New Years Eve Dinner – Homemade “Chinese Food”

With New Years Eve the general consensus as far as traditions go is to order in Chinese food.  In years past (4 years ago) I would be one of those individuals jumping on that bandwagon and hauling in some take out.  But in the past few years I’ve actually opted on making homemade Chinese food for New Years Eve.  Since New Years isn’t one of those holidays/celebrations that I truthfully partake in, I rather stay home, relax, cook and enjoy the coming of a new year with my loved ones in the comfort of my own home.
This years menu I decided on a week prior.  I decided to take out a container of my homemade chicken chow mein and decided I’d make a batch of my quick vegetable fried rice, I’d steam up some broccoli and carrots and last minute decided to make some quick boneless pork “spareribs”.
The meal came out perfectly! I had 1 cup of vegetable fried rice (see here), 2/3 cups of chicken chow mein (see here), ¼ oz of chow mein noodles, 2 ounces of boneless “ribs” and a helping of fresh vegetables.
My boneless “spareribs” are actually made from boneless, lean, center cut pork loin chops, cut into strips and tossed with Ah-So sauce, 1 tsp of minced garlic and 1 tsp of Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute. I baked them off in the oven, then broiled them for a few minutes to crisp them up a tad. I felt they came out perfectly and gave me that flavor I was looking/hoping for.
My entire plate was only 13 points plus values!  Far more satisfying and filling when in comparison to what I could’ve gotten from my local Chinese restaurant.

Skinnytaste’s Crock Pot Sesame Honey Chicken w/ White Rice & Stir Fried Vegetable Roll

This is a meal that took team work. By team work I mean my boyfriend prepped and started the chicken and when I got home from work I finished off the dish by steaming some rice (in the rice pot) and browning off some vegetable rolls in the oven.
I don’t enjoy getting caught into food ruts where I eat the same things all the time.  My body doesn’t like it and I truly notice a difference on the scale when I’m eating the same types of things.  When I notice a pattern forming, I tend to pre-plan meals, on paper, to get a better perspective as to what I’m going to be eating to switch it up and to stick to that plan.  One of the meals I decided to try was by Skinnytaste.  I have yet to make a Skinnytaste recipe that I did not like so I figured this one would not only be fool proof, but it’d also be delicious.
I left the printed recipe with my boyfriend, so he cleaned the chicken and measured out all the ingredients and got the crock pot starting while I was at work.  When I got home from work the chicken was ready to be shredded, so I started the rice pot, deposited some frozen vegetable rolls into the oven and dinner was going to happen in 30-minutes or less.
I have to say this was a delicious meal.  It had that “take out” vibe to it but it was completely healthy and filling. The shredded chicken was loaded with flavor, the Trader Joe’s Stir Fried Vegetable Roll (which happens to be vegan and I wasn’t aware of that until the past month) were also delicious.  I found they were packed with flavor and had a nice crunch to them.  You can see my review on these rolls here: http://shannonslifestyle.blogspot.com/2013/03/trader-joes-trader-mings-stir-fried.html. That crunch didn’t withstand a night in the refrigerator, but sitting down at dinner it was a homerun.
The whole plate was 12 points plus values. Definitely worth it and a LOT less points than if I was to order Chinese food in.
To see the Skinnytaste Crock Pot Sesame Honey Chicken recipe, click here: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2013/02/crock-pot-sesame-honey-chicken.html
QUESTION:
Have you tried the Crock Pot Sesame Honey Chicken recipe or the Trader Joe’s Stir Fried Vegetable Rolls?

Quick “Chinese” food at home!

 


I love Chinese food … but I don’t necessarily like the unnecessary amount of fat and calories that come with some of my favorite dishes. With this I’ve learned to make some of my favorite Chinese dishes at home, to my own liking and I’ve also found some frozen items at the grocery store that I like to have on hand when I’m looking for something different.  This is a dinner we whipped together in under 25 minutes (it took that long because the chicken had to bake in the oven).
Mandarin Orange Chicken is one of the dishes I would like to get at a local Chinese buffet so when I saw this bag at Aldi, I picked it up to store in the freezer.  We baked them off in the oven and when done covered it in the mandarin orange sauce.  It was quite delicious because the chicken was more along the lines of a chicken finger.  The mandarin orange bringing a nice citrusy sweetness to the dish.  I had a 3 ounce serving for 6 points plus values.
The Vegetable Fried Rice is a frozen vegan (don’t be scared!) rice I had picked up at Trader Joe’s.  I normally make my own fried rice, but that takes preparation because the rice has to be stored in the fridge overnight to make it nice and cold.  So with a frozen fried rice, I can stir fry it up and we’re good to go.  This particular rice had me use a tablespoon of olive oil and stir fry it up in a pan.  It was quite delicious and will definitely be something I repurchase. A 1 cup serving is 4 points plus – 5 points plus if you consider the olive oil used to fry it up.
Of course with any meal I added in some steamed frozen broccoli because no dinner is a dinner without some sort of a fresh vegetable.  11 point plus for it all – far less than it would have been if we went out and got this dish at a restaurant.
QUESTION:
Do you make quick “Chinese” food at home?

Dinner: Quick & Easy Chinese Food at Home

A few weeks back we needed dinner, but had nothing truly planned.  I knew we had things in the freezer which were quick and easy to throw together, so after going through a few of the options my boyfriend and I decided on having “Chinese food “.  Dinner literally took 15 minutes to make, so this just goes to show if you have foods in the freezer, or even your cabinet, there’s no reason dinner cannot be thrown together quickly – even in a pinch, and be served faster than it would be to run out to get fast-food.  Granted, it just takes a bit more “effort” but not a terrible amount.
This particular dinner we decided to make the Fusia brand of chicken chow mein, which I had purchased at our local Aldi grocery store.  It comes with the noodles, the veggies, the chicken pieces and the flavored sauce packet.  I added a bit of Pam to the bottom of a skillet, along with a tablespoon of olive oil, emptied the contents of the bag into the frying pan (minus the sauce packet) and let its do its thing – stirring it occasionally since it was frozen it wasn’t sticking, etc.  I then submerged the sauce packet in a bowl of warm/hot tap water.  As the veggies, chicken and noodles start to defrost I stir it continuously and when everything is softened and hot I empty in the sauce packet, stir and let it simmer for a second or two before turning off the flame.
For a side of protein I made the Trader Joe’s BBQ Teriyaki Chicken – which is quite simply the easiest thing to make in a pinch.  The chicken is fully cooked, so you add it into a microwave safe bowl, which you cover with plastic wrap.  You microwave it for – I believe 5 minutes.  While the chicken is steaming/cooking in the microwave, you set the sauce packages in some warm water to aid in defrosting them.  When the cook time is up, you simply add in the sauce packet, stir and put back into the microwave for a minute or two and wah-lah, like magic it’s done! 
When the chicken was done I tossed in a bag of Trader Joe’s steam bag fresh green beans.  3 minutes later they were done.  Seriously, these are some of the best steamer green beans I have tried – my local super market sells a different brand but I find they are not nearly as crisp as the Trader Joe’s brand is.
The entire meal was 10 points plus – 1 of those points plus going towards the olive oil used to cook the lo mein.
QUESTION:
Do you have quick “throw together” meals on hand for days where you haven’t quite planned dinner?