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Dinner preparation time (5pm-6pm) has always been our “witching hour” – that period of time where the kids are hungry and cranky, resulting in massive meltdowns. Yes, meltdowns – even with a 9-year-old, an 8-year-old and a 6-year-old! As a mom of three boys who bounce around from school to sports and other activities, I am constantly working on trying and developing quick and easy dinners to avoid those meltdowns (for the kids AND for me!). Further, these meals have to be dinners that are easy to make, healthy to eat and delicious.
That takes us to the story behind the recipe we have for you today. My family had dinner at a friend’s house about a year ago. His wife is Vietnamese, and she made us a traditional Vietnamese noodle bowl that was nothing short of AMAZING!
I wish I could claim the ability to make the same dish she made. Maybe one day she’ll teach me how to cook authentic Vietnamese food. For now, I took what she made and used it to inspire this dish. It has distinct similarities with using shrimp and rice noodles and certain veggies. I expanded on the veggies to add more variety and color.
If you aren’t familiar with rice noodles, I suggest trying Rice Ramen. You can find them at Amazon or Costco. They cook in 4 minutes and have great texture. They are perfect for this dish!
Feel free to play around with the veggie variety according to your own tastes. This recipe includes red bell peppers, carrots, pineapple, zucchini, chopped spinach and water chestnuts (they are hidden under the pineapple in the picture). I think red onion, mushrooms, edamame, broccoli, and cauliflower would also be very good in this dish.
Save time in the evening
If you have time, marinate the chicken and the shrimp during the day. Then to make dinner, all you need to do is cook them, which cuts down on dinner cook time when everyone is hungry. You can also chop any veggies you want to include and place them in bags or an airtight container in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them.
For the chicken: Cut 2-3 chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces and marinate in 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/4 rice vinegar. 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, and a dash of salt and pepper. Combine in a sealed bowl and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
For the shrimp: Marinate 15-20 frozen shrimp in 1/2 cup coconut milk, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp lime juice, and a dash of salt and pepper.
When you are ready to make the bowls, cook the rice noodles while you cook the chicken and shrimp. Pull out the veggies to top the bowls, and finish by adding our sweet and sour sauce or your favorite sauce.
So if you need a go-to dinner for those busy nights, try this dish! Drizzle some peanut sauce, fish sauce, or even our sweet and sour sauce on top to finish it off!
Comment below and tell us which vegetable you eat the most!