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

Strawberry Salad with Baked Brie and Champagne Vinaigrette

You can skip the cheese plate and go straight for the salad, because this salad is served with creamy and decadent baked Brie with a sweet and nutty bourbon glaze. This salad is elegant enough to delight your dinner guests, but quick and simple to prepare. Add grilled shrimp or chicken to turn this side salad into a main dish.

Baked Brie Ingredients:
9.5 ounces Brie
2 tablespoons finely chopped pecans
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon bourbon

Strawberry Champagne Vinaigrette Ingredients:
2 tablespoons strawberry jam
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper

Salad Ingredients:
1 head green leaf lettuce, washed and torn
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place brie in a Brie baker or small baking dish. In a small bowl, combine pecans and brown sugar. Spread pecan and sugar mixture on top of cheese and drizzle with bourbon. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes.
  2. In a mason jar or small container with a tight-fitting lid, combine strawberry jam, champagne vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. With lid securely tightened, shake vinaigrette until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  3. Serve lettuce and strawberries on salad plates and top with a wedge of baked Brie. Drizzle with strawberry champagne vinaigrette and serve.

Servings: 4

Steak and BLT Salad

Meat lovers rejoice for this salad that was made for you. The classic bacon, lettuce and tomato (BLT) sandwich is one of my favorite meals to make with farm fresh tomatoes. As an alternative to this time-honored dish, I created a salad and took it up a notch by topping it with grilled steak and blue cheese dressing. This hearty salad is perfect for a relaxing summer weekend and pairs well with your favorite red wine.

Ingredients:

2 (4 to 6 ounce) boneless rib-eye steaks, well-trimmed
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
4 tablespoons blue cheese, divided
4 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
2 cups spring mix lettuce
2 medium tomatoes, diced

Directions:

  1. Bring steak to room temperature and season with salt and pepper. Preheat an outdoor grill to medium-high heat and cook steak to desired doneness. Remove from grill and let rest for a few minutes before carving into thin strips.
  2. Combine yogurt, vinegar and 2 tablespoons blue cheese in a mason jar with a lid and shake until salad dressing is well combined.
  3. Add equal amounts of bacon, lettuce and tomatoes to two plates. Top with steak, remaining blue cheese and salad dressing.

Servings: 2

Grilled Summer Scallop Salad

Firing up the grill is one of my favorite summer activities. I love it even more when I can cook my entire meal over the grill grates in a matter of minutes. I know, lettuce is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of cooking out. However, this sweet and smokey salad with grilled radishes and scallops may become your favorite go-to summer dish. In less than 15 minutes, you will have a delicious meal for two that is perfect for enjoying on your patio with your favorite white wine. Cheers to fast and healthy seasonal meals.

Salad Ingredients:
8 large scallops
1 bunch radishes, trimmed and halved
1 tablespoons olive oil, divided
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
Zest of 1 lemon
1 head romaine or green leaf lettuce

Salad Dressing Ingredients:
Zest and juice of 1 navel orange
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
2 tablespoon olive oil

Directions:

  1. Brush scallops and radishes with half the olive oil and season with salt, pepper and lemon zest. Prepare a grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate. Grill scallops and radishes for about 2 to 3 minutes per side, until scallops are cooked through and radishes are slightly tender.
  2. Cut lettuce in half, leaving the core intact on both sides. Brush flat side with remaining olive oil. Place lettuce cut-side down on the grill and cook for about 5 minutes, until grill marks appear and lettuce is slightly wilted.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together salad dressing ingredients. Top each lettuce slice with half the scallops and radishes and drizzle with salad dressing.

Servings: 2

Winter Vegetable Salad

Butternut squash is the star of my Winter Vegetable Salad, creating a hearty meal that is satisfying for lunch or dinner. Caramelized onions, toasted pecans and creamy goat cheese give this salad a mixture of sweet, savory, crunchy and velvety goodness.

This colorful bowl of nutritious ingredients will brighten your mood, even on a cold and cloudy winter day. Enjoy it with ingredients warm from the oven and stove top or with chilled squash and onions that you have prepared in advance.

Ingredients:
1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter
2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
1 head romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
½ cup pecans, toasted and chopped
2 ounces (about 4 tablespoons) goat cheese, crumbled
Bottled salad dressing, such as Champaign vinaigrette

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. On a large baking sheet, add butternut squash and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper over squash and toss to evenly coat. Arrange squash in a single layer and roast for 30 to 35 minutes until tender and lightly brown, flipping with a spatula halfway through cooking.
2. In a large skillet, heat remaining olive oil and butter over medium-low heat. Once butter has melted, add onion slices and sprinkle with sugar. Stirring occasionally, let the onions cook about 20 to 25 minutes, until caramelized and golden brown.
3. Add 2 cups of lettuce to each plate and top with equal amounts of squash, caramelized onions, pecans and goat cheese.
4. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of your favorite salad dressing and serve.

Note: You can substitute baby spinach or your favorite leafy greens for romaine and any type of winter squash for the butternut. Use whatever fresh produce you can get your hands on in February.

Servings: 4