Creamy Chicken Macaroni Soup for Dinner

Albeit a hot, humid weather, my family and I were craving for chicken sopas. The epicure in me took this craving as a challenge and opportunity to cook creamy macaroni chicken soup or sopas for the very first time. o______o

I can imagine I’m as good as Rachel Ray, but it doesn’t change the fact that I’m still a very amateur cook. 😐 Thus I borrowed a  chicken sopas recipe I found in Pinoy Recipe. (Chicken sopas is a Filipino comfort food)

Ingredients:

  • 500 g chicken breast
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 white onions (minced) I used red onions; it still tastes good!
  • 1 large bell pepper (seeded and sliced into strips)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 carrots (sliced into thin strips)
  • 350 g macaroni noodles
  • 2 cups evaporated milk
  • 1 medium cabbage (roughly shredded)
  • 2 Tbsp margarine
  • fish sauce / patis
  • rock salt
  • chopped spring onions (didn’t use this!)
Procedure:
  1. Boil the chicken in 4 cups water. Save the broth to be used later. 
  2. Shred the Chicken meat with your fingers. Set aside.
  3. Saute garlic and onion in oil over medium heat.
  4. Add the bell pepper and cook until aromatic.
  5. Stir in the shredded chicken.
  6. Season lightly with ground black pepper.
  7. Add the carrots, a quick sauté then the macaroni. Give it a stir to get the fat all around the pasta.
  8. Pour in the chicken broth and 5 cups water. Simmer.
  9. Pour in the milk, stirring gently.
  10. Add the cabbage. From this point, the macaroni and the cabbage will cook at about the same time.
  11. Add the margarine.
  12. Season with patis or salt.
Voila! According to my family plus our kasambahay (house helper), my dish was a success! I would like to thank our kasambahay, Ate Anne, for helping me transfer the ingredients from one casserole to another, stir the sopas, and come up with just the right and pleasing taste for the buds. 🙂 I am so thankful and happy for the success of this dish! 😀 I wish you could taste it, but with your wide and extensive imagination, you could probably “taste the sopas in your dreams.” 😀
Unfortunately I did not take photos of us sipping and enjoying our bowls of sopas, but take my word for it when I said that we all enjoyed our meal. 🙂 I don’t mean to brag, but I am confident that I will excel in this skill and passion of mine, that is, cooking. 🙂 If you have any favorite recipes that you want me to try, please tell me! Send the file to talamjenny@gmail.com or send me the link via a comment. I’ll never stop cooking and learning how to improve in doing so. 😀
Until the next cook-off! 🙂

I Left My Heart (and Stomach) in Balay Indang

Two days ago my family and I, along with my paternal grandmother and aunt, visited a unique and beautiful house in Indang, Cavite. Just 90 minutes from Manila (although it took us 2 and a half hours to get there), Balay Indang (“House of Indang”) or The Red Ginger Farm is a Filipino/Asian-inspired,  bed-and-breakfast destination.

went immediately to the dining area to eat. FOOD is the best welcomer ever, if I must say 🙂

baked Parmesan fish is love! 🙂 I ate gobs of it. It was that good!

twas my first time to see and touch records. 🙂

I love surprises. Balay Indang gave me this the moment I stepped inside her wooden gate. As you saw in the photos, the interior was decorated contrarily: Christian places all over and Buddhist statues inside the living room. However, that to me was no surprise compared to what awaited us at the dining table. Since we left our own balay early, my family and I (except for the golden ladies :D) had no time for breakfast. Thankfully, a Balay rule accommodated our physical needs: upon arrival (which should be reserved, by the way; they don’t accept walk-ins), breakfast/lunch/dinner is served immediately. Although your right in choosing what to eat is deprived of you inside their home, the amiable staff have already prepared delicious meals that would pull your heartstrings. The best part about it is all ulam (viands) are refillable, so in effect, meals are eat-all-you-can! 🙂 The Balay Indang menu varies everyday so that each visit would be unique on its own. As I mentioned earlier in a caption, I fell in love with the baked Parmesan fish! What seemed to be the “crust” of the cheese tasted like the fish’s belly (or maybe it really was the fish’s belly) and it just made my jaw drop in awe. The salad (not pictured) was simple yet tasty because of the nuts and finely grated Parmesan cheese. The dalandan-orange drink was also very refreshing and natural for it was made out of real dalandan and orange, squeezed and mixed to perfection by the staff.

