Turkey and Quinoa Asian Lettuce Wraps

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Wow!  I’ve never gone this long without blogging before!  I can’t believe it’s been almost two months.  The holidays completely took over our household and I just went nuts.  I couldn’t sit still long enough to blog.

Our Christmas was a little more low-key than usual – mostly because we didn’t decorate the inside of the house at all.  No wreaths, no stockings, no figurines, no tree.  We reached the decision not to decorate when it became clear that our new puppy – who has tripled in size since my last post – would inevitably eat whatever decorations we put up.  We have grown to love little Patriot – even Brees likes him now – but he’s a handful!

We surprised the kids by wrapping boxes that contained clues to let them know that we are going on a cruise in March!  Elizabeth got a laptop.  Christopher got Patriot – and a bunch of different kinds of Rubiks cubes – which he loves to solve.

We made our traditional sushi on New Years Eve.  We shot a few fireworks.  We watched some movies.

And then I had to go back to school today!  The kids won’t return until Wednesday, but teachers have to go Monday and Tuesday and attend all sorts of meetings and trainings.  Yay.

In an effort to make better (healthier) decisions about our food, I have really changed our menus.  I’m trying to cook more low-fat, low-carb, high-protein, etc.  Here’s one of our old family favorites that I made tonight.  I’m telling you, I can never make enough of this stuff!

Turkey and Quinoa Asian Lettuce Wraps

  • 2 pounds of ground turkey
  • 1 cup of shredded carrots
  • 4 tablespoons of grated ginger or ginger paste
  • 1/2 cup of low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup of rice vinegar
  • 4-5 tablespoons of dark sesame oil
  • 1 cup of chopped cilantro
  • 4 tablespoons of chopped mint
  • 2 cups of cooked quinoa
  • butter lettuce leaves

Brown the turkey in a large skillet with ginger and carrots.  Cook until meat is cooked through.  Add the soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil.  Cook until almost all moisture is gone.  Stir in the quinoa.  Remove from the heat and add the cilantro and mint.

Scoop into lettuce leaves and enjoy!

Well Duh #1:  You can use any very lean ground meat.  Turkey, chicken, beef, venison.  As long as it’s very lean.

Well Duh #2:  I bought a bag of shredded carrots and used a tube of ginger paste.  Yes, I know.  Lazy!

Well Duh #3:  I cooked 1 cup of raw quinoa in two cups of chicken stock, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and a drizzle of sesame oil.  Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes or until all of the moisture is gone.

Well Duh #4:  You can use whatever lettuce you prefer – romaine spears, butter lettuce, iceberg – whatever floats your boat.  I like butter lettuce because the leaves are big and pliable.

Well Duh #5:  You can leave out the quinoa.  This is the first time I added it.  But my tribe loved it and it made the filling go further.

Well Duh #6:  If you’re feeling adventurous, double the recipe and freeze half.  Just let the filling cool, spoon it into a large zippered bag, and lay it flat to freeze (Don’t forget to label and date it!).  When you’re ready to enjoy it, just buy the lettuce, thaw the mixture in the bag overnight in the fridge (or for 30 minutes in a sink full of hot water).  Then transfer to a bowl and microwave it until heated through. Dinner in a snap!

We hadn’t had this meal in a while and the tribe was thrilled to see a big platter of lettuce wraps on the counter.  Of course, you could just put the skillet of filling and the lettuce leaves on the table and let everyone pass them around and make their own, but my bunch is spoiled.  I set up a mini assembly line and went to work.  It only took a few minutes.

We have some big changes to make – more exercise, healthier eating, better choices.  The new year is great for making changes.  I won’t say that it’s our resolution because resolutions always end up being temporary and we want this one to stick for awhile!

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