Vietnamese Chicken with Lime and Ginger

Great for a weeknight dinner, this Vietnamese baked chicken with lime is an easy meal that requires very little active work.  Measure, mince, and pour, then let it sit.  Once it’s finished marinating, all you have to do is cook it for half an hour. The ginger and garlic are warm and spicy, while the chili garlic sauce has a bit of a kick. The lime adds brightness and a citrusy tang that complements the spicy flavors and cools them down. 

The original recipe called for chili garlic paste, palm sugar, and fish sauce.  And, it’s true, those ingredients would be more authentic. However, they also violate my own rules about avoiding  hard-to-find or one use ingredients.  I don’t want to buy an entire bottle or brick of something (like palm sugar) just to have it sit there. And where would I even find palm sugar? Nope.

So, I cheated.  I used chili garlic sauce (not paste), swapped brown sugar for palm sugar, and ditched the fish sauce in favor of Worcestershire sauce (which does have some anchovies in it). I also wanted (for personal preference) to avoid all the salt in the fish sauce.

Marinating, even for a short time, helps the chicken absorb lots of flavor. 

When you’re ready to start cooking, just pour out the marinade, pop the chicken in the oven, and wait half an hour. Dinner is done!

 

Tip: Make extra rice and freeze it in little baggies. Then when you want rice another day, all you have to do is microwave it. One minute rice!




Vietnamese Baked Chicken with Lime Substitutions and Variations

  • add some soy sauce to the marinade
  • swap the lime zest for lemongrass (you can buy lemongrass paste, which is easier to find in western markets than the stalks)
  • chop up some cilantro and add that to the marinade
  • if you do like fish sauce, I’m told Red Boat and Three Crabs are good brands (avoid the Taste of Thai, it’s full of sugar)

More Chicken Recipes

Jewish chicken curry chitarneeJewish Chicken Curry Chitarnee

A Jewish curry? Yep.  It’s flavored with onions, lemon, and cardamom. It’s not spicy, more aromatic, tangy, and mellow.  Only one pot too. And since it’s got potatoes cooked along in that pot, the entire meal is one pot, not just the main course.

honey sticky garlic chickenHoney Sticky Garlic Chicken

Want to fight some nasty germs? This chicken will help. There’s chili garlic sauce, hot peppers, and garlic: all of which help clear your head. It’s also easy to make. Just brown the chicken and make a quick sauce.

peruvian roast chicken with green saucePeruvian Roast Chicken in Green Sauce Recipe

I just can’t stop eating this. The sauce has spicy peppers, earthy spinach, and citrusy lime, with just a touch of mayo to hold it all together.  Great for chicken, or for a veggie dip.

stir fry chicken peanut sauce recipeStir Fry Chicken with Peanut Sauce

You don’t have to go out for “takeout” food. Make it yourself at home. Eat it hot right away, or chill, add extra veggies, and transform it into a salad.

 




Chinese Chicken Noodle Cabbage Soup for One Person

I’ve been fighting the creeping crud and nothing helps fight germs better than a big bowl of soup, preferably spicy soup.  This Chinese chicken noodle cabbage soup is perfect. The spicy broth clears the sinuses, the garlic, ginger and chili sauce have antibiotic qualities, and it tastes good too.

I adapted the recipe from a recipe I found on Epicurious.  It’s not just smaller quantities though. My version has less sugar, and is a bit spicier (I wanted the heat more than sweetness). Gotta fight those germs!  Also, since I didn’t have tahini handy (and wouldn’t want to buy it just for this), I ditched that and used peanut butter instead.  I didn’t have seasoned rice vinegar either, so I substituted the regular kind. Their recipe cooked the chicken by boiling it in the soup.  I decided I wanted more complex, caramelized flavor, so I cooked it with the cabbage.  And, since I didn’t have sherry I reasoned that since sherry was essentially fortified wine, that some red wine and a drizzle of honey would work just fine. It did!

This is enough for one generous serving, or two smaller ones, depending on how hungry you are.




Chinese Chicken Noodle Cabbage Soup Substitutions and Variations

  • Add some sliced mushrooms, broccoli, or snow peas to the soup (when you cook the cabbage and scallions)
  • Substitute bok choy for the cabbage
  • Want it spicier? Drizzle the finished soup with some sriracha or more chili garlic sauce
  • Go with the original recipe and use the tahini instead of the peanut butter
  • Like it less spicy?  Use sriracha in the recipe instead of the chili garlic sauce

Chinese Chicken Noodle Cabbage Soup Ingredients

Huy Fong Sauce Chili Garlic

This is great for lots of recipes: put it in Chinese eggplant with garlic sauce, chili citrus chicken thighs, sesame noodles, or add a kick to scrambled eggs or meatloaf. Or, mix it into mayonnaise for chili aioli.

Marukan Organic Rice Vinegar 12 oz bottle
Marukan Organic Rice Vinegar 12 oz bottle

This is just about essential for Asian cooking. Use it in this recipe, or for an Asian cole slaw. Baste meat with it, or combine it with some soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, and scallions for a quick dipping sauce.


