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Flavor Bomb: The One Ingredient Every Cook Needs

Flavor Bomb: The One Ingredient Every Cook Needs

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Funky, umami-rich fish sauce is the one ingredient we can't live without. Seven chefs who share our current obsession dish on how to deploy it best and add incredible depth to savory recipes.

Eating healthy should still be delicious.

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By Paula Disbrowe: My husband and I have this running joke. When I'm dashing off to the market or jotting down a grocery list, he'll say, "Be sure to get fish sauce." The thing is, we already have several bottles in the cupboard. In the past, I've used the ingredient sporadically-say, when trying out a new Asian recipe. And then by the time I need it again, I forget we're stocked and buy more. That's about to change.

According to some of the country's most inventive chefs, fish sauce-the pungent, salty liquid extracted from fermented anchovies and salt-is something you should reach for nearly every day. We're not just talking pad Thai here, folks. True, fish sauce is an essential ingredient in various Southeast Asian cuisines, where it's used as a marinade, a flavor enhancer during the cooking process, and a condiment. But as the following recipes reveal, the sauce's deeply savory intensity makes it a stealth flavor booster that can add depth as well as that elusive little something extra to countless dishes in your current recipe repertoire. And yes, a little bit goes a long way.

Patricia Wells' 3-Ingredient Mushroom Soup Will Save Your Dinner Party

Every single cook in the world needs a back-pocket recipe to rely on. One that's there for us when we stupidly invited friends over for dinner at the end of an exhausting week. One that comes together in mere minutes but punches way above its weight class. Even Patricia Wells, a veteran expat cookbook author who seems to have perfected a Francophone lifestyle, isn't an exception to this rule.

For her, the gap between our best entertaining intentions and hectic harsh reality is bridged by creamy mushroom soup. "I call this crowd-pleasing soup my magic recipe," she writes in her new cookbook, My Master Recipes. "It is so amazing that so few ingredients—and a soup made in a matter of minutes—can have so much depth of flavor."

Indeed, this soup does seem like sorcery. There's no chopping, no sautéing, and barely any simmering. And there are hardly any ingredients to speak of. You just heat heavy cream and dried porcini mushrooms (an umami-bomb ingredient that you can find in many grocery stores and online) you've blitzed in a spice grinder, let them infuse off the heat for a half hour, and then add chicken stock and salt. That's it.

Sure, you can garnish with some sliced chives or some nice olive oil. You can even add some sliced raw button mushrooms to the soup as it simmers. But the beauty of this soup is that you don't really need embellishments to make the soup addictive. Because when the soup you're serving is made by magic, it pretty much sells itself.

1. Baleadas

Baleadas are among the most popular Honduran foods to date. You&rsquoll find them in almost every nook and cranny of the country&rsquos north coast.

Typically sold in the streets, baleadas will enchant you with their aromatic and mouthwatering fillings.

These soft, thick tacos, in their simplest form, are stuffed with refried beans, salty cheese, and Honduran-style sour cream.

Other satisfying fillings may include scrambled eggs, avocado slices, and meat. What&rsquos even better is you can customize baleadas to suit your taste!

50 Incredibly Easy Desserts with Only 3 Ingredients or Less

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We all have those days. You know THOSE days, when you desperately need a sweet treat to comfort you but even five-ingredient recipes feel like too much effort. When life just smacks your right in the face, you need a homemade dessert that’s just as easy as it is comforting. And now you can quickly find one using our extensive list of simple, 3-ingredient dessert recipes.

Classic Fudge

Photo by Heather Feibleman

Let’s start off nice and simple. Just grab some chocolate, a can of condensed milk, and the mix-in of your choice, and you’ve got the simplest fudge you could ever imagine.

Oreo Fudge

Photo by Elizabeth Philip

The best part of fudge? It can be easily adapted. You can use white instead of semi-sweet chocolate and add in some Oreos to create the cookies and cream flavor of your dreams.

Peanut Butter Fudge

If you don’t feel like splurging on sweetened condensed milk, you can also make an easy, customizable fudge out of peanut butter and vanilla frosting. If you’re allergic to peanuts, no worries. Nutella works just as well (if not better).

