Easy Beef Pho

The world is built by dreamers, or so the movie Dinner for Schmucks says. Consequently, in every relationship there is one realist and one dreamer. It is all about balance. In my relationship, I am the dreamer.

On a weekly basis, I will try to convince Mike just to get up and buy plane tickets and go on vacation, whereas Mike will try and tell me if that is something I want, we should try and work it into the monthly budget and start saving for a trip. Ugh!

When it comes to food, I like to be daring, something new every night. I like my food to take me somewhere else, whereas Mike could eat Chipotle burritos or a burger every single day of his life.

Beware! Every once in a while, the realist says to you, “Hey! Let’s move to Spain! We could toooootally do that!” You should know that something is very definitely wrong and try to give him hot dogs to help ease him back to his so important realist role. That time is not the time for something new! Other wise, pack your bags! But beware, traveling and preparing to travel with a realist kinda takes the fun out of being a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants dreamer.

Recently, I made us beef pho for dinner. It was the first time either of us had ever had pho. If you are like us and never tried this dish before, let me tell you what pho is. Pho is Vietnamese beef noodle soup. Mmmmm, noodle soup.

It is pronounced fuh. Beef pho is called pho bo. The beef is traditionally sliced super thin and served raw. If that freaks you out like it did my realist husband, don’t worry. You can cook it ahead of time or just let it poach in the broth for a bit before eating it. If you have never had it before, you must try it. The glory of a good broth with a lot of noodles should never be underestimated; personally, I think you don’t even need the beef.

This is one pho-nomenenal meal. Even though Mike was a bit skeptical, I still saw him tip the bowl back to suck down all the broth. I may have made a dish for both realists and dreamers alike!

Easy Beef Pho
Prep time

Cook time

Total time


Serves: 6

  • For the Broth:
  • 2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
  • 2 Yellow Onions, halved
  • 1, 3-inch Piece of Fresh Ginger, halved
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 4 Quarts Low-Sodium Beef Stock
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 3 Star Anise Pieces
  • 3 Whole Cloves
  • ⅓ Cup Fish Sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons Packed Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
  • Note: If you do not want to invest in cinnamon sticks, star anise, and cloves, some stores sell pho seasoning packs.
  • For the Pho:
  • 1, 12-Ounce Package of Bahn Pho or Udon Noodles (Flat Rice Noodles)
  • 1 Pound Flank Steak
  • 2 Thai Chiles, stems removed and thinly sliced
  • 2 Handfuls Bean Sprouts
  • 1 Bunch Fresh Thai Basil or Genovese Basil or Cilantro
  • 1 Bunch Fresh Mint
  • ½ White Onion, sliced paper thin
  • Sriracha or Chili Garlic Sauce for Serving
  • Lime Wedges for Serving

  1. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the canola oil over medium heat. Add the onions, ginger, and garlic when the oil just starts to simmer. Cook, turning a few times, for about ten minutes.
  2. Add all remaining ingredients, stir, and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down to low. Simmer, partially covered, for at least fifty minutes and up to 3 hours if you like a richer flavor. After desired taste is reached, strain broth and add back to the pot. Note: If you are not serving the soup right away, you can store the strained broth in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.
  3. Place the beef into the freezer for at least fifteen minutes.
  4. Bring the broth to a slow simmer over low heat. Add rice noodles and cook according to package directions.
  5. Once the noodles are cooked, remove pot from heat. Using a very sharp knife, slice the beef as thin as possible.
  6. Ladle some broth into a few deep bowls. Add noodles to bowls. Serve chiles, bean sprouts, herbs, onions, lime wedges, and beef on the side so each person can add in what they want to their pho.

Recipe adapted from Keys to the Kitchen Cookboook

Pea, Asparagus, & Spring Herb Pasta (gluten free)

So I feel like I am in a different world, state, or even city the past two days. It has been 55 in Chicago. In January. Did you hear me?!?!?! 55 IN JANUARY! What in the world?

