Pho – the easy peasey non-authentic but hecka good kind

i have been cooking a ton lately and was looking through pics realizing that I haven’t been archiving some major successes. 

The deluge of recipes are coming. 

This one is perfect for this time of year. It’s freshness matches the first blushes of spring but the warm broth and hearty meat keep you cozy on our still cold nights. And it’s a perfect weeknight dinner that the whole family will enjoy – especially the kids because it’s all about making it your own. 

Pho

* 1 1/2 box of beef broth (or 6 cups of beef bone broth if you’ve got some in your freezer)

* 1/2 lb of rib eye or strip or any other easily sliced beef (bonus if you can get your butcher to thinly slice it for you)

* 2 limes

* 2 TBSP fish sauce

* 2 TBSP soy sauce, plus more on the table for garnish

* jalapeño sliced

* bean sprouts

* basil leaves

* cilantro

* sriracha

* 1 package of thin rice noodles

Being the broth to a boil. Add the noodles and cook according to the packaged instructions. Add the fish sauce, soy and squeeze of lime to taste. Turn off the heat and add the meat. The meat will cook in the hot soup. 

Assemble all the other ingredients on your table and serve the soup in bowls. 

Slurp and enjoy. 

  

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Mom’s Pancit

This turned out so good that my Filippino husband said it tastes just like Mom’s. So, of course I had to post it. 

If it’s your birthday or new year, it’s tradition to eat long noodles for a long life. And if you’ve been to any Filippino family gatherings, pancit is a staple. 

  
It’s one of those dishes that tastes so good and comforting and is amazing as leftovers. Omit the baby shrimp if you have any allergies. 

Mom’s Pancit

* 1 boneless skinless chicken breast cut on the bias in bite sized pieces

* 2 celery sticks, sliced

* 2 carrots, julienned 

* a handful of green beans, ends trimmed and cut in half

* 1/2 head of cabbage, chopped

* 1 small onion, sliced

* 3 cloves garlic, minced

* 1 package of rice noodle

* 1 box of chicken broth (or homemade) 3 cups

* soy sauce

* salt and pepper

* lemon

Sauté garlic, onion until fragrant. Add chicken and veggies (carrots, celery, green beans, cabbage) and cook until just tender. 

You can use a separate pan or remove the veggies and chicken and add the stock. Boil then cook the noodles in chicken stock until just tender. Drain. Then add soy sauce, salt, pepper to taste.  Then mix it all together gently so you don’t break your noodles.

Add baby shrimp if you like. Serve with lemon wedges. 

Eat for days. 

Mom’s Pancit

This turned out so good that my Filippino husband said it tastes just like Mom’s. So, of course I had to post it. 

If it’s your birthday or new year, it’s tradition to eat long noodles for a long life. And if you’ve been to any Filippino family gatherings, pancit is a staple. 

  
It’s one of those dishes that tastes so good and comforting and is amazing as leftovers. Omit the baby shrimp if you have any allergies. 

Mom’s Pancit

* 1 boneless skinless chicken breast cut on the bias in bite sized pieces

* 2 celery sticks, sliced

* 2 carrots, julienned 

* a handful of green beans, ends trimmed and cut in half

* 1/2 head of cabbage, chopped

* 1 small onion, sliced

* 3 cloves garlic, minced

* 1 package of rice noodle

* 1 box of chicken broth (or homemade) 3 cups

* soy sauce

* salt and pepper

* lemon

Sauté garlic, onion until fragrant. Add chicken and veggies (carrots, celery, green beans, cabbage) and cook until just tender. 

You can use a separate pan or remove the veggies and chicken and add the stock. Boil then cook the noodles in chicken stock until just tender. Drain. Then add soy sauce, salt, pepper to taste.  Then mix it all together gently so you don’t break your noodles.

Add baby shrimp if you like. Serve with lemon wedges. 

Eat for days. 

Sir Wraps-a-lot

I am craving one of these sooo bad! I’ve been gluten-free all month and it’s wraps and morning pastries that I miss the most. The gluten-free thing isn’t going as good as I hoped. I am trying it for better joint health but have felt no improvement. I think I’ll try adding more gelatin to my diet next. But while doing this, I have definitely started some great non-bread and pasta habit that I’ll try to keep. But the minute I decide to add more gluten, I’m having a wrap. 

I usually pick up a package of lavash and just have it around to make leftover wraps. It is one of my favorite ways to recreate leftovers. All you need is a spread (hummus, pesto and hummus, cream cheese, dressing, anything really), some greens (I love spinach, arugula or super greens), a cheese (feta or goat are preferred), a meat (steak, turkey, chicken, tofu) and addition fun stuff (peppers, avocado, cucumbers, red onion, cranberry sauce). 

This one was a great use of leftover turkey dinner. 

Let me know what are your favorite combinations. 

   
 

No Fail Pie Crust

Did you know that with an extra 30 minutes, you could have the most flaky and delicious pie crust for your creative self to add any kind of sweet or savory goodness to? I still think buying a pie crust is the easy option but there’s something extra in your pie when you make the crust. Maybe somehow, a little extra love gets into the pie during the kneading and rolling  process. Maybe it’s the massive amount of butter. Whatever it is, people always comment on this crust recipe when I make our pies. 

