my never ending quest for more organization and efficiency, I’ve been changing
up my meal planning lately. One thing I’m trying to do is plan things that will
last for several meals, like Chicken Taco Stew,
or make things on the weekend that I can freeze and quickly cook later in the
week. Since I typically don’t get home until well after 7:00 p.m., if I want to
eat something somewhat healthy, it has to be fast and easy.
My long commute also seems to make me really hungry, and I have been known to eat things like cookies and milk for dinner. That’s not a good habit. One of my current favorites for the freezer is gyoza (or potstickers, or dumplings, depending on the version). Reading this, what I make is definitely the Japanese version, which makes sense, since my recipe is originally from a Japanese friend I had in college. I wish I still had the handwritten copy she gave me; I remember she drew the exact size of the garlic clove and piece of ginger to be used.
I'm also finding that assembling a whole bunch of these on a Sunday evening is a nice, soothing activity for ending the weekend. So, here is what I do:
Makes about 3 ½ dozen
Napa cabbage (1/2 a large, or 1 small)
1 lb. Ground chicken (this recipe is easily adaptable, feel free to use pork or turkey, if you’d like, I’ve made it with those meats as well)
2 green onions (scallions), finely minced
1 large clove of garlic, finely minced
2 T finely minced ginger
A splash of soy sauce-around 2 tablespoons
A package square or round wonton skins/wrappers
Chop up the cabbage and steam. When it’s done cooking, squeeze out as much water as possible and chop it up a little more. Mix together all the ingredients except the wonton skins, of course. Set up your work area to make your gyoza: have a small bowl of water and a baking dish or cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Pick up a wonton skin, place a teaspoonful of the chicken mixture in the middle, wet a finger in the bowl of water and moisten two adjacent sides of the wrapper (or half the circumference if using round ones). Fold the wrapper in half diagonally and seal the edges. Bunch the edges up a bit and place the finished gyoza in the dish on the parchment paper. Repeat until you have no more filling and/or wonton skins. I have yet to come out perfectly even, but it’s usually pretty close. Extra wonton skins can be lightly fried and used in a Chinese style salad. Here's my pan, ready to go in the freezer:
At this point, you can put your dish in the freezer, and when the gyoza are frozen solid you can put them in a plastic Ziploc bag, and store them back in the freezer. You can also cook them without freezing. Frozen or fresh, I cook them the same way. Heat a little canola oil in a wok or sauté pan. Toss in a few gyoza and let them brown on a couple sides. Once they’re looking nice and crispy, add about a quarter cup of water and cover. Let the gyoza steam for a few minutes, shaking the pan every now and then so they don’t stick.
I usually make myself 4 or 5 or 6 (depending on how hungry I am), and do a quick stir-fry of mixed vegetables and maybe a little brown rice for a satisfying but reasonably healthy meal.
Do you have some good, healthy, fast and easy freezer meals that you rely on?