Chicken Lettuce Wraps

src=”https://rdkarolina.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/img_0573.jpg” alt=”IMG_0573″ width=”4000″ height=”6016″

Do you pack a lunch to work or school? It saves me a lot of money to pack food for myself and Colby each morning. My typical go-to packed snacks are:

-Asian salad: shredded cabbage, spinach, grated carrots, wonton crisps, rotisserie chicken, and sesame soy ginger dressing

-Greek yogurt parfait: plain nonfat Greek yogurt, stevia, frozen mixed berries, and granola cereal

(Actually, that’s been about it lately!)

I love this month’s Recipe ReDux theme because it got me thinking of ways I can branch out and try some new packed lunch ideas. I’m lucky to have a fridge and microwave at work, so almost any meal works for me. If you don’t have that luxury, this meal tastes great chilled! You can pack the seasoned turkey filling in a plastic container, lettuce in a zip top bag, and pack it all in a lunchbox with an ice pack!

I tried making a shortcut tuna fish version of this. Let’s just say that recipe is still a work in progress ;) This version is good to go! I’m happy with the addition of chopped spinach and grated carrots. You get some extra veggies and flavor that way!

IMG_0574

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

1 lb ground chicken (or turkey)

1 cup frozen chopped spinach, broken up a bit

1/2 cup grated carrots

1 can water chestnuts, drained and diced

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce (if you choose one with more than 300 mg sodium per serving, skip the garlic salt)

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1 teaspoon reduced sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon rice vinegar

3 tablespoons powdered peanut butter

2 tablespoons chopped green onion

Sriracha sauce (optional)

head of butter lettuce

Preparation: 

  1. Cook the ground chicken (or turkey) in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, breaking up the chunks with a spatula and stirring frequently until no longer pink. This should take about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the chopped spinach, grated carrots, and diced water chestnuts. Continue to stir and heat until everything is hot and bubbling, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the remaining seasonings (hoisin sauce through green onion), and continue to stir to combine the flavors for another 1-2 minutes.
  4. Scoop into leaves of butter lettuce and drizzle with sriracha sauce if you like it spicier!


IMG_0577

I’m looking forward to getting back in the kitchen to develop more recipes. Colby has pointed out that the dinners I’ve been making have been “weak” lately. It’s true! We’ve been dining on easy meals, like quesadillas, quick pastas, smoothies, and protein shakes. Challenge accepted- I will make more fast and easy recipes that are a little more imaginative. Can’t wait to share them with you all too :)

Check out more lunch ideas in this month’s Recipe ReDux linkup below!

Advertisements

Buffalo Chicken Wing Soup

Got leftover chicken wings? Don’t throw them out! Make this soup instead. Colby makes great chicken wings for football games; he’s perfected his technique over the past year. This last time, Colby doubled his recipe.. and brought home a supreme pizza, ice cream, chips, and chocolate! Needless to say, we had plenty of leftovers!

I was making buffalo chicken salad sandwiches for him this week (pull meat off the bones, chop, add diced celery, and dress with ranch or bleu cheese dressing), but it got to be a pain to pull the tiny bits of meat off the bones.

Determined not to let his tasty wings go to waste, I made this buffalo chicken soup! It’s spicy and very savory thanks to the chicken bones. You could easily make it using chicken breast instead of leftover wings, though!

IMG_0010

If this is what you’re looking at the day after the Super Bowl, give this recipe a try!

IMG_0007

Ingredients:

(Serves 6-8)

1-2 lbs leftover buffalo wings (or 1 lb cooked shredded chicken)

2 cups chicken stock, boiling

2 cups water

15 oz can whole tomatoes, mashed

4 carrots, diced

3 stalks celery, diced

1 medium onion, diced

1 jalapeño, seeded and diced

1 bay leaf

1-2 teaspoons dry ranch seasoning (or salt, according to taste)

1/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (or more if you like it super spicy!)

Sour cream, bleu cheese dressing, or ranch dressing for serving

Directions:

  1. Place the leftover buffalo wings in a large saucepan containing the boiling chicken stock. Boil for about 5 minutes, just long enough for the skin to come loose.
  2. Use tongs to transfer the wings, one at a time, into a large bowl of ice water. Use your hands to peel the skin off the wings. Throw out the skin and place the meat and bones back into the simmering stock. Repeat for all the wings.
  3. Add the water, tomatoes, diced vegetables, bay leaf, ranch seasoning/ salt, and hot sauce to the saucepan. Bring to a boil then cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 1 hour, or until all vegetables are tender and chicken is falling off the bone.
  4. Lade into serving bowls and garnish with sour cream, bleu cheese dressing, or ranch dressing.