   
 No Fail Pie Crust (recipe from Williams-Sonoma)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

* 2 Tbs. sugar

* 2 tsp. salt

* 16 Tbs. (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

* 6 to 8 Tbs. ice water

* 1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 Tbs. water

In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. (I don’t have a food processor so I just use a bowl, pastry cutter and fingers to combine everything) Add the 6 Tbs. ice water and pulse twice. The dough should hold together when squeezed with your fingers but should not be sticky. If it is crumbly, add more water, 1 tsp. at a time, pulsing twice after each addition. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and divide in half. Shape each into a disk. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days. 

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let stand for 5 minutes. Place 1 dough disk between 2 sheets of lightly floured waxed paper and roll out into a 12-inch round about 3/16 inch thick. Transfer to a 9-inch deep-dish pie dish and press the dough into the dish. Trim the edges, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold under the excess dough and, using your thumb, decoratively flute the edges. Roll out the remaining dough disk in the same manner. Cut into long strips for the top of your pie. Or save if your pie doesn’t need at top. Place the piecrust and strips in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven. Place a baking sheet on the rack. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Brush the edges of the crust with the egg mixture. Line the piecrust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights. Place the pie dish on the preheated baking sheet in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the parchment and weights and bake until the crust is light golden, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. 

Makes enough dough for one 9-inch deep-dish piecrust plus decorative top and a little extra or two pie crusts. 

Shrimp and Pork Dumplings

Oh my delicousness, you guys! Just as it starts to get cold outside, my body craves hot, brothy, noodley soups. And this one is absolutely perfect for the occasion. BTW, did you know that John Legend’s wife, Chrissy T has her own cooking/food blog and is ready to release a cookbook? I’m not normally a celeb follower on social media but that girl is funny and makes some pretty damn good food. This is her recipe…with minor tweaks.

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Shrimp and Pork Dumplings Soup (mostly from So Delushious)

  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 TBSP fish sauce
  • pinch of chili flakes
  • 1/2 lb of shrimp, cleaned, deshelled and minced
  • 1/2 lb of ground pork
  • 6 shitake mushrooms (I used trumpet because my store didn’t have shitake)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 TBSP of fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/2 TBSP of sesame oil
  • 1 TBSP sriracha
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 20 wonton wrappers
  • 2 scallions, sliced

Ok. So, this makes about 20 pretty little dumplings. They freeze great. So, spend a little time making them and then you’ll have easy peasey dumpling soup in a giffy. (just note that you’ll need 3 cups broth, 1 TBSP fish sauce, pinch of chili flakes and cilantro and scallions for the soup each time).

Bring the broth, 1 TBSP fish sauce, pinch of chili flakes to a low simmer in a medium pot.

Gently combine the shrimp, mushrooms, pork, cilantro, garlic, ginger, 1 TBSP fish sauce, sesame oil, sriracha and salt. It’s okay if it’s not totally mixed perfectly. It’s better to have unevenness vs over-mixed and mushy.

Pull out two of the wrappers and put a little spoonful of the mix in the center of each. Oh yeah. Have a little bowl of water near. Wet your finger and moisten the edges of the wrapper. Draw up each diagonal corner and seal.

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Repeat with the remaining filling and wrappers.

Gently drop about 8 dumplings into the pot of soup broth. Give it a little stir. Don’t over simmer. And be super gentle when you’re stirring.

Cook about 7 mins.

Gently (again) lift 4 dumplings per bowl and cover it with broth. Garnish with scallions and cilantro leaves.

Slurp!

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The Best Potato Salad Recipe

  
I have to admit it. I’m the picnic-er who always passes on the potato salad (I also always want to spell potato with an “e” but that’s a whole other post). It’s just not appealing to me to eat mayo and cold, smashed potatoes and pickles in one dish. 

That is until I ate THIS potato salad. I couldn’t believe when I went back specifically for seconds of just potato salad and then again for 3rds, 4ths and 5ths. I crave this now whenever we BBQ. I just had it again with BBQ pulled pork sandwiches (with onion rings and coleslaw in the sammy). I also don’t eat coleslaw unless it’s in a pulled pork sandwich. The potato salad is a perfect side for BBQ. It’s also a perfect side for Summer. 

  
Adapted from the Pioneer Woman Cooks

The Best Potato Salad

  • 8-10 small/medium russet potatoes, cut into quarters. 
  • 5 green onions, chopped 
  • A good two handfuls of cornichons (small pickles), sliced
  • 4 hard boiled eggs*, chopped 
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 1/2 cup mayonnaise (not miracle whip!)
  • 2 TBSP yellow mustard

Add potatoes to a pot of salted water and put on high. Boil and cook until they’re just tender enough for a fork to easily pierce a potato piece. 

Remove from water and place in bowl. Peel. Add mayo, mustard and spices. Mash until it’s almost mashed potatoes. It should still have a few chunks. Fold in chopped eggs, cornichons and green onion. 

Serve chilled!

* place eggs in a pot of water. Place on the stove uncovered on high. Once boiling, turn off the heat, cover the pot and set the timer to 13 mins. Remove from the pot and peel under running cold water.