Homeschooling Meals – Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup, by Reggie Soang (click on image for YouTube video)

When time is not on your side, make chicken noodle soup. Once the veggies are chopped, the cooking steps are straight forward. Cook the veggies to concentrate the sweetness, toast the spices to release the flavors, and then add the liquid and chicken to make the broth. Bring the pot to a simmer and cook until all the ingredients are nice and tender. A pot of chicken noodle soup is the ultimate comfort food on any given day.

For the latest New Lifestyle Cooking Series:

Chicken Noodle Soup
Serves: 4 portion

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 cup sliced mushroom 
1 cup medium diced carrots
1 cup medium diced onions
1 cup medium diced celery
4 cloves garlic, silvered
1 1-inch piece ginger, cut into thin strips
1 tablespoon dried oregano
A few sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon crushed black peppercorn
1 tablespoon dried chili flakes
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 chicken bouillon cube, Knorr brand (optional)
1 cup chicken stock
1 + 1/2 cup water
1 + 1/2 cup diced chicken, either cooked or raw
2 portions linguine, portions are according to the package
1 tablespoon chopped scallions, for garnish
1 teaspoon EVOO
1 wedge of lemon

  1. Heat up a medium-size pot on high heat, add cooking oil and sauté mushrooms until slightly browned, and then add carrots, onions, celery, and garlic. Cook the veggies until almost tender.
  2. Add ginger, dried oregano, thyme, and bay leaf and cook until fragrant.
  3. Add black peppercorn, chili flakes, onion powder, garlic powder, stock, and water. Add chicken if using raw. Bring the pot to a boil and turn down to simmer. Simmer until chicken is cooked and the veggies are tender (if using cooked chicken, add it last after the broth is made).
  4. Meanwhile, have a pot of water boiling, snap linguine into 3 parts and cook 10 minutes until tender. Drain the pasta and add to the soup. Check the chicken and adjust the seasonings. Serve hot with a squeeze of lemon juice, drizzles of EVOO, and chopped scallions. Bon Appétit!

Mother’s Day Special – Yorkshire Pudding

Yorkshire Pudding, by Reggie Soang (click on image for YouTube video)

Yorkshire pudding is the best to complement a roast dinner. Put some delicious chicken and veggies inside of the pudding, it’s a mouthful of ecstasy. Yorkshire pudding is also great for mopping up the sauce at the bottom of the plate…amazing ending to a beautiful roast dinner!

For Mother’s Day, 2020

Yorkshire Pudding
Serves: 4 portions

Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Total Time: 35 Minutes

1 cup eggs (3 jumbo size, 4 large size)
1 cup milk
1 cup AP flour
Cooking oil

  1. Whisk together eggs and milk first, and then add AP flour. Whisk until nice and smooth. Let batter rest at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.
  2. Pre-heat oven at 500F 15 minutes before you want to bake Yorkshire pudding. Using a muffin tin, put 1 tablespoon of cooking oil in as many cups as you want to make the pudding. Put the muffin tin on another baking tray and slide them into the oven. Set timer for 15 minutes.
  3. Once the timer is up, carefully take the muffin tin out and pour 2 tablespoons of batter into each muffin cups. Set timer for 13 minutes.
  4. After time is up, carefully take the muffin tin out and lift the Yorkshire pudding out of the cups, and then invert them onto a sheet of paper towel to drain off excess oil. Yorkshire pudding should be nice and crispy on the outside and feels light to the touch.
  5. Serve Yorkshire pudding with a roast dinner or have it with eggs for breakfast. Bon Appétit!

Mother’s Day Special – Grapefruit Salad

Grapefruit Salad, by Reggie Soang (click on image for YouTube video)

A simple grapefruit salad opens up the appetite for a more comforting main course. To balance out the bitter, yet joyful, flavor of grapefruit, add some crunch with radishes, some sharpness with scallions and cilantro. This salad is best served right away with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and drizzles of EVOO.

