Macaroni And Cheese With Grilled Chicken Drummets

Wednesday evenings are hectic for me.  After prepping dinner, I rush off to fetch Drama Queen from school.  She only has about 15-20 minutes to eat her dinner before I send her to the tuition center. Her BM tuition class starts at 7:30 p.m.  So I always plan a quickie home-cooked dinner for Wednesdays. And the meal has to be easy and yummy to eat (pasta, spaghetti and fried rice are often on the menu on Wednesdays) so that my dawdler can gobble down her food in a jiffy.  Today I made mac and cheese, with grilled chicken drummets and blanched broccoli as sides.

Ingredients for macaroni and cheese
1. 8 ounces elbow macaroni
2. 1/4 cup butter
3. 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4. 1/2 teaspoon salt
5. Ground black pepper to taste
6. 2 cups milk
7. 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
8. Chopped garlic

Directions for macaroni and cheese
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook elbow macaroni in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until cooked through but firm to the bite, 8 minutes. Drain.

Melt olive oil and butter in a saucepan over medium heat; add in some chopped garlic, stir in flour, salt, and pepper until smooth, about 5 minutes.

Slowly pour milk into butter-flour mixture while continuously stirring until mixture is smooth and bubbling, about 5 minutes.

Add Cheddar cheese to milk mixture and stir until cheese is melted, 2 to 4 minutes.

Fold macaroni into cheese sauce until coated.

Directions for grilled chicken drummets
Marinate drummets with garlic powder, coriander powder, salt, black pepper, olive oil, chopped garlic and a dash of Teriyaki sauce or soy sauce. Leave in fridge for at least an hour.

Grill for 30 minutes at 170C (15 minutes each side)

Drizzle gula Melaka syrup (palm sugar) or honey on the chicken 15 minutes before the drummets are removed from the oven.

Alycia’s latest craze is pulled strands of stretchy cheese in her food ~ pizza, toast, pasta, baked fried rice, noodles and even on cream crackers!  I used shredded pasta topping cheese and 3 slices of Swiss cheese for this dish.

Mac N Cheese with grilled chicken drummets and broccoli for the girls:

Mine is keto ~ half a box of alfalfa sprouts and brocolli to substitute the macaroni with grilled chicken rib and one piece of drummet.  Also quaffed down a bowl of chicken soup from yesterday’s dinner.

Home-made Meat Patties / Burger

Since it was a public holiday yesterday, I decided to embark on a little project that’s been long sitting in my bucket list ~ making burgers. The girls LOVE burgers ~ Burger King and Mac Donalds especially but this is an occasional holiday food.  We only eat burgers when we travel back to Ipoh by ETS as these two giant fast food chains are so conveniently located at KL Sentral. We normally grab burgers for a quick bite before boarding the ETS back to Ipoh.

I’ve always wanted to make my own burgers and let the girls eat to their hearts’ content without any guilt but I’ve always put off this project due to time constraint.  I only have an hour to spare for prepping dinner from Monday ~ Friday before I rush off to fetch Drama Queen back from school.

It’s actually pretty easy to prep the meat patties. It is rolling and shaping the meat patties and then pan-frying them that’s time consuming.  With Drama Queen and Cass around to help out yesterday, it was really fast.  The big princess who avoids the wet kitchen as much as she can was happily working out at the gym for over an hour. When she came back, she was pleased as punch to see burgers on the dining table.  Haiz, this princess with royal fingers better get herself a high-paying job or marry a rich man in future so that she can afford to hire helpers to cook her dinners.

I taught #2 and #3 the art of shaping the meat patties and they rolled out 12 pieces.  I oven-grilled 4 pieces and pan-fried 8 pieces, just to see which tasted better.

#2 and #3 thoroughly enjoyed shaping the meat patties.

Can you tell which ones are oven-baked and which are pan-fried?

The 3 pieces on the right are oven-baked.

Verdict: both types taste almost the same.  We can’t really distinguish the difference, except that oven-baked ones get slightly burnt on the sides.  I managed the pan-fried ones better as I kept flipping them, so the colors are more uniformed. Taste wise, they are YUMS!

Drama Queen stuffed cubes of Kyubu Japanese nacho cheese into her meat patties and the outcome was pretty good.  The cheese gives out pops of salty creaminess to the meat.

Drama Queen gave tutorial to Cass on how to fry wallet eggs.  And this teacher is so garang!  Cass told me quietly that her 2-che was bossing her around in the kitchen, hahaha!  Check out the teacher’s hand impatiently hooked on her waist…

This tomato ketchup is sweetened 100% by veggies, made in Auckland and couriered to us from Hong Kong by the sil.  The mil got this for us from New Zealand and sent it back to us along with other goodies when she reached Hong Kong recently. She’ll be in Hong Kong for another month.

