Beer-Battered Coconut Shrimp

Steamed or pan fried or scampi or any way you like it, there’s a lot of good ways to cook shrimp. But if you’re feeling more adventurous, shrimp dipped in a beer batter, rolled in coconut then fried, this is the way to go.

Beer-Battered Coconut Shrimp

This is a very easy recipe. Perfect as an appetizer or main course if you will. Paired with your favorite beer or drink, and you’re all set.

First, make the batter, by mixing flour, Season-all, salt. ground pepper, paprika and cayenne.

Make a well in the middle, then add beer. Mix well.

Let’s pause here and talk about the shrimp. You want to use shrimp that is peeled and deveined. You can do this yourself, meaning peeling off the shell and deveining) or, you can buy it all cleaned and deveined. You may or may not butterfly the shrimp. If you choose to butterfly the shrimp, BE VERY CAREFUL!!! How to butterfly- well, hold the shrimp with one hand. then run your knife on the back of the shrimp to make a deep cut but not all the way through. But then again, if you think this is too much, no big deal. Hey I can’t blame you, it took me a while to finish about 20 shrimp and thank goodness, no cut.

Now let’s go back to the recipe.But first, heat some cooking oil in a deep pan.

And while the oil is heating up, dip the butterflied shrimp into the batter. Shake excess batter.

Then roll the shrimp on the shredded coconut. If the cooking oil is not ready yet, or not hot enough, set aside breaded shrimp on a plate until ready to fry. If the oil is hot while you are breading, then shrimp can go into the hot oil right away.

Fry on medium heat. Shrimp cook really fast, so don’t go anywhere. Fry them up, flipping both sides until golden brown.

Use a slotted spoon or a butterfly spoon to take the shrimp out of the pan. Transfer them on a plate lined with paper towel.

Serve hot with honey mustard sauce or cocktail sauce.Enjoy!!!

Beer-Battered Coconut Shrimp

Serves 4

Ingredients

  1. 1 lb medium size shrimp(abt 20-25 pcs),peeled & deveined.
  2. 1 cup flour
  3. 1 tbsp Season-All
  4. 1 tsp paprika
  5. 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  6. a pinch of salt & pepper
  7. 1 cup beer
  8. 1 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  9. cooking oil (2-3 cups depending on how deep pan is)

Instructions

  1. Mix flour, Season-all, salt. ground pepper, paprika and cayenne.
  2. Make a well in the middle, then add beer. Mix well.The consistency should not be too thick or too runny. Should be like pancake batter consistency.
  3. Heat some cooking oil in a deep pan. il should be at least 2 inches deep.
  4. And while the oil is heating up, dip the butterflied shrimp into the batter. Shake excess batter.
  5. Roll the shrimp on the shredded coconut. If the cooking oil is not ready yet, or not hot enough, set aside breaded shrimp on a plate until ready to fry. If the oil is hot while you are breading, then shrimp can go into the hot oil right away.
  6. Fry on medium heat. Shrimp cook really fast, so don’t go anywhere. Fry them up, flipping both sides until golden brown.
  7. Use a slotted spoon or a butterfly spoon to take the shrimp out of the pan. Transfer them on a plate lined with paper towel.
  8. Serve hot with honey mustard sauce or cocktail sauce.Enjoy!!!
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(Leftover) Turkey Tetrazzini

Another idea for leftover turkey. How about it? That is if you still have leftover turkey like I do. Actually, for my family, we purposely bought a bigger turkey this year just so we have leftover to use for soup, sandwich and this – tetrazzini.

Source: Delish.com

I adapted this recipe from Food Network star Emeril Lagasse’s recipe. Tweaked it to suit my family’s taste. You certainly can tweak my recipe too to suit your taste.

I just have to share this. I used this small bottle of white wine for this recipe. This small bottle is equal to 1 cup which is what I just needed for this recipe. So, you don’t have to worry about opening a large bottle and leave the remaining wine sitting in the fridge. See, this wine comes in a pack of four. So I used one bottle and put the remaining two back in the fridge. Ok I say remaining two. Well you know what happened to the other one, don’t yah?

