Monday, October 15, 2012

Pork and Cabbage Wontons with Sesame Soy Dipping Sauce

A couple of years ago, I realized how easy it was to make sassy adaptations of egg rolls. The secret being....cornstarch. Once you buy egg roll or wonton wrappers, the world is your oyster. 

You can stir fry together anything you want and, once it has cooked, toss in a couple tablespoons of corn starch to bind the mixture together. I have sauteed corn, black beans, onions and chilies for Southwestern egg rolls [tossed a little cheese in before stuffing]. I have simply ripped open a bag of cole slaw mix and poured in a little sesame oil and soy sauce while sauteeing.

Once they are stuffed, feel free to experiment with different cooking methods: steaming, baking with an egg wash. I find that you really can't beat a good fry!

Pork and Cabbage Wontons
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
3/4 pound of ground pork
1/2 of a bag of coleslaw [about 8 oz]
1/2 of an onion, chopped
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp grated ginger
1/4 cup of soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
2 T corn starch
1 package of wonton wrappers
Small bowl of water [for wonton sealing purposes]
Oil for pan frying [Depending on the size, of your pan, pour oil in until your reach an oil depth of about a 1/3 of an inch...more is fine too if you are heavy-handed]

Wonton Dipping Sauce
3/4 cup soy sauce
2 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 finely chopped green onion
1 T toasted sesame seeds


In a frying pan, heat the tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the ground pork and cook until slightly brown.

Add the onion, coleslaw, garlic, ginger, soy sauce and sesame oil. Cook, covered, for about 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent and the coleslaw has wilted.

Sprinkle the corn starch over the top of the wonton stuffing and stir for a couple of minutes until the mixture looks glossy and starts to clump together.

Allow the mixture to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. During this time, mix together your dipping sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
 Begin assembling your wontons. If you have a fancy way of making and rolling wontons,  insert here. I found that the easiest way was to lay a wrapper in the palm of my hand, place about a tablespoon or so of the mixture on one half of the circle, dip my finger in water and trace the rim of the wrapper with my wet finger, then fold the empty half of the wonton over onto the full half so that you have a half-moon and finish by pinching the sides together. 
Once you have all your wontons ready to go, begin heating your oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Once you can put a drop of water in the oil and it starts spitting, you are ready to fry.

Being careful not to crowd the pan [wontons can’t be touching each other], place your wontons in the pan. Fry for a couple minutes per side or until each side is golden.

This recipe made a large batch of wontons. We froze about 15 of them before frying so that we wouldn’t go hog wild at dinner!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken Rollatini

This chicken was DANG good! 

Vats of feta were on sale. I had some lonely chicken breasts laying around and happened to have leftover dill from baby shower- tea sandwich making. I always have frozen spinach on hand. 

I thought about sauteeing the chicken and topping it with a little wilted spinach and feta sprinkles but then I remembered that I had bought a giant wooden meat mallet at an estate sale. I needed to use it. FYI, estate sales are awesome places to find cool kitchen stuff. $1 for a giant mallet? Okay!

These rollatini really are huge. I had awesome "leftover pizza" for lunch the next day by placing a few chicken slices, some spinach leaves, feta and a couple spoonfuls of the pan sauce on a whole wheat pizza and broiling until the feta was just starting to melt.

Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken Rollatini
*Yields 4 large servings
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 oz. defrosted and drained frozen spinach
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/4 t ground black pepper
1 t dried oregano
2 t fresh dill, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon, divided  
1 cup crumbled feta
1 T olive oil
2 T butter 
1/2 tsp each of salt, pepper and garlic powder
1/2 c water

Mix the spinach, garlic, 1/4 tsp of black pepper, oregano, dill, feta and half of the lemon juice together in a small mixing bowl.
Prepare your chicken breasts by pounding them out to approximately 1/3" thickness. You can do this with a meat pounder or large rolling pin.

Place your chicken breast between 2 pieces of saran wrap, or in a gallon Ziploc bag, and begin pounding from the inside of the chicken breast outwards. ZIPLOC Double Zipper Bags, 10-9/16-in x10-3/4-in, 1 GL, 1.75 Mil, (Google Affiliate Ad)
Once you have your chicken pounded out, begin assembling.

Spread 1/4 of the spinach and feta mixture across the top of each chicken breast.

Roll each chicken breast up so that the stuffing is concealed. In the above picture, I rolled from left to right to yield a slightly thicker rollatini rather than a long, thin rollatini.
If you have toothpicks, this would be a good time to seal the "seam" of each breast with a toothpick or two so that the rollatini hold their shape while cooking and the stuffing stays intact. Unfortunately, my toddler discovered my box of toothpicks and "sprinkled" them all over the floor.

Needless to say, I did not use cat hair covered toothpicks and they still turned out great. I had to babysit them a bit more during the searing stage and make sure that I seared the seam first. They weren't quite as pretty but were still soooo delicious!

If you want to pre-assemble and cook later on that day, assemble your rollatini and refrigerate until ready to use.

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a large frying pan [I used my 12 inch] heat your olive oil and butter over medium-high heat. Coat the chicken in the salt, pepper and garlic powder mixture. 

Place the seasoned chicken rollatinis into the hot pan and sear for about a minute or two per side. Sear the seam side first as this will help the rollatini hold its shape.
Once all sides have been seared, pour the remaining lemon juice and the 1/2 cup of water into the pan [this creates a delicious sauce and some steaming liquid]. Cover your pan and cook, covered, for 10 minutes. At 10 minutes, uncover the pan and let cook for an additional 20 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the pan and let rest for approximately 5 minutes before serving. 

While your chicken is resting, place the pan with all of the juices on the stovetop and reduce slightly over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes to yield an awesome pan sauce.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Curry Chicken Salad Sliders

Curry chicken salad has been one of my mom's signature party dishes for a while now. She often "fancies" it up by serving it on top of mango and papaya slices. She also goes the extra mile by slowly poaching chicken breasts with some delicious aromatics.

The salad is so delicious. It is creamy but not heavy because of the Greek yogurt. It is really well balanced with a little sweetness from chutney and spiciness from curry. It has made friends say, "I don't like chicken salad, but I really like this" and "I don't like curry, but this is awesome!"

I wanted to serve this for a crowd and thought that it would be awesome as a slider.

I took a big shortcut [a store-bought rotisserie chicken] and made a couple adjustments.

They were good, dang good!

Curry Chicken Salad Sliders
*Yields 20 sliders
1 rotisserie chicken, meat removed and roughly chopped
2 T canola oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
3 T curry powder [if you want a little more heat, sub 1 T of powder with 1 T of yellow curry paste]
1 cup Greek style yogurt 
Juice of one lime
1/4 cup mayo
3 T fig preserves or Major Grey’s mango chutney 
Optional but highly recommended:
1/3 c. golden raisins
1/3 c. chopped cilantro
20 slider buns or dinner rolls

Heat oil in skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and saute over low heat until soft, approximately 8-10 minutes. Add the curry powder and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool completely. 

When totally cool, combine the curried onions with the mayo, lime juice, yogurt and preserves or chutney. Stir well. If using cilantro or raisins, you can also stir them in at this time.
Stir in the chopped chicken and refrigerate until ready to serve.
*This salad gets better the longer it sits. This makes it a great party dish. You can make it a few days before your party and recline in style knowing that your guests will be getting an easy and super flavorful dish.

When ready to serve, slice your buns in half and place a scoop of the salad on each bun. Enjoy!