I sauteed shimeji mushrooms with miso, garlic, home-grown scallions and black pepper as one of the sides besides cucumbers, tomatoes and grilled sweet potatoes, carrots and cherry tomatoes.

This is Cass’ DIY burger. She shaped her meat pattie into hearts.

This is Chef Sherilyn’s creation.  She prepped the grilled vegetables under her own steam and initiative.  The grilled veggies were seasoned generously with olive oil, mixed herbs and black pepper.

And this burger is meat-free, specially prepped by Drama Queen for kakak Maria who does not eat pork. The girls adore our part-time helper who has been working for us for almost 5 years.

Recipe for the meat patties:
Ground meat. We used organic pork.
Chopped onions
Chopped garlic
Chopped scallions / green onions / spring onions
Black pepper
Garlic powder
Salt
Organic soy sauce
Bread crumbs. As we didn’t have any bread (other than the buns), I used corn flour (about 2 teaspoon)
Lea & Perrin sauce
1 egg, beaten

Method
Season the ground meat with all the ingredients and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Shape the pattie using your hands and gently press / flatten the top.
Find a flat tray and spread cooking oil on it. Place the shaped meat patties on the tray.
You can pan-fry or oven-grill these meat patties.

Cooking is one of the best ways for a family to bond. The girls (except the big princess) love cooking and we always have loads of fun cooking and bonding, despite leaving a big mess, including oil splatters (OMG!!) in the kitchen.  Just don’t sweat over the mess when the kids help out in the kitchen but focus on the fun and end product 😉

The skies were cloudy after a downpour on 31 Jan 2018, the day of the super blue blood moon’s appearance. Thus, we didn’t get to see any moon that night. But the next day, we saw the moon, big and bright, though it was a tad cloudy.

Picture above was taken with my Huawei Mate 10 phone with dual leica lenses at around 9:30 p.m. on 1 February 2018.

Monday Dinner – 29 Jan 2018

Malaysia’s ‘summer’ is slowly rearing its ugly head. This also means that Chinese New Year is coming soon. Though it’s been raining almost daily, the weather has been really hot and stuffy.  Even when it’s pouring hard, it’s still not cooling but humid.  Today I showered 5 times (washed my hair 3 times!). When I’m hot and sweaty, I can’t seem to sit and concentrate at my work station. My mind will be foggy and distracted and gravitated towards the bathroom. The OCD in me will be dying to have a nice cool shower, even if it’s just a 1-minute quick splash with cold water. After cooking today’s dinner, I had my 4th quick shower before I zoomed off to fetch Drama Queen back from school.

Today’s dinner is baked cheese fried rice again. This time, I fried the rice with organic pork (marinated with Teriyaki sauce, pepper and sesame seed oil), organic spinach, sweet corn, garden baby peas, garlic, onion and eggs.

Cass helped to layer the rice with slices of Swiss cheese before this baby was popped into the oven. We used about 10 slices of cheese and baked the rice for 20 minutes.

This dish is fast to make and completely low maintenance. Loaded with tons of vegetables, this is a simple yet incredibly tasty dinner you can get on the table in less than 30 minutes. Along with the ABC soup, it took me under an hour to prep two items.  While the soup was still boiling on the stove, I got some work done on the computer.  I must give credit to my part-time helper for helping me pre-chop the garlic. I always have a tub of chopped garlic in the fridge to last me for 2 days.

Also cooked ABC soup with roast pork bones, sweet potatoes and red dates.  I recently discovered that adding sweet potatoes into the pot of soup would yield very sweet and thick soup.  The pot of soup can be a filling one-pot dish with meat, carrots, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, cabbage, etc.  Lately I seem to have a liking for soups, especially vegetables soup.

When using roast pork bones (or any meat for that matter) to prep soup, just be sure to blanch the pork bones in boiling water for a few minutes to remove the fat and scum, as well as for aesthetics reason. Meat not pre-blanched will result in soup that looks murky and err… looks yucky too.

The fussy king of the house who does not like baked cheese rice had steamed pau and scrambled eggs when he came home at 9pm.   Drama Queen helped to steam the frozen pau and cooked the eggs.  After cooking, she wiped the stove and washed the dishes.

Me: quick go and shower.

Sherilyn: I can’t shower yet. I have to wait for dad to finish his dinner, then wash the dishes. And I have to wait for the pau to be steamed.

