I guess cooking isn't all that bad when it's in my own kitchen. I think the reason why I used to hate cooking so much was because someone was always looking over my shoulder, pushing me around. Nagging me. Judging me. Critiquing me. When it comes to cooking, you either leave me alone and let me do my own thing, my way or you get your hands dirty and help me and show me. I am far from being the best cook. And I'm always willing to pick up techniques that will help me be a better cook. But I absolutely hate it when someone comes into my kitchen and starts directing me around without even getting their hands dirty.

Now, again, I'm no Rachael Ray. So I follow recipes. Every once in a while, I may take a slight detour from the recipe, but I don't stray too far, ever. If you have a recipe you'd like to have me try, email it to me.
 

 
Maisee Xiong: Pho - A Vietnamese Dish   Pho

Broth
water salt fish sauce oyster sauce
soy sauce beef bouillon cubes oxtail beef bone soup
aniseed cinnamon sticks peppercorn cloves
ginger onion carrots white daikon radish
celery
1. Roast the oxtail and beef bone soup in oven preheated to 400 degress.
2. Boil oxtail and beef bone soup on low; do not allow stock to come to a boil.

Garnish
shrimp meatballs oxtail meat basil
cilantro green onion lime wedge/juice fried garlic
fried onion jalapeno

Condiments
beef flavor paste hoisin sauce chili garlic sauce sriracha

And, of course, you need the rice noodles.
 

 
Corned Beef & Cabbage

I made this using a recipe I found on allrecipes.com

If you go with this recipe, you better read through the reviews. I did not cook mine using a roasting pan or dutch oven as mentioned in the recipe. Instead, I used a crock pot. Overall, this is a great recipe. But be very aware that your veggies and meat must be submerged or the parts that aren't will be bitter due to the Guinness.

Good luck!
  Maisee Xiong: Corned Beef & Cabbage - An Irish Dish
 

 
Maisee Xiong: Chocolate Chip Cookies   Chocolate Chip Cookies

You have died and gone to heaven! Go on. Click the link below. Print out the recipe. Run your little (or big) butt to the grocery store and pick up the ingredients. And then...Bake. Your. Heart. Out.

Award Winning Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies


Dear people in facebookland: You probably looked at that picture & assumed that M. Xiong just ripped that out of a 9 dollar specialty cooking magazine. You looked at those impossibly sumptuous chocolate chips; those delicious-looking, perfectly-browned lumps of incredible, edible, cookie & said to yourself--No Way. No way in the world that a mere mortal could make something like this. Look at that picture. The cookies are even displayed on fine china & perfectly framed in the photo. The lighting is fantastic. Now, take that picture, print it on gold & have it signed by Elvis. If you did that, you would have something great. But you wouldn't have what I had--the real thing. And it was damn fine. Mmmmmm.

                                                             -J. Burnett
 

 
Elk Enchiladas

Elk enchiladas...burritos...whatever...

Recipe: Fabulous Wet Burritos

I obviously substituted the ground beef with ground elk meat. I thought the texture of the meat mixture was a bit weird (for me, anyway). Next time, I'll either keep the refried beans separated or eliminate it completely. And, I might try to shove the enchiladas into the oven just so the they can cook and soak in the sauce for a bit.
  Maisee Xiong: Elk Enchiladas
 

 
Maisee Xiong: Shrimp Fettuccine   Shrimp Fettuccine

Known to my son, Everest, as "the yellow noo-noo in white sauce and shrimp."

This was simply shrimp and pasta tossed in alfredo sauce. There is something about this sauce that, on its own, it tastes great. But once tossed, it kind of gets bland. Other than throwing salt into the sauce, I have yet to go through the suggestions of others to see how else I can doctor-up the sauce.

Something I learned on Food Network's Chopped: Don't rinse your pasta! Don't let it sit! Serve it immediately, right out of the pot! Don't let yourself get caught making these mistakes!
 

 
Mouse's Macaroni and Cheese

Recipe: Mouse's Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

Stir, and stir often or else you'll burn the cheese sauce! I had to learn the hard way!
  Maisee Xiong: Mouse's Macaroni and Cheese
 

 
Maisee Xiong: Cranberry Sauce   Cranberry Sauce

Recipe: Cranberry Sauce Recipe

This is a very basic, but very delicious sauce. Usually when it comes to cooked fruit, I'll eat the sauce and skip the fruit. This is not the case with this recipe. It's both tart and sweet, but not overwhelming!

The Husband normally doesn't give out compliments, but this dish got one!
 

