Weekly Menu August 25

“If my life had a flavor, it would be coffee.”

I found this quote on Pinterest the other day, and it perfectly describes how I’m feeling on this cool Monday morning! Getting up early for the gym was a struggle, and the crisp air foreshadowing fall didn’t make it any better (summer, I already want you back!).

So, coffee helped. And so did this list from Joy the Baker: 11 Little Ways to Get Through This Monday. I especially love this: “…an after work situation is a lovely carrot to dangle in front of your face.” With that idea in mind, I’m looking forward to yoga, and then steak and a glass of wine this evening!

Plus, I just discovered what I’m going to do with all of the bananas in my freezer this week.

Kung Pao Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Weekly Menu August 25

Monday: Grilled Steak with Summer Nectarine Salad

Tuesday: Thai Chicken Quinoa Bowl

Wednesday: Kung Pao Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Thursday: Chipotle Cheddar Turkey Burgers with fresh corn

Friday: Susie’s French Chicken with Goat Cheese & Arugula Pasta Salad

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Kung Pao Chicken Lettuce Wraps

True life: I’m a messy eater.

Not messy in a cute “are you saving that for later?” way. Messy in a full-on spilling salad dressing and flinging veggies way.

And, if the food is spicy? Even worse! On top of the ketchup on my dress, I’ll have a red, sweaty face. For the longest time, I didn’t enjoy spicy food at all because of this. I couldn’t handle it, and would spend the whole meal alternating taking bites and chugging water.

Then, somehow, I turned a corner. Gradually, I began to want spicier foods. My tolerance still isn’t that high, but I love the taste. And, I happen to cook for someone who is a spicy-fiend. Nothing is too hot for him. So, it’s always a challenge finding a happy medium!

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Both Ryan and I love Kung Pao Chicken. Since I usually fill up on rice too quickly if we go out or order delivery, I wanted to find a healthier (and more cost-efficient) alternative to our favorite Asian dish. I adapted this recipe from Budget Bytes.

I’ve made this more than three times in the past three weeks. Safe to say it’s a keeper! It’s so good, and fairly quick to throw together. If you want it even spicier, add another tablespoon of the sambal sauce.

Kung Pao Chicken Lettuce Wraps

 

Kung Pao Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. boneless chicken breasts, diced
  • 3 T vegetable oil (divided)
  • 3 T soy sauce (divided)
  • 1 1/2 T rice vinegar (divided)
  • 2 T corn starch (divided)
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 1 T sambal chili garlic sauce
  • 2 t minced garlic
  • 1 t sesame oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup edamame
  • 1/4 cup water chestnuts, chopped
  • 1/3 cup peanuts
  • 1 head of lettuce (or prepackaged lettuce wrap leaves)

Directions

To prepare the marinade for the chicken, dissolve 1 T of corn starch in 1 T of water in a medium bowl. Then, add 1 T of vegetable oil, 1 T of soy sauce, 1 T of rice wine, and 2 t of minced garlic. Stir to combine.

Cut the chicken breasts into cubes and place them in the above bowl. Then, pour it all into a large pan over medium-high heat. Stir every few minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the sauce. It’s similar to the marinade but with a couple additions. Again, start by dissolving 1 T of corn starch in 1 T of water. Then add 2 T soy sauce, 2 T rice wine, 1 T sambal, 2 T brown sugar, and 1 t sesame oil. Stir to combine, then set the sauce aside.

Next, prepare the bell pepper, carrots, edamame and water chestnuts.

Once the chicken is cooked through, add the vegetables and sauce to the pan. Cook until the sauce has thickened a little – just a few minutes.

Then, pile the chicken and veggie mixture into lettuce wraps and garnish with the peanuts. Enjoy!