For Mother’s Day, 2020

Grapefruit Salad with Radishes, Cilantro, Scallions
Serves: 4 portions

Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 15 Minutes

3 Grapefruit
4 pieces radishes, sliced into 1/16-inch coins
2 stalk scallions, sliced 1/8-inch thick on the bias
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
6 tablespoons lemon juice
6 tablespoons EVOO
salt, to taste

  1. To peel a grapefruit, sliced the top and bottom off and set it on the cutting board. Slant the knife inward at 45 degrees and cut the peels off from top to bottom of the grapefruit. Trim off any excess pith. Turn the grapefruit over and sliced it into 1/4-inch thick puck or wedges.
  2. Place grapefruit slices in the middle of the plate and drizzle 2 tablespoons of each lemon juice and EVOO over them. Sprinkle a pinch of salt.
  3. In a mixing bowl, dress the radishes, scallions, and cilantro leaves with the rest of lemon juice and EVOO, add salt to taste. Sprinkle the radishes, scallions, and cilantro around the plate, and then some on top of the grapefruit. Serve immediately. Bon appétit!

Mother’s Day Special – Roasted Chicken and Veggies

Roasted Chicken and Veggies, by Reggie Soang (click on image for YouTube video)

Roasted Chicken and veggies are some of the best dishes to cook for a special occasion. With a little bit of planning, the chicken will be roasted just in time for dinner with everything else falling into place. My way of roasting chicken is easy and manageable. I also blanch the veggies prior to roasting; therefore, all the veggies will be tender, juicy, and evenly cooked at the end. Ideally, you want to marinate the chicken overnight. However, if time is short, season the chicken a few hours before cooking and rub it generously with EVOO.

For Mother’s Day Special, 2020

Roasted Chicken and Veggies
Serves: 4 portions

Prep Time: 30 Minutes (including making chicken marinade)
Total Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes (not including marinating time)

For the Marinade
1 whole chicken, around 3.5#
1 head fresh garlic, peeled
1 bunch parsley
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup EVOO

For Roasted Chicken:
5 small Yukon potatoes
5 small carrots
2 small red onions
1 head garlic
3 stalks celery
1 Roma tomato, halved
Small bunch of thyme
Any leftover chicken marinade
1/2 cup chicken stock, for making the sauce, using water is fine

Marinating Chicken Overnight

  1. To make the marinade, blitz garlic, parsley, chili powder, salt, and EVOO in a food processor until pesto consistency, chunky and saucy. 
  2. Cut the backbone off the chicken by cutting through both sides of the vertebrae. Starting from the neck, use the tip of the knife to cut through the tiny bones next to the vertebrae, and then use the back of the knife to cut through the thicker part of the bones toward the end of the chicken. Open the chicken up like a book. 
  3. Rub the marinade all over the chicken and refrigerate overnight

The Next Day

  1. Take the chicken out at least 1 hour before roasting.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 450F
  3. Prep your veggies by peeling potatoes, carrots, onions, but leave them whole
  4. Break up a heard of garlic but don’t peel them
  5. Wash celery stalks and cut them into 3 inch long
  6. Put potatoes, carrots, celery, and onions in a pot of cold water and bring the water up to a boil. Immediately strain the veggies. Once the veggies are cool enough to handle, cut carrots  in half lengthwise. Quarter potatoes and onions. 
  7. Toss the pre-heated veggies with leftover rub or with EVOO, salt, and black pepper.
  8. Add the veggies, plus tomatoes and thyme to a roasting tray. Put the chicken right on top of the veggies and put the roasting tray on the middle rack of the oven and roast for 45 minutes. 
  9. Check the chicken after 20 minutes to make sure the skins are not getting browned too quickly. If you have a thermometer, the breast should be at 150~153F and the thighs should be at 170~173F after 45 minutes. The temperature of the chicken will reach 165F, as recommended by the USDA. *Don’t cook your chicken to 165F, because the chicken will keep on cooking after you take it out of the oven and dry out.
  10. Rest the roasted chicken for at least 30 minutes before carving to retain most of the juice. 
  11. While the chicken is resting, make the sauce. Scrape all the juice and brown bits off the roasting tray into a pot, and then add some water or chicken stock to make the sauce. Bring the sauce up to a boil and adjust the seasoning. Reduce the sauce to the consistency that you prefer.
  12. Cut up the chicken into 12 pieces: cut off two wings, cut each breast into 3 pieces, and cut off the drumsticks from the thighs. 
  13. Serve the chicken on top of the roasted veggies, and then pour the sauce all over. Bon Appétit! 

