Best Pho Tai Ever!

Ingredients:

Broth –

  • 5 lbs. of beef/pork neck bones (this is a beef soup but I used pork bones to help sweeten the broth)
  • 2-3 lbs. of beef marrow bones
  • 2 pieces of fresh ginger (about 2-4 inches long), halved and smashed
  • 2 large onions, halved
  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oil (to help broil the ginger and onions)
  • 2 carrots, quartered (optional, this helps make the broth sweet)
  • 3 tablespoons of brown sugar (Optional: additional 2 tablespoons of white/cane sugar based on your taste)
  • ¾ cup of Vietnamese fish sauce (this is a lot but there is a lot of broth to flavor)
  • 1 tbs. of salt
  • 1 packet of Pho spice pouch
  • 2 Pho soup cubes
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • Fill a 12 quart stockpot ¾ of the way full of water
  • 8 quart stockpot to soak the bones

Accoutrements – (all optional toppings for your bowl)

  • 2 ½ lbs. of beef round eye, thinly sliced/paper thin
  • The meat from the beef/pork neck bones
  • 1-2 bags of dried pho rice noodles (flat, round, large, thin, whatever you prefer)
  • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped
  • 1 large yellow/white onion, halved and then thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • 1 bunch of bean sprouts
  • 1 bunch of Thai basil
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped (and seeded for less heat)
  • 2 red chili peppers, chopped
  • 2 limes cut into wedges
  • Bunch of baby bok choy, stalks torn off or cut off from the stem (this is not typical for Vietnamese pho but I like to add it to have a vegetable in the soup)
  • Ground black and white pepper
  • Sriracha/Fine Chili Sauce
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Fish sauce (if you would like to add more to your bowl)

Directions:

  1. In a large stockpot (I use a 12 quart All Clad stockpot), fill it ¾ of the way with water and turn heat on high and cover. It’s going to take awhile for it to come to a boil.
  2. In a separate smaller stockpot (I use an 8 quart All Clad stockpot), place the pork and beef bones and cover with water, add about a tablespoon of salt and let it soak. This will help clean your bones when you boil them later. It’s an added step but a definite time saver in the end when you don’t have to ladle out the top of your soup to keep it clean and clear. Drain and rinse thoroughly to make sure the bones are clean after 30-60 minutes.
  3. While the bones are soaking in the salt water, prepare the onions and ginger for charring. Cut and onions in half. Cut the ginger pieces in half and smash them so that they are not one solid piece. I don’t have a meat tenderizer so I used the back of my stainless steel ladle and smashed the ginger on the skin side. If you don’t have a gas stove to char you can broil the onions and ginger in the oven. Use tin foil and cover a baking pan. Add the onions and ginger and coat generously with cooking oil. This will help them brown in the oven. Broil for 5-7 minutes on each side or until they are slightly browned. When finished peel the skins off and can place them into the large stockpot that should be heating with water.
  4. After rinsing out the bones, in the same pot, add water back into the pot and boil for 5-10 minutes until the bones look cooked on the outside and the water is not clear. Drain the water again and rinse the bones again. This is to help keep your broth clean and clear. Trust me, it’s so worth it and you’re not losing any flavor either!
  5. When done cleaning the bones, place them into the large stockpot of boiling water along with the charred onions and ginger.
  6. When the large pot has come to a boil add your tea strainer with all the spices and pho cubes. I have a large tea strainer and I add my pho packet inside along with the other dried spices. Let them soak in the boiling pot for an hour. Remove from pot when done and discard contents. Make sure the water is at a low simmer.
  7. Add 1 tbs. of salt and ¾ cup of fish sauce and let the broth simmer for an hour at a low heat, partially covered with a lid. Don’t let the broth boil vigorously. You can remove the onions and ginger if they start to break up in your broth. If your broth is not clean skim the top with a spoon and discard it to keep your broth clear. If you’ve soaked and cleaned your bones then you shouldn’t really have to do this much.
  8. After simmering at low boil for a couple of hours, you can also remove the bones. They should be fork tender and fall apart. You can break this up with a fork and also add it to the individual bowls later.
  9. While the broth is simmering you can prepare all of your vegetables and fixings to add in the bowls.
  10. Skim the broth at the top for any impurities and fat and adjust your seasoning to taste by adding salt, fish sauce or sugar. The broth can simmer for 2-4 hours for best tasting results.
  11. Soak the pho noodles in hot water as per directed by the package instructions.
  12. 5 minutes before serving add in the bok choy into the large pot if so desired but this is not part of authentic Vietnamese pho. I just like to add it in for extra vegetables and it doesn’t take way from the rest of the pho taste and experience.
  13. Using a spider ladle (looks like a strainer) dip the strainer into the broth with the noodles to reheat them. Put it into a bowl.
  14. Add about 5-6 slices of the rare beef and any of the meat from the bones into the individual bowls along with the green and white onions to the hot noodles.
  15. Make sure the broth from the pot is boiling and very hot before pouring it into the bowl. Using a large soup ladle, pour the broth into the bowl. The hot broth should cook the rare beef in the bowls. You can also add in the bok choy at this time, if you added it to the pot.
  16. Add in any other accoutraments and sauces that you like, lime juice, ground black pepper and ground white pepper to taste.

