Oh, how our family enjoys lettuce wraps and lettuce cups. I think it’s because my guys get more of the “good stuff” (the filling) without filling up on bread on tortillas. And crisp lettuce leaves are so refreshing. More thumbs up for this easy-to-put-on-the-table meal!


1/3 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce

2 tbsp rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp orange juice

3 tbsp brown sugar

3 tbsp water

2 tbsp cornstarch

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

2 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 cup peeled and finely chopped carrots

3 green onions, finely chopped

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 lb ground chicken

1-8 oz can water chestnuts, drained and diced

1 head iceberg lettuce, rinsed and leaves peeled from core

1) In medium bowl, mix soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, orange juice, brown sugar, water, cornstarch, red pepper flakes, and oyster sauce; set sauce aside

2) To large skillet, add sesame oil and heat over medium; add carrots, green onions, and ginger and cook 5 minutes, stirring often; add chicken and cook 5 minutes, stirring often, until chicken is just cooked through; stir in sauce and bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and cook five minutes stirring often

3) Remove skillet from heat, stir in water chestnuts, and spoon mixture into lettuce cups; see–easy!

Servings: 4


Pork Fried Rice–love it! Fortunately, it’s relatively easy and quick to put on the table. Although our family usually leans more toward chicken, there’s no beating juicy pork tenderloin in fried rice. All thumbs up!

Pork Fried Rice

3 tbsp hoisin sauce

3 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp honey

1 lb pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2″ dice

2 tbsp olive oil

1 cup onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped

4 cups cooked white rice

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup peas

3 scallions, thinly sliced

1 tsp Asian sesame oil

1) In medium-sized bowl, mix hoisin sauce, honey, and soy sauce; stir in pork and marinate 10 minutes

2) Add oil to large skillet and heat over medium-high; add onion and cook, stirring often, 3 minutes; drain marinade from pork (reserving marinade) and add pork to skillet; cook, stirring often, 4 minutes; add carrots and cook, stirring often, 2 minutes; stir in rice and reserved marinade and cook 3-4 minutes

3) With large spoon, push rice mixture to sides of skillet, forming well in center; add beaten eggs to center and scramble; add peas, scallions, and sesame oil to skillet and, stirring continuously, cook 3 minutes until heated through; serve with additional soy sauce

Servings: 6 dinner-sized; 10 side-sized


Another recipe inspired by Ree Drummond. A word of caution: though I toned down the “hot” in these drumsticks, they’re still pretty heated. And delicious. Did I mention they’re easy?

Easy Asian Hot Drumsticks

12 drumsticks

3/4 cup plum jelly

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 tsp ground ginger

4 tbsp minced red onion

1 tbsp red pepper flakes

2 tbsp minced jalapenos

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2) In large baking pan, bake drumsticks 10 minutes each side (20 minutes total); crank up oven to broil and cook drumsticks 3-4 minutes on each side (6-8 minutes total) to crisp up skin

3) While drumsticks are doing their thing in the oven, in a small saucepan over medium-high heat mix plum jelly, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, ground ginger, red onion, red pepper flakes, and jalapenos; bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and cook 15 minutes or until sauce just begins to thicken; remove from heat

4) Remove drumsticks from oven; reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees; drain fat from drumsticks; pour sauce over drumsticks in baking pan; turn each drumstick to coat; return drumsticks to oven and bake 15 minutes; remove from oven

5) Plate drumsticks (a dish with a lip is a good idea) and spoon sauce over top

6) Eat ’em up! Yes, you will…with a tall glass of iced water 🙂

Servings: 4


This Mu Shu Pork Lettuce Wrap recipe has been a “keeper” for quite a while. It never fails to get my guys home on time–and rarin’ to eat!

Easy Mu Shu Pork Lettuce Wraps 2

3 tbsp Hoisin sauce

3 tbsp rice vinegar

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1-1/2 lb pork tenderloin, sliced thin (about 2″ long pieces)

3 tbsp vegetable oil, divided

1 egg

1-1/2 cups instant brown rice, prepared according to package directions

1 tbsp Asian Chili Sauce (I used Tabasco’s “Sweet & Spicy Pepper Sauce”)

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup frozen peas

6 oz mushrooms, chopped

8 oz coleslaw mix

1 bunch scallions, sliced thin, divided

20 lettuce leaves (Butter, Bibb, or Iceberg)

1) In 1-gallon storage bag, combine Hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, sea salt, and pepper; add sliced pork and marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes

2) Meanwhile, prepare fried rice: in skillet over medium heat, scramble egg in 1 tbsp oil (reserving 2 tbsp); when egg is slightly firm, break into small pieces with a spatula and add prepared rice, chili sauce, soy sauce, and peas; cook 3 minutes until warmed through; lower heat to “low” and keep warm on stovetop