Mother Day’s Special – Lemon Tart

Lemon Tart, by Reggie Soang (click on image for YouTube video)

Growing up in Taiwan, lemonade was a popular thirst quench in my household, besides water. Lemonade made with fresh lemon juice and raw sugar cane sugar was simple and delightful.  My mom taught me how to make my first batch of lemonade, so I thought I would make a lemon tart, with a good amount of fresh lemon juice and its zest to mimic the taste of my childhood lemonade, to celebrate Mother’s Day. 

For Mother’s Day, 2020:

Lemon Tart
Serves: 4~6 portions

Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 30 minutes (not including batter resting time)

Store-bought tart shell
9 eggs
380g (2 cups less than 1 tablespoon)  sugar
5 lemon zest
170g lemon juice (about the juice of 5 lemons)
225g heavy cream
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

  1. Pre-heat oven at 350F
  2. In mixing bowl, whisk eggs and sugar together until ribbon stage, which if you lift the batter, it will fall like ribbons back into the mixing bowl    
  3. Add lemon juice and zest, stir with a rubber spatula to combine
  4. Add heavy cream and stir gently to combine. Refrigerate the lemon batter for 1 hour.
  5. Meanwhile, roll out and fit the store-bought pie shell into your tart pan (mine is 9-inch). Push the pie shell tight and neatly against the sides. Let the excess pie shell drape over and leave it as it is. Dock the pie shell with a fork all over. And chill for 1 hour.
  6. When time is up, blind bake the pie shell first. Put a layer of tin foil or parchment paper inside the pie shell and put dry black bean or pie weights to keep the pie shell flat. Bake the pie shell for 10 minutes.
  7. After 10 minutes, gently use your thumb to push down on the excess pie shell on the sides. Put the pie shell back in the oven to bake for another 10 minutes.
  8. Lower the oven temperature to 250F when the pie shell is ready. Pour the lemon tart fillings until it fills up 3/4 of the way. Bake the tart in the oven for 45 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes.
  9. Dust the top of the lemon tart with a thin layer of confectioners’ sugar and put the tart underneath of the broiler to caramelize the sugar. Once sugar is caramelized, cool until sugar turns brittle before cutting it.
  10. Serve lemon tart at room temperature. Bon appétit! 

Mother’s Day Special – Chocolate Brownies

Chocolate Brownies, by Reggie Soang (click on image for YouTube video)

For mother’s day, I would like to share a few great recipes to create a Sunday roast. With a little bit of planning, cooking a mother’s day meal could be stress-free and enjoyable. Let’s start with desserts since they are the most time consuming, yet keeps well for a day or two either in the fridge or on your counter. 

