My mom's birthday fell on Chinese New Year's this year and my sis and I decided that she needed a homemade Chinese Food Feast for her Birthday dinner. I remember my grandma used to always make Chinese food for my mom for her birthday...sweet and sour pork, beef and broccoli, and egg rolls. All of mom's favorites!
I think I get my food allergies from my mom. She has anaphalaxis reactions to shrimp, which pretty much eliminates going out to many restaurants. She can't even eat something that has come into contact with shrimp or she could die. Super scary!
Of course, I decided that I would make the stuff Grandma used to make...sweet and sour pork, beef and broccoli...plus noodles, fried rice, lemon chicken and three other chicken dishes. And of course, they would all be gluten free so I could eat them. And, because it would be a feast with leftovers for the week to come, I would make double, triple, or even quadruple of each recipe.
Did I mention that I have slowly been recovering from pneumonia lately?
That I hosted a Super Bowl Party the week before while I was just getting over the worst of being sick and was totally exhausted for days afterwards?
That there was going to be 13 people for dinner at my house?
That I got totally overwhelmed looking at all the groceries and the menu I planned that I started to have an anxiety attack?
You could say that I tend to take on too much... I'm slowly learning that the hard way....
Luckily, my mom, being the sweet angel that she is, volunteered to come help me cook her own birthday dinner. We spent 4.5 hours chopping, stir-frying, boiling, baking, and deep frying a feast that, that when it was all done, would have fed a small country. Dave was amazing and totally cleaned up the house to make it "company ready."
One thing I did do, was cheat and buy a few pre-made seasoning packets for the chicken dishes. I did my best to find ones that were free from MSG, visible gluten, and all the gunk you usually find in pre-made foods. They tasted good, but they aren't a part of our diet and are something I only would buy when having a big dinner party like this. The did taste EXACTLY like your local take out.
I did, however, make sweet and sour pork, beef and broccoli, noodles, and fried rice all from scratch.
First, I made the beef and broccoli from this yummy recipe from Iowa Girl Eats. In my haste, I forgot to marinate the meat, so I just added some Braggs Liquid Aminos (gf soy sauce replacement) while the meat was cooking and it still turned out fantastic.
I also made Iowa Girl's fried rice. It was great and tasted just like takeout. Minor changes....I used white rice instead of brown, frozen peas and fresh diced carrots in place of the frozen mixed veggies, and liquid aminos in place of the soy sauce.
Then I made my version of Garlic Noodles from Crepes of Wrath. I'll post my version of that soon!
And finally, I made my grandma's "famous" sweet and sour pork. Mom and I figured out how to make the batter gluten free. It was so tasty, exactly like Grandma makes it. That recipe will be coming soon as well!
In the end, everyone loved the food, the family had some quality time together, and my mom had a great birthday. And to top it all off, my mom snuck over to my house the next day while I was at work, and finished cleaning up the kitchen. Who does that?
Mom, next year, I think I'm going to scale back dinner, or just take you out for a steak and let the professionals take care of everything.