Nutella Brownies

Speaking of Nutella, why not turn it in to a brownie? This dangerously simple dessert only requires flour, eggs, and (obviously) Nutella.

Nutella Souffle

No flour on hand? No worries. To make this soufflé, you only need eggs and Nutella. Seriously, you can make a soufflé with only two ingredients. That’s magic right there.

Braided Nutella Bread

Even counting the powdered sugar garnish, this super simple braided bread only requires three measly ingredients: pre-made crescent roll dough and Nutella. And, sure, you could use whatever sweet spread you like, but I highly recommend Nutella.

Nutella-Stuffed Waffles

If you can’t tell, I’m a big fan of Nutella, but I swear I’m done after this. I just couldn’t resist mentioning a waffle made out of biscuit dough. Absolute genius. And if you’re really sick of me talking about Nutella, then stuff your waffle with something else.

Two-Ingredient Crepes

If breakfast for dessert is your jam, then try this recipe for crepes sake. But lay the cheesy puns aside, and pick up some cream cheese (and eggs) instead. That’s all you need to these basic crepes. Top them with whatever you enjoy, like fruit. Or Nutella.

Banana Pancakes

First crepes, now pancakes. Who knew you could make multiple classic breakfast foods with so few ingredients? (I did. Because I’ve made and love both recipes).

Just mix a mashed banana with a couple of eggs, and cook it like you would a pancake. If you’re really intent on adding in a third ingredient, mix in some baking powder for extra fluffiness, vanilla for extra flavor, or chocolate chips for extra comfort.

Chocolate Mug Cake

Photo by Stephanie Schoenster

If you don’t have time to be messing around with the stove, take the same banana/egg mixture, add some cocoa powder, and cook it in a mug in the microwave instead. Voila, your pancake just turned in to a mug cake.

Banana Ice Cream

Photo by Katherine Carroll

If you like your banana desserts chilled instead, puree a frozen banana in a food processor to make the simplest (and healthiest) homemade ice cream ever. You can also mix in almond milk to make the ice cream smoother or add chocolate chips because no dessert should be that simple.

Greek Yogurt Banana Poppers

Even without a food processor, you can enjoy frozen bananas for dessert. Step up their sweetness by dipping your banana slices in greek yogurt before freezing them. That leaves you an extra ingredient, so you can top your poppers with chocolate, coconut, or nuts.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Pops

If this string of overly healthy desserts is starting to get on your nerves, then here’s something slightly more decadent for you. This recipe steps up the classic chocolate dipped banana by mixing in peanut butter for an extra level of decadent deliciousness.

Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

You can’t talk about chocolate covered fruit without mentioning strawberries. This is by far the easiest (and most common) dessert to make your valentine’s date. If you want to get a little bit more creative, try making chocolate-dipped apricots instead.

Pineapple S’mores

You don’t have to top your fruit with chocolate. In fact, why not use use your fruit to replace the chocolate? By swapping the Hershey’s bar with pineapple, this s’mores recipe allows even the chocolate haters amongst us to enjoy everyone’s favorite campfire dessert.

S’mores Panini

You can also mix up your s’mores game by replacing the graham crackers with bread. It can be made inside and is five times larger than your average S’more. What more could you possibly want?

Peanut Butter and Jelly Panini

Most people don’t think of a PB&J as dessert, but by using cinnamon swirl bread, this recipe pushes everyone’s favorite lunch into the realm of sweet treats.

Single Serve Microwaveable Rice Krispie Treat

That PB&J has me feeling all nostalgic, so let’s talk about everyone’s favorite childhood dessert: Rice Krispie Treats. You don’t need a stove. Or someone to share with. Or even rice krispie cereal. You just need one minute and a love of all things sugary.

Dulce de Leche Rice Krispies

If you have extra time or need more rice krispies, then try this spin on the original. It may sound fancier than your classic rice krispie, but it actually requires fewer ingredients and less effort. Just mix some cereal with some melted dulce de leche and wait for that baby to set.

