ways to use the discards. I know I am! Because I do not bake with it everyday, I have to feed my sourdough at least once before I can use it, so I end up with about a cup of discard every time I want to bake.

The discard becomes my go-to waffles, pancakes…whatever I can make with it as I do not want to throw it out. I had been trying to come up with more recipes using discards to add to my sourdough recipes.

Today I made some crepes. I had to get the sourdough ready for my boules, and I had a cup of discard ready to be some extra yummy treats!

This recipe is really easy! Perfect for mornings before you had coffee…or tea…😊

All you need to do is blitz the ingredients in a blender, cook the batter on a lightly greased crepe pan, and enjoy! You can easily double the recipe as needed.

Serve with jam, fruits, honey, ham and cheese…any way you serve crepes! I like to make this for weekend breakfasts and since it’s easy and fast, we can linger at the table spending time together, which is always an important part of my weekend!

Ingredients:

1 cup sourdough discard

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

Pinch of salt

Procedure:

Place everything in a blender, cover, and blend for about 30 seconds, until well incorporated.

Heat a crepe pan and grease lightly with butter. Pour just enough batter to coat the pan and swirl quickly to evenly distribute the batter. Crepes cooks quickly so watch carefully. Turn as soon as the edges are dried and bottom is slightly browned, about 30 seconds or so. Cook for about 15-20 seconds more.

Makes 6 to 7 (8-inch) crepes.

Roasted chicken with sweet potato, potatoes, and onions

If you’ve been following my blog you’ll know that I bake bread a lot. Sometimes, I feel like I could add another food item in the oven to better make use of the heat. It’s a little challenging though, as my breads bake between 450F to 500F, and most baked goods only require 350F.

I thought maybe I can do some roasted meats and since I have some chicken thighs and drumsticks on hand, I gave it a try today.

There was a lot of chicken so I made them into 2 different flavored roast chickens. Half were rubbed with Lemon Pepper seasoning and the other half with Goya Sazonador Todo.

I also added some potatoes, onions, and purple sweet potatoes tossed in olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. I placed them on a large sheet tray on the top level of the oven as my breads bake in the middle. I left them in with the bread wt 450F, for about 1 hour. No turning, no fussing, they were perfectly done all by themselves!

Dinner is ready the same time my bread was baking! Winner!

Melon Pan (Japanese Sweet bread bun)

I made this a week after making the Conchas and that week my mom stayed over. Luckily, there was a one left and she got to try it. She said it tasted just like the ones she had in Japan when she was younger, before we came in her life. I’m sure it brought back memories, and that’s why I believe food is very important in our lives. It not only nourishes us, but it is almost always tied to a memory.

That was one of the best compliments I ever got. Since she only got to try one, I immediately set to make another batch as it was a very easy recipe and mostly, the Thermomix handled the work. I made another 10 buns so my mom could take some home and enjoy it for breakfast…or just whenever she wants to eat it!

Ingredients for the Bread Dough:

  • 50 ml evaporated milk
  • 50 ml water
  • 4 g instant dry yeast
  • 250 g bread flour (plus extra for sprinkling)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3 g salt
  • 40 g sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 35 g unsalted butter

Cookie Dough:

  • 200 g all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon corstarch
  • 2 g baking powder
  • 60 g unsalted butter
  • 100 g sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbsp sugar, top sprinkle on top

Thermomix Procedure:

For the bread dough:

1. Place the evaporated milk, water, and yeast in the Thermomix bowl, set to 2 minutes/37*/speed 2.

2. Add flour, cornstarch, salt, sugar, egg, and butter. Set to 3 minutes/Knead.

3. Transfer dough into a greased bowl and set aside to proof in a warm place for about an hour, or until almost doubled.

For the cookie dough:

4. Add all cookie dough ingredients into the same mixing bowl, (no need to wash it beforehand). Set to 1 minute/speed 5. Divide into 10 equal balls (weighing would be helpful). Place in a bowl and refrigerate, covered, until needed.

Standard procedure:

For bread dough:

1. In a large bowl, mix evaporated milk, water, and yeast together. Add flour, cornstarch, salt, sugar, egg, and butter. Mix until it comes together.

2. Transfer to a floured board and knead until smooth and elastic, 8-10 minutes. Set aside until doubled, about 1 hour.

Let dough rise until doubled.

For cookie dough:

3. Add all cookie dough ingredients in a mixing bowl. Stir until it comes together. Knead for a couple of minutes.

4. Divide into 10 equal balls (weighing would be helpful). Place in a bowl and refrigerate, covered, until needed.

Cookie crust divided into 10 44g balls.

Assembling the buns:

5. Punch down the bread dough and divide into 10 pieces. Form into balls.

Bread dough divided into 10 48-50 gram balls.

6. Place 2 tbsp of sugar in a plate. Roll out the cookie dough, press onto the granulated sugar to coat the top, and place on top of the bread rolls. Cup with your hand to smooth it out. Place on a cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough and cookie dough, leaving enough space between buns to rise.

7. Cover and let proof about 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

8. Bake 350F 15 – 20 minutes.

9. Cool completely on wire racks.

Melon Pan (Japanese Sweet Bread)

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Cuteness in a bun! This is the Japanese version of a cookie crusted sweet bun. Melon refers to the grid pattern on the cookie that resembles melon skin.

