Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Lettuce wraps are a creative way to enjoy fresh lettuces and they are also fun to make, eat and serve. I love dishes that you can dive in and assemble at the table as you share a meal with family or friends. This one is super fast and easy to make and a light meal to enjoy with a hot cup of asian tea.

Ingredients:
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground chicken
4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 medium bell pepper (any color), chopped
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos
1 teaspoon sriracha
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 head green leaf lettuce, leaves separated

Optional Ingredients:
Handful of fresh basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons
Peanuts, chopped
Brown rice, prepared

Directions:

  1. Add canola and sesame oils in a wok or large skillet and heat to medium-high temperature. Add garlic and cook for about a minute or until fragrant. Add chicken and break up with a spatula until it starts to brown.
  2. Add carrots and bell pepper to wok or skillet and cook stirring frequently until vegetables are tender and chicken is cooked through, about 7 to 10 minutes.
  3. In a small mason jar, combine hoisin sauce, soy sauce, siracha and ginger. Shake until evenly combined and pour sauce over chicken and vegetables. Stir to evenly coat and cook for another minute or two.
  4. Place chicken and vegetables on a serving platter along with lettuce leaves and sprinkle with peanuts and basil if using. Assemble wraps at the table and serve with brown rice if desired.

Servings: 4

CABBAGE BOWL WITH THAI PEANUT SAUCE

Tender cabbage coated in mildly spiced peanut sauce replaces noodles in this delicious Thai bowl. Carrots and bean sprouts add color and crunch to this veggie packed dish paired with your favorite protein. It is really quick to make and you can even turn this into a 10-minute meal if you grill your protein and make your sauce in advance. Leftovers are delicious the next day if you are lucky enough to have leftovers.

Ingredients:
½ cup light coconut milk
1 tablespoon red curry paste
¼ cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos
½ lime, juiced
3 to 4 dashes of Sriracha hot chili sauce
2 large or 3 medium carrots
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium head of cabbage, cored and finely shredded
2 green onions, thinly sliced
4 ounces bean sprouts
Grilled chicken, shrimp or tofu
Optional: chopped peanuts

Directions:

  1. In a blender or food processor, combine coconut milk, curry paste, peanut butter, soy sauce, juice from lime and Sriracha hot chili sauce. Process until smooth and creamy.
  2. Trim and peel carrots. Cut carrots into noodles using a spiralizer and set aside.
  3. In a wok or large skillet, heat sesame and canola oil over medium-high heat. Add cabbage and cook stirring frequently for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender and lightly browned.
  4. Pour ⅓ cup sauce over cabbage and cook for an additional minute. Serve cabbage in bowls topped with carrots, green onions, bean sprouts and grilled chicken, shrimp or tofu. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and drizzle a little extra peanut sauce if desired.

Servings: 4

Shrimp and Kale Quesadillas

Kale is one of my favorite vegetables, because it is so versatile and delicious for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For a quick meal with a Mexican twist, sautéed greens pair perfectly with pinto beans, fast-cooking shrimp and cotija cheese. If you’re not serving four, reheat kale mixture the next day and serve for breakfast with a fried egg on top. Add a warm corn tortilla to the bottom of the dish for a different take on huevos rancheros.

Ingredients:
1 bunch kale
1 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons water
1 (15.5 ounce) can pinto beans
1 teaspoon taco seasoning
8 ounces raw peeled and deveined shrimp
4 (8-inch) flour tortillas
4 ounces cotija cheese, crumbled
Salsa

Directions:

  1. Remove stems from kale and roughly chop leaves. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add kale and water and sauté until wilted.
  2. Drain and rinse beans and add to the skillet with the kale. Add taco seasoning and stir to combine. Push the kale mixture to the edge of the skillet with a spatula and add shrimp the center of the skillet. Sauté until shrimp are pink and cooked through.
  3. Lay tortillas flat and add ¼ of kale, bean and shrimp mixture to one side of each tortilla. Top with 1 ounce of cotija cheese and fold in half.
  4. Lower heat to medium and place two quesadillas in the large skillet and cook for about three minutes on each side. Flip and continue cooking for another minute or two until both sides are golden brown. Continue cooking remaining quesadillas. Cut into four wedges, drizzle with salsa and serve.

Servings: 4

Greek Chicken Salad Wraps

A salad you can hold in your hand is the perfect backyard grub to serve on a hot summer night. The fresh vegetables make a colorful presentation for this build-your-own dinner, and you can change or add more protein options by grilling pork or tofu along with your chicken.

Grill your meat and slice your toppings in advance to have a meal you can serve in just a few minutes on a busy night or on an evening when you’d rather kick back and enjoy the sunshine.

