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One of the fun things about celebrating holidays outside of your culture is getting to try different foods. But as most anyone with a child knows, it can be difficult to get them to try foods outside of their comfort zone.
To celebrate Chinese New Year, which is coming up Feb.8, why not try making a Chinese-inspired dish everyone in the family will like? This is a great strategy for any cuisine you might want to introduce a reluctant eater to.
Start with Food They Know
For example, the girl doesn’t really like rice, but she does like noodles, so I decided to make a noodle dish. That’s actually perfect for Chinese New Year, too, because long noodles are considered lucky as a symbol of long life.
She also like broccoli and carrots, and said she likes water chestnuts, so those became the vegetables in my noodle dish.
You can make this same recipe with any kinds of veggies your kids like, or even just plain for them and add vegetables to your portion.
Instead of just making noodles, I wanted to make the meal a little more fun with some easy add-ins from the freezer section.
While I was at Walmart picking up the other supplies, I headed to the frozen snack section and picked up some Pagoda Mini Chicken Eggrolls and Pagoda Express Chicken Potstickers.
I liked that these are easy additions to a meal and feature all white-meat chicken with no MSG or artificial colors. And right now you can get an Ibotta offer for 50 cents off two Pagoda products, so it’s the perfect time to try them.
Easy Stir-Fried Noodles
- half a package of whole-wheat linguini
- 1 Tbs vegetable oil
- one head broccoli, cut into small pieces
- one carrot, shredded
- one can water chestnuts, drained.
- 1 clove garlic, minced (add more to taste if you’re not cooking for kids)
- about 1 inch of ginger, peeled and grated
- 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock, divided
- 2 Tbs low-sodium soy sauce, divided
- 1 Tbs corn starch
- 1 Tbs rice wine vinegar
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp lemon juice
Cook the noodles according to package directions. Meanwhile, cook the egg rolls and potstickers according to package directions.
Add broccoli and cook, stirring constantly, about a minute.
Add carrots and cook, stirring regularly, for 2-3 minutes, until the broccoli is nice and bright green. Add water chestnuts.
In a saucepan, combine 1 cup stock, 1 Tbs soy, the corn starch and the vinegar. Bring to a boil. Cook for a couple of minutes until thickened, stirring occasionally.
Serve with egg rolls (the dipping sauce that comes with them is pretty great) and potstickers.
Everyone in the family liked this simple meal, and it gave us a chance to talk about some of the traditions surrounding Chinese New Year.
Add an orange or tangerines to the meal for extra luck (the word orange is similar to the word gold in Chinese, while tangerine and luck sound similar).
Long noodles are symbolic of long life, and the color red is seen everywhere in Chinese New Year celebrations because it is emblematic of celebration and good fortune. A red envelope with money or chocolate coins is a common gift presented to children during Chinese New Year, but make sure you use an even number — $8 is considered particularly lucky because the word eight sounds like the word for wealth.
It’s also traditional to clean the whole house, and particularly to sweep out the old year, on the day before Chinese New Year, so get the whole family involved in chores to celebrate a prosperous year of the monkey!
Does your family celebrate Chinese New Year or other holidays outside of your culture? I’d love to hear what you do, or what sorts of ethnic cuisines your kids really love.