Corn-Shrimp Dumplings & Sesame-Carrot Edamame SaladThis was a meal of unashamed shortcuts. Pre-made wonton wrappers were stuffed with a veggie-fish mix that was mashed in the food processor. Frozen, shelled edamame was warmed in the microwave. Read on…

I used square wonton wrappers, rather than round, for the “Corn-Shrimp Dumplings,” from the September 2014 issue of Food & Wine. Dumplings are fun to assemble with a 10-year-old helper. And they’re easy to steam, thereafter. I did not bother to meticulously mince my corn (frozen, not fresh), shrimp, scallions, garlic, or ginger. Instead, into the food processor they went, mashed into a paste that I could fold into my wonton wrappers, one teaspoon at a time.

These dumplings were steamed, complete, in four minutes. Done. Easy. Take pleasure in that shrimp.

I also pulled together the “Sesame-Carrot Edamame Salad,” from the September 2014 issue of Cooking Light. But why should I boil my frozen edamame if I intended to eat this salad at room-temp later on? Instead (shortcut), I microwaved my beans for 2 minutes, to soften them, then mixed everything together. Smell that sesame oil. Enjoy a fine salad.

Shrimp (8 oz.) = $9.52

PREP TIMES: steam the dumplings in 4 minutes, pull together the edamame salad in 10 minutes
corn, shrimp, scallions, garlic, ginger = the perfect steamed dumpling; sesame oil wins with edamame and carrots

Next time, I want to do the deep-fry thing. I want to make the “Pork Nuggets with Pineapple-Mustard Sweet & Sour Sauce,” along with the “Polynesian Macaroni Salad,” from the October 2014 issue of Cuisine at Home (recipes below). Does it sound crazy? Come back to my site next week to see what happens.

Pork Nuggets with Pineapple-Mustard Sweet & Sour Sauce
Cuisine at Home, October 2014
Makes 4 servings; 1 1/2 cups sauce

For the sauce, heat:
1 can crushed pineapple in juice (8 oz.)
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. prepared yellow mustard
2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. water
Salt to taste

For the nuggets, combine:
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 cup whole milk
1 egg
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs

1 pork tenderloin (about 1 lb.), trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
Canola oil

For the sauce, heat pineapple, sugar, vinegar, mustard, ginger, and pepper flakes in a saucepan over medium until it simmers.

Combine 1 Tbsp. cornstarch and water, then whisk into sauce until sauce thickens; season with salt.

For the nuggets, combine 1/4 cup cornstarch, 1 tsp. salt, and cayenne in a bowl. Whisk together milk and egg in a separate bowl. Combine panko and remaining 1 tsp. salt in a third bowl.

Toss pork pieces with cornstarch mixture to coat. Dip pork in milk-egg mixture; let excess drip off, then coat in panko mixture, pressing to adhere.

Heat 2 inches of oil in a large saucepan over medium-high to 350 degrees F. Fry pork, in 3 batches, until golden, 3 minutes per batch. Transfer nuggets to a paper-towel-lined plate and season with salt. Serve nuggets with sauce.

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Polynesian Macaroni Salad
Cuisine at Home, October 2014
Makes 4 servings (5 cups)

8 oz. dry elbow macaroni
1/4 cup rice vinegar

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup whole milk
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. minced pickled ginger
2 tsp. sugar
4 scallions, sliced
1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper

Cook macaroni in a pot of boiling salted water according to package directions drain. Rinse macaroni with hot water, and thoroughly drain again. Transfer macaroni to a large bowl and immediately stir in vinegar until fully absorbed.

Whisk together mayonnaise, milk, soy sauce, ginger, and sugar.

Stir mayonnaise mixture into macaroni with scallions and bell pepper. Serve salad immediately or chill until ready to serve.