Monday, April 14, 2014

Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps & Sesame Veggie Noodles

Oh Monday, the beginning of me working towards another weekend!  I put together a pretty great dinner plan through Thursday and I'm super excited for it.  It's pretty heavily Asian inspired.  Maybe I'll go with this and have a weekly theme...maybe. I always have a million ideas, much like my dad, but not equal amounts of follow through.  The flaw of a creative mind. We're dreamers and mind wanderers.  I'm the girl who wants to be a geneticist, a cook, a food truck owner, music festival vendor, bakery owner, event planner, a travelling foodie couple, and the list goes on, all in my lifetime.  Possible?  Perhaps.  But right now, as I sit in my bed, I'll be a blogger for half an hour and entertain you with my tangents.

Today I made a relatively quick and healthy meal, using pantry staples, and lots of veggies that I'll mix and match through the week.

Most of you probably hear lettuce wraps and think appetizer.  At least that is what the hubby thought we were having.  But I think lettuce wraps can be made into a complete meal just by adding a side dish!  I threw together some sesame noodles with veggies in a wok and served alongside these tasty ground chicken lettuce wraps.  I didn't make a dipping sauce because I was lazy.  Sorry! These were great without a sauce though!  Saved calories, so you're welcome. I'm sure a dollop of plain greek yogurt would be great on these if you need a little saucy-ness!

Just like the majority of my other recipes, feel free to use whatever ingredients you have on hand for veggies, meats, and toppings!  I hope I can provide you a somewhat basic "template" of doing things and you can use your creativity to make it your own!

Since we are on the subject, if you make any of my recipes, please take a picture and tag me on instagram with #liveloveatrepeat.  It would make my day to see my recipes being prepared by all of you!  You can also follow me @liveloveatrepeat on Instagram and "like" my page on FB.  Okay done with the promoting, but thank you, seriously.

Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

1 tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large portobello mushroom cap, diced
1 lb ground chicken
1 tbs minced ginger
3 tbs reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tbs chili garlic sauce
fresh crack black pepper
minced cilantro
romaine lettuce leaves
shredded carrots
thin sliced cucumber
thin sliced radish

Heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add minced garlic and brown. Be careful not to burn the garlic! It happens pretty quickly, so keep an eye on it.

Add diced mushrooms and saute until softened.  Add chicken, ginger, soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, and a lot of black pepper.  Keep breaking up the chicken and brown.  Once chicken is almost cooked through, turn up the heat to evaporate the liquid. Top with cilantro.  Taste and add any additional seasoning you feel it needs.

Assemble the wraps by using the "cupped" side of the lettuce leaf, spooning on chicken, and topping with carrots, cucumber, and radish.  Chomp away!


Sesame Veggie Noodles

Ramen noodles (I just used some packets my mom in law keeps in the pantry and only used the noodles)
Sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 serrano pepper, thinly sliced (discard seeds and/or ribs depending on spice level)
1/2 zucchini, diced
1/2 yellow squash, diced
1 roasted potato, quartered and diced (leftover potatoes from night before)
2 stalks green onions, large slices
2 tbs reduced sodium soy sauce
fresh cracked black pepper
1 tbs sesame seeds

Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the noodles and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and drizzle with just a little bit of sesame oil to avoid sticky noodles.  Let sit in the colander to dry thoroughly.

Heat a wok over medium heat, add 1 tbs of sesame oil.  Add garlic, onion, and the sliced serrano peppers, and saute until the veggies have softened. Add zucchini and squash and cook until softened. Add potatoes and heat through for a minute.  Add dried noodles, green onion, soy sauce, black pepper, and sesame seeds. Toss and cook for 3-4 minutes.

Some of the noodles may stick to the bottom.  Feel free to add more oil, but I figured a few lost noodles were worth not risking "greasy" noodles.

Season with more soy sauce if needed.  I kept the seeds and ribs in my peppers, so the noodles were quite spicy, but in a good way :)


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Barbacoa Tacos

I've never met a taco I didn't like.  I think tacos may be my 2nd favorite food after pizza, really. Soft, crispy, puffy, vegetarian, and meat filled, I love them all! So it's no surprise that I quickly began craving tacos once I came back from my trip to North Carolina,  mostly in part by the fact that I had some bomb ass mini barbacoa tacos at a baby shower! Homemade, straight out of a dutch oven, topped with crispy slaw, and wrapped in a tiny little flour tortilla. Super adorable and extra easy to eat way more than one.

A hunk of roast made it quickly onto my shopping list, along with slaw, onions, and smoky chipotle peppers. I started the roast with a sear in the pan and let it do it's thing in the slow cooker.  The barbacoa is spicy and smokey from the different peppers and so tender from hours in the slow cooker.  The tangy and crispy slaw is perfect for these tacos, topped with cool, greek yogurt and creamy avocado.  Oh my gosh, yum.  Make these!

Barbacoa Tacos
(feeds an army)

1 tbs olive oil
2 lbs roast
sea salt
coarse black pepper
1 medium onion thinly sliced
2 large dried peppers (sold in bulk bins and are shriveled up dried red/black looking peppers)
3-4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 jalapeno, roughly chopped
2 tbs minced garlic
1 cup chicken stock
juice of one lime
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup ready made coleslaw, no mayo
3 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
3 tbs water

Toppings: slaw, sliced avocado, Greek yogurt, limes

Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a skillet.  Dry the roast thoroughly and sprinkle all sides with sea salt and black pepper patting it in.  Place the roast in the skillet and do not touch!  Let it get a good sear and then flip for the other side.  Make sure to sear all sides of the roast.

As the roast sears, add sliced onions and dried peppers in crockpot.  In a blender, blend the chipotle peppers, jalapeno pepper, garlic, lime juice, and chicken stock.

Add seared roast on top of the onions and dried peppers.  Pour chicken stock mixture over the roast and place lid on slow cooker.  Cook on low for 8 hours.

After 8 hours, the roast should be falling apart tender.  Shred the meat with a fork and get it all in the sauce, add chopped cilantro, and continue on warm as you get the fixings ready.  Add salt and pepper to taste.


Toss red onions with coleslaw, red wine vinegar, sugar, and water.

We had our tacos on fresh made wheat tortillas, and all the toppings listed with a sprinkle of cilantro and a squeeze of lime.