chicken lettuce wraps 2.0

a few of my friends and i are concentrating on getting healthy this summer, not just healthy bodies but healthy minds too.  we’ve dubbed it our summer of wellness.  my goals for this summer are to work out regularly, make healthier food choices, and do some summer reading on positive thinking.  i’m hoping all of these things will help me be a healthier and happier me.

one of the dishes my friend makes often is lettuce wraps and last week she was telling me about them and it reminded me of the chicken lettuce wraps i made a while ago.  well i wanted to try a version that is close to the lettuce wraps i ate while i was going up.  we got them from a local vietnamese restaurant and they were just amazing.  super flavorful and i loved the freshness the lettuce added.  i am happy to report that these chicken lettuce wraps are incredibly close the ones i enjoyed at home.  yippee!

these lettuce wraps are filled with ground chicken, shiitake mushrooms, and water chestnuts coated in a soy/hoisin sauce that is just divine.  i love that even though they are low carb, they do not lack in flavor.  plus they keep me full – i have 3-4 for dinner and i’m good to go!  but you could also serve this as a healthy appetizer option too (1-2 would be a perfect serving).

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buffalo chicken taquitos

a while ago, i made some baked creamy chicken taquitos that were on many, many different blogs.  everyone had rave reviews about them and after i tried them, i definitely understood why.  so when i came across these baked buffalo chicken taquitos on pinterest, i couldn’t wait to whip up a batch.  i mean, come on, taquitos + buffalo chicken = absolute deliciousness!

you all know i love buffalo chicken flavored dishes and i’ve made buffalo quinoa bites (they are especially a-to-the-mazing!) and buffalo chicken wonton already before.  p.s. i make buffalo quinoa bites all the time – they make the best healthy lunch (i’ve actually been leaving out the chicken completely and just making them all quinoa which works out great!).  well, i have no doubt these buffalo chicken taquitos will be added to our lunch rotation.

they are easy to make and actually not too unhealthy considering the alternative – buffalo chicken wings that are fried and stuff.  plus to up the healthiness factor, i used reduced fat cream cheese, low fat mozzarella cheese, added in some celery, and used whole wheat tortillas.

but do not fret, these changes do not affect the taste at all – they are still as delicious and satisfying as ever.

step 1, mix the cream cheese and buffalo sauce (i used frank’s) together.  i made a double batch of these taquitos so don’t be alarmed that the amount of ingredients looks a bit more than what the recipe calls for.

lovely.

then pile on the rest of the ingredients, chicken, celery, mozzarella cheese (i don’t know if you can see it but i used a little cheddar cheese because i didn’t have enough mozzarella cheese), blue cheese, and green onion.

mix everything together and the filling is ready.

now to assemble the taquitos, spoon 2-3 tablespoons (or a bit more depending on the size of your tortilla – mine were a bit bigger than the 8 in ones called for in the recipe, so i added more filling) of the filling together the bottom half of the tortilla.

then roll it up tightly.

ta da!

place the taquito on a baking sheet and continue assembling the rest of the taquitos.

spray the taquitos with cooking spray and then sprinkle some kosher salt onto each one.

bake the taquitos for 17-20 minutes.  i should have baked mine a bit longer – unfortunately, they did not get as golden brown as i had hoped so just keep an eye on yours and if the tortillas aren’t quite crisp enough leave them in the oven for a few more minutes.

ooo look at all of that beautiful ooey gooey buffalo cheesy goodness!

serve the taquitos warm with some celery and carrot sticks.  you could also include some blue cheese dressing, but i found the taquitos to be creamy enough that they didn’t need any dressing.

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buffalo chicken quinoa bites

this is actually the second quinoa recipe that i made but some how i kept forgetting to write a post about it.  i don’t know how i kept forgetting though because these buffalo chicken quinoa bites were the bomb diggity.  to be honest you can’t even tell that there is anything remotely healthy about these bites.  the flavor of the buffalo sauce and blue cheese shine through and you get all the of healthy benefits of quinoa without even knowing it.

the outsides of the bites get nice and crispy while the inside, stays soft and fluffy – the perfect combination.  they magically pack a ton of flavor in just a small, bite sized nugget.  served with some blue cheese dressing they would make a great appetizer.

but i made these to pack up for lunch.  i just divided them up about 4-5 per a serving along with some veggies and light blue cheese dressing.  they microwaved wonderfully and they were surprisingly light yet filling.

to whip these bad boys up, start by combining all of the ingredients in a large bowl.  there’s shredded chicken, cooked quinoa, an egg, panko breadcrumbs, buffalo sauce, blue cheese, mozzarella cheese, onion and green onion.

mix everything together…

then divide the mixture among 24 mini muffin cups.  press the mixture down so it’s packed in there. this is important because otherwise the bites will just fall apart.

bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes.

taking the bites out of the pan can be a little difficult, but i found running a thin paring knife around the edge of each bite helps them pop out of the pan more easily.  serve them with some blue cheese or ranch dressing and you’re done!

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korean chicken

unfortunately, chris and i were not able to stay in hawaii for new years.  it’s my favorite holiday of the year because of all of the traditional food we eat, fireworks we play with, and time that we spend with our family.  but we were able to create our own new years here in dc making some of our favorite local foods.

this year we made korean chicken and crab mandu.  usually korean chicken is made with chicken wings, but i like boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts more because it’s easier and less messy to eat. korean chicken is a local favorite – lightly breaded fried chicken dipped in a delicious soy sauce and sesame sauce usually served on a lunch plate with rice and potato macaroni salad.  doesn’t it sound good!

to start, get the chicken ready by trimming the chicken thighs of excess fat…

bread the chicken using the flour, salt and pepper mixture…

 

now get the oil ready.  i found that using a dutch oven is the best pot to fry in because it keeps the oil temperature more consistent.  also using an oil thermometer is handy to keep tabs on the temperature to make sure it doesn’t get too cool or too hot…

while the oil is heating up, make the sauce by combining the sauce ingredients (shoyu, sesame oil and seeds, green onion, sugar, green onion, etc.) in a small saucepan.  heat over medium heat until the sugar is melted…

fry the chicken thighs until fully cooked.  it took about 7 minutes on each side.

once the chicken is done frying, immediately dip it into the sauce and coat the chicken until it is completely covered with the sauce…

 

slice the chicken and serve warm.  yummy!

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cola glazed baked wings

along with the risotto that tammy and i made this past weekend, we also made cola glazed baked wings.  tammy found the recipe on a great blog, steamy kitchen.  these were good but kind of interesting.  at first glance these wings definitely look like asian flavored wings, but they aren’t.  they’re sticky sweet, slightly citrus-y wings.  so when you bite into the the flavor kind of throws you off.  either way they were easy to make and pretty tasty!

     

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