Category Archives: Chinese

Egg Roll Tostadas

I do not like egg rolls.  When we have Chinese out, my husband orders 6.  My daughter eats two and my husband eats the rest.  All that slimy cabbage and barely any meat.  I do like the crispy part of the wrapper though.  In fact, I’ve been known to peel the crispy wrapper off and eat it – leaving behind any soft wrapper and all the filling.  So, when I was scanning Pinterest for new dinner ideas the other day, I saw a pin for egg roll bowls.  I’ll be honest, I didn’t even click on the pin.  I saw the title and thought, “I can do this.  And, I can do it in a way I like that is as healthy as it is delicious!”  And thus, this recipe was born.  There’s another budget tip here.  I got broccoli in my Bountiful Baskets basket last time.  So many people toss the stems, but I just can’t see doing that.  I know when I buy it from the store, I pay per pound for those stems.  Instead, I use those pieces in soups or slaws or, now, in these delicious tostadas.  Wanna cut back on the carbs even more, serve it up in a bowl with one or two wrappers on the side (or just eat the filling alone, it is THAT good).

This recipe does take quite a bit of prep time.  If you’re crunched for time, you could buy broccoli slaw and shredded carrots at your local grocery, or you could run this all through the grater (the texture will be different though).  I started by julienning equal parts carrots, bell pepper and broccoli stems and shredding twice as much cabbage. Aren’t they beautiful!

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After your veggies are prepped, cook your meat, drain it and set it to the side.  I used ground beef, but pork or even turkey would be just as delicious.  Then, in the same pan you cooked your meat in, heat 2 Tablespoons oil.  Add onion, garlic, ginger and red chile flake to the hot oil and sauté just until onion is soft.  Add carrot, bell pepper and broccoli to the pan and sauté for 4-5 minutes, or until it just starts to get a little tender.  Add your cabbage and stir for 2-3 minutes.  Then, add the meat  and soy sauce and heat through.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Fry up some round won ton wrappers and serve a generous spoonful of filling on top.  These are garnished with julienned cucumber.

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Recipe:

1 cup julienned bell pepper

1 cup julienned carrot

1 cup julienned broccoli stems

2 cups shredded cabbage

1 pound ground beef (or pork or turkey)

2 Tablespoons oil

1/2 medium onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1″ ginger, diced

pinch red chile flake

2 Tablespoons soy sauce

Fried round won ton wrappers

In a large skillet, brown ground beef.  Drain and set aside.

In the same skillet, heat oil over high heat.  Add onion, garlic, ginger and chile flake.  Sauté until the onion is translucent.  Add bell pepper, carrot and broccoli.  Sauté 4-5 minutes, until vegetables just start to get tender.  Add cabbage and sauté 2-3 minutes more.  Stir in meat and soy sauce until heated through.  Season with salt and pepper if necessary.  Serve on crispy won ton skins.

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Sesame Chicken

About a year ago, my doctor suggested a drastic diet change.  It included severely limiting foods with a high glycemic index – like corn products and white flour and refined sugar.  I started looking at my diet and panicked.  Every single meal I made had at least one of these now restricted items.  Also, it is hard to eat out and miss those items.  My daughter especially loves Chinese food.  She calls it eggy soup.  None of the Chinese places around here have a brown rice option and I just don’t have the willpower to not eat fried rice if it is on the table.  That’s a problem.  That problem is only complicated by the fact that one of the only Chinese dishes I will eat (and certainly my favorite dish) is sesame chicken.  These chunks of chicken come out fried crispy in a batter that I guarantee has both cornstarch and flour.  Those crispy bites are doused in a super sweet sauce that I bet is more sugar than honey and is thickened with cornstarch.  I just know it.  So, I had to come up with a substitute.  There is still a good bit of honey in this, and I serve it over brown rice loaded with veggies, but it is definitely better than the restaurant version as far as cutting refined carbs and it tastes really good too.

Start by mixing up you honey, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger and garlic.  You can add some chile flake if you like a little heat, but I don’t right now because my kids prefer it without. Cube up your chicken into bite size pieces and stir it into the marinade.  Let it sit for 30 minutes or so.

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Heat up some oil in a heavy skillet.  Carefully add the chicken and the marinade.

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Cook over high heat until chicken is cooked through and sauce is thickened to a glaze.  Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve over veggie fried rice (the one in the picture has asparagus and almonds).

