Korean-style Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Stuff your mouth with some of my Korean-style chicken lettuce wraps. I offer you my healthy take on a traditional Korean BBQ favorite.

Korean food is more than just eating dinner- it is a communal experience. I cannot count how many times I went out to eat Korean BBQ with various friends in Seoul. The only downside for me was that I don’t eat red meat, and Korean BBQ is always pork or beef. This motivated me to create a lettuce wrap recipe that involved chicken. And my mission was a success! These wraps are absolutely divine! I melt every time I get to eat this for dinner. If you are new to Korean cuisine, I encourage you to give this recipe a go!

Notes on how to set the table:

  • Place the chicken in the middle of the table for all to share
  • Each person gets their own individual rice bowl
  • Each person also gets their own Ssamjang (dip) dish
  • Serve the lettuce leaves on a platter or bowl. Your guests can rip off pieces of lettuce to make their individual wraps
  • Chopsticks recommended 😉

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Korean-style Chicken Lettuce Wraps (Stephanie Thiel)

Serves: 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 3 skinless and boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped white or yellow onion (about 1 small onion)
  • 3 Tbsp. teriyaki sauce
  • 2 tsp. gochujang
  • Olive oil for cooking
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • One head romaine or red leaf lettuce
    • Use a lettuce that is sweet (I don’t recommend green leaf because it is too bitter tasting)
  • Ssamjang (Korean soybean paste) to dip
  • White or brown rice (one bowl per person)

My favorite brand of teriyaki sauce to use:

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Method:

To cook the chicken:

  1. In a large skillet, saute the onions (with olive oil) on low-medium heat. Cook for 3-4 minutes.IMG_0739
  2. Chop the chicken breasts into bite size pieces. Add to the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat. Salt and pepper to taste.IMG_0740
  3. Add the teriyaki sauce and gochujang. Stir until the sauces are evenly distributed on all chicken pieces. Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes.IMG_0748
  4. Then, turn the stove heat to high. Cook until the liquids are cooked out and the chicken begins to nicely caramelize. (About 10 minutes).IMG_0749

Instructions to serve:

  1. Assemble and eat with your hands!
  2. Take a piece of lettuce (about 1/3 of a leaf).
  3. Place on the lettuce leaf about 1/2 Tbsp. rice, piece of chicken, and some Ssamjang paste.
  4. Wrap the lettuce around the contents. Then, proceed to stuff into your mouth.
  5. You of course can add more of less rice, chicken, or Ssamjang paste onto the lettuce wraps. You will learn what you want more or less of in each bite.

IMG_0800I would love to hear your feedback if you try this recipe! 🙂

 

Kimchi Fried Rice

For the adventurous or the wanna-be adventurous mouth, I present kimchi fried rice. Spice up your everyday dinners with this popular Korean dish.

Let’s face it, Korean food can be intimidating- both to eat and to cook. Even though I lived in Korea, I will never be able to cook as well as the native grandmothers do. Some of the best food Korean food I have eaten was in the homes of the local people.

Now now… Don’t be discouraged. You can still cook Korean food in your own kitchen. Get your feet wet with this kimchi fried rice recipe. It’s straightforward, vegan, and only as spicy as you make it.

Just to note before you get started. Koreans are notorious for not measuring. There is no science or precision to this. I give good guidelines, but overall trust your taste buds.

Kimchi Fried Rice (Stephanie Thiel)

Serves: 2-4

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3-4 cups cooked brown or white rice
  • 1 small white potato, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2/3 cup kimchi, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
    • Use a little more if you like it spicy!
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • Dash of sesame oil
  • Olive oil (or other oil to cook with)
  • Optional: seaweed
    • I love to eat kimchi fried rice with a side of seaweed

METHOD: (pictorial version; an in-depth text-version following)

  1. Sauté the onion and carrot. (Medium heat, 5 min.)IMG_0425
  2. Add the potato and continue to sauté (5 min.)IMG_0426
  3. Add the chopped kimchi and continue to cook for about 5 min.IMG_0446
  4. Turn the heat on high.
  5. Add the cooked rice, gochujang paste, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Mix well.IMG_0448
  6. You may need to add some olive/cooking oil to allow the rice to fry.IMG_0450
  7. Enjoy! I like eating it with seaweed!