Me: you sound like you’re Cinderella! Thanks anyway.

Thank God for Drama Queen who is always around to help me with the chores that I hate most.

Rainbow after a downpour this evening. Can you spot a double rainbow? Blink your eyes hard and see if you can see two rainbows.

 

Home Cooked Dinners (22 ~ 24 January 2018)

Hello everyone! Sorry for the lack of update in my blogs. I’ve been busier than in previous years ever since Drama Queen started attending high school this year. I have extra school runs and tuition runs to do (from morning through night) and an extra chore  job of cooking dinner (and sometimes lunch) as the mil is still overseas.

In addition, I’ve been pretty busy with my online clothing store as it’s less than 3 weeks to CNY. Orders are usually higher around this time of the year.  This leaves me with barely any time to blog.

Sundays effective this year have also been busy for the girls and me.   The two older girls have started membership/baptism classes in church from 2-4 pm every Sunday until they are baptized on 25 May 2018.

At the home front, our usual efficient part-time helper went back to Indonesia for a 3-week holiday and was only back yesterday. I can’t tell you how relieved I was that she finally turned up at our doorstep yesterday evening. She’s been a great help to me and it’s  only when she’s around that I have the time to do my own stuff.  She’s been working for us for 4 years and I selfishly wish that she will work for us forever, even after her marriage.

Despite my crazy life right now,  despite burnt out to a crisp, I still cook dinner on week nights, 5 times a week, though many times I’ve been terribly tempted to hit up the nearby stalls and restaurants for a quick and relaxing dinner.  I know that very soon, the girls will leave the nest and then the house will be so eerily quiet that I can even hear the grass growing. And then I will miss my crazy hectic days again. So I am not complaining.  It’s going to be another 3 years that Alycia goes to college and if we have the financial means, she may even be pursuing further studies abroad. Time really flies eh?

Ok, back to healthy food talk!  These are the dishes that I prepped this week, from Monday ~ Wednesday:

Monday ~ grilled tomato chicken with tomato onion sauce for the rice; sauteed organic choy sum with garlic. I used Basmathi long rice.

Chicken drummets are marinated with tomato ketchup, garlic powder, salt, Japanese teriyaki sauce, black pepper and chopped garlic. Grilled in the oven for 30 minutes, 15 minutes each side.

Sauce for the rice and chicken: sauteed onion and garlic with tomatoes and tomato paste. Seasoned with salt, palm sugar syrup, Italian herbs and pepper.

Tuesday ~ beet root + carrot + red dates + wolfberries + onion + whole garlic + chicken breast soup; Steamed eggs with fried minced pork.

The steamed eggs with fried minced pork is a new dish and this recipe is a keeper!  The steamed egg is so custardy and smooth that the girls commented that it tasted like Chawan Mushi.  The minced pork is first marinated with soy sauce, sesame seed oil, pepper and a dash of Chinese cooking wine for at least 1 hour.  Then seer the minced pork in a skillet with oil and transfer the pork to a steaming plate.

For the egg mixture, to ensure that the egg is custardy and smooth, do not beat up the eggs but gently stir them till the yolk and whites are mixed well. Add salt or soy sauce and pepper and a little water and mix well.  Strain the egg mixture but I skipped this step due to time constraint. Just ensure that there are no bubbles on the egg mixture.  Pour the egg mixture into the steaming plate with the fried minced pork.   Cover the steaming plate with another plate and steam in medium fire for 10~15 minutes.

Wednesday ~ ABC soup with sweet potatoes + potatoes + red dates + wolfberries +pepper corn + chicken soup; Sauteed baby French beans with Berkcious pork slices + oyster mushrooms + organic miso paste + organic soy sauce and garlic.

 

Baked Cheese Fried Rice

I have about 10 minutes for this post before I make a dash to the kitchen to dish out yet another quickie dinner in under an hour before the final school run of the day.

Every evening is a mad rush in the kitchen and then to school.  Traffic is horrendous whenever it rains. Yesterday was such a day.   Back home, Drama Queen and I had 10 minutes to eat dinner before rushing off to the next destination ~ BM tuition.

The girls ordered baked cheese fried rice yesterday, which is something that’s so easy and fast to prep.  This is one for busy weeknights, lazy weekends and every other day in between.  When it’s this easy peasy to make something so lip smackingly good with ingredients that are basic kitchen essentials, frozen meals and home delivery aren’t even a passing thought. No matter how nuts your household is at dinner time (like mine!), no matter how tired you are (me too), no matter how irritating and incompetent your boss or spouse is, how bad the traffic jam home was, how miserable the weather is (like yesterday’s super wet evening) – you got this and your kids to praise you sky high💪🏻

You can fry the rice with whatever ingredients that you fancy. I fried the rice with lots of chopped garlic and onions, added broccoli and julienned carrots and 5 eggs to it.

