Category Archives: Noche Buena

Chicken macaroni salad for Noche Buena

A surprise package awaited me and to my delight, the basket contained Lady’s Choice Mayonnaise and Royal Elbow macaroni , two ingredients of the many, needed for Chicken Macaroni salad.

ladys-choice-mayonnaise

When I think of Chicken Macaroni salad, I remember myself as a teenager, assigned by mom as the salad maker. Come to think of it, I also used Lady’s Choice Mayonnaise and Royal macaroni .  Do you remember ?

Receiving this basket brought back  memories of preparing this salad with my mom. I decided to prepare Chicken Macaroni salad for a small Christmas party at home.

As a teen, Chicken macaroni salad was easy to prepare but I had to ask help in boiling the macaroni though and after that, it was a matter of mixing all the ingredients. My mom assigned me that task , every Christmas eve or for the noche buena. Her style was different. The Chicken breast was shredded. The cheese was shredded . There wasn’t much color on the salad except a sprinkling of pickle relish and the yellow of the pineapple tidbits. Let me share how I innovated the classic salad into my own version of  Chicken Macaroni salad .

chicken macaroni salad

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10 ways to prepare noche buena dishes with California Cheese

california cheese platter

Will you be using cheese for your Christmas dinner? I will be preparing Chicken Cannelloni and fondue for our dinner and lunch menu. If you want ideas for a noche buena with cheese as an ingredient, here are some of my recipes. Click on each link.

1. Filipino style spaghetti
2. Cheezy beef patatas
3. A Raclette dinner
4. Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce
5. Chicken Cannelloni
6. Malunngay and cheese dip
7. Macaroni and Cheese overload
8. Cheese Fondue
9. Blinis Shrimp Torte Canapés and Cheesecake crunch bites
10. Chicken Cordon Bleu

When you shop in any leading supermarkets, you will discover that there are different Califorina Cheeses to give you more flavor to your Pinoy holiday dishes this year. California Cheese, served on a platter and paired with your favorite wine is great for  conversation.  My family and I often use a variety of cheeses in our noche buena table not just Queso de bola.  Incorporate California Cheese in your favorite Christmas dish and it can warm your family’s heart with its comforting creaminess.

california cheeses from california milk advisory board

 

While shopping today, I discovered South Supermarket Pasig displayed California Cheeses.

california cheese at south supermarket

Just what is the secret of California Cheese? The answer: California milk produced by happy cows. “The climate of California and the specialized care given by farmers to their cows allow their milk to attain its premium quality,” said Ms. Reji Retugal-Onal, USPB Country Representative.

 

California is the largest farming state and leading milk producer in the US, leading the nation in the production of fluid milk, butter, ice cream and non-fat dry milk. Of all the state’s milk and milk product categories, California Cheese is the largest and fastest growing category. California has been producing cheese for as long as it has been making wine – more than 200 years and is the 2nd largest cheese and yogurt maker in the US.

How do you know find the California Cheese that is right for your needs? Here is a guide.

california cheese mozzarella

  • Fresh: these lovely cheeses have not been aged or ripened, retaining much of the mild flavor of fresh milk. Cottage cheese, Mascarpone, Mozzarella (water-packed) and Ricotta are some of the more familiar examples. I use mozzarella cheese to top lasagana and Cannelloni.

califorina cheese cheddar

  • Semi-Hard: the broadest range of varieties and style, these cheeses include many of what we commonly refer to as “table cheeses.” They can be anywhere from soft and creamy, having been aged only a few weeks, to moderately firm, aged a month or more. Their flavors also vary, giving you a wide array to choose from. Examples include Cheddar, Feta and Gouda.

california cheddar cheese

  • Soft & Soft-Ripened: delicate and delicious, these cheeses are typically mild when young and develop a fuller flavor with age, often becoming softer and creamier in the process. Brie is an example of this type. Most of its varieties are mild and rich, although Oaxaca and Schloss can have strong flavors.

 

  • Very Hard: Beauty often comes with age and aged cheeses are no exception. These are the cheeses that are hard enough to grate or crumble. While the Dry Jack and the Enchilado Anejo can be mild, the Asiago, Cotija and Romano can have sharp or strong flavors.

