Monday, January 25, 2010

New Series: Sunday Night Dinners

When I was in college I loved Sunday nights!  

Sunday usually meant recovering from Saturday's rugby game and Saturday night's rugby party.  In the evening when we'd come back to life, my roommates and few friends would join us as we made dinner and watched ABC's Sunday night lineup. At the time, the lineup included: Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Grey's Anatomy, and Desperate Housewives.

These days, I simply reminisce about past Sunday Nights.  I continue to cook, not as often as I used to, but now the dinner is for one - maybe three if Jackie and Nolan are around.  Time to change that.  I've decided to venture into new cookbooks and find fresh new recipies to spice up my Sunday nights and enjoy them as much as I did once upon a time! 

For Sunday Night Dinners, I'll include a recipe, a photo, and a critique!  Enjoy!

Sunday January 24, 2010
 From Magazine: Cuisine at Home: Slow Cooker Menus

chinese-chicken lettuce wraps 

makes 6 servings - great for an appetizer or meal
Total prep time: 20 minutes
Total cook time: 3ish hours

1 Tbsp. sesame oil
2 lbs. ground chicken or turkey
1 Tbsp. minced gingerroot
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/2 cup hoisin sauce (where you'd find soy sauce)
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. chili garlic sauce (I just used chili sauce)
1 8oz. can of sliced water chestnuts (drained and coarsely chopped)
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
Salt to taste

1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup minced chives (I used green onions because I am more likely to use them than chives in the future)
2 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
12 small Bibb lettuce leaves (I used butter lettuce)

Heat oil in skillet over med-high heat.  Add chicken, cook for 10 minutes, breaking up chunks.  Add gingerroot, cook 2 minutes. Deglaze skillet with sherry, cook until liquid has evaporated.  Transfer to slow cooker.
Combine hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and chili sauce and stir into meat mixture.  Cover and cook on high heat for 2-3 hours or low heat for 3-4 hours.  Stir in water chestnuts, vinegar, and salt.
To serve, spoon 1/2 cup portion of meat mixture into lettuce leaf, top with red pepper, chives, and sesame seeds.

What I thought:
I ate 3 leaves of Asian goodness and was full.  A serving is 2 leaves which according to the magazine equals 306 calories, 15g total fat.

It was more effort than I would have like to put into a "crock pot" meal but it turned out delicious.  I like that you can prepare it early and have time to do other things while it absorbs flavor!  The meat is really tasty - sweet and tangy.  The red pepper and chestnuts give it a satisfying crunch.  Overall I give it a B+.

I also used our new food processor to make ground chicken - I used 2.5 lbs of chicken thighs and it was fun to make such a fresh ground meat!  Plus, it was cheaper than ground meat!

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