Thursday, February 26, 2009

#84_Fiesta Dip

Fiesta Dip or 7-Layer Dip
I learned how to make this DIP from our daughter, Amy. It is always a favorite dip in the Johnson family get-together dinners. Aside from being so presentable, it is so full of flavor too and it goes really well with tortilla chips.

Here's the stuff you need to make this dip:

1 can of refried beans
1 packet of taco seasoning
3 small avocados
1 packet Guacamole Mix ( they come in MILD or HOT)
1 8 oz. tub of sour cream
1/3 cup picante sauce or tomato salsa
1 medium tomato, diced
1 can olives, sliced
1/2 lb. shredded cheddar cheese

1) REFRIED BEANS: In a saucepan, heat up a can of refried beans and the taco seasoning together over medium heat, stirring well. Set aside.
2) GUACAMOLE: Peel and mash the avocados in a bowl and stir in the Guacamole Mix. Stir to blend well. Set aside
3) Wash and dice the tomato. Set aside.
4) Drain the olives and slice them up. Set aside.


1st layer: heated up REFRIED BEANS

2nd layer: GUACAMOLE

3rd layer: SOUR CREAM



6th layer: SLICED OLIVES


Optional: thinly sliced green onions

Enjoy with tortilla chips!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

#83_Chocolate Cupcakes with Coconut-Pecan Frosting

Using the Coconut Pecan Frosting
(click here for German Chocolate Cake recipe)
I wanted to make a cake to take to my friend Rose for her birthday luncheon. Considering that she is 70 years old, I wanted to do something that wouldn't look like a kiddy cake. It was 10:00 at night and I couldn't think of anything easier to make and would be presentable more than this recipe. Instead of doing a flat cake which is messy from cutting and serving, I thought that making cupcakes would eliminate this problem.
I used a box of Devil's Food Cake mix to make 24 cupcakes, and the Coconut-Pecan Frosting.

If you have a question regarding this post, you can e-mail me at

Sunday, February 22, 2009

#82_Cheese Dip or Salsa con Queso

Queso Dip or Salsa con Queso or Cheese Dip
Keep it warm in a crockpot
This is one of the best dips for tortilla chips. Take it to a pot luck and everybody will ask you for the recipe. It is really easy to make with only 3 main ingredients.

Here's the recipe:

1/3 cup chopped onion
2 tbsp. butter
1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes
1 can green chiles
1 lb. Montery Jack or Velveeta cheese

1) In a sauce pan, over medium high heat, saute the chopped onions in butter, about 2 minutes
2) Add in the can of green chiles and a can of RO-TEL tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium low. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Don't cook down all the liquid.
3) Turn off the heat, then stir in the cheese. Stir well until all the ingredients are combined and the cheese is melted.
4) Transfer the salsa into a crockpot to keep it warm.

1) Can be served with diced avocados, diced tomatoes, chopped onions, jalapenos and of course, don't forget the chips.
2) Ro-Tel is a brand of diced tomatoes with chiles. There are other brands other than Ro-Tel.
3) I found out that using Monterey Jack cheese instead of Velveeta gave a better result.
I know it is hard to open the comments box, so if you have any??? regarding this post, please e-mail me at
Updated: 8-7-10

Friday, February 20, 2009

#81_Turon to a Higher Level/Banana Rolls

This is a variety of bananas that is used for cooking.

There are probably as many varieties of bananas in the Philippines as there are varieties of apples here in the U.S. Much like the Granny Smith variety of apples which is best for baking, the saba variety of bananas is best for cooking in meat stews, ginataan (with coconut milk), banana fritters (maruya) or TURON (banana rolls), to name a few.

TURON is a very popular snack in the Philippines. They are commonly made and sold by vendors on the streets, but they can also be made easily at home.

For TURON, you need to use ripe, but firm bananas. Unfortunately, the bananas I used to make these turon today are over ripe, but I had to use them anyway because I hate to see them go to waste.

The traditional way of making Turon is to cut the bananas in half, lengthwise, coat the slices in brown sugar, wrap in eggroll wrappers, and fry them in hot oil until they turn golden and crispy.
Taking TURON to a higher level.

My friend Zenny from San Diego shared with me her recipe of a dessert that combines cream cheese and Ricotta cheese with fruits, wrapped in eggroll wrappers then fried just like spring rolls.

