Monday, November 28, 2011

Homemade Pork Pot Stickers

Well the long holiday weekend is over, and it was back to work for me and I’m sure most of you!  I was lucky enough to be able to do some field work this morning (i.e. I was outside and it was GORGEOUS out today!), so my first day back was alright ;)

I recently received a few coupons to try out some Nasoya products!  I cashed in this weekend, and was most excited to try out the wonton wrappers!


Wonton wrappers are one of those products I’ve seen on countless blogs and it seems the possibilities for them are endless.  However, I wanted to start simple and decided to try my hand at some homemade pot stickers!


I remembered seeing Elina’s video a while back and it seemed pretty simple. 


I browsed a few recipes and ultimately combined them to make my own version using ground pork (I tend to steer clear of poultry the days following Thanksgiving weekend…turkey overload).


Pork Pot Stickers
Adapted from Cooking Light

  • 1/2 lb lean ground pork
  • 1 cup finely chopped Napa cabbage
  • 1 cup finely chopped Bok Choy
  • 1 T low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp fresh peeled, minced ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup diced shitake mushrooms
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup chopped scallions
  • 24 wonton wrappers (such as Nasoya)
  • 2 tsp canola oil, divided
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • Dipping Sauce of choice! (such as Trader Joe’s Gyozo sauce)
  1. Heat a large non-stick skillet over med-med/high heat, spray with canola oil cooking spray, add pork and cook for 3-4 min until meat is mostly cooked.  Then add garlic, ginger, and mushrooms, and continue cooking 2-3 min more.
  2. Add soy sauce, sesame oil, cabbage, and bok choy.  Cook for 4-5 minutes until the cabbage and bok choy begins to wilt.
  3. Add lemon zest and scallions, cook for another 2 min.  Turn off heat, and set aside.
  4. Now you’ll want to prepare a “wrapping station”: get your wonton wrappers ready, have a small bowl of water for dipping your fingers, and have your filling nearby.  Wash your hands!
  5. Take 1 wonton, spoon a small amount of filling (just under a Tbsp), and place it in the center of your wonton wrapper.  Wet your fingers in the water, and rub water around all 4 edges of your wrapper.
  6. Bring corners of wonton wrapper together and press the edges to seal in the filling.  You create a triangle shaped pot sticker.  Transfer to a platter and continue until all the filling is used up.
  7. At this point you can re-use your pan and just wipe it down with a paper towel.
  8. Heat the pan at med heat and add 1 tsp canola oil.  Add 12 of your pot stickers to the pan seam side up, and cook for 1-2 min until the bottoms start to brown.  Then add 1 cup broth, cover, and cook for 4-5 min or until wonton skins look softened and cooked.
  9. Repeat step 8 with remaining pot stickers, pouring out excess broth after the first batch. 
  10. Enjoy with your favorite dipping sauce!

These were AWESOME!!  Loved the filling even on it’s own! The hint of lemon was so delicious.


  • I shredded my cabbage and bok choy in the food processor.
  • I also chopped up extras of all my veggie ingredients to make a lo Mein to go with the meal!  I used Lizzy’s recipe as a a guide, minus the shrimp, and just using the veggies I had chopped up plus some broccoli and broccoli slaw.  I used the Nasoya Chinese noodles for the lo mien. 


Veggie Lo Mein actions



The pot stickers were really the star of the meal!    IMG_2235

Next time I’m making a huge batch a head of time, having a wonton-filling assembly line with help from Brian and just keep these babies in the freezer.  If you want to freeze them, fill them, seal them, then freeze them on a cookie sheet first then transfer to a freezer bag or airtight container.

Now on a random note I HAVE to share a new purchase with you.


So I realize this isn’t exactly a “share worthy” outfit, but the item I wanted to show you was my fun new leggings!!


They are from Nordstrom (hosiery dept), Navy blue with a fun Nordic print on the lower leg!  They also come in grey.  I love them.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Thanksgiving Salad

Hope you all had (or are still having) a fabulous Thanksgiving!  For us, we just knocked off our 2nd out of 3 Turkey Dinners of the week…oh boy.

#1 – Friendsgiving at our house
#2 – Thanksgiving Day -  Dinner at my aunts
#3 – A Thanksgiving dinner at Brian’s Family in NH on Saturday

So much turkey! 

The only downfall to having an early Friendsgiving, is that I’m usually kind of sick of turkey by today.  Not completely, and I really enjoyed today’s dinner, especially the sides that were different than what I made (my aunt did garlic mashed potatoes and they were divine).

To counteract the Turkey dinner overload, I decided to bring a fresh colorful green salad!


