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.
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Copycat P. F. Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps

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

Panera’s Thai Chopped Chicken Salad Recipe

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 and added a little bit more sour. I also changed the vinaigrette to add more heat and the peanut sauce drizzle I used chocolate almond butter. Yep, you heard that correct, chocolate almond butter instead of peanut butter. I’m telling you, don’t knock it.

For my palette, this was perfect. It had all that I loved from Panera’s version but more of what I like. More heat, more sour. Even my happy mistakes like the chocolate almond butter and sambal oelek turned out fantastic. I can’t recommend this salad enough. Make it your own and let me know how you tweaked it in the comments.

 

Ingredients for Spicy Pickled Carrot

  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, cut in quarters
  • 4 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt

Ingredients for Vinaigrette

  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sambal oelek
  • 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for Peanut Drizzle Sauce

  • 1/2 cup chocolate almond butter (or creamy peanut butter)
  • 4 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tbsp sriracha
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for Salad

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 large head bibb lettuce, chopped
  • 1 cup, edamame, thawed
  • 3 roasted red pepper, drained and sliced in thin strips
  • 1/2 cup peanuts, chopped
  • 1 cup fried rice noodles (the crunchy kind in the can
  • Canola oil
  • 3 green onions, sliced thin
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
Directions for Spicy Pickled Carrots
This can be done ahead of time.

  1. Heat a sauce pot over medium high heat with rice wine vinegar, water, salt, carrots and jalapeno.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil then remove from the heat.
  3. Allow to cool and place the mixture into a sealable jar (Mason Jar). Top off with water if need be and place in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Directions

  1. First make the vinaigrette. Add the rice wine vinegar, sambal oelek, sesame oil, powdered garlic in a mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Next the peanut drizzle sauce. Add the chocolate almond butter (or regular peanut butter), hoisin, rice wine vinegar, sriracha, soy sauce, water in a bowl and whisk to combine. Add the canola oil and continue whisking. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat a large skillet or grill pan to just past medium. Lightly season the chicken with salt and pepper (we’ve already added a lot of sodium). Cook the chicken to desired doneness and allow to rest. Once cooled, slice in strips or chunks.
  4. Start your ovens broiler. Toss the thawed edamame lightly with canola and place on a sheet pan. Broil until slightly charred. Set aside.
  5. To plate, add the chopped bibb lettuce to a large plate. Distribute the carrots, edamame and roasted red peppers evenly. Lightly dress with the viniagrette. Add the fried rice noodles. Top with the chicken, drizzle with the peanut sauce and garnish with the chopped peanuts, cilantro and green onions.
  6. Enjoy.
Panera’s Thai Chopped Chicken Salad Recipe

Chicken Parmesan with Arrabiata and Spaghetti Rigati

Chicken Parmesan with Arrabiata and Spaghetti Rigati

“Chicken Parm you taste so good”. I was craving Chicken Parmesan and it is all Peyten Manning’s fault. If you haven’t seen the Nationwide Insurance commercial with Payten Manning, watch it on YouTube or Vine. Basically he goes through his day repeating daily occurrences with the “Nationwide is on your side” theme. At one point he is eating a Chicken Parmesan sandwich. I thought, yum.

This one turned out fantastic. Leftovers will definitely turn into a sandwich. Sure, you can make your own marinara but as I’ve said before, that Mario Batali’s Arrabiata is fantastic (I should be getting some kickbacks here, huh hum… Mario?). I really love the spaghetti rigati. If you don’t know, rigati is just the little lines or ridges along the pasta that help them absorb the sauce (you can see the ridges in the photo above, click to enlarge). My favorite all time pasta is bucatini rigati which is hard to find around here, but has the hole down the center and the ridges.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 jar of you favorite marinara (we prefer Mario Batali’s Arrabiata)
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan Regianno, plus more for garnish
  • Fresh mozzarella, sliced thin
  • 1/2 package dried spaghetti regati (or you favorite pasta)
  • 2 cups Italian bread crumbs
  • Egg wash (1 egg and milk)
  • Flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • Canola and olive oil
  • Kosher salt
Directions

  1. One at a time, place chicken breasts in a zip lock bag and using a mallet or heavy skillet, pound them until thin. Once each breast is to your liking, season with salt and set aside. In the same bag, add bread crumbs, approximately a cup of Parmesan and salt to taste. Meanwhile, in a large dish whisk the egg and milk. Dip the chicken one by one in the egg wash and then into the seasoned bread crumbs. Shake in the bag until completely covered, then set aside.
  2. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees F and heat a large skillet at medium (or just slightly past medium). Also, bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  3. In the large skillet add enough oil to cover the pan (50/50 canola and olive is my preference). Add the chicken and cook until both sides are golden brown. Place the chicken on a sheet pan with a rack (I line the pan with tin foil so I don’t have to clean the pan later). Top the chicken with 1/3 if the Arrabiata, sprinkle with Parmesan and top that with the sliced mozzarella. Place the in the oven until the cheese is melted. You can also use the broiler to melt the cheese a little faster.
  4. Season the water with salt and cook spaghetti per instructions on the package until al dente. Once done, drain and place back into the same large pot. Let any excess water burn off and toss the pasta with olive oil. A few minutes before serving, toss the remaining Arrabiata sauce in with the pasta and allow it to warm through.
  5. To serve, place serving of spaghetti topped with chicken and garnish with more Parmesan and the parsley. Enjoy.
Chicken Parmesan with Arrabiata and Spaghetti Rigati

Greenbrier Farm to Table Dinner with Hedges Wine and Stella’s Southern Bistro

Greenbrier Farms Pork Belly Wrapped Pork Loin Porchetta

It was a chilly night, not a usual thing on March 6th in the upstate of South Carolina. Never the less it was cold; to the point they had a pit fire and big outdoor space heater going instead the barn. We love Greenbrier Farms; it is an awesome place ran by awesome folks and producing amazing foods. Any time they have an event we try and attend. This particular event was most interesting. At Greenbrier, with Greenbrier products, prepared by Chef Jason Scholz (Stella’s Southern Bistro) and paired with wines from Hedges Family Estates…uhhh, yeh…we’re going.

I could go course by course and rave about each. I could go on about how each component worked well together and had balance. I could go on and on about how the wines paired perfectly. The venue was fun, the service was excellent, the…on and on. It would be true. Instead of going on and on, here is the menu and a few snap shots I was able to grab.

The stand outs for me; the second (Greenbrier Farms Pork Bolognaise & Tomato Braised Pork Meatballs) and third courses (Greenbrier Farms Pork Belly Wrapped Pork Loin “Porchetta”) pictured above but everything we ate and drank was phenomenal. If you haven’t, visit Greenbrier and Stella’s and buy some Hedges wine. You won’t regret it.

 

Greenbrier Farm to Table Dinner with Hedges Wine Menu

Hors D’ Oeuvres
Greenbrier Farms Pork Pate
Biscuit, chow chow

Hedges HIP Chardonnay – 2012 vintage
Made from 100% Chardonnay from the Dionysus Vineyard of the Columbia Valley, this wine shows flavors of crisp pears and apples with hints of pineapple, lychee, straw, licorice and custard. 100% fermented in stainless steel for a true expression of Chardonnay.

 

First Course
Crispy Confit Greenbrier Farms Chicken
Sea Island red pea & kimchee pancake, bourbon soy glazed stuffed wing, gingered sausage,
Hakurei turnips, anise chicken jus

Hedges CMS White – 2012 Vintage
Made mostly of Sauvignon Blanc (76%} rounded out by Chardonnay (22%) and Marsanne (2%) that shows flavors of pear, grapefruit peel, wet straw and gooseberry. 100% fermented in stainless steel for a clean, bright wine that is versatile and refreshing.

 

Second Course
Greenbrier Farms Pork Bolognaise & Tomato Braised Pork Meatballs
Anson Mills farro, dinosaur kale, Thomasville Tomme, rustic pork liver toast,
Palmetto Olive Oil Tuscan herb oil

Hedges CMS Red – CMS Red – 2011 vintage
Made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Syrah in the Columbia Valley AVA this wine is dark, deep ruby color. Aromas of black cherry, blackberry, sweet plum fruit and sweet toasted oak with undertones of ripe melon, dried herbs and vanilla with hints of cocoa powder.

 

Third Course
Greenbrier Farms Pork Belly Wrapped Pork Loin “Porchetta”
fennel pollen, citrus, spinach & garlic sformato, arugula pesto, pan drippings
Hedges Family Estate Red Mountain – 2011 vintage
Made exclusively from fruit grown on the Hedges Estate, comprised of 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 16% Syrah, 3% Cabernet Franc, 4% Malbec. Deep purple color, yet not opaque. The 2011 vintage produced a savory character in the wines, like that of fennel, salt, and tar.

 

Dessert
Sticky Toffee & Greenbrier Farms Carrot Cake
Split Creek goat cheese frosting, cajeta panna cotta, rum soaked raisins,
Palmetto Olive Oil Dark Chocolate Condimento

Hedges Fortified Wine
This wine, made in the tradition of Port, speaks of black cherries, deep dark wood and mahogany, and has hints of tobacco, earth and dark chocolate.

 

Crispy-Confit-Greenbrier-Farms-Chicken
Crispy Confit Greenbrier Farms Chicken

Sticky Toffee & Greenbrier Farms Carrot Cake
Sticky Toffee and Greenbrier Farms Carrot Cake

Pork Bolognaise and Tomato Braised Pork MeatballsPork Bolognaise and Tomato Braised Pork Meatballs

Greenbrier Farm to Table Dinner with Hedges Wine and Stella’s Southern Bistro

Herb, Garlic, Lemon Roasted Chicken with Tuscan Farro Salad

Herb Chicken and Tuscan Farro Salad

Another example of “on hand” ingredients thrown together to a great result. The chicken is good. I’ve made it a ton. The salad, well I thought I had totally made it up until I started Googling it on the interwebs. It turned out to be a pretty common Tuscan thing, so there you have it.

The salad was delicious. I think for a light spring or summer meal it is the perfect side. It has the healthy starch of the farro and all the veg. The olives and vinegar seasoned it well. Then the creamy fresh mozzarella along with the olive oil seemed to hold it all together. I will add this to the “make again” category, even if it wasn’t as original as I thought.

One other note, whole chickens are super cheap even if they’ve been pre-cut into parts.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 whole Chicken cut into pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, minced
  • Juice of 1-2 lemons, plus zest
  • Farro
  • Chicken stock
  • Water
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • Olives, halved
  • Arugula
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
Directions

  1. Add the chicken, garlic, rosemary, oregano, salt and pepper and lemon juice into a large (or several) zip top bags. Place in the refrigerator to marinate for as long as you can.
  2. In the meantime, cook farro per instruction it came with. Some require the farro to “bloom” in water overnight. You can usually skip that but I would recommend letting it sit in water for at least a few hours. I also usually replace ½ to 1/3 of the water with unsalted chicken stock. When the farro is done, set aside and let cool.
  3. Assemble farro, mozzarella, onion, olives and arugula in a large bowl. Toss with olive oil and red wine vinegar to taste. Season if necessary with salt and pepper. This salad can be server warm or room temperature.
  4. Preheat oven to 425 F. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add enough oil to coat. Add chicken pieces but don’t over crowd. Do several batches if necessary. Sear the chicken until the skin is golden brown and much of the fat has been rendered out. Remove some of the fat (or heck, leave it all in). Add all the seared chicken back into the skillet and pour maybe a half a cup of chicken stock into the bottom of the skillet. Place in the oven until chicken is cooked to appropriate temperature. Keep warm.
  5. To plate, heap salad on and stack your favorite type of chicken on top. Yum!
Herb, Garlic, Lemon Roasted Chicken with Tuscan Farro Salad

Chicken, Shrimp and Udon Noodle Soup

Chicken, Shrimp and Udon Noodle Soup

My take on chicken noodle soup. This was an unbelievable throw together meal. The weather was chilly and we wanted something soothing and comforting. What’s more comforting than chicken noodle soup? I had some leftover rotisserie chicken, frozen shrimp, and box of udon noodles that had been in the cabinet for a while (I’ve been using soba noodles instead). I also had four boxes of different kinds of stock in the fridge. With those and a quick trip to the grocery, I was inspired.

This dish was delicious. It was light, very light. My wife described it as a soup you might get at a spa. It was very refreshing and cleansing. I resisted adding salt and more heat (which I have a propensity to do) and I think here it paid off. The noodles, when eaten alone I felt “needed something” but when eaten with the broth and vegetables it was just right.

 

Ingredients

  • Leftover rotisserie chicken chunked or shredded
  • Shrimp (I keep frozen on hand but fresh is better)
  • Stock no salt added (I used 2 cups beef, 2 cups vegetable, 3 cups chicken)
  • Water (1-2 cups to fill out the soup)
  • Udon noodles
  • Dale’s steak seasoning (I like this better than soy sauce)
  • Sake (just a splash or use rice wine vinegar instead)
  • Canola oil
  • 2 inches of ginger root (1 inch minced the rest just peeled)
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 large carrots chopped
  • Bok choy chiffonade the leaves and chop the stems
  • Sugar snap peas sliced on the bias
  • 1 jalapeno sliced thin (you can remove stem and seeds but I wouldn’t)
  • 2 large portabella mushrooms sliced (use whatever kind you like, shitake would be good)
  • 3 green onions sliced on the bias (reserve some for garnish)
  • Cilantro to garnish
Directions

  1. First, I prepared my mise en place. This goes much faster once all is minced and sliced.
  2. Heat the stock in a large pot over medium heat. Add the 1 inch of ginger that wasn’t minced and let it slowly flavor the broth (you can do this while chopping). Increase heat and bring to a boil, add udon (usually takes about 10 minutes, but you’ll want to time it so that all the next steps are complete before the udon are done).
  3. Heat large sauté pan over medium heat. Add 1.5 tablespoons of canola and the chopped bok chop stems. Cook until slightly softened. Add bok choy leaves until they are slightly wilted. Add carrots and jalapeno toss to combine. Remove from pan and set aside.
  4. Add more canola and the minced garlic and ginger. Cook until fragrant. Add sliced mushrooms and cook until just softened. Add Sake to deglaze pan. Set aside.
  5. When the noodles are about 2-3 minutes from being done, reduce heat to medium and add everything except the shrimp to the pot. Stir in approximately 1-2 tablespoons of Dale’s (or soy sauce). I would suggest being judicious at first and add more if needed later. Let the soup simmer, stirring to combine.
  6. Just before serving, add the shrimp. Depending on the size, they shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to cook through.
  7. Garnish with green onions and cilantro and enjoy. I served it with vegetable spring rolls from the freezer.
Chicken, Shrimp and Udon Noodle Soup