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Bacon Fried Rice

Who doesn’t love bacon? Our family certainly loves it! Growing up, I had rice for every meal. I mean EVERY meal. For breakfast, for lunch, for dinner, for dessert…even for snacks! I’ve had rice every which way possible. Fried, steamed, sticky, cake and even chocolate. That’s what happens when your mom raises you and she is 100% Filipina. I was so sick of rice by the time I was a teenager that I pretty much boycotted it in my early adult years. Then here comes our son and he LOVES rice. He would eat it every night if I would just make it! It took a long time but I am back to cooking rice more often. Recently, we went to a graduation party and they served fried rice. It was bacon fried rice. Seriously?!? Why haven’t I thought of this before? My mom has put everything into her fried rice: steak, chicken, shrimp, pork and even Spam. Not once in my 40+ years on Earth have I ever eaten bacon friend rice or even thought about adding bacon. Doh! It’s such an obvious meat to add especially when you consider that bacon grease can be substituted for some of the vegetable oil for a serious flavor boost! So of course I had to play around with our Easy Fried Rice recipe to come up with our version of Bacon Fried Rice.

Printable Recipe: Bacon Fried Rice

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons bacon grease

  • 1/2 to 1 small onion, diced small (depending on your preference of how much onion you want)

  • 1 lb ground pork

  • 2-4 eggs (depending on your preference of how much egg you like in your Fried Rice)

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 3/4 cup frozen carrots & peas (optional)

  • 3 tablespoons of bacon grease

  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

  • 6 cups of fully cooked white rice

  • 6-8 strips of fully cooked bacon, sliced in thin sections

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

Directions:

Add two tablespoons of bacon grease to a large frying pan. Sauté onions over low to medium heat.

Add ground pork and cook until pork is no longer pink. Remove cooked and crumbled pork from pan into a bowl. If adding peas and carrots, add them frozen now. In a medium bowl, add eggs, garlic powder, pepper and salt. Mix eggs with a whisk breaking the yolks. Add egg mix to the frying pan. Scramble eggs lightly. When the eggs are halfway cooked, add 3 tablespoons of bacon grease and 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Quickly add the rice. Stir continuously until all the little pieces of rice are lightly coated in oil, separated and eggs are fully cooked. Add sliced bacon and cooked ground pork. Stir till well combined.

Add soy sauce and stir till well distributed into the rice. Serve warm.

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Easy Fried Rice

I am going to let you in on a secret: Fried Rice is my nemesis. It has been the one thing I have always struggled to make. Which is super bad considering I am half Filipino and my mother has shown me how to a gazillion times while blind-folded and with one hand. Ok, she didn’t make it blind-folded and with one hand but she does it so effortlessly while never measuring a freaking thing. I’m a perfectionist. I probably have undiagnosed OCD or CDO which is the correct order of the letters. So I need numbers, exact numbers. Fried Rice is one of my family’s favorite things to eat and I have refused to try to make it. So what if I am 1/2 Asian and born on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean?! I also don’t care for seafood but that’s a story for another day, lol. I was born on a U.S. Naval base; I seriously was Americanized from birth even though I didn’t move to the United States till I was almost 8 years old. I attempted to make Fried Rice for the hubby before we were married, you know, to show him my worldly cultural side. It was Fried Rice alright. Seriously, f-r-i-e-d. Crunchy fried. I was so humiliated I decided never to make it again. Well, never is long a time. It was just over 17 years to be exact, lol. I finally let myself loose and gave Fried Rice another try. I have since made it 3 more times in one week! So, I got it and take that Fried Rice, you are no longer my nemesis! I am the Fried Rice queen, hear me ROAR!

 Printable Recipe: Easy Fried Rice

 Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1/2 to 1 small onion, diced small (depending on your preference of how much onion you want)

  • 2-4 eggs (depending on your preference of how much egg you like in your Fried Rice)

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 3/4 cup frozen carrots & peas (optional)

  • 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil

  • 5-6 cups of fully cooked white rice

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

Directions:

Add two tablespoons of vegetable oil to a large frying pan. Sure if you have a wok, use it. If you don’t, no biggie. My mom used to always use a large chicken fryer. I had actually just made Bourbon-less Chicken in my big chicken fryer to go with the fried rice so I used my electric skillet. Saute onions over low to medium heat. I add 1/2 of a small onion, diced (almost minced). The standard would be to add a whole small onion diced larger than my family likes our onions cut. This is dependent on your tastes. If adding peas and carrots, add them frozen now. Stir onion (and vegetables) around in the oil.

In a medium bowl, add eggs, garlic powder, pepper and salt. Mix eggs with a whisk breaking the yolks. 2 eggs is the standard but my family loves the eggs in the rice so we pack the protein with 4 of them.