French Hot Chocolate

Not all French desserts require years of pastry experience. If you know how to heat milk, stir chocolate, and scoop brown sugar, then you have every skill that you need to make this classic French hot chocolate.

Chocolate Mousse

Maybe you like your chocolate more solid. That’s chill. Make a cold, creamy chocolate mousse. You seriously only need chocolate for this recipe (and water, but that doesn’t really count). If you can’t handle that level of simplicity, you can also add salt or cinnamon for extra flavor.

Chocolate Peppermint Bark

Maybe you like your chocolate completely solid. Don’t just eat a handful of chocolate chips. With only two kinds of chocolate, a few candy canes, and the will to do some melting, you could make a pretty peppermint bark.

Cranberry Pistachio Bark

Barks are seriously the best three ingredient desserts, because you seriously only need chocolate and whatever mix-ins you desire. Although this recipe calls for dark chocolate, you could also use white chocolate. The saltiness from the pistachios will help offset the sweetness.

Chocolate Bacon Bark

Photo by Analiese Trimber

If nuts just aren’t quite enough for you, then add in some bacon as well. The salt from the almonds combines with the umami flavor from the bacon and then encased in rich chocolate to create a flavor bomb that will blow your mind.

Rolo and Ritz Sandwiches

Photo by Holly Birchfield

Vegetarians don’t have to miss out on simple sweet and salty desserts. Toast some Ritz crackers and then sandwich a Rolo between two of them. The heat from the crackers will melt the Rolos, making a super cute sandwich. There’s no better dessert than the one you can eat with your fingers.

Chocolate-Covered Candy Pretzels

Photo by Isabelle Langheim

While we’re on the topic of simple sweet and salty desserts that you can eat with your hands, we might as well discuss chocolate-covered pretzels. Better yet, we could actually go make them. And then roll them in candy.

DIY Butterfingers

Photo by Jennifer Prechtl

Instead of dipping pretzels in candy, you could just try making your own. Candy making doesn’t have to be a complicated process. This recipe owes its simplicity to one odd ingredient: candy corn. You might love it. You might hate it. But I can guarantee you will enjoy these homemade butterfingers.

Homemade Mallomars

With all these simple DIY recipes, you’ll never have to go to the store again. These simple bite sized s’mores will leave you wondering why you ever bothered with the mess of toasting marshmallows over the campfire.

Homemade Thin Mints

Yes, you can even make Thin Mints at home. Use Ritz crackers to achieve the crunch and mint chocolate to get the flavor. You’ll never have to buy from another girl scout again (unless, of course, you’re actually a good person).

Thin Mint Cookie Truffles

Photo by Morgan Weinstein

If you already bought your Thin Mints, they don’t have to go to waste. With some cream cheese and chocolate, you can easily turn them in to truffles. They may sound sophisticated, but truffles actually require very few ingredients to make.

Gingerbread Cookie Truffles

Photo by Elizabeth Philip

You don’t need Thin Mints to make cookie truffles. Replace the thin mints with gingersnaps for a whole different flavor profile.

Oreo Cheesecake Truffles

Photo by Christine Pritula

This variation of cookie truffles calls for Oreos. The true genius of this recipe comes from its name. Throwing cheesecake in the title makes it sound far more difficult and time consuming than it actually is.

Chocolate Truffles

Even truffle recipes that aren’t made from cookies can be quite simple. This recipe only calls for chocolate, heavy cream, butter, and optional coatings, such as nuts or cocoa powder.

Dark Chocolate Avocado Truffles

Truffles don’t have to be that decadent. This recipe calls for avocados, which makes the truffles extra creamy and provides you with lots of essential vitamins.

Vegan Energy Balls

More proof that ball-shaped desserts can actually be good for you. The dates and chocolate give these bitesized goodies their sweet flavor, while the almonds make them crunchy and a good source of protein.

Chocolate Quinoa Squares

This good-for-you dessert also relies on dates for a natural and healthy source of sugar, but it uses quinoa instead of almonds to give you that protein-punch.

