Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joe is a sandwich made up of ground meat with ketchup or tomato sauce as it’s key ingredient or seasoning.

I’ve been making easy and no fuss dinners lately and this clearly fits the bill.

First, saute one medium size finely chopped onion and 2-3 minced garlic cloves in a little oil. Add 1.5 lb ground beef and cook until well browned. Drain off excess fat. Add 2 tbsp. tomato paste, 1/2 cup ketchup, 2 tbsp. worcestershire sauce, 2 tbsp. brown sugar, 1 tsp. ground black pepper and salt to taste. Simmer for a few minutes over low heat. Add 1/4 water if you think the mixture is a bit dry.

Spoon a large portion of the meat mixture onto a burger bun or a kaiser roll and serve with some pickles or chips.

It’s going to be messy so be sure you have some napkins on hand !

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Asian Hot Dog

I’ve seen and heard of Japadog from a food blog sometime ago. They used to have a storefront in NYC but it apparently closed already. They still have store locations in Canada and California though.

I have always wanted to re-create this and the perfect opportunity came yesterday, Memorial Day the time we open our grill for the Summer.

This is not your typical hot dog since it has some ingredients that are seriously Asian such as Nori which are seaweed strips and katsuobushi which are dried bonito flakes.

I made two kinds one with Nori strips and one with Katsuobushi. First, grill some hot dogs. I used National Hebrew which is what my family likes. I made a couple of cuts on my hot dogs before grilling just for presentation. Then place your hot dogs in buns and add some ketchup and Japanese mayonnaise on one then top with nori strips. Get another bun and place your hot dog in between, add some Japanese mayonnaise and a drizzle of tonkatsu sauce (which is optional) before topping everything with katsuobushi.

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Asian Lettuce Cups

With the weather getting warmer, I find myself constantly thinking of something light and easy to make for dinner.

This recipe is just perfect for those times you don’t want to stay too long in a hot kitchen and be able to fix dinner in no time at all.

To make, you will need a head of iceberg lettuce or boston lettuce. We prefer using iceberg lettuce because of it’s crunchy texture. Separate and wash each leaf and dry with paper towels. Keep in the fridge to chill while you prepare and cook the meat mixture.

Heat a saute pan and add 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Add 1 medium finely minced onion and 2 cloves of minced garlic cook until fragrant and translucent. Add a lb of ground meat (chicken or pork) and cook until browned and all it’s juices has evaporated. Then add a small can of water chestnuts that has been finely chopped. Stir in 1 tbsp of oyster sauce, 2 tbsp of hoisin sauce and 2 tsp of sesame oil. Last add a bunch of chopped green onion. Cook until everything is heated through.

To serve, scoop 1-2 tablespoons of your ground meat onto a lettuce leaf and top with some carrots strips and green onion.

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Maiz con hielo

Maiz con hielo or Mais con yelo in Tagalog is a summer cooler in the Philippines. Literally translated it’s corn with ice. It is somewhat similar to Halo-Halo which I made last summer. This variation is less sweet though since it is sweetened with only a couple of teaspoons of sugar.

I made this yesterday for my girls since our temperature soared to the 90sF. This is the first time they had it and they really liked it.

To make, get a can of sweet whole kernel corn and drain it. Spoon a couple of tablespoons of it in a tall glass. Then add a few teaspoons of sugar on to your corn and set aside. Make some shaved ice, I used an electric ice shaver which made my job a lot easier. Pack the shave ice on to your glass then pour some milk on top of it. Garnish with some corn kernels and corn flakes.

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Crab Inari Sushi

I have made Inari sushi in a previous post. My girls love the tofu pockets that you use to make this kind of sushi so I try to make variations of it. I still have some crab sticks from the Kani Salad I made so I decided to use those as filling.

To make, prepare your tofu pockets by careful separating it to create the pouches. Then fill it each pocket with rice and set aside. Separate your crab sticks into thin strips then place some of it on top of your Inari sushi. Decorate with thinly sliced mango and avocado.

You may drizzle some Japanese mayonnaise on your Inari sushi before decorating it with the mango and avocado or simply serve it as is. I made both, one with the mayo and one without.

