December 07, 2008

Next week's recipes (lettuce wraps, taco bake, red beans and rice)

Lettuce wraps: DH and I came up with this meal after eating out at PF Changs a couple of years ago. We buy little over a pound of beef that's relatively thin and looks pretty. We cut it into thin strips and marinate it for a whole day (sometimes more if life gets away from us) in teriyaki sauce. If the meat is a tougher cut then we'll also sprinkle in a bit of meat tenderizer. We cook cook the meat on a low to med low heat on the stove. We serve it inside a leaf of lettuce with rice and cheddar cheese. Just throw on the goodness and chomp down on some lettuce! Feel free to add whatever makes your heart patter inside the greatness of lettuce. DH is a picky eater, so we stick with the basics. I also find that steamed sushi rice works best. Since the rice is sticky and clumps together, it stays inside the lettuce leaf a lot better. If we want a side, we'll make some teriyaki flavored pasta with some shaved veggies. Or you can be lazy and just buy a package of Knorr's asian sides. It's just something to add some more bulk to the meal. Not that it really needs it if you're just sharing this between two people. 

Taco Bake - My mother swears this is great, so DH and I are going to try it this week. I'll let you know how it goes. DH is already swearing to hate it since it uses sour cream. Silly man!

Red Beans and Rice with Smoked Sausage - Everyone has their own way of making this meal, but I going offer my one very non creole version. lol. It's a basic recipe that I've found easy to vary based on my own tastes. I've made it spicy and I've made it bland. I've sometimes added tomatoes and such. Whatever floats your boat. Here's the basics.

1 lb of smoked sausage (any kind/variety will work)
1 green bell pepper
1 medium onion
1 or 2 cans of beans (red beans, kidney beans, chili beans, whatever you like best)
worcestershire sauce
1 cup uncooked rice
salt and pepper to taste

Start cooking your one cup of rice, following the directions for your steamer/maker/package. Long grain works great for this.
Chop the bell pepper and onion. How big and how small depends on how you like them. My mom minces them. I make a large chop. Cut the smoked sausage into rounds. If you don't like rounds, cut the rounds in half to make half moons. All good. Cook the sausage, onion, and bell pepper in a large skillet with sides. I usually use a little bit of butter. When sausage is browned and the veggies have sweated enough to where the onions become opaque, add in the beans (liquid and all). If you like beans, go with two cans. It's what my mom does. I'm not a big fan of beans, so I just use one can. Bring to a simmer. Add in worcestershire sauce. At least one tablespoon, but I usually add more. I like the stuff in this dish! It adds a great unique flavor. Just do it to taste. Add salt and pepper if you feel the need. When rice is done, pour into the large skillet and stir to mix. Adjust seasonings if need be. Simple, quick, delicious. 

Now my parents have issues with mixing the rice in, so if you're like them here's an alternative. Mom keep the rice on the side. Since the bean/meat/veggie sauce is thin she thickens it up with a little flour in water. She likes to pour this mixture over her rice, but not mix it. Funny people. lol. 

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