“Tough Day” Dinner ~ Thai Inspired Lettuce Wraps
Summer is in full swing over at Tipsy HQ and the days are LONG! The three kids I cook for / care for are home from an extended trip to Spain and the Summer boredom has already kicked in. Luckily they are signed up for camps the next couple of weeks and school is back in session mid August. That being said, we still have to eat and for some reason in the Summer, someone is ALWAYS hungry. With three kids that are different ages and a few extra neighborhood kids that come straggling in and out of our house I needed to find a different way to feed the crew. A couple of Summer’s ago we adopted a buffet style of feeding that gets us through most of the week. Each morning when I arrive at work I cut up some fresh fruit and veggies, create or buy some kind of dippable food item like hummus or a yogurt fruit dip, and put out some type of cold cuts or cheese with sandwich fixings. This works for us because the kids can graze and you avoid the “I’m hungrys” all day long. This inspired me to create some easy buffet style dinners that are easy to prepare, think 30 minutes or less, and give the kids the idea that they are getting to choose what they eat. We find that they eat more variety this way too.
This recipe is one I make pretty often. I vary the proteins, sauces and veggies but the basics stay the same. You do need to have some minor knife skills for this recipe to make it great. But do the best you can. I am planning to do a knife skills tutorial soon, maybe after the kids go back to school. Bottom line, chop up your veggies for this recipe pretty small, whichever way you know how to handle your knife. Here is what you need to make the Thai Lettuce wraps:
- 1 to 2 lbs of ground pork ( I used two pounds and this fed 3 adults and 5 kids with some leftovers)
- 1 Red Pepper, Diced Small
- 1 Shallot, Minced
- 1 C of Honey Roasted Peanuts, Crushed Up
- 1 head of a leafy lettuce
- 1 C of shredded carrots
- 1 C of chopped and stir fried asparagus
- 1 C of Diced zucchini
- 1 Bottle of Thai Peanut Sauce I use the San – J Brand
- 1 can of Chopped Water Chestnuts
- 1 C crunchy chow mein noodles
You can add any veggies or proteins you choose. For the family I cook for, we find the veggies to be more appealing to the kids when they are processed as thinly or small as possible, therefore they are more willing to eat them. The rest of the recipe is so super simple.
- Brown the ground pork in some oil. I used sesame oil until it is well cooked.
- Add the chopped water chestnuts and combine well with the meat.
- Add the bottle of Thai peanut sauce and let the mixture simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Next set up your “buffet”. I like to display all the veggies, lettuce and proteins like a restaurant which makes it more appealing to everyone. Plus it’s just fun.
- Remove the protein mixture and place on a platter and top with some of the extra crushed peanuts.
- Have the kids build their wraps. We make it a rule that each wrap has to have at least two different veggies on it.
Pro-tip, display all the trimmings for this buffet in Tupperware containers, this way when everyone is done eating all you have to do is pop the lids on to store. This also makes a great stir fry the next day or a delicious salad for lunch time.
This is a great Summer Supper, it feeds a crowd and takes little to no time. If you are unsure of your knife skills you can always take a shortcut and buy the veggies already chopped up from the grocery store salad bar or produce section. I hope you enjoy this easy dish!
For another tough day dinner, check out my recipe HERE for mini dumplings with an alfredo sauce.