Monday, January 3, 2011

Mom, please tell me that's not Squid butt......

I started off today thinking it would be a great idea if I could serve something healthy on this first weeknight of the new year.  You know, get the family off to a great start by keeping some fiber in their diet.....which means, lots of veggies.  Like most of the great ideas I come up with, I procrastinated.  Truth is, I'm not passionate about cooking.  But, as I thumbed through the latest Sports Illustrated this morning, I saw a quote that got me to thinking.  It said, "The person who really wants to do something finds a way; the other finds an excuse."  Well, isn't that the truth.  Stop with the excuses, make up your mind, and get it done.  Problem is, I don't really have the culinary aptitude to just go in the kitchen, find some ingredients, and whip up something that tastes good.  I envy the people who have that ability, but it's certainly not mine.  I started off by searching for recipes online, but that got to be overwhelming....too many possibilities.  And then it dawned on me, I have a million cookbooks, just open it up, find what you want, and pick out a couple of choices.  Luckily, I remembered that my good friend had given me a great cookbook last year as a thank you present.  Really, it was one of the most thoughtful gifts a person could give, because inside, she had earmarked all the recipes that her family really loved.  Here is the cookbook:
Sorry, blogworld, I forgot to rotate in the pic editor before I inserted!
The recipe I chose was for Lettuce Wraps.  As I looked down the list of ingredients, I groaned......what the heck is Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce and Asian Plum Sauce.....and where am I going to find these?  Aw, quick making excuses!  So, I added these items to my list, and went off to find them.  Truth be told, I did have to go to two different grocery stores because the first one was out of Plum Sauce.  Do people actually have this stuff stocked in their refrigerators?  The other ingredient that I wasn't too excited about was the ground turkey.  I know it cooks up white, but the pink, ooziness of the ground meat really makes my stomach turn.  The unfortunate part about being the cook in this house is that I have to actually deal with the stuff when it looks like this:
Oh Jenny, why do you have to look like this?

As I read through the instructions and discovered I would have to chop/dice the red pepper, celery, carrots, water chestnuts and garlic into tiny pieces, I wondered I have one of those Cuisinart mini prep machines?  I mean, obviously the thing doesn't get much use because I wasn't even sure if I had one.  Score!  I found it.  And, what would have been a miserable 20 minutes of dicing veggies turned into like 5 minutes of wicked delight......just pile it in there, hit chop and voila:
Cuisinart mini-prepped carrots, red pepper, celery, water chestnuts and garlic!
The reality is, if you are a busy person but you have time to plan ahead (isn't that the problem though...if we're busy, how do we find time to plan ahead?).....well, you could chop the veggies the night before, throw them in a Ziplock, and this would make for one quick, easy and healthy meal.  Anyway, after the veggies were prepared, they cooked five minutes in a skillet, then the ground turkey went in to be browned (whitened), then went in hot chili sauce, plum sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, salt and pepper....and lastly, chopped up cashews....which I again threw into the mini prep....and dinner was served!  The recipe called for Boston or Bibb lettuce leaves, but I could only find Butter lettuce and it worked perfectly.  Here's how it turned out:
Turkey Lettuce Wraps with mandarin orange slices
The verdict?  Well, my kids tend to keep things real around here.  My oldest two came into the kitchen first.  The middle one said, "Mom, if you're going to try new recipes with new things in them, please just don't tell me what's in there, OK?"  I asked, "What do you mean?"  And then my oldest said, "Well, you know, if you tried to sneak Squid butt in there or something, we might throw up on the plate mid-bite."  Seriously, that was the conversation we had right before they consumed two lettuce wraps a piece, then quickly got up to help themselves to some more.  It is a fabulous recipe, great taste, and my kids loved it! 
On a side note....yes, I did take these pictures so that I could blog it.  And yes, my camera battery did die just before I took the first picture, so I had to borrow my daughters' camera.  And, I did mini prep the heck out of the red pepper, to the point that it wasn't exactly a chopped consistency, more noodle like than chopped red pepper......but, in the end, it all worked out, and I going to try to make less excuses!

1 comment:

  1. Heather invited me to Missoula with the running group, so I'm hoping to join the gang - probably for the 1/2. Bob and Heather both told me to check out your blog and I'm lovin' it so far :). Nice work!