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Tonkatsu

Tonkatsu is Japanese style deep fried pork cutlet. This is typically served with finely shredded cabbage and tonkatsu sauce.

My family loves eating tonkatsu but we usually get to enjoy this only when we eat out or buy it “to go”. My excuse is that I dislike deep frying because of the clean up you need to do after.

I bought some pork cutlets last week as it was on sale and wasn’t really sure what to do with it. But one weeknight I was inspired to finally make tonkatsu because I wanted to make something new for my family.

To make you will need pork cutlets, panko, eggs, flour and salt and pepper.
First season your cutlets with salt and pepper. Then dredge each cutlet in flour making sure to shake off any excess, dip in beaten eggs and finally coat with panko. While you are preparing your cutlets you can heat up your pan with 1 1/2 – 2 inches of vegetable oil. Once your oil is hot enough fry your cutlets one at a time until golden brown. Make sure that you flip it once to ensure even cooking. Drain in paper towels and let rest before slicing.

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Serve with thinly sliced cabbage and tonkatsu sauce and a cup of steamed white rice.

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Kani Salad

If you like California roll, this salad is definitely for you. It has the same basic ingredients which are: mango, cucumber and kani (crabmeat).

First, peel 2 medium sized cucumber and cut into julienne strips. I got this cool gadget from pampered chef which made my task a lot easier. It’s called the julienne peeler. Just scrape the whole length of your cucumber with it and stop when you reach the seeds in the center. Place the julienned strips of cucumber in a bowl. Next get 5-6 pieces of kani sticks or imitation crabmeat and separate it into thin strips. Set aside.

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Get a ripe Ataulfo or Champagne mango. Make sure you get this variety and not the Tommy Atkins mango which has a red and green skin because its flesh tends to be tough and not that sweet. Wash and peel the skin off your mango and cut the flesh into thin strips.

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Combine your cucumber, crabmeat sticks and mango in bowl and add a couple of tablespoons of Japanese Mayonnaise. Gently fold your ingredients together until everything is coated with your mayo. Place your salad in a bed of lettuce and serve immediately. As an option you may garnish your salad with nori strips or tobiko.

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Filipino Style Meatballs in Lettuce Cups

I think I get most creative in cooking when I have limited options inside my fridge and pantry. I had a lb of ground meat in the freezer, I know I wanted to make meatballs but I don’t want to make the sweet and sour kind nor the ones with gravy on it. The weather is getting warmer here in our neck of the woods and I wanted to make something light. My first thought was to make a wrap or tacos but I didn’t have tortillas and then I remembered I still have a head of green leaf lettuce and suddenly a an idea came to mind.

First make your meatballs, I used the recipe for the filling of lumpiang shanghai which I made awhile back. After mixing all your ingredients together, pre-heat your oven to 400F. As your oven is pre-heating, form your ground meat into balls and set it in a lightly oiled pan. Then bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

While your meatballs are baking, separate and wash your lettuce then dry with paper towels.

To assemble, get a piece of lettuce and place 2-3 pieces of meatballs. You can top it with diced tomatoes and cilantro which is what I did. You can experiment with the kind of toppings you may want to add like: mango salsa, pickled radish or atchara. My girls and I added some kimchi on it and then made kimchi rice to add to it too.

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Pasta with Italian Sausage and Spinach

An alternative for tomato based pasta, this recipe is really quick and simple to make.

First brown your italian sausage (mild) in large pot deep enough to hold several cups of broth. I used 4 italian sausage patties that I broke up while cooking. Then add a medium sized onion that has been diced and 2-3 cloves finely minced garlic. Cook until onions are soft and translucent. In the same pot, add 5 cups of water and 1 chicken bouillon and let it come to a boil (the original recipe called for chicken broth). Then add 1 box of pasta (I used penne) and cook until al dente. Stir once in awhile to ensure pasta does not stick together. After about 8-9 minutes much of the liquid would have been absorbed. Add 3/4 – 1 cup milk (the original recipe called for half and half) and cook until sauce is slightly thickened. Add a bag of spinach and cook just until the leaves are wilted. Top with some grated parmesan cheese before serving.

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