Easy Steamed Dumplings – for Chinese New Year

The girls have both been studying the Chinese New Year in school so I thought it would be fun to have our own little celebration at home last night. Ella wanted to make dumplings and when she mentioned it, I remembered a Steamed Dumpling recipe in one of my cookbooks that I wanted to try. The recipe uses refrigerated dough which makes things pretty easy – especially if you have little ones eagerly helping you.

This recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbooks. This is a double volume from Susan Branch that combines her “Heart of the Home” and “Vineyard Seasons” cookbooks into one book. It has some great recipes including the herb roasted chicken I prepared over the summer.

So, for our Chinese New Year celebration, the girls helped to make these dumplings. Taylor cut the dough into little squares and Ella helped to measure the ingredients that go into the pork filling. They both helped to scoop the dough into little balls and seal up the dumplings into little purses. We had fun sealing them up and we ended with many different shapes and sizes.

We also had some steamed fish in a black bean and sake sauce which I will post tomorrow. Jim went to our local Chinese restaurant and got some fried rice and fortune cookies. For our veggie we steamed some snow peas. I decided that I love steamed snow peas so we need to do that more often. I also bought some lemon and gingersnap ice cream from Trader Joe’s which I highly recommend if you have a TJ’s nearby….it is wonderful. The only thing I think we were missing were some noodles (for longevity) but we really didn’t need them – we were stuffed after this meal!

I tried to talk Jim into lighting off some fireworks, but no such luck. Next year I might try being more proactive and get some red envelopes to put money in and maybe some noisemakers or something festive like that. Maybe we will take a trip to our Asian market to pick up some party favors.

I learned that really you are supposed to serve your steamed fish (or chicken) whole on Chinese New Year. Apparently serving fish already cup up is bad luck….oh well…hopefully we will be ok.

This is really a great recipe. The pork mixture is perfect and the dough works really well in this. They weren’t beautiful, but I can partly attribute that to having two little helpers. They did taste like the ones you get in the restaurants so that is a good thing. I also made a dipping sauce that tasted pretty close to what you would get in a restaurant.

If you are looking for a fun and easy recipe, you still have a day left before the Chinese New Year (January 23rd) to make these. I wish you prosperity going into the new year – that is Gong Xi Fa Ca in Chinese.

Enjoy!

Easy Steamed Dumplings – for Chinese New Year
 
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer

Ingredients
  • 2 Tubes refrigerated dinner rolls (I used the Pillsbury Dough Rolls – I think it’s something new…could also prob use the pizza dough if you can’t find either)
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 4 Tablespoons minced green onion
  • 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste (I added this)
  • ½ cup chopped water chestnuts
  • freshly ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ c. dark soy sauce
  • 3 slices ginger, minced
  • 2 tsp. Oriental sesame oil
  • ½ tsp. sugar
  • ⅓ c. rice vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. chili oil
  • ½ tsp salt

Instructions
  1. Whatever dough you are using – flatten it out and cut into 4″ squares or circles. Mix next 8 ingredients (through the salt) well. Put about 1½ – 2 Tablespoons of pork mixture in the center of each piece of dough. gather up the sides so they meet in the middle. Twist top to close tightly. Put a damp cloth in the top part of a vegetable steamer and put the dumplings on the cloth about an inch apart from each other. Steam over boiling water for about 20 minutes (we had to do this in batches.) Serve with dipping sauce
  2. TO MAKE DIPPING SAUCE: Mix remaining ingredients well and let sit at least 10 minutes.

Also linked up with Everyday Mom’s Meals: Church Suppers

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Pumpkin was probably my first ever favorite pie and it still ranks pretty high on the list. Aren’t you excited to see all the pumpkin recipes out now? I for one, can’t get enough of them…and I will have no problem eating pumpkin “whatever” until winter.

Pumpkin to me is very much like the white potato. It gets a bad rap because it is usually paired with things that aren’t as healthy…like cream cheese frosting and ice cream. However, pumpkin is actually one of the healthiest foods that you can eat – very much like it’s orange friend the sweet potato. Both are very rich in antioxidants including beta-carotene (which gives them the orange color) and vitamins A and C. It also has lots of fiber and potassium. The vitamins A, C and zinc are great for your skin, too. So,just like the potato – eat your pumpkin – just try to eat it in the healthy form every once in a while. Plus, I always say, if you are going to have a dessert it is great if you can include some type of nutrition among the sugar and butter. I am not a nutritionist so I could be totally off on that, but I like that whole school of thought:-)

So this smoothie is a great option for an afternoon snack and a great treat for the kiddos when they get off the bus. I wanted it to have some pumpkin pie flavor so not only did I use the pumpkin pie filling, but I also added some graham crackers right into the blender with the other ingredients. The cracker kind of melts right into the smoothie and gives it a little different texture. I like it.

I use non-fat plain yogurt and add my own sweetness with the honey and the pumpkin pie filling is already pretty sweet. I have to admit, I normally would not use the filling because I like to spice and sweeten things myself, but my store only had the filling left so that is what I bought. It is still not a bad option. Oh yes, and Libby’s pumpkin is the best (right mom?)

So try this smoothie today – it is a great one for fall. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
 
Author:
Recipe type: Snack

Ingredients
  • ¼ cup pumpkin pie filling
  • ½ cup plain non-fat yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons skim milk
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 graham crackers
  • 1 good handful of ice cubes

Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients in the food processor and blend well until the ice cubes are completely crushed and blended into the smoothie.

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