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Recipe:

1/2 cup honey

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 Tablespoon soy sauce

1 Tablespoon vinegar

1/2″ fresh ginger, grated

2 cloves garlic, grated

1 pound chicken, cubed

1 Tablespoon oil

1 Tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Mix together honey, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger and garlic.  Stir in cubed chicken and let marinate for 30 minutes.

Heat oil over high heat in a heavy skillet.  Carefully add chicken and marinade to skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, until chicken is cooked through and sauce is thick (about 10 minutes).

Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve with fried rice.

Andouille Potstickers

The other night, we were watching Diners, Drive ins and Dives.  Guy visited the Highway 61 Roadhouse and enjoyed their CajAsian potstickers.  Now, we love Andouille sausage at my house.  His recipe used fresh Andouille, which I can’t get.  And, since Andouille tends to be on the spicy side, I needed something to tame it down a bit for the little mouths I feed.  Thus, my Andouille potsticker was born.  These little dumplings are divine, but prep takes a large chunk of time (unless you are a seasoned dumpling maker – which I am not).  I start by dicing up my pre-cooked Andouille sausage and tossing it in a hot skillet to brown.

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Yes, I’m using my cast iron again.  I love my cast iron and someone once told me that cooking in it helps keep your iron levels in the normal range (and since I’m almost always slightly anemic, I figure it’s worth a shot).  While my sausage is browning a bit, I dice up a whole package of button mushrooms and add them in. This not only bulks up the filling amount, but also helps tone down the spice level without making a significant change in flavor.

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I know it looks like a lot of mushrooms, but I promise they cook down a lot.  Just keep cooking them until they’re nice and brown.  Then turn off the heat and let the filling cool.

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I used square wonton wrappers this time because it was what the store had.  You can certainly use round ones or even cut full size egg roll wrappers into wonton size squares.  The trick here is to not overfill the wrappers. About a tablespoon of filling is all you can easily fit in one of these dumplings.  Use your finger to wet two sides of the square before you fold it over and seal the edges.  Try to squish out as much of the air as you can before you seal them completely.  Store them covered with a towel until you are ready to cook (unless you’ve got two people working in tandem to fill and cook).

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Now, I am sure that my potsticker cooking method is not traditional, but it works for me and they taste good.  Feel free to cook them the ‘right’ way instead of my way.  Heat a large skillet over high heat until it is hot.  Do not use a non-stick skillet for this. Do use a skillet with a tight fitting lid. Brush the bottom of the skillet with a thin layer of oil and place 6-8 dumplings in the pan.  Don’t over crowd your pan.

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Cook over high heat for 2-3 minutes or until the bottom sticks to the pan and is a nice golden brown. I pried one off the bottom of the pan so you could see what it looks like. 

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Add about 1/4 cup of water to the pan, place the lid on, turn the heat off and walk away for a minute or two. Just FYI, trying to snap a picture of this step is almost impossible and will most likely result in a nasty steam burn.  You’ve been warned. However, when the water has evaporated, you should have nice, glossy dumplings waiting for you.

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Remove this batch to a plate, reheat your skillet and start again. Resist the urge to eat each batch as they come out or your family will wonder why you aren’t eating your dinner.

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Serve dumplings alongside a hearty scoop of veggie fried rice (I make mine with brown rice) and enjoy.

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Recipe:

1 pound Andouille sausage

1 pint white button mushrooms

1 package wonton wrappers

water

oil

Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Dice sausage into small pieces (about 1/8″ cubes).  Add sausage to hot skillet stirring occasionally.  While sausage begins cooking, dice mushrooms into similar sized pieces.  Add all the mushrooms to the skillet at the same time. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are cooked down and everything is brown.  Remove from heat and cool.

Take one wonton wrapper and place it in front of you.  Keep the rest of the package covered with a towel to keep them from drying out.  Place about a tablespoon of cooled filling just off center on the wonton wrapper. Dip your fingertips in water and run along two of the straight sides (or around half the circle if using round wrappers).  Fold wrapper over and press firmly to seal edges. Try to press out as much of the air around the filling as possible.  Place on a covered tray and repeat until you run out of filling or wrappers (or until you get tired of making dumplings).

Place a skillet over high heat (not a non-stick skillet).  When skillet is hot, brush the bottom with oil and place 6-8 dumplings in the hot skillet and cook for about 2 minutes – until the dumplings stick to the pan and are golden brown.  Pour about 1/4 cup water into the hot skillet and immediately cover with a lid. Let the dumplings steam for 1-2 minutes.  Remove dumplings. Reheat skillet and repeat until all dumplings are cooked. Serve as an appetizer or with fried rice for a main dish.