Cooks Exchange

Celebrate Chinese New Year by trying new recipes, dishes

Pineapple Shrimp Stir Fry is an easy and quick dish.
Pineapple Shrimp Stir Fry is an easy and quick dish. Getty Images/iStockphoto

Chinese New Year is well underway. The year of the pig began Feb. 5.

This event celebrates the new year on the Chinese calendar. Celebrations started last week, but in some areas will continue until Feb. 15 or 16.

There is still plenty of time to try out a new Asian recipe or try an Asian restaurant that you have not visited.

Some began celebrating Feb. 4. Lilly and I took her mom for a birthday dinner at a Japanese restaurant. Chefs in the kitchen were not only cooking for guests but also for the Chinese New Year festivities.

Our table chef told us this was he and his friend’s time to party. They planned to start after the restaurant closed. Our waitress said the smells in the kitchen were fabulous, and she brought Elyssa a sweet dough filled with a sweet red bean mixture, topped with a bit of whipped cream.

I love Asian food, but not so fond of the desserts. This dumpling-like dessert was good. Different, but enjoyable.

During this time, why not try preparing a new Asian recipe? I found one that combines all my favorites: ginger, pineapple and shrimp. Ginger is one of my top spices.

I purchased shrimp last week that were on sale for $3.99 heads-on and 16-20 in size. Oh, did they make good shrimp and grits. I bought more to freeze before they went off sale.

Check out Ginger-Pineapple Shrimp Stir Fry later in this column.


Mary Beth Greenleaf of Bradenton, Florida, shared her favorite recipe of 2018, a root vegetable and sausage pie. It was great to hear from Greenleaf, who has been a frequent contributor to this column in the past.

“One bad habit I’ve had for most of my life has been clipping recipes and stacking them in a drawer, never to be looked at again. Well, two years ago I decided to do something about that drawer,” said Greenleaf. “I made a New Year’s resolution to go through the recipes, throw out the ones that no longer appealed to me and then actually try the rest of them.

“So, one by one, over the course of these two years, I’ve been doing just that. My favorite, by far, is this recipe for root vegetables and breakfast sausage. I’ve made it three or four times in the last few months, adapting it to our tastes.

“The original recipe came from The Washington Post, but I found it in The Week magazine about four years ago. The original cornbread topping was a bit bland and dry for us, so I made some changes, making it nearer to the taste of our Thanksgiving cornbread pudding recipe. It’s a winner now. Everyone loves it,” said Greenleaf.

She has found that the most difficult parts of the recipe are finding turnips and parsnips (not every store carries them) and peeling and dicing them.

Once that’s done, the recipe is easy.



1 pound bulk breakfast sausage

1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 cup no-salt added chicken broth

1 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups peeled, chopped parsnips

1 cup peeled, chopped carrots

1 cup peeled, chopped turnips


1/3 cup white flour

1/4 cup corn meal

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg

4 tablespoon butter or margarine

1 can cream-style corn

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a large skillet, cook the sausage, breaking it into 1/2-inch pieces as it cooks. Once the meat begins to release its juices, stir in the onion. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the onion has started to turn translucent, stirring as needed. Transfer this mixture to a bowl.

Return the skillet to the stove over medium-high heat. Pour in the broth to deglaze the skillet, using a wooden spoon to dislodge browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the paprika and salt, then add the carrots, parsnips, and turnips. Once the mixture starts to bubble at the edges, cover and cook for 7 minutes or until the vegetables are just tender. Remove from heat. Stir in the sausage-onion mixture. Turn the whole thing into a greased two-quart baking dish.

For the topping:

Combine the cornmeal, flour, salt, sugar and baking powder. Set aside. In a glass bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. Add the egg and beat slightly until combined. Add corn. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients. Starting at the outside rim of the baking dish, pour the corn mixture evenly over the sausage and vegetables. Use a spatula to smooth over any empty places and cover the top completely with batter. Bake 20-30 minutes or until top is set.

– Submitted by Mary Beth Greenleaf


1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 small red onion, sliced

1 garlic clove, minced

2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger

1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1/2 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 cup cubed fresh pineapple

8 shrimp

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

3/4 teaspoon sriracha, optional

1/2 cup cooked white rice

1 tablespoon mint leaves

1 tablespoon cilantro leaves

1/4 Fresno chile, thinly sliced and de-seeded

2 scallions, thinly sliced

1/4 lime, cut into wedges

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger. Sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the bell peppers and pineapple and sauté until the peppers soften, about 5 minutes.

Add the shrimp and cook until they are opaque throughout and the vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce, rice vinegar and sriracha (if using) and simmer for 2 more minutes.

Put the rice on a plate, top it with the stir-fry and garnish with mint, cilantro and scallions. Serve with lime wedges.

– From

Andrea Yeager can be reached at and Cooks Exchange, 205 DeBuys Road, Gulfport, MS 39507.