Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Table Talk: Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

I don't even think I have to explain why I picked this recipe.  Why would I not pick this recipe??!!  That's the question.  The only thing that surprised me when I checked the ingredient list and instructions was that there wasn't a dipping sauce.  Um, what?   For some people that would probably be something they could live with but for someone like me, it's all about the sauce.  

I subbed Calrose rice for the brown rice simply because it was faster and I wanted to be done cooking in half an hour.  I know what you're thinking---isn't brown rice healthier?  Yes, my friend, it is.  Have I mentioned I'm lazy?

We really liked this and I would make it again-with the dipping sauce, of course.  In my opinion it needed it-but like I said, I'm a sauce kind of girl.

The recipe called for ground chicken but I couldn't find ground chicken at my grocery store.  Not even the 99% fat free version (ground chicken breast) the recipe warned against.  I could have tried a different grocery store, but I grabbed some boneless, skinless chicken thighs and got outta there.

And then I threw half a pound of the thighs and half a pound of chicken tenderloins in my food processor.
Whallah!  Ground chicken. (pulse until chicken is mostly ground up and then alternate between pulsing and running until it's the right consistency)
And it worked really well in the recipe.  Yay!

Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps
1.5 cups calrose rice
3 cups water
1 lb ground chicken
2 tsp canola oil
1 jalapeno
2 tsp grated lime zest and
3 T fresh lime juice from 2 limes
3 T fish sauce
1 1/2 T brown sugar
1 tsp corn starch
2 T chopped fresh basil
3 scallions, sliced thin (I only used 2 because they were on the large side)
12 Bibb or Boston lettuce leaves (about 1 head) --I couldn't find either of these so I used plain ol' iceberg lettuce.
For the dipping sauce:
2 T soy sauce
2 T water
4 T brown sugar
1 tsp minced garlic

I used my rice cooker for the rice but you can follow the package directions, adjusting the water to what your package says.  While that's cooking, combine lime juice, fish sauce, brown sugar and corn starch in a small bowl and set aside.  

Combine ingredients for dipping sauce (soy sauce, water, brown sugar and garlic) in either a small sauce pan or a med size bowl.  Cook on stove top or microwave until sugar is dissolved.  (On stove top, bring to boil and boil 1 minute.  Remove from heat.  In microwave, microwave 45 seconds, stir and then 45 seconds more if needed to dissolve sugar.  Just make sure bowl is not too small or sauce will boil over.)

Heat oil in a skillet over med-high heat, (I skipped the oil and used a non-stick pan) add chicken, jalapeno and lime zest, breaking meat into smaller pieces while cooking.  Cook until chicken is browned and no longer pink, about 5 minutes.  Whisk lime juice mixture again and add to skillet.  Cook stirring constantly until sauce has thickened, about 45 seconds.  Off the heat stir in basil and scallions.

Serve the chicken filling with rice, lettuce leaves and dipping sauce.
Serves 4

Source:  Lettuce wraps adapted from:  The America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook
dipping sauce: girlplusfood original

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Table Talk: Creamless Creamy Tomato Soup

I've been crazy about tomato soup and cheese sandwiches lately.  I've always liked the combo, but I've just gotten back into it.  I picked this recipe because I wanted to try it and use some of the tomatoes from my garden.  To make it creamy without cream, bread is thrown into the mix.  I thought that was interesting when I read the recipe but it seemed to work.  Although, I'm not sure why I am leaving out the cream only to load the soup with cheese?  Less cream equals more cheese, I guess.  Yeah, that's how I roll.
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