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Weeknight dinner in 30 minutes: Vietnamese-inspired noodle bowl!

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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!

 

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Vietnamese-inspired noodle bowl
Print Recipe
Vietnamese-inspired noodle bowl with fresh veggies, rice noodles, chicken, shrimp. Top with your favorite sauce to create a healthy and delicious meal!
Servings Prep Time
3-4 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
3-4 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Vietnamese-inspired noodle bowl
Print Recipe
Vietnamese-inspired noodle bowl with fresh veggies, rice noodles, chicken, shrimp. Top with your favorite sauce to create a healthy and delicious meal!
Servings Prep Time
3-4 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
3-4 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Ingredients
Marinated Chicken
Coconut Ginger Shrimp
Servings: people
Instructions
Marinated Chicken
  1. Combine all ingredients for marinade into a small to medium mixing bowl (preferably a bowl with a lid). Place chicken strips (or bites) into marinade and put bowl into refrigerator for at least 1 hour (4-8 hours is ideal; overnight also works).
  2. When ready to cook, place the strips (or bites) into a skillet on medium-high heat.
  3. Cook chicken on medium-high heat until cooked through and no longer pinch in the middle. Make sure to turn or stir chicken frequently to ensure even cooking. About 10 minutes.
Coconut Ginger Shrimp
  1. Combine all ingredients for the coconut ginger marinade in a bowl (preferably a bowl with a lid). Place all shrimp into the mixture and place bowl into the refigerator for at least 1 hour (4-8 hours or overnight is preferable).
  2. When ready to cook, place the shrimp into a skillet on medium-high heat.
  3. Heat through, but don't over cook. Turn shrimp frequently to ensure even cooking. Cook for approximately 4-5 minutes and remove from heat.
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7 Comments:

  1. This recipe will be perfect for tonight. I can already smell it cooking! Im writing up the list of ingredients now.

    • So glad to hear it, Tammy! How did everyone like it?

      • Made it. I enjoyed it, but hubby said I made it too “salty” ?? Go figure!

        • Hey Tammy! I tend to cook on the low salt side of the spectrum (due to blood pressure issues lingering from pregnancy). However, everyone has their own preferences in terms of salt level. So if your husband thought it was too salty, simply adjust the salt level when cooking – even try eliminating it altogether and go from there. My rule of thumb is that it’s easy to add salt after cooking for anyone who prefers more salt, but you can’t take it out. Also, if you weren’t using low sodium soy sauce, try using that instead of regular. I hope that helps! 🙂

  2. I adore easy prep meals that are nutritious and satisfying.

    • So do I! With time being a precious commodity these days, I need all the quick prep meals I can get! If you try this dish, I hope you enjoy it! We just made it tonight for our family.

      And thank you in regards to reading our posts and how Lisa and I have stayed connected. We have one of those great friendships where we are able to just pick up where we left off, no matter how long it has been. That’s been a rare thing in my life, so when we were drifting apart due to life circumstances, this seemed like a fun way to stay in much closer contact!

  3. I very much am enjoying reading your blog and hearing the stories behind your posts. I think it is great how you two stayed connected.

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