Add the turkey or chicken broth. Add the parmesan cheese,heavy cream and softened cream cheese and cook until the broth thickens. Watch that it doesn’t thickened too much. You have to remember, when you add the pasta later on it will soak up most of the liquid. Unless of course, what you are going for is dry casserole.

Once the mixture has thickened, add the pasta, turkey, peas, chopped parsley & monterey jack cheese. At this point you can turn the heat off. Mix everything well. Add more salt and ground pepper if needed.If the casserole is too thick, add more broth.

Transfer the mixture to a 9 x 13 casserole. Top with more monterey jack cheese then with panko bread crumbs. Emeril Lagasse used  crushed potato chips in his recipe, so feel free to use chips.

Bake at 350 degrees fahrenhet for 30 minutes or until bubbly and the top has turned golden brown.

Serve hot and enjoy!

Turkey Tetrazzini

Serves 8

Ingredients

  1. 1 lb gemelli pasta (or any pasta of your choice)
  2. 4-5 cups of turkey or chicken broth
  3. 1 cup white wine
  4. 1 1/2 cups mushrooms
  5. 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  6. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  7. 4 tbsps butter
  8. 1 cup heavy cream
  9. 1- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  10. 2-3 cups shredded cooked turkey
  11. 1 cup frozen peas
  12. 1 1/2 cup shredded monterey jack cheese (reserve half for topping)
  13. salt & pepper to taste
  14. 1/2 tsp dried oregano (optional)

Instructions

  1. Melt butter in a deep pan over medium heat.
  2. Add minced garlic and cook for about a minute or so.
  3. Add mushrooms and cook for about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle some flour and cook for about 2 minutes.
  5. Add salt, ground pepper and dried oregano.
  6. Add the wine and cook until it reduces to about 3/4 cup.
  7. Add the turkey or chicken broth.
  8. Add the parmesan cheese,heavy cream and softened cream cheese and cook until the broth thickens. Watch that it doesn’t thickened too much. You have to remember, when you add the pasta later on it will soak up most of the liquid. Unless of course, what you are going for is dry casserole.
  9. Once the mixture has thickened, add the pasta, turkey, peas, chopped parsley & monterey jack cheese. At this point you can turn the heat off. Mix everything well. If the casserole is too thick, add more broth.
  10. Transfer mixture to a 9 x 13 casserole. Top with more monterey jack cheese. Top with panko bread crumbs.
  11. Bake at 350 degrees fahrenheit for 30 minutes or until the top has turned golden brown and bubbly.
  12. Serve hot.

Notes

  1. I used Sutter Pinot Grigio white wine.
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Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti Carbonara
Spaghetti Carbonara

Serves 4Print

Ingredients

  1. 1 lb dry spaghetti
  2. 8-10 ounces of bacon or pancetta, cubed or cut into small strips
  3. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  4. half of a small onion, chopped finely
  5. 3 large eggs
  6. 1 c grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
  7. 1/4 c half & half (optional)
  8. 1 tsp or more Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to box instructions, or cook to al dente.
  2. In the meantime, in a separate bowl, mix parmesan cheese,eggs, ground pepper, half & half. Set aside.
  3. In another pan, brown bacon in olive oil until crispy and fat is rendered.Add onion and cook until soft then turn the heat to very low.
  4. Scoop out 1/4 cup of pasta water and set aside. Drain the pasta.
  5. Add pasta into the bacon and onion mixture. Add the cheese/egg mixture and toss quickly to coat the pasta.
  6. The heat of the pasta is supposed to cook the egg so keep tossing until the egg mixture is set but not scrambled. Add the reserved pasta water and toss again.
  7. Serve with grated cheese on top or sprinkle with chopped parsley or basil.

Notes

  1. I like my carbonara with lots of bacon (who doesn’t?) and lots of ground pepper.
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Kale & Cheese Stuffed Pasta Shells

I love that I have something really good in this recipe, besides the cheeses – Kale, that’s what I’m talking about. If you never had this super health food, try adding it in your pasta and just like me you will become a believer. It tastes great.

Kale & Cheese Stuffed Pasta Shells

First, prep the filling ingredients.
You just need the kale leaves.Wash leaves then cut the leaves off the center ribs. Chop the leaves.

