BOB RECIPE: Baked Lasagna

from:  Meijer
Product:  Lasagna (100% Durum Semolina)

BOB RECIPE: Baked Lasagna

2 (14 oz) jars spaghetti sauce or your favorite recipe

1 1/2 lb ricotta cheese
3/4 lb Italian sausage
1 1/2 cups cubed mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
6 oz cooked spinach, chopped fine
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 (16 oz) package lasagna

Cook 1/2 package lasagna in salted boiling water until al dente.

Broil sausage 15 minutes and cut into small pieces.

Mix ricotta, spinach, egg and spices until smooth.  Pour 1/2 cup sauce in bottom of baking pan and cover with layer of cooked lasagna; a layer of ricotta, mozzarella and pieces of sausage.  Repeat this process in layers untill all ingredients are used.  Top layer should be sauce and grated cheese.

Bake in moderate (350 F) oven 35 minutes.  When done, cut in serving portions.  Place on individual dishes and serve.  Top wiht more sauce and grated cheese.

Italian Meat Sauce

3/4 cup chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, chipped
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 lb ground beef
2 – 1b cans tomatoes
2 – 8 oz tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons parsley flakes
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf

Cook onions and parlic in hot oil until tender bu not brown.  Add meat and brown lightly . Add meat and brown lightly.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer, uncovered, about 2 1/2 hours.  Stir occasionally.

Makes 6 servings.


White tikoy and Chinese fried rice to celebrate Chinese New Year

The Chinese New Year starts TODAY, February 3, 2011.  So I wish everyone “Gung Hey Fat Choy!”  But the just concluded Midwest Blizzard makes mobility an issue, so no chance to go out and eat some yummy Chinese food.  So I just made the traditional Tikoy and Chinese Fried Rice, plenty enough for us to welcome the year of the Rabbit.  Rabbit must be loving the diced carrots in my fried rice.

Sweet New Year’s Cake (White Tikoy)
Made only of 3 ingredients, this steamed cake is believed to symbolize good luck, good fortune and better family bonding  for the whole year.   And this is a breeze to make…but it makes me wonder  why people pay a fortune to buy these from Chinese stores.

1 1/4 cups hot water
1 cup white sugar
3 cups glutinous rice flour (sweet rice flour or Mochiko)


Make a rice paste.  Start with stirring sugar in the hot water until sugar is completely dissolved; let cool.  Place the rice flour in a medium mixing bowl, then slowly pour the sugar mixture, mixing continuously with a wire whisk.   Beat until rice paste is smooth.

Line a round baking pan (or store-bought aluminum foil pan) with trimmed plastic wrap.  Pour the rice paste into the prepared pan.   Steam in a bamboo or aluminum steamer, over boiling water for 1 hour.  Test for doneness with a toothpick.

I usually wait another day to let the tikoy or rice cake to harden for easy slicing; I store cooled cake in the refrigerator overnight.  Thin slices of this cake are then dipped in beaten egg and fried in hot oil until nicely browned.  The frying gives it more personality.  Others will take this to the next level.  Place these slices in eggroll wrapper (lumpia) with cheese or red bean paste), roll them and then fried.

Shall we say, the more tikoy you eat, the more lucky you will be…oh no, Jillian and Bob must not like these Chinese New Years.   Oh well, just hope everyone gets into the treadmill at the end of the day.

Chinese Fried Rice

2 eggs, slightly beaten
enough oil to fry eggs
3 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup to 1 cup leftover ham slices or sliced chinese sausage
3 cups packed leftover or day old cooked white rice
4 to 6 tablespoons soy sauce

Start frying the beaten eggs in hot oil in a wok or skillet, until nicely scrambled.  Cut into small pieces.  Transfer to a plate; set aside.

Add sesame oil in wok.  Stir in minced garlic, chopped onions, diced carrots, peas, ham or sausage slices, and saute until heated through.  Lower heat and add the rice and soy sauce.  Blend well and stir fry to combine all.  Add back scrambled eggs and mix well.  Serve hot.

Enjoy your Chinese New Year!

P.S.  In case you are curious like me…these are some of the famous Hollywood musicians and stars born in the Year of the  Rabbit:

Frank Sinatra, Roger Moore,  Andy Williams,  Neil Sedaka,  Tina Turner,  Melissa Manchester,   Charo, Luther Vandross, Sting, Vanessa L. Williams,  Whitney Houston, Brad Pitt,  Nicolas Cage, Drew Barrymore, Michael Bublé, and Hilary Duff.

