Ukoy Na Togue – Shrimp & Bean Sprout Fritter

Ukoy Na Togue – Shrimp & Bean Sprout Fritter

Ukoy or Shrimp Fritters is a popular Filipino street food. There are different types of fillers for this deep fried fritter but the common ingredient is shrimp; unless you want to make it vegan and just have veggies.

Ukoy can be made using grated squash, sweet potatoes, yucca, green papaya, carrots or just bean sprouts, my personal favorite.

Ukoy as I mentioned is a popular street food which can be eaten on the run, but it can be served as a side dish or as I do the main course with rice and a vinegar dipping sauce.

I’ve been trying to make Ukoy the way my Lola, grandma, used to make. Hers always had the perfect texture and the right crunch. She made it with fresh tofu, bean sprouts, and medium sized shrimp. Talk about yummy!

After many fails, I mean trials, I finally figured out where I’ve been going wrong. It was my batter! For reasons I can’t explain I’ve been using egg in my batter, possibly because egg is something that I put in all my batters. But that batter is always thicker and heavier. And the end result was more like a fluffy pancake, not crunchy at all.

Well the simplest solution was no egg batter! Don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner! Once I omitted the egg my Ukoy turned out perfect. Literally just like Lola’s Ukoy was!

Here’s the recipe!

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Ukoy Na Togue - Shrimp & Bean Sprout Fritter
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Ukoy Na Togue - Shrimp & Bean Sprout Fritter
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Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, garlic powder, salt, and water. Mix until well blended and all powders have dissolved.
  2. Add shrimp, bean sprouts, tofu, green onions, and garlic to the batter. Coat well.
  3. Heat about 1 1/2” of oil in frying pan.
  4. Drop 2 tbs of batter mixture into hot oil. Flatten with back of spoon to form patties.
  5. Fry about 4-5 minutes then flip to fry other side.
  6. Fry another 4-5 minutes or until both sides are golden brown and crisp.
  7. Drain on paper towels.
  8. Mix dipping sauce to taste.
  9. Serve hot with white rice and dipping sauce. Or serve as a snack.
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One Skillet Creamy Tuscan Chicken

One Skillet Creamy Tuscan Chicken

Are you looking for something delicious for dinner? Something easy to make and good enough to serve company? Then this One Skillet Creamy Tuscan Chicken is just the thing!

This dish is not only delicious it’s pretty too! The spinach and sun dried tomatoes give this dish a festive look. I serve it with steamed long grain rice or pasta. Oh, and by the way it’s keto friendly, just serve it with zucchini spaghetti!

But the best part about this Creamy Tuscan Chicken is that it’s so easy to make. You really just need one skillet. I use a pretty skillet that can double as the serving dish so clean up’s a breeze!

Here’s the recipe!

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One Skillet Creamy Tuscan Chicken
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One Skillet Creamy Tuscan Chicken
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Instructions
  1. Generously sprinkle both sides of chicken with salt and pepper
  2. Heat olive oil in large skillet, add butter to melt
  3. Add onions and sauté until they turn translucent
  4. Add garlic and sauté about one minute, don’t allow garlic to turn brown
  5. Add chicken pieces and cook until done, about 3-4 minutes per side
  6. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside
  7. Add mushrooms to skillet and sauté until they turn soft
  8. Add chicken broth and Italian seasoning
  9. Bring to a boil
  10. Stir in Half and Half and lower heat
  11. Simmer about 10 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened
  12. Stir in spinach and cook until wilted
  13. Stir in sun dried tomatoes and grated cheese, sauce should be slightly thickened
  14. Place chicken back into skillet and heat over low heat until chicken is hot
  15. Spoon sauce over chicken and serve.
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CHEESY GARLIC PRETZELS

CHEESY GARLIC PRETZELS

I’m a big fan of those hot soft pretzels that they sell at malls. I have trouble walking by these kiosks that sell those deliciously salty twisted pieces of baked dough without stopping for a pretzel or two. I’m sure you know how expensive they can get, specially after you add the dipping sauce and drink! Then it gets really costly if you have to buy pretzels for the family.

Well I’ve started making them at home! I know you think it hard, messy, and time consuming. What with letting the rising, blanching, rolling, and shaping of the dough it does sound pretty daunting. But what if you can whip up a batch in about an hour?

Yup this recipe makes a batch of 8 pretzels (more or less depending on the size you make) in about an hour from start to finish. The best part it they cost pennies to make and taste just like the ones at the mall! (At least that’s what my grandkids say, and they love mall pretzels!)

These pretzels are a variation of my Basic Pretzel Recipe. I just added the cheese and garlic!