Blanche kale leaves for 3 minutes, then strain. You may shock the leaves in ice water to stop the cooking or you can just set it aside to cool after straining. Once cooled, squeeze the water out.

Saute onion and garlic until onions are translucent. Add kale and cook for about 2-3 minutes stirring constantly. Add a pinch of salt.

In a separate bowl, mix all the cheeses and egg.

Add the sauteed kale into the cheese mixture. Mix well.

Place about a cup of the tomato sauce in 8 x 12 or 9 x 13 baking dish.

Place filled shells on top of the sauce.Don’t these babies look good already?

Top with more sauce, then top with lots and lots of mozarella cheese.

Cover loosely with foil then bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Enjoy!!!

Kale & Cheese Stuffed Pasta Shells

Serves 10

Ingredients

  1. 1 large bundle of kale (about 3 cups chopped kale)
  2. 2-3 cups shredded mozarella cheese
  3. 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  4. 1 cup cottage cheese (or ricotta cheese if you prefer)
  5. 1/2 of a medium size onion, chopped finely
  6. 1 clove garlic, minced
  7. 1 egg
  8. 25 pasta shells, cooked according to package directions
  9. 3-4 cups of your favorite pasta sauce

Instructions

  1. You just need the kale leaves.Wash leaves then cut the leaves off the center ribs. Chop the leaves.
  2. Blanche kale leaves for 3 minutes, then strain. You may shock the leaves in ice water to stop the cooking process or you can just set it aside to cool after straining (I don’t mind that it will lose some of its green color). Once cooled, squeeze the water out.
  3. Saute onion and garlic until onions are translucent. Add kale and cook for about 2-3 minutes stirring constantly. Add a pinch of salt.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix all the cheeses and egg.
  5. Add the sauteed kale into the cheese mixture. Mix well.
  6. Place about a cup of the tomato sauce in 8 x 12 or 9 x 13 baking dish.
  7. Fill each cooked shell with about 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of the filling. Should be full but not bursting.
  8. Place filled shells on top of the sauce.
  9. Top with more sauce, then top with lots and lots of mozarella cheese.
  10. Cover loosely with foil then bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Notes

  1. I only used 20 shells on 8 x 12 baking dish but I cooked 25 shells to make sure I have enough in case I have broken ones.
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Pasta Alla Puttanesca

Pasta Alla Puttanesca, wow, sounds like out of this world isn’t it? But don’t be fooled. It is nothing but a sumptuous pasta dish made with a mixture of olive oil, anchovies, tomatoes, garlic, capers and olives.  And my version is really simple. And if you are looking for a potluck dish, this would be perfect. 

The origin of this recipe is quite interesting. But no, I am not going to tell you. Let’s just say,when I  researched about this dish I learned that its history is as rich as this dish…you’re probably already checking on the dish’s history on your handy dandy smartphone or PC but please hold it until you see my version of this pasta dish first.

In some puttanesca recipes, the tomatoes are cooked for a long time thereby yielding a thick sauce. Some recipes call for canned tomato sauce, some call for pureed tomatoes. I prefer to  be able to taste the tomato bits so I just chopped  them and cook them for just a few minutes.

First, I mix the olive oil, anchovy paste and garlic in a bowl.

In a deep pan, cook the anchovy mixture on medium heat about 2 minutes.

Add tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Keep stirring.

Add the olives, capers, oregano, & ground pepper and cook for another minute. You may add pasta water if it is a little dry. 

Turn the heat off. Add the cooked pasta and the chopped parsley. Mix well.

Serve and enjoy!!!

Pasta Alla Puttanesca

Serves 4

Ingredients

  1. 1 lb campanelle pasta (or any pasta kind), cooked according to package instructions
  2. 3 oz sliced black olives
  3. 2 tbsps capers, chopped
  4. 5 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  5. 3 tbsps anchovy paste
  6. 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
  7. 3 tbsps chopped fresh parsley
  8. 4 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  9. a pinch of ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Mix the olive oil, anchovy paste and garlic in a bowl.
  2. In a deep pan, cook anchovy mixture on medium heat about 2 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Stir.
  4. Add the olives, capers, oregano, & ground pepper and cook for another minute or two You may add pasta water if it is a little dry, about 1/4 cup at a time.
  5. Turn the heat off. Add the cooked pasta and the chopped parsley. Mix well.
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To chop, to dice, to mince-prepping your ingredients

It dawned on me that it is very important to teach my readers a few basic ways to prepare ingredients for cooking. Most importantly, how to cut or slice them. I realized that if I want  to help someone who never cooked before, that someone should start with some basic know-hows.

chopped vs diced, sliced
chopped vs diced

In this article, here are a few pointers on how to prepare your vegetables.