I wanted something with a Fall-theme to it, but with lots of fresh veggies and fruits! 

I came across this salad on the Whole Foods website:
“Thanksgiving Green Salad”….sounded perfect to me!


This salad combined mixed greens, fresh chopped fennel, orange segments, dried cranberries, and candied pecans all tossed with a raspberry balsamic dressing! 

I also had the bright idea to add some crumbled goat cheese!  It’s pictured, but the cheese went excellent with the other ingredients.


I opted to peel and segment my oranges with a knife (I used 4 large navel oranges), instead of just peeling them and using the break-apart segments…I just think it looks nicer :)

I also have a few family members who can’t eat nuts or seeds, so I left the candied pecans in a bowl on the side so people could add them on their own.  I also had to strain the pureed raspberries to get rid of the seeds.


I packed the dressing in a mason jar and tossed the salad at my aunts house right before dinner!  From what I heard, it seemed everyone liked it!!  I really enjoyed it and can’t wait to re-create it at home.  I forget how much I love fresh fennel.

This girl needs to get to sleep now though…Black Friday tomorrow!!  I know most people won’t go anywhere near stores tomorrow, but my mom and I love it!  We don’t go all 1am @ Best Buy crazy, but we get to the mall around 7am…early, but not “crazy” early…yet early enough to not have to deal with traffic or finding a parking spot.  We browse around, try and get some Christmas shopping started, have an early-ish lunch, shop some more and head home :)  It’s just something we love doing together…although day after Christmas is my favorite (this is my 2nd fav…ok maybe 3rd after Birthday shopping ;)

Again, I hope everyone got to spend some time with family and/or friends today…those who you’re most thankful for :) 

Christmas will be here before you know it…

Monday, November 21, 2011

Turkey Talk: Friendsgiving 2011

A couple of weeks ago I realized my friends and I have been getting together for our own pre-Thanksgiving dinner for 10 YEARS!!  This was our 10th annual Friendsgiving…or as we like to call it “House Thanksgiving”…previously known as “Apartment Thanksgiving”, but then I bought a house :)
I’m thrilled that we’ve kept this tradition going since junior year of college!!  (also makes me feel kinda old)
Most of my classic recipes are on the blog already, so I’ll just give you the run-down and let you know what I changed up for 2011 and what I’m already thinking for 2012!
The standards:
Turkey…but of course.  I don’t really know why but I always feel the need to get a 20+ lb turkey, regardless of my guest list.  I mean I love leftovers, but it’s just getting a little ridiculous. 
I was planning for 14 people (only 12 made it), and I bought a 21.6lb free range bird :)  Next year I am going to save some $$ and some cooking time and keep it more on the 16lb range I’m thinking.
Stuffing: Don’t expect me to ever try out a new recipe.  I love my grandmother’s recipe more than anything and my friends seem to feel the same….why mess with perfection right?  Plus I always make a HUGE batch and we barely have any leftovers.  
Mashed Potatoes:  Nothing too ground breaking here…potatoes, milk, butter, salt, pepper, and a little fresh chopped rosemary.
Green Beans: I still prefer the pancetta/sage recipe to the standard green bean casserole.  I do like the casserole but just don’t feel the need for another heavy creamy dish.
Carrots: What can I say?  I need the cooking water from these to add to the gravy :) 
Squash:  I think I’m going to take a break from the soufflé next year.  I don’t know why, but mine just never turn out as good as I’d hope.  I even took it up a notch this year and took and idea from my aunt to cook the soufflé in baked sugar pumpkins!!  Fabulous idea, lovely presentation, but my soufflé was just NOT setting up…almost 2 hours in the oven and still not ready?!  Who knows. 
(cut the tops of 3 sugar pumpkins and scraped out the inside real good)
(rubbed inside and outside with olive oil and sprinkled inside with salt, pepper, and brown sugar)
(baked at 350 for 30min…prepped and baked these the day before)
I think next year I’m going to switch it up.  I love squash, and wouldn’t mind a less-heavy recipe next year.  
Gravy:  Classic.  Drippings from the turkey, some chicken bullion, and the carrot cooking water.  Bring to boil, add flour/water mixture and simmer until thickened. 
Cranberry sauce: I always have homemade and the jelly-kind in the can.  People always have their favorite…I grew up only liking the canned kind, but now I love both!
Dessert!  This is where I have my fun each year.
I made 3 desserts:
I mentioned I was thinking about making the Milky Way Tart because it was a hit at the last party I brought it too, and it still was a crowd favorite!
Apparently I was on a tart kick!  No pies were made this year (by me anyways), but I think I like this apple tart even better than apple pie!  It’s simple, delicious, and has an impressive presentation.
Also could be made ahead of time :)
This tart dough was very different than the dough for the Milky Way Tart, but equally delectable…actually I might like this dough better.
Rolled and trimmed to a 10”x14” rectangle
Arrange the apples, sprinkle with sugar (and a little cinnamon), then dot with butter.
IMG_2156 Once finished, you brush with an apricot jam glaze.
So pretty!
The crust is still crisp and flaky today too.
The Butterscotch Pudding cups comes from my favorite butterscotch pie that my grandmother makes!  Just instead of a pie, I put the filling into little mason jars.
Then right before dessert, I whipped up the meringue and torched it with my kitchen torch (always looking for a reason to use my torch)
These were super cute, I want to make more things in mini-mason jars!
IMG_2200  (just realized I don’t have the exact recipe on the blog so I’ll fix that)
Other desserts (by others)
Pumpkin pie!
Mini pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting
Both were amazing.
Other notable deliciousness…CHEESE!
Don’t you love when you ask someone to bring something and you just KNOW it’s going to be good…even a cheese platter!?  I do!!  I take my cheese seriously ;)
Even I didn’t expect these masterpieces…
Seriously??  2 HUGE platters of amazing cheese, meats, grapes, dried figs, pate, flowers(!), rosemary Marcona almonds…EVERYTHING!
IMG_2172 - Copy
Oh lets not forget the baked brie, chocolate covered strawberries, and little fall shaped pieces of marzipan.
I’m also very thankful we have the leftovers of the cheese in the fridge :)
The final thing I LOVE about House-Thanksgiving is my tablescape!  Ok so it wasn’t my best work this year but I got distracted when I had some early arriving guests…
Will just call it simple.
Little pears are an easy, colorful, and edible decoration!   Also a roll of $9 burlap from Lowes makes a nice rustic table runner.
And mason jars + coffee beans+candles