METHOD: (Text-version & details)

  • In a large frying pan, sauté (in olive oil) the diced onion and carrot on  medium heat. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Next, add the diced potato to the pan. Continue to sauté for another 5 minutes, or until potato has softened and onions are caramelized.
  • Chop the kimchi. Then add it to the pan. Fry on medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  • Now it’s time to add the cooked rice to the pan. Crank the heat to high.
  • After you have added the rice, add the gochujang paste, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Stir well so they are evenly distributed.
  • At this point, you may need to drizzle some olive oil to better fry the rice.
  • Fry for about 5 minutes, or until done.
  • Enjoy!

Basic Zoodles

Mamma Mia! Pasta noodles made out of zucchini?! …  I certainly have jumped on the zoodles bandwagon- have you?

The term ‘zoodles’ refers to the hot health craze of zucchini noodles. This healthy pasta alternative is made using a food spiralizer tool. You simply insert the zucchini onto the machine, turn the crank, and voila! Zucchini noodles are created right before you eyes.

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I finally invested in a food spiralizer, and it is definitely one of my favorite kitchen tools yet! They are not that expensive and are really quite versatile. Besides zucchini noodles, you can also create various ribbons and shapes using several other fruits or vegetables. My spiralizer came with 3 different attachments, and I have fun playing around in the kitchen with it.

And zoodles taste amazing. Seriously.

I love making zoodles not only because they are healthy, but they are also quick and easy to make. When I need to whip up dinner in a jiffy, I just pull out some zucchini and vegetables I have on hand and throw together a delicious main or side dish.

This recipe I am posting today is a basic one I use pretty much all the time. It’s like my “zoodle base” if you will. Then I vary the sauce to top the zoodles depending on my mood. Sometimes I use a tomato-based sauce for a spaghetti alternative. When I am craving Japanese food, I will cook these zoodles together with teriyaki sauce. –  Use this zoodle recipe as a base, and employ your creativity adding other vegetables, sauces, etc.  I hope you enjoy- Welcome to the zoodle bandwagon y’all! 🙂

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Basic Zoodles (Stephanie Thiel)

Makes: 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium green zucchini squash
    • It is important they are not too thick or thin in diameter to allow maximum efficiency with the spiralizer tool
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 small carrot, chopped
  • Olive oil (for sautéing)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Method:

  1. First, prep all of the vegetables. Chop the onion and carrots into small bite size pieces.
  2. Next, prepare the zoodles. Wash the zucchinis, and cut both ends off. Attach onto the food spiralizer tool. Turn the crank until all of the zucchini is converted into noodle shape strands.
  3. Use a frying pan/skillet on the stove to cook the onion and carrot. Sauté them on medium heat (in olive oil) until tender. This takes about 5 minutes. Salt and pepper.
  4. Then add the zoodles to the same frying pan. Stir occasionally and keep cooking on medium heat until the zucchini noodles have softened and become slightly translucent (About 5-8 minutes cook time).
  5. At this point you can serve them plain, adding some salt and pepper for taste. I like to top mine with either a red pasta sauce or teriyaki sauce- depending on my taste buds’ mood.
  6. Enjoy!
  7. Tip: If you are cooking for a larger crowd, the rule of thumb is about one zucchini per person.

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Sesame Pasta N’ Greens Salad

Spinach, Pasta, & Bell Peppers- oh my! This salad is a blend of Asia and Italy, resulting in one delicious and addicting plate (or bowl).

I give credit to my mom for this salad. I don’t know how she came across this recipe, but in my mind it’s hers. She would make this salad frequently when I was growing up, and I would make sure there were no leftovers! This salad is seriously delectable. Not only that, but it’s simple to make and a sure crowd pleaser. Feel free to adjust all ingredients according to your preference- I hope you all enjoy!

