The Adventures of a Calamari Queen

Filipina Foodie

Archive for the category “Recipe”

Mac and Cheese

Hi friends! The hubs made this Ina Garten Mac and Cheese recipe a couple of months ago. This is one our favorite pasta recipes ( so decadent). Mac and Cheese is such a comfort food. We skipped the tomato part because I personally don’t like fresh tomatoes, but we did add bacon to our dish. I got the recipe from!



The making of the cheese sauce!






cheesy goodness!


kosher salt

vegetable oil

1 pound elbow macaroni or cavatappi

1 quart milk

1 stick of unsalted butter,divided

1/2 cup all purpose flour

12 ounce Gruyere cheese, grated (4 cups)

8 ounce extra sharp Cheddar,grated (2 cups)

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3/4 pound fresh tomatoes (4 small) * we skipped this part of the recipe

1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crust removed)


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni/cavatappi and cook according to the directions on the package, 6-8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the gruyere,cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt,pepper,nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3 quart baking dish.

Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top (*we skipped this part). Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter,combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top.Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.




Hi Friends! Hope you’re having a great weekend:) I wanted to share a Filipino dish that I cooked early this week, Kare-Kare. It’s an oxtail dish with a thick peanut sauce. Now a days, in Filipino restaurants and homes they use beef, seafood, and other kinds of meat instead of oxtail (I personally like Oxtail). I rarely make this at home (I think this is my second time to make Kare-Kare (but I always order this if we’re in a Filipino restaurant). It’s a comfort food for me! I watched a couple of youtube videos (just searched for Kare-Kare recipes) and checked some kare-kare recipes online too for inspiration. I used my crockpot to tenderize/cooked my oxtail meat (just to save gas, instead of the stove). It was cooking for 7 hours then I finished it in the stove to make the peanut sauce. Traditionally, you mix all the veggies in at the end together with the sauce but I decided to plate them separately this time. I sautéed the eggplant and steamed the green beans and bok choy. The Hubs and I prefer it this way. Last year, when we visited Manila, I remember we had Kare-kare and the restaurant presented it this way too.


Oxtail meat ( I got 4 lbs.)



This is my new crockpot and I’ve been using it a lot lately!

I sautéed some minced garlic(3 cloves) and chopped onions(1 medium), then added the cooked oxtails and broth (approximately 6 cups).  You can add more broth for a thinner sauce;let it simmer. I added the peanut butter (1/2 a cup) and stirred until it dissolved. In a small bowl I added 1 teaspoon of achiote powder mixed with 1/2 cup broth,once the powder dissolved I added it to the sauce. The achiote is the ingredient that will give the dish that classic orange color. I then seasoned the sauce with salt and pepper. I didn’t use a lot of salt though because Kare-kare is always paired with shrimp paste when eaten.


Almost there!


Sautéed eggplant




My kare-Kare (sprinkled with chopped peanuts).


Extra sauce,rice, shrimp paste


Happy Cooking and eating Friends!


Spaghetti with Truffle Butter

Hi friends! I wanted to share a very simple recipe from Ina Garten. I watched her show last month when she prepared this dish and it was so easy and looked good. So when my Dad InLaw went to Seattle during Christmas week we asked him to stop at Dilaurentis ( a specialty store in Pike place market) to get me some truffle butter. Truffle butter is so inexpensive compared to truffles themselves. This is a quick side dish and perfect for a busy weeknight dinner with family. Zach was raving about it! Happy cooking friends!


Basic ingredients!


We had a simple salad to go with the pasta.



Tagliarelle with Truffle Butter  (Ina Garten from Foodnetwork online)

*I didn’t have the tagliarelle pasta that Ina used, I only have spaghetti so that’s what I used instead.