This is how I did it:

I took that idea with a twist.

I sliced the bananas into thirds, lengthwise, and rolled each slice in brown sugar. Then I put a piece of string cheese on the banana. On top of the cheese I lined up some frozen berries, i.e. raspberries and blueberries, and wrapped them in eggroll wrappers. Fried them in hot oil until golden brown and crispy.

The result? Ahhh, to die for!!


This is an absolute "must try" version!! It is really, really good, I swear!

This is a cross between banana cream pie and raspberry cheesecake without the creaminess, but instead it has the wonderful crunchiness from the eggroll wrapper with the caramelized sugar.

You may wonder how the wrappers may have some caramelized sugar?
The brown sugar that coated the banana pieces melts and oozes out through the wrappers so when they are fried in the oil, will result in a very nice caramelization outside the wrapper.

Mozzarella cheese in between slices of bananas.

I experimented this with just the mozzarella cheese in between slices of bananas. Although it is sweet, gooey, stringy, cheesy and delish I like the ones with frozen raspberries much, much better. I don't care much for the blueberries though.
It is amazing how just one ingredient like the red raspberries can take a simple dessert, like this one, to the top tier.
AMAZING! Better than banana flambe!!


G.O's cousin-in-law, Margaret and her daughter, Melanie brought these beautiful cupcakes for G.O.'s birthday. Margaret made them including the pretty little chocolate hearts. She is so creative!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I got this Heavenly dessert from my husband's cousin-in-law, Ione Bush, more than 20 years ago. It takes some time and patience to make this dessert not because it is hard to make but because you need to make one layer at a time and you must freeze each layer before you go on to make the next layer of ingredients.
It is worth the wait though, believe me!!

A slice of this ICE CREAM CAKE
is enough to make you feel like you're in Heaven.
The bottom layer is made of pecan shortbread cookies, then caramel fudge, rocky road ice cream on top of the fudge, French vanilla ice cream, topped with whipped cream and chopped Skor candy bars for garnish.

You'll need:
1 bag of Pecan shortbread cookies,
1 jar of caramel fudge (Mrs. Richardson's is best because it is thicker),
3/4 to 1 gallon of ice cream, softened ( the original recipe calls for pralines & cream ice cream, but they don't make that kind anymore),
Cool Whip, and 2 Skor bars... 1 to eat and 1 to chop up for garnish.

It starts with a cookie crumb base.

In a food processor, process a bag of pecan shortbread cookies (or Oreo cookies) with 1/4 cup of melted butter. (Before I got my food processor, I crumbed up the cookies between sheets of wax paper using a rolling pin. Glad to have such a gadget as the food processor now).

Press the mixture onto a 9x13 pan. Then freeze it for about 20 minutes.

Take it out of the freezer and spread a jar of carmel fudge over crust,
then freeze it.
(I meant to use the Mrs. Richardson's fudge, but I grabbed the other kind. It is a little thin but it's alright after all).

Take it out of the freezer and spread 3/4 to 1 gallon of softened ice cream over the carmel fudge. then Freeze!
The ice cream is supposed to be softened, not melted. But obviously, I had the ice cream out in the fridge too long.

Top with Cool Whip and garnish with broken Skor bars


I used a larger pan, 11x15 because I used 2 flavors of ice cream, a combination of rocky road and French vanilla ice cream.

Monday, February 16, 2009



This is not very promising though!!

I was thinking of traveling to New Zealand to see my mother and sisters and their families...

But now, I've been forwarned.

Too bad!!

Wonder what important discussion I will be engaging in to?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

#79_G.O. TURNS 64!!

Actually, G.O.'s birthday is not until the 17th but our son, Gavin, flew in from Texas this weekend to surprise DAD.
What a real surprise!!!! So we had a little birthday celebration for him 3 days early.

Here are some of the food that I served for his birthday party. I don't have much time to post recipes at the moment, but I will post some another time.

