Vietnamese Spring Rolls

One of my wife’s favorite Asian appetizers, besides Filipino lumpia is probably shrimp spring rolls. They are always a big hit at family gatherings, and they are pretty awesome as they are essentially a salad roll. What is also great about these, is that you can pretty much make them however you want, and I love that about them. Vietnamese spring rolls are typically served with a dipping sauce, either a peanut based sauce or nuoc cham which is the sauce that I prefer to eat with the spring rolls.

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

The spring rolls do take a bit of preparation as you have to slice carrots, and rinse and dry your fresh herbs and lettuce, but trust me, it’s worth the time.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of spring roll rice paper
  • 4 bundles of Asian vermicelli noodles, cooked in hot water for 3 minutes, placed in cool water, drained
  • 1/2 head of red leaf lettuce
  • fresh mint leaves
  • fresh basil leaves
  • fresh cilantro
  • bean sprouts
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeds removed, julienne sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeds and stem removed, julienne sliced
  • 1 carrot, peeled, julienne sliced
  • 1 pound of shrimp, tails removed, deveined
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 large bowl warm water
  • Lightly moistened paper towels

Again, the prep takes a bit of time, however if you have any helpers, you can always reward them in a short period of time.

Start by adding the soy sauce and lime juice to a bowl. Stir, then toss in the shrimp. Stir again, and let this marinate for about 20 minutes or so, covered in the refrigerator.

Next arrange all of your vegetables and herbs.

Strain the cooked vermicelli, and gently squeeze out any excess liquid.

Heat a large skillet on medium-low heat. Add in the canola oil, move it around, then add in the shrimp. Cook the shrimp until just orangish in color and opaque on both sides, about 4-6 minutes. Remove the cooked shrimp from the skillet, and set aside on a plate to cool.

Once cooked, slice each shrimp in half, lengthwise.

Now the fun part, wrapping.

How to make Vietnamese Shrimp Spring Rolls

Get a large bowl of warm water ready.

Get a wrapping buddy if you can as it will make this go by a lot quicker. I enlisted by son who had a blast.

Take a spring roll wrapper, and gently submerge it in the warm water for about 30 seconds.

Add the wrapper to a plate and let it sit for about 45 more seconds. The coating on the wrapper that was once hard, will soften and allow you to begin working with it. I like to keep an edge of the wrapper slightly off of the plate so that I can start the folding process a lot easier.

If you let the wrapper sit in the water too long, it will get too soft and not easy to work with.

To the wrapper, add a bit of the cooked noodles, a couple of carrots, a couple of bell peppers, a couple of cucumbers, some fresh herbs, the lettuce, and  bean sprouts. Fold over, then fold over the edges. Take two of the sliced shrimps and place in the center, then continue to fold.  You can also fold them this way should you prefer. After a couple of them, you will get the hang of it.

Place these onto a plate of platter lightly moistened paper towels. This prevents the wrappers from hardening up.

Next, repeat.  Once you have another layer, add the lightly moistened paper towels once again.

Vietnamese Shrimp Spring Rolls

Serve alongside nuoc cham, or if you want, make the peanut sauce. I like mine with a bit of that great garlic spice with fish sauce and vinegar, hence the nuoc cham.

If you want, go ahead and slice them in half, or serve them whole. Either way, spoon a bit of the sauce into the spring roll, and dig in. It truly is a perfect bite with the noodles, fresh herbs, vegetables, and shrimp, heck even my kid who is skeptical of vegetables, especially red bell peppers, was devouring them.

If you are looking for something to bring to your next party, give these a shot. They are a real crowd pleasure, and pretty to boot! Hope you enjoy!

