Vacation Recap and Vietnamese Chicken Summer Rolls

Phew!  Good news, everyone – I got a preliminary passing score on the CFP exam!  Preliminary meaning it’s not official official, but it’s a pretty good indicator.  I have been given my life back..until busy season takes it back, like next week.  Ugh.

After exam week, Matt and I headed up to Michigan for my friend’s wedding.  It was a blast!  A little reunion with some of my main college ladies, so fun!  And seeing super pregnant Anna, one o  my best friends is 8 months pregnant and it’s blowing my mind!

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After the wedding we headed over to Vermont to spend the week on vacation with Matt’s family.  We stopped quick in Niagara Falls on the way, because how can you drive by and not?  In Vermont we all rented a house in the mountains and it was a good week of relaxing, reading, hiking, and hanging out.IMG_5180
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The view from our kitchen

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Yup, this happened.
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At the top of Haystack Mountain.

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And who doesn’t love building a fire and roasting a good marshmallow?!

The recipe I’m sharing with you is from one of my favorite new discoveries.  And by discoveries I mean a coworker told me about it when I was telling him how great blue apron is (which he did end up trying and loving, btw).  This service is called cook smarts.  It’s a bit different (and cheaper) than blue apron and you can sign up and get 3 free sample plans (which is where this recipe came from).  The idea is that you subscribe for $6-8/month (depending on how many months you buy at time) and then they give you a meal plan for the week.  It consists of 4 meals for 4 and comes with a grocery list and suggested advance prep.  They give you recipes with overlapping ingredients to minimize food waste and save on your groceries.  We have done 2 of the weeks and it definitely cut back from when I was just picking a few new recipes to try every week with no rhyme or reason.  After busy season we’ll definitely be trying out a paid month and seeing where that takes us.

Vietnamese Chicken Summer Rolls

Makes: 16 rolls

Ingredients

  • 4 oz Rice vermicelli noodles
  • 1 lb chicken breasts
  • 2/3 lb Cucumbers, sliced into matchsticks
  • 4 leaves green lettuce, torn
  • 16 sheets rice papers (more if you break some)
  • 1 cup grated carrots (~1 carrot)
  • 1 batch nuoc nam (see below) – 1 cup water, ¼ cup sugar, 4 minced garlic cloves, ¼ cup fish sauce, ¼ cup lime juice

Directions:

Advance Prep (3o min to 1 day ahead)-

  1. Make Nuac Nam – Combine sweetener and water and boil. Mix with remainder of sauce ingredients and season to taste with hot sauce if desired. Adjust taste as needed – use fish sauce for more savory, more lime juice for tartness, more sweetener for sweetness.Set Aside 1 cup for serving.
  2. Marinate chicken in remaining nuac nam – at least 30 minutes, and up to 1 day.
  3. Optional – cook rice noodles according to package instructions

Day of –

  1. Grill chicken and slice.
  2. Cook rice noodles if you didn’t already.
  3. Cucumbers, carrots, Green lettuce – Prep as directed.
  4. Fill a frying pan with about 1 ½” (3.75 cm) of water. Heat water over medium-low heat – it shouldn’t be so hot that you can’t touch it.
  5. Dip rice paper into water and rotate through water. Watch this video for a good overview on how to do these.  Place onto a plate. Do 2-4 at a time (separate plates) and then assemble 2-4 rolls.
  6. To assemble rolls, layer lettuce, noodles, carrots, cucumbers, and chicken at the end of the rice paper that is close to you. Don’t over-fill or the paper will break. Fold rice paper over the filling from the bottom up. Then fold sides over. Roll as tightly as possible.
  7. Repeat until done. Assemble until you have no more filling.
  8. Enjoy rolls dipped with nuoc nam sauce*.

*We forgot to save some of the nuoc nam so we just mixed some soy sauce and sirracha for a little dipping sauce, it was delicious!

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