Tinolang Manok

Pronounced: Tee-no-long mah-noke. 

I have been blessed that my husband is such a terrific cook, and sous chef. After serving in the Philippines for 2 years he came home with a love for the people, culture, and especially the food. Over time we have been cooking more of the recipes that he loved when he was living there, and this particular recipe has been made, remade, and tweaked to be the delicious recipe it is now. My almost 1 year-old son gobbled it up, and fussed when it was all gone. I love finding happiness through food in items that are peculiar to the American kitchen- like the chayote. We do not have any problem finding the chayote in your average grocery store, though you can substitute a green papaya if you like. My husband does not like their flavor and prefers the chayote, and I agree. It is a squash that doesn’t taste overly squashy, if that is a real term. We substituted the fish sauce for soy sauce, which is used in place of salt, and adds a little more flavor. If you are looking for a meal that is new to your routine then give this a try. You will not be disappointed. 

Tinolang Manok

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces

1 medium red onion, finely chopped

5 garlic cloves, minced

.3 lbs ginger, peeled, bruised, and chopped into large pieces

A few Tbs. of canola oil

26 oz. chicken stock (1 box)

14 oz. chicken broth

soy sauce, as desired

2 large or 3 medium chayote, peeled, removing the pit and surrounding white part from the center, and cubed

a couple handfuls of baby spinach, washed

white rice, cooked

  • Heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and saute a couple minutes, until beginning to be translucent. Add in the garlic and saute for about 30 seconds, after which add the ginger. Saute together until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the chicken pieces, and desired amount of sea salt and pepper. Cook the chicken until it is done, aprox. 3 minutes, and add a dash or two of soy sauce, stock and broth. Bring to a boil, put a lid on it and turn the heat on a low setting. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Add in the chayote, turn the heat up to medium, recover the pot and cook until the chayote is soft, about 15 minutes.
  • Stir in the baby spinach and turn the heat off. Scoop out the pieces of ginger, and serve over white rice.

From our kitchen to yours.


Chicken Chili Verde

Updated 11/11 for a spicier, and not too clumpy, chili. Leave out the serrano chilies if you do not want a spicy chili. The spice level is not that hot, but more tongue tingly. 

Do you want to eat a delicious and tangy chili, different from any chili you have ever eaten? Good, then this recipe should be on your menu for next week. If you don’t, then I cannot help you. This chili is delightful, tangy, and straight-up yummy. There is no terrific story behind this recipe. I found it in the recent issue of Southern Living and I knew I had to make it. My husband only likes Chicken and White Bean chili because it has no base of tomato sauce, and when I saw this one knowing how much he loves making salsa verde I had a feeling it would be a hit. If I was not also cooking if for my parents we would have added a couple Serrano peppers, to add some heat. Although if we had done that I would not have been able to feed it to my son, and he loved it! He just loves food that comes from our plate and is not baby food. Such a little man, even at his age. 

Chicken Chili Verde

3 C. chicken, cooked and chopped*

14 tomatillos (about 3 lbs), rinsed with husks removed

3 garlic cloves

1 large chicken bouillon cube

3 C. water

1 large onion, chopped

2 Tbs. olive oil

2-3 poblano peppers

3 serrano chilies

1 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. cumin

2 (15 oz.) cans great northern white beans

2 (15 oz.) can pinto beans

3 Tbs. lemon juice

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

*I used 8 drumsticks, cooked them for a few hours in the crock pot, mostly on low, covering them with water to prevent the tops from overcooking, and add a light sprinkling of salt. I took the cooked meat and chopped it up for the soup. Cooking dark meat in the crock pot is a perfect way (not to mention easy) of cooking chicken for soups and stews. 

  • In a large pot bring the tomatillos and next 3 ingredients to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes, uncovered, until the tomatillos are soft.
  • Meanwhile, put the olive oil into a dutch oven over medium heat. Add in the peppers and cook for a few minutes before adding the onion. Cook for around 10 minutes, until they are soft. Take off the heat and process in a food processor. Put back into the dutch oven.
  • Puree the tomatillos with some of the broth, until smooth. If you want a runnier broth use all of the water. I left about 3/4 C. of liquid when I pureed the tomatillos so it would be a thicker chili. 
  • Add the pureed tomatillos into the dutch oven with the peppers and onion. Turn the heat onto medium and add in the chicken, beans, spices, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Cook for 15 minutes over medium, stirring infrequently. 
  • This dish can be served with shredded monterey jack or cheddar cheese, avocados, and fresh, crunchy tortilla chips. 

