Jamie is in Atlanta for the summer working but fortunately she will be coming home for a couple of weeks. I miss my Happy Hour buddy. We both agree happy hours are the best of all worlds. It’s much more relaxed than throwing a dinner party. People come and go as they please and help themselves to food and drink, it’s all good. The food is casual and the attire is flips and anything comfortable. It’s all about chillin’ with friends and family. You can hang outside so don’t bother cleaning the house, noone cares, especially after a couple of wine coolers.
Luckily for us, we finally landscaped our yard. Yay. Years of drought and an invasion of gophers left our yard looking like a moonscape of dirt, holes and mutant weeds. It was bad. We called gopherbusters (not really their name but that’s what they do) and a gardener and got to work. In my defense, I grew up in San Francisco. The ratio of cement to grass is like a bajillion to one. Lawn mower? Never seen one much less owned one. But the yard is done, PARTY TIME.
Just need Jamie to come home.
In anticipation of when she does, I have been checking out recipes that would be perfect for our little casual soirees’. Korean Chicken Lettuce Wraps from SkinnyTaste caught my eye. SkinnyTaste started out as a blog on healthy seasonal cooking your family will love and has blossomed into a full fledge book. The Korean wraps remind me of a Chinese appetizer, San Choy Bao, which literally means lettuce bun, think of it as an Asian Taco. The filling is seasoned Korean BBQ style which I happen to LOVE. Each bite is sweet, salty, spicy and the lettuce adds a refreshing crunch. It’s a party in your mouth. The original recipe calls for brown rice but if you are going low carb like I SHOULD be, you can substitute squash, diced carrots, zoodles or sautéed mushrooms.
We are serious about our happy hour bites and this dish meets the rigorous criteria we set for a date with a wine cooler or bottle of ice cold beer.
STRINGENT Happy Hour Food Standards:
Bite sized- check (2 bites)
Eat with your hands- check
Its YUMMY- check
It’s STUPID EASY- check
4 out of 4! Lets go make some wraps.
- 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce (or tamari)
- 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- cooking spray
- 1 pound lean ground chicken or turkey
- 1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 12 large outer lettuce leaves such as green leaf, Bibb lettuce or even iceberg lettuce which creates a nice round bowl
- 2 1/4 cups cooked brown rice
- 2 tablespoons Gochujong, or more if desired
- 1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds, plus more for topping
- 2 sliced scallions, white and green parts
- Combine soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil and chili flakes in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Heat non-stick pan over medium high heat, add small amount of vegetable oil, add onions to pan and cook for 1-2 minute. Add garlic and ginger, sauce for additional minute before adding ground chicken to pan. Break up the chicken with a spatula or wooden spoon.
- Cook until the chicken loses its pinkness.
- Add sauce ingredients to pan and stir to incorporate, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer mixture another 5 minutes.
- Sauteed diced zucchini, mushrooms
- Kid friendly version use corn or cooked zucchini zoodles
- In each lettuce leaf place 2 tablespoons of rice or prepared vegetables
- Top with approximately 2 tablespoons of chicken mixture
- Garnish with a dab of Gochujong or Siracha sauce, green onions and sesame seeds.
- Serve immediately.