In my house, we go through peaks and valleys when it comes to meal planning and meal prep. I've mentioned this before. My husband and I will get on a tear for a while, diligently planning and executing shopping trips, menus, food prep, etc. Then we get a busy week or two, or have some travel or holidays thrown in, and it all falls by the wayside and we eat a lot of scrambled eggs and things we find in our freezer. Lately I've been on top of things, thanks in part to inspiration from a Facebook group for food ideas, which my friend A'Dell recently came up with.
I've tried a few new recipes lately, and wanted to share.
1. But first! This quinoa salad in its many iterations (I make it with or without feta, craisins, and roasted garbanzos; I make it with whatever vegetables and toasted nuts I have on hand; I make it with or without avocado, chicken, salmon, or other meat/fat to make it a heartier meal) continues to be a hit at my regular rowing club potluck dinners, and is a frequently requested recipe. (Instagram photo below is one of my many versions.)
2. Speaking of potlucks and quinoa, I think I'm going to try this Crunchy Cashew Thai Quinoa Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing recipe for my next potluck. It includes so many of my favorite foods and flavors.
3. I also recently made this kale and Brussels sprouts salad for a potluck, and it was also a hit. And it was super fast because I made use of Trader Joe's shredded, raw Brussels sprouts, and a bag of their Tuscan kale, which is already chopped (I just removed any big stems and chopped the leaves more finely). This would be delicious alongside grilled chicken prepped in my favorite marinade, and in fact I am putting that on my menu for next week right now.
Note: I used parmesan and toasted almond slivers because that's what I had. Easy-peasy.
4. And finally, I miss writing at Food Lush. I am always delightfully surprised when I see someone post a link to or try a recipe from the site, despite it having closed down three years ago. This recipe for Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps is one I'd tried before, but I remember not loving it, and we never made it again. It turns out it's just so much better (to me! and Zach!) over rice. My husband was raving about it, and claims it was the best meal he's had in a while.
Here's the recipe, with my modifications. Original is in the link.
Cashew Chicken, for Lettuce Wraps or Over Rice
Note: if enjoying the recipe over rice, you will need to quadruple the sauce, as listed below.
- 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
- 3/4 Tablespoon brown sugar
- Few dashes red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2-⅓ Tablespoons soy sauce or coconut aminos, divided
- 3 Tablespoons canola oil (or oil of choice)
- Approx. 1 and 1/4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and diced
- 1 medium or large yellow (or white) onion, diced
- 1 Bunch of green onions, white and light green parts sliced; dark green parts discarded
- 3-4 celery stalks, diced
- 1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained and rinsed (chop them if you please)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup roasted, salted, chopped cashews (I did half almonds, half cashew, because that's what I had. An extra handful of nuts certainly won't hurt!)
- 8 leaves Of butterhead, bib or other large leaf lettuce (romaine even works), washed and dried, if doing lettuce wraps.
For the sauce, mix together rice vinegar, brown sugar, ground red pepper, ground ginger, sesame oil, and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, making sure to dissolve brown sugar. Set aside. (Quadruple these measurements if serving over rice instead of in lettuce leaves.)
Heat oil in pan over medium to medium-high heat. Add diced chicken and brown (about 4 to 5 minutes). Remove chicken from oil, reduce heat to medium. Add onions and garlic to pan with remaining soy sauce (1/3 tbsp. = 1 tsp.) to pan; cook until translucent. A few minutes into cooking the onion and garlic, add the celery and water chestnuts. When onions and garlic are clear and tender, add stir fry sauce, browned chicken and green onions. Saute mixture for a few minutes and add cashews shortly before removing from heat.
Spoon chicken mixture into individual lettuce leaves, wrap and devour! Or serve over rice alongside steamed broccoli if desired. Add your favorite hot sauce, more cashews or soy sauce if you're feeling kicky.