Healthy and Homecooked

Published January 16, 2018, 12:05 AM

by Noreen Jazul

By Cheshire Que, RND, RN, RD

The holiday feasting is over. It’s time to say good bye to Noche Buena staples like ham, embutido, lechon, and other high fat meats. As we begin to get healthier this 2018, consume protein sources that contain healthy fats like fish. Heart, brain, and skin friendly Omega 3 is abundant in fatty fishes such as tuna, salmon, sardines, and milkfish or locally known as bangus.

You need not go to restaurants to get your weekly dose of Omega 3. All you have to do is bring out that chef in you and muster the courage to prepare healthy and mouthwatering dishes within the comforts of your kitchen.

Eating homecooked meals on most days of the week is not only budget-friendly but healthier, too. You are in control of the ingredients you put into your dishes to make them nutrient-rich. You can very well adjust the amount of flavorings and oils to make your recipes healthier and less caloric dense.

If you lack confidence in the kitchen, it is best to start by following simple recipes found in recipe books or online. Do not complicate things. Choose recipes that have ingredients familiar to you and available at your local grocery stores. Try recipes that only take a few minutes to prepare.

This year, Dona Elena Olive Oil in collaboration with Raintree Restaurants’ corporate chef Kalel Chan and Locavore’s chef Mikel Zaguirre came up with healthy recipes to help you gain confidence in preparing homecooked meals using healthy, excellent quality, and flavorful ingredients.

 “We are much honored to have Chef Kalel and Chef Mikel for Doña Elena. We are proud of their accomplishments that marked the Philippines in the culinary map of the world. We are also confident that this initiative is a great way to connect with our consumers by introducing relatable dishes crafted by our very own local chefs, we hope that they’ll be inspired to create dishes with elevated flavors that the whole family will love,” says Fly Ace group category manager for oils Zen Prudentino.

A piece of culinary advice from Chef Kalel: “Low fire cooking is the key to allow the ingredients to further concentrate their flavors, tenderize the meat, reduce shrinkage, and retain their form. Simple, satisfying and perfect for days or nights you need to serve something on the table in 30 minutes.”

Here are two simple yet tasty recipes from Chef Kalel Chan:


Salmon Confit with Doña Elena Sundried Tomato Pesto
(serves two)

Light and bright flavors come alive in this slowly cooked salmon recipe. Easy to make and a guilt-free appetizer that’s guaranteed to excite the taste buds!

2 pcs. salmon fillet
1 pc. lemon
2 pcs. white onion, wide cut
8 pcs. garlic cloves
8 pcs. asparagus, cut the hard part and cut in half
2 cups olive oil
2 tbsps. sun-dried tomato pesto
6 pcs. green olives
6 pcs. black olives
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Marinade the salmon with salt and pepper and lemon.
  2. Simmer the olive oil in low heat.
  3. Add the onion wedges, garlic cloves, put the heat in low temperature.
  4. Add the marinated salmon and poach for eight to 10 minutes.
  5. Add the asparagus and poach for two to three minutes.
  6. Scoop the sun-dried tomato and top off the salmon once cooked and plating is done.


Spanish-Style Balsamic Bangus Belly
(serves four)

This one-pan, three-step recipe boasts of a medley of flavors and 30 minutes away from impressing family and friends. Additionally, it’s a simple but sophisticated dish that will feed a crowd!

1 cup pure olive oil
100 grams bangus belly, cut into desired size
4 pcs. garlic cloves, crushed
1 pc, red onion, cut into quarter
1 pc. carrot
2 pcs. bay leaf
6 pcs. green olives
4 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. Spanish paprika
3 tsp. salt
1 pinch chili flakes
2 sprigs fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a small pot, add olive oil and bring flame up to medium.
  2. Once oil is warm, add onions, carrots, and garlic. Cook for five minutes on low heat.
  3. Add balsamic vinegar, green olives, bangus belly, bay leaf, chili flakes, and salt, then simmer on low heat for five to 10 minutes or until the bangus is fully cooked.