Lettuce wraps are a favorite appetizer of many at restaurants. They are a light and refreshing way to enjoy a variety of fillings. I just can’t help but wrap my fingers around them!
I wanted to do something with ground turkey because of the lighter fat content, but I didn’t want to sacrifice any flavor. Because ground turkey is so lean, it can be very bland when cooked. I got this recipe idea off of a friend of mine (who’s baby just turned 1!). She made cheeseburger lettuce wraps that looked super delicious. I wanted to add an Asian/Hawaiian flare to mine, so I packed the turkey with loads of garlic, ginger, soy and hoisin to start then I added the big players: cilantro, green onion, sweet pineapple and some peanuts for texture.
This recipe is perfect for those of you who order lettuce wraps as an appetizer at restaurants but want a lighter version at home. I love the flavor profile that came out of this boring ground turkey, but feel free to come up with your own combination. Perhaps you’d like to try this with tofu instead of ground turkey. Let me know if you find a combination you fall in love with!
2-3 teaspoons chopped unsalted cashews (or peanuts) as topping
Mix cooked ground turkey with all ingredients except the pineapple, cucumber and nuts. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed (if it needs more salt, add more soy, if it isn't sweet enough, add a bit more hoisin, etc). Remove from heat and fold in the the pineapple and cucumber bits.
Spoon onto romaine leaves (you may need to double yours up so they don't fall apart)
Recently I have become a smoothie addict. Maybe “addict” isn’t the best word to use. How about a smoothie mad scientist? Yes, that’s much better.
I put all sorts of crazy items into my smoothies. I’ll add the usual fruits (bananas, oranges, berries, etc.) and vegetables (carrots, spinach) but then once in awhile I will add odds and ends of leftovers into the blender. Leftover couscous. Leftover refried beans. Leftover green beans. Leftover whatever else I want to get rid of. I know, it’s weird, but really you can’t taste any of these oddities. You only taste the sweet fruit. I do this not only to use up some of my odd ingredients in my fridge, but to add more nutrients to my smoothie as well. I don’t take vitamins so my smoothies are my main source of nutrition in the morning.
I hold back my smoothie ingredient madness only when I have to serve my smoothies to other people. This is my favorite “safe” combination to use. The flavor is awesome and it has just the right amount of thickness too. Now if only my guests would be more open to experimenting like I am. Maybe they wont notice if I put this slice of pizza in here… 😉
I would like to note that I use whole strawberries in my smoothies. This is a personal preference. Most of the nutrients on a strawberry are in it’s hull (the green stem thing) and when it’s blended in with all sorts of other sweet fruits, you won’t notice a difference in flavor or texture.
Splash of fruit juice (about 1/8 cup or so), I like cranberry but any fruit juice works!
Add all ingredients into a blender. Add a few ice cubes if you are not using frozen pineapple. Blend on low until all ingredients are mixed together. Add another splash of juice if the mixture seems too thick. Blend on high for another 10 seconds or so. Pour into a glass and enjoy!
Image from She Wears Many Hats. I took pictures of my smoothie (looked just like this but with a pink straw instead), uploaded them, but failed to find where they went on my computer. They just… disappeared. Off of my camera too. Damn photo goblins. Anywho, thanks SWMH!
When I think of Hawaii, I think of fresh seafood and road-side fruit stands.
Yes, that’s me and my good friend Siobhan at a fruit stand off of the Road to Hana in Maui. The gentleman working the stand was so genuine and kind – he gave us this fresh coconut (cracked the thing right in front of us with a machete!) to thank us for stopping by. A perfectly refreshing way to unwind on this hot day.
Big Beach, Maui – definitely on my top 3 favorite places I’ve traveled to. The smells and the sounds of this beach make me want to set up camp and call it home.
What can I say? I’m an island girl. With all the plump shrimp and sweet pineapple chunks in this fried rice dish, this recipe is a tip of the hat to the Hawaiian islands and all the joy they bring me. I can’t wait to see you again.
1.25 lbs shrimp, shelled and deveined, (1 lb after peeled), chopped into large chunks
1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple, cut into small chunks
5 large scallions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 fresh jalapeno, diced (with most of the seeds if you like heat)
2 teaspoons soy sauce, or more to taste
1 tablespoon fish sauce
cilantro for garnish
Cook brown rice according to package directions and set aside to cool.
Cut a pineapple in half and use a knife to line the edge between the fruit and the rind. Hollow out both halves to make two bowls. Cut the pineapple into small pieces and set aside.
Heat a nonstick wok or large skillet on high heat. When the pan is hot, add the oil and then add the shrimp. Cook a couple minutes, tossing almost continuously, until pink and cooked through. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside.