Vietnamese Spring Rolls
Author: 
Recipe type: appetizers
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 25
 
Ingredients
  • 1 package of spring roll rice paper
  • 4 bundles of Asian vermicelli noodles, cooked in hot water for 3 minutes, placed in cool water, drained
  • ½ head of red leaf lettuce
  • fresh mint leaves
  • fresh basil leaves
  • fresh cilantro
  • bean sprouts
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeds removed, julienne sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeds and stem removed, julienne sliced
  • 1 carrot, peeled, julienne sliced
  • 1 pound of shrimp, tails removed, deveined
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 large bowl warm water
  • Lightly moistened paper towels
Instructions
  1. Start by adding the soy sauce and lime juice to a bowl. Stir, then toss in the shrimp. Stir again, and let this marinate for about 20 minutes or so, covered in the refrigerator.
  2. Next arrange all of your vegetables and herbs.
  3. Strain the cooked vermicelli, and gently squeeze out any excess liquid.
  4. Heat a large skillet on medium-low heat. Add in the canola oil, move it around, then add in the shrimp. Cook the shrimp until just orangish in color and opaque on both sides, about 4-6 minutes. Remove the cooked shrimp from the skillet, and set aside on a plate to cool.
  5. Once cooked, slice each shrimp in half, lengthwise.
  6. Now the fun part, wrapping.
  7. Get a large bowl of warm water ready.
  8. Get a wrapping buddy if you can as it will make this go by a lot quicker. I enlisted by son who had a blast.
  9. Take a spring roll wrapper, and gently submerge it in the warm water for about 30 seconds.
  10. Add the wrapper to a plate and let it sit for about 45 more seconds. The coating on the wrapper that was once hard, will soften and allow you to begin working with it. I like to keep an edge of the wrapper slightly off of the plate so that I can start the folding process a lot easier.
  11. If you let the wrapper sit in the water too long, it will get too soft and not easy to work with.
  12. To the wrapper, add a bit of the cooked noodles, a couple of carrots, a couple of bell peppers, a couple of cucumbers, some fresh herbs, the lettuce, and bean sprouts. Fold over, then fold over the edges. Take two of the sliced shrimps and place in the center, then continue to fold. You can also fold them this way should you prefer. After a couple of them, you will get the hang of it.
  13. Place these onto a plate of platter lightly moistened paper towels. This prevents the wrappers from hardening up.
  14. Next, repeat. Once you have another layer, add the lightly moistened paper towels once again.
  15. Serve alongside nuoc cham, or if you want, make the peanut sauce. I like mine with a bit of that great garlic spice with fish sauce and vinegar, hence the nuoc cham.
  16. If you want, go ahead and slice them in half, or serve them whole. Either way, spoon a bit of the sauce into the spring roll, and dig in. It truly is a perfect bite with the noodles, fresh herbs, vegetables, and shrimp, heck even my kid who is skeptical of vegetables, especially red bell peppers, was devouring them.

 

The Best Sausage Stuffing Recipe

I’m always curious why sausage stuffing is typically only served maybe once or twice a year, typically around the holidays. In all honesty, sausage stuffing, or sausage dressing if you will, is probably my favorite part of the Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday. No lie. I could probably just live off of that during those couple of days, with a ladle of gravy, I’m set. I’ve been making this recipe for years now, and I might add a slight twist or two depending on my mood, but this is the one, and one that many people love.

The Best Sausage Stuffing Recipe

This recipe uses fresh herbs, a couple of different types of bread, chicken livers, sausage, and an array of vegetables, all drowned in chicken stock to be baked, then crisped at the end. It’s a wonderful spoonful in every bite.

This recipe feeds a small army, probably 12 or more, so from this, you can figure out what you need, or freeze the leftovers and use them up on any day where you require a bit of comfort food.
Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 cup of chicken livers, pureed in a food processor
  • 2 pounds of Jimmy Dean’s Pork Sausage with Sage
  • 1/2 cup of fresh sage, minced
  • 1/2 cup of fresh rosemary, minced
  • 21 oz Pepperidge Farm herbed seasoned stuffing
  • 4 cups sour dough bread cut into thick cubes
  • 6 slices of Nueske’s bacon, cut into pieces
  • 1 head of kale, stems removed, chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 medium yellow onions, minced
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of raisins
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter
  • 5 cups of chicken stock, warmed
  • 2 tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tbsp salt, to taste

Heat two skillets on your stove, on medium heat.

