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NORTHWOODS COOKS: Celebrate the Year of the Tiger with Chinese dishes

The Chinese New Year will be celebrated in many countries around the world starting Feb. 1 which marks a new lunar year.

Chinese New Year party table
Homemade fortune cookies are a fun way to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Red and gold are the tradional celebration colors. Red is a symbol of prosperity and wealth in Chinese culture. Children are given red envelopes containing "lucky money" that represents good wishes for the year ahead.<br/>
Adobe Stock<br/>

Chinese New Year celebrations continue until Feb. 15, which is marked in many cities by a lantern festival. Streets are decorated with colorful lanterns and people eat sweet rice balls called tangyuan, watch dragon and lion dances, and set off fireworks.

Here is a sampling of recipes from Chinese cuisine from allrecipes.com to sample at home.

Baked Cream Cheese Wontons

cooking spray

12 wonton wrappers

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1/4 cup cream cheese

1 tsp. water, or as needed

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Lay wonton wrappers on the prepared baking sheet. Place 1 teaspoon cream cheese in the center of each wonton wrapper.

Lightly brush edges of wonton wrappers with water and fold each wrapper in half to form a triangle. Press edges to seal. Fold the tips of each triangle up together so that they meet in above the center of the wonton and press tips together to seal. Spray assembled wontons with cooking spray.

Bake in the preheated oven until the wontons are crispy and golden and the cream cheese is melted, 5 to 7 minutes.

Easy Sweet and Sour Chicken

3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

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1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch cubes

3 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided

3 celery ribs, sliced

2 green bell peppers, diced

1 onion, chopped

1/2 cup ketchup

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1/2 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup crushed pineapple with syrup

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

Combine flour, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper in a shallow dish. Roll and coat chicken cubes in flour mixture. Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.

Cook and stir chicken in hot oil until no longer pink in the center and juices run clear, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir celery, green peppers, and onion in heated oil until slightly tender, about 5 minutes.

Return chicken to the skillet. Whisk ketchup, lemon juice, pineapple, and brown sugar in a bowl. Pour into the skillet; bring to a boil. Cook and stir chicken and vegetables in sauce until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes.

Fortune Cookies

3 egg whites

3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled

1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. almond extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 Tbsp. water

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease cookie sheets, or line with parchment paper. Have fortunes ready to go on small strips of paper.

In a large glass or metal bowl, whip egg whites and sugar on high speed of an electric mixer until frothy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low, and stir in melted butter, vanilla, almond extract, water and flour one at a time, mixing well after each. Consistency should resemble pancake batter. Spoon the batter into 3 inch circles on the prepared baking sheets. Leave room between for spreading.

Bake for 5 to 7 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges begin to brown slightly. Quickly remove one at a time, place a message in the center, and fold in half. Fold the ends of the half together into a horseshoe shape. If they spring open, place them in a muffin tin to cool until set.

Readers are invited to submit four to five of their favorite recipes to enjoy, along with a note about what makes them special. Send recipes to lskarpness@parkrapidsenterprise.com.

Related Topics: FOOD
Lorie Skarpness has lived in the Park Rapids area since 1997 and has been writing for the Park Rapids Enterprise since 2017. She enjoys writing features about the people and wildlife who call the north woods home.
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