 

  • Hispanic Style: a broad family of cheeses that reflect the cheesemaking styles and traditions brought to California from Mexico, Central and South America and Spain. You can find varieties that are mild and mellow, as well as ones that are strong and pungent.

califorina monterrey jack

  • Spiced & Flavored: packed with flavor, these are natural cheeses to which a cheesemaker has added natural spices, herbs, and/or vegetable for flavor. You can find flavored versions of Brie, Cheddar, Feta, Gouda, Havarti, Mozzarella, Monterey Jack, Panela and Provolone.

california cheeses

No matter which variety you choose, you can be assured that it is Real California Cheese made with California Milk if it carries the Real California Milk seal. It is a certification mark that assures consumers they are purchasing natural cheese, made in California exclusively with California milk.

I love that there is an ample supply at the grocery since cheese will always be a primary ingredient not only on Christmas dinners but in most special occasion dishes.

Check out facebook.com/RealCaliforniaMilk , follow them on twitter at @RealCalifMilk and instagram at instagram.com/RealCalifMilk

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Buko Fruit Salad

buco fruit salad

New Year’s Eve media noche must have a fruit salad on the dinner table. The most popular fruit salad is the Buko salad. The popularity of fruits during New Year’s Eve celebration is part of the tradition to bring in good luck, fortune and prosperity. Even before the New Year arrives, my children already wants to eat it.

Ingredients
5 large cans of Del Monte Fruit Cocktail (Imported)
Grated Coconut meat from 10 buko (young coconut)
2 cans lychees
1 small bottle nata de coco (green)
1 small bottle nata de coco (red)
1 small bottle kaong (green)
1/4 kilo seedless grapes
3 small china apples , cubed
2 can condensed milk
2 packs Nestle Cream
1 can Peaches for topping
Optional : walnuts, water chestnuts for extra texture
Few red or green kaong for topping

Procedure
1. Drain the fruits from the can for at least 2 hours. This is to prevent a soggy fruit salad.

2. When all the juices have been drained, mix all the fruits together in a bowl.

mix fruit salad

3. Add the condensed milk and cream till well blended.

4. Transfer to serving bowls and top with peaches and cherries. I also add green kaong for additional decor.

fruit salad

5. Freeze or Refrigerate properly. (Buko spoils if not refrigerated or frozen. I prefer to freeze the rest of the buko salad if it isn’t eaten within the day.)

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Beef Pochero aka Cocido

noche buena

I have been preparing Pochero every Christmas day for the past 10 years. On Christmas eve, I serve Majestic Ham for Noche Buena. I rub the ham with brown sugar and cloves and bake it in the oven. After it has been baked, I decorate it with pineapple and cherries. What do we do with leftover ham from Christmas dinner? The solution….Pochero or cocido. I prefer to call it Pochero as it is a very common dish in my hometown Cebu.

majestic ham

Pochero (Spanish spelling , Puchero) with its bounty of meats, sausages and vegetables is known as the “real national dish of Spain. Brought to the shores through the Spanish conquistadores, it is a favorite dish at Filipino festive occasions. With extra ham from the noche buena, the pochero is one way of recycling left-over meats. This recipe is richly flavored by the ham bones and scrap ham simmered with the beef. The flavor of the ham bones, and the Chorizo de Bilbao seeps in to the beef cubes making it so tasty.

Pochero cooked December 25, 2014
Pochero cooked December 25, 2014

Of course, you can modify this recipe to your desired taste.

Ingredients

1 kilo cubed beef brisket
1/2 kilo leftover ham bones
1/4 kilo scrap ham
8 to 10 cups water or enough to cover meat
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in half
4 Saba bananas, peeled, sliced in half
3 pieces chorizo de bilbao sliced diagonally into 2 inch pieces (Preferably the one in the Purefoods can)
1 cup chick peas
1 head of cabbage quartered
1 Baguio pechay leaves separated

Procedure

1. Put beef, ham bones, and scrap ham in large casserole.
2. Pour enough water to cover.
3. Bring to a boil, then simmer until beef is almost tender, about 40 minutes
4. Add potatoes and bananas. Simmer until bananas and potatoes are almost tender, about 20 minutes
5. Stir in chorizo de bilbao and chick peas and continue simmering for another 10 minutes. ( I prefer the chorizo bilbao in Purefood cans because there is no red coloring that seeps out during the cooking)
6. Add cabbage and pechay and let simmer until vegetables are cooked but still firm

pochero for Christmas day

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