“Honey Bear” Dip

Photo by Kathryn Stouffer

You can also sneak protein in to your dessert using greek yogurt. Flavor it with some honey and peanut butter to make it sweet enough to call a dessert.

Cookies N’ Creme Spread

To make a more indulgent dessert dip, use cream cheese, powdered sugar, and Oreos instead. Technically, you’re supposed to smear this spread on to bagels, but that would be a fourth ingredient. So we’re just going to pretend that it’s a dip.

Dunakroo Dip

If you haven’t heard of Dunkaroos, you had no childhood. This snack pack of cinnamon cookies and vanilla frosting dip made its way in to quite a few lunch boxes throughout the 90’s, and now you can enjoy it at home. Just mix some Funfetti cake mix, greek yogurt, and cool whip to bring back all of your favorite childhood memories.

Boozy Brunch Muffins

For days when you’re in a more adult mood, ditch the Dunakroos and pick up the booze. The carbonation from the beer turns pancakes into muffins without the need for oil or eggs. It’s perfect recipe for those Sunday mornings when you’re feel too lazy and hungover to make a real brunch.

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Photo by Katherine Carroll

Even if you don’t have beer on hand, you can still make super simple muffins using cake mix. By adding pumpkin and applesauce, you can easily turn your cake mix into extra flavorful and super moist muffins.

Pumpkin Cookies

No muffin tin available? Just ditch the applesauce in the above recipe and turn it in to a cookie instead. Just as good. Just as easy.

Gluten-free Peanut Butter Cookies

For those of you who don’t dig pumpkin or can’t handle the gluten, we have the cookie recipe that you need. For this recipe, you only need peanut butter, eggs, and brown sugar.

Gluten-free and Vegan Peanut Butter Banana Cookies

If you’re allergic to gluten AND you’re vegan, you may think you’re straight out of luck. But even you can enjoy simple, three-ingredient desserts. Mix some bananas, oats, and peanut butter, and after 10 minutes in the oven, you’ve got yourself one hell of a cookie.

Coconut Macaroons

I included these to make sure to cover all dietary restrictions. Let’s say you can’t eat gluten or peanut butter. Meet the coconut macaroon, the naturally gluten-free cookie that only requires coconut, sweetened condensed milk, and chocolate. Even people without any allergies love these things.

Cake Mix Cookies

When you’re short on time and supplies, you can also make cookies by using cake mix. You can easily customize this recipe by using the cake mix flavor of your choice and adding in your favorite goodies (like chocolate chips or nuts).

No-Bake Cake

Sometimes, even baking cake mix cookies is too much effort. For those days, this recipe makes cake mix even easier. You just need some soda and a microwave. Sounds weird. Tastes great.

Cake Batter Milkshake

Let’s say you don’t even have access to a microwave. You can still turn cake mix into a perfectly delicious frozen dessert by mixing it in to a milkshake.

Icebox Cake

Icebox cakes serve as yet another way to get your cake and ice cream fix all in one. Well, technically it’s just layers of chocolate (or vanilla) cookies and whipped cream, but it is frozen and called cake.

Matcha Frozen Yogurt Pops

Frozen treats don’t have to be bad for you. Almond milk, yogurt, and matcha powder make a perfectly creamy and sweet popsicle that can cool you down and boost your immune system all at once.

Beef Jerky Recipes:

1. Bloody Mary Jerky

If you have ever had a Bloody Mary to drink, then you know that it is an alcoholic beverage (usually) that is tomato based.

So this recipe has a tomato base that comes together with your beef flavor to make one delicious high protein snack.

2. Sweet and Hot Jerky

This recipe is very similar to the one we use each year. It calls for brown sugar, liquid smoke, and many other delicious spices.

But I find it so delicious because of the smoky flavor it brings out in the meat, and it has a way of bringing sweet flavors and spicy flavors to the table. It is so delicious!

3. Dr. Pepper Beef Jerky

Do you love Dr. Pepper? If so, then you’ll probably love this meat. I love the recipe because not only does it bring the Dr. Pepper flavor to the forefront, but it is also so simple. It has only a few basic ingredients, and you can have some really delicious beef jerky.

