• erin

    Dumplings with my family
    A recent graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, I found myself with no money, no kitchen equipment, and an exceptionally huge appetite. Ideas, improvisations, and yummy meal solutions were discovered in the kitchen of my very first apartment.
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    I've been getting a lot of requests and suggestions for the apartment kitchen. I LOVE these suggestions, keep them coming!

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    em570039@mycia.net

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Quick Wonton Soup

I don’t (generally speaking) order a lot of take out. Ordering take out is sort of a special occasion for me. When I am too busy to cook, which is almost never, I have to admit it is fun to not only let someone else do the cooking for you, but bring it to your door as well.

Recent cravings for Chinese take out soup led me to this incredibly easy recipe. It may not be quite the same as your local take out joint, and it is certainly not traditional, but it was inspired by having several assorted cans of broth and not being sure what to do. I sort of “fortified” the broths with scallions, garlic, and ginger – and the mixture of the three broths was quite delicious and tasted fabulous with my standard wonton/dumpling filling. So, I’m calling it “Quick Wonton Soup”. Sure, it takes a little while to form the wontons, but the opening the can part couldn’t be easier. ūüôā

Mongolian Beef

If you are a steak lover, if you are a Chinese (yes, take out!) lover, if you are lover of all things too easy and good to be true – you MUST make this dish.

Perhaps I’m coming off a little strong, but I had no idea this dish would turn out so incredibly good with such a minimal ingredient list and almost no time. This is how fast you can make this dish: I didn’t have air conditioning in my house over the weekend, so Matt and I took refuge in the basement, where it was at least 10 degrees cooler. Every time we emerged onto the main floor, we nearly passed out. He sliced the meat, I prepared the sauce, and we were back downstairs in less than 10 minutes, enjoying this awesomely simple meal.

Ok, I’ve gushed enough…just try it!

  Continue reading

Chinese Stuffed Cabbage

I’m always talking about quick, easy meals. But even better than meals that are simple, only take one pot, or can be made with very few ingredients are make ahead meals. This meal is absolutely perfect for that. After I made a super quick all-in-one pot meal last week, I made a super quick dinner: stuffed cabbage which sat in the fridge in it’s baking dish, and a delicious sweet and sour sauce that were all ready and waiting when I got home from work the next day. I just poured the sauce over the cabbage and baked. When you’re pressed for time – this is totally a go-to dish…that still offers something a little different!

Kung Pao Chicken

It snowed all day Sunday.  Even though we got plowed at noon, my housemate still had to shovel at 5, and Matt and I had to shovel this morning.  On a day that cold and snowy, nothing feels better than staying inside.  And to keep warm, we spiced up the afternoon with some Kung Pao chicken.  The perfect Sunday food Рand the take-out drivers will thank you!



Kung Pao Chicken

Served 2.
Leftover Potential:  Just as good if not better than the Chinese food that comes in a box.  Made 2 meals after the initial dinner.

1 lb chicken, cut into bite size pieces
salt, as needed
pepper, as needed
flour, as needed

1 Tbsp oil
1 onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp ginger, finely sliced
10 dried chilis, split, seeded, and cut in half
1/4 cup soy sauce
5 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1/4 cup water, or as needed

1.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  Dip lightly in flour.  Set aside.
2.  In a large pan or a wok, heat the oil over medium heat.
3.  Add the onions, and cook until translucent.  Add the garlic.  Stir fry for about a minute.
4.  Add the mushrooms, bell pepper, scallions, ginger, and dried chilis and stir fry over medium heat.
5.  Add the soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil.  Stir fry to create an even sauce.  Add the chicken, and stir fry until the chicken is tender and cooked through.  Add water as needed to thin sauce so as to coat the chicken.
6.  Serve in warm bowls with rice.

Spicy Szechuan Chicken

I’m a sucker for Chinese food..both classic and Americanized versions. ¬†There’s something especially comforting to me about the tastes and flavors. ¬†Plus, I love any excuse to make things spicy. ¬†Now, nothing will replace your combo of choice from your favorite Chinese restaurant, but it’s just as easy to make some in your own kitchen.

So if you’re feeling bold, try this recipe for a spicy chicken dish that will remind you of Sesame or General Tso’s chicken. ¬†It’s quick…it takes even less time than waiting for the order you’ve called in! ¬†

Spicy Szechuan Chicken


Served 3
Leftover Potential: reheats decently, but since it is fried it loses some of it’s original texture. Provided one meal after the initial dinner.

For the batter:
3 Tbsp all purpose flour
3 Tbsp corn starch
salt, as needed
pepper, as needed
2 eggs

1 pound chicken breasts, cut into 1/2″ cubes
oil, as needed for frying
1 onion, sliced

For the sauce:
1 Tbsp oil
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 Tbsp ginger, finely minced
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup crushed tomato
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
3 Tbsp water
cilantro, as needed, coarsely chopped

1. In a medium bowl, mix together the ingredients for the batter.  If the batter is too thick, thin it out with some water.  
2. Add the cubed chicken in the batter and toss to coat well.
3. Heat the oil to 375 degrees in a deep pan. ¬†If you don’t have a thermometer, use a piece of chicken as a tester. ¬†If it sinks, the oil is not hot enough, but if it rises easily to the surface, the oil is ready to use. ¬†
4. Fry the chicken in batches until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.
5. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce.  Heat the oil in large pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger, and stir fry until aromatic. 
6.  Add the remaining ingredients except for the cornstarch, water, and cilantro. Mix to combine and bring to a simmer over medium high heat.
7.  Make a slurry with the cornstarch and the water, and add to the sauce.  Simmer until the sauce thickens.
8.  Finish the sauce with the chopped cilantro, and add the chicken.  Toss the chicken in the sauce to coat, and allow to simmer for a few minutes until heated through.
9.  Serve in warm bowls with steamed rice and more cilantro on top.