SO....while we've been unemployed, we've been eating out of our extra freezer and our canned and dried storage and only buying fresh dairy and produce, and the occasional chicken when it's on sale. Because I"m not buying groceries, and only eating out on date night (off the $2 menu at Dennys), we have cut our food bill enough to help pay other important things like the electric bill. It is stretching our savings until we ever find a job.
The longer we go, the more challenging it gets. We're pretty far from eating only rice and beans, but dinner-making time is getting more interesting around here. This recipe is from a Cooking Light Recipe that we like, but I modified to stuff we actually had on hand, so I didn't have to go to the store. It ended up even better. I love it when that happens.
Thai Basil Lettuce Wraps
4 teaspoons canola oil, divided
1/2 cup finely minced onion (I mince it really fine, so picky girl can't pick it out)
1/2 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
4 teaspoons minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
1 lb ground chicken (I ground my own chicken breasts in the food processor cuz that's what I had)
2 Thai or serrano chiles, minced (I only had one, two would have been better)
1 1/2 Tablespoons fish sauce
3 teaspoons dark brown sugar
3 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
1 cup basil leaves (I do the roll them up and slice them thing, don't remember the french word)
1 T fresh lime juice (didnt have limes, used bottled lime juice)
4 lime wedges (didn't have those either, it was still good)
Here's my ingredients, all chopped up. I didn't have a cup of basil, I only had about a 1/4 cups worth, it was still good, but it's better with more. Be careful of the chili when you're cutting it up, use gloves if possible.
Heat a large nonstick skillet (I used my wok) over medium-high heat. Add 2 teas of oil to the pan, swirl to coat. Add onions, saute 2 minutes, add bell pepper, saute 1 minute, add garlic go another 30 secs. Remove mixture from pan and set aside. I sauted the bell peppers separately, because I have a bell pepper hater. I just serve them on the side and the non-haters can put them in their wrap.
Add remaining 2 teasp oil (I used a bit more because my chicken breast was very lean, usually ground chicken has more fat in it). Add chicken, cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Drain fat if you need to. While the chicken is cooking, mix the fish sauce, brown sugar and soy sauce in a small bowl and stir to dissolve the sugar. After chicken is browned and drained, add chilis, cook 1 minute, add soy sauce mixture, stir it in and remove it from heat. Stir in basil and lime juice.
Serve with Boston Bibb lettuce, butter lettuce or some other kind of leaf lettuce. Iceberg tastes ok, but tends to fall apart. Take a lettuce leaf, fill with chicken and squeeze your lime wedge over it, and eat it fast before it falls apart, lol. Today, we ate it with Teriyaki sauce (Meg), Gochujang (me) or both (Sam) and a side of steamed rice. I think we liked it better than with just the lime.
Other things that I like in the mixture when I have them are chopped water chestnuts (gives it a nice crunch) and mushrooms, which in my opinion make nearly everything better, but I live with haters. If I put mushroom in it, I have to chop it tiny enough to not be detected. It serves four as it is, but if you added the other stuff, I would also add a bit more soy, fish sauce and brown sugar, and then you could probably stretch it to 6 not-so-hungry people, or 2 teenagers.