Easy Cilantro Garlic Chili Shrimp

cilantro shrimp and zucchini

8 oz shrimp (peeled and deveined)
olive oil
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon Chinese chili paste

1. Pat the shrimp dry, sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle on olive oil. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Let the shrimp sit in the marinade for at least 30 minutes.

2. Heat a griddle on medium high heat. Add the shrimp, but do not overlap them. Flip them after about 3 minutes or when the side turns pink. Be careful not to overcook.

Sirloin Burger

I have made burgers in ground beef, ground chuck, and ground turkey. This was my first time making burgers with ground sirloin and it turned out very juicy and flavorful! The toppings listed are simply ingredients I had on hand; I think mushrooms, avocados, or bacon would all be a nice addition.


1 lb ground sirloin
1/2 a packet of NOH Hawaiian Style Teri-Burger
sprinkle of black pepper
1 TB Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup chopped onions
2 teaspoon of mayonnaise (to keep the burger moist)


Sautéed Onions
Romaine Lettuce
Swiss Cheese
Mayonnaise (with garlic and lemon juice mixed in)


1. Mix the ground sirloin with all the ingredients. Form patties with hands and make a small indentation in the middle of each patty.
2. Spray a griddle with oil and turn to high heat. Wait until the griddle is hot before adding the patties. You will know it is ready if the patties make a sizzling noise. When the patties are on the griddle, add a little olive oil to each indentation. When one side of the burger turns brown, flip the burger. ONLY FLIP THE BURGER ONCE!
3. Cook until your desired temperature. Even when this burger is well done, it will still be juicy.
4. Add toppings to your liking!

Vegetarian Rice Cakes (Nian Gao) with Napa Cabbage

Nian Gao or rice cakes

I remember trying rice cakes for the first time when I was visiting China, and I instantly fell in love with it’s soft, almost gnocchi-like texture.  Since I’ve moved to a city with a huge asian grocery store,  I found myself suddenly craving that dish.  I bought dry rice cakes and napa cabbage, but couldn’t find a recipe online that didn’t require pork.  So I turned to my most trusted advisor, my mom, and she knew exactly what to do.

Note: The amount of each ingredient is an estimate…you know how your mother and grandmother seem to just “sense” it.

Ingredients (Serving 1-2):

1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 TB chopped green onions
2 cups chopped napa cabbage
1 cup rice cakes (if you’re using dry rice cakes, they must be soaked in water overnight)
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 tsp. soy sauce
dash of sesame oil

1. Heat oil in a large pan. Add mushrooms and green onions, cook until tender. Sprinkle with salt and set aside.
2. In the same pan, add some oil and napa cabbage. Cook for about 3 minutes, add the rice cakes on top and chicken broth. Cover, turn heat to medium, cook until rices cakes are tender. Add salt to taste, add the cooked mushrooms. Stir in soy sauce and sesame oil.

Easy Crockpot Pork Roast with Diced Tomatoes

pork roast crockpot
I was browsing the meat section at Safeway and came across a beautiful pound of pork roast. This will make a nice crockpot dinner, I thought to myself.  On weekdays I have a huge appetite but lack the motivation to cook anything complicated. I took home this nice round roast and began surfing for easy recipes.  I couldn’t find a recipe with ingredients I currently had, so I altered a couple a made my own and crossed my finger.  It turned out delicious!



1.5lb Pork Roast
ground rosemary
dried thyme
1 cup chopped celery
1 14.5oz can beef broth
1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano
1 8oz can tomato sauce


1. Rub pork roast with rosemary, pepper, and thyme. Let it sit for a few minutes.
2. Add celery to crockpot. Lay the roast over the celery. Add all the canned ingredients and a dash of salt. Slightly stir.
3. Turn to low and cook for 6-7 hours.

Serve with rice or serve as soup.

Superbowl Season: Mild Buffalo Wings

I have a weak will when it comes to wings of any kind. Buffalo wings in particular are my guilty pleasure.  I adapted the recipe from Punchbowl, making it less burning-my-mouth.  The image is from the day after I baked them, so it doesn’t do these lovelies justice.


  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 20 chicken wings
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup hot red pepper sauce
  • Blue cheese or ranch dressing (for dipping)


1. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and lightly grease with cooking spray (VERY IMPORTANT).

2. Place the flour, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and salt into a resealable plastic bag then shake to mix. Add the chicken wings, seal, and toss until well coated with the flour mixture. Place the wings onto the prepared baking sheet, and place in the refrigerator. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.

3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

4. Whisk the melted butter and hot sauce together in a small bowl. Dip the wings into the butter mixture and place back on the baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven until the chicken is no longer pink in the center and crispy on the outside, about 45 minutes. Turn the wings over halfway during cooking so they cook evenly.

5. Serve with dressing.

Baked Mild Buffalo wings

Simple Condiments and Spices to make Food Pop

Chili Mayo Sauce

I bite into a burger or sandwich and wonder what is missing. The meat is perfectly cooked, I got all the trimmings, there’s even bacon, but why does it still taste dull? That’s where condiments and spices come in. Nothing fancy required. Just a dash of chili powder or an already made salad dressing can add a ray of sunshine for the tastebuds.

Here’s a few I’ve discovered:

  • Thousand Island Dressing aka “Anything Dressing” adds a sweet and tangy dimension to burgers and sandwiches
  • Mayonnaise + ketchup + dash of red wine vinegar for burgers
  • Tzatziki sauce is a creamy and refreshing addition to any sandwich
  • Ranch – I like adding some to my mac n’ cheese
  • Guacamole – versatile and delicious on anything
  • Cajun spice for eggs, potatoes, and seafood
  • Red pepper flakes to add a kick to any sautéed dish
  • Sour cream + Mayonnaise + Chili powder + dash of lime juice for any seafood dish
  • Pesto!
  • Sour cream + maple syrup for sweet potatoes
  • Dijon mustard