Ssamjang Beef Stew

So this dish was created from my imagination of what I’ve seen of Korean soups on TV and what Korean ingredients I had in the pantry. The soup base came out very delicious, so I am hurriedly jotting down my recipe before I forget! Here are the ingredients:

About 1 Tbsp Gochujang 고추장 (Red pepper paste)

again, around 1 Tbsp Sunchang Ssamjang 순창 쌈장 (sesame and garlic seasoned bean paste)

1 pkg Chicken bouillion powder (salt-free)

1 Tsp Chinese five-spice powder

1/4 cup Kikkoman Teriyaki sauce (if you have any, sweet Korean soy sauce will work well too)

2 Tbsp Sesame Oil

1 Tbsp Garlic or garlic powder

1 Tbsp Onion powder

 1 tsp Salt and Pepper

2 Tbsp Cooking oil (not olive oil) with a high smoke point

In whatever quantity you crave; Beef

1 lb Sm Yellow Potatoes

Now here’s what you do:

Prep the beef by giving it a good rub with some salt and pepper, garlic and onion powder. Next, cut the beef however you like. Then, in a skillet, quickly sear the beef in oil (not olive oil); I used Safflower oil because of the high smoke point. Sear the meat quickly, but not all the way through and you will get the yummy crust.

For quick cooking, microwave the potatoes till they are semi-cooked.

In your favorite soup pot, bring 3-4 cups of water to a simmering boil. Add the Gochujang, Sunchang Ssamjang, teriyaki sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, Chinese five spice powder, chicken bouillon, salt and pepper and sesame oil. Stir till well blended and bring to a boil. After a few minutes, the flavors blend together and you can add the main ingredients. Add the potatoes and continue boiling till they are soft. Last, but not least, add the beef at the very end so it doesn’t get overcooked.

Serve over or with rice on the side. I don’t have a photo because, frankly, I ate it all, lol. There’s just enough spicy-ness to make your mouth tingle, not too hot you can’t slurp with gusto. This can be a great simple, filling and hearty soup anytime. I hope you enjoy and I’d love to hear any feedback on how it comes out for you!


Tomato Sandwich

This is an old favorite and simply delicious. It’s easy and budget friendly, especially as deli meats are soooo expensive.


Tomato Sandwich


Roma tomatoes (20130909_151002or plum) has the best flavor for a sandwich
Slice the roma tomato length-wise in whatever thickness you prefer.
Favorite bread. For this sandwich, I like plain ol’ soft white bread.
Hellman’s mayonnaise.
Salt and Pepper to taste.

Tip: salt and pepper the mayo before the tomato for best flavor. 



Cottage Pie with Mashed Cauliflower

So i’ts been a very long time since I’ve posted 😦 but I’ve come with a delicious peace offering!

Cottage Pie is a ground beef version of Shepherd’s pie which traditionally uses lamb.

Cottage Pie

with mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes

Ingredient List

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper

1 1/2 lbs ground beef

1 1/2 large onion, finely diced

2 cups frozen peas, carrots and corn

4 1/2-6 sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped or 1 tbsp of dried is fine

2 cloves chopped garlic

3 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 1/2 cups stock

2 bags frozen cauliflower

Salt & Pepper to taste

Chopped chives, amount to your taste

1 tbsp butter


In a medium or large skillet, heat up the olive oil and add the chopped onion, garlic, celery. Take the ground beef and in a bowl, mix it up with salt, pepper, tarragon and a dash of Worcestershire sauce; add to skillet and combine. Add the stock, mix then add the tomato paste. Add the rest of the Worcestershire sauce. Add the butter and bring to brief boil, then add the flour. Mix it well to cook the flour through to thicken the sauce. Turn the heat down to medium low and add the peas, carrots and corn. Simmer till tender. Place into casserole dish.


Boil the frozen cauliflower with some salt and pepper till fork tender. Mash with butter, salt& pepper to taste, chives to desired consistency. Spread over the meat and place in the oven on 350° for 35 minutes.


Deconstructed PB&J

So here is a fun little dish I came up with for my 3 year old little one. It was close to dinner time and I didn’t have anything prepared and I had cooked up a storm this weekend and thinking what I should do for dinner tonight. This can be for any meal of course, but tonight it was dinner. My little one loved it, and we used three different jams we had and the peanut butter was warm and gooey.



Favorite bread

Favorite peanut butter

Favorite jelly(s)

Favorite butter or spread



Make a grilled peanut butter sandwich on the stove or griddle.

Cut the sandwich into fours.

Put a spoonful of jelly(s) on the plate and let them dip the sandwich into the jelly.