Add egg mix to the frying pan. Scramble eggs lightly by pushing the eggs around with a spatula.

When the eggs are halfway cooked, add 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil.

Quickly add the rice. As you can see from my stellar photography skills that the cooking eggs halfway, add vegetable oil and add rice happens really fast. So fast that I couldn’t get a good picture. You basically stir the eggs a couple times and then bam! Time to add vegetable oil and rice. So work quickly. Stir continuously until all the little pieces of rice are lightly coated in oil, separated and eggs are fully cooked.

Add soy sauce and stir continuously till soy sauce is well distributed in the rice.

Serve warm. I should add that you can put meat in it too. After the soy sauce is well distributed, add fully cooked meat and stir.

Lumpia

I can remember as a child sitting at the table helping my mom make lumpia. I would help with separating the shells and let me tell you that was no easy feat! The shells are paper tissue thin! What makes lumpia unique is that it is mostly meat versus mostly vegetable that you would find in spring rolls or egg rolls. This is a long process so it is something I only make every few months. The good news is that it makes a lot! So it will last a couple of months! There are a gazillion different recipes for Lumpia but this is how my mom (who is 100% Filipina) taught me to make it! I am sure her recipe has a slight American influence!

Let’s start with the lumpia wrap. When I say “paper tissue thin” I think that is still an understatement! It is a very delicate wrap.

When I was a child, they sold it as one solid frozen package of wraps. We would set it on the counter to thaw out and then painfully separate each wrap. I would say about 10% of the wraps would get tossed because it would just rip trying to separate it. However, the lumpia wrap makers made it easier over the years! Now you can purchase the lumpia wraps all ready separated! There is a thin plastic sheet between each wrap! The bad news, you get less wraps. The package has only 30 wraps in it where I believe the solid frozen chunk of wraps had 50 wraps in it. Considering a portion always rips and gets tossed in the 50 count wraps package, I figure the 30 wraps package is still a great deal! Also, it is only $2.95 for the 30 wraps! How much did you pay for that one egg roll? LOL

Again, the right soy sauce makes the world of difference in this dish. We stick to our usual which is Marca Pina Soy Sauce. One, it is freaking cheap! A wine bottle size costs $1.95! We love this one because it is flavorful! Yes, it has that salty goodness to it but it isn’t overwhelmingly salty . . . it is just right!

So let’s get started!

Ingredients:

  • 3 Packages of Lumpia Wraps

  • 1/2 cup of diced onions (the regular blog followers know that I just remove my previously diced onions from the freezer)

  • 1 clove of garlic, minced or 2 teaspoons of World Spice Minced Garlic (we prefer World Spice in almost all of our recipes)

  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

  • 1/4 cup of Marca Pina Soy Sauce

  • 4 lbs of ground beef

  • 2 cups of cole slaw veggies (contains shredded cabbage and carrots, found near the bagged salads)

  • 1 egg white

Directions:

Lay lumpia wraps on the counter to thaw out to room temperature (takes only about an hour). I just go ahead with the rest of this recipe and by the time I get to needing the wraps, they are thawed out enough to use.

Chop down the coleslaw veggies into smaller pieces. Normally, we would put this in our food precessor and let the food processor slice it up more but we couldn’t find it. Things just magically disappear in our house all the time, lol. That’s ok though because my Grandad had given us this most awesome cutting board and blade. The solid wood block is concaved in the middle. We put the veggies into this well and rock the blade back and forth over the cabbage and carrots to mince it up. Set the minced up veggies aside. You can also flip the wood block over and use the flat piece to cut on to. We absolutely love this wood block and blade set, it is amazing! Of course, I should say the hubby loves it . . . I don’t play with sharp items because of my irrational fear of knives and my history of self-inflicted wounds, lol (if you’ve been following my blog, this makes complete sense, lol).

In a wok or in our case since we don’t own a wok, a large chicken fryer (a large and deep frying pan) add the diced onions, garlic, vegetable oil and soy sauce. I used to have a wok, an electric one at that and it too disappeared somewhere in the Pack household, lol. I like kitchen appliances, all of them, so much so I had too many so I think the hubby made them “disappear” but won’t own up to it, lol. Cook the onions and garlic over medium heat until onions are semi-translucent.

Add the ground beef. Fully cook the ground beef. Be sure to crumble the beef into tiny pieces and stir well while cooking to ensure the meat is covered in the onions, garlic vegetable oil and soy sauce. I find it easier to allow steam to help cook the meat and will cover the pan with a lid. Drain all the liquid from the meat once fully cooked and return it back to the same wok or pan. Place back onto the stove over the same medium heat.

