Arroz Caldo

Arroz Caldo is a classic Filipino dish that made its way into Chamorro kitchens. This is my version of this delicious comfort food. It’s very quick and easy to put together. In fact, the longest part of making this dish is waiting for the rice to cook. 🙂

Give my recipe a try. I think you’ll like it. 🙂

Arroz Caldo

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 8 chicken tenders, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon achote powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 4 tablespoons powdered chicken bouillon (or 4 bouillon cubes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 cups uncooked rice
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • Hot pepper flakes

The only ingredient not shown above is the fish sauce. I like to use the brand that has three green crabs on the label; it’s not as pungent as most other brands of fish sauce. This is what the bottle looks like. You can find it at most Asian supermarkets.

Directions:

Place the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the garlic. Stir it around in the hot oil and fry until browned slightly. Place about 3/4 of the fried garlic in a small bowl and set aside.

Add the diced onions to the pot. Cook for a couple of minutes.

Add the chicken pieces to the pot. Stir to combine with the onions.

Add the fish sauce, achote powder, ginger, chicken bouillon, and black pepper to the pot.

Stir to combine the ingredients. Cook for a couple of minutes, just long enough for the chicken to be cooked through and is no longer pink.

Pour the water into the pot. Turn the heat up to medium high.

Add the rice, stir, then cover the pot.

The easy part is done. Now for the hard part — waiting for the rice to cook. You want to cook the Arroz Caldo for about 45 minutes–this is so the rice can begin to break down and really thicken the soup.

In the meantime, you can be boiling the eggs if you haven’t already done so.

This is what the rice looks like after only 10 minutes of cooking. Give the mixture a stir, put the cover back on, and wait patiently. Trust me, it’s worth the wait. 🙂

This is what the rice and broth looks like after 20 minutes. The rice is done at this point, but you want to cook it longer so that the soup gets nice and thick. Notice that the broth is starting to thicken up a bit.  Give the soup a stir, then place the cover back on the pot. Turn the heat down to medium.

After 30 minutes, we’re almost there, but we still need to cook the soup for about 10-15 more minutes.

After 10-15 more minutes, the rice is cooked just how it should be and the soup is nice and thick — now it’s time to finish up the soup. Turn the heat down to low. Add the coconut milk to the pot.

Stir to mix the coconut milk into the soup. Cook only long enough to heat up the coconut milk — do not boil the soup. Remove from the heat.

It’s time to dish up some goodness! Pour some soup into a bowl. Garnish with green onions, fried garlic, and a couple of slices of hard-boiled eggs. If you’d like, add a lime wedge as well.

ENJOY!

 

Chocolate Chip, Walnut, Oatmeal Cookies

These have got to be the best cookies…EVER. Soft, chewy, and full of chocolaty goodness, it’s like Heaven in your mouth when you bite into this cookie.

This recipe is actually something I’ve seen circulating the internet for years. You may have heard of it — it’s called the Nieman Marcus $250 Cookie Recipe.

According to urban legend, someone bought a cookie at a Nieman Marcus store. He (or it could have been a “she”) liked the cookie so much that he asked the cafe clerk for the recipe. The clerk replied that the customer could have the recipe, but he had to purchase it. The customer agreed to pay for the recipe, only he did not look too closely at his receipt when he paid for it. Later, the customer realized that he paid $250 for the recipe. From that day on, the customer vowed to share the recipe with everyone so that his $250 purchase would be worth it.

I don’t know how true that story is, but whomever the real author of this cookie recipe is, I want to say a huge THANK YOU for creating and sharing a treasure!

Here’s the recipe. It’s a bit of a process, but it’s well worth it, I guarantee. You can easily halve this recipe. I make it as-is and give some to friends and neighbors. We make rather large cookies, and we’re still able to get about 5 dozen cookies out of this recipe.

Give it a try. I know you’ll love it as much as my family and I do. 🙂

The $250 Cookie Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups oatmeal
  • 1 (8-oz.) Hershey bar
  • 4 sticks (or 2 cups) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups chopped nuts (I like walnuts)
  • 24 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Measure out the oatmeal then place in a blender or food processor. Grind the oatmeal until you get a fine flour-like consistency. Set it aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar.

3. Mix in the eggs and vanilla to the butter-sugar mixture.

4. Add half of the gound oatmeal, half of the flour, the baking soda, baking powder, and salt to the egg-butter mixture. Mix on low speed just until combined. Add the rest of the oatmeal and flour; mix to combine.

5. Mix in the nuts and chocolate chips. You can omit the nuts if you don’t like nuts in your cookies.

6. Form balls of dough (about two tablespoons of cookie dough per ball); place the balls of dough roughly 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet.

7. Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Let the cookies sit on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes after you take them out of the oven, then remove the cookies to a wire rack to cool.

8. Serve with a tall glass of milk and ENJOY!

Chicken Stir Fry with Udon Noodles

According to Chinese folklore, noodles represent long life and good health. So, here’s my contribution to living a long, healthy life! 🙂

All kidding aside, you can add this recipe to you list of healthy options by changing up a few of the ingredients (read more below for my healthy substitutions).