Tips:

I get my local grocery store to machine cut the beef round eye into paper thin slices for me. This saves a lot of time. If your grocery store can’t do that for you then you can partially freeze the meat for about 15 to 20 minutes until it is firm. Then take it out and slice it paper thin.

Roasted Asparagus with Parmigiana-Reggiano Cheese

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What’s better than Parmigiano-Reggiano?

A.  Asparagus

B.  Nothing. Nothing is better than Parmigiano-Reggiano

C. Roasted Asparagus with Parmigiano-Reggiano

I would say my answer is B and C but really, nothing is better than Parmigiano-Reggiano. You can put it on anything or melt it on top of anything and I would eat it!

Here’s a simple recipe to roast it in the oven.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of large green asparagus spears, ends cut off (about 2″)
  • sea salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Cut the ends of the asparagus spears where it is woody and brown, about 2 inches off.
  • Cover a baking sheet with tin foil.
  • Spread the asparagus on the baking sheet and drizzle the olive oil, sea salt and pepper on top and thoroughly mix it all together.
  • Grate the Parmigiano-Reggiano over the top and bake for 20 min.

It’s also great not to have to wash the pan because you can just throw away the tin foil when you’re done. We usually pair this with some kind of meat and starch.

 

 

Pad Thai With Chicken and Shrimp (Cheat Recipe)

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Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons of vegetable / canola / coconut oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 shallots, thinly sliced or thinly sliced red onions (about 1/2 a small red onion)
  • 8-10 medium/large sized shrimp, cleaned and deveined, tail on
  • 8 ounces of chicken or tofu, diced into bite size pieces the same size as the shrimp
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 package of Annie Chun’s Pad Thai Rice Noodles (cooked & rinsed as directed for stir fry)
  • 1 cup fresh bean sprouts / canned bean sprouts

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Sauce:

  • 4 tablespoons lime/lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1-2 pinches crushed chilies or pepper flakes

Mix ingredients together to create sauce or 8 tablespoons of Annie Chun’s Pad

Thai Sauce

OR (Cheat Version)

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Garnish:

  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons roasted peanuts, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

Directions:

  1. Heat wok or non-stick pan over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil, garlic, shallot and shrimp. Cook until shrimp are opaque; set aside.
  2. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 2 eggs, then scramble.
  3. Reduce heat to low; add noodles and then sauce. Toss until well mixed.
  4. Add shrimp, chicken and bean sprouts. Toss well.
  5. Garnish with cilantro, peanuts, scallions and lime wedges.
  6. Add Sriracha for additional heat.

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After browning the chicken, set aside.

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After cooking the shrimp, set aside.

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Scramble the eggs then combine all of the ingredients together. Serve with fresh lime juice and sprinkle cilantro on top.

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Simple Grilled Chicken Marinade

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This is my go-to, easy-peasy chicken marinade that my family begs me to make and it couldn’t be simpler. Ever since I came up with this recipe, they ask for it every week, sometimes several times a week! Once you know what the marinade is you can change it up and make it however you like but it’s so simple.

