When my mother came up with the name of her first cookbook the term "All-American" only seemed fit. After all, she was 1st generation Chinese married to an American, Irish, Norwegian man living in Nebraska where traditional Chinese ingredients were not made readily available. It isn't until now that I truly understand the meaning of the All-American... (read more)

Archive for January 21st, 2012




Happy Chinese New Year! The Year of the Dragon 2012

This Sunday we celebrate Chinese New Year’s Eve with delicious food and usher in the Year of the Dragon. It is a special year, not only because it’s my personal Chinese Zodiac sign but more importantly because the dragon is a symbol of power. It’s also the only mythical creature in the Chinese Zodiac which lends itself to beautiful legends and myths for the Chinese people. The Chinese New Year celebration involves great tradition and great food. My brother Jason is living in Taiwan this year and we look forward to seeing his photos and hearing about his experience during the 15-day long celebration.

photo credit: YUM

photo credit: Yum

Last year we celebrated my son’s 1st birthday with a Chinese New Year themed party. Our guests enjoyed tasty dim sum and an over the top dessert bar consisting of both Chinese and American sweets. Click here to view more photos. My, has the year gone by quickly!


This year, we are adding three new recipes by my mother Lucy dedicated to the Year of the Dragon:

Combination Chinese Chow Mein

Traditional Chinese Chicken Soup

Honey Nut Sticks

Here’s also a sampling of our family’s past Chinese New Year dinner menu:

Fried Wontons with Sweet & Sour Sauce

Pan Fried Gyoza Dumplings (aka Potstickers)

Boiled Soy Sauce Eggs

Chicken Hot & Sour Soup

Mongolian Beef

Baked Soy Sauce Chicken

Oven Baked Pork Ribs

Chicken Chow Mein

Stir-fry Spinach with Garlic

Crunch Tea Cookies

Banana Delight

We hope you and your families enjoy a healthy and prosperous New Year! Happy Eating.

– Melisa & Lucy




Combination Chow Mein

For the Chinese New Year celebration, serving a large plate of chicken, beef and shrimp stir-fried with noodles is not just very tasty but a symbolic meaning of a long life for everyone who eats the noodles on New Year!


½ package thin spaghetti (8 oz.)
6 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt for boiling spaghetti
6 oz. boneless and skinless chicken breast (about half breast)
6 oz. top sirloin steak
6 oz. medium size raw shrimp (about 12 pieces)
2 scallions, including the green top
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil (for cooking in a non-stick wok or a fry pan)

1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon rice wine or cooking sherry
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons soy sauce (Kikkoman brand)
1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce*
2 teaspoons pure sesame oil

Slice the half chicken breast lengthwise in half. Cut crosswise into ¼ inch thin pieces. Cut the steak into 1½ inch wide pieces then slice against the grain into ¼ inch thin pieces. Peel and devein the shrimp and rinse with cold water. In a medium size bowl, combine chicken, beef and shrimp with the marinade ingredients. Mix together thoroughly and set aside. Wash and trim the green onions and finely chop. In a small bowl, mix the sauce ingredients together and set aside.

To Cook:
In a medium size pot, bring 6 cups of water to a boil over high heat. Break the spaghetti in half and drop into the boiling water. Add salt and stir well. Boil uncovered for approximately 7 to 8 minutes while stirring occasionally. Drain the cooked spaghetti through a colander.

Heat oil in a non-stick wok or a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, brown onions for a few seconds. Add chicken, beef and shrimp. Cook and stir 3 minutes until the chicken, beef and shrimp are almost cooked through. Add the cooked spaghetti to wok first followed by the sauce. Stir-fry for approximately 2 minutes until the noodles absorb all the seasoning. Serve hot.

Makes 4 to 6 servings
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes

*Hoisin sauce is a sweet brown sauce made from soybeans. Sold in jars or bottles at the Asian section of most supermarkets. After opening, it can be stored for several months in the refrigerator.




Traditional Chinese Chicken Soup

A popular way for families to celebrate the Chinese New Year is to make a big pot of whole chicken soup. It has symbolic meaning to serve the chicken whole for year “round” good luck!


1 whole frying chicken, about 3-½ pounds
1 oz. fresh ginger root
2 scallions, including the green top
4 medium size shiitake dried black mushrooms (soak in warm water for 10 minutes or longer until soft)
2 tablespoons salt
4 quarts (128 fl oz.) of water

Wash and trim any excess fat from chicken. Wash and use a heavier knife to crush the fresh ginger root. Wash and trim scallions, then cut in half. Drain water from the soaking mushrooms. Cut off stems (if any) and cut each mushroom into quarters.

To Cook:
Place the whole chicken in a large soup pot. Add crushed ginger root, green onions, black mushrooms, salt and water (approximately 2 inches of water above the top of the chicken). Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer the chicken for 2½ hours. Meanwhile, the fat that will congeal on the surface and should be removed and discarded from time to time while cooking. When the chicken is tender and nearly falling off from the bone, turn off heat and discard both the ginger root and onions.

At a traditional Chinese New Year meal, the whole chicken with soup is presented in a large bowl on the center of the round table for everyone to help themselves. Or, after the presentation, the host will serve guests some of the chicken meat with broth in an individual small bowl. Serve hot.

Makes 10 to 12 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours 30 minutes




Honey Nut Sticks

This is my own sweet version of the Chinese deep fried bread stick as a delicious dessert.


1 package refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (10 per package)
½ cup pure clover honey
½ cup dry roasted lightly salted peanuts
2 cups canola or vegetable oil for deep-frying

Pour honey on a large plate and set aside. Use a food processor to ground the peanuts into a powder. Place the powdered peanuts onto another large plate and set aside. Set a large serving plate nearby.

To Cook:
Heat oil in a wok or a deep fryer over medium heat for 5 minutes or longer. Open the package of biscuits and separate them. Cut each biscuit in half. Use both palms of your hands to roll each biscuit into a 4 inch long and ¼ inch round rope and set aside. (Note: the ropes will naturally shrink a little).

When the oil is medium in temperature (not burning hot), use hands to pick up each rope and stretch it back to 4 inches in length and drop into the hot oil. Deep-fry 5 at the time for approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Sticks will turn a light golden brown and also expended resemble the size of a hot dog. If the oil becomes too hot, the biscuits will brown immediately and remain uncooked inside.

Using a pair chopsticks or tongs, remove the fried sticks and roll onto the honey plate. Coat each stick with honey. Next, roll and cover the honeyed sticks with the powdered peanuts. Place on the large serving plate. Repeat the above steps with the remaining sticks. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 20 honey nut sticks
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Frying time: 4 to 8  minutes

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