This also is another of those versatile dishes that can be changed up according to the vegetables and meat you prefer. The vegetables I add to this recipe vary depending on what looks most fresh in the grocery store.

Chicken Stir Fry with Udon Noodles

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 chicken thighs (or 2 chicken breasts if you want a healthier version)
  • 1 small head of cabbage
  • 4 stalks green onions
  • 1 package mushrooms
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 package pre-cut carrots
  • 1 package udon noodles
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 5 tablespoons soy sauce

DIRECTIONS:

Prepare the ingredients — thinly slice the chicken, cabbage, green onions, mushrooms and bell pepper.

Cook the noodles according to the directions on the package. You can substitute the udon noodles for a gluten-free or whole wheat noodle of your choosing.

Set the cooked noodles aside.

Place the chicken in a large skillet over medium high heat. If you use a non-stick skillet, you do not need to add any oil to the pan, although a bit of sesame oil will add flavor to this dish.

Add the garlic, seasonings, hoisin sauce and soy sauce. To cut back on the sodium in this dish, cut the hoisin sauce in half and use low sodium soy sauce.

Add the carrots to the pan.

Add the sliced mushrooms to the pan.

Stir to combine. Cook for a couple of minutes.

Add the sliced cabbage.

Stir and cook for another couple of minutes, just until the cabbage starts to wilt.

Add the bell peppers.  If you prefer the peppers to be cooked longer, add them when you add the carrots.  I like mine cooked only just a little so that they’re still crunchy, so I add them almost at the end of the cooking process.

Stir to combine.

Gently stir in the noodles.

Add the green onions.

Stir gently so you don’t mash the noodles. Cook for another minute then serve and ENJOY!

Cheese-Stuffed Omelets

These omelets are a tribute to my mom. She used to whip these up for breakfast when I was growing up. She’d go outside to the chicken coop and get some fresh eggs. Then she’d head to our backyard garden and pick some green onions and cherry tomatoes. Mom would cut up some spam or ham, open a can of corn, mix all of the ingredients together and we’d have yummy omelets in just minutes!

Mom always added cheese to my omelets. If you don’t want to stuff the omelet with cheese, you can just sprinkle the cheese on top then allow it to melt over the cooked omelet, which is how mom did it. I like to stuff mine with cheese–the more the better! 😀

Give my recipe a try. I think you’ll like it. 🙂

Cheese-Stuffed Omelets

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Ingredients:

  • 4 stalks green onions, thinly sliced
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 cup diced ham or Spam
  • 2 teaspoons Dashida beef flavored soup seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon accent (optional)
  • 1 can sweet kernel corn, drained
  • Shredded cheese (I used a triple cheddar cheese blend)
Optional Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup diced bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup diced tomatoes

Directions:

Place the green onions in a small mixing bowl. Add the eggs.

Add the diced ham to the bowl.

Add the seasonings.

Add the drained corn.

Mix all the ingredients together.

Place a skillet over medium heat. I use a cast iron skillet. Once the skillet is heated, spray with cooking spray. Pour about 1/4 cup of the egg mixture onto the skillet. I like to spread it out into somewhat of a rectangular shape so that it’s easier to fold the sides over.

Sprinkle some shredded cheese down the middle.

Let the omelet cook for a minute or so. Once the bottom has browned a bit and the edges are beginning to dry, it’s time to fold the sides over to the middle, covering the cheese. Gently fold one side over toward the middle, over the cheese.

Gently fold the other side over.

Now carefully flip the omelet over so that the folded edges are on the bottom. Cook for another minute or so.

Serve and enjoy!

Look at the yummy melted cheese!

How to Roast a Fresh Pumpkin — a Pedro “PoP” Aguon Tutorial

Pedro “PoP” Aguon was a chef in the Navy. PoP passed down to his family his extensive knowledge of cooking, and his daughter, Arlene Sablan Aguon, is kind enough to share some of PoP’s recipes and cooking tips with us. That was PoP’s way, sharing with the younger generations in order to keep the knowledge of our Chamorro culture and heritage alive. Rest in peace, PoP…your family and friends miss you terribly.

From Arlene:
“My PoP’s taught me how to roast a fresh pumpkin. It makes the best pies, Buchi Buchi & Turnovers. It makes the home smell like Thanksgiving too. ENJOY. ” ~ @untie R

Freshly roasted pumpkin tastes better than any canned pumpkin you buy in stores. Try roasting pumpkins PoP’s way. You’ll be glad you did. 🙂

Roasted Pumpkins ~ A Pop Aguon Tutorial

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Roast the pumpkins at 350 degrees.  The roasting time varies based on the size of your pumpkins.  Medium pumpkins can take between 45 minutes to one hour.  Check at the 45-minute mark; the pumpkin flesh should be tender when pierced with a fork.  Continue to roast until tender.

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