If M used a lunchbox, these would be a great filler. A small, hand-held vehicle for lean protein and vegetables that you can make in a big batch or freeze and steam in small groups? Yes, please. Also, I folded some to look like origami dogs, which is always a hit with the toddler set.
I'm always trying to get M into the kitchen with me for a few reasons: 1) Kids are more likely to try new things and be adventurous eaters when they have a hand in making the foods; and 2) It's SO HARD to cook and photograph meals when M wants to be doing something else. So far, sugar cookies and/or anything that needs to be rolled, rolled out, or stirred, have led to pretty successful partnerships. I try my best not to be precious about the kitchen and the mess that he's making. I draw the line at letting him eat anything raw, but otherwise, we have some good stain-remover and I lots of spare towels nearby to sop up spills.
However, this recipe was a tough one. I think it required more dexterity than M currently has. I originally thought he could dip his finger into the water and wet the four corners or sides of the wontons before folding them, but he just wanted to drink the water. The filling is also fully cooked, so I wasn't worried about him sneaking bites, but alas. This one might be better for a 3-year-old, but use your judgement. HOWEVER! Here's how YOU can make these dumplings (see the recipe for full instructions):
Easy peasy. And the dogs:
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground turkey (I used dark meat, but light meat or a mixture would be fine)
6-8 scallions (1 medium-sized bunch)
1 zucchini, shredded
1 Tbsp soy sauce
½ Tbsp fish sauce
Shred the zucchini and let drain in a fine mesh sieve while you prepare the other ingredients. (If you don't have one, squeeze the zucchini between a few pieces of paper towel.) In a large sauté pan, heat oil over a medium flame and brown the ground turkey, breaking up any chunks. Add the scallions and drained zucchini and cook for about 5 minutes. If zucchini releases lots of water, don’t worry about it; it’ll evaporate in the cooking. Add the soy sauce and fish sauce and cook until the liquid has evaporated. Let cool.
Clear off a large workspace. Have a small bowl of water nearby.
To make the square dumplings: Wet all four sides of a square wonton wrapper. Add 1 tsp of the turkey mixture to the center of the wonton. Fold the four corners into the middle and press down to secure.
To make the dog dumplings: Wet two sides of a square wonton wrapper. Add 1 tsp of the turkey mixture to the center of the wonton. Fold wrapper in half and press down on two sides of the resulting triangle. Put a dot of water on both of the top corners and fold down a small triangle to make the ears.
To steam: To a regular steamer basket, add a circle of parchment paper with several slits cut into it. Bring a few inches of water to a boil and add the steamer basket. Add wontons, cover, and steam for 8 minutes.
To bake: Preheat the oven to 350. Place the wontons on a large baking sheet and spray with a neutral oil. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown around the edges.
Yield: 34-40 wontons