IMG_0012

PS- you could easily make this recipe in a slow cooker. Simply combine all ingredients in a slow cooker after skinning the chicken wings and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low 6-8 hours. Enjoy!!

IMG_0009

By the way, do you like my snazzy new photography setup? I picked up the supplies at Lowe’s: piece of drywall, white subway tile, marble tile, tile adhesive, and caulk. It only took about 30 minutes to build, so I’ll probably make another setup sometime soon! I think dark wood, sandstone, or slate would look nice.

IMG_0011

Moroccan Chicken Tagine over Kamut

Bored of the same old flavors when eating clean? Try this bold dish to excite your taste buds! This month’s Recipe ReDux theme is using new ingredients. My recipe features THREE new (to me) ingredients/ tools.

Tagine (tajine)- This is an earthenware pot in which the North African dish by the same name is cooked. Traditionally, this clay pot is placed over hot coals and is used in a cooking method similar to roasting. In this recipe, I place the tagine in the oven. The cone shaped lid helps any condensation that forms return to the bottom. A similar result can be achieved by using a slow cooker!

  
Raz el Hanout- This is a spice mix used in North African (typically Moroccan) dishes. It means “head of the shop” (or top shelf), referring to the best spices the seller has to offer. It is traditionally rubbed on meat or stirred into couscous or rice in savory dishes. The blend that my sister found at World Market is made of ginger, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, cayenne, and… “other spices”?? These are most likely cardamom, cumin, and/or coriander. Big, bold flavors here!

  

  
Kamut (khorasan wheat)- Traditional Moroccan tagine is served over couscous or plain white rice, but I decided to try out a different whole grain to shake things up a bit. This ancient grain is rich in protein, fiber, B vitamins, and manganese (an essential mineral). Half a cup of cooked kamut has only 140 calories and 6 grams of protein- that’s about 40% more than wheat! Kamut is not gluten free. Its flavor is slightly sweet, nutty, and buttery. The texture is pleasantly chewy with a bit of a bite. I’ll be trying it in a salad next time!

  
Ready? Here comes the recipe for a delicious dish bursting with flavor! If you’re eating healthy and ready to try something new, this is the meal for you!

  
Ingredients:

2 large chicken breasts

1 teaspoon raz el hanout

2 teaspoons honey

2 garlic cloves, minced

pinch of dried chili flakes

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon salt

3 cups boiling water

1 cup kamut

1 large onion, thinly sliced

1 3/4 cups vegetable stock

15 oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1 1/2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced lengthwise

1/4 cup pitted green olives

Fresh chopped cilantro (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Pound the chicken breasts with a mallet on a cutting board to 1″ thick. Cut each breast into 4 chunks.
  2. Whisk together raz el hanout, honey, garlic, chili flakes, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt in a glass dish. Place the chicken breasts in the mixture, coat well, cover, and refrigerate 8-12 hours.
  3. Combine Kamut and boiling water in a saucepan. Simmer on low heat, covered, for 1 hour. If using a slow cooker, do this step about an hour before serving the meal.
  4. If using a tagine, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. While the kamut cooks, pan fry the marinated chicken breasts over medium-high heat until golden on all sides. Transfer the browned chicken and remaining marinade into the tagine or slow cooker.
  5. Top the chicken with onions, vegetable stock, garbanzo beans, tomatoes, and olives. If using a tagine, cover and cook in the oven for 1 hour until the chicken is tender and cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. If using a slow cooker, cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
  6. Serve over cooked kamut topped with fresh cilantro, salt, and pepper.

  
The flavors in this dish are vibrant an unique! I’m looking forward to trying other dishes cooked in the tagine. Check out the links below for other recipes developed by the Recipe ReDux crew!

 

Avocado Chicken Salad

There are ingredients you should always have on hand in the summertime for easy, no-cook meals. Today’s recipe features most of my favorites. 

Rotisserie chicken – Less expensive than buying a whole, raw chicken! How could you pass this up? Use it in salads, on sandwiches, or serve with grilled vegetables this summer.