1/2 cup heavy cream

kosher salt, ground pepper

3 ounces white truffle butter

1 (8.82 ounce) package Cipriani tagliarelle dried pasta or other egg fettuccine

3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

3 ounces Parmesan, shaved thin with a vegetable peeler


Add 1 tablespoon salt to a large pot of water and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a large (12- inch) saute pan, heat the cream over medium heat until it comes to a simmer. Add the truffle butter, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, lower the heat to a very low, and swirl the butter until it melts. Keep warm over ver low heat.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes, exactly. (If you’re not using Cipriani pasta, follow the directions on the package.) When the pasta is cooked, reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta. Add the drained pasta to the saute pan and toss it with the truffle-cream mixture. As the pasta absorbs the sauce, add as much of the reserve cooking water as necessary to keep the pasta very creamy.

Serve the pasta in shallow bowls and garnish each serving with a generous sprinkling of chives and shaved Parmesan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve at once.


Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

Hello Everyone! I finally used all of my tomatoes (the ripe ones) that I harvested from my yard and put them to good use. I don’t eat fresh tomatoes but I do like it when they are roasted.  They are so full of flavor when prepared that way. Tonight I made Ina Garten’s roasted tomato basil soup and it’s so good. It was a really simple recipe, but I did use my Vitamix instead of the food mill that Ina recommended. Fall is just perfect for this kind of soup.








I added parmesan cheese because I like cheesy tomato soup:)


Roasted Tomato Basil Soup (Ina Garten/


3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 (28-ounce) canned plum tomatoes, with their juice
4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 quart chicken stock or water


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss together the tomatoes, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in 1 layer on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes.

In an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the butter, and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme, and chicken stock. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Pass through a food mill fitted with the coarsest blade. Taste for seasonings. Serve hot or cold.

Fried Chicken!

Hello Everyone! I wanted to share this Fried Chicken recipe from the Pioneer Woman! This episode was shown weeks ago on the Food Network and I thought I could do this because I had all of the ingredients. I “rarely” prepare fried chicken because it’s just messy and I can get it so cheap at our local grocery store (it’s decent too,taste wise!). I still made it anyway, because I wanted to make a mess in my kitchen! Not really! It was good and flavorful but I think the amount of clean up afterward wasn’t worth all of the hassle. I had to cut the recipe in half because unlike Ree (the Pioneer Woman) it was just me and the Hubs.


Chicken marinating in buttermilk.


Flour with seasoned salt, paprika,pepper, thyme, and cayenne pepper.

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Fried Chicken, Salad,Gnocchi


Fried Chicken (recipe: Ree Drummond; The Pioneer Woman)


2 cut-up fryer chickens in 16 pieces

4 1/4 cups buttermilk

5 cups all purpose flour

3 tablespoons seasoned salt,such as Lawry’s

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

2 teaspoons ground dried thyme

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus more for seasoning

1/4 cup milk

Canola or vegetable oil, for frying


Thoroughly rinse the chicken, then cover all the pieces with 4 cups buttermilk and soak in the fridge overnight or up to 24 hours. When you’re ready to fry the chicken, remove the bowl from the fridge and let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes, just to take off the chill.

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 360 degrees F and mix up the breading. Place the flour, seasoned salt, paprika, pepper,thyme, and cayenne (extra if you like heat) in a very large bowl. Stir together well.

In a small bowl, combine the 1/4 cup buttermilk and the milk. Pour the milk mixture into the flour and, with a fork, gradually mix until there are little lumps throughout. This will adhere to the chicken and make for a crispier breading. If necessary, add a little more flour or milk to the bowl in order to make it slightly lumpy.

Heat 1 1/2 to 2 inches of oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat until a thermometer reaches 365 degrees F. Lowe the heat slightly, if necessary to keep the oil from getting hotter.

Working in batches, thoroughly coat each chicken piece with the breading, pressing extra breading onto the chicken if necessary. Place the breaded pieces on a plate.

Add the chicken to the oil 4 or 4 pieces at a time. Make sure they aren’t sticking together, then cover the pan and fry for 5 to 7 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure the chicken isn’t getting too brown. Turn the pieces over, cover again, and cook 3 to 5 minutes more. All the while, monitor the temperature of the oil to make sure the chicken doesn’t burn.

