CHICKEN LETTUCE CUPS

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!

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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 LETTUCE WRAPS WITH WATERMELON SALSA

This recipe, inspired by Guy Fieri’s Watermelon Pork Tacos, hasn’t been up close and personal with my kitchen for nearly two years, but Junior Too remembered it down to the cucumber and avocado in the salsa–a good sign considering how long it’s been and how many recipes my guys have eaten through in the meantime. And, once again, these relatively easy lettuce wraps hit the spot, Junior Too and Senior gobbling down our absent Junior’s portion. Thumbs up!

Pork Lettuce Wraps with Watermelon Salsa

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp lemon juice

1/4 tsp sesame oil

1-1/2 cups watermelon, 1/4″ cubes

1 cup cucumber, 1/4″ cubes

1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/4″ cubes

3 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tbsp Thai Chili sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

2 tsp onion powder

3/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 tbsp olive oil

1-1/2 lbs boneless pork chops (or pork tenderloin), cut into bite-sized pieces

15-20 medium-sized romaine lettuce leaves

1) In small bowl, mix rice vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, and sesame oil; set aside

2) To medium bowl, add watermelon, cucumber, and avocado; pour rice vinegar sauce over top and gently mix; refrigerate

3) In small bowl, mix soy sauce, oyster sauce, Thai Chili sauce, sesame oil, onion powder, red pepper flakes, ginger, salt, and pepper; set aside

4) Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high; add pork and cook 5-6 minutes, stirring often, until just cooked through; stir in soy sauce mixture, remove from heat, and transfer to a bowl

5) Set out bowls of watermelon salsa, pork, and lettuce leaves and let your hungry ones assemble their wraps by spooning pork and salsa onto those crisp lettuce leaves (make sure there are plenty of napkins since these can get messy); enjoy!

Servings: 4

EASY MU SHU PORK LETTUCE WRAPS

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