The other day, as I was heating some chicken and cilantro dumplings as an afterschool snack for my three hungry kids, my ten year old daughter, while eagerly awaiting her portion, commented how this was “no ordinary snack.” Then, while slurping down her four dumplings, she continued in a proud (somewhat superior) tone, to note that other kids would typically come home to a bowl of gold fish or pretzels.
I guess she was right. Their afternoon snack wasn’t “ordinary” and on other afternoons, my kids could come home to empanadas, homemade soup or burritos. If I didn’t have “cooking with friends”, she probably wouldn’t be so lucky. You see, I had crimped these dumplings with Christina a few weeks ago and tucked them away in my freezer.
My friends and I are continuously cooking together to stock our freezers with nutritious meals to use for lunch, snacks, appetizers and light meals. So, at times, I may look like a super hero mom through the eyes of my children (and my four-year old did just notice that I had some nice muscles on my arms), but I will credit it all to the Cooking with Friends way of life. If I were on my own, I’d probably resort to a good old bowl of fishies.
So, thank you Sofia, with your inquisitiveness, for recognizing how Cooking With Friends can make something that seems impossible (or extraordinary) become possible for a regular mom.
Chicken & Cilantro Dumplings
Makes approximately 60
If I had to name a food that I most enjoy making with friends, I would have to say dumplings. These delicious two-bite treats are a staple in our homes and can be used as snacks, appetizers or even a light meal by themselves. You can vary the filling, by adding vegetables or changing the meat. They are truly devoured by everyone. Often times, my friends and I will make the fillings (which take less than 15 minutes to assemble) and then sit and crimp together. It’s a rewarding way to fill our freezers while spending an hour or so with a friend.
1 pound ground chicken
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons fresh minc ed ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Cilantro (optional)
1/8 cup chopped water chestnuts
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon corn starch
½ teaspoon salt
1 pack dumpling wrappers
Mix together all ingredients. Set out a work surface with a small bowl of water (to seal the edges of the dumplings), a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and a crimper. Place a teaspoon full of the mixture on the center of a wrapper, moisten the edges with water and then crimp the edges together. You can either use your hands or a simple dumpling crimper. Lay the dumpling on the wax paper and repeat until all of the filling is used. Make sure the dumplings aren’t overlapping or they will stick together. To freeze, place uncovered in the freezer for about two hours until they begin to harden and the transfer to a zip loc freezer bag. Remove any excess air before sealing.