Place the chicken on a baking sheet and continue frying the rest of the chicken. When all the chicken has been fried, remove the wings and legs to a plate and keep covered. These should be cooked all the way through by now but always check, if any pink juice or meat is visible. If so, return to the hot oil for another minute or so until fully cooked. Leave the thighs and breasts on the baking sheet.

Bake the thighs and breasts for 15 minutes to finish the cooking process. If any pink juice or meat is visible,the chicken needs to continue cooking in the oven.

Grilled Tuna Belly

I grew up eating a lot of tuna belly in the Philippines because our area just has an abundance of seafood. I do not remember eating frozen seafood, especially fish for that matter! It’s kinda different here in Washington state, the “fresh” ones are so expensive and the frozen are not the best quality I’ve had. Oh well! That’s why I get so excited to go to the ocean because we always get fresh seafood, like tuna belly. The fishermen got it in the morning, and we cooked it for dinner the same day! It was so good:) When we got back home I just prepared the rest of our tuna belly because I didn’t want to freeze anything.  I don’t mind having tuna belly for consecutive days if it is fresh and I don’t get to have it often. I marinade it in soy sauce (I used less sodium,1/2 cup), 4 or 5 tablespoon of olive oil, chopped garlic (3 cloves),then pepper. Marinated it for 4-5 hours. Then I grilled it for 4 minutes each side (medium heat). Enjoy with rice and dipping sauce (like vinegar or PINAKURAT is what I used;it’s a famous filipino vinegar.)

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Grilled Rosemary Lamb Chops!

I made these grilled Lamb chops tonight and the Hubs said he liked them. I rarely make Lamb dishes because I really don’t like lamb (I only eat it in gyros) but Zach likes it so I make it for him. I got the recipe online ( but it says Bon Appetit July 1995 on the recipe). I will probably prepare this again because it was easy and quick and I had all of the ingredients, except for the lamb 😉 After marinating for 4 hours I decided to use our gas grill instead of what the recipe was calling for.

Grilled Rosemary Lamb Chops


3/4 cup balsamic vinegar

6 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary or 3 tablespoons dried

6 garlic cloves,minced

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

12 1-inch thick lamb chops,fat trimmed

1 1/2 cups mesquite wood chips,soaked in cold water 1 hour (optional)  *I skipped this


Mix first 6 ingredients in small bowl. Place lamb chops in single layer in 13x9x2 inch glass. Pour marinade over. Cover with foil and refrigerate 4 hours, turning lamb chops occasionally.

Prepare barbecue (medium high heat). When coals turn white, drain chips, if using, and scatter over coals. When chips begin to smoke, season lamb with salt and pepper and place on grill. Cover; grill chops to desired doneness, basting often with marinade, about 4 minutes per side for medium rare. Transfer to platter and serve.

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Steamed Clams in white wine!

My hubs prepared these manila clams in white wine sauce early this week. It’s one of my favorite dish because it’s quick and easy to make (aside from cleaning the clams). I make sure that it’s really clean by brushing each clam, it can be time consuming but I really enjoy the broth so I want to make sure there’s no sand in my soup. I normally add flour and soak for 30 minutes then start brushing the shells.  Ina Garten says the flour helps remove the sand (I totally agree!). We get our manila clams from the Asian market in Bellevue,Wa.

5 lbs. of yumminess!

5 lbs. of yumminess!






Steamed Clams in White Wine


3 tablespoons butter
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine or dry Vermouth
2 pounds of clams (Littlenecks or Manilla), rinsed and cleaned
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
*optional 1 small lemon cut into wedges


Melt butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes until garlic is fragrant but not burned. Add wine and increase heat to medium-high until wine is brought to a simmering boil. Add clams and cooked covered for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until clams have opened. Discard any clams still closed. Add parsley and give the pot a quick stir. Transfer clams and broth to a large serving bowl, serving with lemon wedges on the side.

