Creamy Cheesy Pasta

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This is my take on mac and cheese. Instead of macaroni elbows, I prefer rotini as I like how the swirls hold the creamy cheesy sauce, and not to mention that it looks much better than the elbows! I used my 3 favorite cheese to make the sauce: brie, smoked gouda and of course, white cheddar cheese. The combination of those three is so perfectly delicious and sumptuous. I don’t think you can ever go wrong in any pasta recipe when using those three cheese. I guarantee you, this is sooooo much better than the boxed mac and cheese!

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Ginger Cake/ Gingerbread Cake

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I’ve never had ginger cake before. I often read it in historical books and I wondered, what does a ginger cake taste like? I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to find in any bakeries around my area. I did my research on this, and most of the time, the recipes I saw are gingerbread cakes. I’m still not sure what’s the difference between the two, as they both almost have the same ingredients.

The recipe I have is adapted from April Bloomfield’s recipe, although I tweaked it a little bit. The cake is moist and flavorful. It’s not overly spiced and ginger-y. Just the perfect amount that I like. No frosting needed, although it’ll be a good addition indeed. As I said earlier, I’ve never had ginger cake before, so I can’t really make a comparison. But if a ginger cake is this good, no wonder that this is one of the cake that’s still eaten for decades.

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Homemade Spanish Sardines in Olive Oil

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This is one of my favorite from my mom’s recipes. I swear I could eat this all week. I can do lot of things with this sardines. I can add this to pasta, or on my toast, or simply eat it with rice. Whenever my mom can make this, I always ask her to make a big batch. Not only does it get eaten quickly in this household, but whenever there’s some left, I can always canned these sardines afterwards.

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Strawberry Ricotta Cake

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This isn’t the traditional Italian ricotta cake. This is more like a chiffon or a sponge cake mixed with ricotta cheese. The ricotta cheese helps to make this cake more flavorful, moist and rich. Actually, this idea came from having a ricotta pancake which tasted so good. Then, I thought why not add ricotta cheese in my regular chiffon cake?

As for the strawberry, we adore strawberry syrup on our pancakes, so I made strawberry mousse and it turned out a great flavor to match with this fluffy ricotta cake.

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Red Wine Chocolate Sheet Cake

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Definitely not a cake for kids!!

The idea of adding red wine into a basic chocolate cake recipe took hold when my father threw in that suggestion to me. Red wine and dark chocolate…what could ever go wrong with that combination? I’m not a wine lover, but my dad is a connoisseur. We’ve got plenty of wine bottles in the house, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try.

The recipe that I used is my basic chocolate sheet cake recipe on which I replaced milk with red wine. I think the red wine actually gave the chocolate cake a much beautiful, darker color than usual. Frosting is a must for any chocolate sheet cake. So, please don’t skip that. I added wine both to the cake and the frosting. I initially thought that the red wine would cook off at the end of baking, but I was wrong. The alcohol flavor is still there. So, this cake is only for adults!

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Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies

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Here’s another round of pantry cleaning! The previous holiday made me realize how many jams/jellies we bought and received from friends, co-workers and relatives. We have a lot of jars of jams that are still sitting in the pantry cabinet since April last year! From peach jam, grape jelly, blueberry jam, mango jam, and even cactus jelly! We really ought to start eating them. And since my brother is a huge PB & J fanatic, I figured I could entice him to help me out in devouring the jam by making this recipe.

This recipe is basically using my Peanut Butter Cookies recipe, then topped it off with more peanut butter and jams or jellies. I contemplated on making this as thumbprint cookies, but I changed my mind as it could be a lot of work. So, I decided to form a rectangular shape out of the cookie and just spread as much peanut butter and jam on top of it. Then, once baked, I sliced it into squares. It’s much easier and faster to do it that way.

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Triple Citrus Bars

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I love lemon bars! Actually, I love any citrus fruits, may it be lemon, lime or tangerine. Whenever I could add lemon in my meal, I would do it. This time, though, I found myself stuck with a lot of citrus fruits this winter to fight off possible cold and sickness. There’s always the thing of having too much of it. That’s when I get creative, and figured to make this triple citrus bars.

This recipe has 3 citrus fruits in it: lemon, grapefruit and clementine. Those three fruits have a surprisingly wonderful combination. The lemon provides its sour and tangy taste, clementine gives the flavor of natural citrus sweetness, and the grapefruit just kind of balance the other citrus flavors. I truly liked the end-product. This recipe is actually my go-to recipe for lemon bars, but just merely changed the lemon juice into 3 citrus juices.

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Blueberry Tofu Mascarpone Cheesecake

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Yep, totally unheard of! Tofu in a cheesecake? Where did that idea even come from?

Well, I send all my gratitude to the “bombogenesis” that we had at the start of the year. I was craving for a good blueberry cheesecake on the day we had that massive winter storm, but was not really in the mood to brave the cold storm. So, I ransacked our pantry cabintets and fridge to see if I can make something to ease my cravings. I know that we still have some blueberries that we froze last summer in our fridge, so I’m not worried about the fruit topping. What I’m worried about was the cheesecake itself. My regular cheesecake recipes often requires about 3-4 cream cheese blocks, but I only had one (and it’s not even real cream cheese, it’s neufchatel cheese). I do have one tub of mascarpone, and I know that I would definitely use that. But still, I felt like I still have to add something to increase the volume I want for the cheesecake. If we only had ricotta cheese in the fridge, I would have definitely used that, but no such luck. That’s when I noticed the unopened soft tofu in the fridge. A bulb suddenly lit in my mind. Tofu is technically a cheese, so I figured why not use that in cheesecake?

Tofu doesn’t have any flavors at all, so it’s a pretty good addition to a lot of things, such as smoothies, soups or even stir-fries. It’s a lot like a blank canvas on which it is up to the painter’s imagination to paint something out of nothing. Tofu is pretty good at absorbing any flavors, not to mention the good kick of protein you could get from it. In this particular case, I merely wanted something to add volume to my cheesecake batter without losing or disrupting the flavors. Tofu is my greatest answer to that.

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Cold Chicken Macaroni Salad

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This is our family’s favorite snack time. Well, actually, I don’t even know if this is an appetizer, main meal, dessert, or just merely a snack meal in our family! But it’s good and very easy to prepare. Just like with any other salad, you just simply have to stir all the ingredients in the bowl. Not to mention, this is quite flexible when it comes to fruits, vegetables, and even the meat you desire. This is something kids would love to eat! (Believe me, I was once a kid who devoured this anytime I could have it!).

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