And add to this list….Sarah Palin.



Winter weather is all about comfort foods…there is a lot of stress to deal with during winter season and the reward for a hard day’s work is sitting down on the dinner table and enjoying a real comfort food — a hot creamy pasta alfredo.  This is a really good recipe, so easy and so tasty.

1 box (12 oz) fettuccine, uncooked
1 lb uncooked deveined peeled shrimp, tails left-on
1/4 cup Italian salad dressing
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon Old bay seasoning
1 can (10.5 oz) cream of mushroom soup
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 can (4 oz) mushroom pieces
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon sweetened condensed milk

Cook fettuccine al dente (firm to the bite) in salted boiling water with few dashes of dried Italian seasoning mix.  Drain (don’t rinse) and stir in few drops of vegetable oil.

Add Italian salad dressing to shrimps; stir well.  Transfer to a large skillet and cook over medium heat, 2 to 3 minutes, until shrimp turned pink.  Remove shrimp (set aside), leaving liquid in skillet or wok.  Add butter, minced garlic, dried parsley and old bay seasoning.  Continue sauteing until butter is completely melted, stirring frequently.

Stir in whipping cream, condensed cream of mushroom soup, and parmesan cheese.  Let mixture come to a boil, then add mushroom pieces.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in sweetened condensed milk.

Add cooked fettuccine and shrimps to wok or skillet; toss to coat well.  Transfer to serving platter and serve warm.  Enjoy with a your favorite mixed green salad!  Yield: 4 servings


“I-love-em-rolled” Lasagna

Lasagna is one of my favorite comfort foods, and I think it’s safe to say that everybody loves lasagna. To make it from scratch, the traditional way, is a big question mark, nobody has the time to do lasagna. Perhaps after I shared you today my easy lasagna, which is uncomplicated, no chopping involved, and a breeze to put together, you will think twice about delaying lasagna for a weekend treat. You can have lasagna any day of the week, any hour of the day.

My old lasagna recipe has more than 20 ingredients and the recipe calls for preparing the white sauce or bechamel sauce, I too will have to wait for the weekend to do my traditional lasagna. Today’s store-bought ingredients like packaged shredded cheeses and mixes ease the making of lasagna. Let’s start with the lasagna noodles, it is largest in the family of pasta, and like any dried pasta, cooking the pasta properly will spell the difference between a good or bad pasta dish. Boil lasagna in plenty of water so it cooks evenly and won’t stick together. Boil lasagna to almost al dente, firm to the bite but cooked through. Drain it immediately, and this time we RINSE lasagna unlike if we are doing a spaghetti dish in which we don’t want to remove the coating of starch that helps sauce cling to the pasta. I add about 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 teaspoon salt to boiling water.


16 pre-cooked lasagna noodles (1 package, 16 oz)
1 pound ground beef
2 links sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
 few shakes of maggi seasoning
 1 small packet of spaghetti-sauce mix
1 large bottle of Jufran banana catsup (available in Asian aisle)
 pepper to taste (optional)
1 container (16 oz) ricotta cheese
1 egg, beaten
 1 package shredded mozzarella cheese
 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Saute ground beef and sausage in a skillet until nicely browned. Add a few shakes of maggi seasoning. Remove from heat. Mix in spaghetti sauce mix and banana catsup.

In a bowl, combine ricotta, lightly beaten egg, 1 cup mozzarella cheese; set aside.

Pam-spray lasagna pan or 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Preheat oven to 350F.

Lay noodle out flat, spread ricotta mixture over the length of it, about 2 tablespoons, then top with a layer of meat filling. Sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese and then shredded mozzarella cheese. Roll up each lasagna noodle from short end. Place rolls side by side in the prepared pan, seams side down. Pour any remaining meat filling over rolls. Cover with foil. (You can refrigerate for 2 days or plastic wrap and foil and freeze for 2 months, don’t forget to thaw 24 hours in the refrigerator before baking it).

Bake at 350 F for about 30 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle with remaining shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheeses. Bake another 5 minutes till cheese melts. Let cool 5 minutes before serving. Serve with garlic bread or mixed green salad. Enjoy!

