One of the reasons I love Spring Break is that I get to feel like a stay-at-home mom, and join my good friends in their daytime activities. On today’s agenda was a killer kettle bell class that my girlfriends have been agonizing through for the past few weeks. This class, with its drill sergeant instructor, has been a source of curiosity for me, so of course I jumped on the opportunity to try it.
Wow! It lived up to my expectations, and while I am certain that I will not be able to use my arms, legs, abs, or ANY OTHER MUSCLE in my body tomorrow, I loved it. No pain, no gain, right?
Well, since it is my mission not to gain weight, I best be taking the same kick ass attitude towards my diet. So, in order to preserve the benefits of my exercise, tonight we are having lettuce wraps for dinner. The added bonus is that my kids LOVE them!! I’m not kidding, my middle has chosen lettuce wraps over pizza before. Happy wife = Happy life! Here is a meal that will help me achieve my dream of skinny thighs while making my kids happy with a nutritious meal. Everyone wins, and gets to be happy…even if one of us will not be able to walk up the steps for a few days.
Family Friendly Lettuce Wraps
1 1/2 -2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breast strips
1/2 cup soy sauce
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
4 cloves garlic – minced
1 teaspoon of powdered ginger
3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon of honey
Blend all of the ingredients except the chicken in a medium bowl. Add chicken, coating each piece in the marinade, and allowing it to sit for about 1 hour.
Cook chicken strips until they are fully cooked. They can be broiled on a baking sheet lined with foil, about 7 minutes a side depending on the strength of your broiler. You may also grill them on the grill, using skewers, or in a grill pan on the stove top.
Once the chicken is cooked, allow it to cool a bit, then shred or slice in to smaller pieces. Set aside.
1 5.5 oz package of rice noodles
1 Tbsp. of coconut oil
2 Tbsp. of soy sauce
Cook noodles according to the package instructions and drain. Toss noodles with oil and soy sauce. Set aside.
2 heads of Boston Bibb lettuce
1 cup of shredded carrots
1 cup of alfalfa or bean sprouts
Optional: Chopped green onions, thin sliced red peppers, cucumber ribbons, and chopped peanuts or cashews.
Carefully separate the leaves of lettuce from the head, wash, and dry. Clean and prepare any other fix-ins.
For an easy weeknight meal, you can purchase pre-made sauces. My family loves Wegmans Sesame Garlic Sauce and Wegmans Thai Peanut Sauce. We drizzle both on our wraps. But, if you are looking to make your own, see below.
Thai Peanut Sauce-
1/4 cup of peanut butter
3 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp of sesame oil
1 small pinch of red pepper flakes (to taste)
Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan stir to combine over medium heat until smooth, warm, and blended.
Sesame Garlic Dressing-
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger root
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. of sesame oil
Combine all ingredients, mixing well.
On a large platter, arrange lettuce, carrots, sprouts, chicken, & any other fix-ins. This will allow each person to choose based on their own likes. Place the platter in the center of the table with tongs or spoons. You can serve the noodles in a separate bowl or on the platter if there is room. Place dressings in small bowls with spoons for drizzling. Finally, put chopped peanuts or cashews in small separate bowls. Each person needs a small plate on which to assemble their own wraps as they go. Now you are good to go for a fun, nutritious meal!
***Variation: If this seems a bit complicated, or messy, tear lettuce leaves on a plate and top with chicken, noodles, and vegetables. Sprinkle with chopped nuts and drizzle with dressing for a Thai Chicken Salad. This dish can be tailored to suit your own tastes, so feel free to add or delete ingredients to suit your likes.