Makes 4-5 servings.

Ingredients:

Preparation:

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  1. Place the chicken in a medium mixing bowl, drizzle on the extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle on the Lawry’s Garlic Salt and Mrs Dash seasoning. I don’t even measure anything but just make sure it’s evenly coated. The Lawry’s Garlic Salt can be overpowering so be careful with it. Flip the chicken pieces on the other side and coat generously.
  2. Cover the bowl and marinate in refrigerator for 2 hours.
  3. When ready to cook, you can grill outside on your grill or with a grilling pan over the stove. Cook chicken on both sides for 5 minutes each on medium to medium-low heat. Flip chicken once to get the nice grill marks on both sides and don’t move the chicken.
  4. When the chicken is done, place them on a plate and cover with tin foil for 3-5 minutes for the juices to redistribute.
  5. Serve with vegetable sides, rice or pasta. I’ve also served this grilled chicken as a sandwich with cheese.

If you don’t have fresh lemons you can substitute with bottled lemon juice which I try to stock in my refrigerator.

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I like to use PAM cooking spray on my grill pan. It makes it easier to coat the pan.

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Don’t move the chicken around once you’ve put it down so you can get the nice grill marks on both sides. Cook for 5 minutes on each side.

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Serve with your favorite sides or make it into a grilled chicken sandwich and add cheese.

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You could also add some red chili pepper flakes to the marinade for some heat.

 

Cheat Chicken Phở ~ with Lemongrass & Ginger Chicken

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When you have a choice, always choose Phở. You just can’t go wrong and there are so many variations to choose from; beef, meatballs, chicken, seafood, vegetarian, etc. How can you go wrong with the national dish of Viet Nam? I don’t know if that’s true or not but I’ve never met a Vietnamese person who didn’t like phở or who’s family didn’t make it. It’s like how pizza and hamburgers are to Americans.8-)

But first, let’s step back for a minute and talk about the pronunciation of the word, Phở. Please click on the You Tube link for the pronunciation, PLEASE, I beg of you! It sounds more like “fuh” and not with the long “0” sound like I hear a lot of people say. That is like nails on a chalkboard to me. I’ve taught my husband who is not Vietnamese how to say it and even he corrects people now. It’s a phenomenon people, get on board.

Now, onto the good stuff. I call this “Cheat Chicken Phở” because I’m not making the broth from meat and bones. I’m using a soup base and adding some spices so you know there’s very little fat in this. I’m also baking marinated chicken in the oven instead of the traditional method of boiling the chicken and bones and shredding it after. My husband doesn’t like the taste of boiled chicken so I’m trying out a more flavorful way of cooking the chicken this time.

First I turned the oven on to broil and cut a large onion in half. A small or medium-sized onion would’ve worked also. I saved the other half to slice later to garnish the phở bowl. I also peeled the skin off of a knub of ginger. Then I drizzled some extra virgin olive oil on it to help it brown. If you have a gas stove top you can just brown them on there without the oil.

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This is what it will look like out of the broiler after 5 minutes and the best part is you can just toss the tin foil afterward.

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I took the other half of the onion and thinly sliced it.

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WARNING: I strongly advise you use gloves whenever you chop chili peppers and jalapeño peppers! I think I picked these gloves up at Dollar Tree.

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I just use whatever I had in my fridge for the garnish; sliced white onions, chopped green onions, lime wedges and jalapeños and chili peppers. I didn’t have cilantro but I did have some fresh basil that I garnished on top later. It helps to have all of your accoutrements ready to go when the phở is ready to eat.

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For the chicken, I used thinly sliced breasts and marinated them with lemongrass and ginger paste, fish sauce and soy sauce, salt and pepper and extra virgin olive oil. I placed them in a pan and baked them in a 425 degree oven for 30 minutes, turning them over half way through.

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This is what the chicken looked like when they were done cooking and resting before I sliced into them.

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While the chicken is resting, you can put together the spices. I use a large tea strainer to hold all of my spices and it conveniently has a hook on it to keep it from sinking into the pot. I also used a mortar to crush the coriander seeds before I added it to the tea strainer.

