Mrs. Johnson’s Beef BBQ ala Bessie

Okay, this dish really doesn’t have a name…Bessie, my mom, just called it “Mrs. Johnson” and the name stuck.  Mrs. Johnson is actually the former American first lady, Lady Bird Johnson.  My mom found this recipe in some American magazine in the 60’s and turned it into her own.  It has very few ingredients, is simple to make and kids always love it.  And so, it’s become one of the family’s favorite recipes….

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Mock Beef Caldereta



Here’s a sorry attempt at plating a dish of beef caldereta.  Do you think I overdid it?  I really wasn’t going to post about this but decided I would at the last minute because of the attractively-colored vegetables.  This caldereta is missing a few key ingredients (which I’ll include in the recipe anyway) which is why I wasn’t originally going to inlcude it in the blog. 

Caldereta is a beef dish Filipinos like to serve at fiesta time.  Beef is the most common meat used.  There’s also a spicier goat caldereta that drinkers prefer.  The chicken caldereta is sweeter because of the addition of pickle relish.  For special occasions, a lot of Filipinos in the provinces would slaughter a cow, a pig, some chickens and maybe a goat for an open-to-everyone kind of feast.  The animals would be slaughtered with an open fire close by.  A huge cauldron of boiling water sitting over some large rocks or hollow blocks is always ready and required.  The men will do the slaughtering and dividing of the meat while the women prepared the rest of the ingredients.  Certain cuts go with certain dishes.  Caldereta  required mostly bones, with some meat still clinging to it.  Continue reading “Mock Beef Caldereta”

Bistek Tagalog with Veggies



This is another beef dish that’s pretty common in the Philippines.  We call it Bistek, a play on the Western “beef steak”.  The Philippine version uses thin sirloin cuts of beef if your monthly budget permits but you can use the cheaper cuts, pounded to make it more tender.  The marinating will tenderize the meat considerably.  The marinade is a simple  calamansi juice, soy sauce and black pepper.  You can also use this marinade for pork chops and butterfly-cut milkfish.

Bistek is always served at my parent’s house with fried potatoes and browned onion rings.  I like to serve my Bistek with the onions and some veggies like bell peppers or in this case, peppers and zucchini.  Of course, you will need a serving of rice…it just goes so well with the soy-calamansi combination. Continue reading “Bistek Tagalog with Veggies”




I’ve tried several recipes of meatloaf but was always taken by the one Cracker Barrel serves (on Tuesdays if I’m not mistaken).  I did a search on the internet some years back and found a recipe based on that. My recipe has evolved from that however…I made a few changes that suited our tastes more.

Spouse loves this…he can actually eat one loaf all by himself if I let him.  The thing with meatloaf is, the leftovers are even better served cold, as a sandwich. I’ll serve it first with some vegetables like brussels sprouts (maybe with a honey mustard glaze) and potatoes.  I always make sure there’s still half a loaf for sandwiches. Continue reading “Meatloaf”

Beef Bourguignon



This recipe is from the late Juliia Child.  It’s one of the classic French dishes she featured on her first cooking show on PBS, The French Chef.  If I’m not mistaken, this was the first she actually featured on that show produced by Russell Morash, the same producer who today, gives PBS audiences “This Old House”, “Ask This Old House” and “Find!”

I’ve had it before in restaurants but never cooked it at home.  It’s not so difficult.  The resulting dish is good enough to surprise you and make you wonder if you cooked it yourself.  And the leftovers are just excellent.  The success of this dish, will depend on the wine you use in my opinion.  I am currently using a Merlot for cooking and like its smoky flavor.  Continue reading “Beef Bourguignon”

Cooking the Perfect Steak at Home



Forgive this photo of my half-eaten dinner, I originally had no intention of making this dinner a blog entry.  I was just happily chomping away when it hit me – this steak was perfectly cooked! 

Why is it perfect?  Look closely, there’s only a little run-off from the meat itself.  The juices stayed in the meat because it had time to rest before serving, the center is perfectly and evenly pink.  What you can’t tell from the photo is how tender the meat was, and what a grear flavor the excellent brush-on steak sauce gave.  Continue reading “Cooking the Perfect Steak at Home”

Beef Stew

Summer IS almost gone, isn’t it?  Gosh, time has gone by sooo fast… It was cool enough for a beef stew yesterday and I even put on some  socks later in the evening because it was getting too cold for my toes….errr, I mean my taste.  Yes, I do believe autumn is not so far away.

A stew always reminds me of that romantically funny O.Henry short story, The Third Ingredient.  That story made such an impression on my young mind that I just cannot start a stew and not think of that author.  Here’s a link to the story, please read it and you’ll understand why I have a romanticized view  of stew.

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Giniling na Baka, Turo-Turo Style



Remember this dish? If you’re Filipino and grew up in the Philippines, you would.  If not, check out a cheap carinderia or turo-turo in any street corner in Metro Manila and chances are you’ll find it.  It’s cheap, it can feed a crowd depending on three variables:  how much rice you servewith it; how much potatoes are in the dish and how salty you make the dish. It has raisins to satisfy that infamous Filipino sweet tooth.  Now do you remember?

Funny how I forgot about this dish until I was reading some Pinoy college kids’ blog where it was mentioned. I served this particular one with steamed brown rice which turned out to be a good pairing.  Actually, Spouse liked it very much and asked me why I never cooked it before. Well, now I have… Continue reading “Giniling na Baka, Turo-Turo Style”

A Roast in the Pot!


This used to be a weekly staple when Spouse and I were newly married almost 5 years ago.  I got the recipe from Jeff Smith aka the Frugal Gourmet. As usual, I made some changes likecooking it stovetop and adding brussels sprouts   The sprouts just seem to go perfectly with the roast.  Lately, I’ve kept away from cooking this dish, mainly because I’ve been concerned about our expanding waistlines.

But there was a good, lean cut of chuck roast at the supermarket the other day whichlooked perfect for a pot roast for two. I asked Spouse if he felt like one and his eyes just lit up!  I’ve forgotten how good this recipe is….try it some time…just not all the time…. Continue reading “A Roast in the Pot!”

Burgers Again??


Sometimes, there are advantages to not having demanding, little brats (just kidding – I love kids!) who’ll question your dinner choices every now and then…..but any brat….errr….kid….will like this recipe.

As I said in my previous post, I’m not on my regular schedule after a vacation back home.  My pantry and refrigerator are just crying to be re-stocked.  But there were still a few things in the freezer, some which Spouse bought when I was gone.

What do you do with hamburger meat, canned mushroom soup, some frozen veggies and tons of white onions?  Salisbury Steak with Veggies! Continue reading “Burgers Again??”