Category Archives: quick and easy

Sweet and Salty Roasted Chickpeas

Roasted Chickpeas: Spiced and Ready to Serve (Closer)

OK… I’ve been focusing a leeeetle too much on the sweet stuff lately. Here’s my first recipe post in a little while; this one has both sweet and salty going on.

Sweet and Salty Roasted Chickpeas
from the Cupcake Project

Ingredients :

  • 1 can (14 oz) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon or your spice(s) of choice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


1) Place chickpeas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat. Bake at 450 F for 30 minutes. Note from the Cupcake Project: You didn’t miss anything here. You don’t oil or season them until after they are done. In fact, for an extra healthy treat, try them when they get out of the oven before even adding the oil. They are enjoyable all on their own.

Chickpeas Ready to Bake (closer)

Oven Roasted Chickpeas (even closer)

2) Transfer chickpeas to a bowl and mix thoroughly with the rest of the ingredients.
3) Enjoy hot, or bring to room temperature and store in an air-tight container.

Here’s what the roasted chickpeas look like after they’ve been tossed in oil and spices:

Roasted Chickpeas: Spiced and Ready to Serve

Instead of straight cinnamon, I generally go for fivespice to shake things up a little bit. I may try this recipe with a little pumpkin pie spice next time around. The spice combinations are really up to you on this one!

There are many things to love about this recipe.  The recipe is very simple and the finished chickpeas are easy to transport from place to place. While the chickpeas tend to lose their crunch the longer you keep the chickpeas, they are still really tasty days after you bake them. They are like beer or corn nuts, but I think a lot better tasting and possibly a little better for you. Once I pop one into my mouth, it’s tough to stop myself (sorry, Pringles 😉 ).

Need to figure out a way to keep ’em crispy/crunchy once they have been out of the oven a while, though.


Eat Your Veggies: Garlic Green Beans

Finished Garlic Green Beans (With Skinnier Green Beans)

While I appreciate bacon or ham in my veggies as much as the next person who grew up in the Deep South, I wanted to try a green bean recipe somewhere in between green beans heavily laden in pork product and just simply bland-ish boiled green beans. To be fair —  pork fat does rule… just not in all of my veggies all the time. I love the simplicity of the green bean recipe we found on Southern Living, and the fats involved are mostly of the ‘good’ variety: olive oil with some butter. Yeah, eat your heart out, Paula Deen.

The final product is definitely crisper than some of the other green bean recipes out there : A bonus, I think. The recipe is essentially:  Prep green beans, mince or press garlic, blanch beans in salted water, dunk beans in ice water to stop cooking process, saute green beans with olive oil/butter mix, garlic, and spices…et voilà! You’re done.

Here’s the expanded recipe with (more or less) step by step shots…

Garlic Green Beans
from Southern Living Magazine through


  • 1 1/2 lbs tiny green beans (haricots verts), trimmed
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Instructions/Method Shots:

1) Cook green beans in boiling salted water to cover 3 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain. Plunge green beans into ice water to stop the cooking process, and drain.

Here are the green beans ready to boil…

Skinny Green Beans in Salted Water

Almost to full boil….

Skinny Green Beans Boiling in Salted Water

…and in the ice-water bath.

Skinny Green Beans in Ice Water Bath

The blanched beans were then put in our colander to drain.

Blanched Skinny Green Beans Draining #1

2) Melt butter with oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat; add green beans, garlic, salt, and pepper, and sauté 4 to 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Here’s the olive oil and butter in the closest pan we have to a wok:

Butter and Olive Oil Heating Up in Wok-Like Pan...

I put the pressed garlic in first, cooking it a little before I added the beans and seasoning…

Garlic Sauteeing in Butter and Olive Oil in a Wok-Like Pan...

I then sauteed everything for about 5 minutes (more or less) until everything was well distributed and well heated. The finished product is the first picture you see at the beginning of this post…

This recipe also worked with the wide-ish green beans we got through the local Sunday Farmer’s Market… Here are the beans cut up in one of our larger bowls:

Cut (Wide) Green Beans

…And here’s the finished product with the wider beans.

Garlic Wide Green Beans (finished)

The thing I goofed on the first time I made this recipe was not adjusting the seasonings to the amount (weight) of beans I had. No, Silly Random Hapa, wider beans aren’t going to make a pound more than a pound. I made sure to make the right tweaks for two pounds of green beans the second time around (finished product shot at the beginning of the post).

Eat Your Veggies: She’s Choppin’ Broccoli (and Cauliflower)

On Wednesday evening, I made a very simple veggie recipe found at Eating Well. The veggies will be taken to a friend’s house for a potluck dinner this evening.