Avocado – Perfect on everything, from eggs to salads and sandwiches to guacamole on chips. 

Tomatoes, Red Onions, Limes, and Fresh Herbs – No need to cook these fresh tasting produce items! They’ll brighten up any summer meal. 

Since getting back from vacation I feel like working all day takes up so much time that I just don’t want to spend more than 20 minutes in the kitchen in the evening. I’d rather spend my nights feeling like I’m still on vacation with a glass of wine on the patio. This chicken salad is very refreshing with white wine. Try it with this amazing find at Trader Joe’s:

 
Pancake Cellars’ Big Day White is dangerously drinkable. It offers flavors of white peach, apple, cantaloupe, orange blossom, honeysuckle, and lemongrass. At least that’s what it says on the label. To me it just tastes like summertime perfection! Oh, and did I mention it’s only $5.99? 

Pour yourself a glass and get started on the salad!

   

Ingredients:

(Serves 1)

1 cooked chicken breast (5-6 oz, skin removed)

1 roma tomato, diced

2 tablespoons finely diced red onion

1/2 an avocado, diced

1/2 a lime, juiced

1/4 teaspoon cumin

Dash of salt and pepper

1 tablespoon fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped (optional)

Preparation:

1. Gently fold together all ingredients in a mixing bowl and serve. Boom.

Easy, right? I just took a break from house cleaning for 10 minutes to make and eat this. Tidying up the house is much more fun with a glass of wine, Spotify’s “Cleaning the House” mix playing, and fueled up with this refreshing salad. 

  
I used rotisserie chicken in my salad, but you could easily use poached or grilled chicken breast instead. I’ll bet this is good with a swirl of Greek yogurt or sour cream added in. Enjoy!

What are your favorite summer meals and wines? 

Creamy Chicken Pasta

I had to make this recipe a second time to share with you. I didn’t take any pictures or write anything down the first time around because I had no idea it would be this good! This pasta sauce is perfect over zucchini noodles or short pasta.

20131015-084054.jpg
Ingredients:
1/2 onion, sliced
2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 tbs minced garlic
1 tbs butter
2 tbs flour
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
2 tbs cream cheese
1 cup shredded chicken (rotisserie)
Several slices diced salami (optional)
2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Freshly shredded parmesan
(2 zucchini, spiralized or 2 cups cooked pasta)

Directions:
1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet and add sliced onions. Sauté for a couple of minutes before adding mushrooms and garlic.

20131015-084629.jpg

20131015-084646.jpg

20131015-084657.jpg
2. When the vegetables begin to soften, push them to the side of the frying pan. Melt butter in the pan and add the flour. Mix together to form the roux.

20131015-084858.jpg
3. Add chicken broth and white wine. Stir all the vegetables into the sauce and simmer to thicken.

20131015-084950.jpg
4. Add cream cheese, chicken, salami, seasonings, and parmesan cheese. Stir to combine and melt.

20131015-085041.jpg
5. Serve the sauce over spiralized zucchini or freshly cooked pasta.

20131015-085151.jpg
I think you’ll love this dish! The flavors work together elegantly to create a creamy pasta sauce that you’ll be glad you stayed home for! It beats most restaurant pasta sauces I’ve tried. Let me know what you think of it.

Spinach Artichoke Chicken Dip

This dip is made healthier by putting the cheese where it has the biggest impact on flavor- the surface! Cheese mixed into casseroles and dips doesn’t taste much different than yogurt or milk. Inside the dip, you’ll find a heaping portion of veggies, reduced fat cream cheese, greek yogurt, and a flavor boost from shredded chicken and Sriracha!

20130730-063530.jpg

Ingredients:
8 oz package of frozen chopped spinach
14 oz can of artichokes in water
2 oz cooked or canned chicken breast, shredded
1 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
3 oz low fat cream cheese
1/4 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt
1 tsp Sriracha sauce
Salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup shredded lowfat mozzarella (or parmesan)

1. Thaw the spinach in the microwave and squeeze out all the excess moisture. Drain and chop the artichoke hearts. Drain the shredded chicken, if using canned. Set aside.

2. In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil. Sauté the garlic in the hot oil for about a minute before adding cream cheese and yogurt. Stir until melted. Add sriracha, spinach, artichokes, and chicken. Stir to coat and heat through. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Transfer the dip to a small baking dish and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Broil for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and bubbly.