Once the rice is fried, add in cheese and mix well. Then transfer the fried rice onto a baking dish or disposable aluminum baking dish. Top up with more cheese and some cherry tomatoes.

Bear in mind that the cherry tomatoes have high water content, thus your fried rice will be wet / soggy. So if you have the time, bake the cherry tomatoes in the oven till they are partially dried. Or cook your rice with lesser water. Or omit them if you don’t like soggy rice.

I’ve exceeded my time on this post by 10 minutes and I really have to go now! Happy cooking!

Grilled Chicken In Lemon Garlic Butter Pumpkin Sauce

Hello to my new favorite grilled chicken in lemony, garlicky, buttery and pumpkin sauce!

This recipe is not what I intended to prep in the first place. I had wanted to prep a lemon garlic and butter sauce for my grilled chicken but I didn’t have any chicken stock with me, thus I used my papa’s pumpkin soup that’s stowed in my freezer. He prepped it for us during his stay with us recently.

When I used the pumpkin soup, I took a risk ~ the sauce could turn out great or end up in the sink. Thankfully the combo was wonderfully paired and  delish! Thank goodness too that the sauce did not curdle on me or turn lumpy. Cass who was initially apprehensive (she hates pumpkin) took a small lick of the sauce and then we both let out a “told you it’s yummy” and “you are right mum, it’s yummy” giggle 😀


Also dished out a cabbage sauted with miso and carrots.

 

Grilled chicken
Marinate with organic soy sauce, black pepper and garlic powder for at least 2 hours.
Grill at 200C in the oven for 30 minutes (15 minutes each side)

Butter, garlic, lemony sauce
1/2 slab of butter
Chopped garlic – I used half a bulb. Actually, the more the better
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
2 to 3 tablespoons of honey
2 tablespoons of multi-purpose flour. I used organic plain and unbleached flour.
Chicken stock OR
Pumpkin soup / puree
Fresh herbs of any kind, chopped

Method
Heat up butter in skillet
Add garlic
Add flour and whisk into a roux
Add in lemon juice, zest and honey
Add in pumpkin soup OR
Gently pour in chicken stock, keep stirring and ensure the sauce does not turn lumpy
Add in the chopped fresh herbs. I used coriander.

Pumpkin puree / soup
Cook 1 whole pumpkin with some garlic, onions and ginger.
Add chicken breast (optional)
Blend using hand blender.

Grilled chicken dinner with a perfect sauce for it along with conquering kitchen fears and rushing out to do school and tuition runs.  This was done on a hectic Friday evening 🙂

My Thursday ~ 11 Jan 2018

It’s been a cold and wet day the whole of today.  After 1.5 days of torturous chills, backache and fever, my  high fever finally broke last night.

The downside of being a WFHM (or SAHM for that matter) is that work has to CONTINUE whether or not you are fit or ill.  Donning on a shawl wrapped round my neck and shoulders, I still had to cook and do school runs in a shivering body.  Not to mention waking up at 4:15 a.m. to get the girls ready for school.  And hubs is not feeling too well too.

After gulping down many packets of Izumio hydrogen water and chewing on my homegrown Indian borage yesterday, I was right as rain again at night!  What would make a WFHM and SAHM happiest?  When she’s fit as a fiddle and  everyone in the household robust.

As I felt so much better this morning, I did some brisk walking at our condo grounds but had to cut short the exercise when it drizzled.   And it has not stopped drizzling since.

As I was in the mood to cook, I whipped up Taiwanese ‘Zha Jiang Mian‘ for lunch for Drama Queen and Cass. As this was totally unplanned, I had to make do with whatever ingredients that I had in the fridge. What’s missing was spring onion.

My Zha Jiang Mian is 80% organic cooked using organic pork, organic Mugi miso, organic seaweed noodles and organic cucumber. What’s not organic are the carrots, cooking oil and garlic.

This dish is very easy and fast to prep. If not for Drama Queen messing up the stove, this would only take 20~25 minutes of prep time.   That silly girl put the lid on the pot to boil the noodles and I only realized it much later when the fire was put off by the starchy lava that spewed out from the pot. Hubs had to dismantle the stove to unclog the gas holes and I had to do what I hate the most~ scrubbing the stove, the stove parts and the pot glued with starch!