Place the minced cabbage and carrots in the wok or pan that has the cooked meat in it. Give it a good stir and cover with a lid. Steam the veggies for approximately 3 minutes.

Remove from heat and transfer the meat and veggies to a super large bowl. Leave the bowl on the counter to cool down (approximately 1/2 an hour) uncovered. You want to remove the meat mix from the wok or pan because the meat will continue to cook since the metal is hot and the veggies will wilt too much.

After the meat mix has cooled down, place the egg white from one egg in a small dish. Whisk it up a little with a fork. Cover a large cookie sheet with foil. Take 4 paper towels (still attached to each other) and run it under water. Wring it out just enough that it isn’t dripping but still wet. Fold the paper towels at the middle seam to create a hinged sandwich effect (see photos). Remove one package of lumpia wrap from the box and plastic. Place the lumpia wraps between the wet paper towel sandwich you just made. The wraps are so thin that they dry out fast unless kept in a moist environment.

I set up an assembly line in this order: bowl of meat mix, a large flat plate, the sandwiched lumpia wraps, egg white and prepared cookie sheet.

Separate a lumpia wrap from the plastic and lay it on your plate. Add a heaping tablespoon of the meat mix to one edge of the wrap. Fold in the wrap sides. Roll the wrap tightly and away from you almost to the other edge. Dip your finger in the egg white and run your coated finger along the edge of the wrap. Wrap the meat mix all the way up. The egg white serves as a “glue” to seal the edge. Place your wrapped lumpia on the prepared cookie sheet. Continue this process until all the meat mix is used. Try to keep the lumpias the same width and length for easier storing. It should make 90 lumpias.

Using freezer Ziplocs, place the lumpia in a single layer inside the bag. We use quart size bags and place 6 across the bottom (standing up) and 2 laying sideways for a total of 8 per ziploc. This is a perfect amount for our family of 4 allowing us two each. Also 8 makes for a great snack size!  Your Ziploc should lay flat allowing you to stack several Ziplocs on top of one another. Label and date your Ziplocs and place it in the freezer. How long is it good for in the freezer? I really don’t know because ours is always gone within 2 months! I would guess it would be safe in the freezer for 6 months.

Cooking up Lumpia:

Remove a package of lumpia from the freezer. Open the Ziploc end (to allow steam to escape) and place the bag in the microwave oven. Heat on high for one minute. Yep, I said high. It will be warm but still easy to handle. Plus, it is completely unthawed in 60 seconds. You could also remove a package and allow it to thaw out in the fridge overnight or on the counter for an hour. For us though, when we want Lumpia, we want it NOW, lol!

In a frying pan, add a thin layer of vegetable oil (we use butter flavored oil, for that extra buttery taste). Heat oil over medium heat. Once oil is hot (a tiny sprinkle of water pops and dances on top of the oil) lay the lumpia in the oil. Pan fry until golden brown all around. Remember, everything is already cooked, you are just frying to  make the wrap a golden brown color. Use tongs to turn the lumpia around in the oil. It fries up fairly quickly so watch it closely.

Remove the lumpia from the oil (allow excess to drip off) and lay on a plate covered in a paper towel (the paper towel will soak up even more of the excess oil). Allow to cool. Just know the ingredients inside will be smoking hot even after the wrap is cooled enough to handle so give it a few minutes to cool down to spare yourself a burnt tongue! They go super well with our Pancit Canton!

I have made hundreds of these through the years, possibly thousands. Folks eat it differently. After being pan-fried, some like to dip it in different Asian sauces. Our Aunt Angela actually likes to dip it into sour cream (which is pretty good actually). I can tell you, lumpia will be nothing like you have ever tasted before and I really don’t know anyone who has tried it that didn’t love it! Lumpia is also Spencer approved (as he smiles with his mouth full for the camera, lol)!

Pancit Canton

With some straight-up Filipina style, your Pancit Canton will look like this when you are done!

I am a proud American whose father served in the U.S. Navy. It was when he was stationed in the Philippines that he met and married my mother; then came me. Although I was American at birth, there is no denying I am half Filipina. Although my early childhood was spent in the PI, I can’t really tell you much about it. I did after all live on base, which all military families know it is like a mini-America overseas. You would think I would be well versed in Asian dishes and Tagalog. I unfortunately am not in either, lol. I do however know a few choice curse words in Tagalog and also how to make Pancit Canton the way my mother taught me.

It’s hard to explain what the noodle is like. It’s not a spaghetti noodle kind of dish, it isn’t lo mein…it is a flour noodle that is cooked in a very unique way. It is only $1.49, yep, it’s that cheap and this makes more than enough for a family of 4. AND, it is made in the Philippines!

This is what the noodles look like when they are removed from the package. It is a thick square chunk of dried noodles.

