Sunday Family Fun Day

6 Oct

This weekend continued my housewife in training as we had our nieces and nephew over for some fall fun. Fall activities were all around, but the weather is sticking on the summer setting. 

Despite the heat, we had a great time at Nall’s Produce Inc. farm pumpkin patch and carved some sweet pumpkins. Too bad our jerk of  a squirrel ate one of my skull’s eyebrows overnight. Such a jerk. I also went all Martha Stewart on a “Cinderella” Pumpkin – don’t you love?

Visiting the pumpkin patch and carved pumpkins

We had my parents, sister in law and nephew over today to hang out and catch up post-wedding and honeymoon so I decided to try out a few new recipes. And get some good use of my new Crate & Barrel Paola Navone serving wear (yay housewife!).

I woke up early, per usual, and marinated chicken wings and boneless thighs for Ga Nuong Xa, Grilled Lemongrass Chicken. I mean after all, it does feel like summer, so why not milk it for all we can?

Ga Nuong Xa


  • 5 lbs chicken
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 3 super thick stalks lemongrass, finely minced
  • 1 small shallot, finely minced
  • 5 tbs soy sauce
  • 4 tbs fish sauce
  • 3 tbs caramel sauce
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 2 inches ginger knob, chopped
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbs sesame oil

Grilled Lemongrass Chicken ingredients

After mincing the garlic, lemongrass, ginger and shallot, chop/grind the mixture in a food processor to make a finer mix. Then add the wet ingredients and massage the marinade in to the chicken flesh and skin. I let it sit in the fridge, mixing around ever hour or so for 6 hours. Obviously the longer the better. 

Of course served with fresh lettuce, herbs, cucumbers and nuoc mam cham. (Isn’t that serving bowl gorg?)

Grilled lemongrass chicken, lettuce, cucumbers and herbs

But I’m getting ahead of myself. While the chicken was getting it’s groove on in the fridge, I worked on a couple of appetizers to get the day going. Not sure if I’ve told you, but my brother has this crazy big garden at his house and is growing a ridiculous quantity and variety of peppers. I used bell peppers for the Pioneer Woman’s enchiladas (but with my own ground turkey filling – these things are delicious, the enchilada sauce is all of it), our breakfast Ziploc omelets and a huge haul of jalapenos for poppers. 

I was reeeeally excited to make the Ravenous Couple’s Banh Tom, sweet potato and shrimp fritters. My brother gave me gigantor sweet potatoes from his hunting camp farm, so I’ve been thinking of creative things to make with the tubers and was stoked to find their recipes. I suck at frying, so I prepped all the ingredients and waited for Mom to arrive. I followed their recipe but added a bit more turmeric and a couple dashes of black pepper because I can’t help myself but mess with things. (Again, isn’t that serving platter supah-fly?)

Tempura batter, head-on shrimp, sweet potato matchsticks, and serving platter with cucumbers


So definitely heed their advice and lay down the matchsticks in the oil before setting the shrimp on top and pressing together. When spooning the hot oil over, it doesn’t take long at all to fry these babies. 

Sweet potato and shrimp fritters with cucumbers and herbs

Beautiful and tasty. I was so excited to try it, I forgot to snap a pic for you before I took a bite out of its back. I like the crisp freshness of lettuce, herbs and green onions with a little dip of the nuoc mam cham. Eat it all. Tail, shell, and even the head. If you don’t want to bite off the head, at least suck out the yummy goodness inside. It’ll make you smarter.


Sweet potato and shrimp fritter on lettuce with onions and herbs.

I will definitely be making these again for a dinner or cocktail gathering. 

Once we made it to dinner, I made a couple really easy side dishes that are super economical and big on flavor. I had leftover cabbage from the Bun Bo Hue I made earlier this week, and saw an easy stir fry from Andrea Nguyen’s Into the Vietnamese Kitchen that was a hit with the whole family. There’s a lot more flavor in here than you might think. Give it a shot. And again…that bowl!

Stir fried cabbage

These stir fried green beans are a favorite of Anh’s.

Stir Fried Green Beans

  • 2 ish pounds green string beans, ends snapped off
  • 1-2 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped (use more if you like)
  • 3 tbs oyster sauce
  • 2 tbs mushroom sauce
  • 1ish tbs mushroom seasoning
  • 1-2 tbs sugar (to taste)

Fry the garlic until fragrant and then add green beans, stirring to mix. Add in the rest of the ingredients – go a little at a time and taste the sauce to make your own adjustments – and cook for 5 minutes or so. We like our green beans still crunchy so do not parboil before stir frying. 

This rich and super satisfying meal is really easy to prepare and has very little active cooking time. Ass you need to do is marinate the meat, wash and chop your veggies and you’re pretty much there!

Stir fried green beans, rice, stir fried cabbage, grilled lemongrass chicken and greens.

That leaves plenty of time for family Dominoes and sampling my Dad’s latest Jello shooter variety: Fireballs.

Playing a game of dominoesFireball Jello Shooter

I really hope I am allowed to go back to work soon. If I’m still home this week, what should I try to make?

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