It has only a few basic ingredients, and you can have some really delicious beef jerky.

4. Coffee Jerky Marinade

Do you love the flavor of coffee? Oh, me too! I am a coffee drinker, to put it mildly!

So when I see a recipe that can make my jerky have that hint of coffee also mixed with liquid smoke and other tasty spices like paprika and cumin, then I know it is right up my alley.

5. Sweet Cherry Beef Jerky

This may sound odd for a beef jerky choice, but I think it is actually a really delicious mixture. Who says that all jerky has to be spicy?

Well, according to this recipe, it doesn’t. This recipe calls for sweet cherries, almond extract, and sugar. It could end up being a high protein sweet fix when needed.

6. Citrus Basil Beef Jerky

Would you like to mix your fruits and your herb garden together? Maybe even bring a few essential oils into your beef jerky mix?

Well, if so, then you’ll love this recipe. It calls for herbs, citrus flavors, and essential oils. It could be your new favorite healthy and delicious snack.

7. Texas BBQ Beef Jerky

Do you love Texas style barbecue? Would you also love to have a super simple jerky recipe?

Well, again, if you answered yes to either or both of those questions, then this recipe could be just what you wanted. The ingredients are flavorful yet still simple.

8. Smokey Honey Glazed Beef

Our family raises bees. Needless to say, there are certain times of the year that we are flat out overrun with honey.

So when I saw that this recipe could help us utilize some of that, I was sold. This recipe is able to combine the sweet with the smoky. It is a flavorful combination.

9. The Mrs’s Beef Jerky

Did you think jerky was only a guy thing? Umm…you’d be wrong. Women love themselves some beef jerky! I know because I am one of them.

And apparently, this woman loves beef jerky just as much because she has come up with a flavorful concoction that will rock your beef jerky socks!

10. Jalapeno Lime Beef Jerky

So often in life, you find spicy foods mixed with citrus flavors. If you’ve ever wondered why it is because they are a perfect match.

Well, why change what has worked for years and years? Instead, let’s keep the flavor combo going with this recipe.

11. Sweet Heat Siracha Jerky

If you like spicy food, then you will probably love this jerky. It looks spicy even from the pictures.

However, I love spicy food so it makes my mouth water just looking at it. If you are part of the ‘spicy food club’ then you’ll want to try this.

12. Pineapple Beef Jerky

You may have never thought of adding pineapple to your beef jerky recipe, but thank goodness someone did because it looks delicious!

So the next time you see some crushed pineapple or pineapple juice hanging around your pantry, reach for the meat and make some tasty jerky.

13. Jalapeno Jerky

I have to tell you upfront that I love jalapenos. I think they are one of the best vegetables on the planet because they can be used in such versatile ways and pack a punch of heat too.

So why would I not be interested in a recipe that calls for jalapenos with my jerky? Well, I would be interested of course. You should check it out too.

14. Habanero Beef Jerky

If you have someone in your life (including yourself) that loves some serious heat, then you’ll want to check into this jerky recipe.

So it has a lot of ingredients and a disclaimer that this recipe is really spicy, but if you like the heat then you must get in the kitchen and make this jerky recipe.

15. Mexican Heat Beef

This recipe doesn’t appear to be as spicy as the previous recipe, but it still appears to pack some heat with it.

But the good news is that the ingredients are simple so you should be able to whip it up pretty easily.

16. Low Carb Oven Beef Jerky

My husband and I began following a low carb diet almost a year ago. It has made us feel so much better.

But snacks are hard to come by on a low carb diet. That was until we discovered jerky. It is delicious and filling. If you are a low-carb follower too, then you’ll want to check out this recipe.

17. Freakin’ Amazing Beef Jerky

I think the name of this recipe pretty well sums it all up for you. I mean, who wouldn’t want ‘freakin’ amazing beef jerky?’

Ummm….I know I do! Which is why I thought that this recipe needed to be shared with you so you could indulge yourself too.

18. Spicy Garlic Beef Jerky

If you are a garlic lover, then you’ll probably really want to check out this recipe. Even if you aren’t, if you like beer, then you’ll want to check it out as well.