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Sesame Pasta N’ Greens Salad

Serves: About 8 people

Ingredients:

  • Salad:
    • 1 bag (12 oz.) egg noodles, cooked and cooled
    • 1 bag baby spinach
    • 2 bell peppers, sliced or diced
      • I prefer using a mix of red, yellow and orange bell peppers
    • 1/2 cup almonds, chopped
  • Optional Salad Add-ons:
    • 4-6 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
    • 5-6 green onions sliced
    • Use sugar-diced almonds instead of regular ones
  • For the Dressing:
    • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
    • 1/2 cup oil (vegetable or olive oil)
    • 1/3 cup soy sauce
    • 3 Tbsp. sugar
    • 1/4 cup sesame seeds (optional)
    • 1/4 cup fresh parsley (or use a small amount of dried parsley)
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. pepper

Method:

  1. Cook the pasta according to package instructions. When done cooking, rinse, drain, and set aside to cool.
  2. Compile the salad: Combine pasta, spinach, bell peppers, almonds, and any other desired ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. To make the dressing: combine all ingredients in a mason jar, or similar container with an airtight lid. This makes it easy to shake all the ingredients together. Refrigerate. Shake again before use.
  4. Do not put the salad dressing on the salad until just before serving. If the dressing sits overnight on the salad, the texture will become wilty and quite frankly, gross. I like to keep the dressing in a bottle and let individuals put on accordingly.

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Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Gluten-free just got a whole lot tastier with this cauliflower crust pizza. Yeah, you read that right- the crust is made out of cauliflower! I was skeptical too when I first heard of the idea but trust me, it’s divine!

I enjoy learning about and trying “unorthodox” recipes. When I heard of cauliflower pizza I had to give it a try. I was surprised at how easy it was to make and how delicious the results were. This is now a dinner I make on a regular basis, usually at the request of my husband I’d like to add. When I was first doing my research, I found a great recipe on The Lucky Penny Blog. Thus, the recipe provided here is a modification of the recipe found on that blog. I know the idea of making cauliflower crust seems complex and overwhelming. To minimize confusion I have added extra pictures in the instructions to hopefully make things clear. Enjoy!

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Cauliflower-Crust Pizza Recipe

Ingredients for the Crust:

  • 1 large cauliflower head
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Few shakes of crushed red pepper

Ingredients for Pizza:

  • Use whatever ingredients you like on your pizza! The sky is the limit. However, I topped mine with:
    • Marinara sauce
    • Mozzarella cheese, shredded
    • Pepperoni
    • Green bell pepper

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Cut the cauliflower florets into small pieces and blend in a food processor or blender. Blend until the cauliflower creates a “snow powder” texture.
  3. Place the ground cauliflower in a microwave-safe bowl and cover with a paper towel. Place in the microwave and cook for 7-8 minutes.pizza5
  4. Dump the cooked cauliflower onto a tea or cheese cloth and allow it to sufficiently cool.
  5. Once it is cooled, begin wringing out all of the excess moisture. Squeeze out as much water as possible.pizza4
  6. Dump the cauliflower into a bowl and add the cheeses, seasonings and egg. Mix all together until a dough ball forms. Hand mixing works best for this.
  7. On a baking sheet, place a piece of parchment paper on top. Spray the parchment paper with non-stick cooking spray. Place the dough on the parchment paper and flatten until the desired shape and thickness is formed. I like mine to be about 1/4 inch thick.pizza3
  8. Bake the crust only in the oven (450 degrees F) for 8-11 minutes. It is done when the edges are golden brown.
  9. Remove pizza crust from oven. Add the desired toppings. Place back in the oven and allow to bake for 5-7 minutes, until the cheese is melted.
  10. Enjoy!
  11. Note: It is best to use a spatula when serving pizza slices onto individual plates.

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