Monday, July 25, 2011

Won Ton Skins Salad

This is one of my absolute favorite meals. I request it every time I go home, because I don't have a deep fryer to fry the won ton skins. We even had it at our reception, and it was a hit. I was talking to my mom awhile ago about maybe having this when we were home for Kenny's homecoming, and she told me they've tried something new with the salad: instead of getting out the deep fryer and frying up the won ton skins (a big task in it of itself), she's replaced the won tons with crispy chow mein noodles and won ton skin salad toppers. I was a bit hesitant at first, but we had it in CA and I was convinced it was delicious, a decent replacement, and that I could make the salad myself now!

So yesterday I decided to go for it, and it was pretty much perfect, and just what I wanted. The only problem is, I ate two huge bowls, and probably could've gone for a third. It is so yummy and easy to eat. And it's even delicious the next day (some family members argue it's the best the next day, I prefer it the first day, because I love the crispy won tons, but I will eat it any way possible).

The following recipe is what is in our family cookbook. This easily makes 8 bowls' worth, and was plenty for us (and leftovers, yay!). So there are 'measurements' for some of the ingredients, but you can add or subtract amounts of most anything for this. I toned down the almonds, because I tried toasting them on the stove and ended up burning the majority of them. And I really like the mandarin oranges, so I might add some more next time. Anyways, this salad is the best and I will eat it all summer long!

~2 c. cooked chicken (I probably used 12 - 16 oz, didn't measure, just did it)
1 head lettuce (or romaine, or a mix of iceberg, romaine, green leaf)
4 green onions
1/2 c. - 1 c. crispy chow mein noodles (eyeball it)
1 small bag won ton skins salad toppers (found near croutons and salad ingredients in Safeway)
4 Tbl. slivered almonds (can be toasted for optional/optimum flavor)
2 Tbl. sesame seeds (same goes)
1 can mandarin oranges

1. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces, cook and set aside.
2. Tear/cut lettuce, slice green onions and toss.
3. Add rest of ingredients, dressing and toss.
4. It's often best when it's chilled a little, so if you can resist, chill salad at least 20 minutes before serving.

Dressing (mix all ingredients, make ahead of time and chill well)
2 Tbl. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/4 c. oil
1/2 - 1 tsp. accent seasoning (optional)
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3 Tbl. unseasoned rice vinegar

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Crescent Napoleons with Strawberries

I somehow found this recipe and showed Zak yesterday morning. His response, over & over again, "Make that tonight, make that tonight," until I finally agreed. I'm not trying to be snobby, but I don't normally go for recipes where you use pre-made mixes or whatever; it's just that I grew up having really delicious, from-scratch cakes and desserts. But this looked easy and delicious enough, so I figured why not?

I did have few little hiccups with it, however. Well, for starters, I was too busy paying attention to the prices of vanilla pudding instead of reading if it was actually instant or cooked pudding on the box. So I ended up with 2 boxes of cooked vanilla pudding instead of 1 box instant. And I figured that out, after whisking and whisking and then finding the box and realizing my mistake. But I just threw it in a saucepan and cooked it over medium heat until it bubbled and thickened up. I had to let it cool for awhile, which was disappointing, because we were so excited to try them. The other hiccup was that we didn't beat the whipped cream stiff enough, so when I added the whipped cream to the pudding, it didn't mix in well, and was very runny. I decided to put it in the fridge to thicken up. Another agonizing twenty minutes went by, but it had done just what I wanted.

Assembling these wasn't too difficult; I had a fair amount of leftover pudding, but it was difficult not to put a lot on the wafer, because it'd squish out everywhere. But I got it done, they looked pretty decent and were divine! Zak called them, 'everything a strawberry shortcake should be', and I envisioned myself making these many times in our future, because they are simple and delicious. Maybe I'll make some kind of fancy cake with them. Zak didn't even want to think about sharing these with our friends (I normally give away about 75% of the cookies and treats I make, just so we aren't too tempted). They are that yummy!

1 can (8 oz.) Pillsbury refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1 c. milk
1 box (small, 4-serving size) instant vanilla pudding/pie filling mix
1 c. whipped topping or whipped cream
1 1/2 c. sliced strawberries

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Unroll roll dough, separate into 4 rectangles. Press perforations to seal.
3. Cut each rectangle into quarters, place on ungreased cookie sheet. Press each rectangle to form 3x2" rectangles. Sprinkle each with sugar.
4. Bake 8 - 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on cooling rack until completely cool, about 15 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, beat milk and pudding mix with wire whisk until mixture begins to thicken. Fold in the whipped topping/whipped cream.
6. Just before serving, place 8 baked dough rectangles on serving platter or tray. Reserve 1/2 c. pudding mixture. Divide remaining mixture onto rectangles and spread to edges.
7. Reserve at least 8 pretty strawberry slices for garnish. Divide remaining strawberries onto rectangles.
8. I had enough remaining pudding mixture that I put some on the bottom of the remaining dough rectangles to 'cement' the two crescent wafers together.
9. Garnish tops with about 1 Tbl. reserved pudding mixture and 1 strawberry slice. Store in refrigerator and/or enjoy!

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