CLOSED: Once Upon a Family Keepsake Recipe Album and Recipe Box Giveaway

Friday night, I called my mom to tell her I was going to be taking a photo of her for my blog, she said, “Oh good! I just got my haircut today!”

“Oh really? Did Daddy cut it?” I asked. For years my dad cut my mom’s hair. It was a functional haircut, but not always fancy.

“No, I fired him when I retired,” she said. “I pay a professional to cut my hair now.” (I bet you can’t guess where my sense of humor came from)

Say hi to my mom and dad, Shirley and Sonny. Initially this post was going to be my mom and how she taught me how to cook, but my dad was home and didn’t want to be left out so we included him too 🙂

Plus he actually did teach me a few things about cooking, like what not to do in the kitchen, such as reheat stuff on the stove on high.

Not to completely discredit dad’s culinary skills because he IS great on the grill and can smoke a mean brisket, but that’s a future blog post 🙂

Mom did teach me a lot about cooking growing up. Her food has always been the envy of others and not just the dishes she makes, but her method. Everyone is always surprised at how she can cook a grand family meal in her cramped galley kitchen at a moment’s notice. At her parties, there was always fresh food on the table the entire evening.

For a long time, I’ve been meaning to gather our family recipes for a album and that’s where today’s sponsor, Once Upon a Family, comes in. After writing this blog post, I realized how valuable these few hours I spent with them were, and I encourage you to do the same with your loved ones.

Once Upon a Family creates products that help you maintain family traditions, and create new ones. For a limited time, Once Upon a Family will be offering their recipe organizer for $25 and will also include a recipe box (inset picture above) for FREE (offer ends March 5, 2012). I’ll be giving one set (an album AND a recipe box) to 1 lucky winner. Check the end of this post to find out how you can win one!

Today, we’ll be showing you a recipe called pancit. Pancit is a Filipino noodle dish that my mom always prepared at least once a week when we were kids, sometimes even more frequently. It’s an easy, flavorful dish that feeds a large family on a budget and reheats beautifully in the microwave. And one thing to keep in mind about pancit is that every family has their own recipe, this just happens to be our family’s recipe.

First you’ll need a few ingredients. You’ll need the noodles:

Mung bean vermicelli noodles for pancit.

These noodles are sometimes labeled “vermicelli” at the asian store or in the asian aisle. Filipinos call them sotanghon. They’re like glass noodles made from mung bean (just check the ingredient listing if you’re unsure).

You don’t have to use these noodles. In fact, you can use rice vermicelli or canton noodles. However, my mom prefers the mung bean vermicelli because they’re a little more forgiving and don’t overcook.

You’ll also need some meat:

Just about 8 oz. of chicken breast and 8 oz. of boneless pork (country style ribs work well for this dish), both cut into strips. If you want, you can add some steamed shrimp, peeled and sliced in half along the vein.

You’ll need a few vegetables:

Cabbage, celery, carrots, onion, garlic, and green onion for pancit.

Cabbage, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, and green onions all sliced into strips about the same size.

You’ll want to soak the noodles in the beginning so they’re ready to go when you need them.

In a wok or a large skillet, heat up 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil or canola oil over medium high heat. Add your diced onions until slightly tender and fragrant, then add your garlic (“I learned from Rachael Ray that you should cook your onions before garlic because garlic burns,” she said. See–even masters can learn something new every once in a while.)

Then add your garlic and saute until just fragrant, maybe 1-2 minutes. Then add the pork.

Shortly after adding your pork, pour in a can of low-sodium chicken broth.

Cover and bring up to a simmer.

While your pork is simmering and getting tender in the broth, cut your noodles using kitchen shears. Mom says you have to cut them or else they’ll be way too long for serving. Once you’re done cutting them you may also want to rinse your noodles under running water just to clean them. Set aside.

Check the pork after it’s been simmering for a while. Once it’s tender (don’t be afraid to take a test bite!), add the chicken breast.