1) Of course you can substitute ground chicken or turkey for the ground beef.
 2) Individually wrap lasagna roll ups in saran wrap, freeze them and at night, while watching Survivor,America’s Next Top Model, The Apprentice and Dancing with the Stars, you can heat it up in the microwave for just over 2 minutes, and dinner’s ready!
3) Of course you can also use store-bought spaghetti sauce instead of banana catsup and throw in shakes of Worcestershire sauce.




Rotini and Karoun Milk Cheese Casserole

Pasta varieties we are very much familiar with include: spaghetti, lasagna, linguine, fettucine, ziti and macaroni. Least popular is rotini. Rotini comes in a box with tricolor spiral shaped pasta, mostly red, green and white colored. Cook it like you normally would with the other familiar pasta shapes, al dente, meaning cook in a boiling salted water (I add a bit of oil and a sprinkle of Italian seasoning) until barely tender, or cooked but still firm to the bite.


1 lb box (12 oz) uncooked tricolor rotini, cooked al dente

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4 cup all purpose flour

2 cups whole milk (or 1 tall can evap milk plus enough water to make 2 cups)

1/2 cup whipping cream

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 cups shredded cooked chicken

1 lb package frozen broccoli cuts

1 can mushroom pieces, drained

1 can vienna sausage, drained and sliced

8 oz grated Karoun milk cheese (or medium cheddar cheese), divided

Salt and pepper

Cook rotini following package directions. Drain; set aside.

In a large skillet, saute chopped onion, minced garlic and red pepper flakes in butter over medium heat. Stir in flour and cook to make a roux. Gradually stir in milk, whipping cream, cream of chicken soup and Dijon mustard. Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce boils and thickens.

Add cooked chicken, broccoli cuts, mushroom pieces, sliced vienna sausage and half of grated cheese. Stir until heated through and cheese is melted. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss in cooked pasta and mix gently.

Transfer to a large baking dish and bake, covered, in a preheated 350 F oven for 20 minutes. Uncover, and sprinkle with remaining grated cheese. Continue baking, uncovered, until sauce is bubbly and cheese is melted.

I’ll make this delicious casserole again this Thanksgiving day.


It’s like watching the reality show, Survivor, many times over…it’s the biggest news of the day. And headlines after headlines…

*18th miner just pulled up from collapsed mine

*Rescue brings joy to families and nation

*Joyous tears of miners’ relatives and cries of “Chi! Chi! Chi! Le! Le! Le!”

*Fight of God and Devil, and God won

*Trapped Miners kept promise to never surrender

*Rescuers biggest concern: Miners panic attacks

*Oldest trapped miner exits the rescue capsule

*Rescued miners greeted with cheers, tears

The streaming videos and many more stories bring tears to my eyes and strength to my heart and soul. With this post, I send my warmest hugs and kisses to all the “super” brave men, their families and also to the rescuers. I am sure there is a reason for the trapped miners’ rescue and they will soon tell their tale of survival, and all of us are eager to listen.

Gracias, gracias and thank you to the Almighty for this happy ending.

Now it’s time to really feed these hungry “supermen”. And am thinking chili, and am thinking comfort foods. So my always reliable spaghetti one-dish meal will just be the perfect energy booster.


This is in honor of the “super” brave rescued miners in Chile…they are the real supermen. And they deserve a big plate of my superfood…Chile Skilletti, high-carb meal needed for energy after 69 days in the trapped mine.

1 pound angel hair or thin spaghetti, cooked almost al dente in salted boiling water with drizzle of oil and sprinkle of chili powder and then drained

grated parmesan cheese for topping

Chili Sauce:

2 tablespoons cooking oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 red bell pepper, sliced in strips

2 cups cooked shredded chicken

2 cans (14.5 oz each) chili-ready diced tomatoes, undrained

1/2 cup chicken broth or water

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 cups zucchini, thinly sliced using a mandolin (1 large zucchini)

2 cups yellow squash, thinly sliced using a mandolin (1 large yellow squash)

1/2 cup tomato catsup or salsa

2 tablespoons sambal oelek (chili paste)

In a large skillet, heat oil and saute minced garlic, chopped onions and bell pepper strips until onions are soft and translucent. Add cooked chicken, diced tomatoes (including liquid) broth, seasonings and sliced vegetables. Cook over medium heat, cover but stir occasionally, for 10 minutes. Lower heat to simmer and add catsup or sambal oelek and cover. Cook until vegetables are softened and flavors developed. Taste and adjust seasonings. Gently toss drained angel hair to coat with chili sauce. Transfer to a large platter, sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese, and serve immediately. “Chi! Chi! Chi! Le! Le! Le!”




