Sunday, August 15, 2010

Lettuce Wraps

Source: Group Recipes

If you've never had PF Chang's Soothing Lettuce Wraps, you are really missing out. They are SO GOOD and probably my favorite appetizer of all-time!

These aren't EXACTLY the same - I Googled "PF Chang's Lettuce Wraps" and got quite a few versions, and the lazy side in me won. This version was really easy. My only suggestion would be to halve the ginger and hot sauce - my changes are below. Enjoy!

Lettuce Wraps


16 Boston, bibb or butter lettuce leaves (or head of lettuce, rinsed, using large leaves)
1 pound ground chicken breast
1 large onion -- chopped
1/2 Cup pine nuts, chopped (optional)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Asian chili pepper sauce (see Note)
1 can (8 ounce size) sliced water chestnuts -- drained, finely chopped
1 bunch green onions -- thinly sliced
2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil


Rinse lettuce leaves, keeping them whole. Set aside to drain.

Cook chicken in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring often to break up the meat. Add onion, garlic, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger, vinegar and chili sauce. Cook until the meat is crumbled and brown. Add water chestnuts, pine nuts and green onions. Cook until onions begin to wilt, about 2 minutes.

Stir in sesame oil. Arrange lettuce leaves on the outer edge of a platter. Spoon meat mixture in center. Allow diners to spoon meat mixture into lettuce leaves and eat like a taco.

Note: Asian chili pepper sauce can be found in the Asian section of most supermarkets. Some brands contain garlic, which is fine. You can use 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or 1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes instead.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Apple Dumplings

Source: Tasty Kitchen

I've been eying this for awhile. What's not to love - the 2 sticks of butter, or the can of Mountain Dew? This was EXTREMELY well-received at a party recently and I'll definitely be making this again! Just make sure you have some vanilla ice cream on hand - it's not complete without it!

Apple Dumplings

2 whole Granny Smith Apples
2 cans (8 Oz. Cans) Crescent Rolls
2 sticks Butter
1-½ cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla
Cinnamon, To Taste
1 can (12 Oz.) Mountain Dew Soda

Preparation Instructions

Peel and core apples. Cut each apple into 8 slices each. Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll.

Place in a 9 x 13 buttered pan.

Melt butter, then add sugar and barely stir. Add vanilla, stir, and pour entire mixture over apples. Pour Mountain Dew around the edges of the pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Serve with ice cream, and spoon some of the sweet sauces from the pan over the top.

Garlic Roasted Potatoes

Source: Ina Garten

I'm all about no-fuss side dishes. I love potatoes. I love garlic. I love everything I've made from Ina. I love this recipe! I've made Pioneer Woman's version of garlic roasted potatoes, and they're really good, but I hate roasting whole garlic heads and then waiting for them to cool so you can squeeze out the garlic. This recipe was perfect - toss everything together, pop it in the oven, and serve! The only change I made was to also add 1/4 cup of white wine. Enjoy!

Garlic Roasted Potatoes

3 pounds small red or white potatoes
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced garlic (6 cloves)
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut the potatoes in half or quarters and place in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic; toss until the potatoes are well coated. Transfer the potatoes to a sheet pan and spread out into 1 layer. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until browned and crisp. Flip twice with a spatula during cooking in order to ensure even browning.

Remove the potatoes from the oven, toss with parsley, season to taste, and serve hot.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Grilled Chicken Fajitas

Source: Cooking for Two

One of my favorite cookbooks has a grilling section, and I've been happily trying out the recipes. Each time I get kind of a "look" from Kevin - as in, you don't need recipes for grilling! Maybe not, but I always feel better with them, and the chicken would not have been as flavorful without the marinade! I've tried a few different fajita recipes, and this one will go in the regular rotation!

As a note, do not marinate the chicken for longer the 15 minutes. The acid in the lime will turn the meat mushy!

Grilled Chicken Fajitas

5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice from 2 limes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 jalapeño chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced
Salt and pepper
2 (6 to 8 ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
1 small red onion, sliced into 1/2-inch rings (keep the rings together)
1 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and quartered
6 6-inch flour tortillas

1. Combine 1/4 cup of the oil, lime juice, cilantro, garlic, Worcestershire, brown sugar, jalapeño, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl. Measure out and reserve 1/4 cup of the marinade for serving. Add 1/2 teaspoon more salt to the remaining marinade and pour in a large zipper-lock bag. Add the chicken breasts and turn to coat. Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

2. For a gas grill: turn all the burners to high, cover, and heat the grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave the primary burner on high and turn the other burner(s) to medium.

3. Remove the chicken from the marinade, place on the hotter part of the grill, and cook covered until well browned on both sides, about 8 - 12 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking. Transfer the chicken to a carving board, tent loosely with foil, and let rest.

4. While the chicken cooks, brush the onion rings and bell pepper with remaining oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the onion rings and bell pepper with on the cooler part of the grill and cook covered, until spottily charred on both sides, 8 - 12 minutes, flipping them halfway through cooking. Transfer the vegetables to the carving board and tent loosely with foil.

5. If you wish to pre-warm the tortillas, place directly on cooler part of grill and cook about 20 seconds per side.

6. Separate the onion rings and slice the bell pepper into 1/4 inch strips. Toss the vegetables in half of the remaining marinade. Slice chicken and toss with the remaining marinade in a separte bowl. Serve with sour cream, lime wedges, and shredded cheddar, Monterey Jack or queso fresco (my favorite!) if desired.