 
Mango Salad

This is my replica of Qdoba Mexican Grill's mango salad. I had to find an alternative for my fix as I went broke the summer I was introduced to this guy. Yes, it was that amazing! My replica was a composition from the following recipes:

Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette

Grilled Chipotle Chicken

Mango Salsa
  Maisee Xiong: Mango Salad - A Qdoba Mexican Grill Replica
 

 
  Chicken Noodle Soup

Alright. I do not have a picture of this dish yet. But, you must try it. I got mad raves for it when I made it and took it to work. One of the Colonels even said it tasted better than the shit his wife made. I was warned to never tell his wife he said that. Okay...

Chicken Noodle Soup

Totally sooths the soul.
 

 
Pumpkin Pie

This was a twist on a traditional pumpkin pie. I got the recipe from Omaha World-Herald and have conveniently misplaced the recipe. Now I'll have to spend some time at the public library to go through archives. Lovely.
  Maisee Xiong: Pumpkin Pie
 

 
Maisee Xiong: Mashed Potatoes   Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Recipe: Garlic Mashed Potatoes Secret Recipe

This is definitely not the traditional mashed potatoes you are probably used to. I took a chance making this for a big-ass Hmong-style Thanksgiving Dinner. I was impressed with how it turned out. If you're more of a traditional mashed potatoes type of person, stick to this recipe.

Speaking of the traditional recipe, I recall using it at my parents house the year my younger brother got married. I asked his wife (ex-wife, now) to make it. All I heard was, "I don't know how to make this. I just don't. I really don't." And I told her, "Just follow the recipe. Measure stuff and mash away. If you mess up, you mess up. But try." She continued with the I-don't-know-how-to excuse. She was a second year nursing student attending UC San Diego. Can you imagine having her as your nurse? One who simply can't measure and follow instructions? I'm not even going to say anything more.
 

 
Slower Cooker Mashed Potatoes

Recipe: Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes Recipe

This is the perfect recipe for those who don't have a double wall oven and have a big meal planned. For a big meal, I like to try to have everything cooked at the same time and ready to serve hot. I prefer not having to reheat or keep dishes warm while other dishes finish cooking. This would be one less dish that requires oven time. And it's really tasty as well!
  Maisee Xiong: Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes
 

 
Maisee Xiong: Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake   Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake

Recipe: Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe

Keepers:
  • Double the recipe for a thicker cake
  • Leave cheesecake to cool in oven for 3+ hours before moving it to the fridge
Adjustments for the next cheesecake:
  • Use boiling hot water for the water bath
  • Cook for 1 hour
 

 
Chantal's New York Cheesecake

Recipe: Chantel's New York Cheesecake

I followed the recipe exactly except for the cooking method. I used a water bath and cooked for an additional 30 minutes. Also left the cheesecake to cool in the oven. Next adjustments to make:

  • Mix in sour cream and vanilla extract until blended; then mix in flour until smooth. My mistake was that I had mixed in the sour cream, vanilla, and flour together and ended up with small brown clumps that I couldn't beat out of the batter.

  • Cook for only 1 hour, or until the center is set. Cooking the cheesecake for 1.5 hours is a bit much.

  • Try not to overbeat the batter. Apparently this causes air bubbles. My SIL said I can try to do the following next time if I have air bubbles: when you pour the batter in, hold it up high (like 10" away from the pan) and pour slowly. most of the bubbles will pop as it goes in. if you want you can run a butterknife in a swirl in the pan to loosen any remaining bubbles. then hold it a few inches from the counter and drop it. the bubbles should come to the top and pop. you don't have to do all 3. you can do just one method but you can do all 3 just to be ultra sure.
  Maisee Xiong: Chantal's New York Cheesecake
 

 
Tri-Color Dessert Drink (Lazy Sytle)

Nothing labor intensive about this and it still satisfied my craving.

Contains:
  • Tapioca pearls
  • Chopped water chestnut covered in tapioca powder
  • Pandan-flavored coconut jelly cubes
  • Coconut Milk-Sugarcane mix
For the coconut milk-sugarcane mix: melt white sugar until brown. Add sugarcane, melted. Add coconut milk. Boil until sugar completely dissolves. Add a pinch of salt.

For those of you who make this using the labor intensive doughy stuff: DO NOT add salt to your dough especially when it has already thicken. This will prevent the salt from dissolving; therefore leaving you with some dough pieces that'll tastes gross. I mean, do you ever wonder why some bites tastes perfectly fine and other bites tastes horrible? If you must add salt to your dough, I suggest you do so at the very beginning so that it has a chance to dissolve into the water/dough mixture BEFORE the mixture begins to thicken. But really, IMO, this is the wrong place to add the salt. You should really be adding it to the coconut milk-sugarcane mix. Try it and tell me you disagree with me!
  Maisee Xiong: Tri-Color Dessert
 

 
Maisee Xiong: Fish Soup   Fish Soup

No recipe. But here is a list of the ingredients I used:
water salt fish sauce soy sauce
sugar dried galanga roasted garlic tamarind
lime juice onion cherry tomatoes zucchini
green onions cilantro basil

Today, I used Trout since I had it on hand. Other fish I've used include catfish and white bass.