4. Serve with raw vegetables or flatbread for dipping… Or just eat it plain! Check out the nutrition facts for 1/4 of the recipe:

20130730-064354.jpg

With that much protein in so few calories, this snack will fill you right up!

20130730-064558.jpg

Grain Free (paleo) Chicken Cordon Bleu

After making grain free eggplant parmesan last week, I decided to try the breading out on something else. This time I made a tasty variation on chicken cordon bleu. I used what I had on hand for the stuffing- spinach, parmesan, mozarella, and BACON!

Ingredients:
Several spinach leaves
2 chicken breasts, skinless
2 slices of bacon
2 tbs shredded mozarella
2 tbs shredded parmesan
2 tbs almond flour
2 tbs ground flax
Coconut flour (for dusting)
1 egg
Paprika
Salt
Pepper
Thyme
Paprika
Garlic
Toothpicks

1. Make PERFECT bacon by placing the slices on a baking sheet in a single layer and setting in a cold oven. Turn the temperature to 400 degrees and pull the bacon out after 15-20 mins.

20130621-095824.jpg

2. While the bacon is in the oven, pound the chicken breasts very thin (1/4″) by sealing in a ziplock bag and pounding with a mallet.

3. Prepare the breading by combining almond flour, ground flax, a sprinkle of thyme, garlic, and some salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg with a bit of paprika.

4. Place spinach leaves on the chicken breast, followed by bacon slices, then shredded cheese. Roll the chicken and fasten with toothpicks. This is the most frustrating part. If you over stuff the chicken, it will be a nightmare to fasten.

20130621-104416.jpg

5. Sprinkle the chicken “packets” with salt, pepper, and a dusting of coconut flour. Dredge the chicken in egg, then coat in the breading mixture. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet.

6. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 mins, or until the chicken is no longer pink when sliced open.

20130621-104656.jpg

Hooray for juicy stuffed chicken!

Chicken lime soup with avocado

I bought a rotisserie chicken at Costco last night just before the warehouse closed. Unfortunately, all they had left were the “reject” chickens that nobody else wanted- the small ones with broken skin that were beginning to get dried out from sitting under the heat lamp so long :(

I took one of those poor chickens home and gave it a tasty makeover with this fresh tasting soup recipe:

Ingredients:

2 rotisserie chicken breasts
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
1 white onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp oregano
1 tbs olive oil
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 jalepeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 avocado, diced
1/4 c lime juice
Salt, pepper to taste

1. Sauté onion and bell pepper with olive oil in a large saucepan. After a few mins, add the garlic and jalepeno. Sauté for a minute longer.

2. Add the chicken stock, water, lime juice, oregano and bring to a boil. As the soup is heating up, shred in the chicken breast.

3. Season with salt and pepper until you like the flavor. Place 1/4 of a diced avocado in each bowl and pour soup over it. Serves 4.

20130620-083436.jpg

I typically avoid hot soups in the summer, but this one was particularly light and fresh. It’s a great dish to enjoy on your porch or balcony on a breezy summer evening!

Perfect grilled chicken breast

Day 2 of the sugar detox is officially over! No major cravings yet, but I’m bracing myself for days 3-5. I hear those are the tough ones.

After a long day of filming a cooking video at work and meeting with a group of ladies from church after, I was exhausted and didn’t feel like cooking. Luckily, this dish is healthy and comes together quickly.

To make perfect, juicy grilled chicken breast, start by pounding it out nice and thin. Doing this will help it cook evenly.

Next, place the chicken breast in a ziplock bag with salt water (about 1 tbs salt for 1 cup water). This will further tenderize the chicken breast. Allow it to soak for about 5 minutes, then remove and pat dry with paper towels.

Preheat your grill, grill pan, or foreman. If you want to keep your grill clean, seal the chicken breast in an aluminum foil packet with your favorite seasonings.

Grill the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 155 degrees. Turn down the heat and allow the chicken to rest and reach a final internal temperature of 165 degrees. Do not overcook- nobody likes dry chicken! Don’t undercook either- nobody likes food poisoning ;)

I served my chicken with some cheddar cheese and a side of baby heirloom tomatoes. It’s amazing how sweet tomatoes taste after just 2 days of cutting back my intake of sweet foods! Enjoy!

20130604-224455.jpg