3) Drain marinade from pork into a small saucepan; over high heat, stirring often, bring marinade to a rolling boil; remove from heat and set aside

4) To large skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 tbsp oil (reserving 1 tbsp) and stir fry pork until browned (about 5 minutes); transfer pork to a plate and set aside

5) To same large skillet over medium-high heat, add remaining 1 tbsp oil and mushrooms; stir fry 3 minutes; add coleslaw mix and stir fry 3-4 minutes until coleslaw starts to wilt; add pork, marinade, and half the scallions; stir fry 2 minutes; add remaining scallions; remove from heat

6) Plate lettuce leaves, fried rice, and stir-fried pork mix; let everyone assemble as they like; my method: lettuce leaf, fried rice, stir-fried pork mix, and a drizzle of chili sauce (Hoisin and soy sauces are also nice for drizzling)

7) Eat, eat, eat!

Servings: 4

NOTE: This is a “repeat” recipe featured on my original “Kitchen Novelist” blog 04/12/12


Beans? Yes, beans in my beef and tomato stir fry. Did it work? It raised eyebrows, but it was bottom-of-the-bowl good!

Beef-Tomato-Bean Stir Fry

2 cups instant white rice

2 tbsp olive oil

1-1/2 lbs top sirloin steak, sliced thin into bite-sized pieces

2 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp cayenne

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

4 green onions, sliced about 1/2″ thick

1-15 oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1-1/2 cups halved cherub (grape) tomatoes

1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

1) Prepare rice according to package directions; keep warm

2) Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat; add steak, sprinkle with chili powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper, and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes until beef is just done throughout

3) Add green onions, kidney beans, and tomatoes and cook additional 5 minutes stirring often; remove from heat

4) Divide rice between four deep bowls; spoon beef stir fry over rice, sprinkle with cilantro, and serve

Servings: 4


This Pork and Plum Sauce Stir Fry is easy and tasty. The only negative for my guys: chopsticks. They know how to use those lovely little pinchers–well, close enough–but chopsticks do limit one’s ability to quickly devour a tasty meal–a plus in my opinion since it always takes far longer to make than to eat 🙂

Pork and Plum Sauce Stir Fry

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp sesame oil (optional, but it adds a nice, snappy flavor)

1-1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, sliced thin into bite-sized pieces

1 orange bell pepper, chopped

4 green onions, sliced thin

1-8 oz can bean sprouts

6 oz whole wheat thin spaghetti, prepared al dente according to package directions

3/4 cup plum sauce

3 tbsp sherry cooking wine

sea salt

ground black pepper

2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

1) To large wok (or deep skillet), add olive oil and sesame oil and heat over medium-high; add pork and cook, stirring often, 4-5 minutes until lightly browned on both sides and no longer pink

2) Add bell pepper and cook, stirring often, 3 minutes; add green onions, bean sprouts, and pre-cooked spaghetti and cook, stirring often, 3 minutes

3) Stir in plum sauce and cooking wine, season with salt and pepper to taste, and cook 3 minutes; remove from heat, sprinkle with cilantro, and serve–see, easy!

Servings: 4


This Asian Shrimp and Noodles dish boasts the three desirable qualities of being pretty, tasty, and easy to make. Though we had only three at table tonight and I made the full four servings, Senior and Junior Too gobbled down the extra serving only to look at me expectantly. All gone, but that left plenty of room for mint chocolate chip ice cream, so no complaints.

Asian Shrimp and Noodles

3 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce

3 tbsp hoisin sauce

3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

3 tbsp water

1 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp olive oil

14 oz fully cooked Hokkien Stir Fry Noodles (or 3 cups cooked spaghetti)

1 lb uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tailless

1-1/2 cup shredded green cabbage

1-1/2 cup matchstick carrots, chopped into 1/4″ pieces

1/2 red bell pepper, sliced thin into bite-sized pieces

3 green onions, sliced thin, divided

1 tsp sesame seeds (I used a mix of black and white), divided

1) To small bowl add: soy sauce, hoisin sauce, Worcestershire sauce, water, and brown sugar; mix well and set aside

2) Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat; add noodles and cook 3 minutes until noodles are warmed through; add shrimp, cabbage, carrots, red bell pepper, half the green onions, half the sesame seeds, and soy-hoisin sauce; stirring often, cook 7-8 minutes until shrimp is cooked through and vegetables have softened; remove from heat and serve sprinkled with reserved green onions and sesame seeds (told you it was easy)

Servings: 4