If you ask me what my favorite food is, my instant reply is “Pad Thai”, and that’s my # 1 comfort food. The different food sensations (sweet, tangy, salty, crunchy, chewy) just make me want for more. And to be honest, I can have Pad Thai even for breakfast, just probably with more scrambled eggs though. And it is not a difficult dish to make at all, it is stir-frying through and through. The only challenge is to move the softened pad thai noodles around the wok and soak in the pad thai sauce very gently without breaking them down. It will still taste ok, and won’t really matter if you are not bringing to a party as your potluck dish contribution. Thai restaurant cooks would usually make small portions of pad thai, for short orders, so the length of noodles remain intact. But to do a whole wok of pad thai, I’d substitute the pad thai noodles with fettucine noodles cooked almost al dente (not really quite al dente), which are more sturdy and can withstand frequent and lots lots more stirring and folding.

I shared this “uncomplicated” Pad Thai recipe to the NoOodles creator, Terri Rogers, for her website. The use of pasta rather than the Thai flat noodles is preferred for “company-size” pad thai cooking; thai flat noodles break down easily on prolonged stir frying.

1 box fettucine, cooked “almost al dente in salted boiling water with a splash of vegetable oil and sprinkle of lemon pepper, then rinsed in cold water 

3 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into thin and bite size piecesPad Thai Sauce:

1/3 cup fish sauce

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1/4 cup tamarind concentrate

1/2 cup light brown sugar

2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup ketchup

1 tablespoon minced garlic

crushed red pepper flakes to taste

red food color, as desired

Measure all sauce ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

fresh bean sprouts

lime wedges

shredded cabbage and julienned carrot

2 lightly beaten eggs, scrambled and broken into chunks

coarsely chopped peanuts

fresh cilantro or parsley leaves

Heat wok on high; add some oil. Saute the chicken strips, let sear, stir-frying until half way done, about 2 minutes, then add a tablespoon or two of the Pad Thai sauce to flavor the chicken. Stir in bean sprouts and more Pad Thai sauce. Add the cooked fettucine and the remaining Pad Thai sauce and gently stir-fry until the noodles have absorbed almost all of the sauce. Transfer to serving dish and garnish with lime wedge, crunchy shredded cabbage, julienned carrots and scrambled eggs. Top with coarsely chopped peanuts and cilantro or parsley. And for some extra hotness, serve with a bottle of Thai red chili sauce on the sides. I think you aren’t going out for a Pad Thai again!




Note: Please read my separate post on this amazing new food phenomenon “NoOodle, the No Calorie Noodle”



I call this my “No more fears” Paella or the simplified version of the Spanish Paella, rich with saffron flavors and nicely decorated with cooked clams, shrimps, mussels, etc. on top.

Unless you cook paella to impress, then just buy the frozen Seafood mix, and arrange them with bell pepper strips, cooked shrimps, peas for the toppings.

Saffron, yes, you just have to have it when you cook paella. I found my small container of Paella in the international special ingredients section at Marshalls, and I got it at a bargain of $ 5.00. And you really just need a pinch of saffron in each paella dish you make…so my small saffron container takes care of my year’s cravings of Paella.

Certainly not the authentic paella, but my version is easy to fix and really worth the efforts!


1 lb large shrimps, peeled and deveined and seasoned with 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black peper, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning and 1 tablespoon oil)

1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced into large strips

2 to 3 chicken breasts, sliced into thick strips

1 pack Spanish pork chorizo or 3 pieces smoked sausage, sliced

1 large onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained

2 cups sweet rice or arborio rice

3 cups chicken broth

1/3 cup dry red or white wine

1/2 teaspoon saffron threads

1 piece bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon salt

handful of frozen peas, thawed

1/2 cup Seafood mix (optional)

oil for sauteeing

Season shrimps, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate while sauteeing other ingredients.

In a wok, sautee green bell pepper strips in little oil, transfer to a small bowl and set aside. Add more oil in the wok and cook chicken breasts strips, 3 minutes on each side. Move cooked chicken strips around sides of the wok, and add sliced chorizos or smoked sausages to hot oil. Brown chorizos for about 4 minutes. Transfer cooked chicken strips and chorizos in another bowl and set aside.