After lunch we toured the rooms. Each room, named after a Bible character, was designed to accommodate 4-6 people and was spacious enough to move around and play board games (I can imagine my brothers and I playing Monopoly Deal and Pictionary). We did not check-in (boo) so we just went to the Pavillion and relaxed our afternoon away (for me that meant a siesta). =)) Come 3 PM merienda (afternoon snack)  was served. Our perpetually hungry family ate mini buko pies and bread topped with pesto, cream and shrimp. 😀 More memorable photos were shot and snapped before we said our goodbyes and wished the place success (we weren’t the only customers, by the way).

Balay Indang (The Red Ginger Farm and Garden)

88 Mahabang Kahoy Cerca

0917-8374261 or 0917-8665825

PLDT number: 775-6886

Search For The Sage and My First Dish for 2011

After I dropped by school to submit my notebook filler and confirm my acceptance in my course (go IMC!),  I headed to Rustan’s Supermarket and shopped for my first ever dish for 2011!!

Unfortunately, my parents brought our two cameras with them so I had no recording device to chronicle today’s adventure. Nevertheless, it was fun!

I was thankful our pantry contained most of the ingredients I needed, so I bought all the things I lacked. After grabbing two cans of tuna in oil and a block of cheese (can you guess what I’m trying to make?), I headed to the vegetables section. I searched for sage leaves, but unfortunately, the supermarket ran out of stocks. Since I was just repeating a recipe I cooked last year in my Home Economics class in high school, I decided to head home and buy the sage leaves where I bought the leaves then: at Puregold. Or so I thought.

When I asked the crew for sage leaves, they said the supermarket sold no product. That’s when I realized my mistake. Last year, I bought sage leaves from Shopwise, not Puregold!

I hopped on board another jeep and got down at Pasong Tamo, about 250 meters away from Shopwise. It was already two in the afternoon when I reached Pasong Tamo. I could have ridden a jeepney to the supermarket, but I opted to walk so that I could exercise. 😉 When I arrived at Shopwise, I hurried to the vegetables section and searched for sage leaves, only to find out that…

they were not there either!! 😐

I really wanted to cook today so I made up my mind to substitute basil with sage. Later I learned that I should have bought thyme or rosemary instead. Anyway, the cooking sites I visited assured me that basil would be a fine substitute so I used it in my recipe.

So what is my recipe? Wanting to use the whole wheat spaghetti noodles I bought last year, I decided to cook Yummy magazine’s Tuna Fettucine in Brown Butter Sauce. Due to budget and ingredient availability constraints, I modified the recipe. Thus, Whole Wheat Spaghetti With Tuna, Basil and Butter Sauce was born! Here is the recipe, including the brands I used for the ingredients.

Ingredients (with the actual measurements I used)

500 grams whole wheat spaghetti noodles

6 tablespoons Queensland butter

16 dried basil leaves

4 cans Century Tuna in vegetable oil

4 tablespoons (squares) Knorr chicken cubes

6 tablespoons Queso (Parmesan cheese would have been better, but I had a tight budget)

salt and pepper to taste (this I did not have to use)

Procedures

  1. Cook noodles according to package directions.
  2. Melt butter over medium-low heat. Add and stir sage, cooking until butter is dark amber in color. Set aside sage leaves once they curl up.
    Toss in tuna.
  3. Add stock to butter, followed by pasta and cheese. Toss to coat. Add some pasta water if sauce is too dry.
  4. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with cooked basil leaves and top with more cheese.

Notes

  • Unfortunately for me, the packager forgot to type or intentionally neglected typing an English translation of the directions (it was all Italiano!). I boiled water (1/2-3/4 of the pot) then added 3 teaspoons salt. Afterwards, I added the noodles. I boiled the noodles for 10 minutes only to find out that the time was not enough. If you’re using whole wheat pasta, cook them for 2-3 minutes longer because of their hard texture.
  • Drain the tuna cans of their oil! 🙂
  • If you’re not using Parmesan cheese, make sure that you dissolve the cheese well.

I present to you, my first dish for 2011! Bon appetit!

In spite of the slightly undercooked noodles (but soft enough to be chewed), my pasta received heartwarming praises from my family members! Note: they are not biased, especially my parents! :)) Haha!

“Good! It’s a little salty for me and the noodles should be cooked more, but the taste is delicious! Pwedeng pang restaurant. Your grade is 94 over 100.” – Jean J. Talam

“Yummy! Almost perfect!” – Ferdie Talam

“Your dish is irresistible.” – Joshua Talam 🙂

YAY! I can’t wait to have more gastronomic adventures! What should I cook next? I’m thinking of a Mediterranean dish or an amalgamation of Italian and Filipino ingredients. In the summer, I’m definitely making coconut-avocado ice cream. Watch out for that! 😀