Roasted Florets from Eating Well

  • 8 cups bite-size cauliflower florets, or broccoli florets (about 1 head), sliced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Lemon wedges, (optional)

I chopped the broccoli and cauliflower into smaller pieces and placed then in a bowl. I tossed them in olive oil and garlic salt, then placed them on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil like so:

Cauliflower and Broccoli Florets: Ready to Bake

Here are the pre-baked florets (and some stem pieces) a little bit closer…

Cauliflower and Broccoli Florets (closer)

I baked them in the oven for 20-30 minutes, making sure to turn the veggies about halfway through baking. The cauliflower ultimately had tinges of brown, and the broccoli: a darker green.

Pan of Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli Florets

I moved them from the cookie sheet to another pan so they can be carried to our destination this evening. Here are the finished florets and stems (a little bit closer):

Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli Florets (closer)

Hoping my fellow dinner guests enjoy them as much as I liked sampling them; I will get the verdict tonight once they’re heated, served, and eaten.

And for dessert…Some Dana Carvey audition deliciousness.

Eat Your Veggies: Simple Sautéed Spinach

Often I enjoy the simple things
“Often I enjoy the simple things” by Flickr user niquimerret. Used under CC license: BY-NC-SA

Yep… another spinach post. What can I say? I really like the stuff!

A quick and easy recipe this go around.  I don’t really measure what I put in here, but this recipe from Eating Well comes pretty close (…well… if you omit the red pepper).

Simple Sautéed Spinach
From: Eating Well Magazine


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 20 ounces fresh spinach, (see Note)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper


Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until beginning to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add spinach and toss to coat. Cover and cook until wilted, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add lemon juice, salt and crushed red pepper. Toss to coat and serve immediately.

Note: Baby spinach is immature or young spinach—it’s harvested earlier than large-leaved mature spinach. We like the sturdy texture of mature spinach in cooked dishes and serve tender, mild-flavored baby spinach raw or lightly wilted. Baby and mature spinach can be used interchangeably in these recipes (yields may vary slightly); be sure to remove the tough stems from mature spinach before using.

I prefer to put the garlic through the press before browning it; it saves me a little time. Here’s the garlic cooking in a little olive oil.

Garlic... Cooking in Olive Oil

I can’t leave them in for very long, as the garlic cooks quickly. I’ll then add the spinach and toss everything together. About a minute later,  lemon juice and a little kosher salt are added to the mix.

Sautéed Spinach w/Garlic (in pan)

This batch used frozen cut spinach (I usually keep a bag or 2 on hand). Fresh spinach works just as well (though the finished product will naturally look a little different).

Here’s the finished product close-up…with little flecks of garlic within…

Sautéed Spinach w/Garlic (closeup)

Sinangag (aka Garlic Fried Rice)

Sinangag (not to be confused with sinigang) is essentially the Filipino version of fried rice. Often served with breakfast (though good any time of day!), you often find little else but garlic, rice and sometimes margarine/butter, egg. Sometimes you’ll find other mix-ins like hot dogs and abobo (I’ve made batches with leftover chicken adobo before). It’s a wonderful way to use leftovers, no matter how you mix it up…

Growing up, I knew this dish as “eggs and rice”, though it’s pretty likely my maternal grandmother just made a version of this with soy sauce added into the mix. It’s also the one of the few recipes I’ve internalized well enough to just eyeball everything. If you need a roadmap (like I do many times), though, fellow Filipina food blogger Bread + Butter has a version very close to what I make normally (below).

Garlic Fried Rice (from Jenn @ Bread + Butter)

  • 1 Large garlic clove (sliced or minced)  – I’m a mincer myself…
  • 3 c Cooked Rice (rough estimate)
  • 2-3 Tbs Margarine
  • 1 Tbs Oil (vegetable, olive or canola)
  • Salt to season
  • 1 egg (beaten – optional)

Heat the oil in a large pan, pot or wok. Cook the garlic until they start to turn brown, then add in the rice. Toss constantly for a couple of minutes, then season with a little salt and add the margarine. Again tossing constantly

When the margarine has dissolved into the rice you can add the optional egg. Again toss for another minute or so or until egg is cooked, then serve.

We usually have brown rice at home, unless we’ve had takeout…

Brown Rice in Bowl

Unfortunately, I wasn’t paying attention and burned my first batch of garlic. Here’s the second batch getting ready to turn brown in the wok:

Minced Garlic Beginning to Brown
Note: I took a shot of the burnt batch, and placed it on the blooper reel… Next time, I’ll brown the garlic a little more than I did. I was afraid of burning the garlic again.

I didn’t take any more shots until the dish was done, since I constantly moved the mix around in the wok. (Can’t stop, rice will burn… Can’t stop, rice will burn). Several shots of the finished product below:

In the bowl:

Garlic Fried Rice (in bowl)

A little closer:

Garlic Fried Rice (Closer)

..and with some of the Adobong Manok (chicken adobo) I made this past weekend.

