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! 🙂

 

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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Vegan Mushroom Quinoa

“Who knew vegan food could taste so good?” replied my husband as he was cleaning his dinner plate last night. He has discovered something I figured out awhile ago: vegan food can taste amazing. I’m not 100% vegan (at least not at this point in my life), but I try to abstain from animal and dairy products as often as I am able to. Consuming real plant-based food is pure bliss to the body if you ask me.

Last night I made a vegan dinner that is absolutely divine. It’s vegan comfort food. A flavorful mushroom gravy drizzled over warm quinoa- Mmm… 🙂 I searched through various recipes to get an idea of the common ingredients used in vegan gravies. I created this recipe to work with the everyday ingredients I have on hand. I hope you will love it as much as my husband and I did.  Presenting my mushroom quinoa: Savory. Flavorful. Creamy. Delectable. Vegan. Enjoy!

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*This recipe is for 2 servings. A his and her kind of dinner. Keep this in mind to modify the quantities accordingly.

Vegan Mushroom Quinoa (Stephanie Thiel)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 cups whole white mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp. corn starch
  • 1 can vegetable broth (14.5 oz.)
    • Note: 3/4 cup of the vegetable broth is for the gravy, and the remaining 1 cup is for the quinoa. The 14.5 oz. size can is the perfect amount for both of these.
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Cook the Quinoa.
    1. Combine 1/2 cup quinoa with 1 cup vegetable broth in a small pot. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat on low, then cover with a lid and let simmer for 15 minutes. Then, let it cool for 5 minutes with the lid still on. Remove the lid, fluff with a fork, and serve.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, start the gravy. In a medium-sized skillet pan, sauté the onions and garlic with olive oil on medium-low heat for about 5 minutes.
  3. Next, add the mushrooms to the pan and continue to cook for about 7-8 minutes.
  4. Add the soy sauce to the pan and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes. Make sure to salt and pepper to taste.
  5. In a separate small bowl, combine the 3/4 cup vegetable broth and corn starch. Whisk until the corn starch clumps are gone. After you have added the soy sauce to the pan and allowed it cook for a few minutes, add the broth+corn starch mix to the pan.
  6. Let it cook for about 5-10 more minutes. Allow time for the gravy to thicken. It will be worth the wait.
  7. Put the quinoa in a bowl and drizzle the desired amount of gravy on top.
  8. Bon appetite!
  9. Note: You don’t have to use quinoa. I bet brown rice and other grains would work beautifully with this gravy!

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