Tag Archives: lettuce wraps

Korean Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Well, it’s that time of year again, where I think about putting myself in detox after all my holiday sugar intake and eating just a tad more healthy, and perhaps shedding a few pounds to welcome in the new year. I was thinking along these lines this month when I came across this recipe in Cooking Light.

I like lettuce wraps. They make me feel like I’m eating healthy even when I’m reaching for a third or fourth leaf of lettuce. How can that possibly be bad for you? The rice in these make them more filling and they were quite satisfying. Choose a head of Bibb lettuce that has nice big leaves for a little bit less mess. Count on some sticky fingers in any case and serve with extra napkins.

I’m all for eating light if it doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor. The chicken in these lettuce wraps packs a nice punch, without being spicy. The sauce for this includes a new ingredient for me – Gochujang sauce. I looked for it in the grocery store and didn’t have any luck. After searching the shelves at my Asian market, I gave up and asked for help, and the kindly employee pointed it out…right in the middle of the shelves I was looking at. If you can’t find this stuff, you can make something similar by mixing equal parts of Sriracha and white or yellow miso paste.

Korean Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Korean Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Korean Chicken Lettuce Wraps
(from Cooking Light)

2 1/2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon gochujang sauce (I found this at the Asian market, but some grocery stores probably carry it, or in a pinch you can mix equal parts Sriracha & miso paste)
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, thinly sliced
1 cup uncooked long-grain brown rice
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
12 Bibb lettuce leaves
1 English cucumber, sliced
4 green onions, diagonally sliced
Combine first 6 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Place 2 tablespoons soy sauce mixture in a small bowl; set aside. Add chicken slices to remaining soy sauce mixture in bag; seal. Refrigerate 2 hours.
Cook rice according to package directions.

Remove chicken from bag; discard marinade. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken; cook 2 minutes on each side or until done. Do this in batches if needed so you don’t overcrowd the pan. Sprinkle sesame seeds over chicken.

Yummy, sweet, salty, delicious.

Yummy, sweet, salty, delicious.

Tear leaves off of head carefully so they stay whole. Gently wash and pat dry.

A tower of lettuce

A tower of lettuce

Place a big spoonful of rice in each lettuce leaf; top with some chicken slices, cucumber slices, and green onions. Serve with reserved 2 tablespoons soy sauce mixture. If, like me, you forgot to pull some out before you stuck the chicken in the bag, just mix up a little extra.

So delicious.

So delicious.

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Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps

In my efforts to eat healthy some days are more successful than others.  This meal was probably the healthiest one I made all week, and definitely one of the tastiest as well.  It was a huge hit with the kids too.

If you don’t like it spicy, you will want to reduce or eliminate the Thai or serrano peppers.  Made according to the recipe, these definitely have a bit of a kick!

One note on ground chicken:  I typically don’t like to buy it.  For some reason it seems to always have a bit of a mysterious gritty texture that I don’t enjoy.  Unless you are close friends with the guy at the meat counter, there is no way to know exactly what is ground up in there.  Instead I buy chicken thighs and grind them up myself in my food processor.  A few pulses is all it takes.  It results in a coarser, juicier texture which I like, and no weird grit!  Plus you have the advantage of choosing exactly what parts of the chicken you want to eat.  I usually opt for thighs since I find them a bit more flavorful. That being said, if you’re in a hurry or just don’t want to mess with it, by all means buy ground chicken instead.

Not a fan of lettuce wraps?  Admittedly they are a little messy but I love them.  However, once you’ve made this mixture there is no reason you couldn’t put it in a wrap, tortilla, rice paper, pepper half or pita pocket.  Or just dig in with a fork.  Whatever conveyance you choose, these are just plain yummy!

Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps.  Delicious!

Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps. Delicious!

Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps
(adapted from Cooking Light)

4 tsp. canola oil, divided
1/2 cup minced shallots
1/2 cup (or more) thinly sliced red bell pepper
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound chicken thighs (or ground chicken)
2 Thai or serrano chiles, minced (less if you don’t like it spicy)
1 tbsp. fish sauce
2 tsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. soy sauce
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 cup basil leaves, coarsely chopped or torn
1 tbsp. lime juice
Lime wedges
Large lettuce leaves (I like to use butter lettuce for this since the leaves are sort of bowl-shaped)

Cut chicken into chunks and add to a food processor.

Making ground chicken.  I prefer this to buying ground chicken.  It only takes a few extra minutes!

Making ground chicken. I prefer this to buying ground chicken. It only takes a few extra minutes!

Pulse until coarsely ground.

A few pulses and voila!  Ground chicken.

A few pulses and voila! Ground chicken.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add 2 tsp. oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add shallots and sauté 2 minutes.  Add bell pepper; sauté one minute.  Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.  Remove shallot mixture from pan and set aside.

Add remaining 2 tsp. oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add chicken.  Cook and stir 5 minutes or until browned, crumbling with your stirring utensil as it cooks.  Drain well if there is extra juice in the pan.  Reduce heat to medium.  Add chiles; cook one minute.  Add shallot mixture back in.  Stir in fish sauce, brown sugar, soy sauce and black pepper.  Cook one minute or so until everything is heated through and combined well.  Remove pan from heat.  Stir in basil leaves and lime juice.