(broke out the "fancy" apron)
  Phew!  That was quite the post! 
Have you hosted a Thanksgiving dinner??  Any particular recipe that you can’t live without on Thanksgiving??
Also looking for good appetizer ideas to bring to my aunts on Thursday??

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hawaiian Chicken

Ok, this is the last “mom” recipe I’ll share for now…mostly because it’s the last one I’ve made.  However, I’m sure I’ll think of a few others that I haven’t had in ages.

First there was the Chicken Stroganoff, then the Spanish Steak, and now it’s time for Hawaiian Chicken!!


This is another super easy and delicious dish.  The prep is fast but it does need to bake for 1.5 hours, but it’s SO worth it because the sauce gets all caramelized :) 

The other funny thing I’ve notice while making this old dishes from my youth, is that I crave them served the same way as well! 

For instance, the Chicken Stroganoff needs egg noodles, the Spanish Steak goes with a baked potato, and as I was thinking of the Hawaiian chicken I remember that we always had it with good old rice pilaf!  You know, the classic Near East brand…man I LOVED that stuff, I could easily down half a box, probably more if it was there! 

Lucky for me I had a box of Near East whole grain pilaf in the pantry, and made sure to also have a nice green veggie on the side this time. 


This was one of those recipes from an old cookbook that had like 500 ways to cook chicken in it…you know what I’m talking about.  Then mom told me her tweaks and I went from there!  I also added the specific types of ingredients I used as the recipe was pretty vague with some items like “mustard” and “vinegar”…don’t they know I own like 4 or 5 types of vinegar ;)

Hawaiian Chicken 
adapted from mom’s cookbook & mom

serves 4

  • 4 good size chicken breasts
    (or 2 chickens cut into 8ths, or 8 small breasts)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp mustard (I used Dijon)
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 can (1lb 4oz) crushed pineapple with juice (make sure not to get the pineapple packed in syrup)

Pre-heat oven to 350

Add all ingredients, except the pineapple, to a medium sauce pan.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then add pineapple.  Remove from heat, sauce done!

Place chicken in a baking dish, and bake chicken dry, covered with foil for 30 min.

Remove foil, add sauce, and bake for another 45-55 min. 


Sweet, tangy, juicy chicken!  I love this dish with the rice and letting the sauce coat everything on my plate!


This was fabulous for dinner and lunch the next day!


Hope you like this one!!

In other news… is it really Thanksgiving next week??  Which means it’s really House Thanksgiving this weekend!??  I’m brainstorming dessert ideas, and at the top of my list seems to be that delectable Milky Way Tart again…but there’s never just one dessert now is there.