Category Archives: Dinner

Pumpkin Ravioli with garlic & thyme

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Flavor party over here! New top 10 favorite dinner item!

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                                               Pumpkin Ravioli with garlic and thyme butter sauce.

The inspiration for this recipe was Kim Barnouin’s Skinny Bitch Ultimate Everyday Cookbook.  It’s a vegan, healthy you, healthy Earth, “crunchy” kinda cookbook with some fabulous recipes and a sassy undertone. 😉  I used her recipe exactly for the ravioli pasta but changed every ingredient in the ravioli filling… just due to what I had on hand and thought would be good.  So thanks for the diving board, Kim. The original recipe can be found in her cookbook under “Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage Sauce.” 

Start out by making the ravioli. Kim says you can make them a day ahead and refrigerate or freeze for 2 weeks.  I plan to be a risk taker and make several batches and keep in freezer for a few months…. I’ll update this later if that is a horrible idea.  I would love to experiment with other types of homemade ravioli. 🙂

roll out the ravioli

Ravioli or wonton wrapper recipe from Skinny Bitch Ultimate Everyday Cookbook:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup warm water

Mix flour and salt then slowly stir in warm water until stiff. Next, knead dough on a floured surface for about 5-7 minutes until smooth. Place ball of dough in a bowl and cover with a towel for 20 minutes.

Divide the dough into 2 pieces and roll out on a floured surface until about 2 mm thick. Then cut into 3×3 inch squares (ish).

Pumpkin Ravioli Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin (or any other kind of squash)
  • 1/4-1/2 stick of butter (decide how rich you want it to be or how many extra miles you want to walk tomorrow;)
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (The recipe called for panko which I discovered I am out of so I thought I’d use Italian… which I was also sad to discover I was out of so I put a piece of Oregon Herb bread from Great Harvest in the food processor… perfection.  Use whatever you choose… or have in the pantry.)
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese crumbled
  • salt and pepper

Blend butter and pumpkin in food processor or with electric beaters until smooth. Transfer into a bowl and stir in breadcrumbs, cheese, salt and pepper.

Put a tablespoon or so of the mixture onto a ravioli then fold over, dampen edges (just dip fingers in a cup of water and run over edges) and press firmly together to seal off in a triangular form.  Trust me; it’s easy.  My hubby made most of them! You can do it! 🙂

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Get a pot of water boiling and once it is rapidly boiling plop the ravioli in for 5-6 minutes. Strain. Serve with garlic butter &thyme sauce or sauce of your choice.

Garlic butter & thyme sauce

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 stick of butter

1 tablespoon of fresh thyme (or any other fresh herb you think would be good)

Mince the garlic and prepare the herbs while the butter melts on medium-low

Add garlic and fresh herbs until garlic softens and get close to browning.

Japanese Sauces

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While living in the Philippines we had the great pleasure of making friends with a Japanese family. They had us to dinner one night and taught us several japanese recipes. Here are a few different sauces to use with pork or chicken. I will also later post another meat recipe and a japanese salad recipe.

Ginger Fried Pork (or chicken)
“Shogayaki” show-guy-aki


Ingredients:

Very thinly sliced pork- like a centimeter thick (about 1lb)
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
For the Sauce:
1-3 tablespoons grated ginger
one small yellow or white onion
one small apple – any kind
3-5 tablespoons Soy Sauce
2-4 tablespoons Sake- this is rice wine
2-4 tablespoons Mirin- This is syrupy rice wine, it is sweet.
-make sure to make enough sauce-
First flour, salt and pepper the meat lightly- just put flour directly onto the meat- no egg or anything.
Then make the sauce:
Grate the ginger, apple and onion into a bowl.
Add the soy sauce, sake and mirin
Mix and taste- see if you think there should be any more of anything.

Then cut any excess/unwanted fat off the meat and cut some slits into it to prevent from curling up.
Cook meat over a medium heat in a skillet until mostly cooked. Then add sauce to skillet and cook about 2-3 minutes longer.

ginger fried pork

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Pan-Fried Thick Pork with Onion Sauce
Pork with “tamanegi” sauce
about 1 pound of pork or chicken- tenderized (pound on it a bit with a knife or meat tenderizer)
salt and pepper
1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
For the sauce:
1 small onion- diced
3-5 cloves of garlic- chopped
1/3 cup water
3 tablespoons soy sauce
small piece of chicken bullion cube- maybe 1/4 of the cube
Mix onion, garlic, water, soy sauce, and chicken bullion in a bowl.
Lightly flour, salt and pepper the meat and cook in a little oil in a skillet
Add sauce to the skillet and cook until done
Cut meat into chunks and return to the skillet to finish cooking.

