After Chungah Rhee gained 30 pounds during her senior year of college, she knew her nightly takeout habit had to go. Her desire to clean up her diet led to Damn Delicious, a blog packed with super-simple recipes that prove it is possible to make nutritious and tasty meals at home, without a lot of fuss. Rhee's new cookbook—also called Damn Delicious ($25, amazon.com)—compiles 100 of her favorites, including more than a dozen "takeout copycats" that taste so much better than anything you'd get delivered to your door.
Below you'll find a "faux" shrimp pad thai, made with linguine noodles instead of rice noodles (since those can be tough to find and cook correctly); a smoked salmon cobb salad with Greek yogurt ranch dressing (at half the calories of the traditional mayo-and-sour cream version); and everyone's favorite sushi roll, but in a bowl.
Faux Shrimp Pad Thai
3 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
1 tsp. sambal oelek (ground fresh chile paste), plus more to taste
Juice of 1 lime
8 oz. dried linguine (white or whole-grain)
1 cup bean sprouts
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 carrot, grated
2 green onions, thinly sliced
¼ cup peanuts, chopped
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 lime, cut into wedges, for garnish
- Make the sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, brown sugar, fish sauce, sambal oelek, lime juice, and 1 tablespoon water; set aside.
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta according to package instructions. Just 2 minutes before the pasta is cooked, add the bean sprouts; drain well.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the shrimp and black pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are pink, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the pasta and sauce to the skillet, and gently toss to combine. Make a well in the center of the skillet, and pour in the beaten eggs. Stir in the eggs until cooked through and well combined, about 2 minutes. If you want bigger chunks of eggs, scramble them separately, chop, and toss them back into the skillet near the end of cooking.
- Serve immediately, topped with the carrot, green onions, peanuts, and cilantro, and garnished with the lime wedges, if desired.
Smoked Salmon Cobb Salad
Greek yogurt ranch dressing
1⁄3 cup plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup buttermilk
¼ tsp. dried dill
¼ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. onion powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 slices bacon, diced
5 cups loosely packed baby arugula (about 3 1⁄2 ounces)
2 large hard-boiled eggs (see note), diced
4 oz. thinly sliced smoked salmon, cut crosswise into 1⁄2-inch ribbons
1 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled, and sliced
½ cup corn kernels, frozen (thawed) or roasted
- Make the Greek yogurt Ranch dressing: Whisk together the yogurt, buttermilk, dill, garlic powder, and onion powder in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon, and cook until brown and crispy, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate; set aside.
- To assemble the salad, put the arugula in a large bowl; arrange individual rows of the bacon, eggs, salmon, avocado, and corn. Serve immediately with the Greek yogurt Ranch dressing.
Note: To prepare hard-boiled eggs, put the eggs in a large saucepan and cover with cold water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, and cook for 1 minute. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid, and remove it from the heat; set aside for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain well, and let the eggs cool before peeling and dicing.
California Roll Bowls
2 cups leftover room temperature white or brown rice, or quinoa
2 tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. sesame oil
¼ tsp. salt
8 oz. lump crabmeat, chopped
1 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled, and diced
1 cucumber, julienned
1 carrot, julienned
¼ cup roasted shredded seaweed
1 tbsp. sushi-grade orange fish roe, for garnish, optional
1 tbsp. black sesame seeds, for garnish, optional
- In a large bowl, mix together the rice, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, and salt.
- Divide the rice among serving bowls. Top each bowl with the crabmeat, avocado, cucumber, and carrot.
- Serve immediately, garnished with the seaweed, roe, and sesame seeds, if desired.
Recipes reprinted with permission from Oxmoor House.