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  • 5 Recipe Upgrades for Ready-to-Cook Food

    Here's how you can take nuggets, longganisa, and more to level of weekend specials!
    by Jillianne E. Castillo .
5 Recipe Upgrades for Ready-to-Cook Food
PHOTO BY sheknows.com
  • As much as possible, we try to avoid buying pre-packaged or ready-to-cook foods. But, when we do have them in our pantries and freezers, know that there are ways to mix them with veggies while still being appetizing to kids. Here are some suggestions: 

    1. Chicken Nugget Curry

    Stomped on what to cook for dinner? Make something out of those frozen chicken nuggets by whipping up a quick Japanese curry dish. The kids will love it! Don’t skimp on the carrots either.  

    Makes 4 servings

    1 200-gram pack frozen chicken nuggets
    3 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus extra for frying
    4 cubes japanese curry
    1/2 cup white onion, chopped
    1 teaspoon garlic, minced
    1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
    1 cup coconut cream
    3 cups water
    2 carrots, cubed
    2 potatoes, quartered

    Recipe instructions are at Yummy.ph. (Want homemade? We got our own recipe here.)

    2. Corned Beef and Ham Chowder

    Chunky and warm, this chowder is perfect for rainy weather. We love that it's more filling by having pasta, too. Plus, it's super easy to make.

    Makes 4 servings

    1/2 cup shaped pasta (shells, macaroni, etc)
    1 table spoon butter
    1 piece onion, chopped
    2 cloves garlic, chopped
    1 can corned beef (150 grams)
    1 cup mixed vegetables, thawed
    1 cup leftover ham, cubed
    1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning
    2 cups potato soup
    1 cup tomato soup
    salt and ground black pepper 

    Recipe instructions are at Yummy.ph.

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    3. Cheesy Corned Beef Empanadas

    You only need three ingredients for this recipe, including the ready-made puff pastry. Put them in the oven before the kids come home from school so they're nice and warm by the time they arrive.

    Makes 18 empanadas

    1 can (380gram) corned beef
    200 grams cheddar cheese, cubed
    3 sheets puff pastry
    1 piece egg, beaten with 3 teaspoons water 

    Recipe instructions are at Yummy.ph.

    4. Ham and Cheese Fried Rice

    The kids are going to be popping these into their mouths until they're all gone. They can be made as a filling snack or a tasty appetizer. They're good finger-food for parties, too.

    Makes 3 servings

    1/4 cup butter
    3/4 cup ham, chopped
    3/4 cup corn kernels
    3 cups cooked white rice
    salt and pepper, to taste
    3/4 cup cheddar cheese, cubed
    3/4 cup all-purpose cream, chilled
    2 eggs, beaten
    2-3 cups Japanese breadcrumbs
    oil, for deep-frying 

    Recipe instructions are at Yummy.ph

    5. Cheesy Sausage and Vegetable Lasagna

    Here's a real treat you can cook up for a special occasion: lasagna. For the meat, you can go with sausages. Replace them with garlicky longganisa and add a sprinkling of queso de bola for a Filipino twist.

    Makes 6 to 8 servings

    1/4 cup olive oil
    1 cup white onion, minced
    1/2 cup carrot, minced
    1/2 cup celery, minced
    500 grams raw pork sausage, casings removed and crumbled
    1 425-gram can sliced button mushrooms, drained
    2 medium eggplants, cubed
    2 medium zucchinis, cubed
    1 225-gram can diced tomatoes
    1 720-ml bottle tomato purée
    2 tablespoons tomato paste
    1 cup vegetable or chicken stock, plus more if needed
    1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
    2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
    salt and pepper, to taste
    1/4 cup butter, cubed
    1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    4 cups milk, warmed
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/8 teaspoon white pepper
    12 sheets large lasagna noodles, cooked according to package directions
    1 200-gram pack ricotta cheese (optional)
    2 1/2 cups grated, mozzarella cheese

    Recipe instructions are at Yummy.ph

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