Adapted from Southern Livings Chicken-and-Three-Bean Chili Verde. 

Cheese & Broccoli Soup

Autumn is the perfect time to start making yummy soups, and this has always been one of my favorites, though in the past the best I could do was open a can of it in condensed form, which is never very satisfactory. I modified the liquid in this recipe, since I find that too much milk in this soup make it taste funny; the more broth the better. So I amped up the broth, toned down the milk, and increased the cheese. Honestly I could have added cream cheese, but this is at least a start to having a recipe for this soup that I want to make more than one time. My baby boy adored it and ate it in large quantities, which is good since neither my husband or daughter liked it.

Cheese and Broccoli Soup

2 3/4 C. chicken broth

1 onion, diced small

1/4 C. butter

1/3 C. all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1 1/3 C. milk, warmed 1 min. in microwave

2 C. shredded cheddar cheese

3 C. chopped broccoli, steamed until tender

4 oz. cream cheese, softened

  • In a large pot or dutch oven bring the chicken broth to a boil with the onions in it. Turn the temperature down to simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the onion is soft.
  • Meanwhile steam the broccoli and set aside.
  • In a small pot melt the butter. Add in the flour and next 2 ingredients and stir over medium heat for a couple of minutes until smooth. Whisk in the heated milk and stir until smooth and thickened. Pour this mixture into the chicken broth and onions and combine. Add in the cheese, stirring until the cheese is completely melted in, and the broccoli.
  • Process the hot soup mixture, being super careful not to overfill in the blender, blending until smooth. Return to the pot and mix in the softened cream cheese. Serve warm with more shredded cheese on top, if desired.

Adapted from Melskichencafe.com’s recipe for Broccoli Cheese soup.  

What to do with a Cold Baked Potato

Have you ever wondered what to do with a cold baked potato? There are almost always some left over from a dinner involving baked potatoes hot from the oven that get stuck in the refrigerator afterwards, but do you ever use them? I love having leftover cold potatoes because it means that I can make hot country-style hash browns for lunch the next day. I take the potato, skin and all, and slice them in half. Then I turn the halves over, flat side on the cutting board, cut them in half and each of the halves into half. Then I start at one end and slice them up into fairly small pieces, cutting down any piece that might be too large, depending on the thickness of the potato. I leave on some of the skin, while taking out pieces of skin that have already fallen off of the potato. I also dice up an onion, usually red, and get about 3 Tbs. butter melting in a skillet over medium/med.high heat. Once the butter is melted I add the onion and start that cooking for a couple minutes, and then add in my potatoes, seasoning with salt and pepper as desired. It takes about 10-15 minutes to get a good crust, flipping often enough to brown the potatoes and get a nice crust, while not burning the hash. I love the ease of making and the yumminess of this hash served with eggs over medium. What do you do with a cold baked potato?

Easy Skillet Baked Apples

Pancakes for dinner is one of our favorite meals, and so easy. It is normally our Sunday evening after church meal, though yesterday my husband made a fabulous crock pot roast, so we decided that since we have been cooking a few heavier meals lately we would go light tonight. I pulled this apple topping idea from a Tyler Florence recipe on foodnetwork.com, and it was amazing on top of our blueberry pancakes. I was just lucky enough to have freshly picked apples from a nearby farm to use. 

Easy Skillet Baked Apples

4 Golden Delicious Apples

1/3 C. maple syrup (the real stuff!)

1/4 C. butter

  • Preheat the oven to 400°.
  • Peel the apples, cut them into thirds or fourths, take out the core and seeds, and slice. With the apple cut in thirds I was able to get 4-5 slices per piece.
  • Melt the butter and mix in the maple syrup. Add the apples and combine. 
  • Bake for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apples are super soft and starting to caramelize. 

Barely adapted from Tyler Florence’s Roasted Golden Delicious apples. 

