Asian Lettuce Wraps Recipe

20130523-093856.jpg

ASIAN LETTUCE WRAPS

I am crazy for these things! They are so flavorful and addictive, I could eat them every week. Using large lettuce leaves as your wraps instead of tortillas, and cooking with ground turkey instead of beef makes this a nice and healthy meal! If you are cooking for more than 3-4 people, or if you are like me and enjoy packing leftovers for lunch the next day, I would suggest doubling the batch.

Ingredients

Boston Lettuce

1lb ground turkey (or beef)

1 large onion

1 bunch of scallions

2-4 garlic cloves (I am obsessed with garlic so I tend to eyeball it until it looks like enough to meet my needs. I would suggest 2 if you aren’t as big of a fan)

2 teaspoons pickled ginger

1 can (8oz) water chestnuts

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup hoisin sauce (this is another one that I eyeball. I usually end up adding a little more than 1/4 cup)

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

2 teaspoons dark sesame oil

Asian chile pepper sauce (optional, but recommended for the spice!)

Peanuts, halved

Carrots, shredded

20130523-095923.jpg

First things first: chop, shred and process everything that needs chopping, shredding and processing! This will make your life easier once the skillet is hot. I chopped my onions and scallions, drained and chopped the water chestnuts, shredded the carrots, and used a food processor on the garlic and ginger. Also, take WHOLE lettuce leaves from your bunch and rinse and pat dry for later.

Over high heat, warm the olive oil in a large skillet. Brown the ground turkey (or beef), stirring often. Drain, remove from the pan and set aside for later.

Using the same pan (without wiping out any leftover juice from the meat) cook your onions over medium heat until slightly brown. Add the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, hoisin sauce and chili pepper sauce (optional), and stir. Reduce heat if necessary.

20130523-100021.jpgMix in your chopped scallions, water chestnuts, and sesame oil. Your mixture should look like the image to the right. Nice and saucy!

Next, add your shredded carrots and peanuts before finally mixing in the cooked ground turkey or beef. Stir until evenly coated.

This is when I get a little wild and throw in a little more here and a little more there. I tend to drizzle in more hoisin and chili pepper sauce for the texture, flavor and color. This, of course, is based on preference. I prefer a little bit of a spicy kick. If you don’t, stay away from the chili pepper sauce!

While this steeps for a few minutes on low heat, arrange your lettuce leaves on a plate. Pile large spoonfuls of the meat mixture in the center for presentation and you’re ready to eat!

Healthy Quinoa & Ground Turkey Stuffed Peppers

I have been thinking about making stuffed peppers for weeks now, and I FINALLY did it tonight. Best decision ever. This was one of the yummiest meals I have ever made.

I perused a whole lot of recipes online and finally came up with a combination of many that seemed satisfying to me. The end result was to die for. I am already daydreaming about the leftovers I packed for lunch tomorrow.

Oftentimes people make stuffed peppers with beef. I substituted ground turkey. I also substituted regular rice with a quinoa and brown rice combination. This makes for a healthier meal.

Ingredients: Bell Peppers, Ground Turkey, Quinoa (with Brown Rice, optional), Chopped Onion, Garlic, Canned Diced Tomato, Tomato Paste, Worcestershire Sauce, Olive Oil, Cheese (optional), Salt & Pepper.

First and foremost, preheat your oven to 350-375 degrees. I often forget to do this and kick myself when I am halfway through food-prep and realize that I am going to have to wait while my oven heats.

20130501-214615.jpg

Heat your quinoa in a sauce pan. I used a quinoa and brown rice combination. Many recipes call for oil or chicken stock, but I just used water. Quinoa is a seed (rather than a whole-grain) and is a great substitute for rice, with a higher amount of protein and fiber.

In the meantime, cut the tops of your bell peppers off and remove any additional seeds. Place each hollowed-out pepper into a dish… I would suggest spraying the bottom of your dish with a cooking spray. Be sure not to toss the tops of the peppers, because what’s left can be used for the meat mixture, depending on your taste. Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan and sauté your garlic. While your quinoa is heating and your garlic browning, chop up your remaining pepper tops and onion. I chopped mine up pretty small so that I wouldn’t find any huge chunks in my mixture. Add your pepper and onion combo to the garlic and let sit for about 3 minutes, stirring every so often.

20130501-214631.jpgNow you are going to want to add the ground turkey, the worcestershire sauce (at your discretion), salt and pepper to your garlic, pepper and onion mixture. Many of the recipes that I came across required 1/4-1/2 cup of the sauce, but I would adjust that depending on your taste. I ended up using a little less than 1/4 cup and used a sauce that was low in sodium.

Once your meat has browned, add your tomatoes and tomato paste. I used Hunt’s Tomato Paste and Rotel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies for a little bit of a kick. If you don’t like spicy, I would advise against this. If you do, Rotel is the best!

Once all of the liquid from the meat and the tomatoes is absorbed, add the quinoa (and brown rice if you so choose) to the mixture. Make sure to stir it thoroughly so all of the tomato paste is evenly distributed. 20130501-214420.jpg

When all of the above is complete, fill your hollowed-out peppers with spoonfuls of your mixture.

I cooked my peppers for about 20 minutes before switching it over to convection bake for 5 minutes. I then added the shredded cheese to the top of each pepper (I was careful to be light on some, regular on others) before heating the dish for another 5-10 minutes. Cheese is optional for this recipe. Because it is relatively healthy as a whole, I figured… why not?? I used a 6-cheese Italian Combination that included Parm and Asiago. The total cook time is about 30-35 minutes, depending on how brown and crisp you like it.

The final product was AMAZING and filling! I was sure that I was going to have to eat more after I finished my first pepper but almost didn’t make it through one! This is such a yummy meal and I am definitely going to have to save it for future reference. Let me know if you try it!!

20130501-214256.jpg