Add about 2 tablespoons oil in wok and sautee onions until translucent. Add diced tomatoes with the juice and 2 cups of sweet rice. Stir until sweet rice is coated with the tomato mixture. Add chicken broth, wine, saffron threads, bay leaf, salt and cooked chicken and chorizos. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a large aluminum tray or casserole dish and cover and bake in 350 F oven for about 15 to 20 minutes or until mixture is almost dry and rice is done. Uncover and arrange toppings (bell peppers, shrimps, peas and seafood mix. Cover and return to oven and bake for another 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let paella stand for another 5 minutes for rice to firm up and absorb more juices.


So enjoy, this may be your “go-to” recipe for Paella, i know it is…for me!


These stuffed peppers go well with any enchilada casserole you plan to make for a special dinner date. Make it a CALIENTE night to remember!

6 medium to large green peppers

1 teaspoon oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 sachet Sazon Goya cilantro and achiote seasoning mix

pinch of dried oregano

1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth, about 1 3/4 cups

1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with green chilies

1 cup uncooked long grain rice

salt and pepper to taste

Topping: cooked and crumbled Cacique pork (beef) chorizo or longaniza

Wash and then cut off the tops of the green peppers. Remove the seeds and membranes and blanch in boiling, salted water for 5 minutes. Drain.

In a wok or skillet, saute garlic and onions in hot oil until soft. Add spices and seasonings. Then pour in broth, canned tomatoes and rice to pan. Bring to boil, then cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes or until rice is done and water is evaporated.

Stuff the peppers with the cooked spanish rice. Top with cooked and then crumbled Cacique pork or beef chorizo or longganiza. Arrange in a large baking dish and bake at 350° for about 25 minutes.





Raise your hand if you’ve been to a Filipino party without a “pancit” tray served…I knew it, pancit is a fixture, it is a well-loved dish, it is a comfort food, and yes, it represents long life and good health. And the more strands of pancit noodles you consume, so our elders say, the more years you add to your “biological” life (I have to include this remark after watching the last episode of the Biggest Loser), that’s the secret revealed now. Adobo may be the Philippine’s national dish, but in the United States, pancit and lumpia shanghai (egg rolls) are really embraced by the “puti” (Americans). Americans love pancit in the same intensity and cravings as they love pad thai. One American friend begged for me to create an easy-to-fix pancit recipe, and I obliged. The recipe below isn’t your grandma’s pancit canton, but using already pre-cut/washed stir-fry veggies and canned broth makes pancit making a breeze to make. When you have all day to spend in your kitchen, then by all means, peel and cut those fresh veggies (carrots, green beans, etc.). Substitute shrimp with cooked chicken or turkey meat or boiled pork.

1 pound fresh shrimps, shelled, deveined and cleaned (I like leaving the tails on)

1 tablespoon store-bought teriyaki marinade (or soy sauce or maggi liquid seasoning)

2 tablespoons oil

4 pieces smoked sausage, sliced (may substitute chinese sausages or salami)

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 medium onion, sliced

1 pound broccoli stir fry mix

1 can (14.5 oz) beef broth

2 tablespoon hoisin sauce

1 to 2 tablespoon soy sauce

few dashes of maggi liquid seasoning

1/2 to 1 teaspoon Louisiana shrimp and crab boil seasoning powder

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 small lemon (or use 1 kalamansi sachet or juice of 2 fresh kalamansi)

1 can (15 oz) whole young corn spears, drained and sliced

1 pound pancit canton noodles

Coat shrimps in teriyaki marinade; set aside. Heat oil in large wok over medium heat then add sliced sausages and toss for 1 minute; remove from oil and set aside. Saute garlic and slice onions in hot oil in wok. Stir in broccoli stir fry mix and cook, tossing constantly, for 1 minute. Add broth, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, maggi seasoning, shrimp seasoning powder, ground black pepper and lemon or kalamansi juice. Bring to boil and then add marinated shrimps. Let shrimps cook until pink and firm, about 2 minutes. Add sliced young corn and sausages and cook until heated through. Transfer vegetables and meats to a large bowl; set aside. Adjust salt and seasonings of broth. Add the noodles; stir-fry until coated in the sauce and cooked well. Return the vegetables and meats to the wok and toss with the cooked noodles. Serve warm with lemon or kalamansi wedges. (Tip: I lightly spray surface of cooked pancit with vegetable oil spray to glaze it). Serves 5 or 6.

Ok, call me when you finished cooking pancit…I’ll be there in a hurry, on that you can depend and never worry!