It has been several busy weeks since theme a theme night with the tinies. Since we are going on a short vacation tomorrow, I wanted to have a little fun, plus make my life easy in the kitchen. I have had several people tell me that theme nights look like a lot of work. Well, they can be – but they don’t have to be. No one says theme night has to be from scratch! I will be the first to tell you, I can’t cook Chinese food! For some reason, I just can’t. Anything more complicated than fried rice is beyond my grasp. I can order some mean takeout, and I can warm up a dandy frozen egg roll, but I don’t seem to be able to make one myself. I love to cook, I mean really LOVE to cook, so it is my large scarlet A that I can’t cook one of my favorite types of food.
For tonight’s theme night, we are watching Mulan. I do love a badass princess. Anyone that can pose as a boy, kick some butt, talk her way out of it and STILL get the guy is worth a few minutes of my time every once in a while. I am a Disney nut. Tiny loved the Princesses hardcore for a while, but has grown out of her magical princess phase (this is my life long tragedy…). Unfortunately for her, Teeny and Papa Bear, I didn’t. I’m still in my with no end in sight!
Dinner will consist of beef and broccoli, chicken lo mein, vegetable fried rice, pot stickers, and egg rolls. Easy breezy, right? Sure, thanks to my local Wal Mart’s frozen foods isle. I am simply preparing the beef and broccoli, chicken lo mein, and pot stickers according to the directions on the package. The egg rolls are going into a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes to heat and crisp, and the fried rice is my own, thank you very much!
I am cooking the rice in a rice cooker. I love mine. Barley, quinoa, rice, couscous – any grain comes out perfectly in about 20 minutes. While the rice cooks, I am going to chop and sweat half a large, sweet, yellow onion. I will take the onion out of the pan and then scramble 2 large eggs. Dump those guys over in your onions bowl and put about 2 tablespoons of oil in your pan for later. Once your rice is done, heat your oil. The oil will cook your rice a bit more (hence the fried rice portion of our recipe). I used a half of a packet of Kroger fried rice seasoning. Honestly, you can also just use soy sauce. I prefer the soy sauce approach myself, but you have to try to learn. Combine all ingredients – onion, eggs, 1 can of drained peas and carrots – into your rice. Give it a good stir, let it cook for a minute or two and take it off the eye. It will burn! Keep the lid on and it will stay nice and plump while you finish the remainder of your finely crafted “take in” meal.
For dessert, we are not stopping at some lame fortune cookies. I have purchased 2 pints of halo top ice cream – mint chocolate chip and peanutbutter cup – very Asian, right? No. But that is ok. I am making Pocky Parfaits! YUM! I am simply going to take chocolate dipped and almond crunch Pocky, crush them, and top one scoop of ice cream with a bit of Pocky (ok, a lot), a bit of whipped cream (ok, a whole lot!) and cross two to look like chop sticks. Cuteness in a bowl! Pocky Road maybe?
I have to admit, this was one of the least intensive theme nights I have done in a while. It almost felt criminal to have that much fun, invite Grandma and the niece, and not have spent tons of time in the kitchen. As many pots as I used, it would have been a different story prior to the installation of my dishwasher. I was without one for about 3 and ½ years – how did I do that through a new born??? – and am SO glad I have it back!
What short cuts do you use for family fun in the kitchen?