Living at the beach is all about laid back, quick and easy although that theory doesn't necessarily apply to you know who. He was out picking luscious wild blackberries in our neighborhood at 5:45 this morning with the incentive of a cobbler or roly poly for dinner tonight. Just so you know, it took Big Guy all of 45 minutes to pick 10 cups of beautiful big blackberries and the season's just starting. Just imagine what he's going to bring home when I tell him there's jam, muffins, pie, cordial and more cobbler in his future.
Anyway, last night's dinner met the criteria of our new lifestyle as once the prep was accomplished, dinner took less than 10 minutes to cook. While this particular Asian flavored delightfully delicious spicy sweet cashew chicken is fabulous over noodles or rice, it is plenty filling never mind much healthier stuffed into butter lettuce leaves.
The cool crisp and crunchy lettuce is a perfect balance for the spiciness of extra ginger and garlic thrown into the mix along with the usual red chile flakes and cayenne. Sliced assorted mini peppers, carrot strips and snow peas add to the healthiness too and I mixed some peanuts into the cashews to give it a different kinda' flavor and crunch.
OK so now I've got to be completely honest. Peanuts are a heck of a lot cheaper than cashews so I mixed the two to make my cashew stash go a little farther. I'm kinda' partial to them in the cookies told you about the other day.
Sweet and Spicy Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps from JBug’s Kitchen Antics adapted from The Best of Bridge Series Cookbooks, The Best of the Best and more
1/2 cup ketchup
1-1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes (optional)
1/2 cup chicken broth
Combine ingredients together in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake until well mixed. Refrigerate until needed.
2 skinless boneless chicken breast halves, cut into cubes
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons oil
2 heaping tablespoons minced fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 small white onion, chopped
1 cup mixed mini sweet bell peppers, cut into rings
1 cup julienned carrots
1 cup snow peas, cut in half
2/3 cup salted cashews
1/3 cup salted peanuts
Toasted sesame seeds as garnish
1 large head of butter lettuce, washed and separated into leaves
Combine sugar, salt and cornstarch together in a zip bag. Add chicken cubes and toss together to coat. Set aside.
Heat a wok or large cast iron skillet over high heat until “screaming hot”. Add oil and when oil is just starting to smoke, add cornstarch coated chicken along with garlic, onions and ginger. Cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute or until chicken is opaque. Add peppers, carrots and snow peas. Cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Add sauce. Cook until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and toss in nuts. Pour into a large serving bowl and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with butter lettuce. Serves 4.