Adobong Manok w/Garlic Fried Rice #2

Yep… I went on a bit of a cooking spree during DC’s two snopocalypses (Dan and I were fortunate; we still had power both times). I baked banana bread during the first snowstorm, and made adobo and sinangag the past few days. I guess that’s how I tend to try to stave off cabin fever…

I return to work tomorrow while another snowstorm looms… Let’s hope my neighborhood doesn’t look like this on Wednesday:

Ceci n'est pas un banc...

PS – Fellow local (and Filipina) food blogger I Flip for Food (@I_Flip_For_Food), sent a link to this recipe (from Smitten Kitchen) via twitter earlier today. Definitely want to try this fried rice variation sometime…

These Piggies… Feel Less Guilty

I’ve made this Hungry Girl recipe for Pigs in a Blanket for a number of parties, and guests have finished off the batches I bring every time…

Depudged Pigs in a Blanket


  • 1 fat-free (or nearly fat-free) hot dog (like the ones by Oscar Mayer, Hebrew National and Ball Park)
  • 1 portion Pillsbury Reduced Fat Crescent roll dough


Cut hot dog into 4 even pieces.


(1 1/2 fat-free Hebrew National dogs pictured here)

Stretch or roll out the triangle-shaped dough slightly, to make it a larger triangle. Cut dough into four long, narrow triangles.


(Sometimes I just go halvesies when I want more  Crescent Dough… This was one of those times.).

Beginning at the base of each triangle, roll a piece of the hot dog up in the dough until the point of each triangle wraps around the center. Place dogs on an ungreased baking pan and cook for about 12 minutes (until dough appears slightly browned and crispy).


Et Voila! Simple (and better-for-you) pigs in a blanket… (Thanks HG!)


On a Fish Broiling Kick…

Yep.. we’ve been getting mileage out of our toaster oven broiler lately. Below is a quick, easy, and healthy recipe for broiled tilapia fillets that we made on quite a few occasions in the past few weeks…

Broiled Tilapia with Garlic – from Gina’s Weight Watcher Recipes

  • 6 tilapia fillets (6oz)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lemon

Wash fish and pat dry. Line broiler pan with tin foil. Place fish on the tin foil and season with salt, pepper, oregano, and parsley. Drizzle with olive oil and top with crushed garlic. Set broiler to low and place fish about 8 inches from the flame. Cook until fish is cooked through, about 7 minutes (be careful not to burn garlic). Serve with freshly squeezed lemon juice

Since I didn’t have regular ol’ ground pepper at the time, I sprinkled the fish with the lemon pepper that I had handy.  I didn’t exactly measure the herbs either…just sprinkled them onto the fish as necessary…

Herbed Garlic Tilapia Ready for Broiler

The garlic was crushed, then diced (Thanks, Dan!)…

Piece of Prepped Herbed Garlic Tilapia: Closer

Since I was also using a toaster oven broiler, the cooking time was increased to 15 minutes… A couple of looks at the finished product:

Piece of Finished Herb-Garlic Tilapia

Finished Herb-Garlic Tilapia in Contianer

Broiled Salmon With Breadcrumbs

Acquired a few years ago through a couple of friends who were moving, our old toaster was unfortunately getting a little bit troublesome. It’d often take several turns for me at “high” setting for me to even get toast to a medium brown, and while I had figured out the crumb tray, it was still a little unwieldy to clean. Crumbs would also fall out of the tray without Dan and I having opened it. While it served us well, it was the old toaster’s time to go…

*Plays taps for the old toaster*

In the past, I also hadn’t attempted to broil things using our gas stove. While the apartment’s stove had a broiler, it was close to the ground, and I’d invariably have to stoop. All of these problems were solved when Dan and I bought a new toaster oven (pictured later). Now we can toast, broil, bake, and clean things out with relatively little fuss and guesswork.

Today, I gave the new toaster oven’s broiler a try, making a variation of simple recipe for salmon that my mom originally taught me (I think there’s enough variation between her version and mine that I can safely share this one…)

Only a few ingredients are needed for this dish: salmon (steaks were used in this recipe since they were less expensive at the store, but fillets work fine, too), olive oil, garlic salt and breadcrumbs.

First, I brushed the salmon steaks with olive oil.

Brushing with Olive Oil
Yeah, I know that’s a pastry brush, but I work with what I have…

The salmon steaks are then sprinkled liberally with garlic salt (naturally, sprinkle to taste). Once done, they look like they do below:

Salmon Steaks w/ Olive Oil and Garlic Salt

The breadcrumbs are added last before being sent to the broiler… I tried to make sure the top was as covered as much as possible. The broiler pan ws also lined with aluminum foil and nonstick cooking spray for ease of cleanup…

Salmon Steaks Ready for Broiler

Here are a couple of steaks in the toaster oven. Depending on how good your broiler is, it can stay as few as 10 minutes or as much as 20 minutes…

Salmon Steaks Broiling

After spending 15 minutes in the toaster oven, the steaks are done… The bread crumbs are browned a little, and the salmon is fully cooked and ready to nom!

Pile of Finished Salmon Steaks