Chinese, Mexican and Italian - Three Popular World Cuisines
People like to eat Italian, Chinese and Mexican. This hub shares recipes and stories for these three popular cuisines.
There was a time as I was growing up when my parents met friends once a month for dinner at various international restaurants. I don’t remember all they tried but do remember them going to a Chinese restaurant. This was back in the 1960s, so Chinese food seemed much more exotic than it is now.
Today, Americans’ taste in food has expanded way beyond Chinese to include foods from the Middle East, Africa, all parts of Asia and Europe. Just recently, my husband and I went to an Asian fusion restaurant where we had Vietnamese spring rolls and I tried Pad Thai.
Chinese food is still one of the most popular cuisines Americans enjoy along with Italian and Mexican. They also happen to be three favorites my family has enjoyed over the years.
Chinese food is popular with Americans
There are several types of Chinese food – Szechwan is hot and spicy, Hunan is mild and Americans are most used to Cantonese. When my kids were younger, I would plan a special Chinese night. To make it more authentic we used chopsticks and small porcelain bowls and spoons for our Egg Drop Soup. I’d buy a bag of fortune cookies and my husband would stir-fry something in the wok as we all enjoyed our Chinese dinner.
Egg Drop Soup
- 1 can chicken broth
- 1 egg, beaten
- wonton noodles
- Bring the broth to a boil.
- Slowly pour the beaten egg into the broth, stirring as you do.
- Ladle up into the Chinese bowls and pass the wonton noodles for a crispy topping.
My kids used to call this next recipe "Chinese spaghetti" because it has pasta and is cooked in a wok.
Chicken Lo Mein
- 1-2 chicken breasts, boned and skinned
- 3 T. soy sauce
- 1 T dry or cooking sherry
- 2 tsp. cornstarch
- 8 oz. vermicelli, cooked according to the directions
- ¼ c vegetable oil
- ½ pound mushrooms, sliced
- ¼ pound pea pods
- 2 green onions, sliced into 1” pieces
- 1 large red pepper, thinly sliced
- ½ c water with 1 chicken bouillon cube in it so the cube dissolves
- Cut chicken breast into thin slices, suitable for stir-fry. In a medium bowl, mix the chicken, soy sauce, sherry and cornstarch. Set aside.
- In a 12” skillet or wok over medium-high heat, in hot oil, cook mushrooms, pea pods, green onions and pepper until tender-crisp, about 3-5 minutes. Remove to a bowl.
- In the same pan, cook chicken, stirring frequently until cooked, about 2-3 minutes. Return vegetables to pan, add water with the bouillon cube. Heat to boiling, stirring to loosen brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add pasta; heat through.
330 calories /serving - Serves 6
Mexican food adds spice to your meals
I love Mexican food as long as it isn’t too spicy. These easy recipes came from two friends. I get to eat them myself because my husband doesn’t like them. This salsa is processed so it is a smooth dip, unlike the pico de gallo, which is made up of chopped tomatoes and chili peppers.
- 1 can whole unpeeled tomatoes
- 1 tsp refrigerated garlic
- 1 T or so of chopped onion
- fresh cilantro
- 1 dried chili pepper
- ½ of a fresh lime
- Drain the tomatoes and put them in a mini food processor.
- Add the other ingredients, adjusting the amounts as you like. I love using cilantro so I use the leaves from about a dozen sprigs.
- Add the dried chilies but be careful when you do. The more seeds that fall into your processor, the hotter it will be.
- Squeeze half of the lime into the processor.
- When you have all the ingredients in, process them until smooth.
- Taste test with tortilla chips and adjust the amount of peppers and cilantro as necessary.
Pico de Gallo
- 1 Serrano pepper
- 1 Anaheim pepper
- 1 jalapeño pepper
- chopped onion
The number of tomatoes you need really depends on how much pico you want to make. Since I’m the only one at home who eats this, I can adjust it so that I don’t make too much. If I’m making it just for me, I’ll use just a couple tomatoes and about a ¼ of an onion. I won’t use all of the Serrano or jalapeño because they are hotter than the Anaheim. The more you make this, the more you’ll get to know how hot you like it.
- Cut the tomatoes in half and scoop out the seeds and membranes, then chop the tomatoes. Put them into a bowl that will hold the amount of tomato and onion you’ll be using. Sprinkle the tomatoes with salt. Chop some onion and add it to the bowl.
- Slice the Serrano pepper lengthwise and scrape out the membrane and seeds. Mince the pepper and add to the bowl. Repeat with the jalapeño and Anaheim. If you don’t like your food too hot, start out with just a bit of the Serrano and jalapeño peppers – those are the hot ones. The Anaheim is a mild pepper. Add all the peppers to the bowl.
- Chop cilantro leaves and add to the bowl. I love cilantro so I always use a lot.
- Cut the lime in half and squeeze juice over the mixture of tomatoes, onions and peppers. Depending on how much you have in your bowl, you might want to start out with just half of the lime at first.
- Sprinkle again with some salt, mix it all up and refrigerate it for a few hours. This actually tastes better after the flavors meld for a while.
I like to just dip my tortilla chips into the pico but you can use it on fish, baked potatoes….probably more uses than I use it for. As I said, I like to just use it as a dip for my chips.
Manga! Italian dishes from Mama mia!
My older son loved the Godfather movies. When he turned 18, we had an Italian-themed dinner. I made Chicken Parmesan with a salad and garlic bread on the side. I set the table with a red and white-checkered cloth. An empty chianti wine bottle holding a candle sat in the middle of the table while The Godfather sound track played in the background.
- Chicken breasts, boned and skinned, flattened
- 1 Egg, beaten
- bread crumbs
- 1 jar marinara sauce
- sliced or shredded mozzarella cheese
I actually can serve my family with just two large breasts. First, because we are not big meat eaters and second because once you flatten them, you can get a lot more out of them. Use however many breasts you need for your family.
- After boning and skinning them, use a heavy cup or a kitchen meat tenderizer to flatten the breasts. You want them pretty much the same thickness throughout.
- Dip the breasts into the egg, then coat with breadcrumbs. (I sometimes repeat this step to make a nicer breading but of course it adds calories.) Put the breasts on a plate and chill for about 30 minutes to ‘set’ the crumbs.
- Heat oil in a large skillet till hot. Cook the breasts in the hot oil, for about 10 mins or until cooked through, turning once to cook each side. When they are cooked, remove them to a paper towel. Drain the oil from the pan, return the meat to the pan and turn the burner to low. Pour some marinara sauce on each breast, then cover with cheese.
- Cover the pan and keep warm over low heat until the cheese melts
Here is another family favorite:
Spaghetti with Clam Sauce
- 2 cans minced clams, drained (save the juice)
- ¼ cup margarine
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 T lemon juice
- enough milk to add to reserved clam juice to make 2 cups of liquid
Melt butter, stir in flour, salt and pepper. Cook 1 minute, stirring with a fork to make sure it doesn’t burn and making a smooth paste. Slowly stir reserved clam juice/milk mixture, then stir in lemon juice. Cook until it thickens a little. Add the clams, heat through. Serve over hot pasta. Serves 4.