Wrap Ingredients:
1 head romaine lettuce
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 small cucumber, thinly sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup feta cheese crumbles
¼ cup pitted Greek olives, thinly sliced

Tzatziki Sauce Ingredients:
1 small cucumber, finely chopped
1 cup plain, low-fat Greek yogurt
1 lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Trim the bottom of the lettuce and separate leaves. Wash and set on a towel to dry.
  2. In a small bowl, combine oregano, garlic, nutmeg, salt, pepper and olive oil. Stir to combine and brush mixture over chicken. Grill chicken breasts until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from heat and thinly slice.
  3. Combine cucumber and yogurt in a small bowl. Zest and then juice lemon, adding 1 teaspoon zest and 2 tablespoons juice to the bowl. Add garlic, salt and pepper and stir to combine.
  4. Add lettuce leaves, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, feta cheese and olives to a couple of large plates along with the Zatziki sauce, and serve buffet style.

Servings: 4

Grilled Buffalo Chicken Pizza

This pizza tastes like buffalo wings and cheese pizza had a baby. When it is game day and you can’t decide which of your favorite appetizers to serve, just combine them into one delicious pizza. My grilled pizza tastes more like a flatbread with a thin crispy crust and it is really quick to make. You’ll have a meal on the table in less than 20 minutes, leaving you more time to cheer on your baseball team on TV or get your family ready to head out to the little league game.

Ingredients:
½ tablespoon butter
½ tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1 tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon onion powder
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 medium chicken breast, cooked and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons corneal
1 homemade or store bought pizza dough ball, about the size of a grapefruit
¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
¼ cup blue cheese crumbles
2 celery sticks, trimmed and thinly sliced

Directions:

  1. Add butter and olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. When butter has melted, whisk in the brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, hot sauce, honey, onion powder and cayenne pepper. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce heat to simmer and stir occasionally until sauce has thickened. Remove from heat, add chicken to the saucepan and stir to coat.
  2. Sprinkle cornmeal over a large cutting board or flat working surface. Use a rolling pin to roll or your hands stretch (I do a combination) the pizza dough to a thin layer, about ⅛ inch thick and 12 to 14 inches in diameter. Prepare the grill for medium-high, indirect heat. For a gas grill, leave one or two burners off and for a charcoal grill, place coals on one side and use the coal-free side.
  3. Place crust on the grill (a pizza peel is handy here) and cook for about five minutes, until top of crust starts to bubble and light brown grill marks appear on the bottom of the crust. Remove crust from grill. Top cooked side of crust with chicken and buffalo sauce. Add cheeses and top with celery slices.
  4. Return pizza to the grill and cook for about five minutes, until cheese has melted and bottom of crust has light brown grill marks. Remove from grill, slice into 8 wedges and serve.

Servings: 4

Bourbon Roasted Chicken and Apples

Think beer can chicken only better, roasted with bourbon whiskey and seasonal apples. With the use of a pottery chicken baker from Sam Hitchman Ceramics, this meal is extremely easy to make and can be served from oven to table with this functional piece of art. Sam provides a general recipe guide when folks purchase a pottery dish, which I used to craft my version that is perfect for fall entertaining. This dish pairs well with mashed butternut squash or sweet potatoes.

I love the hands-free time you get with a slow roasted meal. While your oven is doing all the work, enjoy a delicious cheese plate and sip on a glass of wine or bourbon.

Ingredients:
1 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1 (3 to 4 pound) whole roasting chicken, giblets removed
bourbon whiskey
3 medium apples, cored and chopped
1 large onion, peeled and diced
½ cup dried cranberries
1 cinnamon stick

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine nutmeg, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper and ginger. On a workable surface, pat the chicken dry and rub half the spice blend under the skin and the rest over the top of the chicken. Set aside.
  2. Fill the center cup of your pottery chicken baker ¾ full with bourbon and add apples, onions, cranberries and a cinnamon stick in the ring of the dish. Set chicken in the dish, bottom down, over the center cup. Maneuver legs to help stable the chicken over the produce. Cover the top opening of the chicken with a small piece of foil to prevent steam from escaping.
  3. Place chicken in a cold oven. Then, set the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing the pottery to heat with the oven. Cook for 1½ to 2 hours, until the internal temperature in the breast area of the chicken reaches 165 degrees. Slice chicken and serve with a big spoonful or two of apple mixture on top.

Servings: 4

Grilled Chicken and Cornbread Salad with Buttermilk Ranch

Move over croutons, cornbread tastes better with this hearty salad. Garlic lovers will love the sautéed garlic scapes along with tangy ranch, crunchy bacon and buttery lima beans. It’s a perfect meal to make with leftover cornbread and grilled chicken. If you have extra cornbread, store it in the freeze and defrost for future salads.

