Tuesday, August 9, 2011

lettuce wraps

For several years now, the teachers in the 2nd grade have taken turns bringing lunches on Fridays. So each teacher had a turn every six weeks. It made for a happier morning every Friday knowing that I didn't have to worry about what to pack for lunch. I will miss these lunches!

Anyway, Helene would bring lettuce wraps every once in a while. We'd ask her how to make them and she'd him & haw around a little and tell us the basic ingredients. She didn't really use a recipe, so she had a hard time telling us how to make them. 

I tried them a couple of times and finally came up with a combination that suits us. We tried hamburger, ground chicken, and ground turkey. We liked the ground turkey the best. 

Be forewarned, like Helene & much to the dismay of my husband, I don't measure with this recipe. I just go with it until it seems right.

You will need:
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • mushrooms (5-10 mushrooms)
  • water chestnuts (I use about 1/2 to 2/3 of the can)
  • cilantro
  • garlic (can be fresh or jarred)
  • onion powder
  • teryaki sauce
  • soy sauce
  • potsticker sauce
  • lettuce (iceberg or romaine hearts)

Chop the vegetables. I like to chop the mushrooms quite small so they blend in well for those family members who seem to think they don't like mushrooms. I give the cilantro just a rough chop.

Spray a skillet with non-stick spray and start browning the meat along with the mushrooms.

When the meat is mostly cooked, add about 1/2 a teaspoon onion powder, the equivalent of a clove or two of garlic, and the water chestnuts. You want the water chestnuts to stay slightly crunchy, but you do want them to soak up all the flavors that are about to come to the party.

I like the pieces of meat to be pretty small. For years I wondered how to accomplish this until one day it dawned on me to use the potato masher. Brilliant! I didn't need to use it this particular time, but I use it frequently on ground beef. 

After several experimental batches of lettuce wraps, this is the sauce trifecta for me! Start by adding about 2 tablespoons teryaki sauce and one tablespoon each of the potsticker and soy sauces. Then? You'll just have to taste it and add more of what you feel it needs. I almost always add more of each one. Let the sauces hang out with the meat for a bit, you know, everyone getting to know each other.

Just a few minutes before you are ready to serve it, add the cilantro. I would have never thought to use cilantro in an Asian dish ~ it just screams Mexican food to me. But it adds a bright layer of flavor that cannot be left out.

Serve with either iceberg leaves (like that very famous restaurant) or on hearts of romaine (like Helene does). I like the romaine & Greg likes the iceberg.

You can experiment with this meal so it better suits your tastes. You can add different vegetables, like shredded carrots. Or how about a little bit of chopped peanuts. Sesame seeds? Get daring & make it your  own!

And there you have a satisfying meal that is figure friendly and health conscious. Your stomach will thank you and your hips will not betray you.

Linking to:


1 comment:

Mary said...

These look awesome! You know how much I love turkey! LOL!. Thanks so much for stopping by to visit my blog. Hope to see you again soon.