Thursday, January 22, 2015

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

OMG.  These are seriously soooo delicious.  And super easy!  Trust me, you need to make these ASAP.

I doubled the original recipe and served 4 of us, but we had this as a meal--only had about 1 cup of meat leftover.  So I'm going to post the ingredients for a double recipe and say it serves 4.  If you're serving it as an appetizer, it will probably serve more than 4.  You judge it for your own family, leftovers are terrific!

The original recipe says it's a "copycat" of PF Chang's.  We don't have a PF Chang's around, so I have no way of knowing whether or not this tastes anything like what they serve. 

I decreased a couple of the ingredients, and these were perfect.  Even my picky 8-year-old LOVED them.  I mean it, make these today!

Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Adapted from Damn Delicious
Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pounds ground chicken
4 cloves garlic, minced
about 1/2 large onion, diced
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
2 scant teaspoons Sriracha, or to taste
1 (8-ounce) can whole water chestnuts, drained and finely diced
4 green onions, thinly sliced

1 head butter lettuce

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add ground chicken and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the chicken as it cooks.

Stir in garlic, onion, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger and Sriracha.  Cook and stir until onions have become translucent, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in chestnuts and green onions until tender, about 1-2 minutes.

To serve, spoon several tablespoons of the chicken mixture into the center of a lettuce leaf, wrap and eat!

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

A few years ago, I vowed never to buy another cake mix. Since then, I have been collecting reliable cake recipes. I made a half-batch of the recipe below with leftover canned pumpkin and was pleased with the results. By the way, I mixed the batter by hand.

Pumpkin  Spice  Cupcakes
Makes 24 cupcakes

      3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (1 5/8 c)
      2 teaspoons baking powder (1 t)
      2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (1 t)
      1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves (3/4 t)
      1 teaspoon ground allspice (1/2 t)
      1 teaspoon ground nutmeg (1/2 t)
      1/2 teaspoon baking soda (1/4 t)
      1/2 teaspoon fine salt (1/4 t)
      2 1/2 cups granulated sugar (1 1/4 c)
      1 cup vegetable oil (1/2 c)
      4 large eggs (2)
      1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée (about 1 3/4 cups) (7/8 c)
      Cream cheese frosting, optional

1.     Place flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt in large  bowl and whisk to aerate and break up any lumps; set aside.

2.    Place sugar and oil in bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until sugar is incorporated, about 1 minute. Stop mixer and scrape down sides of bowl and paddle with rubber spatula.

3.    Return mixer to medium speed and add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, about 1 1/2 minutes total mixing time. Reduce speed to medium low, add pumpkin, and beat until just combined, about 30 seconds. Stop mixer and scrape down sides of bowl and paddle with rubber spatula.

4.    Turn mixer to low speed, slowly add flour mixture, and beat until almost completely incorporated, about 1 minute. Remove bowl from mixer and fold in any unincorporated flour at edges and bottom with rubber spatula.

5.    Fill paper-lined muffin wells three-quarters full. Bake in 350°F. oven for 12 minutes. Rotate pans front to back and side to side and bake until toothpick inserted into center of cupcakes comes out clean, about 10 minutes more.  

6.    Place pans on wire racks and let them cool for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pans and cool completely on racks. Frost with cream cheese frosting if desired.

NOTE: Half-recipe amounts in parentheses will make 48 mini-cupcakes. Bake 14 minutes.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Wine-Braised Short Ribs

Gotta love short ribs. Great comfort food for the cold months. Simple to make and this recipe gives one an excuse to turn on the oven. Consider baking a loaf of bread while it's on.

Serves 4

½ pound chopped bacon
1 ½ pounds boneless beef short ribs
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons snipped fresh parsley leaves
2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves
2 teaspoons snipped fresh rosemary leaves
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cups beef broth
1 ½ cups Syrah or other hearty red wine

1.   In large skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Then transfer to 4-quart Dutch oven.

2.   While bacon is cooking, season short ribs with salt and pepper.

3.   Sprinkle short ribs with parsley, oregano, and rosemary.

4.   In skillet, brown short ribs in bacon grease. Then transfer ribs to Dutch oven.

5.   Add chopped onions, carrots, and celery to skillet and sauté over medium-high heat until vegetables begin to brown.

6.   Add beef broth and wine to skillet and bring to a boil.

7.   Pour contents of skillet into Dutch oven.

8.   Cover the Dutch oven with a piece of parchment paper and then the pan’s lid.

9.   Cook in 325°F. oven for 3 to 4 hours or until meat is tender.

10.    Transfer the short ribs to a platter

11.    Strain what remains in Dutch oven. Then skim fat from sauce and boil over high heat until reduced to 2 cups.

12.    Season with salt and pepper. Pour over short ribs and serve.

NOTE: Serve with mashed potatoes and a green vegetable, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, or green beans.
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