onion pork

Green Onion Pork/Chicken
negi sauce accent on the I making e sound
1 lb of pork or chicken (generally pork butt or shoulder is used for this)
salt and pepper
For the sauce:
2 green onion stalks- sliced
2-4 tablespoons soy sauce
2-4 tablespoons vinegar
1-2 tablespoons Mirin (syrupy sake)
1-2 tablespoons sake
1 teaspoon chicken bullion
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Sauté meat in 2 tablespoons sesame oil
Cut up meat and return to pan with sauce and cook till bubbly

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I was impressed to see the wife cooking with chopsticks- so fun! Then after my husband wow-ed them with is skills at chopsticks we played a chopstick game! 🙂
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Beef Bulgogi

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Living here in the Philippines I’m actually surrounded by Koreans and I recently had the opportunity to learn some Korean recipes. I’ll share this recipe first as you may want to use it in the 2nd recipe.

Beef Bulgogi
Beef Bulgogi
Ingredients:
1lb of tender beef- sliced thin (slice thiner if you’ll use it for Kimbop- thicker if you’ll eat it as a main dish.)
about 4 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 Tablespoons sesame oil- recommended to use an Asian brand- should be able to find this in the Asian section or at an Asian grocery store.
2 Tablespoons roasted sesame seeds- You could probably buy these but I’ve also bought raw sesame at an all natural grocery (like Whole Foods) and toasted them in a skillet myeslf. Just put the heat on medium and shake the seeds around till they crack and pop a bit- cook a minute more- make sure not to burn them. 🙂
4 cloves garlic
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
2-3 green onion (or regular onion is ok too)
1-2 Tablespoons brown sugar
Mix up all the ingredients (expect the meat) and let it set about 5 minutes then pour over the meat to marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight if the meat is more tough.
Cook meat in a skillet till done. Then depending on how you cooked it, either make it into Kimbop or serve with rice.

Filipino Fish

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Well I’ve now made 3 Filipino dishes in my new Filipino kitchen and all have turned out quite well. Today we had Bangus of milk fish for dinner. This is the national fish of the Philippines and very common throughout Asia (so I’ve read).  They are very bony but you can buy them de-boned at the market.  You can also buy lives frogs
(for eating), pig heads, fish heads, and pretty much any other animal body part you might be looking for at the local market.  That’s because in the Philippines (and many many other countries around the world)  food is food- you eat it all- no waste.  So when I asked for a de- boned, filleted fish- here is what I got.

Not exactly what I was expecting- but there were no bones!! 😀  Thankfully I have a good friend whom we eat all our meals with who is not bothered by fish parts and she was able to cut the head and tails off while I waited in the other room!!  I know- I ‘m pathetic!  I’m new to eating seafood though- so I’m still a bit squeamish about it.

So we made a lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper marinade and covered the fish in chopped garlic and sliced onions.  Then we put it in the oven to broil/bake for about 20 minutes.

I also baked some small potatoes in with the fish- but need to remember to put them in a good 15-20 minutes ahead of the fish next time, depending on their size.

Remember to grease the pan or put foil down if you want to get the fish out easily.  It worked out well for us though because when we went to get the fish out of the baking dish- the skin separated right off and we just got the fish.  Perfection.  (besides having to scrub fish skin off the dish later…)  If you want a greater variety of nutrients and dinner time fun – leave the head on and eat as much as you can!   The other parts of the fish are edible and provide other nutrients you don’t get from the rest of the fish.  Personally, I’m not there yet.

Pork Adobo

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Long time no blog!  Well if for some reason you don’t know me- the last year has been crazy! Therefore, I have not blogged much over that last year and have not blogged at all in months. The reason- We just moved around the world!  We are now living in the Philippines.  We’ve been here 3 weeks and I’ve already cooked 2 Filipino meals.  One I learned from a dear Filipino-American friend and have been making it for years(pancit).  The other is brand new and is easy so I am excited to share it with you.

