Similar to the last 4 menu ideas this one is also quick to prepare.

Menu #5 – Menu #5 consists of: Braised Fish IP (Ca Kho To), Stir-fried Water Spinach (Rau Muong) with Garlic, and Watercress with Ground Pork Soup.  For the Water Spinach (Rau Muong), I typically season using sea salt and mushroom seasoning (for 1 lbs of water spinach, 1/2 to 1 tsp of sea salt, and 1-2 tbsp of mushroom seasoning).


Canh Xà Lách Xoong Nấu Thịt Bằm (Vietnamese Watercress with Ground Pork Soup)

Cá Kho Instant Pot (Vietnamese Braised Fish)


Today my Mom came over to help me harvest my lemongrass.  They are so easy to grow, super low maintenance and supposedly deter snakes!  I have 7 bushes total.  We harvested almost 7 lbs on the largest bush!  Mom will mince them with her food processor and we’ll freeze for later use.  Newly harvested lemongrass is amazing!

I’m sharing with you 2 of my favorite lemongrass dishes.  Lemongrass Tofu is a very easy dish to make, great for vegetarians!  I grew up eating it since my grandma was vegetarian.  My sons also love it as well.  For the Chicken Chili Lemongrass dish, I typically use and prefer bone-in chicken such as drumsticks.  But since my husband is on a healthier diet I decided to use chicken breast this time.  Chicken breast cooks really fast which is a plus when you are on a crunch for time!  I boiled potato leaves to eat with these 2 dishes but you can use raw vegetable such as cucumber and tomato.

Links to Recipes:

Gà Xào Sả Ớt (Vietnamese Lemongrass Chili Chicken -Boneless Version)

Đậu Hũ Muối Sả (Lemongrass Tofu)



Recently I scored a few set of chicken bones at the local Asian market. I’ve been making broth for different dishes using these chicken bones.  I love using the IP to make chicken stock.  It’s so easy, effortless and efficient.  I can turn 2-3 lbs of chicken bones ($2) into over 20 cups of chicken stock.  It’s a great way to save money!

Today I made Wonton Noodle Soup using the IP chicken stock.  Typically Wonton Noodle Soup is made with pork stock but using chicken was just as good.  The broth felt lighter and healthier than using pork.


Adding daikon to help sweeten the broth.
Very clear broth!


This has to be the most excited Budget Friendly Family Dinner that I want to share with you.  Similar to the last 3 ideas this one is also quick and not so expensive to prepare.  It can be done easily on a weeknight with little prepping as well.

Menu #4 – This is Vietnamese comfort food as its best: Caramelized Pork Belly with Quail Eggs in the Instant Pot, Stir-fried Snow Pea Leaves with Garlic, and Opo Squash with Shrimp Soup.  For the Snow Pea Leaves, I typically season using sea salt and mushroom seasoning (for 1 lbs of snow peas, 1/2 to 1 tsp of sea salt, and 1-2 tbsp of mushroom seasoning).

I hope you will enjoy this combo as much as my family did!

Thịt Ba Chỉ Kho Trứng Cút Instant Pot (Caramelized Pork Belly with Quail Eggs)

Canh Bầu Nấu Tôm (Vietnamese Opo Squash and Shrimp Soup)



Introducing another quick Budget Friendly Family Dinner.  This Menu #3 has a very authentic Vietnamese flavor.  Stuffed bitter melon soup is somewhat an acquired taste due to the fact that well… it’s bitter.  But once you are used to it this dish can be quite addictive.  Bitter melon has tons of health benefits including high in Vitamin C. It can also help reduce blood sugar.  Cooking bitter melon in the IP takes no time at all, about 7 minutes high pressure seems to be good.  I prefer the texture of pork paste instead of just ground pork.  You can find pork paste in the frozen section of your Asian stores or check out a local Vietnamese Deli that sells Vietnamese Ham and such.  They usually carry pork paste as well.  In Orlando, I can get a pound of fresh pork paste for $5.00.

What goes well with stuffed bitter melon soup is Dau Hu Ram or Caramelized Tofu.  Growing up with a vegetarian grandma in Vietnam I ate Dau Hu Ram very often.  It was almost a stable dish in our family.  Not only it’s good with rice but also in sandwiches.  Pair with daikon/carrot, some slices of cucumbers and you’ll have a delicious vegetarian sandwich (Banh Mi Chay)!


Đậu Hũ Ram (Caramelized Tofu)
Khổ Qua Hầm Giò Sống Instant Pot (Pork Paste Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup)




I’ve cooked using the IP for about 2 years now but I have not yet attempted one pot pasta until recently. This has to be the easiest and tastiest thing you could make using the Instant Pot.  My kids love Spaghetti Meatballs and they love this one pot recipe even more.  My Logan, the world pickiest eater, gave me a thumbs-up and asked if he could have it again after school today.  Well of course, dude!

I shopped by Aldi yesterday so all ingredients in this recipe can be found there.  The garlic bread from Aldi was quite good.  I used my Philips Air Fryer to quickly toast it up: 390 F for about 5 minutes.  No need to pre-heat the large oven!

Please note this recipe is for 6-8.  I made extra for us to pack to school/work the next day.

Recipe: One Pot Spaghetti Meatballs Instant Pot

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