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Since I wasn’t cooking any meat and bones to make the broth I used these pho bouillon cubes to help flavor it instead. You can use this for beef or chicken phở.

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After you broil the onion and ginger, you can add it into a pot of boiling water with the strainer of the spices, the bouillon cubes, fish sauce, salt and sugar.

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At the same time that you have a pot of water boiling for the pho you can start another one to boil the rice noodles. These are pretty easy to find at your local grocery store in the ethnic foods section.

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While the broth is boiling, slice the chicken into bite-size pieces against the grain.

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Traditional pho takes at least 6 hours to cook so that the spices and flavors are concentrated. This Cheat Phở is ready right away because you’re not waiting for the bones to cook and the flavors to absorb into the broth. You can assemble it once the noodles are done cooking and then pour the hot boiling broth on top.

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I taste-tested the recipe at lunch 😉 and then assembled these bowls for dinner. Sadly my youngest child, Lucy does not eat pho yet so I gave her some of the chicken and some left over pasta for dinner. I’m still working on her and haven’t given up yet. After all, she is part Vietnamese!

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Although Lucy didn’t eat it she still loved smelling the aroma of the spices while I was cooking. She also wanted me to take a picture of our Lazy Susan in the center of our table with all the sauces and accoutrements. She has this weird thing of loving watching me add all of the sauces in and the basil, cilantro and bean sprouts (which I didn’t have) and squeezing in the fresh lime juice. I imagine it’s like watching a ritual for her. I’m hoping this will translate into her eating it one day. We just got her to love eating Vietnamese egg rolls last year so baby steps.

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So after my little experiment of not cooking the chicken on the bone in the broth and baking it instead, my husband and oldest daughter declared it was the BEST Cheat Chicken Phở I’ve ever made. MAD Goddess For The Win!

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I’ll post the exact ingredients shortly but wanted to get the method on here first.

 

 

JALAPEÑO MARGARITAS

If sugar and spice make everything nice then this makes it real good. Ay caramba! I love to cut a sweet and tangy margarita with some fresh jalapeños.

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Put some chopped jalapeños in a glass with lime juice and margarita salt.

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Muddle it all together.

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I used a tall shot glass and used:

  • 1 part tequila
  • 4 parts margarita mix
  • 1 part cold water
  • lime juice

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Put it into a handheld shaker and add some more chopped jalapeños with the seeds and some more margarita salt with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a glass 3/4 full of ice. I had some chopped jalapeños already in there and topped with some more margarita salt instead of on the rim. That way I’m sure to get some salt without it slipping down the glass.

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Wait, I’m going in for seconds…..

 

Okay I’m back now after I found feeling back in my lips again after all those jalapeños. Please let me know if you’ve ever tried this, if you’ve made this, if you hate it, love it, think I’m crazy, whatever!

Lasagna A La Bolognese

Servings: 4-6                  Prep Time: 15 minutes               Cook Time: 45 minutes

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Who doesn’t love a hearty lasagna or a bold bolognese sauce? Here’s a family weeknight meal that combines both of those flavors, is easy to make and easy to eat! Warning, this is definitely NOT a diet meal, it’s more like a cheat meal. That’s why I only used a small square 8 x 8″ baking pan and not a 9 x 13″ baking pan!

Ingredients – 

  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil (I like to use Colavita brand.)
  • 4 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped (You could use pancetta but it’s much saltier than bacon.)
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, roughly chopped (I happened to have both type of onions so I used both.)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of baby carrots, finely chopped (You could use 1-2 whole carrots if you have it.)
  • 1 lb. of mild Italian sausage
  • 1-25 oz jar of marinara sauce
  • 8 oz. of sliced mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 9 oz. box of Barilla oven-ready lasagna
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sprinkle of dried Italian herbs (basil, oregano, thyme)
  • Fresh basil, julienned for topping if you like

Directions – 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

When I’m in a hurry I microwave my bacon. I used a microwave-safe plate and lined it with a paper towel    below and on top of the bacon and cooked it on high for 5 minutes.

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Meanwhile, chop the onions, scallions and mince shallots and garlic.