Napa Valley Naturals Organic Toasted Sesame Oil 12.7 oz bottle
Napa Valley Naturals Organic Toasted Sesame Oil 12.7 oz bottle

Another essential for Asian cooking, great for salad dressings, shrimp, or teriyaki. Use it in Chinese cucumber salad, or saute it with some spinach.

 

More Asian Noodle and Soup Recipes

 

easy singapore noodles with chickenEasy Singapore Noodles with Chicken for One Person

Got leftovers? This easy, flavorful stir-fry dish with chicken, noodles, and veggies is a great way to use them up.

 

spicy sesame noodlesSpicy Sesame Noodles Recipe for One Person

Another takeout classic, which you can easily make yourself.  Some recipes call for non-standard household ingredients like tahini or sesame paste. Great, but not necessarily available everywhere. But, lots of us have peanut butter! Use that instead. Then slurp up the noodles.

spicy beef noodle soupSpicy Beef Noodle Soup for One

This is practically instant soup. Just dump, pour, heat, and eat. The whole thing takes 10 minutes if you have cooked leftover beef.

 

szechuan chili noodlesSzechuan Chili Noodles Recipe

Like dan dan noodles? This version is much simpler, with more readily available ingredients. Make the chili oil, make the noodles, toss in the veggies, and mix it all together.

 




Quick Chicken Mango Stir Fry Recipe

This recipe for chicken mango stir fry combines the sweetness of mango and bell peppers with the heat of hot chile. The combination gives it plenty of eye appeal, as well as flavor. This is easy to put together, and flexible too. Use snap peas or snow peas instead of regular peas, if you prefer. Add more fresh chiles, try some mini corn cobs, or give it a Thai spin with lime, cilantro, and basil.

Unless you’re baking bread or cake (which are less forgiving) the idea is to have fun with your food. Change the ingredients to suit your own tastes, or to fit whatever you happen to have in the fridge that day.

You can put this together in about 20 minutes, so it’s a great option when you’re in a hurry.

I used fresh vegetables, but you can just grab a package of mixed frozen Asian veggies and use that instead. That will save some time too and cut the whole thing down to fifteen minutes.

I got the mango from the frozen section at Trader Joe’s. If you can’t go to Trader Joe’s, many supermarkets have it in the frozen food section. If that doesn’t work, try pineapple instead.

I wouldn’t use the frozen bell peppers though, they tend to be soggy.



Substitutions and Variations for Chicken Mango Stir Fry

  • Make it Thai: add sugar, a bit of fish sauce, and cornstarch to the soy sauce mixture. Add basil and mint just before serving.  Garnish with lime.
  • Save the chopping and use frozen veggies. If you can get an Asian mixture that’s great; if not use frozen broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots.
  • Swap frozen peas for snow peas or sugar snap peas.

More Chicken Recipes

chicken with basil, peaches, and gingerChicken Thigh Recipe with Peaches and Ginger

Luscious peaches, savory ginger and sweet basil combine for an easy summer meal.

 

chicken mushroom skillet recipeChicken and Mushroom Skillet Recipe

Want food fast? This is it.  No marinating. You don’t even have to create the sauce. It does that for you.

 

chicken with tomatoes and olivesChicken with Olives and Tomatoes for One

A North African Jewish recipe with salty olives, sharp garlic, and a bit of ginger to create a rich and delicious dinner (with a hint of spiciness).  Ready in under an hour.

 

peruvian roast chicken with green saucePeruvian Roast Chicken in Green Sauce Recipe

Finger licking good! This sauce is great for the chicken, as a dip, or over mild fish. Packed with flavor from spinach, garlic, and lime. I can’t stop eating it!

 




Asian Chicken Salad with Cabbage

As colorful as it is tasty, this Asian chicken salad with cabbage proved to be an inspired invention. I was sick and didn’t feel like cooking much, plus I could hardly taste anything.

The crispy, vibrant salad even helped improve my appetite. It looked pretty (with the cabbage, peppers, and carrots), and I could taste it! It was also a good way to keep using up the giant cabbage I got from FreshDirect.

Asian chicken salad with cabbage is pretty easy to make, and you can make the dressing in advance if you like.

Before I got sick I had defrosted a chicken thigh that I had to use up, so I just seasoned that with ginger, garlic, a bit of soy sauce, and some sriracha. Then all I had to do was pop it in the oven for an hour.  Easy! The recipe would also work just fine with leftover rotisserie chicken, or even some leftover Chinese pork.

If you don’t want meat, you could add cold noodles, ramen noodles, slivered almonds, or extra veggies.

The dressing is straight from a recipe I found online in The New York Times recipe section.  I don’t like a lot of dressing, so this made about 4 servings of dressing for me. Your mileage may vary.





I had a big bag of mini mixed bell peppers, so I used those (they also helped make the food look more appealing) and a seedless cucumber, so that’s what I used.

You could use regular bell peppers, add snow peas, mushrooms, or regular cucumbers too.  Food should be flexible, and unless it’s baking, you should adjust recipes to fit what you have or what you prefer to eat.

