What is your favorite comfort food? Lettuce wraps might not conjure images of comfort – usually it’s things like good ol’ southern cooking, giant burgers, deep-fried whatever, smothered in gravy or doused in cheese. Sometimes I crave things like that too, but I always, always have a soft spot for lettuce wraps.
Traditionally, these are made with ground chicken. It’s what most recipes like this call for and what restaurants generally use. I love them that way, and you’re welcome to make that substitution in today’s recipe.
But I’m always looking for ways to use up leftovers, specifically leftover chicken. We aren’t huge red meat carnivores, Kevin and I, but we can put away some chicken. I like to cook a bunch in bulk in my pressure cooker and meal plan with it, make some chicken salad with it, or even dog food.
Or dressing up that plain rotisserie chicken I pick up when UGH, I just do not feel like cooking.
By using pre-cooked or leftover chicken, this recipe can be on the table in 15 minutes. Seriously? Seriously.
And speaking of time, do you ever find that no matter what the time on a recipe says, you always seem to take longer? Prep bowls and a trash bowl. They’re the secret. Until I got serious about cooking and really took the time to learn the techniques (more than just following a recipe), I always ran into that issue. Now I have a whole assortment of bowls, and you’ll rarely see my counter without them.
Take the time to prep your ingredients. Chop those veggies and put them in a bowl. Do the same with all of your measured ingredients, down to the tablespoon.
Except for things like salt. You’ll want to add those sparingly and taste until you get to your preference. Nothing is worse than over-seasoning your food and then having to google “how to fix salty taste” or something similar.
Yep, I’ve done that too.
Prep bowls are usually small and cheap. They often come in packs of four or more and it really pays to have several.
My trash bowls are usually just a spare large mixing bowl I’m not using. It’s perfect for tossing scraps, peels, wrappers or anything you might find yourself wasting time with by walking to the garbage can over and over. It also makes cleanup incredibly easy and leaves your counters as organized as a Tasty video.
So yes, this recipe really can be done in 15 minutes, start to finish. Get your prep bowls. Use your trash bowl. And let me know what you think of this recipe!
Until next time. X
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Items used in this recipe:
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Chicken Lettuce Wraps
These chicken lettuce wraps are fast and fun guilty pleasure. Perfect as a fast appetizer to feed a crowd or a lighter lunch or dinner.
For the filling:
- 3 TB olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 c. pre-cooked chicken, shredded or diced
- 2 TB soy sauce
- 2 TB sesame oil
- 2/3 c. green onions, minced
- 1/4 c. water chestnuts, diced
- 1/4 c. hoisin sauce
- 1 TB oyster sauce
- 2 tsp ginger, freshly grated
- 2 TB water
For the noodles: (optional)
- rice noodles *
- canola or vegetable oil, for frying
- butter/bibb/boston lettuce, or iceberg or romaine if unavailable **
For the filling:
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and saute the garlic for about 1 minute, just long enough for it to get fragrant. Take care not to let it burn.
- Toss in the chicken, soy sauce, sesame oil and green onions and stir so the chicken is fully coated.
- Add the water chestnuts, hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, grated ginger and water. Stir and reduce heat to low. Let simmer long enough for it to be heated through and until ready to serve, about 5 minutes. If mixture seems too dry, add water a TB at a time until it has a lightly sauced consistency.
For the noodles: (optional)
- In a deep fryer, pour oil to the manufacturer’s fill line or about 1 inch if using a skillet, and heat to 350°F.
- Separate your noodles into small handfuls, pulling the strands apart and breaking into sections about 2 inches long.
- Toss only a small handful at a time into the hot oil and fry until they expand and are just crispy, not browned. This process happens very fast, between 10 and 20 seconds. Two handfuls are usually enough, or you can fry more for a fun snack the rest of the week.
- Remove to a paper towel lined plate with a slotted spoon or net strainer and tap lightly to break the noodles apart.
- Layer the noodles and chicken mixture on the lettuce, wrap and enjoy.
*Get the thin kind that almost looks like hair. I have a thicker rice noodle in the photographs. No real measurement is needed, you’ll need only a couple small handfuls.
** Butter lettuce goes by many names, such as Bibb or Boston lettuce. Sometimes this can be sold as “living lettuce” at your local grocer. If unavailable, Iceberg or Romaine are also suitable replacements. Romaine is used in the photos, thus why they look like “boats” more than “wraps.”
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