Comfort Food: Chicken and Rice Soup


When I’m sick, I’m a big baby, BIG baby. And when my mom was still alive, no matter how old I got, if I was sick, I could always go to her and she’d make me some of her magic maman soup and everything would be better. Then I would take a nap and feel better. Now that she’s gone, I’m forced to make it myself. It doesn’t have the same touch as love from my mom, but it still does make me feel comforted.


Start off with some bone in, whole chicken pieces. Thighs or breast, your preference. Salt, lemon grass and ginger. THAT’S IT. Bring to a boil and let simmer until chicken is cooked. Remove the chicken, then scoop up all the fat and gunk at the top.


Then add rice to the broth, cook until rice is tender.


Mix in shredded chicken pieces. And serve with your favorite toppings! I like chili oil, white pepper and sometimes a little green onion and cilantro.

Since this is made with love, I didn’t really keep track of how much what, in where. This is definitely going into my cook book, once I start keeping track of measurements. If you want to try it out yourself, feel free to contact me (twitter, facebook, IG), and I’ll try to help you out!


Crab Bisque

Another soup to keep you warm? Crab bisque. This is a pretty quick easy way to do it. Again there are no measurements. Because I am using condensed Campbells soup, the more milk the better or it will be way too salty!!!

Stir in the lump crabmeat and heat on medium until steaming, do not let it boil.

Add curry powder and black pepper to taste. Easy right? You gotta keep tasting and alternating milk and curry until you get it the way you like. If it tastes bad, that is your fault not mine! Once you get it steaming and the taste you like, enjoy! I like it with a little bit of toasted, buttered, garlicky bread.

Crab Bisque

1 can (10.5oz) of Condensed tomato soup
1 can (10.5oz) of Cream of mushroom
Lump cooked crabmeat
Whole milk
Curry Powder

In a pot whisk together the tomato soup and cream of mushroom. Add one can of milk to start. Whisk until well mixed. Add crabmeat, make sure not to add to much. You want it to be a good amount of crab per bite, not too much, not too little. Stir till well mixed, turn on the heat to medium. Bring it to steaming, NEVER LET IT BOIL. Stir frequently so it doesn’t burn on the bottom. Once hot, taste it. And add black pepper, salt, and curry to taste. If its still too salty, add milk to make it creamy.

Lao Suki Yaki


According to wikipedia,

Sukiyaki in Laos takes the form of a bowl of bean thread noodles, various vegetables, thinly-sliced beef and other meats or seafood, sukiyaki sauce, and a raw egg in beef broth. The sukiyaki sauce is made from coconut, fermented tofu, tahini, peanut butter, sugar, garlic, lime and spices.


That’s a general explanation of it. My mom made the sauce with red curry, pickled garlic, fermented red bean curd, peanut butter, dried shrimp and love. It was my most favorite dish growing up. After we used up all the broth, we would also eat it this way.




When we found out that my mom didn’t have much longer to live, I realized I might not ever have her cooking again. Nor will my children get to taste how great their grandmother cooked. That’s when I decided I wanted to make a cookbook of Maman’s recipes and stories of the times I spent in the kitchen with her. That project has been worked on and off in the past 3 years. Still working on it.




I remember in the last couple weeks before my mom’s passing, she wanted to make suki yaki with me one last time. I couldn’t have asked for a better thing to do with her. Since it takes all day, it took a lot of energy out of her, so she did it with naps in between. I did everything, with her guidance. Now when I make it, I can picture us in my aunts kitchen, barefoot. Me in jeans, her in her pajamas. She was so frail and seemed smaller since the cancer was sucking the life out of her. But here she was, spending this time with me, telling me how to do everything her way.

I will forever be transported to that day whenever I cook this.

Butternut Squash Soup

So guess what. I’ve never had butternut squash before, let alone the soup. My friend made me some that was so delicious, that I had to make some for myself. You can make it in a variety of ways, but here’s how I did it. A coworker gave me 2 butternut squashes from his garden, that’s what initiated this interest in cooking them.

Like most cooking there’s always the mirepoix and here it is, carrots, celery and onions. I didn’t want the soup to be too smooth, so these gave it something nice to bite into.

The hot italian sausage was definitely the base of the soup. Spicy, sweet, salty comforting deliciousness is this soup.

Topped off with a little sage and cream.

You’d be surprised at how much soup 2 butternut squashes make. I’m still eating it. It’s full of spices, sweet and savory and just so comforting. I’m glad this made it into my list of soups, or else I’d be missing out.

