We spend a lot of time glued to the TV during the Olympics. It's a great way for the family to bond over something everyone enjoys. We just need a dinner that's celebratory, easy and in-front-of-the-TV friendly. Anyone for Chinese finger food?
Heat-and-serve frozen Chinese egg rolls have come into their own in the past couple of years, with both full-size and mini versions available. You can also find frozen Chinese dumplings (also called potstickers) that are terrific, too.
Our 20-minute recipe for Mindless Mu Shu Chicken, a Chinese take on the burrito, rounds out the feast. Just pick them up and nibble away. Rice fans should also check our Web site (www.desperationdinners.com) for our Frenzied Fried Rice. Both of these recipes are adapted from our "Desperation Dinners!" cookbook.While you're busy cheering the athletes, give yourself a little hooray for pulling together a practically mindless Chinese banquet.
Menu suggestion: Frozen Chinese dumplings
Mindless Mu Shu Chicken
Fresh orange slices
MINDLESS MU SHU CHICKEN
Start to finish: 20 minutes
1/2 to 3/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken-breast halves (about two)
1 bunch green onions (for 1 cup chopped)
5 teaspoons plain vegetable oil or peanut oil
1 large package (16 ounces) coleslaw mix (see Cook's note)
1/2 cup already-sliced fresh mushrooms
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 cup sherry or white wine (or white grape juice)
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
8 small (8-inch) flour tortillas
Cook's note: You can substitute broccoli slaw for half of the cabbage coleslaw, if desired. If you can't find a 16-ounce bag of the coleslaw mix, use two 8-ounce bags or 16 ounces of fresh shredded cabbage.
If the chicken is frozen, run it under hot water to remove any packaging. Place on a microwave-safe plate and microwave uncovered, on high, for 2 minutes to begin defrosting. Meanwhile, rinse the green onions and begin heating the vegetable oil in an extra-deep 12-inch skillet over medium heat.
Slice the green onions, using all of the whites and enough of the tender green tops to make 1 cup. Immediately add the onions, coleslaw mix and mushrooms to the skillet. Raise the heat to medium-high and begin to cook, stirring frequently. Meanwhile, cut the chicken through its width (the short way) into 1/4-inch-wide strips, adding the chicken to the skillet as you slice. Continue to stir and cook until the chicken is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
Mix the cornstarch into the sherry in a small jar that has a lid. Shake well to combine, and set aside. When the chicken is done, shake the sherry mixture again, and add it to the skillet along with the soy sauce, garlic and sesame oil. Stir well, and cook until the mixture thickens slightly, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat.
Place the tortillas between two paper towels, and microwave, uncovered, until warmed through, about 1 minute. To serve, spread Hoisin sauce to taste on each tortilla ( 1/2 to 1 teaspoon), and spoon 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture in the middle of each tortilla. Roll up, burrito style, and serve.
Yield: 4 servings.Approximate values per serving: 519 calories (31 percent from fat), 16 g fat (4 g saturated), 33 mg cholesterol, 24 g protein, 63 g carbohydrates, 5 g dietary fiber, 1,190 mg sodium.
Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross are co-authors of "Desperation Dinners!" (Workman, 1997), "Desperation Entertaining!" (Workman, 2002) and "Cheap.Fast.Good!" (Workman, 2006). Contact them at Desperation Dinners, c/o United Media, 200 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016. Or visit the Desperation Dinners Web site at www.desperationdinners.com. © United Feature Syndicate, Inc.