There is nothing stopping you from just eating this with a fork if you're no fan of lettuce wraps.  Dig in!  Otherwise, load up the wrap of your choice with this yummy concoction!

There is nothing stopping you from just eating this with a fork if you’re no fan of lettuce wraps. Otherwise, load up the wrap of your choice with this yummy concoction!

Serve in lettuce leaves with lime wedges or just dig in with a fork!

 

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Lemony Avocado Egg Salad Lettuce Wraps

Pinterest has been both good and bad for my waistline.  So many good recipes, so little time.  But more than the exact recipes, I love it for the inspiration.   I saw a photo of egg salad made with avocados and just had to make it.  That being said, beyond the egg and avocado I veered off and did my own thing.

You can always put this on bread or roll it in a tortilla or wrap instead, but I loved it wrapped in leafy lettuce with some fruit on the side.  Light but very satisfying – and very low on the carbs!

Lemony Avocado Egg Salad

Lemony Avocado Egg Salad

Lemony Avocado Egg Salad Lettuce Wraps

4 eggs
2 small avocados
2 tbsp. mayonnaise
Zest from half a lemon
1 tsp. lemon juice
Salt & pepper
Leaf Lettuce or Boston lettuce leaves for wrapping

Boil eggs. You can use whatever method you prefer.  Here’s the way I do it:  I put a half dozen eggs in a pan, cover with water, turn the burner on high and set the timer for 15 minutes (time may vary depending on altitude).  When it goes off, I rinse with cold water, and when they are cool enough to handle, I peel the ones I want to use, and stick the rest in the fridge for salads or whatever the next day.

Score avocados (see pic) and spoon out into a bowl.

Cut in half, remove pit (if you whack it with the blade of the knife and twist, it pops right out).  Score with a knife like this, then just use a spoon to scoop out perfectly diced avocado.

Cut in half, remove pit (if you whack it with the blade of the knife and twist, it pops right out). Score with a knife like this, then just use a spoon to scoop out perfectly diced avocado.

Dice up eggs and add to bowl (you want about equal amounts of eggs and avocados).  Use a knife to slice and stab through the mixture until it’s all chopped as fine as you like it (nice high-tech method, huh?).  I like a little texture so this is how I left mine.

Use a knife to cut through chunks to make them smaller and get it all combined well.

Use a knife to cut through chunks to make them smaller.  It also combines everything really well.

Add mayo, lemon zest, lemon juice (I didn’t measure it, I just cut off a wedge and squeezed it in there) plus a pinch of salt & pepper. Mix well.  Layer two or three big leaves, plop some egg salad in there and wrap up.  Eat.

Lunch.

Lunch.

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Lettuce Wraps with Hoisin-Peanut Sauce

Can you center a whole dinner around sauce?  Oh, yeah.  Especially if it’s this incredible peanut sauce.  In fact, the lettuce wraps are really more of a garnish in my opinion (although they were very yummy).  I could eat this sauce with a spoon.

If you had told me a few years ago that I’d be liking tofu I would have called you crazy.  I was never a huge fan.  After a couple very bad recipe failures early in my cooking experiments, I went many years without touching the stuff.  But my recent foray into vegetarian cooking has led me to venture into tofu territory again and oddly enough, I find myself developing a genuine like for it.

I’m definitely getting my money’s worth out of my Cooking Light subscription lately.  I think this is the third or fourth dish I’ve made out of the most recent issue.  I’m loving the fresh, seasonal dinners and this one was no exception.

This is the first recipe I’ve made with the tofu crumbled, and I found the consistency appealing, very similar to scrambled eggs in texture, but taking on the flavor of all the yummy ingredients mixed with it.  These were delicious and a huge hit with the kids too!

Lettuce Wraps with Hoisin-Peanut Sauce. As you can see, I’m a serial over-filler when it comes to lettuce wraps and tacos. Have extra napkins ready.

Lettuce Wraps with Hoisin-Peanut Sauce
(from Cooking Light)

Sauce ingredients:
1 tsp canola oil
1 tbsp minced shallot
1/3 cup water
2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
4 tsp hoisin sauce
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tbsp fresh lime juice

Filling ingredients:
1 (14 oz.) package extra-firm tofu, drained and crumbled
1 tbsp dark sesame oil
5 thinly sliced green onions (about 2/3 cup, divided)
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, divided
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp Sriracha (hot chile sauce)
1 cup matchstick-cut cucumbers
1 cup matchstick-cut carrots
2 cups cooked rice
8 (or more if they are small) Bibb lettuce leaves

To prepare tofu for filling, spread crumbled tofu in a single layer on several layers of paper towels.  Cover with additional paper towels.  Let stand 20 minutes, pressing down occasionally.

Meanwhile, to prepare sauce, heat a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add canola oil to pan, swirl to coat.  Add shallot and cook for 2 minutes.  Add water, peanut butter, hoisin sauce and crushed red pepper and stir with a whisk.  Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute.  Remove from heat and stir in lime juice.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add sesame oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add 1/3 cup green onions, saute one minute.  Add tofu, saute for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add 2 tbsp.cilantro, soy sauce, ginger, sugar and Sriracha.  Saute one minute.  Remove from heat.  Stir in cucumbers, carrots and remaining green onions.

Spoon 1/4 cup rice into each lettuce leaf.  Top with about 1/2 cup tofu mixture.  Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with sauce.

Serves 4.

 

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