Vietnamese Chicken Ragu

vietnamese chicken ragu
Although nothing about Vietnamese Chicken Ragu screams Vietnamese, it remains one of our most beloved dishes. Clearly, it is a culinary delight left behind by the French from the old colonial days. Perfect on a cold winter’s day, or any day for that matter, this stew-like dish is traditionally eaten with freshly baked, crusty French bread. I simply love dipping the bread into the savory broth!

After years of watching my mother and grandmother make this dish, I have perfected the recipe by combining their techniques with a few of my own :-). I prefer to use a combination of chicken drumsticks and thighs because they are my favorite; however, you could use any combination of chicken parts you prefer. I hope you give this recipe a try soon!

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Quick and Easy Lentil Soup

Lentils, a tiny little member of the legume family, but a mighty source of fiber, minerals and vitamins. All at virtually zero fat and calories! These little guys fill you up and keep you full so you don’t go searching in your kitchen for a snack a few hours later (we can all admit to doing this after having a ‘light’ salad for dinner). Sure, lentils aren’t the prettiest to look at, but with just a few spices and ingredients they are extremely satisfying and delicious.

I’ve played around with a few different recipes for lentil soup, but this is my favorite version. It’s simple, quick and easy. What I love most about this recipe is that you can just throw all the ingredients into one pot and let it simmer. In less than an hour, you have a hearty and delicious soup for dinner. It’s perfect for any cold day this winter! (Have leftovers? No worries. It freezes very well!)  Continue reading

Turkey Chili

turkey chili
There’s nothing more satisfying, sometimes, than a hot bowl of chili on a cold winter’s night. My mom and I used to make chili with the seasoning packets they sell at the store. All the different spices were conveniently premixed for you, including tons of sodium. I took a look at the nutrition information on one of these packets a few years ago and was shocked at the sodium content! Since then, I have been making chili using my own spices and seasoning at home. I think it’s a much better choice because you control the amount and quality of ingredients that go into your food. It’s also not that much more difficult or time consuming. You probably already have all the necessary ingredients sitting on your spice rack.

I’ve played around with different recipes, but I really like this particular version of my turkey chili. It has less calories and fat because I use lean turkey. Plus, there’s tons of nutrients from the beans and carrots I add. You can substitute other veggies of your choice if you don’t like beans or carrots. Red peppers, corn, and zucchini would all work very well.

Give my recipe a try sometime this winter and you’ll have a delicious pot of chili in no time!  Continue reading

Teriyaki Steak with Japanese Vegetable Soup

This recipe was inspired by two things: 1) my quest to eat low- to no-carb dinners that still leave me full and satisfied, and 2) my love for Japanese soups! I came across the original recipe in a Food Network Magazine last year and made it for dinner one night. It came out pretty good, but I’ve played around with it since to enhance the depth of the broth’s flavors and to make a more tender steak. I also changed the vegetables in the recipe to fit my own preferences :). You could add or reduce the amount of vegetables in my recipe, or even use other vegetables. Napa cabbage, spinach, white daikon, radish, snow peas, or sweet potatoes would also work well in this soup. The possibilities are endless!

The broth in this recipe has the perfect balance of sweet, savory, and slightly tart flavors found in typical Japanese style soups. It is so flavorful and is perfect for any night where you’re looking for a lighter, yet still satisfying, meal. And if you’re in the mood for a Japanese style noodle soup, simply add soba, udon, or ramen noodles to the dish! I’ve added soba noodles a few times and it was absolutely delicious.

So make sure to try out this recipe the next time you’re in the mood for a Japanese inspired meal. You won’t be disappointed! Continue reading


Phở, pronounced “fuh,” is a traditional Vietnamese beef noodle soup. It is probably the most popular and well known Vietnamese dish among foreigners. Originally from northern Vietnam, this noodle soup is eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and as a snack for some of us 😉 (don’t judge, it’s just THAT good). Phở is traditionally made by simmering beef bones, roasted onions and ginger, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and star anise for three to four hours. (Don’t worry, my recipe will only take 30 minutes!) One must also constantly skim the top of the pot to ensure that the broth is completely clear. I used to always watch my mother and grandmother make phở as a little girl. I remember the entire house would be full of its wonderful, fragrant aroma.

There are other variations of this dish, including phở gà (chicken) and phở chay (vegetarian). I, however, like to stick with the traditional beef version, phở bò. There are a few types of beef you could use in phở bò: thinly sliced eye round or flank steak, bò viên (Vietnamese beef meatballs), tendon, and/or tripe. I prefer to use beef eye round because I find it to be tender and lean. The trick is to make sure each slice of beef is very thin because you don’t actually cook the beef in the pot of broth. Rather, you simply top the noodles with the beef and ladle the hot broth over it. The broth’s hot temperature cooks the beef just enough so that it is still soft and tender. Continue reading

Bún Riêu

The first Vietnamese dish I ever made was bún riêu, pronounced “boon rew,” which is a tomato and crab noodle soup. Of all the Vietnamese noodle soup dishes, I think this is the easiest to make because it requires the least amount of time and ingredients. This doesn’t mean there aren’t many ingredients, it just means less. 😉 Vietnamese cooking is all about flavor and finding the perfect balance between sweet, savory, spicy, and sour. So that means a little bit of this, and a little bit of that. Continue reading