Nov 8, 2015

Cyndrel loves to cook (Vol. 2)



Hey ya!

It's been a while since I posted something about my kitchen adventures, haha! Well, somehow I'm still kidding myself that I can REALLY overhaul my eating habits. I do have a lot of relapses, but, in my lousy attempt to 'stick with the plan', I'd like to share with you my latest healthy-ish recipes.

First one, is a simplified version of Chop Suey or stir fried veggies. 'Chop Suey' is apparently an American-Chinese dish. I'm not quite sure how and when it became popular in the Philippines but this dish is something you would normally see in restaurants or eateries around here. For the Philippine version, it is basically made of different kinds of vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, snow peas, young corn, a little bit of meat and sometimes it is served with quail eggs.

Here's my version of it, haha!


Cyndrel's version!

Ingredients:

2 small heads of broccoli (cut into flowerettes) 
2 small heads of cauliflower (cut into flowerettes)
1 medium white onion (diced)
1 green & 1 red bell pepper (diced)
3-4 cloves of chopped garlic
about 1/2 cup of oyster sauce
about 1/2 cup water
2-3 tbsps. cooking oil
salt and pepper to taste


If you are wondering how to cut broccoli & cauliflower into flowerettes, click here.

How to cook:
1. Heat the oil in a frying pan. Saute' garlic and onion. Add in broccoli then cauliflower. Stir fry the veggies in high fire.


2. Add in the bell peppers and other seasonings. I sometimes add Knorr Shrimp cubes when I make chop suey since I don't usually add meat to it.


3. Add a little water to it, depending on how thick you want the sauce to be. Let it simmer but make sure not to overcook the veggies. Remember that veggies are best eaten half-cooked (or not at all).

tada! 
This makes 1-2 servings. You can eat it with rice or on its own if you really are on a hardcore diet!

The next one here is actually an hors d' oeuvre. It's very simple; basically, you'll just be using fresh ingredients and cut them into bite-sized pieces.


Tomato, cheese and pesto!

Ingredients:
any bread as a base (pan de sal, French bread, focaccia, pita)
freshly sliced tomatoes 
sliced or grated cheese (use quick melt cheese if you'd like to toast it a bit in an oven)
Olive oil
pesto (homemade or bottled ones from stores)



How to prepare it:

1. Cut the bread in half (if you are using a think one). Put about 1-2 tablespoonful of pesto mix on each half of the bread.
2. Add cheese on top of it, then 1 or 2 slices of tomato. Heat it for about a minute or two in an oven toaster just to warm it up before you eat it. Add a bit of olive oil with every bite if you're crazy like me!

Okay, so, I mentioned that you can either use a homemade pesto or the bottled ones from stores. I used to buy pesto mix/sauce before but ever since I got my own food processor/blender, I seldom buy the ready made ones anymore. First of all, it's much cheaper if you'll make your own! Second of all, making your own pesto from scratch will definitely inflate your ego! Haha! When I was in Manila, I used to combine spinach and basil. I used more spinach since it's a bit cheaper. But one of the reasons why I moved up here in Baguio is that the vegetables and basically all kinds of food are much more affordable. One fortunate day, I found this store in a narrow alley that sells P20 worth of basil leaves for a whole plastic bag. I shit you not when I say I freaked out and panicked, I almost wanted to buy an entire sack! So, I wanna share with you my very own basil pesto.


Basil pesto

What you'll need:

1 bulb/knob of garlic
1/2 cup of olive oil
fresh basil leaves
a few tablespoons of water

You'll also need: A blender/Food processor

How to prepare:
1. Peel every single clove of garlic. Wash the basil leaves under tap water.
2. If you are using a blender, blend the garlic first in the food processor. Use just half of it.
3. Add some basil leaves a bit of olive oil and water. Blend again until the ingredients look more like a sauce. Add the remaining garlic, basil leaves and oil until you have used up all your ingredients.
4. Keep it in a bottle or plastic container but make sure to add more olive oil on top of the mixture before sealing it. If you keep it in a fridge, it could last up to 7 days.

You can use pesto as a dip (with mayonnaise or cream) or as a pasta sauce. I love pesto so much I might need a separate blog post just to share the food that I have tried to make using PESTO.

Up next is an oil-based penne pasta. I DID NOT use ready-made tomato sauce for this dish.


Herb, garlic and tomato pasta!

Ingredients:

250 grams penne pasta
8 to 10 medium tomatoes
3-4 cloves of garlic
1 pack of McCormick Herb & Garlic mix
Olive oil
cheese

How to cook:
1. Cook pasta according to instructions, drain it well and set it aside.
2. Heat 2 tbsps of oil in a large pan. Saute garlic and tomatoes.
3. Add the cooked pasta and mix it well under low fire. Add in 1 pack of McCormick Herb & Garlic mix and olive oil. Remove from heat.
4. Top it with cheese and serve!



The last one that I want to share is actually just a dip. I just got tired of eating crackers on its own so I gave my snack a little twist. It's a healthy snack whether you are on a diet or on a budget!

Crackers, cheese and a healthy dip!
Ingredients:

crackers
slices of cheese
1 small can of corned beef
1 small white onion (diced)
1 small pouch of tomato sauce
1 tbsp cooking oil

How to cook:
1. Heat the oil in a pan; saute' onions and corned beef.
2. Add tomato sauce and let it simmer for a few minutes. Use it as a dip for crackers or any unsweetened bread.

When I think of tomato sauce, I always think about the advertisement I used to hear on TV when I was a kid. "Tomato has lycopene, it's good for the heart! Yada yada yada..."

With the recipes I have shared today, would you believe that once upon a time I HATED TOMATOES? I guess that advertisement did a very good job in turning me into a tomato-eating little monster. It took me a long time to finally let tomato in my life. Now that I have learned to love it, I somehow regret the years I've spent not eating it. I could have had a better skin by now had I started eating tomatoes at an early age. But, better late than never! I hope this post was helpful for you, feel free to try the simple recipes here and I'll try to post some more soon!

Happy eating!

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