This is Pork Adobo.  Adobo is a style of cooking. Anything can be made “adobo” -chicken, pork, vegetables etc.. but I think the most common are chicken and pork.  I’ve seen it called the traditional meal of the Philippines.  I’m sure others may choose something else- but no matter what- it is one of the most popular.  OK the first thing you should know is that fatty meat is king here- it’s just part of the culture and they use EVERY part of the animal too- we may have eaten pig lung, heart and face last week without knowing it.  ANYWAY- this meal is made with just ordinary fatty pork.  Since  I live in the Philippines I was able to buy “Adobo Pork” so I knew I had the right cut.  It was very fatty- which is how it is supposed to be so I left a lot of fat on but I did however cut off what looked like skin.  I’m adjusting and open minded but I’m not ready for pig skin yet!  In short- you need fatty chunks of pork- or just pork chunks if you can’t handle the fat. (I wouldn’t blame you but it won’t taste as good!)  (I have a pict of the raw pork cooking so you can get an idea of what it looked like- but it is too large to upload right now on my slow internet- I may try later)

How to make it (It’s really easy- you should try it!)

I marinated half a kilo of the pork overnight in the following:

(1/2 a kilo may be like… 3/4 of a pound? I really have no clue though) It’s a marinade… so just keep it proportional and you’ll be fine!

3-5 cloves of chopped garlic

1 1/2- 2 cups soy sauce

2 tablespoons white vinegar

1 tsp pepper (however the recipe called for peppercorn if you have it)

1 tsp fish sauce (recipe called for oyster sauce)

You also need small potatoes- cut into quarters

The recipe also called for a few bay leaves – but I couldn’t find any at the grocery here

The main idea is that it is soy and vinegar- so as long as you have that- you are good.

The night before I also softened the potatoes by boiling them for about 5-10 minutes so they wouldn’t need as long to cook the next day.

The next day I poured the meat and marinade into a skillet and simmered for about 10 minutes then added the potatoes and simmered another 30 minutes (stirring frequently).  We made brown rice as a side. I’ve never had pork adobo (only chicken)  but I think this tasted REALLY good! The potatoes are particularly good because they really soak up the sauce.   I’ll have to order pork adobo at a restaurant soon to compare. However I am quite satisfied with my kitchen adventure of the evening.

Note- Since this has vinegar in it and it marinates- it smelled sour when it took it out of the marinade- I THINK this is only because of the vinegar.. I could be wrong and just ate meat that was going bad- but since it didn’t smell the night before- I think it is just the vinegar.  I just wanted to give you a heads up in case your smells weird too.  Also- fish sauce smells horrible- and even though you don’t use much- that may have been part of the smell.

Well- till next time-  Magandang Gabi!  (good evening!)

My Favorite Lunch

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The idea was sparked about 5 years ago while having dinner with our family friends who are vegetarian.  One of the many side dishes our host prepared for us was a tomato, cucumber, feta and mayonnaise salad. I fell in love.  I never realized how good feta cheese was and paired with the juicy cherry tomatoes and crisp cucumber- it was a match made in heaven.   I began making this dish for myself and still enojy eating it in the summer in the heat of the harvest. However it has also morphed into an addition recipe- tomato-feta tuna salad.   I came up with this one day when we were out of green olives (what I grew up putting in my tuna salad).  Here is what the recipe consists of today:

1 can tuna (in water is my personal preference)

handful of cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered

1-3 Tablespoons Hellman’s Mayonaise

1-2 Tablespoons crumbled feta cheese

Mix all items together. Enjoy with or without crackers- it is delicious either way!

You can also add cucumber chunks and basil leaves. 🙂 

Amazing Pizza

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 My mom came for church and lunch this Sunday. For lunch we decided to make individual pizzas because it would be quick, easy and we could all have what we wanted.  I had been dreaming about making this pizza for that last 24 hours, since I had gone grocery shopping and bought Kalmata olives, feta cheese and fresh mozzarella.  The entire time we were assembling the ingredients and pizza I could not stop saying how excited I was about the pizza I was making. I’m sure I was driving my mother crazy, thankfully she loves me and can tolerate my love for food.  The pizza above is mine.  For this one I started with a slice of Arnold’s 100 calorie whole wheat sandwich thins and topped it with: homemade pizza sauce (just thinned tomato paste, sprinkle of brown sugar and herbs), fresh parmesan cheese, fresh mozzarella cheese, feta cheese, sauteed baby portabella mushrooms, orange pepper, fresh garlic, and fresh basil. It was absolutly delicious! I had just read this article by some famous chef in a magazine about making good pizza and how you should’t overload it with toppings… well I’m not sure I agree. I love toppings and sauces and this hit the spot. Delicious!  My husband was not quite as adventurous. Pesto, feta, parmesean and basil-tomato chunks with fresh basil on top. Still quite tasty.

Mom was adventurous like me. That must be where I get my adventurous spirit from. 🙂

Having just a handful of fresh ingredients on hand can add up to numerous different combinations of meals. I’ve made 3 meals with almost all the same ingredients this week and every one has been totally different.