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Build your own…

Adding to our build your own dinner theme, I decided on an Asian version.  The recipe came from a cookbook called Time for Dinner, which is a fun cookbook for ways to feed children, use pantry staples, and finding meal ideas with items you already have.  Although I’ve paged through the book several times, this is the first time I’ve made something from it.

The recipe called for ground pork, but I substituted ground turkey.  The dipping sauce (not pictured in the photo) was terrific.  It was perfect as a potsticker sauce.  I had intentions of making homeade potstickers, but a stop to Trader Joe’s changed that plan.  My boys are huge potsticker fans, and it is often our bribe for heading to a sushi restaurant.  Son #1 loves them so much that he requested a Japanese restaurant for his birthday meal when he was 5 years old.  Of the frozen options, I’ve found the Trader Joe’s version to be easy to cook properly and taste the best.  The homemade potstickers will have to wait for another night with more time.

The lettuce we chose wasn’t quite sturdy enough to handle the ingredients, but they were still delicious.  The boys could build their own “taco” with cucumbers, carrots, meat and peanuts.  Son #3 ate the ingredients separately without the lettuce.  The best part of this meal is that I convinced the two older boys to try some Sriracha, which I’m addicted to for some reason right now.  Could be the pregnancy.  When I was pregnant with Son #1, it was buffalo sauce.  They made a big fuss about how spicy it was, and washed it down with some milk.  The potstickers were the favored part of the meal, but I think we’ll give it another go in the future.

Sweet pork (this version is turkey) hand rolls and potstickers.

Recipe from Time for Dinner:

1 1/2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound ground pork (or turkey)

1 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder

2 tablespoons brown sugar

3 tablespoons soy sauce

sturdy Bibb or Romaine lettuce leaves

1 carrot, shredded

1 cucumber, peeled and julienned

chopped peanuts

2 tablespoons sugar

4 tablespoons lime juice


1. In a skillet over medium low-heat, cook 1 clove of the garlic in the oil until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

2. Add the pork, 5-spice powder, brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce. Raise the heat to high and cook until the pork is browned, 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Scoop the pork mixture into the lettuce leaves. Garnish with carrot, cucumber and peanuts. *

4. Combine the sugar and lime juice with the remaining garlic and soy sauce to make the dipping sauce.

*I put the toppings in bowls and everyone made their own.  The adults also used Sriracha.


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