Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Yummy Lettuce/Chicken Wraps for Back to School

Lazy summer is nearing an end.  The "bigs" have been so much help and it has made our no-schooling time so enjoyable.  Yesterday after taking her next-to-last Intro to Psych test, Pepper relaxed with her ukulele, part obsession and part constant companion.

Sunshine built the most fantastic fort ever. Let's face it, if you live in Texas, you'd better find some ways to play indoors in August.

With school starting in only 3 weeks, we are shifting focus around here.  I just moved the kids "wake up lights" to come on a half hour earlier; next week they will be adjusted again.  We are practicing a "school time" schedule to make an easy adjustment to the rhythm of our days.  By the time school starts, the rhythm will be set and we can focus on helping The Captain adjust to Kindergarten, itself.  I blogged about it for adoption. com but then re-thought it a bit and realized we needed to ease in and not just jump in with both feet (duh!).

Tinkerbelle will be headed to Pre-K 3 hours a day; her days will either begin or end at the same time as The Captains.  Both will attend Old Town Elementary, right across from our neighborhood.  Sunshine and Pepper will be homeschooled again; we are starting after Labor Day.  Pepper is taking dual-credit classes at the community college. In the fall, she'll be taking composition and art history.

It all adds up to me reorganizing myself in the kitchen.  We are "back to bento" for the fall.  Our bento lunches pack a lot of protein into an interesting and compact arrangement.  They are so perfect for lunch.  We are teaching The Captain how to take his lunch out and eat from the bento boxes; he is just a boy who needs to practice things!

For today's lunch, I found this interesting recipe on Iowa Girl Eats and then made a few changes so that I can make it any time with ingredients I always have on hand.  It was so wonderful, it'll go on a 2-week rotation.  We enjoyed it with edamame and cous-cous.

P.F. Chang’s Lettuce Wrap - adapted 

Serves a family, or 6  hungry adults
(approximately 185 cals., 5 grams carbs, 8 grams fat, 21 grams protein)

  1. 4  large cloves garlic, minced
  2. 3 tsp fresh ginger, peeled & minced (I buy it frozen - MUCH easier to deal with )
  3. 1-1/2  tbsp  sesame oil
  4. 1/4 cup  soy sauce
  5. 2  tbsp  peanut butter
  6. 1  tbsp  honey
  7. 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  8. 2 tbsp chili garlic sauce (I use the one with the rooster)

  1. 2 tsp. olive oil
  2. 3 fresh carrots, washed and diced finely
  3. 2 lb ground chicken breast
  4. salt & pepper, a dash of each
  1. 18 or more large outer lettuce leaves, rinsed and patted dry (you can buy these all prepared now, in a plastic box!)

Place the first 8 ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl.  Microwave 30 seconds.  Stir until smooth and set aside.
Using a large non-stick fry pan, heat the olive oil briefly and add the carrots.  Saute for 2 minutes, then add the ground chicken, salt and pepper.  Stir fry until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink -- this only takes a few minutes.  Add the sauce and cook a few minutes until desired consistency is reached.  I like to cook out a bit of the liquid.
Place the chicken mixture in a bowl.  If desired, garnish with chopped green onions and/or ground peanuts.  I used just a bit of chopped cilantro.

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