Ingredients and Tools for This Recipe

black and decker mini chopper

Black & Decker Food Chopper

I use this all the time. It’s so much easier than dragging out a big food processor. And, with space at a premium, it’s a lot easier to store it too. Use it for the dressing, to chop garlic or onions, cut up potatoes, and make pesto without making a big mess.


Huy Fong, Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce, 17 Ounce Bottle

This stuff has become so popular it’s almost a cliché, but it’s also versatile enough to use in eggs, salads, meatballs, or on chicken. Just a little bit adds a big punch of flavor, without being too spicy or too sweet.

 

More Asian Recipes with Chicken or Cabbage

chinese chicken noodle cabbage soupChinese Chicken Noodle Cabbage Soup for One Person

Fragrant with garlic, spicy chili, mellowed cabbage, and a touch of sweetness from honey, this Chinese chicken noodle cabbage soup tastes great and clears stuffy heads too.

 

bibimbap rice bowl

Bibimbap Rice Bowl with Meat and Vegetables

Both a feast for the eyes and the taste buds, this dish is enriched with a spicy, garlicky sauce, sweet carrots, and lots of vibrant veggies.

 

honey sticky garlic chickenHoney Sticky Garlic Chicken

Pantry-friendly and hunger-friendly too. This is ready quickly and uses ingredients you already have around. But, it tastes like it came from a restaurant.

 

sichuan chinese chicken and eggplant with garlic sauceSichuan Chinese Chicken and Eggplant with Garlic Sauce

Speaking of takeout, this is a takeout standard that you can easily make at home.  It’s spicy, tender, and absolutely delicious. No need to get takeout.

 




Spicy Beef Noodle Soup for One

It’s creeping crud season, and while I’m not quite sick, I’m definitely not feeling quite well either. I was browsing through Pinterest and spotted a spicy beef noodle soup recipe. I was about to save it when I realized I already had one! So I made that instead.

The beauty of this is that it’s really easy, and quick, as well as being spicy (good for fighting germs), hot (the steam is good for fighting congestion) and comforting on a cold day.  I sort of got this recipe from my online friend Terry. She had posted a “recipe” (no amounts or detailed directions, just the ingredients) for a spicy beef noodle soup that sounded awfully good.

She used red pepper which I didn’t have, as well as a specialty Korean chili sauce (which I also didn’t have). However, cooking is part following what someone else is done, part inspiration, and part improvisation, so I went with improvisation.

I did have cabbage, and I also had leftover steak, sriracha, and chili garlic sauce. I figured those would work just fine for my beef noodle soup.




If you don’t have turkey stock, you could use beef or even chicken if you prefer (see improvisation!). If you want to make your own turkey stock,  the recipe is here.

Either way, once you have the stock, the rest of the soup is really easy to make and only needs a few ingredients.

Start the noodles first, then while they’re cooking, heat the stock in a separate pot and add the other ingredients. Or, you could throw everything (except the steak!) in one pot. If you do, the noodles will absorb a lot of the liquid, so you’ll need more.

Since I had the leftover steak,  I didn’t even have to cook that. If you don’t, cook that while the noodles are cooking, and then add it to the soup at the last minute.

Another thing about this spicy beef noodle soup is that with all that garlicky, spicy goodness it will kill any germs that may be plaguing you!

Spicy Beef Noodle Soup Substitutions and Variations

  • Use roasted gochujang (which is what Terry used)
  • Swap the steak for cooked turkey (especially if you still have turkey to use up), add that at the end, just for a minute to heat up
  • Add sliced red peppers
  • Put in some mushrooms; crimini or other stronger flavored varieties would work best

Tools and Ingredients for Spicy Beef Garlic Soup

Chili Garlic Sauce

I love this stuff. It’s got a stronger kick, and less sugar, than the sriracha, plus the extra heat (and spiciness) from garlic.  It’s great in meatloaf, on eggs, in soup, or in a sauce. Think garlicky salsa.

 


Huy Fong Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce

If you prefer a hint of sweetness, you might like this instead of the chili garlic sauce (or use them both).  Squeeze it over eggs, into soup, on enchiladas, or burritos.  It’s also good for stir-fry. Think of it as ketchup with a kick.

More Small Batch Soup Recipes

curried chicken soupCurried Chicken Soup

A delicious, low-effort soup that cuts through congestion and fights germs. Cut up some vegetables, add the remaining ingredients, and simmer.

 

mushroom barley soupMushroom Barley Soup Small Batch for One Person

Comfort food like my grandma used to make.  Rich, hearty, and delicious. Cooked slowly to bring out the full flavor.

 

chinese chicken noodle cabbage soupChinese Chicken Noodle Cabbage Soup for One Person

This soup is fragrant with garlic, spicy chili, and a hint of sweetness from honey.  Nutritious too (lots of cabbage, noodles, and chicken).

 

ham and lentil soupEasy Ham and Lentil Soup for One Person

Unlike beans, lentils don’t have to be soaked.  Just pour in the ingredients, and let it cook. Nothing fancy, and it’s all done in one pot.