Monday, January 23, 2012

Celebrate, Celebrate, Celebrate > Chinese New Year

Happy New Year's - that's Chinese New Years to you.  

If you didn't know, today is Chinese New Years and the Year of the Dragon.  I like any reason to celebrate and Chinese New Years offers some unique opportunities.  

Reasons why I like Chinese New Years:

Clean House:  You know what they say about a great way to get your house in order is to have a party.  Well, Chinese New Year takes care of this because traditionally before the new year, homes are thoroughly cleaned to sweep away ill fortune and to welcome good luck.  I understand this because a messy house seems like ill fortune and when my house is clean anything seems possible.

Buy new clothing:  Any celebration where buying new clothes is involved is okay with me!!!  New clothing symbolizes a new beginning, and having more than enough things to use and wear in the New Year.  Also red clothing is often worn because the color red is believed to scare away evil spirits and bad fortune.  

New Clothes + Red = Good Fortune 

Family Gathering:  Celebrating with family, again for the same reason I have a get together on New Year's Day - I want to begin the year the same way I mean to continue - surrounded with family and friends.

Gifts:  Gifts are usually brought when visiting friends or relatives at their homes.  Yep, that's right, come and visit me and bring me a little gift - 'cause I like gifts.

Fireworks:  I like fireworks (just ask my neighbors.)  Enough said about that!

Have a little dinner party to celebrate.  I'm going to give you my recipe for Chinese Chicken Stew.  I don't know where this recipe came from as I've had it for years.


2 lbs. boneless skinless               2 cans chicken broth
   chicken                                       2 TBL cornstarch

2 tsp five spice powder               2 red bell peppers,
1 tsp red pepper flakes                  coarsely chopped
2 TBL peanut oil                         4 TBL soy sauce
2 onions, coarsely chopped         2 TBL sesame oil
16 oz. mushrooms, sliced            4 green onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced                Cooked rice

Toss chicken with five spice powder.  Season with red pepper flakes.  Heat peanut oil in large skillet.  Add chicken, cook and stir till chicken is brown and almost completely cooked.  Add onion, green pepper and garlic, saute till chicken is completely cooked.  Add chicken broth (reserving 1/4 c. broth for thickening), mushrooms, and soy sauce, simmer for about 40 minutes.  

Mix chicken broth and cornstarch together.  Stir in cornstarch mixture, sesame oil and green onions; cook another 10 minutes or so until stew is a nice thick consistency.

Serve over rice.

Now for the disclaimer:  I kind of think recipes are like a rough outline and you can use some or all of it.

Don't like mushrooms - don't add them.  
Red Peppers -I'm using the mini sweet peppers because that's what I have.  I've used green peppers before also.
Red Pepper Flakes - I've been known to use 2 tsp. red pepper flakes because I like this a little spicy.  
Chicken - I usually use 3 lbs of chicken. 
Peanut oil - If I don't have it, I use olive oil.
There you have it! 

For dessert, I made fun Fortune cookies.  I dipped them in Almond Bark and then dipped in sprinkles.  You can't go wrong with sprinkles and a fortune!

Now I'm off shopping so I can start the Chinese New Year with new clothing.


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