I don’t want to be one of those people who always talks about the weather, even though I have kind of done that the last three posts. I know that talking about weather is the number one mistake in small talk and also means you have nothing real to say. But this is so weird!

This weird weather has me ready for Spring! I was outside today with my nieces and nephews without a jacket in my standard spring-ish apparel; jeans, t-shirt, and clogs. It felt so good.

I recalled a recipe I had bookmarked with a scrap of paper in my new all-time favorite cookbook, Keys to The Kitchen by Aida Mollenkampfor a spring-inspired pasta. When reading through the ingredients, I get a little weary of the list of acceptable spring herbs because, for a very long time, the only fresh herb I used was basil. I know I was missing so much. But truth be told, a long time ago I had a bad experience with fresh herbs… well I guess a chive is kind of an herb…

My mom tried to get me to like chives and asked me to take a whiff of the fresh smell chopped chives gave off. Me being the dummy I was, took a deep inhale and ended up with a chive or two up my nose!

My mom yelled at me, “I told you to smell not inhale them!”

Now it is funny and every single time I read chives in a recipe or even think of herbs, I remember that incident and smile, then keep my distance. Herbs are awesome and not to be trifled with.

This recipe allows you to use any fresh Spring herbs you like and toss in some peas, asparagus, and some cheese and call it a day ALL IN ONE POT!!! Well, aside from the pot you cooked the pasta in, so two pots!

So my weird weather friends, let’s enjoy this “heat wave” together and look forward to Spring!

Pea, Asparagus, & Spring Herb Pasta (gluten free)
Prep time

Cook time

Total time


Recipe type: Entree/ Pasta
Serves: 6-8

  • 1 Pound Brown Rice Penne (or any other regular tubular pasta if you do not have a gluten free diet)
  • 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Shallots, quartered and then thinly sliced
  • Kosher Salt and Black Pepper
  • 1 Pound Asparagus, trimmed and cut into inch long pieces
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 Cup Frozen English Peas
  • ⅔ Cup Grated Pecorino Romano, plus more for garnish
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Zest
  • 1 Cup Roughly Chopped Fresh Herbs, such as basil, chervil, chives, Italian parsley, mint, or tarragon
  • ¾ Cup Toasted Pine Nuts

  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat, add pasta, cook for about seven minutes until tender.
  2. In the meantime, heat olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. After two minutes, add the shallots and sauté for three minutes.
  3. Add the asparagus and garlic to the skillet. Cook until knife tender, about three minutes. Stir in peas and cook for two minutes. Season with a heavy pinch of salt and pepper.
  4. By this time the pasta should be done. Add the pasta using a small strainer right from the boiling water into the skillet, reserving the pasta water. Add a cup of the pasta water and cook for two to three minutes until sauce starts to coat pasta. Remove from heat.
  5. Add butter and cheese, mix. Add more pasta water if needed to keep pasta sauce loose.
  6. Stir in lemon juice, lemon zest, herbs, and pine nuts. Stir to coat. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Serve with some more freshly ground black pepper and grated cheese. Pasta lasts in an air-tight container in the refrigerator three to four days.

(I swear to God if it snows tomorrow I am going to freak the flip out!)

Light Green Goddess Dip

As you all know, I have an issue with snacking. I love appetizers, all day erry-day. This year I am trying to cut back on snacking and focusing on eating clean homemade meals during the week, which is unfortunate because the most appetizer-iffic man-holiday is this weekend.

I will most likely give into my urge to splurge on apps on Sunday. I can’t lie to you guys.

I can also try to make some healthier options like this light green goddess dip with vegetables. I feel like a Greek yogurt based dip served with vegetables is the way to go. Well, I guess it will just be a nice break between the wings and pretzel wrapped brats (stay tuned for that winner).

If you too are interested in some lighter app options, head over to We Heart This for the full recipe.

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