To one skillet add the canola oil and let it come to temperature. Once heated for a few minutes, add the pureed chicken livers and mushrooms, and give a good stir.

To the other skillet, add the chopped bacon.

Cook the livers only for a few minutes, stirring along the way, then remove the skillet from the heat and set the livers into a bowl.

Cook the bacon, just until slightly crisp, then strain some of the bacon fat, reserving for later use if you want.

To the skillet with slightly cooked bacon, add the chopped kale, and half a cup of water. Continue cooking until the kale gets nice and wilted, about 12 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Once heated, add the sour dough bread cubes to a baking sheet and place into the oven, cooking for about 12 minutes or so until the bread is nice and golden crisp.

To the skillet where you were cooking your chicken livers, heat on medium high heat, add the 2 pounds of Jimmy Dean sausage. Cook the sausage until nice and crisp, about 10 minutes. Once cooked, place into a bowl and set the sausage to the side.

To your large skillet, add the butter. Cook on medium heat and let the butter melt. Add the onions, garlic, parsley, fresh herbs, and celery. Cook for about 10 minutes or until everything is nice and tender. Season with the salt and pepper.

How to make Thanksgiving Stuffing

I used a large aluminum pan that I purchased from the store to mix all of the ingredients.

To the large pan, add the bread cubes, bacon and kale mixture, liver and mushrooms, raisins, and sausage. Give this a good mix, making sure you incorporate all of the ingredients. Next, ladle in the warm chicken stock. You want to make sure the mixture gets softened, but not mushy. You don’t want mush.

Cover the pan with foil.

To the preheated 325 degreed oven, add the stuffing pan, and cook for 30 minutes, covered. Next, uncover cook for an additional 15 minutes so the top gets a bit crisp.

How to make Thanksgiving Sausage Stuffing

The end result is pretty flipping amazing. You get sweet, savory, and great texture all around. This is my go to stuffing recipe and it’s one that I crave during the fall and winter months.

Hope you enjoy!

Turkey Shepherd’s Pie

Finally the Thanksgiving holiday is behind us, and hopefully we all survived the anxiety of making sure guests and food all turned out well. This past Thanksgiving was another success. We did not host this year, however we went to my in-laws and everyone brought a side dish, appetizer, or dessert. It worked out well. My responsibility was the turkey and the dressing (or stuffing). I’m always game for taking on those challenges, and I will admit, the dressing (or stuffing) is one of my favorites. I bought a large turkey, enough to feed everyone, and decided to simply stuff it with oranges, apples, and herbs, shove butter under the skin, and top it with Nueske’s bacon. It turned out pretty awesome, and with that said, we had leftovers. Lots of leftovers. My favorite part of the Thanksgiving holiday is probably waking up the following day and heating up a plate of leftovers. I’ll admit it, no problem. BUT I still had leftovers. That’s when I decided to make something my wife really, really loves, and that is shepherd’s pie. So what a better use of leftovers than making a turkey shepherd’s pie.

Turkey Shepherd's Pie

What I love about shepherd’s pie is that it is so easy to make, and it just screams comfort in every bite. Perfect for any day of the week, and great for work day leftovers.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of leftover Thanskgiving stuffing/dressing
  • 1 large carrot, peeled, and diced, approximately 1 cup
  • 2 ribs of celery, diced
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 2 cups of leftover turkey, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup of frozen corn
  • 1/2 tbsp salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tbsp canola oil
  • 3 whole baking potatoes, skinned, cubed
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • leftover gravy, optional

Start by heating a large skillet on medium heat. Add in the butter and canola oil, and let the butter melt. Add in the carrots, celery, and onion, and let this cook for about 8 minutes, stirring along the way.

Next add in the turkey, stir, and cook for a couple of minutes. Next add in the corn and peas, and give another stir. Add in the salt and pepper. Stir, and remove from the heat.

Make the potatoes by adding the potatoes to a large pot of cold water. Bring this to a boil and cook for about 12 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender. Once tender, drain, add the potatoes back to the pot, cooking over medium heat to remove any excess water, then add in the butter and milk. Mash, or use a ricer. Taste and adjust any butter or salt if needed.

