So I ate out the entire first week at work.  I went from food truck to food truck on campus.  It was expensive (about $10 for lunch) and for some days it was disappointing.  So this week I decided to “pack” lunch to work.  My idea of packing lunch was Lean Cuisine frozen meals… LOL.  I ate LC 2 days in a row and called it a day.

I was determined to actually make something for lunch for the rest of the week.  On the way home last night I stopped by a small Asian grocery store to see what I can grab..  This store is the closest one to us but doesn’t have fresh meat or seafood.  Most of the time I’d just shop for spices, dry noodles, and some produce.  Last night I walked by the vegetarian can food section and it triggered some dishes my Mom used to make.  So I grabbed the mock duck and the veggies cans and also some fresh green beans.  I got home and literally in 15 minutes I made this delicious vegetarian stir-fry.  I’m not big on eating can food as I’m sure most of you are too but when mixing with fresh vegetable I feel less guilty 😉

– 1 can of mock duck (or any kind of bean curb vegetarian food, for protein), discarded liquid, cut to bite sizes
– 1 can of Vegetarian Chop-Suey (can substitute for fresh mushrooms or anything you like), discarded liquid
– 1 can of quail eggs, discarded liquid
– 1/2 lb of fresh green beans, trimmed and cut to bite sizes
– 3 cloves of garlic and 1 shallot, minced
– 2 tbsp of Maggie Seasoning
– 1/2 to 1 tbsp of sugar
– 1 tbsp mushroom seasoning
-1/4 tsp of ground pepper
– 2 tbsp of cooking oil (I used olive)

In a deep skillet, add cooking oil follow with garlic and shallot.  Once fragrant, add your green beans.  Stir well and saute on medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes.  Add the vegetarian foods and quail eggs.  Mix well and season to your taste with Maggie, sugar, ground pepper and mushroom seasoning.  Continue on low heat for about 3 more minutes.

I’m eating for lunch today with white rice.  Oh so good!

Lunch at work 🙂





Pho for Everybody

Last night I managed to make 2 pots of Pho: one beef and the other vegetarian for my Mom.

The Beef Pho I actually made it while sleeping thanks to the IP.   Before heading to bed the night before, I set 30 minutes HP and allowed it to NPR and “Keep Warm” over night.  In the morning I placed the inner pot in the fridge.  When I got home from work I removed the fat layer and bones, turned on Saute mode, add more water, and seasoned to taste!  If you have time I’d highly recommend making Beef Pho this way.  The broth was rich, clear and beautiful!

Recipe for Beef Pho: Phở Bò Instant Pot (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup)

Recipe for Vegetarian Pho: Phở Chay Instant Pot (Vegetarian Pho)


A super belated post but I wanted to share that I also used the leftover chicken broth to make Asparagus Crab Soup last week.  It was easy peasy, in less than 30 minutes!  Dinner was served on time 😉

Here is the link to the recipe: Súp Măng Cua (Asparagus Crab Soup)


So now that I’m back to work full-time I’m trying to come up with ways to save even more time in the kitchen. I’ve actually never made chicken broth just to save or freeze for later. I always ended up cooking the bones and using it immediately for a dish.

The other night while putting my sons to sleep I had to think about what we will eat for dinner the next day. Everything I had was in the freezer. I marinated salmon to braise but also wanted a soup to go with it. So then the idea of making chicken broth ahead of time came to mind.

So after the kids slept I went down to the freezer grab the package of chicken bones (about 2.5 lbs), washed it well with warm sink water thoroughly, added to IP along with an onion, 2 carrots, 1 tsp of salt and about 20 cups of water. High Pressure, 30 minutes and went to bed. The next morning before work I ran the broth through a sieve and placed in the refrigerator.

When I got home last night I removed the top white layer of fat. I decided to use the 3-quart since I only need a large soup bowl for the 4 of us to share. I used 5 cups of broth, added 3 carrots (peeled and chopped) and 2 potatoes (peeled and chopped), 1 tbsp of Quoc Viet Chicken Soup Base and a tiny piece of rock sugar (1/2 thumb size). High Pressure, 5 minutes, QR. Then garnished with chopped onion and cilantro, and ground pepper. So that was our easy and simple “soup” last night. My most picky eater boy loved it! The potatoes and carrots were cooked just right, not too soft at all. I still have more broth and will attempt to cook something else tonight or this week.

Thịt Heo Chiên Nước Mắm (Fried Pork with Fish Sauce)

Thit Heo Chien
Fried Pork with Fish Sauce

This simple recipe is fingers licking good and can be made in a short period of time.  Perfect as an appetizer or as us Vietnamese call it “drinking food”!

From Prep to Table in 30 minutes!



%d bloggers like this: