Copycat P. F. Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps

P.F. Changs Chicken Lettuce Wraps

We don’t eat at P.F. Chang’s much any more. Not because it isn’t awesome, but because where it is located. Crazy traffic, crazy people in crazy traffic. We avoid that area. The two things I miss the most are the Kung Pao Scallops and the Chicken Lettuce Wraps. Even the Veggie Lettuce Wraps are awesome. So, when we got A LOT of bib lettuce from our CSA (Greenbrier Farms, they are awesome!), the first thing I though of was P.F. Chang’s amazing Chicken Lettuce Wraps.

I hunted and pecked the Googlebot and found this recipe from Damn Delicious. The first time I made these, I pretty much followed her recipe. If you do, you’ll pretty much get what you came for, she nailed it. Her recipe is dang close P.F. Chang’s.

On my second time, as usual, I tweaked it a bit. I wanted a little more heat and little more savory. A little more garlic and ginger. A little more hoisen. Sesame oil for that… whatever it adds (you know). More sriracha and I added sambal oelek, because sambal oelek. I also used some Dale’s Seasoning Sauce, which I’ve talked about before. It is basically salty soy sauce but adds something, I think. Interestingly enought, I did NOT season it any further. It didn’t need it. The soy and Dale’s had plenty of salt and the ginger, sambal oelek and sriracha offered more than enough heat.

You can’t go wrong with Damn Delicious’s recipe, again, it is spot on to P.F. Chang’s. I just made this per my tastes. You can always add more or less of what you like or don’t like. That is the beauty of cooking (not baking).

 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 tsp sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup hoisen
  • 2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Dale’s Seasoning Sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1-2 tbsp sambal oelek
  • 1 tbsp sriracha
  • 1 (8 oz) can whole water chestnuts, diced
  • 2-3 green onions, sliced thin
  • 1 head bib lettuce
Directions

  1. Heat a large pan over medium. Add olive oil and sesame oil and coat the pan.
  2. Next add the ground chicken and cook, breaking it up as it browns.
  3. Once the chicken is just cooked through, add garlic, ginger, onions, hoisin, soy, Dale’s, rice wine vinegar, sambal oelek, sriracha, and toss to coat. Cook until onions are just starting to be translucent.
  4. Finally, add the water chestnut and the most of the green onions, toss to combine and cook for another minute.
  5. To serve, spoon the mixture into open bib lettuce leaves, top with more green onion. We also served them with some store bought egg rolls.
  6. Enjoy.
Copycat P. F. Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sandwich with Bleu Cheese Coleslaw

slow-cooker-buffalo-chicken-with-bleu-cheese-coleslaw

This one is so easy, it almost doesn’t qualify for it’s own post. As easy as it was, it turned out fantastic. I don’t use a slow cooker often, but this makes me wonder why.

I made the recipe even easier by using store bought slaw mix. It’s fine in a pinch. We served it with Alexia fries and onion rings, which made it even more easy.

We only used two large chicken breasts which we ate off twice. You could easily double that and just add a little more buffalo sauce and the whole seasoning packet.

Hat tip to LOTS of other bloggers and websites that posted similar recipes for the buffalo chicken.

Give this a try and let us know in the comments what you think.

Ingredients – Buffalo Chicken

Ingredients – Bleu Cheese Coleslaw

  • Salt and pepper
  • Shredded cabbage
  • Coleslaw dressing (store bought)
  • Bleu cheese

Ingredients – Other

 DIRECTIONS

  1. Place chicken in your slow cooker. Dust with the Ranch dressing packet, pour in 3/4 of the buffalo sauce and set to low. Cook six hours. (Note: you can also set the slow cooker for high and cut the cook time in half.)
  2. In a large bowl add the cabbage, bleu cheese (add some, taste and add more if needed to taste) and less of the dressing then you think you’ll need, toss to combine. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Add more dressing just before serving if need be. Place in the refrigerator.
  3. After six hours, using two forks, shred the chicken. Add a tablespoon or two of the olive oil (you could use butter if you like) and more buffalo sauce, if you like. Mix together and let it cook another 30 minutes to an hour.
  4. If you are making the fries/onion rings, follow the instruction on the package. If you want to make your own fries try these baked French fries (another slow cooker recipe as well).
  5. Just before serving, toast the buns.
  6. To serve, pile some chicken and coleslaw on the bun and enjoy. That’s it, super easy.
Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sandwich with Bleu Cheese Coleslaw

Panera’s Thai Chopped Chicken Salad Recipe

I’m making this tonight. Love Panera salads.

one foodie and his food

Thai chopped chicken salad from Panera

The Thai Chicken Salad from Panera Bread Company is one of my favorite salads. It is fantastic. It has everything I look for in a great meal. Crunchy, a little heat, a little sweet, sour, tangy and lots of savory. The dressing, the peanut drizzle… nom, nom. I would say, I love this salad, so much so that I endeavored to make it at home. Low and behold, it wasn’t that hard and mine might, just might, even be better.

After a quick Google search, I came across a recipe that I based mine on. So hat tip to Cheerios & Lattes for their Panera’s Thai Chopped Chicken Salad post.

One thing I had to add was spicy pickled carrots. I know, I just know the carrots in Panera’s salad have a bunch of heat and sour. Another thing I tweaked was using jarred roasted red peppers, it was easier…

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Panera’s Thai Chopped Chicken Salad Recipe

Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin, Seared Okra and Pimento Cheese Grits

Bacon Wrapped Porkloin, Seared Okra and Pimento Cheese Grits

 

Super easy and impressive meal you can make on a week day, no problem. This was actually inspired by several meals I’ve eaten at restaurants. The bacon wrapped pork came from Soby’s and I’ve blogged before (Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin). The pimento cheese grits I had at Distilled at Gratz Park Inn. The seared okra I had at High Cotton Greenville. I made these a little more approachable for me at home but the combination is amazing.

This is as southern a meal as it gets. Bacon, pork, grits and okra. I made this for the in-laws from Indiana, they loved it. Other than the okra, everything pretty much self seasoned. The bacon on the pork and the pimento cheese in the grits.

Before we get started on the recipe, I want to dip my toes in a controversial topic here in these parts. Pimento Cheese. If you aren’t from the south and have never tried it, you might turn your nose up at it. You shouldn’t. It is fantastic. Here’s a shocker, I don’t like (I loathe) mayonnaise (unless I make it myself), an essential ingredient in every pimento cheese. I still love this stuff, but I digress.

The Controversy

Do you have your own recipe for pimento cheese? Which mayo do you use? Heaven forbid, do you add jalapenos? Do you only eat your Grandmothers? Do you buy it from a store or deli? What brand do you buy? You’d be surprised how many different answers to those questions you might get around here and the conversations they turn up. It’s almost (ALMOST) as bad as asking a southern about BBQ.

My answers are: Yes, I have made it myself. Duke’s is the only mayo if you must. Yes, I love jalapenos in mine. Nope, I eat just about anyone’s recipe. Yes, I buy in the store most times. Palmetto with Jalapenos (from Pawley’s Island) is favorite.

Ruth’s is another brand made in South Carolina that you can find in most stores but Palmetto isn’t as sweet or mushy.

 

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

  1. Set oven to 425 ° and set a large pan over medium high heat.
  2. Slice the okra in half length wise, toss in a bowl with lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Wrap the pork with the bacon so that the seems are on the bottom of the tenderloin.
  4. Place the bacon wrapped pork in the hot pan seem side down and then sear on all sides. Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes until desired doneness (it is supposed to be 165 but I pull it before that). Place on a cutting board and allow to rest.
  5. Heat a large grill pan over medium high heat.
  6. Depending on the type of grits, cook per the instructions. I generally use half water and half milk. Also, if it calls for butter, I substituted olive oil. Just before serving mix in pimento cheese and allow to melt. For four servings I used 3-4 tablespoons.
  7. Place the okra in the grill pan and sear on both sides until just slightly tender.You should have nice grill marks.
  8. To serve, spoon some grits down, slice the pork and stack, then top with the okra.
  9. Enjoy!
Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin, Seared Okra and Pimento Cheese Grits

Cuban Chicken Chop, Yellow Rice, Black Beans with Chimichhurri

cuban chicken chop  with chimichhurri

Here in Greenville, SC, where I live, we are blessed with amazing restaurants. Not just highfalutin, fancy ones, but an amazing array of all kinds. It really is crazy how many and with such variety. One such place has become a lunch time favorite, Tropical Chicken Grill. The food there is Cuban and comes at you fast and furious. This is the kind of place that has a line but they get you through quick. My favorite is the Cuban Chop, which has yellow rice, black beans and their amazing grilled chicken, “chopped”. It all comes in a bowl with 6-8 different house made sauces to choose from. Everything I’ve had there has been amazing but this Cuban Chop haunts me. I crave it.

I love eating something like that and then trying to reproduce it at home. I didn’t make the rice or beans from scratch. I didn’t even really grill the chicken. With that said, I nailed this one. For a make-at-home-in-30-minutes version though, it was amazing. I highly recommend this recipe. It is easy and delicious.

I did nothing special with the rice, I just used the low sodium stuff. For the beans, adding the bay and garlic added a punch of flavor (I also used low sodium here as well). The chicken, with the dry rub was off the charts. The chimichhurri added that bright, garlicky, herbaceousness that completely finished off the dish. YUM!

If you give this recipe a try, please let me know what you think in the comments or on social.

 

Ingredients for Chimichhurri
Measurements are approximate.

  • 1 bunch Cilantro
  • 1 bunch Italian Parsley
  • 1-2 pinches, crushed red pepper flake
  • 2-3 cloves, garlic
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup walnut oil (canola oil is fine too)
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp water
  • Salt to taste

Ingredients for Cuban Dry Rub
Measurements are approximate.

  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon, crushed red pepper flake
  • 1 tbsp Cajun seasoning
  • Salt to taste

Ingredients

  • 2 large skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • 4 boneless,skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 15 oz. cans, low sodium black beans (Amy’s or Bush’s works good)
  • 1 package, low sodium yellow rice (Vigo is good)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Directions for Chimichhurri
This can be done ahead of time.

  1. In a blender, add all ingredients for the Chimichhurri except the olive oil and salt. I start with the water so the blender has something to start with. Puree. Once smooth, drizzle in the olive oil.
  2. Taste and season with salt if needed. Set aside.

Directions

  1. In a meduim sauce pan, add the black beans and the liquid from the cans. Add bay leaves and garlic. Heat over medium low slowly until the rest of the meal is ready.
  2. Follow instructions for the yellow rice packet. Mine took 20-25 minutes. Keep warm.
  3. Preheat a large skillet or grill pan over medium heat.
  4. In small bowl combine all the ingredients listed under dry rub.
  5. Cut the chicken breast in to stips of approximately the same size.
  6. Apply the rub liberally over the chicken thighs and breasts.
  7. Cook the chicken until desired doneness. Allow to rest and then chop in to bit size chuncks.
  8. To plate, add the rice on the bottom, spoon the black beans on top of that with a little bit of the liquid and top with chopped chicken. Finally, drizzle with Chimichhurri.
  9. Enjoy.
Cuban Chicken Chop, Yellow Rice, Black Beans with Chimichhurri

Pan Roasted Snapper, Goat Cheese Soufflé, Spicy Tomato Jam, Garlic Braised Baby Spinach, Citrus Sake Butter

Pan Roasted Snapper, Goat Cheese Souffle, Spinach, Tomato Jam, Citrus Sake Butter

Recently I posted about a meal I had while on vacation at Boshamps in Destin, FL. I liked it so much I decided I’d try and make it at home. I made a few modifications to better suit my palette. You can see my original post for the Pan Roasted Gulf Grouper with Feta Soufflé, Braised Spinach, Tomato Jam and Citrus Butter.

As I had time to reflect on the Boshamp’s version, I thought of a few improvements. Don’t get me wrong, their version is outstanding and I completely get what they were going for. I just thought I would take everything awesome about what they did and make it my own.

First, I couldn’t find fresh grouper, so I used fresh snapper. Not a bad trade off.

Their tomato jam was like real jam, sweet and gelatinous. I’ve been making tomato jam for a while for my Roasted Salmon, Noodle Salad with Tomato Jam. My version uses ginger and crushed red pepper flake which needless to say adds quite a bit of kick. I thought that would match better with this dish.

On the soufflé, I only tweaked it by using fresh local goat cheese instead of feta. I’d never made a soufflé before. Other than the whisking of the egg whites, it was pretty easy.

The final tweak was the citrus butter. I used grapefruit, lime, lemon and yuzu plus I added the sake. I added the sake for two reasons. The ginger in the tomato jam gave a bit of an Asian flare, so I thought the sake would feed off that. I would like to say that was the main reason, the real reason was I didn’t want to open a bottle of white wine, and the sauce needed something. I already had the sake open and it worked out great. Sometimes those happy circumstances are the best.

All and all, this couldn’t have turned out better. The meal had all the components I like. The fresh local snapper was just cooked through and had some crunch on the outside. The soufflé was such a surprise both at Boshamps and my version. It really stands up and acts like a starch like a mashed potato or grits. The spicy tomato jam adds a nice kick of heat. The spinach add a fresh pop and acted like a glue to hold the dish together. The citrus sake butter complimented all the other components perfectly with a punch of acid. The meal was just awesome. I love making restaurant quality, copy-cat meals at home.

Give this one a try and let me know what you think.

Ingredients for Tomato Jam

  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp crushed red pepper flake
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for Goat Cheese Soufflé

  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for cooking dish
  • 3 AP flour, plus more for dusting the cooking dish
  • 1/2 cup milk, warm
  • 4 oz goat cheese
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper
  • 4 large eggs, separated then bring to room temperature

Ingredients for Citrus Sake Butter

  • 1 grapefruit, juiced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tbsp yuzu (this can be hard to find, you can skip)
  • 1/2 cup sake
  • 1/4 cup chilled butter, cut in pieces
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients

  • 2 fresh snapper filet (any firm fish will work like grouper)
  • 1 large bunch of baby spinach
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Radish sprouts for garnish

Directions for Spicy Tomato Jam
This can be done ahead of time.

  1. Heat a small sauce pan over medium. Add the canola oil and simmering add the ginger and shallot. Continue cooking until softened and fragrant, about 4 minutes.
  2. Add the tomato, brown sugar, crushed red pepper flake and rice wine vinegar. Continue cooking over moderate heat, stirring and mashing occasionally.
  3. Allow the mixture to simmer for about 10 minutes (or longer if you like it thicker). Season with salt and pepper. The jam can be served immediately warm or cooled later.

Directions for Goat Cheese Soufflé

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Butter a soufflé dish (or other heavy bottom, medium sized, oven safe dish) and dust with flour.
  3. Heat a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the butter and allow it to melt. Sprinkle in the flour while whisking. Cook about 1 1/2 minutes or until you have a light blond color.
  4. Add milk, goat cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper and continue cooking and whisking until all is combined, about 3 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and whisk in the egg yolks.
  6. In a mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until they have stiff peaks. If you have a stand mixer or hand mixer, you might want to use it. I whisked and whisked and whisked and whisked.
  7. Gently fold in the egg whites in to the cheese mixture and add to your soufflé dish.
  8. Place on a baking sheet and bake until puffed and golden, 15-20 minutes. Serve immediately.

Directions for Citrus Sake Butter

  1. Heat a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add the grapefruit, lime, lemon and yuzy juice and bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook until reduced.
  2. Add sake, increase heat and bring to a boil, then reduce back to a simmer. Again, allow to reduce.
  3. Add butter pieces one at a time, whisking until melted. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Directions

  1. Heat a large pan or small stock pot (with a cover) over medium heat. Coat the bottom of the page with olive oil. When the oil is shimmering, add the crushed garlic and toss until oil is infused with the garlic.
  2. Add the spinach and toss to coat and cook until slightly wilted.
  3. Add the rice wine vinegar, season with salt and pepper and cover. Allow to cook until deserved doneness is achieved (I will mine with a little bite), keep warm.
  4. Meanwhile, heat another large pan over medium high heat. Cover the bottom of the pan with 50/50 olive oil and canola oil. Season the fish with salt and pepper and add to the pan flesh side down. Cook until golden brown. Turn once and cook until just cooked through, approximately 3 minutes per side.
  5. To serve, add the spinach in the center of the plate, top that with the soufflé, top that with the fish, then add the tomato jam. Finally, drizzle the citrus sake butter around the plate and garnish with radish sprouts.
Pan Roasted Snapper, Goat Cheese Soufflé, Spicy Tomato Jam, Garlic Braised Baby Spinach, Citrus Sake Butter

Healthy Baked Fish and Chips, Vinegar Braised Greens and Tartar Sauce

Healthy Baked Fish and Chips, Vinegar Braised Greens and Tartar Sauce

My wife told me she was craving “fish and chips”. What she meant was like fish sticks and fries but of course when I think fish and chips, I think the English fried fish and chips. As I’ve stated numerous times on this blog, I don’t have a fryer. It is my excuse to be a little healthier and bake things. So, when I mistakenly thought my wife want good old fried English fish and chips, I set about to make a baked version. In all honest, it didn’t turn out quite as I thought, but never the less it was good.

I came up with baked tilapia with a beer batter and baked fries, local Swiss chard and collards braised in vinegar and homemade tartar sauce (with no mayo in it). Like I said, it turned out to be very good. My wife was disappointed to not have homemade breaded fish sticks, but it all turned out in the end.

The fish was good, the edges where crispy but it was a far cry from good old fried fish. I guess that was the point though. Still, I’ve made baked “fried” items that were darn close. I could have gone with a traditional breading with bread crumbs, but I wanted that light traditional batter. The chips were just my go to baked french fries. The greens were supposed to be a play on the malt vinegar that is used in the traditional fish and chips. The tartar sauce was really good, especially considering that I didn’t use any mayonnaise. I often replace mayo with Greek yogurt and a little olive oil. Is it as luxurious, no, but it was pretty close.

 

Ingredients for Healthy Tartar Sauce
Measurements are approximate.

  • 5 tbsp plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dill pickle juice
  • 2-3 tbsp dill pickle relish
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp[ dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients

  • 3 tilapia filet, cut in even strips
  • 1 bottle of beer
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp dill pickle juice
  • 2 large potatoes
  • 1 bunch mixed leafy greens (I used rainbow chard and collards)
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar (malt vinegar would probably be more authentic, but I didn’t have any)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Directions for Healthy Tartar Sauce
This can be done ahead of time.

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine yogurt, olive oil, relish, relish juice, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, vinegar, mustard and mix.
  2. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Directions for “Chip”

  1. Pre-heat oven to 475 degrees F.
  2. Using a mandolin slicer or knife, splice the potatoes in strips. Soak the fries in water for 5-10 minutes
  3. Remove from the water and dry thoroughly.
  4. In a large mixing bowel, add the fries, olive oil to coat and season liberally with salt and pepper. Toss until all the fries are coated and the seasoning is distributed evenly.
  5. Place the fries on a sheet pan with non-stick tin foil and bake approximately 15 minutes.
  6. Next, remove the pan and flip the fries, bake another 15-20 minutes or until desired crispness.

Directions

  1. In large bowl suitable for dredging, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and season with salt and pepper. Mix to combine.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the egg, then add it to the flour mixture.
  3. Next, add the pickle juice and a few tablespoons of the beer at a time, mixing. Clumps are OK, just keep adding the beer until the batter consistency is as you like. It should probably be a little thicken since we are baking this.
  4. Season the fish with salt and pepper and dust with flour.
  5. Take one peice of fish at a time and dip them into the batter. Place the fish on a sheet pan.
  6. Having only one oven, I overlapped the making of the chips with the making of the fish. Lower the heat to 425 degrees F.
  7. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the fish is golden brown and crispy.
  8. In a large pan or stock pot, add olive oil to coat and heat over medium.
  9. Add the greens and toss to coat. Cook until slightly wilted, approximately 3 minutes.
  10. Add vinegar, seasoning with salt and pepper, toss, reduce heat and put a lid on the pot. Allow to cook until desired texture (I like then with a little bite).
  11. Enjoy.
Healthy Baked Fish and Chips, Vinegar Braised Greens and Tartar Sauce