Salad Dressing Ingredients:
⅔ cup plain, low-fat Greek yogurt
¼ cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped green onion
½ teaspoon dried dill
¼ teaspoon white pepper
⅛ teaspoon salt

Salad Ingredients:
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 tablespoons garlic scapes or green onion, sliced
1 large head green leaf lettuce, leaves separated and torn
Cornbread, prepared
1¼ pound chicken breast, grilled
1½ cups lima beans, prepared from fresh, frozen or canned
8 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine Greek yogurt, buttermilk, vinegar, garlic, green onion, dill, pepper and salt. Whisk until well combined. Cover and refrigerate salad dressing until ready to serve.
  2. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic scapes or green onion slices and sauté until lightly browned.
  3. Place an equal amount of lettuce on four plates and add a slice of cornbread in the middle. Top each plate with ¼ of chicken, lima beans, bacon and sautéed garlic scapes. Drizzle with ranch dressing and serve.

Servings: 4

Slow-Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Frozen corn from last season’s harvest is a special treat to enjoy this time of year. It shines in my Slow-Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup, which also features delicate squash. A perfect blend of winter and summer produce to enjoy this time of year when drastic weather changes leave you sporting flip-flops one day and snow boots the next. This colorful bowl of produce will surely brighten your day regardless of the weather you are experiencing.

The ingredient list may look long, but the recipe is easy to prepare and is mostly hands-off. Topping your bowl with oven-baked tortilla strips elevates this simple bowl of soup to restaurant quality, but without extra the calories of fried tortillas.

Soup Ingredients:
1½ pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 small delicata squash, seeded and chopped, leaving the skin on
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
1 large jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
½ tablespoon ground cumin
½ tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
¾ teaspoon salt
2 (14.5 ounce) cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups frozen yellow corn, defrosted
1 lime


Tortilla Strip Ingredients:
4 corn tortillas
½ tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt

Optional Toppings:
Chopped cilantro
Diced avocado
Shredded cheddar cheese
Sour cream

Directions:

  1. Place chicken in the bottom of a slow cooker and top with delicate squash, onion, jalapeño, chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika and salt. Add tomatoes with their juice and chicken broth. Cover with lid and cook on high for one hour. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking for five hours.
  2. Remove chicken and shred with two forks. Place shredded chicken back in the slow cooker and add corn and lime juice. Stir to combine and continue cooking on low while you prepare the tortilla strips.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Brush both sides of each tortilla with olive oil and cut into ¼-inch thin strips. Place tortilla strips on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Bake for about 12 minutes, until crisp and lightly browned.
  4. Serve soup topped with tortilla strips and optional toppings of choice.

Servings: 6

Butternut Squash Chicken Chili

Nothing says fall like a bowl of chili, especially one with seasonal squash. Fresh pumpkin or acorn squash would also work well in this recipe. In less than 30 minutes, you can serve a warm bowl of comfort food to your family. Leftovers taste just as good, if not better. If you do not eat all the leftovers, this meal freezes well in a tightly sealed container or zip-top bag.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground chicken
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped into bite-size pieces
2 (15.5 ounce) cans low-sodium Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons Sriracha hot chili sauce, plus more for serving
1 lime, sliced into 6 wedges
cilantro, chopped
cotija cheese, crumbled

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.
  2. Add the ground chicken, chili powder, cumin, oregano and salt. Break up chicken with a spatula and cook until it begins to brown, about five minutes.
  3. Add the butternut squash, beans, chicken broth and Sriracha hot chili sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for at least 20 minutes.
  4. Ladle chili into six bowls and squeeze a lime wedge over each serving. Top with cilantro, cojita cheese and additional Sriracha hot chili sauce if desired.

Servings: 6

Thai Chicken Cabbage Cups

Here is a delicious and nutritious meal you can eat with your hands. Small cabbage leaves make perfect cups for holding chicken and vegetables, and these are drizzled with my spicy Thai peanut sauce for just a touch of heat. The ingredients can be prepared in advanced and assembled when ready to eat, making this an excellent meal for busy nights or lunches on the go. If you can only find large cabbage, fold the leaves like a burrito to create cabbage wraps.

Ingredients:
½ cup light coconut milk
1 tablespoon red curry paste
¼ cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 lime, halved and divided
3 to 4 dashes of Sriracha hot chili sauce
2 cups any combination of vegetables, diced or shredded (such as bell pepper, cucumber, radish or carrots)
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1 small head cabbage, leaves separated
2 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
¼ cup unsalted chopped peanuts

Directions:

  1. In a blender or food processor, combine coconut milk, curry paste, peanut butter, soy sauce, juice from ½ of lime and Sriracha hot chili sauce. Process until smooth and creamy.
  2. Combine vegetables in a large bowl and squeeze the juice of the remaining lime half over the produce. Add cilantro and stir to evenly combine.
  3. Fill each cabbage leaf with an equal amounts of chicken and vegetables. Drizzle each cup with peanut sauce, top with peanuts and serve.

Servings: 4