But before you do any cutting and slicing, may I remind you, safety is my middle name and so should you. I learned the hard way how to befriend a knife. We were not always good pals, someone at times ended up with some band-aids,yeah that would be me.

Start with a good chef’s knife. If you can invest on one, I believe that it will make a lot of difference in prepping ingredients. Don’t try to move your hands too fast. Start slowly when cutting until you get the hang of it. Later on, you will be like the pros.  Now, whatever knife you choose to use, the bottom line is make sure it is something you are comfortable with.

Let’s start with mincing. This would be the smallest cut. My example here is a minced garlic. My trick on mincing garlic is by pressing or smashing the garlic with a knife just like so. Press the knife with the ball of your palm. However, if you don’t like this idea, you can always just peel off the skin first, then just keep chopping until it is finely chopped.

After pressing or smashing it will look like this.

You can then peel the skin off and just chop very small.

Slicing. I think for this article, I chose the wrong ingredient to show you examples. I chose an onion and to be honest, I still don’t have a trick up my sleeves on how to not cry while chopping onions. Anyway, I always cut the onion in half, then peel the outer dry skin off.Then cut the ends off as well.

Always hold the onion with bent fingers, always with the cut side down on the chopping board and slice slowly.

Dicing. Going back to our onion. Dicing could also be small or big. It basically is square-y in shape. Of course my picture has a triangular shape but you get the point. Vegetables like bell peppers or tomatoes can be cut like this. With a whole onion, you just cut in half, cut each half lengthwise with the cut side down,then cut crosswise with the desired thickness or size.

When you have a recipe on hand and you are confused as to how small is small or how big is big, what I always say is just chop away whatever your gut feeling says. If the writer of that recipe is very particular about the size, normally, the writer will add a measurement, like “half of an inch” or “1/4 of an inch”. But if it will help you, look at the picture below to give you an idea:

Left to right: minced; chopped small (sometimes called chopped finely); chopped medium (sometimes called rough-chopped); diced (here it is large dice); and sliced (thinly).

It always comes down to personal preference on how you want to cut your ingredients. If you feel that you want bigger cuts as opposed to smaller cuts as what the recipe calls, I say go for it! Now, that being said, if you are new to cooking and just started learning, I recommend following the directions. That way, there is room for lesser mistakes!

So, good luck and happy cooking!

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Pork Chop & Wild Rice Casserole

A one-dish meal that is perfect for supper.

Very easy to make.
Here you go:
Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of pork chops.
Brown both sides of pork chops in oil. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix Uncle Ben’s rice plus the seasonings that came with it, cream of mushroom soup,chopped mushrooms and water.

Pour mixture into a baking dish.

Arrange the pork chops on top.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Remove foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes.Make sure it doesn’t dry up to much.
Serve hot and enjoy!

Definitely yummy!

Pork Chop & Wild Rice Casserole

Pork Chop & Wild Rice Casserole Recipe

Serves 4

IngredientsPrintIngredients

  1. 4 pork chops, bone-in
  2. 1 box Uncle Ben’s Wild rice & long grain (or 1 cup of regular rice)
  3. 1 4-oz can mushrooms, chopped or (1/2 cup chopped fresh mushrooms)
  4. 1 can 10-oz can cream of mushroom soup
  5. 1 cup water

Instructions

  1. Sprinkle salt and pepper both sides of pork chops.
  2. Brown both sides of pork chops in oil. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix Uncle Ben’s rice plus the seasonings that came with it, cream of mushroom soup, chopped mushrooms and water.
  4. Pour mixture into a baking dish.
  5. Arrange the pork chops on top.
  6. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes making sure the casserole is not too dried up.

