Spicy Turkey Lettuce Wraps

Put down the tortilla. Back away from the taco shell. See that slice of bread? Oh no you don’t.

I’ve seen the lettuce wrap light.

I know, I know. I promise I’m not telling you to actually stop eating all of those tasty carbs. But, I am hoping you’ll give lettuce wraps a try for dinner! As someone who eats an English muffin every. single. morning. without fail, it’s a nice break to go a little lighter for dinner and pile my meat, veggies and sauce into giant lettuce leaves.

I used to think lettuce wraps were just a delicious restaurant appetizer (I’m looking at you, PF Changs). But, lately I’ve been stuffing lettuce with all sorts of tasty ingredients, like taco meat, cheese, tomatoes and guacamole. And it works! It’s still a filling dinner, you can just have more of it 🙂

Plus, it makes you feel better about eating a slice of this after.

Lettuce Wraps

Since discovering the wonderful world of lettuce wraps, I’ve tested many different recipes! After eating my new creations, Ryan and I always determine whether or not that recipe is a “keeper.” This one definitely made the cut!

Spicy Turkey Lettuce Wraps

Spicy Turkey Lettuce Wraps

Via Our Best Bites

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot and broccoli slaw
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped cashews
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoon brown sugar
  • Sriracha sauce to taste
  • 16 lettuce leaves (or cabbage leaves)

Instructions:

Cook the ground turkey in a large skillet on medium-high heat. While it’s cooking, mix in the garlic and ginger and stir.

Chop the bell pepper, cilantro, cashews and jalapeno and set aside. Combine the lime juice, soy sauce, brown sugar and Sriracha in a bowl.

When the turkey is done, turn the heat to low and mix the bell pepper, carrot and broccoli slaw, cilantro, cashews and jalapeno into the skillet. Pour the sauce over that and stir it all together.

Serve with the lettuce wraps. Enjoy!

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Healthy PB Chocolate Banana Shake

Buying a blender is the best choice I’ve made in 2014.

I’m not even sure if that’s an exaggeration. Just in the past week, I’ve made a chipotle marinade for chicken, homemade pesto, this spinach smoothie, and this skinny shamrock shake. All in my blender.

Plus, I’ve made this healthy peanut butter chocolate banana shake hundreds of times (ok, now I’m stretching a little… maybe three!). It’s by far my favorite.

This shake recipe makes the perfect breakfast, snack or dessert for two people. Or, make it all just for you and freeze some for later. It’s filling and nutritious, but tastes surprisingly decadent.

I mean, you can’t beat chocolate and peanut butter. It even surpasses the classic cake-and-ice-cream combo. Move over PB & J! Step aside, cheese and wine. (You get the point).

Healthy Chocolate Shake

Healthy PB Chocolate Banana Shake

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 1 banana
  • 1 BIG spoonful of peanut butter
  • 2 T unsweetened coco powder
  • A few handfuls of ice (1/2 to 1 cup)

Directions:

Blend all ingredients together and enjoy!

Spicy Chicken Sausage & Veggie Pizza

I think about pizza far more often than I should.

And not just any pizza, but one cheesy pesto pie from Pizzeria Spera in the suburbs of Florence, Italy. Talk about tragedy! I am pining (and drooling) over this pizza from worlds away.

If you guys are ever in Florence, it’s so worth the trek outside the city center. When I studied there, we’d plan our whole schedule around when it was open. It’s THAT good.

I’m not going to pretend my own pizza measures up to it. But, making homemade pizza is such a fun experience, and I do love the ability to customize it with fresh ingredients. I am always excited to experiment with new toppings!

I found my favorite homemade combo (shown below) by mistake – I researched recipes, then added a few things we already had in the fridge… and voila!

Spicy Sausage and Veggie Pizza

I have a few bad habits in the kitchen: one, not measuring everything, and two, not setting a timer. I apologize for the first, because how annoying is that when you’re trying to recreate it? That’s what happened with this pizza, so I made it again to better gauge amounts used!

But, I am just not a timer person. If that means I burn a few (hundred) batches of cookies along the way, so be it.

I so wanted to add YOLO after that one. Ugh, I’m sorry. Let’s go eat pizza.

