Make Do With What I Have

Cooking is one of my favorite hobbies. I learned to cook by watching my grandma when I was a kid. I still remember standing on a chair so I can see her wrap lumpias (Filipino spring rolls) and copy her. When I got older I watched cooking shows on TV and I learned different techniques. One of the shows that heavily influenced me is Rachael Ray’s 30-minute Meals. Food in half an hour including prep time? I am in!

Living in a third world country where ingredients that I’d frequently see being used on TV were not available definitely helped me in my crazy method of cooking. As a matter of fact, my husband fondly calls it “Pinabuang” (crazy experiment) and he loves it. One day he asked me how I come up with these dishes without a recipe. I told him the method to my madness.


I would go to google. Type in the ingredients that we currently have in the pantry or fridge and the word ‘recipe’ at the end and hit enter. Then I look through all the different recipes, sometimes I’d combine three at a time. When I’ve decided what to make, I go downstairs and make food. Almost always ready in 30 minutes. Thank you, Rachael Ray!

Today I wanted to use up some ham that we had left over from Christmas dinner. I wanted to make something hearty and warm because it was a snowy day. What my husband and I made turned out really delicious and satisfying. I would post a picture but the picture isn’t appetizing.  All of the ingredients were found in the house– not going out to buy anything in the store in this weather– and it was done quicker than we expected.

One of the things I would like to do more of this year is to make do with what I have. I always thought ‘if only I had this” “if only I had that” I’d be more successful, I’d be richer, etc. It took me awhile to realize that the tools or skills I think need, I might already have. One of these skills is my crazy cooking and as long as we have a full pantry I don’t think I’d run out of ideas.

Ham Surprise (aka Pinabu-ham)

1 cup diced ham

2 cans cheese broccoli soup

2 cups milk

2 small cans of corn, drained

2 cups cooked rice

In a pot, saute the diced ham in melted butter. Add the corn and stir around until heated through. Stir in the milk and the cheese broccoli soup until there are no lumps. When the soup is completely heated through and simmering, add the rice. Season with lots of ground black pepper and a bit of salt to taste. Enjoy!


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