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Pork Belly Sisig (Sizzling Pork Belly)

Pork Belly Sisig

This dish is far from ordinary. It is because it is made with a pork cut that is not necessarily used often – pork belly. Rightfully so, because this part of pork is fatty and a lot of people shy away from using this or probably don’t even know this pork cut even exist 🙂 . Not so health friendly as some may concur. However, cooking pork belly should be a once-in-blue-moon treat especially to a foodie. And if you want to try dish, as I always say,eating in moderation is the key.

In the Philippines (where this dish originated from), Sisig is typically cooked with pig ears & pig cheeks then served on a sizzling plate. Sounds interesting right? Well it is. But let me tell you, it is delicious!!! I don’t have access to pig ears or pig cheeks at this time, so here is an alternative – pork belly and chicken liver sisig. I am delighted to share with you this sumptuous dish, so enjoy!

First, prep the pork. Rinse well then cut into chunks.

In a deep pot, add water and boil for at least 40 minutes. Watch that the water do not overflow. If it does, just turn the heat to a lower level (I warned you).

Boil chicken liver for about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool. Roughly chop the chicken liver then set aside.

Chop some red onions, fresh ginger, jalapeno pepper, & scallions.

On high heat, fry the pork until brown and crispy.It is best to use a cast iron skillet.

Remove the pork with a slotted spoon or a wire spatula and transfer to a plate.

Remove the rendered fat on the skillet. Leave about 3 tablespoons. Saute onions and ginger for a minute in the same pan.

Turn heat to high. Add the pork back in. Add the chicken liver, scallions, jalapeno pepper, and salt and pepper to taste. Keep stirring. Cook for about 10 minutes.

Add 2 tablespoons of mayo and 1 egg.Cook for 1 minute. Stir well. Turn the heat off. Stir in the reserved onions and scallions. Serve with some lemon or lime slices. If you can find the Filipino lime called calamansi, the better.

Serve hot and enjoy!!!

Pork Belly Sisig (Sizzling Pork Belly) Recipe

Serves 4

Ingredients

  1. 2 lbs pork belly with skin (boiled and chopped into small pieces)
  2. 3/4 cup chopped boiled chicken liver
  3. 2 medium size red onions, chopped small (reserve 1/4 cup)
  4. 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  5. 2 tbsp mayo (optional)
  6. 1 fresh egg, lightly beaten
  7. 4 sprigs of scallion, chopped (reserve 1 tbsp)
  8. 1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeds included, chopped finely
  9. Salt & pepper to taste
  10. Calamansi slices

Instructions

  1. Prep the pork. Rinse well then cut into chunks.
  2. In a deep pot, add water and boil for at least 40 minutes. Watch that the water do not overflow. If it does, just turn the heat to a lower level (I warned you).
  3. Remove pork and set to cool. Cut into small pieces. Then set aside.This can be made ahead too and just put in the refrigerator overnight.
  4. Boil chicken liver for about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool. Roughly chop the chicken liver then set aside.
  5. Chop some red onions, fresh ginger, jalapeno pepper, & scallions.Reserve some onions and scallions to add before serving.
  6. On high heat, fry the pork until brown and crispy.It is best to use a cast iron skillet.
  7. Remove the pork with a slotted spoon or a wire spatula and transfer to a plate.
  8. Remove the rendered fat on the skillet. Leave about 3 tablespoons. Saute onions and ginger for a minute in the same pan.
  9. Turn heat to high. Add the pork back in. Add the chicken liver, scallions, jalapeno pepper, salt and pepper.Keep stirring. Cook for about 8-10 minutes.
  10. Add 2 tablespoons of mayo and 1 egg.Cook for 1 minute. Stir well. Turn the heat off. Stir in the reserved onions and scallions. Serve with some lemon or lime slices. If you can find the Filipino lime called calamansi, the better.
  11. Serve hot and enjoy!!!

NOTES:
Boiled pork can also be grilled before slicing into small pieces to get that smokey taste.
No sizzling plate, no problem, just serve hot on a regular plate or serve on cast iron skillet. Cast iron skillet retains heat longer.

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