For family and friends who know Gavin, there are more photos of him on my other site:

A slice of

Other desserts were FRUIT SALAD and


on their way to the frying pan

Served with SWEET CHILI dipping sauce

ChopSuey/Pineapple Chicken

7-layer Tex Mex Dip or

Kept warm in a crock pot

Build-your-own deli sandwiches

Potato Salad, chips, sandwich buns, deli meats, cheese, etc. are from Costco


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

#77_Puto Kutchinta or Cutchinta

Puto Cutchinta Topped with Grated Coconut

Another favorite type of
RICE CAKE in the Philippines

Had I known that it is super easy to do, I would have made some of these a long time ago. Truthfully though, not only that I was intimidated to make them but also I have an aversion to using lye solution which is an ingredient that makes the rice cake chewy (makunatty).
But after I overcame these two weird feelings I had which is intimidation (of the process) and aversion (lye water solution), I tried this recipe that a reader of marketmanila, shared.
Then I took some to my friends to taste test. Ohh, they loved them. They said it 's like the kind you buy in Pinas.

I made a little tweak from the original recipe by adding rice flour and using atchuete water instead of atchuete powder:

1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
pinch of salt
2 cups atsuete water
1/2 tsp. lye water

First of all, I didn't have atchuete powder or anatto powder. So I boiled some atsuete seeds in the 2 cups water. I strained the liquid through a very fine sieve then I let it cooled. This is my atsuete water.

1) In a bowl, combine together the all purpose flour, rice flour, brown sugar and salt. Blend well
using a wire whisk.

2) Add the atsuete water and stir until smooth. Strain if necessary to remove lumps.

3) Stir in the lye water. Stir well.

4) Fill greased puto moulds with the mixture and steam for 15 minutes. Unmold to platter and serve with grated coconuts on top.

Benjamin, one of our GKids, was going to taste test it, but chickened out!!

Saturday, February 7, 2009



I made this treats today to take to my friends, Lisa and Fidel who are having their 20th wedding anniversary dinner with friends at their house. I planned on making custard cake because I know Lisa loves leche flan, but I didn't have much time to make one as I got side-tracked doing some other stuff. So at the last minute I resorted to the easiest treat to make, RICE KRISPIES TREATS, which to my delight, turned out to be elegant enough to take to the anniversary dinner.

This treat basically takes only takes 3 ingredients:

10 oz. bag of marshmallows, 6 cups of Rice Krispies cereals, and 1/2 stick of butter.
The recipe can be found inside the cereal box.

1) Melt the butter in a non-stick pot over medium low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.
2) Add the cereal and stir until well coated.

3) Using a silicone spatula, or buttered spatula, press the mixture into a 9x13 pan coated with cooking spray. Let cool and cut into squares.

If you want to make them into heart shapes like I did, cut them with a cookie cutter right away while the mixture is still warm and soft.

An elegant treat for Valentine's Day too.

Friday, February 6, 2009


Corn Pudding with coconut milk
A variant of Maja Blanca

I made this pudding once before using a recipe I got from some Philippine cookbook, but it did not turn out good. I didn't make it anymore until I saw a recipe of maja blanca shared by BettyQ, a reader of I thought I'll give it a try. Her recipe though calls for 8 cups of fresh carabao's milk!! Geee! where can I get carabao's milk??? She also provided a sustitute for the carabao's milk which is avalon milk. I believe the latter can be found in Canada where she is from. Well, being in Utah, I don't have access to either kind of milk and so I just used our Utah fresh milk from the grocery store shelves. When I go back to Pinas I will try her original recipe using carabao's milk.

BettyQ's recipe also calls for latik or the curdles from coconut milk. I skipped that part. Instead I added some corn inspired by Ing from snapeat.

Here's the recipe: I cut the recipe down to a quarter from Betty's recipe.

2 cups fresh milk
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 can coconut cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 can cream-style corn
1tsp. salt
1) Dissolve the cornstarch with part of the fresh milk
2) Combine and put all of the ingredients in a non-stick pot
3) Simmer over medium low heat, stirring once in a while. When the pudding starts to get bubbly, stir constantly until thickened. Take it off the heat.
4) Pour pudding in a buttered pan and smooth the top out
5) Let it set for a few hours before slicing

I didn't have cream-style corn so I processed a can of whole kernel corn in a food processor.

According to BettyQ's recipe, let the pudding set overnight.

I don't know if it really makes a difference from just letting it set for few hours or eating it immediately, because I coudn't wait that long to dig in!!