For Mother’s Day, 2020:

Chocolate Brownies
Serves: 12 muffin-sized 

Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 45 Minutes

For Brownies:
360g (2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
375g (2 cups) dark brown sugar
3 eggs
210g (1 + 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) AP Flour
2g (1/4 teaspoon) baking powder
5g (1 teaspoon) salt

For Caramel Sauce:
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoon water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

  1. Preheat oven at 350F. Butter and flour muffin tins
  2. Melt chocolate with butter over a double boiler: set a mixing bowl with chocolate and butter on top of a pot filled with hot water 1/3 of the way. Maintain the heat of the water with a medium flame
  3. Mix dark brown sugar & vanilla into the chocolate mixture, and whisk to combine
  4. In a separate bowl, beat eggs
  5. Using a ladle, ladle heated chocolate into the eggs. Bring up the temperature of the eggs to slightly warm and then pour the eggs into the chocolate mixture and combine
  6. Sift together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, and salt
  7. Add the dry ingredients to chocolate mixture 2 cups at a time and folded in with a rubber spatula
  8. Fill the muffins tins 3/4 of the way with chocolate brownies’ batter
  9. Baked for 17 to 20 minutes in 350F oven.
  10. Rest the brownies for at least 20 minutes. Meanwhile, make caramel sauce. Heat sugar and water until sugar turns dark brown, and then pour in cream and vanilla extract and stir quickly to combine. Turn off the heat and stir in butter. 
  11. Drizzle warm caramel sauce over warm chocolate brownies and serve, bon appétit

Mediterranean Inspired – Couscous en Papillote

Couscous en Papillote, by Reggie Soang (click image for YouTube video)

Cooking “en papillote” means cooking “in pouch” in French. All the ingredients are wrapped up with a piece of parchment paper or tin foil, and then baked in the oven. The ingredients will stay moist and the flavors inside the pouch will perfume the entire dish. I am adding couscous to this dish because the starch will soak up all the juices coming out of the veggies. Cooking en papillote is a useful technique for a busy home cook. In addition, the surprise element of opening the pouch brings joy and comfort to the table.

For the latest New Lifestyle Homecoming Series:

Couscous en Papillote
Serves: 4 portions

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

1/2 cup uncooked couscous
2 medium-sized Yukon potatoes, peeled and sliced to 1/2-inch thick
3 medium-sized carrots, peeled and sliced to 1/2-inch thick
3 medium-sized zucchini, halved lengthwise and then cut into 3-inch long
6 cloves fresh garlic, sliced
1 cup sliced red onions
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander seeds
1 teaspoons paprika
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of salt
4 pieces Italian hot sausages, get rid of the casings and break them into the size of Swedish meatballs
4 stalks scallions, cut into 3-inch long
1/2 cup frozen green peas
1 cup chickpeas, drained
Few sprigs of thyme
Few sprigs of parsley stems, after the leaves have been picked
Parsley leaves, for garnish

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425F
  2. Rince couscous with cold water and strain. Let couscous sit in the strainer for 15 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork.
  3. Cut the potatoes, carrots, zucchini, garlic, and red onions, and toss everything in a bowl with cumin, coriander seeds, paprika, and salt.
  4. Lay out a sheet of parchment paper or tin foil, the size will depend on the amount of ingredients you are cooking for each portion (this recipe is 4 portions). Scoop a generous amount of vegetables and place them off the center on the parchment paper. Add chickpeas, green peas, and Italian sausages. Add couscous on top, followed by placing few sprigs of thyme and parsley stems.
  5. Fold over the bigger half of the parchment paper and fold in edges along the ingredients to seal, like making an empanada. Right before sealing the parchment paper completely, pour in few tablespoons of water and seal it tight.
  6. Bake the pouch in the oven for 20 minutes. Use a small knife to cut the pouch open at the middle and let the steam come out. Once it’s cool to handle, tear open the top to reveal the entire dish. Drizzle with more EVOO and garnish with parsley. Serve hot and bon appétit!