Ingredients

Bread Dough:

  • 50 ml evaporated milk
  • 50 ml water
  • 4 g instant dry yeast
  • 250 g bread flour (plus extra for sprinkling)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3 g salt
  • 40 g sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 35 g unsalted butter

Cookie Dough:

  • 200 g all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon corstarch
  • 2 g baking powder
  • 60 g unsalted butter
  • 100 g sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbsp sugar, top sprinkle on top

Directions

    Thermomix Procedure:

    For the bread dough:

  1. Place the evaporated milk, water, and yeast in the Thermomix bowl, set to 2 minutes/37*/speed 2.
  2. Add flour, cornstarch, salt, sugar, egg, and butter. Set to 3 minutes/Knead.
  3. Transfer dough into a greased bowl and set aside to proof in a warm place for about an hour, or until almost doubled.
  4. For the cookie dough:

  5. Add all cookie dough ingredients into the same mixing bowl, (no need to wash it beforehand). Set to 1 minute/speed 5. Divide into 10 equal balls (weighing would be helpful). Place in a bowl and refrigerate, covered, until needed.
  6. Standard procedure:

    For dough:

  7. In a large bowl, mix evaporated milk, water, and yeast together. Add flour, cornstarch, salt, sugar, egg, and butter. Mix until it comes together.
  8. Transfer to a floured board and knead until smooth and elastic, 8-10 minutes. Set aside until doubled, about 1 hour.
  9. For cookie dough:

  10. Add all cookie dough ingredients in a mixing bowl. Stir until it comes together. Knead for a couple of minutes
  11. Divide into 10 equal balls (weighing would be helpful). Place in a bowl and refrigerate, covered, until needed.
  12. Assembling the buns:

  13. Punch down the bread dough and divide into 10 pieces. Form into balls.
  14. Place 2 tbsp of sugar in a plate. Roll out the cookie dough, press onto the granulated sugar to coat the top, and place on top of the bread rolls. Cup with your hand to smooth it out. Place on a cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough and cookie dough, leaving enough space between buns to rise.
  15. Cover and let proof about 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
  16. Bake 350F 15 – 20 minutes
  17. Cool completely on wire racks.


One Bowl Cocoa Brownies

It’s almost time for Happy Valentine’s! I am not over how fast the holidays flew by but for Valentine’s, I am trying to get ready before it arrives. So I have the perfect, easy, decadent recipe for you to serve on this special day!

Yum!

I have been wanting to eat brownies for a couple of weeks now but since I had been making other things (Red velvet cupcakes, muffins, sourdough bread, filled breads, etc), I was sure it wouldn’t be devoured in time before it goes bad. Or I will end up eating everything and have to add a few miles walk/run to my already busy day.

I had been using the sourdough bread for sandwiches during the weekend so it’s almost gone and my last cupcake was eaten by my son, so TODAY is just the perfect day to sneak in the brownies.

I like fudgy brownies that has nuts and chocolate chips. I also like the texture to be just right…for MY taste. And I found out long ago that the only way I could have it exactly the way I like it is to make it myself. I came across a recipe that suggested adding a tablespoon of oil to make brownies more fudgy. So aside from the melted butter, you add a tablespoon of neutral cooking oil to the batter. I tried it and it works wonders!

Another thing: I do not like doing the dishes so I had always made one bowl brownie recipes to avoid washing a ton of bowls. This recipe checks all those “likes” and “do not likes” and is super quick to prepare too!

If you can, wait for the brownies to cool before cutting so your brownies would look better than this. I couldn’t wait, so i cut, and ate, this HOT!

This is a delicious, fudgy, cocoa brownie that will surely satisfy a chocolate brownie craving without having to melt chocolate squares, or dirtying a a lot of bowls. Win-win!

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 cup sugar (or 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup packed brown sugar)

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper; set aside.

Melt butter over medium low heat in a small saucepan. Add oil and sugar and whisk well. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy. Sift in flour, cocoa powder and salt. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until combined. It’s okay to have bits of flour, but do not over mix. Add whatever mix ins (I added 1/2 cup of walnuts and 1/2 cup of chocolate chips) you desire. Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing the top out evenly. You can top the batter with additional mix ins.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the center of the brownies is just set to the touch. If testing with a toothpick, it should come out with chocolatey crumbs for fudge-textured brownies. Remove and allow to cool to room temperature before cutting into 16 pieces.

OPTIONAL MIX INS:

  • Chopped walnuts, peanuts, almonds, pecans; chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, chocolate chunks, dried cherries….

One Bowl Cocoa Brownies

  • Servings: 16
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

One bowl brownies that fudgy, chocolatey and just sweet enough, all mixed and baked in 30 minutes.

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 cup sugar (or 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup packed brown sugar)

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper; set aside.

Melt butter over medium low heat in a small saucepan. Add oil and sugar and whisk well. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy. Sift in flour, cocoa powder and salt. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until combined. It’s okay to have bits of flour, but do not over mix. Add whatever mix ins (I added 1/2 cup of walnuts and 1/2 cup of chocolate chips) you desire. Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing the top out evenly. You can top the batter with additional mix ins.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the center of the brownies is just set to the touch. If testing with a toothpick, it should come out with chocolatey crumbs for fudge-textured brownies. Remove and allow to cool to room temperature before cutting into 16 pieces.

OPTIONAL MIX INS:

  • Chopped walnuts, peanuts, almonds, pecans; chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, chocolate chunks, dried cherries…