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Add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to a medium heated pan and add the onions, garlic and carrots. Lightly salt and pepper the pan. Remember that the bacon is already salty. Cook for a few minutes on low heat until carrots are tender and onions have caramelized a little.

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Then add the chopped bacon and sauté for another minute.

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I used Johnsonville mild sausage. If I had ground beef I would have added it as well.

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Brown the sausage until no longer pink.

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Then add the whole jar of marinara sauce. I like to use San Marzano Marinara sauce made with heirloom tomatoes. It’s the bomb!

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Sprinkle in Italian herbs and salt and pepper to-taste. Cook for about 5 minutes.

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Now you can begin to assemble your lasagna. Spoon a small amount of the sauce on the bottom of the baking dish.

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Then put your first layer of flat lasagna noodles. The Barilla Oven-Ready Lasagna is our favorite in our family. It’s easy to use too because you don’t have to boil it first. You just use it straight from the package and it will cook in the oven. I find that it breaks less easily than the other kind as well. After you have put down a layer of pasta, add the meat sauce until it has covered the pasta.

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Here’s where it gets fabulous, each layer gets a full coverage of mozzarella cheese! Yup, I told you this isn’t a “diet” meal.

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Repeat this 2 more times. The top should be a layer of the sliced mozzarella cheese again and to top it off I like to sprinkle on the shredded cheddar cheese here to give it that yellowy color on top. Cover with tin foil and place the baking pan on top of a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Then remove the tin foil and bake for another 10 minutes at 425 degrees. I added in cheesy garlic bread for the last 10 minutes of cooking so they were both done at the same time.;-)

I did have basil that I had planned on sprinkling on top of the lasagna but it didn’t make it that far. I also didn’t make a salad either. This went straight in my belly, twice!

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I made my family play a trivia game during dinner and guess what was in the lasagna. It was funny! They didn’t know half of the ingredients. That’s what I love about chopping up vegetables really small, they can’t even really taste it and don’t know they’re eating them until after I tell them and I love the surprised look on their faces.

This is basically a lasagna dish with some bolognese flavors. You can add and substitute so many different ingredients in here but I was trying to keep it simple. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and any of my other recipes. Bon Appétit!

Vietnamese Tofu Tomato Soup

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Please, if you haven’t run for the hills yet then at least read the recipe and then you can add whatever you like in it if you’re not a tofu fan. I even used basil instead of cilantro for the cilantro haters!

Seriously though, this is a childhood favorite of mine and something that my mom used to make all the time. It brings back so many fond memories of my mom cooking in our old kitchen and me just watching her do her magic.

A traditional Vietnamese family meal would consist of steamed rice, a meat dish, a vegetable dish and a soup and the whole family would share it. The dishes would be in the center of the table and each family member would have a small bowl with rice. We used our chopsticks to pickup the food and then eat it in our rice bowl. Unlike American traditions, the last part of the meal is the soup. We would pour the soup into our rice bowls to finish it off with our remaining rice.

Ingredients

  • 14 oz. package of extra firm tofu, sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 2-3 stalks of green onion, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced into bite-sized pieces about the same size as the tofu
  • 1 tablespoon of fish sauce to stew the tomatoes and onions and 2 tablespoons of fish sauce for the broth
  • Cilantro/basil for garnish
  • Sriracha hot sauce, optional

Here’s a the tofu package that I used that I bought from Kroger. Normally I buy the extra firm tofu that is already pre-sliced.

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It just saves me a step but no biggie, it’s not like tofu is hard to cut.8-) IMG_8042

I laid the tofu on the side and first cut it in half length-wise. Then I sectioned it into thirds and then cut it into half-inch sized pieces.

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I used a small 6 quart sauce pan because I wasn’t planning on making a lot of soup. On medium heat, sauté the onions and garlic for a couple of minutes and lightly salt and pepper. I like to add salt and pepper to every layer so that it is well seasoned. Then add the tomatoes, fish sauce and black pepper.

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When the tomatoes have been stewed for a few minutes, add water to the pot about 3/4 of the way full. Turn the heat on high and add the tofu, rest of the green onions, fish sauce, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Let it simmer on low heat for 5 to 10 minutes until the soup has reduced a little.

