I don’t know about anyone else but I LOVE food and this week has so many reasons to indulge in one of my favorite things! From Chinese New Year to Mardis Gras and National Pancake Day to National Pizza Day, there’s something for every one!
Chinese New Year
Did you know…on this day billions of red envelopes with cash are given out from older to younger, from bosses to employees, and from leaders to underlings. It is a special New Year’s bonus.
Also, during the Lunar New Year, itâ€™s traditional to clean your home, repay debts, reconcile grudges and buy new clothing. Now that’s something I can get behind!
Classic Sweet N Sour Pork
Ingredients (Yield: 4 servings)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon Kikkoman Soy Sauce
1 pound boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 onion, chunked
1 green bell pepper, chunked
1 cup Kikkoman Sweet & Sour Sauce
1 can (8 oz.) pineapple chunks, drained
- Blend cornstarch and soy sauce in small bowl; stir in pork until well coated.
- Brown pork in hot oil in Dutch oven or large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Stir in 1/4 cup water. Cover and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir carrots, onion, bell pepper and sweet & sour sauce into pork mixture. Simmer, covered, 10 minutes longer, stirring frequently.
- Add pineapple chunks; cook and stir only until pineapple is heated through.
For additional Chinese New Year recipes, a complete guide to celebrating the New Year, and a coupon for Kikkoman sauce visit theÂ KikkomanÂ website!
Mardi Gras aka Fat Tuesday
Did you know…the tradition of bead throwing starts with their original colors. The color of the beads was determined by the king of the first daytime Carnival in 1872. He wanted the colors to be royal colors â€“ purple for justice, gold for power and green for faith. The idea was to toss the color to the person who exhibited the colorâ€™s meaning.
The beads were originally made of glass, which, as you can imagine, werenâ€™t the best for tossing around. It wasnâ€™t until the beads were made of plastic that throwing them really became a staple of Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
Ingredients (Yield: 4-6 servings)
2 pounds unpeeled, medium-size raw shrimp*
1. Peel shrimp; devein, if desired.
2. Melt butter with oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat; stir in flour, and cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until caramel colored. Add chopped onion, green pepper, and celery; cook, stirring constantly, 4 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add minced garlic, and sautÃ© 1 minute.
3. Stir in chicken broth, white wine, and next 6 ingredients, and cook, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Add shrimp. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.
4. Stir in crabmeat; cook, stirring often, until thoroughly heated.
5. Spoon shrimp mixture into individual serving bowls. Spoon hot cooked rice on top of shrimp mixture. Garnish, if desired.
*2 (16-oz.) packages frozen unpeeled, raw shrimp, thawed according to package directions, may be substituted.
Note: For testing purposes only, we used Tony Chachere’s Lite Creole Seasoning.
National Pancake Day
Some say pancakes actually date back to the Stone Age, when cavemen cooked the batter over a heated rock. But the the first written reference to a pancake appeared in the year 1430, when they were made from gruel. Since then, the dish has evolved into a tastier treat that we enjoy on the weekends (or during the week if we’re lucky).
Chunky Monkey Pancakes
Ingredients (Yields: 9 servings)
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup skim milk
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large banana, diced
1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped pecans
- Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Set bowl aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together the skim milk, melted butter, eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients, being careful not to over mix the batter. Gently fold in the banana, chocolate chips, and nuts.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.
National Pizza Day
Did you know…The largest pizza ever made was 122 ft. 8 in. in diameter. The pizza needed 9,920 lb of flour, 198 lb of salt, 3968 lb of cheese, and 1,984 lb of tomato puree.
Also, in Italy, there is a bill before Parliament to safeguard the traditional Italian pizza, specifying permissible ingredients and methods of processing (e.g., excluding frozen pizzas). Only pizzas which followed these guidelines could be called “traditional Italian pizzas”, at least in Italy.
Chicken and Gorgonzola Pizza
Ingredients (Yields: 6 servings)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 skinless, boneless chicken breast half
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (8 ounce) package sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup water
1 (10 ounce) bag washed fresh spinach
1 (12 inch) pre-baked pizza crust
1 (14 ounce) jar pizza sauce
1 tomato, sliced
4 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stir in the chicken breast, and cook for a few minutes until the pieces begin to plump. Stir in the Italian seasoning, onion, garlic, and mushrooms; cook and stir until the mushrooms have softened and the onion has turned translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the water and spinach, and cover; cook a few minutes until the spinach has wilted.
- Place the pizza crust on a pizza pan, and spread with sauce; top with the chicken and spinach mixture. Arrange the tomato slices over the pizza, then sprinkle with Gorgonzola and mozzarella cheeses.
- Bake in preheated oven until the cheese has melted and lightly toasted, 10 to 15 minutes.