Mediterranean Inspired – Shakshuka with Turmeric Ginger Rice

Shakshuka Ginger Turmeric Rice, by Reggie Soang (click image for YouTube video)

Shakshuka comes from North Africa, where spices are abundant. Shakshuka is made of a rich and spiced tomato sauce with poached eggs on top. In this recipe, I chose to use cumin, coriander seeds, and paprika because they are common in households and simply the best for flavoring tomato sauce. Shakshuka also pairs well with rice; this rice recipe is brilliant because it has ginger and turmeric, which are popular in North African cuisine. Last but not least, shakshuka could be served as breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

For the latest New Lifestyle Home Cooking Series:

Shakshuka with Ginger Turmeric Rice
Serves: 4 portions

Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour

For Aromatic Rice:
3 tablespoons EVOO
1 and 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoon tomato paste
1 and 1/2 cup long grain rice
2 and 2/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt

For Shakshuka:
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 cup finely cut carrots
1 cup finely cut onions
1 cup finely cut celery
1 cup finely cut button mushroom
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
2 teaspoon paprika
1 and 1/2 cup crushed tomato 
1 tablespoon Sriracha (optional)
1/2 cup water
4 Eggs
Ground black pepper, for seasoning the eggs
Salt, for seasoning the eggs 
2 tablespoons chopped scallions, for garnish
2 tablespoons parsley leave, for garnish

  1. To make aromatic rice, cook ginger with salt in olive oil on medium heat until fragrant. Stir in turmeric and toast until fragrant. Add tomato paste and stir to combine. Add rice and toast until fragrant. Add water, cover and bring to a boil, and then turn down to simmer. Once the water is completely absorbed, leave the cover on for another 10 minutes and then fluff with a fork.
  2. To make shakshuka, inside of a skillet, cook carrots, onions, celery, and mushroom with oil on medium high heat until softened, and season with salt. Add cumin, coriander seeds, and paprika and cook until fragrant. 
  3. Add crushed tomatoes, water, and Sriracha. Bring everything up to a simmer. Cook the tomato sauce until thickened, but still fluid. Adjust seasoning with salt.
  4. Keep the tomato sauce on medium-low heat and bubbling, using a spoon to make three dented spots on the surface and crack the eggs into them. Season each egg with a pinch of salt and ground black pepper. 
  5. Cover the skillet with a lid or a piece of tin foil and cook the eggs until the whites are set and the yolks are still runny. Cook the eggs longer if well-done eggs are desire. 
  6. Serve shakshuka with scallions and parsley with a side of ginger turmeric rice. Bon Appétit!

Mediterranean Inspired – Onions Tart with Feta Cheese and Tabbouleh

Onion Tart with Feta Cheese and Tabbouleh, by Reggie Soang (click image for YouTube video)

I love using puff pastry to create a quick meal. Simply add some caramelized onions and feta cheese to the pastry and bake it until nice golden brown and crispy, I promise that you will bring comfort and joy to the table. On the side, make a healthy and delicious salad, Tabbouleh. Tabbouleh tastes earthy with an abundance of chopped parsley and is balanced with fresh lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. Together, this meal is delightful and leaves you feeling energized.

For the latest New Lifestyle Cooking Series:

Onion Tart with Feta Cheese, and Tabbouleh
Serves: 4 portions

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

For Caramelized Onions:
1/4 cup canola oil, or any cooking oil
8 cups sliced onions
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup water

To Assemble the tart:
2 pieces of puff pastry, cut in halves
caramelized onions, from the above recipe
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup Feta Cheese
2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup EVOO, for brushing the sides

For Tabbouleh:
4 tablespoons soaked bulgur 
4 tablespoons chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoon finely chopped scallions
3 cup chopped Parsley
2 cloves fresh finely grated garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice, adjust to taste
1/4 cup EVOO, adjust to taste
2 teaspoons salt, adjust to taste