Add the scallions, chili and garlic to the pan. Add a bit more oil if the pan is dry. Saute about a minute, then add the rice, pineapple chunks (and some of the juice) and combine. Add soy sauce and fish sauce, stir and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the shrimp, combine and allow to simmer for a few minutes before serving.
The serve, place the rice mixture into each half of the hollowed out pineapple. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve.
My good friend Jason shared this recipe with me this weekend. It’s actually his mom’s recipe, but he gets the credit since he introduced it and we made it together.
The name of the recipe is a little deceiving I think. This recipe is super quick because you just dump all of your ingredients into a baking dish and the “cake” turns out really tasty. The fruit adds your sweet and tang finish, while the crust that forms adds a nice crispness to the cake, almost like a crumb topping. I could have gone back for thirds and fourths.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly spray a 9" x 13" pan and spread it around to cover the bottom of the pan.
Dump the pineapple chunks as evenly as possible on top of the cherries. Dump the dry cake mix on top of the fruit and smooth it out with the back of a spoon so it is level and covering all of the fruit. Melt the butter and carefully pour it over the dry cake mix. DO NOT STIR IT! Do try to get the butter to cover everything as evenly as possible.
Bake for 25 - 30 minutes, until the top is set like a crust and golden brown. Serve with a heaping pile of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
It is important not to mix the layers together. As it bakes, the juice of the fruit comes up and the butter dribbles down and you end up with a delicious dessert with a buttery top crust. If you don't have pie filling, you can omit it and the recipe will still work. Try substituting blueberry pie filling for the cherry too.
There is a huge market in Brighton, Colorado that offers all sorts of goodies once the spring thaw hits. This market is so huge, in fact, that it’s named the Mile High Marketplace. You can find anything from food to used items, and the hustle and bustle is always entertainment in itself.
I purchased a delicious smelling pineapple and had to create a recipe around it. Although I admit that this recipe was really an excuse to make the Ginger Carrot Rice recipe I had recently fallen in love with. I had a few leftover carrots from a previous soup adventure that I wanted to use and jazz them up as a new and improved side dish. This meal is chock full of flavor. The pineapple provides the sweet and tang while the carrot ginger rice tingles your senses as it fills your belly.
If you like spice, serve this with a little jerk sauce on the side.
Six half chicken breasts (drumsticks work well too)
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup teriyaki
2 cloves crushed garlic
Fresh or canned pineapple (you will yield more sauce with canned pineapple)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 teaspoons rosemary, crushed
For the marinade, place your chicken pieces in a large ziplock bag and pour about vinegar and teriyaki into the bag, enough to cover and coat your chicken. Add about garlic (the more the merrier here), mix the contents, and marinate anywhere from 2 hours to overnight in the fridge.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Drain pineapple (if canned) and reserve juice. Combine juice with garlic, cornstarch, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and rosemary.
Arrange chicken in a shallow baking dish, skin side up. Broil on high until browned. Stir sauce, pour over chicken, cover and bake for 30 minutes.
Arrange lemon and pineapple slices around chicken. Spoon sauce over all. Bake for 5 more minutes.
Tis the season (for pineapples!) Here are some handy tricks to help you shop and cut fresh pineapple!
Note: This is a very juicy process, make sure you’re working on a stick-friendly area.
1. Firstly, you want to buy a pineapple that has firm, golden brown skin. The leaves should be green and not wilted or brown. Also a ripe pineapple will have a fresh pineapple smell.
2. Cut off the leaves and the bottom of the pineapple (about 1/2 inch from the edge). I tend to lean towards serrated knives whilst doing this step. It makes life a little easier.
3. Next, set your fruit upright. You’ll notice brown dots along the top of the fruit. Cut downward along these dot paths and begin skinning the fruit. Follow the curve of the pineapple to maximize yummy fruit action!
4. Cut off the rest of the pineapple skin in the same manner. Just be careful not too cut too much of the fruit off.
5. Once you have completely skinned the fruit, remove any remaining spots with a paring knife.
6. From here you may decide if you want pineapple rings or chunks. If you want rings, slice the pineapple into rings but be sure to remove the inner core with a paring knife. Nobody likes eating that stuff…
7. If you prefer chunks, cut the pineapple into four, long sections (cutting straight through the core).
8. Place the fruit section, core side up and carefully cut the core off of the fruit. You can tell what part is the core because it will be tougher in nature and lighter than the rest of the fruit. Repeat this step with the rest of the quarters.
9. Once you have removed the core, you can cut the remaining fruit into chunks.
10. Make sure you refrigerate your fruit!