"But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Philipians 3:13b,14

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Make Your Own PF Changs Lettuce Wraps!!!!!

I am not one to boss people around. Ok, actually, yes I am.


They are really, really, really good. And way cheaper than at PF Changs. Your people will love them. My guys kept exclaiming about how delicious they were, and why didn't I make these more often!! My dad said he didn't want to come over for dinner, yet was drawn to our place when he heard I was cooking up some of these wraps. They are tasty!

This recipe is adapted from http://www.yumsugar.com/ to suit us, there are ingredients in that recipe that my family doesn't like, and it left out ingredients that are in the actual wraps from PF Changs

So here's what you need: (you can buy all the sauces and the bamboo shoots/water chestnuts in the "international" or "ethnic" aisle of the supermarket. Where the soy sauce is sold. Usually on the same aisle as all of the refried beans, enchilada sauce, and jars of salsa.

For the marinade:
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp sherry cooking wine or red wine
  • 2 tsp water
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tb sesame oil
For the filling:
  • 1 1/2 lb chicken (either buy ground or use boneless, skinless breasts, I will show you how to make ground chicken yourself)
  • 5 Tb canola oil
  • 1 tsp minced, fresh ginger (they sell this in jars by the jars of garlic, or the fresh is a root-looking thingy by where they sell the hot peppers in the produce section)
  • 2 tsp minced or pressed garlic
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 1 (8 ounce) can water chestnuts, chopped
  • 1 (8 ounce) can bamboo shoots, chopped
  • 1 cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped
For the cooking sauce:
  • 2 Tb hoisin sauce
  • 2 Tb soy sauce
  • 2 Tb sherry cooking wine or red wine
  • 2 Tb oyster sauce
  • 4 Tb water
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 4 tsp cornstarch
You also need a head or two (depending on how many people you are serving) of iceberg lettuce. We used, for 5 people, a little over 1 head of lettuce

I thought I was going to get all professional, and fry up some of these noodles to make a fancy "bed" for serving the filling (ok, mostly I thought it would look nice in the photo..) but it didn't work out, they wouldn't fry up!  I don't know what went wrong. I don't wanna talk about it.

So, let's start making these puppies!! First, you need to whack the head of lettuce on the counter to get the core to pop out. (Do you whack the lettuce on the counter, or whack your hand on the core?) (Why, oh why do I insist on letting my toe thumb get into the shot???)

Then, carefully pull off the leaves, leaving them as "whole" as you can. If you have little kids, they will be sure to come in and talk your ear off while you are trying to accomplish this, just to make it more challenging.

Pile them on a plate, and wrap it in saran wrap and put it in the fridge for dinner time! Also, mix up the ingredients for the marinade and for the cooking sauce (in separate bowls)

Ok. I am going to tell you something.
I HATE raw meat. It sicks me out. SO bad. But I think ground chicken is a rip off! They charge you like $3.99 or more per pound, and it always seems sketchy to me...what are they grinding up in there?? So I take my $1.99/lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, and stick them in the food processor. I think I did 5 medium chicken breasts for this recipe, and I did 2.5 at a time in the food processor. Use the blade thingy that attaches to the bottom. It works better to grind the chicken if you pulse it instead of just turning it on.

So then take the (gag) raw ground chicken and put it in a bowl. Oh, why does raw meat have to be so nasty? But COOKED meat is so yummy. It's worth it.

Then take the marinade that you mixed up earlier, and add it to the ground chicken, and put that in the fridge to get all marinade-y and yummy while you mix and chop the rest of the stuff.

Put saran wrap on first so that your fridge doesn't smell like a lettuce wrap.

Do you have one of these chop chop thingys?? They ROCK!! (Except don't use them in the middle of the day when your husband is sleeping. Because then he MIGHT think the banging noise is a gunshot. Then he MAY come running into the kitchen. And POSSIBLY inform you that you are not to use the chop chop ever again in his presence.) (This has been a public service announcement brought to you by Shari. That is all)

So chop up the water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, and green onions, either with your very own chop chop, or a knife (slower, but more husband-safe)
Oh, and also chop up the peanuts:

Then eat a handful. Because you need your protein. You don't want to get faint and not be able to finish cooking dinner.

Now you're going to start cooking! First, heat 3 Tb of oil in a skillet, then cook the ground chicken. It took mine about 7 or 8 minutes I think. I like my chicken cooked REALLY well.

Then, take out the cooked chicken and put it in a bowl for a bit. I put a little paper towel in the bottom of the bowl, so all the meat juice/water got absorbed. (I am really weird about stuff like that I don't like it to be all juicy. If you're not a freak like me, skip the paper towel)

Now, heat the other 2 Tb of oil, and cook the green onion, and the ginger, just for a minute or two. Then add the garlic, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts and cook for a few more minutes.

Then add the cooked chicken and the peanuts, and stir it up. Then, add in the cooking sauce that you mixed up earlier:

Then serve!! The warm, savory chicken in the cool, crunchy lettuce is SO good!!!!! I am more of a less lettuce more chicken kind of girl-

Wade likes a huge piece of lettuce with a lot of chicken, makes it like a burrito:

This is what all of our plates looked like at the end of the meal:

On a sad note, I had my first "plate chip" occur this week.

My dishes are REALLY special to me. When Wade and I bought our house, our group of friends all pitched in and gave us a gift card (a VERY generous gift card) so that I could pick out new dishes. I often have a large group of friends eating at my house, and was still using the dishes we had gotten for our wedding 17 years prior. I think there may have been 8 dishes total. So I often had to use paper because we wouldn't have enough for everyone. Plus, when I got married, I was really young, and my tastes have totally changed since then. So I took all the money and bought my current dishes, which I LOVE!!!!

I knew it was inevitable that the first chip would occur. Sad, still. But at least they're well-used, and much-loved. :)

I love my friends. So much.

Lentil and Barley Crockpot Soup
Whole Wheat Bread
Orange Slices


  1. Oops! Changing dinner to Chicken Tetrazzini! Out of broth for soup!

  2. I made these lettuce wraps tonight, and they were AWESOME!! The only change I made was to use un-ground chicken. I can't even stand the sight of ground chicken - even when I KNOW what's in there. So gross. So instead, I just partially froze 2 chicken breasts, then diced pretty small. Also, I reserved some of the cooking sauce, and cooked it in a small sauce pan with some red pepper flake until thick and clear, and used that to spoon onto the wraps. It was all very tasty. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Made these....added a little red chili peppers for some heat. Super good!!! served with Pearl rice.