BTW...this was Cindy-approved!
 

 
Purple Rice & Grilled Chicken w/ Tomato Pepper

You may think this is boring, but it's not. Growing up, the only time I recall eating purple rice is during Hmong New Year Celebrations. But then I moved to Nebraska where the New Year Celebration is nothing compared to what I'd been exposed to. And so, I would make the 6 hour trip to Minnesota for the Hmong International Soccer Tournament just to fill my tummy with purple rice. But now I know how to make it. My first attempt didn't go so well. I was told that I should add a cup of purple rice for every 2 cups of white rice. Yeah, that person definitely wanted me to fail! I didn't give up though. I figured it out: for every cup of white rice, add about 1 tablespoon of purple rice.

The chicken is nothing special. It's just a piece of boneless chicken thigh seasoned with sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Then grilled to perfection. Notice that skin? It's crispy and not burnt. Very, very important.

Then there is the tomato pepper/salsa. The meal is just not complete without it!
  Maisee Xiong: Purple Rice & Chicken
 

 
Maisee Xiong: Meatloaf Dinner   Meatloaf Dinner

Meatloaf: Recipe right from the McCormick Meatloaf seasoning packet.

Mac-n-Cheese: Easy MAC!

Brussels Sprouts & Asparagus: sea salt, pepper, olive oil. Broiled at 400 degrees. For me, baking takes way too long so I broil instead. This of course means that I have to pay closer attention to my veggies so they don't burn. As for the Brussels sprouts they taste better charred. Try it yourself if you don't believe me.
 

 
Jeremy Wead Meatballs

Oh yeah! This is just the beginning; they are not done yet. They actually need to go in the oven and bathe in spaghetti sauce for awhile. They take a lot of effort but are worth every bit of it. I don't really think I'm ready to share this recipe yet! Yup. That's just how it is!
  Maisee Xiong: Jeremy Wead Meatballs
 

 
Maisee Xiong: Spaghetti & Meatballs   Spaghetti & (Jeremy Wead) Meatballs

The only thing special about this dish is the meatballs - Jeremy Wead meatballs, that is! Otherwise, it's just Prego sauce and spaghetti noodles. Typically, I use the sauce recipe from Italian Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs Recipe. Perhaps next time, I will make the sauce ahead of time and let my meatballs bathe in it instead of the Prego.

Again, I'm not giving up the Jeremy Wead Meatballs recipe just yet.
 

 
Banana Bread

Requested by The Husband. It has been an extremely long time since I've made banana bread. I found this recipe and it turned out great. The Husband absolutely loved it.

The next time I make this I will try to make a crumble topping for it and see how that turns out.
  Maisee Xiong: Banana Bread
 

 
Maisee Xiong: Quinoa Salad   Quinoa Salad w/ Chicken

 

 
Fish by The Husband

  Maisee Xiong: Fish by The Husband
 

 
Maisee Xiong: Honey Chicken   Honey Chicken Stir-Fry

The original recipe came from Allrecipes called Yummy Honey Chicken Kabobs. Except I didn't make kabobs; I made a stir-fry instead. Here's what I did:
  1. Prep the sauce as specified by the recipe: In a large bowl, whisk together oil, honey, soy sauce, and pepper.
  2. Slice chicken breast.
  3. Chop desired vegetables.
  4. Heat about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Cook garlic and onion in oil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Add chicken. Add vegetables. Continue to stir until chicken is cooked and vegetables are al dente. Stir in sauce to taste.
 

 
Egg roll Stuffing

This is another one of my concoctions. Again, ingredients are really by tasting. Here's what I use:
ground pork glass noodles, soaked dried black fungus, soaked and chopped
shredded carrots shredded onions cilantro, chopped
green onions, chopped fish sauce soy sauce
oyster sauce onion powder garlic powder
salt black pepper

My general rule of thumb when I make egg rolls: 1 lb pork to 1 individual package of glass noodles. I don't have a secret amount of fungus or vegetables that are added. I just add what I feel is enough. I don't measure the condiments either. It's a little bit of this, a little bit of that. Mix, taste. If it's not quite right, I add a little more of what I think is missing. More mixing, more tasting. And I keep repeating until I get the desired taste. Now, I've been to plenty of parties where the egg rolls are just plain nasty bland. You can avoid this by tasting your mixture. No, not the raw mixture! Cook about a teaspoonful or less of your mixture in a skillet. Once cooked, taste it. If it doesn't taste right, add more condiments, mix, cook a little and taste again. You repeat this until you get to the desired taste.

