07 January 2009

Chinese Potluck

We were invited to Koji's school friends' house for a potluck today; yes, that's all we do with our friends is go to one another's homes and eat...

Our hostess decided the theme should be "Chinese," which made it really fun, and also a bit of a challenge to try and figure out what to make. Fortunately, there was feature in this month's issue of Cooking Light on Chinese New Year. I decided to try and make the sweet and sour chicken, but I didn't have any chicken and I didn't want to go to the market. Aogu ended up with

*spicy sweet-and-sour turkey meatballs
*white rice with a bit of brown mixed in

I also made a mandarin orange cake, but I was disappointed with the way it turned out, so I won't show you a picture or give you the recipe this time!

As for the rest of the family, Koji and Izumi ate lunch first with their friends, then the moms and I had lunch. By the time we finished, it was about 2:30 and I was stuffed. I thought I may not need dinner...look at the feast we had, as reflected in the "take home box" to the right.

What I didn't account for was the traffic driving home, or my need to keep Izumi awake. I decided to kill two birds with one stone by feeding them dinner in the car, which meant that I ever so reluctantly drove through McDonald's. Bah. Actually, I don't regret that as much as I am remorseful about buying two chicken McNugget Happy Meals only to find that the toys were no good. Next time, even if I make a fool of myself at the drive thru, I'll have to find out what the toys are and make my choices accordingly. And, though I thought I was so stuffed after that late lunch, I decided I had a space in my stomach for one of those dollar double burgers. But I thought I'd save calories by not having cheese...bah again. I need to make a resolution to resist that nasty food!

I was hoping that I could just link to the Cooking Light recipe I mentioned and save myself some time, but I think it's not up on the website yet because it's too new. Plus, I do want to record the way that I made it because of course, I made a few little changes.

Spicy Sweet-and-Sour Meatballs (Chicken) from Cooking Light, Jan./Feb. 2009
4 tsp. cornstarch, divided
5 tsp. low sodium soy sauce, divided (I used regular)
1 tsp. minced peeled fresh ginger (I threw in about 1/2 tsp. ground, I'm out of fresh)
1 tsp. dark soy sauce (I used regular)
1 tsp. Chinese rice wine (I used Japanese cooking sake)
1/8 tsp. white pepper (I left this out)
2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound pre-made meatballs, thawed and cut in half (or boneless skinless chicken breast cut in chunks)

1/2 cup fat free less sodium chicken broth (I used homemade)
1 T brown sugar
3 T ketchup
2 1/2 T rice vinegar
2 tsp. chile paste (I used "to ban jian," red chile miso)
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 T canola oil, divided

1 onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
3 stalks celery, sliced
1 giant "tree ear mushroom", reconstituted and chopped
NOTE: these veggies and amounts are what I used, not what the original recipe called for...they also specify 1 cup of diced fresh pineapple, but I prefer spicy and sour to sweet, so I deliberately left this out

Combine 2 tsp. cornstarch, 2 tsp. soy sauce and next 5 ingredients (through garlic) in a medium bowl. Add meatballs (chicken); stir to coat.

Combine chicken broth, remaining 2 tsp. cornstarch, brown sugar, remaining 1 T soy sauce, ketchup, vinegar, chile paste (to ban jian) and sesame oil in a separate bowl.

Heat 1/2 T of canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the vegetables (except for tree ear mushroom, if using) and saute for about four minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

Heat remaining 2 1/2 teaspoons of canola oil in the same pan. Add meatballs (chicken) and spread in an even layer; cook w/out stirring for one minute. Saute an additional three minutes or until chicken is done.

Return vegetable mixture to pan. Add chicken broth mixture, pineapple and/or tree ear mushroom if using and stir well to combine. Bring to a boil; cook one minute or until thickened, stirring constantly. Serves eight.

1 comment:

JulieAnn and the Captain said...

How fun. I look forward to seeing your meals :)