Roasted Chicken Salad

This recipe is always a hit in my family.

Roasted Chicken Salad


2 split (1 whole) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on (1 1/2 pounds)
Olive oil
Salt and black pepper
1/2 cup pecan and/or 1/2 cup walnuts chopped
1/2 cup good mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup green and/or red grapes, cut in 1/2


Combine the olive oil, salt and pepper into a rub and spread generously over the chicken breasts and under the skin without tearing it.  Place on baking sheet skin side up, cover with tin foil and bake at 350 °F for 25-30 minutes. Then remove the foil and finish roasting for an additional 20-25 minutes until cooked through with internal temp about 165 °F . Set aside to cool off.

Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and fatty pieces. Using two forks, shred the chick breast and place in a mixing bowl.  Then put in the mayonnaise, sour cream, salt and pepper to taste, pecans and/or walnuts and finally the grapes.

Using a spatula, fold the mixture together until well combined. Depending on your preference, if the salad is too dry, add additional mayonnaise and sour cream, equal parts. Only add more a little at a time until you have the right consistency.

The chicken salad should not be soupy or very smooth. This is a very chunky recipe and the dressing is to add a little flavor and binder properties.

Serving Suggestions

Lettuce Wraps

Puff Pastry

Sandwich Bread



Masoor Dal

Masoor Dal

This is one of my family’s favorite dishes. My husband taught me to make it and depending what ingredients I have, it comes out a little different every time, but still delicious. You can find most of these ingredients at your local grocery or Walmart  The dal can be found in the Indian/Asian section of some grocers, but your best bet is your local Indian store. Don’t buy Thai coconut milk or any coconut cream, it will be way too sweet.

Why is this budget friendly? Depending on what you have in your pantry, it only costs as much as a bag of rice, dal (about 2.99), 1 can of coconut milk ($.99-$1.50) and vegetables. The dal would be just as good without all the spices and bacon if you don’t have them. And it can feed a lot of people.

Don’t be intimidated. It can be a little involved, but why it’s so easy is because you cook it once and you forever know how to do it. It’s an easy recipe to do a little of this and none of that and so on…

Here is what you’ll need:



Cooks in 30-45 Min Serves Approx: 4


2 – 2 1/2  cup Swad Masoor Dal (Split Red Lentils)
1 1/2 cup of water
1/3 – 1/2 can Coconut Milk
1 tbsp Your favorite Curry Powder (do not use Thai curry as it is too sweet for this dish)

or make your own:

  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Cardamom
  • 1 tsp Red Pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp Ground Mustard
  • 1 tsp Ground Cumin Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp Turmeric Powder
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil

1 Red Onion or whatever you have on hand
2-3 Roma Tomatoes or 1 can diced tomatoes
2-3 oz Bacon (optional)
Rice (any kind of white rice except instant, Jasmine is best for flavor if you can afford it)



  • In a mixing bowl, pour in the dal.
  • Pick out any obvious debris and rinse well under water.
  • Dal to water ratio: About 1 cup Dal to 1 1/2-2 cups water.


Proper way to clean dal:When you fill the bowl with water, use your hand to mix it up and you will see some hulls and debris float to the surface. Pour it out and repeat, as many times as you need to. This also eliminates some of the starch so you don’t get a sloppy mess.

Note: The lentils measure similar to split pea soup, it doesn’t seem like much dry, but once it’s cooked it seems to double. So keep that in mind when you choose how much. Also, you don’t want to put too much dal in the pot. You won’t have anymore room for the rest of the ingredients.



  • In a large skillet or dutch oven, cook on med to med-high temp.
  • Pour in the olive oil and half the red onion and keep the other half in reserve or a whole yellow/white.
  • If you are using bacon, chop into little pieces and fry till crispy and the onions are translucent.
  • Put in all the spices and the tomatoes.
  • Let the mixture simmer for a few minutes till most of the liquid is reduced.
  • Pour in the dal and water, mix till everything stirs freely. (It should seem like soup.)
  • Let come to boil, stir frequently to keep from sticking on the bottom.
  • Turn down to med-low and cover for about 20 minutes.
  • Add 1/2 tbsp Salt
  • Everything should have thickened up and it should have a slight al dente texture.
  • Add salt to taste.
  • Pour in 1/3 can of coconut milk. If the lentils are still a little harder than al dente, pour in about 1/2 the can of coconut milk.
  • Put in the reserved red onions.
  • Stir until mixed and cover med-low for another 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Texture should be a little grainy but creamy.
  • Salt to taste.


Cook white rice according to your usual methods or per directions on packaging. Pour mixture over rice.


Dal  Dal