I can’t believe that I made it to the final episode and with two winning rounds under my belt. My life has changed tremendously since this whole thing has started. A lot of what happens next is depending on the final round so the pressure is on this week.

The theme for this week is “family style”. I chose to go with Vietnamese food. My travels in Asia showed me a family meal should be slow, with large plates shared and enjoyed one by one. Most important, the love and effort put into preparing this special meal needs to be visible. Give any of these dishes a try. Let me know what you think. Lets hope the judges enjoy.

Turkey Stuffed Grape Leaves:

This dish would make a great appetizer or can be paired with a noodle dish for a wonderful full meal.

30 Grape Leaves from Jar (rinsed)

1 pound ground turkey

1/8 Cup Gluten Free Soy sauce

2 Tbsp Hosen Sauce

2 Tbsp Seracha

1 tsp Salt

1 tsp pepper

1/8 cup of Sage Mix (sage, garlic, oregano, bail )

2 tsp garlic grated

1 Tbsp. grated ginger

2 green onions, chopped

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. In a bowl, mIx all ingredients except for the grape leaves. Then place about 2 Tbsp of mix on a grape leaf. The leaves vary in size which may change the amount of filling. Next, roll the filling in the grape leaf to make a tight little cigar-shaped morsel. Last, place all the finished rolls on a cookie sheet and bake for about 8 min. and then turn each roll and cook an additional 3 minutes.

Grape leaves can be prepared ahead and even frozen for a quick addition to any meal.

Papaya Salad

Makes a great light summer meal or fun appetizer for a crowd


4 Cups grated green papaya (I buy it pre-grated at the market, looks like spaghetti)

2 Cups grated carrots ( I also buy it pre-grated)

1/4 cup pre-mixed Vietnamese fish sauce (This is important to pay attention to; Most fish sauce in its original form, is pure brown at most markets. For this recipe, we are looking for the one that is clear with a red tint and different spices floating in it. It has added sugar and vinegar that tremendously transform the flavor.

1 Tbsp. Brown Sugar

2 Thai chili peppers with seeds removed and chopped fine.

1/3 Cup chopped cilantro

1/3 Cup chopped Basil

1/3 Cup chopped mint

3 Tbsp. peanuts

Juice of 1/2 lime

One dozen raw large shrimp, cleaned

Lemon Grass

Salt and Pepper

Place Papaya, carrots, herbs, chili’s, sauce and lime juice in the bowl and stir well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover bowl and place in fridge for at least 1 hour. While salad cools, string shrimp on to lemon grass just like you would for a skewer. Lightly salt and pepper the shrimp and cook quickly on a hot pan making sure not to overcook them. Once fish is cooked, allow it to cool on a separate plate. Remove salad from fridge and give it a final mix. Drain extra dressing and neatly place salad on plate. Shrimp skewer can go neatly on top of salad. Last, garnish the dish with the peanuts.

Pork Bun

This is a big meal on its own. You can really top it with any protein you may have.


Pork Tenderloin (Trim any extra fat)

2 Tbsp. Peanut Butter

1 Tbsp. seracha

2 Tbsp. Hoisin sauce

2 Tbsp. Soy sauce (gluten free)

1 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. Brown Sugar

1 tsp. Pepper


3 Cups cooked and cooled rice noodles

1 Cup carrots, julienne

1 Cup cucumbers, seeded and julienned

1/3 Cup chopped cilantro

1/3 Cup chopped Basil

1/3 Cup chopped mint

3 Tbsp. peanuts

1/4 cup pre-mixed Vietnamese fish sauce

1 jalapeno pepper

2 cups chopped romaine lettuce

Starting with the pork, in a large bowl mix peanut butter, seracha, Hoisin, Soy sauce (gluten free) and brown sugar. Next, salt and pepper meat and place in sauce to marinade overnight. The best way to do this is by putting the marinade and tenderloin in a big zip lock bag and continue to massage marinade into meat.

When ready to prepare the dish, place meat on cookie sheet and cook for an hour covered at 350 degrees. Remove cover and cook an additional 20 min.

While meat is cooking, the noodles can be assembled. In a large bowl place rice noodles in half, lettuce in ¼, carrots in 1/8 and cucumbers in 1/8. The ingredients are mixed when eating but this really creates a great look to the dish when separated this way. If the noodles are sticking add a small amount of fish sauce and mix around before adding to the bowl. Cover and Sprinkle all the herbs on top. When meat is done and rested for about 10 minutes, slice it thin and place on top of the bowl. Garnish with extra seracha, hoisin and peanuts. Serve this dish with a small bowl of fish sauce and jalapeno pepper rounds floating. The sauce is added to the dish at the table and stirred to mix well.

Taro Frozen Yogurt

Refreshing and healthy treat

1 Cup plain fat free yogurt

2 Cups water

4 tbsp. dry taro powder

1/3 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. cinnamon

Combine all ingredients except yogurt in a pot. Stir on medium heat until liquid seems to thicken and reduce slightly. After about 20 minutes, remove pot from heat and add yogurt stirring to mix very well. Use a blender to remove any lumps and create a smooth product. Cool mix in fridge for at least an hour. Last, pour mix into ice cream machine and allow it to set up for about 30 minutes. Place finished product into bowl and serve immediately, it melts fast.












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