Anyone that knows me, knows that I always have a head of either iceberg or butter lettuce in my fridge, so that I can wrap up my turkey burgers or sandwich fixings in it! It’s one of my favorite ways to go low carb and still use two hands to eat a sandwich or burger and no fork! 🙂 This recipe is a new twist on that I will be adapting to most my recipes on a daily basis!
Before delving into the recipe, I have a confession! I was being super lazy before work today and didn’t do any shopping for this ahead of time! I thought I could just go to Wal-Mart (the 24 hour one) after work and just collect the few things I needed then. Their grocery selection was not as grand as I hoped it would be! I couldn’t find 3 of the 6 critical items I needed to pick up! I did decide on good substitutes but it wasn’t perfect! Nor do I know what it was supposed to taste like! I’m kind of ashamed and I apologize for my laziness! Regardless, here goes!
Totally Thai Chicken Lettuce Cups
PER SERVING (entire recipe) 227 calories, 4.5g fat, 876mg sodium, 21g carbs, 3g fiber, 12.5g sugars, 23g protein
3/4 cup peeled and diced cucumber (if you’re doubling this like I did it’s one whole medium-sized cuke)
2 scallions, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (who really measures like that? lol)
2 tbls. shredded carrots (I went lazy (again) instead of cheap and bought pre-shredded carrots, the matchstick kind)
2 tbls. seasoned rice vinegar (this is one of the ingredients I couldn’t find, I could only find regular rice vinegar, lame!)
1 tbls. chopped cilantro (uh how about 1/2 tbls. dried cilantro and 1 tbls. fresh parsley, yeah couldn’t find this one either)
Dash crushed red pepper, or more to taste (I went with like 8 dashes :-P)
3 ounces raw boneless skin-less lean chicken breast, cubed
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 tbls. Thai peanut salad dressing or sauce, low in fat with about 35 calories per tbls. (The third missing item on my list. I searched and searched for anything similar or even close to this and I found nothing! I went with a Sesame Garlic sauce and marinade because it sounded the most Asian/Thai and only had 30 calories per tbls.)
3 leaves romaine, butter, or green leaf lettuce (I used butter lettuce, its my fave)
Optional garnishes, lime wedges, sesame seeds
In a bowl, combine cucumber, scallions, carrot shreds, rice vinegar, cilantro and crushed red pepper. Mix well and refrigerate until you’re ready to assemble your cups.
The cucumber stands alone.
All the veggies mixed together before running off to the fridge to marinate! (see how the parsley fools you into thinking I actually had fresh cilantro)
The Sesame Garlic sauce and unseasoned rice vinegar! The Sesame Garlic sauce was from Iron Chef (and stupidly expensive) so I knew it was gonna be good! Haha!
Bring skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium-high heat. Add chicken and sprinkle with garlic powder. Cook chicken, stirring occasionally, until browned and cooked through, about 4 minutes. (tried to take a picture of the chicken while it was cooking, but being seasoned with just garlic powder it was boring looking and didn’t warrant a picture)
Place chicken and peanut dressing or sauce (or Sesame Garlic in my case) in a bowl and toss to coat. Remove veggie mixture from the fridge.
To assemble, evenly distribute the veggie mixture and the chicken among the lettuce “cups”. If you like, finish with a squirt of lime juice and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Chomp chomp!
All the pretty lettuce wraps lined up in a row! (ok, it's not exactly in a row but it sounded good.) (remember, I doubled this recipe, some for me and some for Mike so imagine it half-sized if making it just for yourself)
A close up, because I thought it looked amazing!
My first bite reaction: Oh, that hits the spot!
Mike’s first bite reaction: (when I made these Mike was sleeping as he had to work at the ass crack of dawn (5 am) and I didn’t get off work till 11pm. So I packed these for him to have for lunch (his lunch was at 9:30 am, so more like breakfast to me) I got his review via text message. “I like them a lot. Kinda hard to eat but tasty!”
I think this is the first recipe Mike has used the words “a lot”! This is a good thing! Not that he hasn’t liked almost all of these recipes, but for him to say he liked them that much is defiantly monumental! He’s more into words like “good” instead of “great” “fantastic” “bomb dot-com” (haha)
Texture: Cool, crisp, refreshing! The cucumbers were a perfect bed for the chicken to lay on top, it reminded me of a nice crispy asian salad! In an edible cup!
Taste: Even though I would have prefered all the right ingredients (Thai peanut dressing, fresh cilantro, and seasoned rice vinegar) I thought they turned out great! The sauce I used really complimented the cucumbers, wasn’t too over powering (even though it was a touch too salty, weird I know) and worked just as well as I hope the Thai peanut sauce would have! I honestly was a little worried about this recipes, see I like cucumbers, but I generally only like them a la carte! The cucumber is a funny little guy, he’s tasty and wonderful but always so over powering that if I put them in a salad or on a sandwich I can’t taste anything but the cucumbers! So having this much cucumber in one dish, I was skeptical! I’m not sure how or why (maybe the marination or the vinegar itself) but the cucumber was so subtle and perfectly crisp it was a hit! I did make one lettuce cup with just a mix of veggies and I loved it just as much! It was however a bit spicy without the chicken, and I preferred it with the chicken than veggies alone, but if I wanted to go vegetarian for the day I would make this!
Creativity: I do believe Hungry-Girls inspiration for this dish was restaurant inspired (guilt-free) I’ve seen similar items before but with lots of hidden fat and calories! Regardless, I give this 4 out of 5 stars for creativity! It’s fresh, fun and having a dish you can eat that makes you feel like you’re in a restaurant (or got take out) really makes me happy!
Satisfaction: I served these with a side of steamed broccoli (yeah I like broccoli and pretty much always serve it with dinner) but I remembered to eat the “cups” first and determine my satisfaction before diving into the broccoli. 4 Weight Watcher points and I was actually pretty full! I wasn’t stuffed (that’s why I still ate the broccoli) but I could have made it a complete entrée without the broccoli! It had lean protein, veggies and a satisfying crunch that won’t weight you down with too many carbs! (not that I’m a carb hater I just try not to eat too many of them after work seeing as I’ll more than likely be going to bed within a few hours) Satisfaction gets 5 stars!
I’m so curious as to what these will taste like with the right ingredients! I’m gonna make it my mission to find the right ones and do it right! Even though I loved my version I still can’t help thinking they would be better with a bit of different flare! Oh, I forgot about the lime garnish! While I was eating them, I wanted to eat a few with and a few without just to see how it compared. I was down to the last “cup” when I remembered the lime! (oops) The lime was good but totally unnecessary, it didn’t change it up too much and added even more acidity that the vinegar was already doing a good job of providing. It’s optional but try it if you like a lot of acid!
What do you like to put in your lettuce wraps/cups? Is this your first experience in lettuce wrapping/cupping?