And, don't forget that you're going to deep-fry your egg rolls. So over-seasoning your mixture by a little bit.
  Maisee Xiong: Eggroll Stuffing
 

 
Maisee Xiong: Stuffed Chicken Wings   Stuffed Chicken Wings

These suckers are so good, but are a pain to prep! You'll need to watch this video several times before you attempt to debone your first chicken wing. Pay very close attention to how he grabs the chicken wing in both hands to pop out the bones from the middle piece of the wing. This is very very important!!! It will be much easier if you can get the two pieces of bone out of the middle wing before doing away with the drumstick bone. And of course your first chicken wing will probably take you 5 minutes to debone. Don't give up!

The stuffing for the wings is just simple egg roll stuffing. Once you're done deboning all of your chicken wings, stuff the suckers with the egg roll stuffing. You can "seal" the wing by tucking in a part of the drumstick meat. When you have finished stuffing all of the wings, you can marinate them using a little bit of salt, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, fish sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce. These suckers are fragile so be gentle when marinating them.

Bake these suckers in the oven until they are done to your desire. They will be so worth it!
 

 
Pork Ribs w/ Apple Juice

There is nothing special about these pork ribs. Marinate using sea salt, black pepper, onion power, and garlic powder. Place the ribs in a foil packet and add about 1/4 cup of apple juice. Cook the packet over low heat on the grill for about 2 hours, flipping about every 30 minutes.

Take the ribs out of the foil and cook on the girl over medium/high heat until golden brown. You'll want to pay close attention while you're searing the ribs so that they don't get burnt.
  Maisee Xiong: Pork Ribs w/ Apple Juice
 

 
Maisee Xiong: Asian Lettuce Wraps   Asian Lettuce Wraps

I don't really understand how I could have been missing out on asian lettuce wraps for so long! I had them recently at P.F. Chang's and knew I had to find a recipe. I started and ended my search at my go-to recipe site: Allrecipes. I followed this recipe to the T except for two things: 1) I went with ground pork and 2) I eliminated the chestnuts (because I didn't have it on hand). I have been eating this for the last two weeks or so. But that's just me. Once I find something I really like, I'll keep eating it until I can't stand it anymore! Plus, these suckers were SO easy to make and the leftovers tasted even better! Oh, sprits your lettuce wrap with some fresh lime juice before taking a bit. Oh, so good!
 

 
Slow Cooker Stuffing

Recipe: Slow Cooker Stuffing
  Maisee Xiong: Slow Cooker Stuffing
 

 
Maisee Xiong: Roast Sticky Chicken-Rotisserie Style   Roast Sticky Chicken-Rotisserie Style

Recipe: Roast Sticky Chicken-Rotisserie Style

The seasoning from this recipe is for 8 lbs of chicken. I adjust the ingredients accordingly for a turkey. Warning: do not adjust the salt! If you adjust the salt accordingly, your turkey won't necessary be overly salty, but the drippings will be. Which only means that you'll have to water down the drippings if you want to use it for gravy. For a 22 lb turkey, I use about 3 teaspoons of salt.

For 2014, I used the following recipe to brine the turkey: Turkey Brine.

Prior to 2014, I used the following recipe to brink the turkey: Perfect Turkey.

Although the brine from 2014 was deliously, I thought it messed with the seasoning that I used for the turkey. The whole purpose for brining a turkey is to make the turkey retain water so that the meat is moist once baked. You can accomplish this using the "Perfect Turkey" recipe. If you want the meat to be flavored, you can use the "Turkey Brine" recipe. And yes, you can tell the difference in flavor.

In 2013, I brined my turkey for 48 hours and ended up with a worthless amount of dripping, but a really moist turkey. I think if you brine the turkey for 24 hours, you'll get a moist turkey and enough dripping for the gravy.
 

 
Easy Turkey Gravy

Recipe: Easy Turkey Gravy

Have you ever made gravy, only for it to turn into jelly the day after? You won't with this recipe!
  Maisee Xiong: Easy Turkey Gravy
 

 
Maisee Xiong: Grandma's Green Bean Casserole   Grandma's Green Bean Casserole

Recipe: Grandma's Green Bean Casserole Recipe

I was really nervous about this recipe because it calls for sour cream and I am not a fan of sour cream. However, this recipe was really good! In fact, I went back for seconds.

Again, my husband rarely gives compliments on food, but he gave one for this dish. Give it a try!
Maisee Xiong