So if you haven’t guessed, those ingredients are in this recipe and seem to make a really delicious product.

19. Western BBQ Jerky

My husband and boys are big barbecue fans. Their tastes in barbecue vary greatly though. My husband is a Carolina boy who loves vinegar based sauces.

But our boys were born in a different part of the country and love the ketchup based sauces that are sweeter. This recipe contains that kind of sauce.

20. Teriyaki Beef Jerky

This recipe calls for lots of common ingredients and one less common: Mirin. Yet, if you love teriyaki flavored beef jerky, then the hunt for a less common ingredient may be totally worth it to you.

So if you love the flavor and would like to enjoy homemade teriyaki beef jerky, then you’ll want to give this recipe a go.

Making Your Own Baking Powder

If your recipe calls for baking powder, yet all you have on hand is baking soda, making your own is easy. Simply combine one teaspoon of baking soda with two teaspoons of cream of tartar to yield one tablespoon of baking powder. Use it right away, as storing it may cause the chemical reaction to happen prematurely. And if you don't have cream of tartar lying around, you might as well just hit the store and buy some baking powder anyway. (Note: Most bakers keep cream of tartar ion hand for stabilizing egg whites when you whip them into a soufflé or meringue.

Make Ahead Keto Pancake Mix (Just Add Eggs and Butter)

Ever since I had kids, it seems my available time in the mornings has simply evaporated. Every morning is now a frantic scramble to get breakfast made, lunches packed, and the kids ready for school. That’s exactly why recipes like the one that I’m about to share with you are such a life saver. This make ahead keto pancake mix is perfect for being able to quickly make a healthy breakfast on those rushed early mornings. The pancake mix is incredibly easy to make, high in protein, and only requires adding a single egg along with some butter when you’re ready to cook them.

Time Saving Breakfast Pancakes

The pancake mix is actually incredibly easy to prepare in advance. Simply place your vanilla whey protein powder, almond flour, baking powder, and a pinch of salt into a bowl and make sure they’re mixed well. You can then keep this mixture stored in a sealable container or a jar until you’re ready to make the pancakes. The vanilla whey helps to make these pancakes extra filling as well, making it an ideal choice for a before school breakfast. Many studies have been conducted that have found eating a high protein breakfast in the morning has many incredibly beneficial effects for children and adolescents. Some of these benefits include regulating hormonal function and helping to suppress appetite and hunger throughout the day. (1)

When it comes time to actually make the pancakes, simply grab your pre-prepared pancake mix and add it into a bowl containing a single large egg and one tablespoon of melted butter. I try to always use grass fed butter with all of my recipes whenever possible, as it has a higher concentration of antioxidants and vitamins compared to butter from grain fed cows. (2) I would strongly recommend readers to do the same. I also find that it just tastes better as well!

After combining all of your ingredients, pour the batter onto a hot skillet and cook until small bubbles form on the top. Carefully flip the pancakes over and continue to cook them for another 30-60 seconds or so, and then voila! Your very own keto-friendly pancake breakfast is ready to go as easy as that. I’d also recommend making your own healthy, homemade pancake syrup ahead of time as well to enjoy with these.

Keto Toppings

Sugar-free Keto Chocolate Chips – You can actually make your own keto chocolate chips to make sure it’s low in carbs and contains no sugar. Most of the chocolate you’ll find in the store will still have some simple carbs, so it’s best to avoid them.

Slivered Almonds – Almonds are a great source of healthy fats and add some crunch to your pancakes. They go great with this particular pancake base since it’s made of vanilla whey protein powder and almond flour.

Cream Cheese – Cream cheese needs no further introduction. It’s rich, it’s creamy, and it transforms regular pancakes into a delectable dessert. Yum!

Crumbled Bacon – If you’re a fan of sweet and salty flavor combos like I am, you need to try adding some crumbled bacon to these pancakes. Or, you can go full on keto bomb and have these pancakes with bacon and eggs on the side.