Butternut Squash Soup
2 medium to large butternut squash
Olive oil
1 tbsp of chinese five spice
1/2-1 tbsp cayenne pepper
salt and black pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 400F. Peel and chop butternut squash to 1 inch cubes. In sheet pan, spread out butternut squash. Mix with rest of ingredients. Roast for 30-40 minutes mixing every 10 minutes in pan so it can brown on all sides. When done (when a fork can easily be inserted), mash with potato masher or in food processor while hot.

At this point you can freeze until ready for use, or continue…

3 hot italian sausages, casing removed
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium carrots, chopped fine
3 stalks celery, chopped fine
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 tbsp thyme
mashed roasted butternut squash
3-4 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper, to taste
1-2 tablespoons sage, chiffoned
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream


In large pot over medium-high heat, break up and brown sausages. Add minced garlic, saute for a minute or two. Add a tablespoon or two of olive oil if needed. Add carrots, celery, and onion. Add in thyme. Saute until carrots are slightly softened.

Add in mashed roasted butternut squash. Add in chicken broth gradually. Stir throughout. Add more if you want a slightly soupier consistency. Add in salt and pepper to taste.

Let simmer at low heat for 20-30 minutes. At this point, you can choose whether you want to blend it smooth or not. After, add in sage, cook for a minute or two. Add heavy whipping cream to taste. I added 1/2 cup, depends on how thick and creamy you want it to be.

Mama Miemo’s Chillin’ Chili

Another cold weather favorite. Chili in the belly for chilly nights… or days depending on when you are eating this hearty bowl of goodness. An awesome thing about chili? You really can’t go wrong with throwing things in a pot and simmering for a couple hours.


I’ve had good feedback on my Chillin’ Chili. You can try it for yourself. And always remember taste as you season. My measurements on the spices are just an estimate, you can do more or less, depending on your preferences. Enjoy!

Mama Miemo’s Chillin Chili


1.5 lbs ground beef
14 oz can of tomato sauce
15.5 oz can pinto beans with liquid
15.5 oz can kidney beans with liquid
1 medium onion, diced
4.5 oz can diced green chilies
2 stalks celery, diced
4 vine ripened tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp red cayenne pepper
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp lawry’s seasoning salt
2 tsp chipotle seasoning
1 cup water

Brown ground beef in your chili pot, then drain. Smash and stir into crumbles. Add tomato sauce, beans with their liquid, and the rest of the ingredients. Stir and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, stirring often for at least two hours.

Serve with cheese, sour cream or anything else you like!


Izakaya Blue Ocean Restaurant: Ramen

After hearing many great things, and being recommended this place often, I finally got the chance to try Blue Ocean Restaurant. I hear their sushi is GREAT and their ramen is flavorful. But that would be too much for me to judge on at once, so let’s break it down by food. Today we are talking soup. Ramen noodle soup to be exact.

I ordered the soy ramen soup. And that was it. It came out in a perfect portion, for me. Meaning it wasn’t a huge bowl that I was doomed to waste. There was bamboo, a seaweed sheet, scallions, half a boiled egg, and piece of pork. Your standard ramen bowl. No extras to add in were even offered on the menu. Just straight up ramen.

And that was all it needed to be. The noodles were a perfect texture, the soup full of flavor. WOW. I did not expect this from a non dedicated noodle joint. I am happy. Maybe all the other places had too many choices? And I made the wrong choice? Now I have to reevaluate and try ALL the soups every where else. Or maybe not. But yes. It was GOOD. and I am satisfied. Better than Tanpopo for me.

Tanpopo Ramen

Ramen, Pho, Suki Yaki, all these things have something in common. They are noodle soups, and they are all comforting. AND I NEEDED IT. After getting poked and prodded by doctors the other week, and STILL being sick a week later I needed some comfort food. Not up for the trek out to my beloved Toki Underground, we decided to try out Tanpopo Ramen House in Annandale.

I’ve heard mixed reviews about this place, noting that things got better as its been opened longer. Sick and wanting a fatty broth I went for it. A dark restaurant inside a tiny shopping center it gave the hole in the wall feel that you’d expect from a ramen house. They also served sushi. The walls were covered with cute ramen eating faces. There were only 2 other tables when we got there, and service was good, even though we were in the back corner away from everyone.

I got the tonkatsu. It was milky, and noodley and had all the soothing qualities I needed at that moment. It wasn’t as savory and POW like Toki’s…but it definitely gets the job done for something you don’t want to drive out the city, and look for parking, or wait for. But that’s the trade off. I was sick, and needed something to warm my insides. They have a couple different broths to choose from and plenty of add ons. I will definitely give it another shot when I’m not stuffed up and dying.

Tanpopo Ramen House
4316 Markham St
Annandale, VA 22003