How to make turkey shepherd's pie

Next get a 9×13 inch baking dish out. Line the dish with the leftover Thanksgiving dressing or stuffing. Top with the turkey and vegetable mixture, then lather on the mashed potatoes.

Place the dish, uncovered, in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35 minutes. Remove and serve.

To serve, scoop out a serving and ladle on warm gravy. The end result is nothing short of comforting. It has everything you want in a great bite of food, and to me, I would be just happy serving this for my next Thanksgiving, it’s that good.

How do you use your leftover Thanksgiving food?

Turkey Shepherd's Pie
Author: 
Recipe type: Casserole
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups of leftover Thanskgiving stuffing/dressing
  • 1 large carrot, peeled, and diced, approximately 1 cup
  • 2 ribs of celery, diced
  • ½ small onion, diced
  • 2 cups of leftover turkey, chopped
  • ½ cup of frozen peas
  • ½ cup of frozen corn
  • ½ tbsp salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ½ tbsp canola oil
  • 3 whole baking potatoes, skinned, cubed
  • ½ cup of milk
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • leftover gravy, optional
Instructions
  1. Start by heating a large skillet on medium heat. Add in the butter and canola oil, and let the butter melt. Add in the carrots, celery, and onion, and let this cook for about 8 minutes, stirring along the way.
  2. Next add in the turkey, stir, and cook for a couple of minutes. Next add in the corn and peas, and give another stir. Add in the salt and pepper. Stir, and remove from the heat.
  3. Make the potatoes by adding the potatoes to a large pot of cold water. Bring this to a boil and cook for about 12 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender. Once tender, drain, add the potatoes back to the pot, cooking over medium heat to remove any excess water, then add in the butter and milk. Mash, or use a ricer. Taste and adjust any butter or salt if needed.
  4. Next get a 9×13 inch baking dish out. Line the dish with the leftover Thanksgiving dressing or stuffing. Top with the turkey and vegetable mixture, then lather on the mashed potatoes.
  5. Place the dish, uncovered, in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35 minutes. Remove and serve.
  6. To serve, scoop out a serving and ladle on warm gravy. The end result is nothing short of comforting. It has everything you want in a great bite of food, and to me, I would be just happy serving this for my next Thanksgiving, it’s that good.

 

Kimchi Nachos

I don’t know about you but I hate letting things go to waste. My kids are notorious for opening bags of chips and never finishing them, and I am the type to say (if I catch them in the act) ‘finish whatever is opened before opening a new bag’. I’ll admit sometimes I feel like aisle 7 (the chip aisle) at the grocery store. There’s pretzels, potato chips, Cheetos, and tortilla chips. You get the idea. This whole idea of kimchi nachos came out of the fact that there was a half bag of tortilla chips going stale, as my daughter did not like this particular brand for whatever reason, and I was not about to let them go to waste. Not only that but as I was navigating through my refrigerator, I noticed a jar of kimchi that was being abandoned, and that’s when I thought of adding the two together and coming up with kimchi nachos.

Kimchi Nachos

I’m not even going to get started on how amazing these were, and if you have never had kimchi, well then maybe this is your gateway into the awesome Korean fermented cabbage. Regardless, lets get started, and trust me, just trust me, these are a must make. I might not even go back to making my regular nachos, that’s how great these are.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp dark sesame seed oil
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 T-bone steak, or your favorite cut of beef, cooked and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Tortilla chips
  • 3/4 cup of kimchi, chopped
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 1 cup of shredded Monterrey jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 whole egg, fried
  • 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp sliced scallions, optional
  • 2 tbsp sour cream

Start by marinating your beef. Mix the soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic paste, cracked black pepper, and honey in a small bowl. Make sure everything is incorporated. Add the beef to a sealable bag and pour the marinade in the bag. Gently massage the marinade into the beef, seal, and let marinade in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight.