Homemade Nut Butters – Nothing beats homemade nut butters because you know for sure there aren’t added carbs from sugar or thickeners. Nut butter will add a distinct flavor to your pancakes, so pair them accordingly. My personal favorite is cashew butter, but you can use almond butter, peanut butter, coconut butter, etc.

Desicated Coconut – Desicated coconut is low in carbs, high in fat, and has a sort of grainy texture. If you’re looking for something to mix with the smoothness and fluffiness of your pancakes, this is your best low-carb option.

10 Quick and Easy Baked Chicken Recipes

Ready to get back in those skinny jeans? Well, you can skip the fried chicken and try these baked chicken recipes instead. You won’t believe how much flavor is packed right in, and the texture is unbelievably crisp-tender!

1. Chicken with Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce – Made with the most amazing cream sauce ever. It’s so good, you’ll want to guzzle down the sauce. [GET THE RECIPE.]

2. Lemon Butter Chicken – Cream. Lemon. And butter. What more do you need? [GET THE RECIPE.]

3. Pan Roasted Lemon Chicken – Who needs fried chicken when you can get this Dijon-herb crust by roasting this to absolute crisp-perfection? [GET THE RECIPE.]

4. Baked Honey Sesame Chicken – The honey-sesame combo is so much better on these juicy chicken thighs, broiling the tops to get that amazing crispness. [GET THE RECIPE.]

5. Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic – Juicy, tender chicken served with an oh-so-creamy garlic sauce that the whole family will go crazy for. [GET THE RECIPE.]

6. Chicken with Creamy Mushroom Sauce – A mushroom sauce made completely from scratch – there’s absolutely no condensed cream of mushroom soup here. [GET THE RECIPE.]

7. Ranch Cheddar Chicken – You can never ever go wrong with a creamy, cheesy Ranch topping. [GET THE RECIPE.]

8. Lemon Chicken with Asparagus and Potatoes – This is truly an entire meal in a single skillet. Done and done. [GET THE RECIPE.]

9. Oven Fried Chicken with Honey Mustard Glaze – No one would ever guess that this was baked, not fried. And the honey mustard glaze is to. die. for. [GET THE RECIPE.]

10. Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken – The flavors of sweet and savory come together so perfectly in this epic garlic sauce. [GET THE RECIPE.]

. And the Winner Is

  • Fish sauce: Am I crazy? Possibly. But if soy sauce injects umami into a dish, fish sauce punches you in the face with umami. And for those of you that like a real hearty, meaty chili, fish sauce is an incredibly potent addition to your pot. You don't need very much of it to make a statement—and I would advise you use very little to avoid overpowering your stew.

While I ranked fish sauce higher, these two additions achieve such different flavors for chili that I recommend using one or the other, depending on what you prefer to emphasize in your own dish. (Or maybe. combine the two?! Yeah, my stomach isn't ready for that after all this testing, but one day!)

What Ingredients Are In Vietnamese Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Cham)

Now, don’t get all freaked out about one of the main ingredient of nuoc cham … fish sauce.

First question: What is fish sauce? Fish sauce is simply fermented fish that has broken down to become a tangy, funky sauce. It’s flavor is salty, earthy, a little bit caramel-y sweet, and totally distinct. A good quality, fish sauce hardly tastes fishy at all, and adds the unique salty bite that can’t be imitated by substituted ingredients in Vietnamese and Thai cooking.

When choosing fish sauce, always choose a high quality fish sauce that hasn’t been left opened in your cupboard for too long (the fishy flavor will become more pronounced.) And know that smaller quantities of the sauce goes a long way.

This is my favorite brand of quality fish sauce. It can be found online or at many Asian grocery stores.

Every great dressing needs an acid for balance. I use seasoned rice vinegar instead of regular rice vinegar because it already has a little sugar in it and I like it best for salad dressings. However, if you prefer to have more control over the amount of sugar in the dressing, use regular rice vinegar and add more or less sugar I’ve listed in the recipe to your taste.

Also, beware of confusing rice vinegar with rice WINE vinegar. This is how they’re different, producing very different tastes.

You can also add grated carrot or onion to the sauce for presentation or a squeeze of lime for more acid.