By the way these pretzels do not require blanching in a baking soda bath. You use an egg wash and it’ll have the same look and texture as store bought!

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CHEESY GARLIC PRETZELS
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CHEESY GARLIC PRETZELS
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Instructions
  1. Fit your standing mixer with the dough hook.
  2. Combine first 3 ingredients in mixer bowl and mix for about a minute. It’s ok with there are clusters of yeast. Let rest for 5 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl stir together 3 cups flour and salt.
  4. Add flour mixture to the water yeast mix.
  5. Knead for 2 minutes. If dough is too sticky add remaining 1/2 cup flour 1/4 cup at a time until dough no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl.
  6. Add cheese, parsley, and garlic powder. Combine well.
  7. Let rest 15 minutes
  8. Preheat oven to 425degrees
  9. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead for about a minute.
  10. Form into a ball.
  11. Using a sharp knife cut ball in half.
  12. Take first half and cut in half again so you have 2 smaller sections
  13. Cut each section in half to make 4 sections
  14. Repeat with second half. You should end up with 8 sections of dough.
  15. Roll each section into a 25” rope. Make rope thickness as even as possible. Take end of rope and hold away from you, twist together about 3” from each end. You should have a circle on the bottom part of rope that is closer to you. Separate the ends and bring towards you, gently pinch either end into the circle part close to you.
  16. Form all sections into pretzel shapes.
  17. Whisk egg and water together in a shallow bowl.
  18. Dip both sides of each pretzel into egg wash.
  19. Arrange pretzels onto a baking sheets covered with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  20. Bake 10 minutes, rotating baking sheets half way thru cooking time.
  21. Melt butter and brush onto each pretzel then sprinkle with sea salt.
  22. Bake another 5 minutes.
  23. Remove from oven and cool on racks.
  24. Serve immediately or store in ziplock bags at room temp for 3 days. Pretzels can be frozen up to 3 months.
Recipe Notes

If you like to dip your pretzels, these Cheesy Garlic Pretzel are yummy dipped in my Basic Marinara Sauce. They’re an awesome combination!

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BASIC PRETZEL RECIPE

BASIC PRETZEL RECIPE

Like me are you a fan of those hot soft pretzels that sell at malls? Do you have trouble walking by these kiosks that sell those deliciously salty twisted pieces of baked dough? If you are then you know how expensive they can get, specially after you add the dipping sauce and drink! Then it gets really costly if you have to buy pretzels for the family.

Well if your a serious pretzel lover and want to save a few bucks you need to start making them at home! I know you think it hard, messy, and time consuming. What with letting the rising, blanching, rolling, and shaping of the dough it does sound pretty daunting. But what if you can whip up a batch in about an hour?

Yup this recipe makes a batch of 8 pretzels (more or less depending on the size you make) in about an hour from start to finish. The best part it they cost pennies to make and taste just like the ones at the mall! (At least that’s what my grandkids say, and they love mall pretzels!)

So let’s start with a basic pretzel recipe. It can easily be turned into any flavor you want by adding you favorite topping like cinnamon sugar or Parmesan cheese!

By the way these pretzels do not require blanching in a baking soda bath. We’ll you an egg wash and it’ll have the same look and texture as store bought!

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BASIC PRETZEL RECIPE
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BASIC PRETZEL RECIPE
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Instructions
  1. Fit your standing mixer with the dough hook.
  2. Combine first 3 ingredients in mixer bowl and mix for about a minute. It’s ok with there are clusters of yeast. Let rest for 5 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl stir together 3 cups flour and salt.
  4. Add flour mixture to the water yeast mix.
  5. Knead for 2 minutes. If dough is too sticky add remaining 1/2 cup flour 1/4 cup at a time until dough no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl.
  6. Let rest 15 minutes
  7. Preheat oven to 425degrees
  8. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead for about a minute.
  9. Form into a ball.
  10. Using a sharp knife cut ball in half.
  11. Take first half and cut in half again so you have 2 smaller sections
  12. Cut each section in half to make 4 sections
  13. Repeat with second half. You should end up with 8 sections of dough.
  14. Roll each section into a 25” rope. Make rope thickness as even as possible. Take end of rope and hold away from you, twist together about 3” from each end. You should have a circle on the bottom part of rope that is closer to you. Separate the ends and bring towards you, gently pinch either end into the circle part close to you.
  15. Form all sections into pretzel shapes.
  16. Whisk egg and water together in a shallow bowl.
  17. Dip both sides of each pretzel into egg wash.
  18. Arrange pretzels onto a baking sheets covered with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  19. Bake 10 minutes, rotating baking sheets half way thru cooking time.
  20. Melt butter and brush onto each pretzel then sprinkle with sea salt.
  21. Bake another 5 minutes.
  22. Remove from oven and cool on racks.
  23. Serve immediately or store in ziplock bags at room temp for 3 days. Pretzels can be frozen up to 3 months.
CINNAMON SUGAR PRETZELS
  1. Make the pretzels using Basic Pretzel recipe but omit coarse sea salt.
  2. Instead mix 2 tbs ground cinnamon with 1 tbs sugar.
  3. When pretzels come out of the oven brush with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Cool and serve.
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HOMEMADE FRESH SALSA

