PopcornI believe the first thing my parents allowed me to cook on the stove was popcorn, at least that is what I recall. My parents stove at the time was gas, so as you can imagine, me, being in middle school and cooking on a gas stove was pretty cool. Popcorn has always been a favorite snack of mine. Whether it be in the day, night, or heck, even for breakfast, it is something that I will always enjoy. There are countless memories with my grandparents, and now with my own kids, where popcorn has been present. I believe that my parents allowing me to cook on the stove at a young age, and in particular, cooking popcorn, has allowed me to master the snack. I find it funny that my wife was brought up the same way, doing the same on the stove, so it is always funny to compete with one another when making popcorn. After all, she does make great popcorn.

Please note that microwave popcorn is for the weak, and only the weak.


  • Good popcorn (heck, I use Orville Redenbacher)
  • Canola Oil
  • Butter
  • Salt

PopcornIn a large, deep pan, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil. Let sit for nearly one minute on medium to high heat. Add two seeds to the oil and cover with a lid. Within a couple of minutes the corn should pop. Add seeds to cover the bottom of the pan, and place the lid back on. Shake the pan to coat the seeds. Reduce the heat to medium. Get ready to shake it baby as the seeds are getting ready to pop. As the corn is popping, begin to shake the pan so not to burn the corn. Within minutes your corn will be ready, and most, if not all seeds should pop.

Please note that during the popping stage, I heat a pan with 2-3 tablespoons of butter and let that melt down. Once the corn is ready, empty it into a large bowl, salt, and add butter. Toss the corn as to coat with butter and salt. You might add more butter or salt depending on your mood. 🙂

My kids absolutely love the popcorn. In due time, they will begin the cooking process as my wife and I once did, and continue to do.

Please note that you can also use other toppings such as parmesan cheese, chili powder, and tabasco sauce. Are there toppings that you have used that are not listed? If so, let me know.

Sticky Rice with Spicy Thai Dipping Sauce

If you like something that is truly spicy, tangy, and packed with flavor, you must try this sauce. It is so easy to make and is compatible with barbecue and rice. This recipe takes very little time to make, so lets get started.


1-2 cups Thai Sticky Rice
1-6 Thai Peppers (depends on how hot you want it)
4 TB Sugar
1 Lime
3 cloves of garlic
3-6 TB Fish Sauce
Soak the rice overnight in a bowl of water. This softens the rice and shortens the time to steam. When the rice is ready, rinse the rice and place in a bamboo steamer. The steamer can be found at your local asian market for under eight dollars. Cover and let steam for nearly 10-15 minutes per side. I say side because you will want to remove the bamboo steamer and knock it against the counter as to loosen the rice. Then you can toss it so it flips over. Sounds difficult, it is not. Continue steaming the other side for ten minutes.

During the time the rice is cooking, chop your other ingredients and place in a serving bowl and mix well. Feel free to taste as you go along. If it is too salty, add more sugar or lime juice.

When the rice is ready. Take the ball out and place it on a cutting board as you will want to flatten it out a bit and begin to fan it, as to cool the rice. I purchased a bamboo container that I can cover the rice for four dollars.

Keep in mind that the rice should be served warm and cannot be saved for leftovers. 🙁

Our kids love rolling the rice into little balls, (we do not let them eat the sauce), making shapes, and then eating.


Spiced Chicken and Mozzarella Panino

ChickenNearly six months ago, a wonderful appliance was added to our kitchen, the panini maker. The panino is an Italian sandwich which is commonly filled with meat, cheese, or other food, and typically served hot. Since the panini maker has been in our house, we attempt to enjoy paninis at least once a week, basically because they are so easy to make and take a very short time to cook. Some of our favorites are ham and swiss cheese, turkey and gouda cheese, ham, egg, and cheese, and now the spiced chicken and fresh mozzarella.

I started by pounding by butterflying two chicken breasts and pounding them slightly . I then seasoned them well with fresh cracked pepper, sea salt, basil, and olive oil. Once the breasts are done marinating, I threw them on the grill. While the chicken was nearing completion, I placed a slab of fresh mozzarella cheese onto each breast and let it warm through for a few minutes, then removed them from the grill.

PaninoI plugged in the panini maker and waited for the warming process, which only takes 4-5 minutes. During this time, I took out some rustic Italian bread (the bread is extremely important) from the freezer. I use a brand called Turano which appears to be local to the Midwest. Laying down a medium sized piece of bread on the maker, I then added a thin slice of fresh mozzarella cheese to that, then the chicken breast, then another piece of bread. Slowly close the panini maker and apply some pressure. I hold it down for a minute or so, then began to make a fresh tomato, cucumber, and mozzarella salad with olive oil. Once the sandwich had some nice grill marks, I took it off and plated.

I hope you enjoy this sandwich as must as we did!

Pancit Bihon

Another simple dish that is easy to make is Pancit Bihon. This is another recipe my wife shared with me, and I have tweaked to make it my own.

Pancit Bihon Recipe

Pancit is very thin rice noodles. You can make them with meat and vegetables. My recipe includes the following:

  • 1 bag of Pancit Bihon
  • Olive or canola oil
  • 2 large carrots, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 celery, chopped the same size as carrots
  • 1 onion, chopped the same
  • Cooked chicken, shredded, chopped
  • Shrimp, shell or no shell (optional)
  • Salt, Black pepper

Soak the noodles in warm/hot water for nearly 30 minutes. This process softens the noodles. Be mindful that over heating these noodles will kill the dish.

Chop your vegetables and get them ready as this is a pretty fast process. Lightly oil a large wok or cooking dish. Add your vegetables and sauté for 8-10 minutes until they begin to soften. Add the chicken and shrimp (optional) and mix. Salt and pepper the mixture. Drain your noodles, however reserve a half cup of the water. Add the noodles to the mix and with a couple of large spoons, toss and turn to mix everything together. Add about 1/4 cup of soy sauce, and keep mixing. Add more pepper to your liking.

Taste and add more soy sauce, salt or pepper, if needed. Serve immediately. This dish is really good as a leftover as well.