Homemade Chinese Food

I love Chinese food! But I hate paying buffet prices for it.  It is so easy to make at home and even tastes better than stuff you get at a buffet place. Except for maybe Panda Express.  I love Panda Express.  The kids and I used to eat there all the time when we lived in California but the closest one to me is now 30 miles away.  So I saw a recipe for Chow Mien that said it tasted like Panda Express chow mien   I figured it would be perfectly paired with the beef and broccoli that I always make.  I will do each recipe separately to I don’t confuse you by going back and forth.

First, for the beef and broccoli you will need: Beef tips/stew meat, onion, broccoli, soy sauce, vegetable oil, and a beef and broccoli seasoning packet.

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I don’t follow the directions on the back of the packet.  I usually just do my own thing with it.  Start by adding in a few tablespoons of soy sauce and about 2 tablespoons of oil into a wok or pot. Turn the heat up to medium.

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While it is heating up, go through your beef.  Make sure there are no large pieces.  I usually cut everything bite size to make it easier for the kiddos to eat.  Also, it cooks faster.  Add the beef to the pot.

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While the  meat is browning a bit, cut your onion.  I don’t usually use a whole onion, only about half of a medium size one. I cut mine in rather large chunks. It makes it easier for the kids to pick them out (picky eaters!!).  Add them to the pot.

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Next,  you want to mix the beef and broccoli seasoning packet with water and soy sauce.  I usually do follow the instructions for this on the package.  It’s usually about 2 tbsp of soy sauce and 1/4 cup of water.  It just depends on what brand you can get.

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Once your meat is brown, pour this into the pot.  You don’t want to do it too early because it has flour or corn starch in it and will thicken up fast and you will lose your juices too early.

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Let that cook for a few minutes and get to cutting up the broccoli.  I try to cut mine in smallish pieces. Again, it’s easier for the kids. Once it cooks for a bit, add the broccoli in.

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Then you cook it until the broccoli is how you like it.  I usually put a lid on the pot and it cooks a bit faster.  We don’t like ours hard but we don’t like it mushy either.  I cook it just enough that it still has a bite to it.

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Now for the chow mein or technically I think it is a low mein but whatever.

You will need: onion, celery, soy sauce, garlic, cabbage, brown sugar, ginger, oil, and noodles.

To start, put 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1 tbsp brown sugar, 2 minced cloves of garlic, ginger (the recipe called for 1 tsp fresh grated ginger but apparently in my tiny town we can only get ground ginger.  I used about 1/2 tsp.), and black pepper to taste.

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Set this aside.  Now for the noodles.  The recipe called for 3 (5.6oz) packages of YakiSoba noodles from the produce section.  They are fresh and you don’t have to cook them, just rinse and set aside to use. I couldn’t find these either.  I just went to the aisle where the asian food is and got 2 packages of chow mien noodles. These had to be cooked in boiling water for about 3 minutes. I used 1 1/2 of these packages and it made a lot! Maybe only use 1 package unless you are counting on left overs.

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Once they are cooked, rinse them in cool water and set aside.

Cut up your onion and celery. For the onion I used about a 1/4 of the onion from the beef and broccoli and cut it into small strips. For the celery, I used 2 stalks and cut them at a diagonal.

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Heat up about 2-3 tbsp of vegetable oil in a pot.  Add the celery and onion and cook just until the onion is translucent.

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While it’s cooking, you will have a chance to cut up the cabbage.  I just cut a small hunk off of the head and cut it into strips.  It was about a cup of cabbage. Add that to the pan.

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Let that cook for a minute or two.  Then add in the noodles and the soy sauce mixture.  Make sure to coat the noodles in all the yummy goodness. Cook it for a few minutes to heat the noodles through.  And it’s that simple!

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You can add some white rice as well, and make it a full meal. It’s so very easy, and so much cheaper, to cook your own food at home.  Plus, you know how fresh your ingredients are and you control what goes into it.

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