Stir and continue to cook the meat mixture. Then add the carrots and celery and cook until tender.

Cabbage is the one vegetable that doesn’t need to cook too long. You’ll want to resist overcooking it since it can get mushy and fall apart, so throw it in near the end after your carrots are already tender. Then just cook the cabbage until it’s just about tender. This is also about the time you want to add the shrimp. You’ll want to avoid overcooking that as well.

Once everything is cooked, remove it all from the broth and set aside in a bowl.

Add your green onion to the broth and stir. At this point my mom said you can squeeze some lemon juice in with the broth. She says it helps preserve the dish and keeps it from spoiling too quickly.

Then add your soy sauce. Notice how my mom doesn’t even use a measuring cup–just pours it into her cooking spoon and adds. She’s hardcore like that.

Then add the noodles and toss until the noodles absorb the broth and become soft.

You’ll notice the noodles gradually take on the color of the broth and become darker like this.

Then add half of your mixture and toss. Reserve the other half  then just top your noodles with the rest of the mixture like this.

And that’s it. Serve pancit with wedges of lemon and a little bottle of soy sauce.

As a kid, I remember actually mixing pancit with rice and soy sauce, but now since I’m counting my calories, I just eat the noodles as is with lemon 🙂

Recipe: Pancit Sotanghon

Summary: A staple in Filipino households. This noodle dish is quick, easy, and budget-friendly.


  • 1 lb. mung bean vermicelli (glass noodles)
  • 8 oz. chicken breast, cut into strips
  • 8 oz. pork country ribs, cut into strips
  • 4 oz. shrimp, cooked or raw, sliced in half along the vein (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped white cabbage
  • 1 cup carrot, sliced
  • 1 cup celery, sliced
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons green onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce


  1. Soak noodles in a large bowl of water.
  2. In a wok or saute pan on medium high, heat 1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil (canola or vegetable will work too) until shimmering. Add onion and cook until fragrant. Add garlic and stir for 1 minute.
  3. Add pork rib meat. Add chicken broth. Bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Cut your noodles into a shorter, more manageable length. Rinse and set aside.
  5. Add chicken breast to pan. Stir to cook and combine.
  6. Add carrots and celery. Cook until tender.
  7. Once carrot is tender, add shrimp and cabbage. Cook until cabbage is just becoming tender. Transfer mixture from bowl, leaving broth in pan. Taste broth for seasoning (you may need to add a little more soy sauce at this point).
  8. Turn down heat to a medium low simmer and add green onion and a squeeze of lemon juice. Add noodles to pan and toss to absorb broth. Cook until noodles are soft.
  9. Add half of the meat and vegetable mixture and toss to mix. Pour noodles into a serving dish and top with remaining meat and vegetable mixture. Serve with lemon wedges and soy sauce.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 40 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8

How to Enter the Giveaway

How can you win your own keepsake recipe album? TO ENTER: Leave a comment on my YouTube video and let me know what your favorite family recipe is. I’ll choose a winner at random to receive the album and a recipe box of their own. The contest will end Wednesday February 29, 2012 and the winner will be posted March 1. In order to claim the prize, the winner will have to reply to my email within 24 hours or a new winner will be chosen.

If you don’t get chosen, you can still purchase the special deal from Once Upon a Family here.

3 thoughts on “CLOSED: Once Upon a Family Keepsake Recipe Album and Recipe Box Giveaway”

  1. And now I want to make some pancit. I will be picking up the ingredients next time I get to the Asian market, which is hopefully next week. I think as a kid we used to put lemon and patis (sp?) fish sauce on it.

  2. I love recording family history and recipes. Our favorite family recipe is for Italian meatballs. Will drop back to give it to you soon.

  3. Just starting to gather these treasured memories (my parents are nearing 80!). One of our favorite family recipes is called Chicken Continental. I asked for it for my birthday year after year after year.

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