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Spoon into a bowl and add fresh basil or cilantro to serve.

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A more traditional Vietnamese way of making this soup is frying the tofu pieces first. You could do that but I think this is a quicker, healthier version of it. Sometimes I like to add in chopped chicken breast or ground pork as another protein in the soup if I have some left over from another dish I’m making that day. I suppose if you are not a tofu fan at all you could omit it and just use another protein like chicken, pork or shrimp.  That’s not really the soup I’m making here but as always, if you like the basis of the soup then you can change it up according to your liking. You could also use a chicken stock or vegetable stock as well but I’m fine with just the water as long as it is well seasoned.

Oh and by the way, if you haven’t figured out by now that Vietnamese cooking requires fish sauce then you might not want to read the rest of my blog posts.;-)

Mississippi Mud Cake

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I need Mississippi Mud Cake like I need a hole in the head! Sheesh! This wintry cold weather has got me cooking and baking and it’s all going into my belly! This is not good, it’s irresistible! Usually when I crave a sweet treat I eat a few bites of it and then I’ve had enough. This one’s got me coming back for more. It reminds me of McEntyre’s Bakery’s TV Bars with it’s gooey marshmallow topping under a chocolate glaze icing. Now I can make this cake whenever I crave it and not have to drive twenty some miles to get it.

Here’s the recipe I used, http://tastesbetterfromscratch.com/2015/09/mississippi-mud-cake.html.

Ingredients – 

Cake

  • One Chocolate Cake, baked in a 9 x 13” pan (I used a glass pan and bought the chocolate cake mix at Target.)
  • 1 (10.5 oz) bag of miniature marshmallows

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I found this cake mix at Target and it is very moist as it calls for 4 eggs in the recipe.

For the frosting

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups powdered sugar

Instructions – 

Bake chocolate cake according to instructions. Remove cake from oven and sprinkle marshmallows all over the cake, completely covering it. Return to oven (at 350 degrees F) for 3-4 minutes or until the marshmallows are just slightly puffed and melted. Allow cake to cool completely before drizzling frosting on top. This was one of the hardest parts, is to wait!

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For the frosting: Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add milk and cocoa powder and whisk well. Cook for about 2-3 more minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture has thickened slightly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and powdered sugar. Use an electric mixer to make the frosting smooth. (I don’t have a hand-held mixer so I just heavily whisked the frosting until I got most of the lumps out. As you can see in the photos, it didn’t really make a difference.) Drizzle warm frosting immediately over cake. Refrigerate cake for for about 30 minutes or until frosting has set. It is best served and stored at room temperature. Try keeping your husband and kids away from this one!

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Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Medjool Dates with Goat Cheese

Warning! These are extra good!

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Who doesn’t love a good bacon app? Again, I don’t show up without bacon to a party invite. I brought these bad boys with me and of course they were gone by the time we left the party and I had made over 40 over them!

This is very simple to make, you just assemble the parts and put it in the oven. No mixing, no measuring ingredients, no nonsense. So if you’re trying to come up with a delicious and easy appetizer for a party, this one is a must and a crowd-pleaser!

Ingredients

  • 30-40 Medjool dates, sliced open and pitted (Trust me you’ll need to make a lot if serving at a party because it will be gone in minutes! I bought a container about the size of a medium-sized strawberries package of Medjool dates from Trader Joes.)
  • 2 packages of bacon, cut in half or thirds, depending on how thick and long your strips of bacon are. They will need to be long enough to wrap around the dates.
  • 4 oz. container of goat cheese, crumbled

Preparation

  1. Slice open the dates and take the seeds out.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Stuff the dates with a very small amount of the crumbled goat cheese.
  4. Cover a large baking pan with tin foil.
  5. Wrap each piece of stuffed date with the cut bacon and secure with a toothpick, piercing through to the other side. Repeat until all the dates have been wrapped in bacon and place onto the baking pan.

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Bake for 20-30 minutes until the bacon is brown and crisp. Keep checking every 5 minutes so you don’t over cook the bacon. I had to do 2 batches to spread out the dates enough for the bacon to crisp. Serve on a pretty platter and watch how fast they get gobbled up!

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