Linguine with Basil, Tomato and Cream Cheese Sauce

We have already made this recipe twice since discovering it last week. It’s a hit with the whole family. 🙂

Linguine with Basil, Tomato and Cream Cheese Sauce

1 box of linguine

1 pint grape tomatoes

olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

8 oz. cream cheese

4 tsp. minced garlic (4-5 cloves)

1 14.5 oz can of chicken broth

1 C. chopped fresh basil*

juice of 1 lemon

*I only had a small amount of fresh basil, so I also added a couple tsp. of dried basil

  • Get the pot of water heating on the stovetop. Make sure to salt the water before the pasta goes in. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package, though for best results you should try to time the pasta to be done at the same time the sauce is finished so that you can drain the pasta, butter it thoroughly and put it right into the sauce in the pan.
  • Over Medium heat get the a few teaspoons of olive oil hot and add in the tomatoes. Cook, stirring regularly, until the tomatoes start to cook and burst slightly. Once they are finished put them into a bowl and set aside.
  • Add the garlic into the pan and cook briefly before adding in the chicken broth. Turn down to low and scrape all the bit off the bottom.
  • Soften the cream cheese in the microwave for about 1 minute. Stir a little of the hot broth into the cream cheese and stir. Then incorporate all the cream cheese into the broth. Once it is all whisked in add in the lemon juice and fresh basil, as well as the cooked tomatoes. (If adding dried basil add in with the chicken broth).
  • Finish by putting all the pasta into the sauce and stir to combine.

We really enjoy this pasta with a grilled chicken breast and focaccia, which recipe I will post soon.

Slightly adapted from Our Best Bites. I do plan on trying this recipe with the zucchini, however ours have not ripened yet, so I will have to try it soon. 

Bacon and Cheese Frittata

This recipe was dinner last night. It was an easy meal night, an eggy kind of night, so the original plan was bacon omelets. I was not to keen on the thought of having to make individual omelets, especially since we were not sure who was going to be eating with us. I thought of changing the meal to a frittata; I had never made one before, though I knew it couldn’t be too difficult. I looked at a variety of recipes to get the sense of making one. I love dishes where you can add or subtract anything you want except the eggs. Both my husband and I do not like sausage very much, so I thought why not make a bacon frittata? Mmm, bacon! It is basically the omelet that I was going to have to make individually, and now it was a dish I could cut into slices to serve. Plus, it’s always a bonus to be able to go directly from the stovetop into the oven; I have really been enjoying the stainless steel pots and pans. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, or any time in-between is a good time to eat a frittata. Especially when it has bacon in it. 

Bacon and Cheese Frittata

2 Tbs. butter

12 eggs

1/2 C. milk

1/2 packaged bacon, cooked and crumbled

salt & pepper to taste

1 3/4 C. sharp cheddar cheese, grated

1 medium onion, chopped small

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • In the same pan that you cooked the bacon in (preferably oven safe), after draining out most of the fat, heat to medium heat, adding in the butter until melted and cook the onion. I cooked mine until it was delightfully soft, but not caramelized, though it was still too cooked for my husband’s sensitive-to-sweet tastebuds. Next time I’ll cook them less, just because I love him. 
  • Beat the eggs with the milk, and salt and pepper. Pour part of this onto the cooked onions, add the crumbled bacon and cheese, and pour the remainder of the egg mixture over that. 
  • Cook on the stovetop pulling back the sides to allow uncooked egg to run to the bottom. 
  • Transfer the pan from the stovetop into the oven to cook for about 25 minutes, until the egg is set and fully cooked.

Breaded Chicken with Lemon-Garlic Sauce

The first time we made this dish it became an instant classic, added to the list of will-make-regularly, if not once a week. It takes a pretty exceptional recipe to go on this list. Especially with my husband being so particular about dishes that he truly loves (and is able to eat). If he loves it, it is worth making again. In all reality he has been the chef of this dish, too, though I look forward to making it for him myself. Many of the ingredient amounts in this recipe are approximate because my husband is a cook-by-feel man (unless it is a baking oriented recipe, i.e. cookies, pretzels, cakes), so this dish ends up being much more saucy than the recipe we are modeling it off of.

We like to pound the chicken thin. Not only does it help with cooking more evenly, not to mention quicker, but it makes it very tender, and still serves 4 adults (+ some leftovers). Most of the time we cut the amount of boneless, skinless chicken breast in half, if not more than half. Almost always we find ways to stretch 1-2 (at most) chicken breasts. Pounding out the meat we are old school and still pounding with a rolling pin. One of these days we will have a meat mallet; for the time being we are just going to have to be creative. Note: this is not a normal breaded meat. Because the outside layer is a lot of egg and cheese it ends up having a very eggy texture and flavor. We love eggs in our house, so this is not a problem, however if you are not a fan you might not like this recipe.

