Do you ever come home tired, hungry, and grumpy, and decide that you can’t possibly cook dinner? As you stare into your empty refrigerator, do you start thinking—somewhat hysterically—that you will starve to death in the time it takes to cook a meal and get it on the table? So you order pizza or get teriyaki and end up $25 poorer and not particularly satisfied.
This happens to me, too. More often than I’d like to admit. So I’ve decided to take a cue from our friends Matt and Lisa, who keep a list of quick and easy meals posted on their fridge for inspiration.
At the top of my must-have-in-the-freezer-in-case-of-hunger-emergency list are frozen pot stickers. These tasty little dumplings come stuffed with veggies and cook up in under 10 minutes. I like to serve them in a bowl with a bit of broth and a heap of greens sautéed with garlic and peppers. The whole meal takes about 20 minutes from start to finish, and it tastes way better than take-out.
Crispy Pot Stickers with Garlicky Greens
Pot stickers get their name for a reason—they stick terribly if you try to cook them in a regular frying pan. Adding in lots of oil helps, but the dumplings turn out greasy. I’ve found that cooking them over medium heat and using a well-seasoned cast iron skillet coated with a few teaspoons of oil dramatically reduces sticking—and results in crispy, well browned dumplings.
1 large bunch of Swiss chard, spinach, or kale
2 large cloves of garlic minced
1/3 cup finely chopped, mildly spicy red pepper (such as Anaheim)
2 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
1 package of frozen pot stickers (I like Ohana House Organic Vegetarian Gyoza)
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 teaspoons vegetable oil
Heat the olive oil in a cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile, chop the greens into 1 inch pieces and rinse well in a colander. When the oil shimmers add in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in the peppers and cook until they begin to soften. Stir in the greens (with water still clinging to its leaves) and cook until it wilts and turns bright green, about 3 minutes. Divide the greens between two deep soup bowls.
Pour the broth into a small sauce pan and bring it to a simmer. Wipe out the skillet, then heat the vegetable oil over medium. Place the pot stickers into the skillet, flat side down and cook, turning occasionally until they are evenly browned, about 8 minutes total. Divide the dumplings between the bowls and pour one cup of broth into each bowl. Serve immediately.
Chard is one of the easiest greens to grow in cool weather. Every spring I sow a four foot long row of Swiss chard. The chard grows and produces leaves throughout the summer, fall, and winter. We eat the greens at least a couple of times a week because they are easy to prepare and very healthy—just one cup of cooked Swiss chard contains over 50% of your daily Vitamin C requirements and 10% of your calcium needs. With those kind of stats, who needs orange juice?