  1. Pre-heat oven at 400F
  2. To caramelize onions, heat up a pot on medium high heat and add oil. Once the oil starts to shimmer, add onions and salt. Stir the onions around.
  3. Turn heat down to medium and stir the onions around occasionally. Once onions are getting browned and sticking to the bottom of the pot, pour couple tablespoons of water at a time and scrape up the brown bits. Onions are ready when they are soft and dark brown. Set aside
  4. Meanwhile, make tabbouleh. Boil 1 and 1/2 cup of water and pour it over 1/2 cup of bulgur and cover for 20 minutes. Fluff the bulgur and drain off excess liquid and let cool.
  5. Chop parsley until nice and fine. Mix in tomatoes, scallions, grated garlic, and bulgur. Season with salt, lemon juice, and EVOO. Set aside in the refrigerator.
  6. To prep the puff pastries, score around the pastries on the surfaces, leaving 1-inch space from the sides. Dock the pastries inside the borders and add few dollops of ricotta cheese. Brush the sides of the pastries with EVOO
  7. Bake in the oven for 18 minutes until light golden brown. Take the tarts out of the oven, spread caramelized onions across the top, and follow by sprinkling feta cheese. Brush the sides with EVOO again.
  8. Put the tarts back in the oven for 6 more minutes until the onions are warmed and the outside is more golden brown. To garnish, sprinkle thyme leaves on top of the tarts and drizzle olive oil around. Serve hot or at room temperature with tabbouleh. Bon Appétit!

Mediterranean Inspired – Greek-Style Veggie Pie

Greek-inspired Vegetable Pie (click photo for YouTube video)

This recipe is inspired by Greek Spanakopita, which spinach and feta cheese are baked inside of phyllo sheet. phyllo sheets are thin and become crispy when baked; each bite of the pie is crunchy and sumptuous. The choice of ingredients for this pie is abundant. Make sure to cook your veggies first for the fillings. While a Greek-style pie has feta cheese, substitute feta cheese with other cheeses such as cheddar, mozzarella, or queso fresco will bring just as much pleasure. The best part about making this dish is that it looks and tastes amazing while keeping the work to minimal.

For the latest New Lifestyle Home Cooking Series:

Greek-Style Garden Vegetable Pie
Serves: 4 portions

Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour

1/4 cup canola oil (or any cooking oil)
2 cups medium diced onions
2 cups medium diced carrots
2 cups chopped button mushroom
2 cups medium diced zucchini
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped dill
1/2 cup chopped mint
1 cup chopped scallions
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 egg
10 pieces phyllo pastries, only open when ready to assemble the pie
EVOO for brushing the phyllo sheets
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds (optional)

  1. Defrost phyllo sheets at least 3 hours before using it. (the best way to plan for this recipe is to defrost phyllo sheets overnight in the fridge)
  2. Heat up a skillet on high heat, sauté mushroom first until nicely colored, and then add zucchini. It’s important to cook these two veggies first to get rid of the excess water content. 
  3. Add onions and carrots once mushroom and zucchini are nicely caramelized. Cook until all the veggies are softened. Tip all the ingredients into mixing bowl and mix in the chopped herbs and cheeses. Set it aside, and pre-heat oven at 400F
  4. Open phyllo sheets package and keep them under damp towels; phyllo sheets dried out quickly if not covered. 
  5. Wet a piece of parchment paper under cold running water and wring out as much water as possible. 
  6. Lay out the parchment paper flat on a counter and brush it with EVOO. Lay phyllo sheets over the parchment paper and lightly brush each piece of phyllo with EVOO. Lay out 6 pieces and overlap them. Transfer the phyllo sheets into a skillet. Fill the skillet with your fillings and wrap up the pie by folding over the sides of the phyllo sheets. Brush the top with more EVOO
  7. Cover the top with the rest of the phyllo sheets. After laying out each piece, crumble up the sides and brush with EVOO. Sprinkle on some black sesame seeds. Use a sharp knife to portion the pie into wedges like a pizza. 
  8. Trim off excess parchment paper and heat up the skillet on medium heat. Once the sides of the phyllo pastries are getting crispy and golden brown, slide the skillet into the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  9. Once the top is golden brown and crispy, take the pie out of the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes. Cut the pie along the cuts made previously and serve it with more feta cheese on the side. Bon Appétit!