Life Through My Father’s Lenses

Recently,  my Dad bought a Canon 70D. Just like any guy, Dad is crazy over his new toy. The good thing about him is that when he pours his heart out to master and enjoy a certain craft, he yields wonderful results. He’s been photographing people, places and things for about 2 weeks now and yet they look professional! 🙂  I am so proud of him (even if he takes candid pictures of me in my pambahay clothes) because I know that he can use this newfound interest not just to make money (which he plans to do), but to capture the beauty in God’s wonderful creation and give the Creator His deserved credit. 🙂

*all the photos were taken and edited by Ferdie Talam (I took one of my Dad’s photos, the one where he’s wearing black. haha)

Golden tinapa at Pancake House

Manila Bay

Welch’s wine in plastic cups

my adorable brother James 🙂 he’s such a cutie

josh feelin’ his cardboard friend

poor cat eating off the leftover palabok 😦

 

Mom and her bunso 🙂

gwapo 😉

Tay at Nay

 

2 Rangos and a Beans 🙂 (from the animated film Rango)

The photos are arranged chronologically (except for the Canon 70D, courtesy of Google Images):

1-2.  taken by Dad after work 2 weeks ago

3.  last Thursday during the family Bible study (which I missed :|)

4-8. Two Sundays ago at Bigby’s and SM Cinema in Megamall

9. Two Saturdays ago at Pizza Hut (Robinson’s, I guess. I wasn’t there either)

10-14. Max’s Megamall and the lobby of The Podium

I shall study photography very soon, right after HELL WEEK (which is actually this week). By the way, I just want to thank God for exempting me from my chem finals which, according to our professor, is really difficult. Woohoo! Even more good news: my Christian Civilization prof cancelled our exam this Friday because she was already exhausted from checking too many papers. HAHA! 😀 Only 4 more exams to go courtesy of Math and Theology.

And now for the best photo of the bunch! I saved the most gwapo for last. I love you Daddeh!  Good night!

Run It!

Last November, I signed myself in running class to fulfill my requirement for P.E. In spite being the only member of our block to sign up for that class and the fact that it starts at 7:30 A.M. every Monday and Thursday, I still opted for it. I feared volleyball (surprisingly) and preferred to travel early morning (when there’s less traffic) than to rush for my 9 A.M. strength training class (considering my ever faithful vehicle, the MRT going northbound, was a human sardine-like can from 8 to 10 A.M).  I never regretted that decision.

Running is so simple and cheap you actually don’t need a class to study it. However in school,  you have to require an activity for students to feel compelled to attend the class regardless of their feelings. I also believe that a formal class was (and still is) necessary so that the coach can assess and take note of the students’ progresses. I am thankful for Coach Lei Mangubat who was very patient with all of us. 🙂 Although there were times when I felt like sleeping longer on Monday morning instead of running, I enjoyed the running sessions and felt energized afterwards (my brain cells were exercising their muscles for my next class:  CHEM. @_@)

Last Sunday, my classmates and I culminated our running class by joining a fun run hosted by the Philippine Daily Inquirer. This run celebrated the 25 years of the prominent newspaper company. However, we still have classes until the 2nd or 3rd week of March. But who cares?! 😀 If running sessions in Ortigas were a-okay, this run is epic. At least for me. Even if I finished quite late (40 minutes), I am determined to beat my record soon.  The run was my first and by far longest run considering that I’m not that much of a runner (even as a child!) and I only started running seriously last November. The strength that kept me going emanated from the loving heart of my Fathers–Heavenly and earthly–and my Mom.  They supported me all the way: from the training, to the fee,  to the early morning ride to the venue, to the shoes and my companion, Nathaniel Stefan (a.k.a. iPod shuffle. My gadgets have guy names. HAHA!) I am so blessed! Thanks, Dads and Mom!

Here are some pictures from the run at Bonifacio High Street.

Runner 5519

Kailangan talaga nakapikit. haha! 🙂 Side kwento (story): After 39 minutes of running, I was so tired and my legs burned like crazy; but when I saw the digital clock by the finish line several feet away, I ran as quickly as I could, parang kotseng nasa 5th gear sa SLEX. Haha!

with classmates Fatima and France

with my Dadday

(L-R) Coach Lei, Ivy, France, Olivia, Ja and Fatima 🙂 too bad we’re incomplete in the picture! 😐

the winning pose 😀

By the way, I would like to thank the following sponsors:

Adidas, for my shoes and jogging pants

Apples  – one for my ears (iPod shuffle) and  the other for my stomach :))

Mizuno – for the singlet (the sleeveless jersey)

Nature Valley – for the yummy treat after the run: Granola bar with dark chocolate and nuts! 🙂

Powerade – the much needed colored fluid after the run

P.S.: I was so inspired by this run that I willingly woke up early this morning at 5:30 AM to run! Hope early morning running becomes one of my habits 😀