Aug 27, 2010

Ginger-Peanut Chicken Salad Wraps

As far as I’m concerned, this post could very well be titled “ginger peanut lime sauce.” Because one taste of this sauce – this amazing, Asian-inspired, creamy dreamy sauce – will cause you to forget all about making wraps and instead instinctually ladle it into a gigantic soup bowl and slurp to your heart’s content, stopping only to wash it down with an icy cold pint of more wonderful ginger peanut lime sauce.

After all, what’s not to love about peanut butter, aromatic fresh ginger, lime juice, soy, garlic and red pepper whirled together into a fresh, citrusy, heavenly sauce? If you’re worried that a liquid meal would deprive your teeth of their God-given potential, give them something to sink into by filling in the blank.

“_____ with ginger peanut lime sauce.”

You choose. Beef? Pork? Tarantulas? I’m not one for exotic fare, but I swear, even raw, slimy snails would be nothing short of stupendous smothered in a sauce like this.

Or, of course, you could make these chicken salad wraps, because after all, they’re delicious, no matter how outshined they are by their own sauce. Chicken, cucumber, red pepper and cilantro make a perfect combo of flavors smothered in peanut butter based goodness and swaddled in lettuce and tortilla. 

I recommend making a double batch of sauce. Since this is a light recipe, the wraps surely won’t be drowning in sauce and if you like a little extra for dunking, you’ll be left empty handed. Plus, once you taste it, you’re going to wish you had extra to pour over veggies, noodles or shrimp later in the week.

Another tip: Store leftovers separately or all your sauce will soak into the chicken and the water from the cucumbers will dilute the flavors. Instead, store cucumbers and peppers together, and store the sauce separate from the chicken, then mix right before serving.

We absolutely loved this dish. I’m already contemplating future additions and tweaks. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that fresh, crunchy bean sprouts, matchstick carrots or chopped peanuts would be heavenly in this wrap. Next time, I’m definitely adding a little of each, maybe in lieu of the red pepper as it’s not my all-time fave veggie.

And for an extra healthy lunch, I may just loose the tortilla and make lettuce wraps. (No tortilla means room for more sauce!)

As I licked every last drop from my plate and fork, I wondered to myself if the chicken was a little jealous that the sauce, something that is supposed to merely enhance it, but instead stole the show? One will never know. However, I for one got jealous (enraged) when my hubby took it upon himself to lick the sauce bowl clean. He can have the brownie batter-lined bowl and the frosting-coated spoon, but don’t come between a girl and her ginger peanut lime sauce.

Ginger-Peanut Chicken Salad Wraps
Cooking Light, June 2000
Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 wrap)

Cookbook Note: You can substitute slices of breast meat from prepackaged rotisserie chicken, which makes the preparation easier, but the dish will be a little higher in fat and sodium.

1  teaspoon  olive oil
6  (4-ounce) skinned, boned chicken breast halves
1  cup  chopped seeded peeled cucumber
3/4  cup  chopped red bell pepper
1 1/2  tablespoons  sugar
1  tablespoon  minced peeled fresh ginger
3  tablespoons  fresh lime juice
1  tablespoon  low-sodium soy sauce
1/4  teaspoon  salt
1/4  teaspoon  ground red pepper
1  garlic clove, crushed
1/4  cup  creamy peanut butter
2  tablespoons  water
3  tablespoons  chopped fresh cilantro
8  (8-inch) fat-free flour tortillas
4  cups  chopped romaine lettuce

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 5 minutes on each side or until done. Remove the chicken from pan; cool. Shred the chicken into bite-size pieces. Place chicken, cucumber, and bell pepper in a large bowl; set aside.

Place sugar and the next 6 ingredients (sugar through garlic) in a blender, and process until smooth. Add peanut butter and water; process until smooth, scraping sides. Add peanut butter mixture to chicken mixture; stir well. Add cilantro, and toss well. Warm tortillas according to package directions. Spoon 1/2 cup chicken mixture onto each tortilla; top each serving with 1/2 cup lettuce, and roll up.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 280 (19% from fat), Fat: 5.9g (sat 1.1g,mono 2.7g,poly 1.6g), Protein: 25.8g, Carbohydrate: 30.5g, Fiber: 2.4g, Cholesterol: 49mg, Iron: 2.5mg, Sodium: 572mg, Calcium: 29mg.