HOMEMADE FRESH SALSA

It’s Taco Tuesday and at my house that calls for a batch of Homemade Fresh Salsa. I know there are lots of bottled salsa out there, but seriously? Bottled salsa can’t compare to homemade!

In my husband’s family there’s a serious Salsa recipe competition! Each of my in-laws guard their “secret” salsa recipe; and each one claiming boasting rights to the best Salsa in town. Having tried their salsas I must admit the male darned good salsa! Who has the best, that’s hard to say without offending anyone!

Now having watched them make their salsa over the years I’ve been able to piece together my own version that of course is just as good!

Making homemade salsa isn’t very hard it just takes a bit of time and effort, but the end result is so worth it!

I usually mix up enough to fill 2 quart size Mason jars. This will keep in the fridge about a week or so, not that we have it for that long. We love using it on tacos, nachos, and even in fresh pita bread. It’s seriously that delish!

So here’s how to make Fresh Salsa, try it and you’ll never buy another bottle of it again!

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HOMEMADE FRESH SALSA
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HOMEMADE FRESH SALSA
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Instructions
  1. Grill onions, garlic, and jalapeños on grill or roast in oven until soft and cooked.
  2. Chop cooked onions, garlic, and jalapeños.
  3. Chop fresh Cilantro.
  4. Place diced tomatoes in a blender and pulse a few times. You don’t want it puréed just slightly chopped so it’s still chunky.
  5. In a large bowl combine all the ingredients and still well.
  6. Serve right away or store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
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Basic Marinara Sauce Recipe

Basic Marinara Sauce Recipe

Are you a fan of hearty Italian cooking? Do you love pizza and pasta? Well we’re big fans of Italian cuisine and pizza and pasta are our favorites, specially those with marinara sauce!

Sure we have our favorite Italian restaurants both here and abroad. But nothing beats home cooking! And a bowl of spaghetti is comfort food at its best.

Pastas and pizza have 2 basic ingredients; dough in the form of noodles or crust, and sauce. So making it at home should be easy, specially since you can buy pasta, crust, and sauces dried, frozen, or bottled from any grocery store. But why settle for boxed sauces (or pasta or crust) when making it from scratch is so simple?

Ok maybe making pizza dough is a bit time consuming and so is making pasta, but the sauces, well that’s pretty easy! (If you want to make homemade pasta check out my review of the Philips Pasta Machine). Marinara

One of the easiest and most versatile sauces is Marinara Sauce. You can use it for pasta, think spaghetti marinara; pizza, think Margherita; sandwiches, think meatball subs; and as a dip, think fried mozzarella sticks!

So today I’ll share my Basic Marinara Sauce Recipe. Believe me it’s super easy!
I use canned Fire Roasted diced tomatoes to give it that homemade taste. Sugar cuts the acidity of all those diced tomatoes so don’t leave it out even if you think it’s weird. And lastly I add some spice with crushed red peppers, yes, the the stuff you sprinkle on your pizza; you can add the tablespoon or more if you like spicy or omit it if you don’t.

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Basic Marinara Sauce Recipe
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Basic Marinara Sauce Recipe
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Purée diced tomatoes in a blender, you will have to purée in 2 batches
  2. Heat olive oil in large pot
  3. Sautée garlic for about a minute, do not allow them to brown or even burn as it will make sauce bitter
  4. Add Italian seasoning and crushed pepper, mix well
  5. Add puréed tomatoes
  6. Stir in salt, sugar, and bay leaf
  7. Let boil then turn down heat to low
  8. Simmer sauce for about an hour
  9. Serve over pasta or use in pizza and sandwiches, or as a dip
  10. You can brown ground meat then add marinara sauce to make a meat sauce
  11. You can also use it in your favorite pasta dish like Chicken or Eggplant Parmesan and spread it on your lasagnas!
  12. Store in mason jars or sealed plastic containers in the refrigerator for about a week. Or store in freezer safe containers in your freezer for about 3 months.
  13. Whatever you use this Marinara Sauce for, enjoy!
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