I usually make a list of menu each week to help me plan my grocery shopping. It does not only make my trip to the grocery store easy and quick, but it also helps me in my pursuit of discipline in terms of budgeting wisely. The only exception to the rule is, my menu does not extend to the weekends. Since Saturday is usually our errand day, we would just grab something to eat outside. And I must admit that I do love to look forward to our Saturday date nights.
Yesterday was a different Saturday though. I had to go to work in the morning and I kind of felt a little tired and lazy to do anything after. Even my favorite restaurants did not sound appealing to me so I thought I would just make an easy fix for me and my husband, and eat at home. So there I was, standing in front of an open freezer door scanning and staring at all the frozen stuff I have available and could not make up my mind on what to make for dinner. While nothing seemed to look interesting, I remained standing there hoping that my blank mind would come up with something. A minute has passed and still nothing. The next minute slammed me back to reality when all of a sudden, I heard my husband pound his fist on the computer desk and blurted out in a scary disappointment, “Oh no…”
Curious and worried, I shut the freezer door and asked what was wrong. The reason of his disappointment was unbelievable.
He just read from an online gazette that his favorite Filipino food chain which is Jollibee, will open soon in a Chicago suburb. Why is he disappointed? About three years ago, he thought of, and have actually submitted an application online, to franchise the first Jollibee here in Chicago. Although he did not, and does not have enough resources yet to purchase this franchise, he was confident the he will be able to bring Jollibee to Chicago. All he need is time to put the resources together. Whew. I thought it was an ‘end of the world’ kind of situation that he was in for him to react that way.
But guess what, this is all I need to finally come up with an idea from my earlier quest for an easy fix for dinner. I am going to make Chicken ala Jollibee! Hmm, wait. Actually, let’s make it a little special. How about Chicken ala Maxx’s instead with its tender juicy inside and crispy on the outside? Yes! I am confident that this will compensate his disappointment on losing the first franchisee to someone else.
So I immediately thawed 2 pieces of chicken quarters in the microwave, took my steamer out, and preheated the oven to 365°F. It looked like my disappointed husband has some more sorting out to do with his KidzArt stuff on his computer so I think I have enough time before he is ready for dinner.
I’ve made this recipe more than once before and we both not only enjoy eating it, but we also love how it brings a lot of memories back home. It had always extended our time on the dinner table as we share and reminisce the good old days we spent with my family in these restaurants. I look forward to the day we can visit home again and maybe then, we do not have to take them out to eat where your fellowship on the table is limited in a restaurant, but make some at home instead and spend longer and enjoyable time with everyone. After all, nothing beats homemade food.
I invite you to make your own memories with your loved ones through a simple yet sumptuous chicken recipe. It’s easy, quick and definitely mouthwatering. Try it for yourself!
Ingredients: ( I usually don’t have specific measurement for my ingredients so make sure you estimate well according to your taste.)
2-3 Chicken quarters or thighs, or a whole cut up chicken for more servings
Salt, pepper, minced garlic
For steaming – celery, lemongrass, cilantro leaves/stems, bay leaves
Cooking oil if you prefer to fry the chicken instead of baking it. I’ve tried both and had good results
- Pat dry the chicken with paper towel and rub the pounded lemongrass all over it. Make sure the lemongrass is pounded good to get the juices out. Do not discard the lemongrass after rubbing in on the chicken. Add it to the rest of the vegetables that you will use for steaming.
- Combine salt and pepper and season the chicken. Apply the minced garlic on the chicken gently sliding under the skin to seal the garlic flavor. Be careful not to tear the skin.
- Throw in cut up celery, cilantro and the left over lemongrass from rubbing off on the chicken earlier. You made add a fresh one if you want some more. You can also throw in some more herbs of your choice to add more flavor.
- Steam the chicken for about half an hour. Bake open for about 15-20 minutes
- Serve with mashed potatoes and cream corn ( rice for me please), banana ketchup or gravy like Mang Tomas.