I am happy to announce a very exciting update in my and Zach’s life! No, no, not that…
WE’RE ON SUMMER VACATION! Finally! Hallelujah!
Well, actually, we have to go to work tomorrow. BUT, there are no students, it’s only for a few hours, and with the prospect of absolute freedom beginning the moment we walk out the door tomorrow, we’ve definitely checked into summer mode.
Usually, our weekends consist of grocery shopping, errands, cooking things to last through the next week since we know we will be swamped, and maybe a nap or fun activity squeezed in there somewhere. THIS weekend, however, we have dubbed “taking our lives back weekend.” We’ve gone out for sushi at our all-time favorite sushi restaurant (Gen Sushi in Belmont- if you are in the Boston area, GO. Now! WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!), we’ve seen a movie (22 Jump Street… meh, we thought the first one was better), Zach ran a 5k (Green Meadows 5k– an awesome, very chill race at a farm with a mini farmer’s market!) and we’ve taken not one, but TWO naps! And now we are finishing up with amazingness on a plate- chicken cashew lettuce wraps, a protein-packed meal perfect for Zach’s recovery from his race.
This was one of those meals where I had to use what I had on hand since we hadn’t gone grocery shopping yet. We had some chicken in the freezer, some cashews in our pantry, and all the condiments necessary to make a delicious stir fry sauce to accompany it. This is such a perfect summer dish… the chicken is super flavorful and spicy, there is just the right amount of crunch from the celery and the cashews, and the cool crisp lettuce wrapped around it tempers the warmth of the chicken. It’s very refreshing, and it’s WAY better than PF Chang’s lettuce wraps! Best of all, it takes only about 20 minutes to make (the chicken cooks very quickly because it’s cut up before cooking).
The sauce calls for fresh grated ginger. Here’s a fun trick! Buy some fresh ginger, peel it with the back of a spoon (it seriously works- try it), and put it in your freezer in a bag or container. When you need fresh grated ginger, take it out and use a microplane zester to grate it straight from the freezer. It’s easier than grating fresh AND you can keep it for a very long time, so you always have fresh ginger!
Alternatively, you can serve this chicken over rice. Or in a wrap with rice. Or with noodles. You can use water chestnuts instead of (or in addition to) the celery. The possibilities are endless!
Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I am enjoying summer vacation (which is quite a lot) :-)
|Chicken and Cashew Lettuce Wraps|| |
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lb. chicken breasts and/or thighs, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
- ½ cup chopped raw cashews
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon sriracha hot sauce
- 1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger
- Fresh large pieces of iceberg or butter lettuce
- Heat olive oil on medium-high heat in a large skillet or wok and saute onions until tender. Add garlic; saute until fragrant (about 1 more minute)
- Add chicken and saute until cooked completely.
- Meanwhile, whisk together all ingredients for sauce (hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sriracha, and ginger) in a small bowl.
- Add celery, cashews, and sauce to skillet; saute for 1-2 minutes or until sauce thickens.
- Transfer to bowl and allow to cool slightly. Serve wrapped in large lettuce pieces.