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Budget Meals: Sun-Bird Asian Seasoning Packets

by Tara Kuczykowski on November 16, 2009 · 17 comments

Sun-Bird Asian Seasonings
Once upon a time when we only had three toddlers, our family frequently ate at a local Asian buffet restaurant. It was relatively affordable then because kids ages three and under ate free, so we could get away with spending around $20 for dinner -- less than most fast food establishments.

These days we'd be lucky to have a check under $50, even with two kiddos still in the "eats for free" age range, so we opt to recreate our favorite Asian-style meals at home. Not only is it far more economical to cook at home, but I like that I have more control over the sodium and fat content of the dishes. However, cooking from scratch just doesn't fit our busy schedule many days, so we'll start with a ready-made seasoning packet like the ones from Sun-Bird to simplify the process.

Sun-Bird recently sent our family a selection of four of their Asian Seasoning Packets so we could test them out, so last Thursday night we declared it family buffet night at home and prepared and tasted all four varieties. If you're one of my Twitter followers, you probably know some of the obstacles we had to overcome as I taught my husband how to make rice and had to improvise when he brought home honey-roasted peanuts instead of unsalted peanuts from the grocery store.

It all turned out well in the end, and we enjoyed a selection of Hot & Spicy Kung Pao Chicken, General Tso's Chicken, Mongolian Beef, and Fried Rice, all for less than the price of a single meal out. Even my 3 year old, who's known to be an extremely picky eater, proclaimed the Mongolian Beef to be her favorite ever, so this is definitely a meal that we'll be adding to our regular rotation!

Sun-Bird Asian Seasoning Packets are priced as low as $0.72 per packet and can be found at Dominick's, Food 4 Less, Jewel, Kroger, Meijer, and Walmart.

Have you started recreating your favorite restaurant meals at home in order to save money?

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jennifer November 16, 2009 at 5:24 pm

OMG....That looks sooooo GOOD!

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2 Sandee November 16, 2009 at 5:37 pm

we love sunbird seasoning too. we have attempted recreating bajio's and cafe rio as well.

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3 Serendipity is Sweet November 16, 2009 at 5:48 pm

Mmm. I'll have to try it. I love General Tso's :D

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4 Teri November 16, 2009 at 6:01 pm

We've tried the Beef & Broccoli & the Classic Stir-Fry packets! Pair them with a bag of frozen mixed stir-fry veggies & some rice & you've got a super-easy meal! :)

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5 Mandy November 16, 2009 at 6:15 pm

Yes, we have, too!! We are currently trying to reproduce Flat Top Grill. Delicious... but SO expensive ($13 per meal!), so we bought a wok, pita bread, rice, veggies, etc. and are experimenting!

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6 JDaniel4's Mom November 16, 2009 at 6:16 pm

Your meal sounds like it came out well. Mine sometimes don't.

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7 jennC November 16, 2009 at 7:52 pm

That looks soooo delicious. Now i'll have to go on the hunt for these seasoning packets.

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8 Sunny November 16, 2009 at 8:13 pm

My husband and I stumbled on these a few years ago after debating if anyone made a stir fried rice seasoning packet (which they do). We've since tried a couple other varieties, but REALLY love the mongolian beef - yum!

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9 Heather Jandusay November 16, 2009 at 8:24 pm

We love the Sun-Bird Asian seasonings as well. Our family thinks they are as close to restaurant style and taste as you can get!

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10 Tatiana November 16, 2009 at 9:34 pm

thanks so much for sharing!!!

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11 Ann November 16, 2009 at 9:58 pm

I often use seasoning and sauce packets as shortcuts, or even just for sauces that I don't have the time to make myself. However, I prefer Lee Kum Kee sauce packets. They are more expensive, but well worth it.

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12 laurie November 17, 2009 at 2:15 am

I'm notorious for making restaurant knock-offs... Olive Garden alfredo sauce, Biaggi's bananna chocolate chip paradiso, a local restaurant's chicken pomodorro (that one is SO yum!), Hooter's wings...even Wendy's chili (if that counts!). There are some great cookbooks that teach you how!

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13 dailywavy November 17, 2009 at 11:07 am

We LOVE to recreate at home! Our favorites are cafe rio, wingers, panda express and famous dave nights. We like to get the restaraunt sauces at the store and then make the food how we want. Most of the bottles are a little pricy, (about $3-4) but they last a long time and is still WAY cheeper than eating out. And it is more healthy because we put in what we want and keep the fat, MSG and etc out.

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14 Jamie November 17, 2009 at 12:53 pm

Thanks we will try them next week! Sounds good.

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15 Michelle November 17, 2009 at 2:51 pm

I don't normally recreate restaurant foods at home, but lately I stumbled upon a WONDERFUL one! I lived in Utah for 5 years, and FELL IN LOVE with Cafe Rio, but now I am many states away from their food chain. A hispanic woman shared a recipe with me for her green enchilada sauce, and it tastes JUST LIKE Cafe Rio's mild sauce (which was my favorite). I've already made the meal twice!

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16 LISETTE November 17, 2009 at 3:30 pm

that looks ummmm! is that the pic of the end result.would you mind posting the recipe.

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17 Tara Kuczykowski November 17, 2009 at 5:11 pm

Yep, that's the end result of the Fried Rice and Mongolian Beef packets. The recipes are right on the back of the packages, and I just added a box of frozen peas and carrots to the fried rice. It was delicious!

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