According to Junie Sinio, a mom from San Fernando, Pampanga, she only began to appreciate cooking once she had her own family to feed. When she was a kid in the barrio, she used to watch her elders cook in the kitchen and ask tons of questions while they cooked. However, the experience left much to be desired since watching and doing the cooking is different. When she got married and started her own family, she was driven to make her husband and son happy with whatever she could cook for them. She concurs, “mas sumasarap ang pagkain kapag niluluto mo ito ng may pagmamahal.” (Food is more delicious when made with love.)
It’s not just her love that makes her food delicious, though. Her Kapampangan heritage helps. She describes Kapampangan cooking as “very simple” but meticulous. She says it’s important that all the ingredients and seasonings are complete so that the dishes are always flavorful. It’s this attitude towards food and her keen sense of her family’s tastes help her make her weekly meal plan.
In this meal plan, her priority is a delicious dinner and an easy-to-cook breakfast. For lunch, to make her life easier, it’s usually the same meal served as breakfast or dinner, as most of her family is not at home during the day.
Breakfast: sinangag, egg, bistig damulag (carabao beef or carabeef), and coffee
Dinner: fried dalagang bukid and chopsuey
Tip: Marinated meats make breakfast prep extra easy. Do all the marinating the night before so your weekday mornings are a breeze!
Breakfast: pandesal, egg, mayonnaise, and coffee
Dinner: fried chicken and ensaladang labanos
Tip: Ensaladas are the perfect, delicious side dish for your fried dishes. They’re not just healthy, but they’re vibrant in flavor. They add acidity that cuts through the oiliness of fried dishes.
Breakfast: sinangag and tocino
Dinner: bangus bistek
Tip: Junie cooks the same dish for both lunch and dinner. By serving the same meal, whatever time her family arrives home, she can easily heat it up without having to rush.
Dinner: Tinolang manok with malunggay
Tip: Junie’s family particularly loves tuyo-silog. Because tuyo is preserved through curing with salt, it’s easy to stock-up.
Breakfast: native longganisa and rice
Dinner: paksiw na tilapia with talong or ampalaya
Tip: Ready-to-cook meats like longganisa and tocino make morning meals extra easy. To make them healthier, you can also try to make them at home.
Breakfast: Pandesal and sardines or liver spread
Dinner: Pork sinigang or pork nilaga
Tip: For some dishes, Junie has ready substitutions. Her pork nilaga and pork sinigang have similar main ingredients but differ in a few pantry staples. This makes it easy to change the dish according to what her family prefers on the day itself.
Dinner: asadong matua
Tip: For a healthy sweet dessert after meals, Junnie also likes to be ready with fruits. She can easily prepare these whenever someone craves something sweet and delicious.
A delicious meal plan doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated. It could simply be sticking to your tried and tested favorites. So feel free to step into the shoes of this Kapampangan mom and be the practical cook that she is or maybe, you can even make your own simple yet delicious weekly meal plan.