Our Thursday, 7 Dec 2017

I spent almost the entire day with Cass at Pantai Medical Center today.  Cass’ routine yearly ultrasound scan of her urinary tract for this year is overdue. The date that I got from HKL (Hospital KL) to see the doctor is in January 2018 but I didn’t want to wait so long and didn’t want Cass to skip school, thus I brought her to a private hospital to have it done before our trip to Ipoh and Singapore. I want to have a peaceful holiday without the nagging worry that I have not done what’s important.  Each year I will go through the same worry each time Cass’ ultrasound scan is due.

Waiting for the nurse to check Cass’ blood pressure  (high blood pressure is often a tell-tale sign of poor functioning kidneys) and radiologist to scan her kidneys was nerve-racking for me. Thank God all her readings are perfect.  Cass’ kidneys are growing well and there is no scarring on the right dilated duplex kidney. Praise God again for his blessing and healing upon Cass.


Breakfast at Subway.

Cass loves Subway sandwiches while I relate them to hospital food. Most private hospitals here have a Subway outlet. I ate Subway sandwiches on the day of my surgery in May this year. I ate at Subway when I did my yearly check-up at Pantai early this year. So Subway to me is hospital food and does not appeal to me at all.


Cass trying to dodge the paparazzi! 😀

By the time we reached home, it was way past 4 p.m.  After completing some work on the computer, I whipped up a very simple and quick dinner.  Cooking for just one kid is such a breeze!

We had breakfast for dinner!  This is what Cass loves and she could eat this kind of meal everyday for lunch or dinner.

Mushroom omelette with Havarti cheese, milk, black pepper and lots of onions; grilled organic tomato, cucumber and butter on toast.

Brunch On Monday, 27 Nov 2017

The hubs sent home some piping hot and delicious sambal prawns that his wonderful chef cooked on a lovely Monday morning. I was pleased as punch as the yummy prawns came at the right time.   That will be for our brunch and all I needed to do was to blanch some noodles  to go with the prawns.

Perfect!  Thank you, dear for sending the delish prawns to us.  💗

I blanched some organic seaweed noodles and organic siew bak choy and while the water was still boiling after cooking the noodles and veggies, made 3 ramen eggs.

The noodles were seasoned with sesame seed oil, organic soy sauce and pepper. Cass loved it.  She ate a big bowl for brunch before I sent her to school to attend a STEM Lab holiday program. When she came back from school, she polished off the remaining noodles in the fridge with just some chili gravy from the prawns sambal and ate them COLD. She gobbled the bowl of noodles down in a flash as we were rushing to our next destination – the Immigration office to have our passports renewed.

Want to try these yummy sambal prawns? Give my hubs (Alan) a call at 019 266 4297 for a catering quotation 😉

Paparazzi at work: from the window outside the STEM Lab, I managed to zoom in to snap a picture of Cass 😁

Making Crispy Meat Floss With Bread Maker

During my stay in Ipoh over the Deepavali holidays last week, my mum showed me how to make crispy meat floss using her bread maker. She had recently given me a Tesco bread maker.

It’s pretty simple to make this crispy meat floss using  the bread maker. According to the recipe, cooked meat (pork or chicken) from making soup is used. But mum bought fresh chicken.  The next time I boil soup, I will save the meat and ‘recycle’ it into good use.

First she steamed the chicken until cooked. Then she enlisted the help of Cass and Alycia to shred the meat. You can use lean pork, fish and beef too.  Don’t discard the essence from the steamed chicken. You can use it for cooking.  We used the chicken essence to cook the ingredients for chicken pie.

The pile of shredded chicken meat:

Next, marinate the shredded chicken meat with soy sauce, fish sauce, sesame seed oil and sugar. Then place the marinated shredded chicken into the bread maker and choose ‘Jam’ function. My mum’s bread maker is Empress brand.

After 3 rounds of ‘Jam’ function, the meat floss is ready.  Do wait patiently as you see the white color of the chicken meat slowly but surely turns into a beautiful golden brown. 1 round of ‘Jam’ function did not bring about the crispiness and golden brown color yet. For my mum’s Empress brand bread maker, 3 rounds were required (about 3 hours).  For super crispy type, 3 rounds were required. For the traditional soft type of meat floss, only 1 or 2 rounds of ‘Jam’ function are required. No dark sauce is needed to enhance the color.

1 pound of chicken breast meat yields 5 medium size bottles of super crispy chicken meat floss.

I tasted the crispy fish floss that mum made a few weeks earlier and it tasted exactly like sate fish, so yummy!!

Here’s the recipe: