Sharing Stories in Bits & Bites

Hot Nights. Cool Noodles!

Addiction…it’s a difficult thing to shake.

I’ve been fighting off a big one for years now. Just when I feel like I’ve turned a corner…there it is.

Although I have cut back a lot in the last few years, every once in awhile a new one shows up where I least expect it…and with trembling hands, I reach out…because it’s “ooooh soooo lovely” and I gotta have it!

A. Shiny. New. Magazine.

It wasn’t that long ago that I was drawn to a new  Canadian cooking magazine. Oh my that cover! Kiss yourself you’re so pretty! Drooling in the grocery store line-up is never cool, but hey…it’s an addiction! So recently, when reps from Ricardo contacted me to ask if I’d review one of their recipes on my blog, how could I say no??

When I popped onto their website I was assaulted with gorgeous food pictures and recipe ideas! There goes the drooling again…sheesh! With this crazy, hot weather we’ve been having of course I was drawn to the enticing BBQ Recipes, nobody wants to turn the oven or stove on in this heat! Right away the Vietnamese-style Grilled Chicken Bowl called my name…ANYTHING with lemon grass is a hit in this house!

Next, I needed an audience, or a tasting panel, if you will. Since it is summer, I never see my teens any more. My oldest lives on his own and works full-time at a busy restaurant, my two girls, live half-time with their dad, and with their busy work & social schedules…I hardly ever see them either. I get that they have lives and nobody really wants to hang with their mom at that age, but Man Alive! I miss having them around so much. I devised a plan; offered up a delicious dinner, told them that they were responsible for helping in the recipe testing process for a National magazine & crossed my fingers. It was a miracle! They all came and brought a friend (who is like my other daughter).

It was a great evening!The recipe was simple enough that I was able to do a bunch of the prep ahead of time, in the future…I’d do the marinade the night before and let the chicken soak a little longer in the tasty sauce. Don’t be intimidated by the sauce, it is worlds better than anything pre-made & very simple. This is a perfect dinner for entertaining, very little actual cooking time. Well, none for me actually because my wonderful boyfriend took over the grilling, yay! My son, the “knife master”, made quick work of the lettuce and the cucumber slicing, he’s like a human food processor. Very handy to have around.

There was much loud chatter and laughter while I prepped and finished up, Cay filled us in on our scarily accurate horoscopes . Actually, the six of us were having such a good time, I completely forgot to take pictures of the prep along the way. Sorry! It really is so easy, you won’t need my help. We doubled the recipe and there wasn’t a morsel left over. The chicken was insanely moist and we could barely keep our fingers off it when we were chopping it for dinner!

Thanks so much to Ricardo Cuisine for giving me a reason to get all my “bigs” together for a relaxing evening of hilarious stories, outstanding company and deliciously fresh, simple food. I was in my happy place ♥  AND they did the dishes!

Life is good.

Vietnamese-style Grilled Chicken Bowl

July 21, 2015
: 4-6

This post was a sponsored review by Ricardo Cuisine. I received a magazine subscription as a thank you for my participation. This post reflects my personal opinion about the information provided by the sponsors.


  • 1 tsp. sambal oelek (ground chili paste)
  • 2 tsp. sugar ( I used honey)
  • 2 cloves garlic, fine dice
  • juice of two limes
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 2 stalks lemon grass or grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp. peanut or canola oil
  • 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • ½ lb rice vermicelli, soaked in boiling water then drained
  • ½ iceburg lettuce, thinly sliced
  • ½ unpeeled English cucumber, cut into thin strips
  • ½ cup toasted salted peanuts, chopped
  • Step 1 For the nuoc cham sauce combine the first 6 ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Step 2 Cut the stalks of the lemongrass into small pieces and chop finely in a food processor.
  • Step 3 Add the peanut oil, sesame oil, broth and half the nuoc cham sauce. Mix thoroughly.
  • Step 4 Place chicken into a glass dish or resealable bag and pour marinade over the chicken.
  • Step 5 Preheat grill, setting burners to medium-high. Oil the grate.
  • Step 6 Grill the chicken for 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Remove from grill, cover and allow to set. On a work surface, slice chicken thinly and set aside.
  • Step 7 Divide noodles, lettuce and cucumber into bowls. Add the chicken and sprinkle with the peanuts. Drizzle with the remaining nuoc cham sauce. Enjoy!

*Please see my prep notes below the recipe for additional information.

*I found it difficult to process the lemon grass into a texture I liked, I ended up soaking it in the sauce and then straining it through cheesecloth. In the future I think I’d use a technique my boyfriend learned in culinary school, where they boiled the lemongrass pieces in a small amount of water & then used the lemongrass infused water in the recipe…no stringy bits!

*The original recipe says serves 4, we doubled it for six and my kids were all saying they would have liked more chicken. If your family likes grilled meat as much as mine, you might want to consider that…

*Both my son and I thought that this recipe would be amazing as a salad roll, simply do everything the same and then wrap the ingredients, minus the peanuts, in a rice wrapper & serve with a side of spicy peanut sauce…insta-portable picnic food!

*This is a wonderful way to get your younger kids introduced to new flavours, the sauce is mild and with all the other kid faves in here…cucumber, peanuts, noodles, chicken…even the picky eaters can put their own bowl together & enjoy it!

“The woman just ahead of you at the supermarket checkout has all the delectable groceries you didn’t even know they carried.” ~ Mignon McLaughlin

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