Let me give you a hint: these noodles are not boiled! Instead they are added to flavored liquid and is cooked when the liquid is fully absorbed into the noodle. It gives such an amazing flavor! So it is important to not blindly add water because this is not a noodle you boil and drain.

Don’t skimp on the Soy Sauce! A good soy sauce adds bold flavor without making you think you just sucked on a salt lick for hours! I swear by Marca Pina soy sauce! For one thing, one huge bottle costs only $1.95 (it is the size of your average wine bottle) and two, it is made in the Philippines! So I guess technically I do want you to skimp on the soy sauce, lol, because this brand is so much cheaper than other brands considering the amount of soy sauce you get! So skimp on my friends! You will also find this easily in most Asian stores!

Ingredients:

  • 6 boneless, skinless, thin-cut pork chops

  • 2 tbsp of vegetable oil

  • 3 tablespoons Marca Pina soy sauce

  • 1 garlic clove, minced (or 1/4 teaspoon of our favorite Spice World Minced Garlic)

  • 2 teaspoons onion chopped dried onion (or 1 tablespoon of fresh diced onions)

  • salt & pepper to taste

  • 1.5 cups water

  • 1 cup of coleslaw veggie mix (contains only shredded cabbage and carrots, found by the bagged salad)

  • 1 package Pancit Canton Noodles (easily found at most Asian markets)

Directions:

Let me first say that I made a double batch so in the pictures you will pretty much see twice as much of everything. I made the Pancit Canton for my family for dinner last night and also made extra to take over to my dear friend, Rhonda, so she could try this noodle goodness too!

Slice pork chops into thin strips; set aside for the moment.

Add the oil, soy sauce, minced garlic and onions to a wok or if you are like me and don’t have a wok, put it in a chicken fryer pan (a frying pan that is large and deep). Saute the minced garlic and onions over medium heat.

Add pork chops to the pan and stir fry the pork. Add salt and pepper to your liking (more pepper than salt because there is soy sauce already in there). I prefer to use a pepper mill, nothing like fresh cracked pepper when you are cooking. I had so many pork slices because of the double batch that it wasn’t quite a “stir fry” method for me. I put a lid on to help cook the pork along. Just make sure you keep stirring so that the garlic, onion, soy sauce and oil evenly covers all of the pork. Once fully cooked, do not drain.

Add the shredded cabbage and carrots from the cole slaw mix. Give it a good stir and put the lid on. The goal is to steam the veggies without cooking them. Allow the steam to soften the veggies for approximately 2-3 minutes.

Turn the heat up between medium & high. Add the water to the pan. Allow water to heat up for approximately 3-4 minutes.

Place the noodles in your pan, pressing down the noodles with a lid. Cover for 60 seconds. Remove the lid and stir the noodles around. Cover again for another 60 seconds. Remove the lid and stir the noodles around. Cover again for another 60 seconds. Repeat this process until almost all the liquid is absorbed into the noodles.

When there is a small amount of liquid left, remove from heat and keep the lid on. The noodles will absorb the remainder of the liquid. It is important to remember to use an exact measurement for the water. This isn’t a boil and drain noodle. It is a “I’m sucking up all this fantastic drippings and broth” noodle, lol. If you don’t add enough liquid, the noodles will have crunchy parts. If you use too much liquid, your noodles will be very soggy. See the NOTES below for additional hints on the liquid.

Note: You can certainly grate fresh carrots and slice thin strips of cabbage yourself. I am always pressed for time and the few extra cents to buy a bag of coleslaw mix (usually found with the bagged salads) is worth it to me.

Note II: We prefer pork but my mother has made this with chicken and shrimp so use whatever meat is your preference.

Note III: If you are heavy into veggies, by all means, add as much as you want and add different types of veggies! For us, the carrots and cabbage give just the right amount of crunch to the dish even after being steamed.

Note IV: Watch your noodles closely, if they appear to have absorbed the liquid and are still “crunchy”, add 2 tablespoons of water. Do not add more water until the majority of the liquid is absorbed. If the noodles are still “crunchy”, repeat and add just 2 more tablespoons of water to the pan. Repeat as often as necessary. You don’t want to add too much water because nothing is worse than soggy canton noodles.  For me and my stove, 1.5 cups of water is the perfect amount for one package of canton noodles.

Note V: Have you been following my blog? Think you have seen this before? You have, lol! This was posted in my early days of blogging. I deleted that post and this post gives you a more detailed explanation on how to cook Pancit Canton.

This dish is loved by all our friends…BUT, not loved as much as the Lumpia I make. I will save that recipe for tomorrow. What is Lumpia, well it is those fantastic, crunchy rolls you see in the picture above. But it isn’t a spring roll, it isn’t an egg roll . . . it is something way better!