Breaded Chicken with Lemon-Garlic Sauce

2 boneless skinless chicken breast, pounded thin (approx. 1/2″)

Flour, salt and pepper

4 eggs, beaten

1 C. fresh grated parmesan

1 Tbs. olive oil + 1 Tbs. butter

1 stick butter

2 heaping Tbs. minced garlic

1/4-1/2 C. lemon juice (bottled)

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350°.
  • Pound 2 chicken breast thin. We always put the chicken in-between plastic wrap and then pound it out. Combine about 1/2 C. flour, with salt and pepper to taste, and dredge the chicken breast, one at a time. My husband uses a quart sized zip-loc bag for this step.
  • Combine the beaten eggs and parmesan cheese. Take the chicken out of the flour mixture and completely cover with the egg mixture. You can start with 3 eggs in the pan and after coating the first piece add the 4th egg. The original recipe calls for 3 eggs, but we find a 4th is always necessary after the first coating. 
  • The oil and butter should have been getting nice and hot over medium heat on the stovetop. Once it is ready and the butter is melted place 1 chicken breast in the pan. (Our pans are only big enough to hold one breast at a time after it is pounded out.) Cook for 2 minutes per side, just to get the outside a beautiful golden brown. Place chicken in a 13 by 9 pan and cook 2nd piece of chicken. You may need to add a little bit more butter to the hot pan for that 2nd piece. 
  • After adding that 2nd piece of golden brown chicken to the waiting 13 by 9 pan, make the sauce. Into the hot pan put the stick of butter. (This makes a lot of sauce, which we love, though you could cut it in half.) When that has melted add the garlic and lemon juice (as much or as little as desired). Cook over Medium- Med. Low heat for a few minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan, and allowing the flavors to marry. 
  • When the sauce is done pour over the chicken. 
  • Cook in the oven for 20 minutes, until the chicken is completely cooked. 
  • Serve over thin spaghetti, or potatoes, or rice, or anything you like. 

Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Grilled Margherita Pizza

It has been seriously hot here lately, so we have not done pizza in the oven on the stone because the mere thought of heating the oven to 500° makes me sweat. We are, thankfully, in an air conditioned house; nevertheless we have an eat-in kitchen here and I do not want to eat in that kind of heat. So, after watching a 3 minute clip on our On Demand where Bobby Flay grills his pizza on his outdoor grill we wanted to give it a shot. After a couple of tries my husband perfected the technique of grilling the pizza dough.

The dough recipe I have been using is in the book The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart, so I will not post the recipe on my blog, but encourage you to buy the book or check it out from your local library, like I did. The dough is easily made the night before, cut into 6 pieces to pre-ferment, and you can just take out the amount you want a few hours beforehand, practice tossing it (my husband is getting pretty good at that trick) and then roll it thin. With the crust you actually cook it completely on the grill on both sides, take it off, put the next crust on (if your grill is smaller like ours is), get the pizza assembled on the cooked dough, and then take off the cooked crust and put the pizza back on the grill on a sheet to melt the cheese. 

This pizza is so good that I do not miss the tomato sauce, or pepperoni! The crust is so thin and almost cracker-y, the ingredients are so fresh and delightful, that this pizza is a complete meal! I am looking forward to trying this dough on the stone in the oven, but for the summertime this is going to be our go-to pizza. 

Grilled Margherita Pizza

Mozzarella (you can use fresh, but we have been using the pre-shredded kind)

Fresh basil, torn into pieces

Ripe tomatoes (any size or variety you choose)


salt and pepper

Pizza Crust (our last batch had 1/2 C. of buckwheat flour and the rest was King Arthur bread flour)

  • Preheat the grill.
  • Cook the crust for a couple of minutes on both sides. Cooking time will depend on your grill and the temperature. It does not take long to get those beautiful grill marks so just watch it carefully.
  • Assemble the pizza on the cooked crust by brushing it with the evoo, cheese, then fresh tomato slices, and salt and pepper. 
  • Place the pizza onto a sheet pan and cook for another couple of minutes until the cheese is melted.
  • Sprinkle with fresh basil and serve!