Food of love: Chicken Afritada

I haven’t done a food post in awhile, these pictures are actually from a few months ago. But since I was actually cooking this for dinner today it reminded me of them and that I really should post it. This is another recipe that reminds me of home, but I didn’t learn it from my dad. I was just craving it one day, found a recipe on Pinterest, and ta-da! Chicken afritada. It’s another one of my favorite Filipino dishes, and it’s actually way easier to make than I thought!

Here’s what you do. I basically followed the recipe from the website to a T. Anything different I’ll mention in the directions.

Chicken Afritada Recipe from Manila Spoon


2.2 lbs / 1 kilo Chicken drumsticks or thighs, skin on (may be seasoned/rubbed with a little salt)
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
3 strips of Bacon, chopped
3-4 Garlic cloves, crushed
1 medium onion, chopped
3 large Roma or plum tomatoes, chopped
2 Tablespoons, Fish Sauce*
1/4-1/3 cup water
2 dried Bay leaves
1 large Red potato, quartered and then sliced again*
1 large red bell pepper, chopped*
1 large carrot, chopped*
1/3 – 1/2 cup Del Monte Tomato Ketchup (or tomato sauce)
1/2 cup green peas
A little brown sugar

*May be substituted with salt instead though the Fish sauce adds more flavor.

*The vegetables should be relatively the same size (but bigger cut than menudo style).


1. Dice the onions, tomatoes (all I had were grape tomatoes so I just cut them in half) and garlic (I just used the pre-chopped garlic, about 1/2 TBSP) and set aside.


2. Cut bacon into 1/4 inch strips and cook over medium heat until crisp. Set aside on paper towels to drain.


3. Brown chicken thighs (I use 5-6 when I make this) on medium/high heat in the fat rendered from the bacon on all sides. Set aside on a plate.


4. Reduce the heat to medium and saute the onions and garlic until translucent. Add the tomatoes and sauté until beginning to soften.


5. Add the water, fish sauce, and bay leaves to the pan, then the chicken thighs. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes.


6. While the chicken simmers, chop the potatoes, red pepper and carrots into roughly 1″ pieces. After 30 minutes add them to the pot and continue to simmer for 10-15 minutes.


7. Add the tomato sauce or ketchup (that’s what I used) bacon, and peas, continuing to simmer until the vegetables are tender. I didn’t find the need to use any brown sugar to sweeten it, but you can adjust to your taste.


8. Serve with white rice and enjoy!

I forgot to take a plated photo, but here’s one of Ava digging in! She’s not an easy one to please, so this recipe is another mommy win and I love that she’s enjoying the foods that I grew up on.

Chicken afritada is an easy recipe that the whole family can enjoy! Definitely give it a try. 🙂

Spaghetti & meatballs on a mommy schedule.

I wrote about my husband having a craving for spaghetti and meatballs last week (he mentioned it every day for four days straight, so I took the hint) so I went to my usual stomping ground (Pinterest) for a recipe. I found one that had me at the first picture and decided to make it the next day. My husband does the grocery shopping, so when I texted him the list of ingredients, he called me from the store and laughed and said, “What? We might as well fly this spaghetti in from Italy!” Honestly, there aren’t a million ingredients to this dish (linked below), but I’m guessing he was not in the mood to search for everything on my list, along with all the other groceries we needed. Although I don’t really like cooking all that much, I have this obsession with making things from scratch. I decided to let it go and told him to just grab two jars of pasta sauce instead, but I still wanted homemade meatballs and on that point I wasn’t budging.

I was really happy with how the meatballs turned out, and eventually I will make this again with her sauce recipe. They were flavorful and husband (and baby) approved. And I’m actually glad we used jarred sauce because it would have taken me even longer to get dinner together, given me more dishes to wash later (okay, for my husband to wash, I guess he was trying to help himself out too), and it was still delicious without a homemade tomato sauce. I just warmed up the sauce in another pan and dropped the meatballs in as I browned them, it saved me some time to relax a little before Ava woke up from her nap. After eating them, I knew I had to share them. I included only the steps and ingredients for the meatballs, but if you’re feeling like going all out, the link is below and you can find the full recipe there. I made these exactly as the recipe stated, I will add that when dredging the meatballs, just put a little flour in your hand and then roll the meatball in your hand. I found the meatballs picked up too much flour if I rolled it around on a plate covered with flour.
Meatball recipe from She Wears Many Hats Classic Spaghetti & Meatballs recipe:
Ingredients for the meatballs:
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup dry breadcrumbs, finely crumbled
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • all-purpose flour for dredging
Additional ingredients:
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
1. To prepare the meatballs, loosely crumble the beef into a large bowl. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs, ⅓ cup grated parmesan, chopped parsley, garlic, salt and pepper over the beef. Add the beaten egg, and using clean hands, GENTLY combine ingredients. Try not to mash the ingredients together. I think the meatball texture is much better when they are not mashed to death.

IMG_95842. Shape the mixture into 1½ inch meatballs.


  1. Lightly dredge the meatballs in the flour until evenly coated, and place on a baking sheet or plate.
  2. In a heavy skillet over medium-high, heat ¼ cup olive oil and ¼ cup vegetable oil.


  1. Cooking in batches, add meatballs into the skillet without crowding. Fry each batch for about 6 minutes, turning to brown all sides of each meatball. Adjust heat to prevent over-browning. Place browned meatballs on paper towel lined surface.
  2. Once all meatballs are browned, add to sauce, gently stirring to coat meatballs with sauce. Cook for about 30 minutes until meatballs are cooked through (no pink remaining in center).


  1. Cook spaghetti or preferred pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and serve topped with sauce and meatballs.
  2. Garnish with grated parmesan.


If you give these a shot, let me know what you think!