Aug 12, 2010

Butter Crunch Lemon-Cheese Bars

As much as I love summer, and all the potlucks, picnics and family reunions that come standard, there’s one thing I believe should be banished forever, as it’s the true bane of bikini season...

The dessert buffet.

Maybe plate upon plate of glorious, gluttonous goodies are ok in the presence of super skinny self-control toting types, but put a homemade confection-clad table in front of me, and my fat five-year-old inner child will surely go buck wild, piling her flimsy styrofoam plate with a superfluity of sweetness.

Because why settle for just one cookie when I can have three cookies and a brownie? And…a lemon bar? Oh, and a cupcake. And a teeny, tiny slice of apple...pumpkin...and lemon meringue pie. And c'mon, it just isn't summer without Aunt Marcy's banana trifle and grandma's pumpkin roll! Heck, I can even squeeze room for that green Jell-o fluff that I don’t even like. A few more wedges of this and smidgens of that and you can bet I'll turn from the table with a teetering five-pound plate of sugar and not an ounce of self restraint.

So with all my friends and family to bear witness, I take my seat ala the walk of shame, fending off stares and smirks with an “Oh this? Of course it’s not just for me,” then scarf down that mountain of sugary shame until my belly is boated and the smears and crumbs on my plate resemble a homicidal crime scene at a bakery.

Am I the only one who gives in to this torturous temptation? Is there any hope to change my summer dessert destiny?

Why yes, actually. Enter, the two-in-one dessert dream bar. Part cool, creamy cheesecake. Part tangy, gooey lemon bar. All atop a crumbly, buttery pastry crust, this is TWO desserts, cleverly and deliciously disguised as ONE. So you feel like you're pigging out, when in reality, you're staying quite human. And at just 140 calories, it comes with a much appreciated side of self-control, too.

And you can make this fabulous dessert faster than you can load up a plate with ten others! Just a quick crust blended with a hand mixer, followed by an even quicker filling whipped up in a food processor. Bake, let it chill and you're ready to gorge...err...daintily nibble.

Top with blueberries, sliced strawberries or a little fresh lemon zest and I bet these would make beautiful little desserts at an afternoon tea or baby shower. Although, the pregnant guest of honor will most assuredly prefer the aforementioned dessert buffet.

Fruit topped or naked, you won't be disappointed. These are delicious. Perfectly lemony, wonderfully creamy and cheesecakey. They really do taste like two amazing summertime desserts melded into one. And the crust is ahh-mazing. I will be definitely be making these again and again, especially for all those family gatherings this summer. That way I can secretly splurge while still looking all proper and ladylike. (Well, maybe just one brownie...and a cupcake...and...)

Butter Crunch Lemon Cheese Bars
Adapted from…Greg Patent, Cooking Light, JANUARY 2001
Yield: 16 servings (serving size: 1 square)

Cookbook Note: You can substitute fresh orange juice and grated orange rind for lemon, if you wish. These are best served chilled.

1/3  cup  butter, softened
1/4  cup  packed dark brown sugar
1/4  teaspoon  salt
1/4  teaspoon  ground mace or nutmeg
1  cup  all-purpose flour
Cooking spray

1  cup  1% low-fat cottage cheese
1  cup  granulated sugar
2  tablespoons  all-purpose flour
1  tablespoon  grated lemon rind
3 1/2  tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
1/4  teaspoon  baking powder
1  large egg
1  large egg white

Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare crust, place first 4 ingredients in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Lightly spoon 1 cup flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Add 1 cup flour to butter mixture, and beat at low speed until well-blended. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving enough excess at the edges to create handles to later lift out. Spray with cooking spray, and press crust firmly onto foil. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.

To prepare filling, place cottage cheese in a food processor; process 2 minutes or until smooth, scraping sides of bowl once. Add 1 cup granulated sugar and remaining ingredients, and process until well-blended. Pour filling over crust. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until set (the edges will get lightly browned), and cool. Cover and chill for 8 hours.

While holding the edges of the foil, carefully remove dessert from pan and place on cutting board. Cut into 16 squares. Chill until ready to serve.

Nutritional Information: Calories:140.5, Fat: 4.5g (sat 52.6g,mono 1.3g,poly 0.3g), Protein:3.35g, Carbohydrate:22.25g, Fiber:0.25g, Cholesterol:24.5mg, Iron:.55mg, Sodium:149mg, Calcium:20mg.

Related Posts with Thumbnails