When you are ready to cook your beef, you can either grill, or cook in a large skillet and finish it in the oven as I did. Heat a large skillet on high heat for a few minutes. Add in the butter and immediately add the T-bone. Let this cook in the butter for about 3 minutes, untouched, then flip. You should have a nice sear. Cook for about a minute, then place in a preheated 300 degree oven to finish to your desired temperature.

Once cooked, slice into bite sized pieces. Nibble around the bone, well, you don’t have to but that’s my favorite part.

Next it’s time to rearrange the nachos.

Keep your oven preheated  but increase the heat to 325 degrees.

How to make kimchi nachos

Layer the base of a oven ready skillet or plate with tortilla chips. Top with the monterray jack cheese, then add half of the diced onions. Top with half of the kimchi, some of the beef, then layer with more chips, the mozzarella cheese, more onions, beef, and kimchi.

Pop this into the oven to get everything warmed through and get the cheese nice and melted.

During this time, cook the egg. Melt the 1/2 tablespoon of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Crack the egg and add it to the skillet. With a spatula, break up some of the thick egg white so the egg cooks evenly.

Remove the kimchi nachos from the oven and top with the egg. Add the sour cream, and shower the nachos with the sliced scallions.

Now the moment you’ve been waiting for. Dig and. My preference is to take a nacho, break it into the egg yolk, a bit of the sour cream, and go to town.

The end result is probably, and I kid you not, the best nachos I’ve had. There is something about the tanginess and spiciness from the kimchi that really makes these stand out. The perfect Asian marinade of the beef, along with the creaminess from the egg yolk just made these nachos rock.

So remember, if you are like me, don’t let things go to waste, and better yet, go get yourself some kimchi! Did I mention, besides being a big high in sodium, that kimchi also pretty darn good for you?

Kimchi Nachos
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizers
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ tbsp dark sesame seed oil
  • ½ tbsp garlic paste
  • ¼ tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 T-bone steak, or your favorite cut of beef, cooked and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Tortilla chips
  • ¾ cup of kimchi, chopped
  • ½ small onion, diced
  • 1 cup of shredded Monterrey jack cheese
  • ½ cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 whole egg, fried
  • ½ tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp sliced scallions, optional
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
Instructions
  1. Start by marinating your beef. Mix the soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic paste, cracked black pepper, and honey in a small bowl. Make sure everything is incorporated. Add the beef to a sealable bag and pour the marinade in the bag. Gently massage the marinade into the beef, seal, and let marinade in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight.
  2. When you are ready to cook your beef, you can either grill, or cook in a large skillet and finish it in the oven as I did. Heat a large skillet on high heat for a few minutes. Add in the butter and immediately add the T-bone. Let this cook in the butter for about 3 minutes, untouched, then flip. You should have a nice sear. Cook for about a minute, then place in a preheated 300 degree oven to finish to your desired temperature.
  3. Once cooked, slice into bite sized pieces. Nibble around the bone, well, you don’t have to but that’s my favorite part.
  4. Next it’s time to rearrange the nachos.
  5. Keep your oven preheated but increase the heat to 325 degrees.
  6. Layer the base of a oven ready skillet or plate with tortilla chips. Top with the monterray jack cheese, then add half of the diced onions. Top with half of the kimchi, some of the beef, then layer with more chips, the mozzarella cheese, more onions, beef, and kimchi.
  7. Pop this into the oven to get everything warmed through and get the cheese nice and melted.
  8. During this time, cook the egg. Melt the ½ tablespoon of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Crack the egg and add it to the skillet. With a spatula, break up some of the thick egg white so the egg cooks evenly.
  9. Remove the kimchi nachos from the oven and top with the egg. Add the sour cream, and shower the nachos with the sliced scallions.
  10. Now the moment you’ve been waiting for. Dig and. My preference is to take a nacho, break it into the egg yolk, a bit of the sour cream, and go to town.
  11. The end result is probably, and I kid you not, the best nachos I’ve had. There is something about the tanginess and spiciness from the kimchi that really makes these stand out. The perfect Asian marinade of the beef, along with the creaminess from the egg yolk just made these nachos rock.