Spicy Chicken Sausage and Veggie Pizza

Spicy Chicken Sausage & Veggie Pizza

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 ball of whole wheat crust (I got mine from Whole Foods)
  • Olive oil
  • 2 tsp Italian herb seasoning
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Pizza sauce of your choice (*optional)
  • 6 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 spicy chicken sausages, casting removed
  • ½ red bell pepper, sliced
  • ½ tomato, sliced
  • 1 cup spinach

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

First, remove the sausage from the casting, and cook in a medium skillet with a little olive oil, breaking up the meat as it browns. Once that’s done (roughly 10 minutes), set aside on a plate and throw the bell peppers slices in the skillet to brown (only for a few minutes, then remove). Roll out the dough with flour. Then, drizzle olive oil on top of the dough, and sprinkle with the seasoning and paprika. Adding tomato sauce here is optional – I added it on half, but preferred the one without! (The olive oil and seasonings are so good alone). Then, add on the toppings! Pile up your pizza with the cheese, sausage, tomato, peppers, and spinach.

Cook for roughly 15 minutes, or until the crust is browning and the cheese is bubbling. Enjoy!

*Dinner Tonight: Serve with this salad and a glass of red wine.

Beef Stew with Merlot

joy3

Today, I choose joy.

Don’t you wish it was always this easy? To choose joy and love and happiness and live in that frosting-covered kitchen haven forever?

Of course my idea of bliss includes mounds of whipped sugar. That’s a given. But, sometimes it isn’t quite so simple, and we have to be more conscious in choosing positivity. There are days when we just need a little more reminding, a nudge toward happiness.

Well, here it is!

Go to yoga. Walk to the coffee shop instead of drive. Send a for-no-reason card or package. Call your family. Drink tea. Reread an old book. Laugh. Create. Add the sprinkles.

And, of course, cook. Make your favorite recipe for dinner, or try a new one. Drink a glass of merlot while preparing the hearty beef stew below. It is so good, and surprisingly easy.

P.S. I’ve also found that making these sugar cookies helps a lot.

beef stew

Beef Stew with Merlot

Via EatLiveRun, Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb lean beef stew meat, cubed
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1-2 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 cup Merlot
  • 3 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp herbed sea salt
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Fresh minced parsley, for serving

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. When hot, add the beef, and sprinkle with flour, salt and pepper, tossing well. Brown the meat for a few minutes (it doesn’t need to be completely cooked through), then set aside on a plate.

Turn down the heat to medium and drizzle a little more oil in the pot. Add the onion and sauté for 4-6 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add the diced carrot, celery, rosemary and garlic and continue sautéing for 5 more minutes.

Add the beef back into the pot. Pour in the merlot and the beef broth. Stir well and increase heat to a boil. Then, reduce heat and cover pot. Let the stew simmer for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

After 2 hours, add the diced potatoes. You may need to add a little more beef broth at this point if the stew seems too thick. Continue simmering for about 30 more minutes – until potatoes are tender.

Season stew with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with fresh minced parsley on top!

Blue Moon Chicken

It’s really hard to go wrong with beer and chicken. I mean, I’ve had some major kitchen fails lately (*cough* homemade falafel). But this recipe is a consistent go-to, a quick and healthy dinner.

It’s also one of the first meals I ever cooked for Ryan, and almost two years later, he still requests it! Which is fine by me – it’s so easy to whip together after work. I’ve made it with several different side variations like potatoes and roasted broccoli, but the one below is by far the favorite! This chicken with quinoa and a fresh veggie salad is perfect for Spring!

Also – I learned from my mom to always cook quinoa in veggie or chicken broth (not water!) It’s much more flavorful that way. I like to add in a little olive oil and seasoning at the end too. 

Blue Moon Chicken + Quinoa + Veggie Salad

PS get the recipe for Confetti Veggie Salad here.

Blue Moon Chicken

Blue Moon Chicken 

From Cooking Light

Serves 3-4 

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • ½ shallot, diced
  • 1/2 cup Blue Moon (or any light/wheat beer)*
  • 2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Preparation:

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add oil. Sprinkle chicken evenly with pepper and salt. Add chicken to pan and sauté 6 minutes on each side, until done. Remove chicken from pan (place on a plate and cover to keep warm). Add shallots to pan and cook for 1 minute, or until translucent. Meanwhile, combine beer and next 3 ingredients (through honey) in a small bowl and stir with a whisk. Add beer mixture to the pan and bring to a boil. It will stick a little, so continue to stir. Once it’s started to thicken, return to low heat and add the chicken, turning to coat with sauce. Sprinkle with parsley before serving. Enjoy! 

 

*I recommend drinking the rest with dinner : )