French Onion Soup

This is Pioneer Woman’s (Ree Drummond) French Onion soup recipe. I saw her make this on her Food Network show and checked it on her website too. My husband loves this soup. I’ve made this before and it’s a really simple, cheap kind of soup. I had everything in my pantry too (even the gruyere cheese). Her recipe called for the oven, but again this time I used my crockpot and it turned out good. I still have leftovers and we plan to finish it this week.




simmering in the crockpot for couple of hours now!

simmering in the crockpot for a couple of hours now!

with toasted Baguette

with toasted Baguette

top with gruyere cheese

top with gruyere cheese

cheesy and bubble!

cheesy and bubble!

makes me happy that Hubs enjoyed my dishes!

makes me happy that Hubs enjoyed my dishes!


  • 1 stick Butter
  • 4 whole Large (or 6 Medium) Yellow Onions, Halved Root To Tip, And Sliced Thin
  • 1 cup (generous) Dry White Wine
  • 4 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
  • 4 cups Beef Broth
  • 2 cloves Minced Garlic
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Several Thick Slices Of French Bread Or Baguette
  • 5 ounces, weight (to 7 Ounces) Gruyere Cheese, Grated


Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Melt butter in a heavy soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook, covered, for 20 minutes. Place soup pot into the oven with the lid slightly ajar to ensure the onions will brown. Allow onions to cook in the oven for 1 hour, stirring at least once during the cooking process so onions won’t stick and burn.

Remove pot from oven and place back on stovetop over medium heat. Stir, scraping off all the brown, flavorful bits. Turn off heat and pour in wine. Turn heat back to medium. Cook wine for five minutes, allowing it to reduce. Add broths, Worcestershire Sauce and minced garlic and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes.

Butter one side of the bread slices and broil over low heat, allowing bread to brown and become crispy.
When soup is ready, ladle into bowl or ramekin. Place crispy bread on top, and then sprinkle generously with grated cheese. Broil until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Serve immediately.

Short Ribs in Red Sauce!

Hello family and friends! Happy weekend! Just relaxing here at home and  currently watching 3 shows (Miss Universe 2015/Pro-Bowl/NBA). I wanted to post another recipe (Rachael Ray again!) because I really enjoyed this Short ribs dish. Short ribs are one of my favorite meat cuts (if it’s on a restaurant menu, I will most likely order it). I found this recipe on Rachael’s website. I did tweak it a bit because her original recipe called for Rigatoni pasta (my Hubs is not a big fan of this kind of pasta,so I used mashed potatoes to go with the ribs). It’s just a comfort food. And instead of cooking this in the oven (like her original recipe called for) I used my crockpot and it still turned out delicious.

comfort food! so tender and full of flavor!

comfort food! so tender and full of flavor! I made this early this month thus still my Christmas placemat!


Short Ribs in Red Sauce with Rigatoni (but I used mashed potato for us;I will just use the original recipe by Rachael Ray)


  • 8-10 bone-in beef short ribs, trimmed of fat
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 2 carrots, finely diced
  • 2 ribs celery, finely diced
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 4 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 large fresh bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 cups dry red or white wine or 2 additional cups beef stock
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 1 can Italian San Marzano tomatoes (32 ounces)
  • 1 herb bundle of sage, parsley and thyme
  • 1-1 1/2 pounds rigatoni, regular or whole wheat
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
  • Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, divided
  • Finely chopped flat leaf parsley, for garnish


Pre-heat the oven to 325ºF.

Heat the EVOO in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the meat with salt and pepper and brown all over in batches. Remove the meat to a plate and add the vegetables, garlic and bay leaves to the pot; season with salt and pepper. Cook to soften, 5-6 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, cook for 1 minute, then add the wine. Reduce by half, then add the stock and tomatoes. Break up the tomatoes and slide the meat back in along with the herb bundle. Cover and transfer to the oven; cook to tender, 2 1/2 hours.

Remove the meat and discard the herb bundle. Cover and keep warm; simmer the sauce to thicken while you cook the rigatoni.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Season the water with salt and cook the rigatoni to al dente. Drain the pasta and toss with butter and half to two-thirds of the sauce. Serve the pasta topped with the meat on or off the bone. Pass extra sauce at the table with the remaining cheese.

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