dinner plans

Posted by on September 16, 2008 in cook | 6 comments

my never ending quest for more organization and efficiency, I’ve been changing
up my meal planning lately. One thing I’m trying to do is plan things that will
last for several meals, like Chicken Taco Stew,
or make things on the weekend that I can freeze and quickly cook later in the
week. Since I typically don’t get home until well after 7:00 p.m., if I want to
eat something somewhat healthy, it has to be fast and easy.

My long commute
also seems to make me really hungry, and I have been known to eat things like
cookies and milk for dinner. That’s not a good habit. One of my current
favorites for the freezer is gyoza (or potstickers, or dumplings, depending on
the version). Reading this, what I make
is definitely the Japanese version, which makes sense, since my recipe is
originally from a Japanese friend I had in college. I wish I still had the handwritten copy she
gave me; I remember she drew the exact size of the garlic clove and piece of
ginger to be used.

I’m also finding that assembling a whole bunch of these on a Sunday evening is a nice, soothing activity for ending the weekend. So,
here is what I do:


about 3 ½ dozen

cabbage (1/2 a large, or 1 small)

lb. Ground chicken (this recipe is easily adaptable, feel free to use pork or
turkey, if you’d like, I’ve made it with those meats as well)

green onions (scallions), finely minced

large clove of garlic, finely minced

T finely minced ginger

splash of soy sauce-around 2 tablespoons

package square or round wonton skins/wrappers

up the cabbage and steam. When it’s done cooking, squeeze out as much water as
possible and chop it up a little more. Mix together all the ingredients except
the wonton skins, of course. Set up your work area to make your gyoza: have a
small bowl of water and a baking dish or cookie sheet lined with parchment
paper. Pick up a wonton skin, place a teaspoonful of the chicken mixture in the
middle, wet a finger in the bowl of water and moisten two adjacent sides of the
wrapper (or half the circumference if using round ones). Fold the wrapper in
half diagonally and seal the edges. Bunch the edges up a bit and place the
finished gyoza in the dish on the parchment paper. Repeat until you have no more
filling and/or wonton skins. I have yet to come out perfectly even, but it’s
usually pretty close. Extra wonton skins can be lightly fried and used in a
Chinese style salad. Here’s my pan, ready to go in the freezer:


this point, you can put your dish in the freezer, and when the gyoza are frozen
solid you can put them in a plastic Ziploc bag, and store them back in the
freezer. You can also cook them without freezing. Frozen or fresh, I cook them
the same way. Heat a little canola oil in a wok or sauté pan. Toss in a few
gyoza and let them brown on a couple sides. Once they’re looking nice and
crispy, add about a quarter cup of water and cover. Let the gyoza steam for a
few minutes, shaking the pan every now and then so they don’t stick.

usually make myself 4 or 5 or 6 (depending on how hungry I am), and do a quick
stir-fry of mixed vegetables and maybe a little brown rice for a satisfying but
reasonably healthy meal.

you have some good, healthy, fast and easy freezer meals that you rely on?


  1. Those look and sound awesome! Thanx for sharing, I am going to Whole Foods today and will pick up the ingredients. I like to make lasagna with lots of vegetables and freeze half. I make it the day ahead and pop one in the fridge too. Also, soups are good to make ahead and freeze. Sometimes the kids and I like breakfast for dinner, so I make waffles in a big batch and freeze them. I just pop them in the toaster (like Eggos)- I also mix in flax meal in the batter. Another thing I try to do is wash my lettuce, spin it dry, and tear it into small pieces. I put a damp paper towel in the plastic bag to keep it fresh. I find I actually make the salads more this way- I get lazy when there’s too much going on. I sometimes clean and cut the carrots or peppers or whatever is on hand. Making the salad dressing ahead saves me time too. I am looking for more ideas of do ahead meals myself- keep ya posted. Yesterday, I ate 3 large peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, so I can relate to the uncontrollable hunger! Can’t believe I am admitting to this online! haha! Oh well, today is another day.

  2. Wow! Those look really good!

  3. Yum! Rachaelxo

  4. Those look really yummy!! and healthy!

  5. So just double-checking…You don’t cook the meat first, before stuffing? I always do cuz I came from a family that thought raw meat has horrible mean and ugly parasites that get in your muscles and cause lingering death. You could never cook (especially pork) long enough, and beef! Beef has E-coli!! So hamburgers of my youth were like hockey pucks. Hahaha!
    Honestly these look sooooooo good! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Yum. Your gyoza look delicious and I love the crispiness of them. I make wonton with almost exactly the same recipe but a different folding technique and I make homemade chicken stock which I freeze in small containers. The stock can go into the pan frozen, I toss some veggies and a little soy sauce in as I warm it up, boil up the wonton and there’s dinner in about 20 minutes.

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