In my kitchen there are 2 main reasons the cooking process takes a lot of time (besides little people telling me they need something every 5 minutes). The first reason is if I am not organized. If I haven’t looked at my recipe before I begin cooking, and I’m not sure what I need, then it takes me twice as long. I end up going to my pantry and fridge a bunch of times and only getting one thing out at a time after I read that ingredients. Totally scattered. The second reason is if I use a lot of dishes, which usually is another effect of problem number one. Then I spend forever after dinner washing dishes. I haven’t reached the phase of life when my have kids are old enough to actually be helpful with the cleanup part of kitchen duty.
I love this Quick and Crunchy Lettuce Wraps Recipe because it uses one pot. I love only having to clean one pot! I’m going to be honest though – I really lucked out in the pot washing department, because my husband loves to do dishes. We have a pretty good kitchen cleaning system down, and he does all the dishes, and I whirl around like a white tornado and clean the rest of the kitchen. But either way, one pot is one pot.
I am in the kitchen cooking A LOT. Like 70% of my life it feels like. From my experience, these 3 tips will really save you a lot of time in the kitchen.
1) Buy pre-chopped ingredients. And not just pre-chopped. Pre-rinsed, pre-cut, pretty much when you are short on time, whatever you can find that has already done some of the work for you. For this recipe I found pre-diced water chestnuts which were the best things ever! Chopping little things always takes way longer. Like olives – pre-chopped olives (although I have never bought these, I really think I want to because slicing olives is one of my least favorite jobs) And the mushrooms I bought, although they were diced, it still saved time because I didn’t have to do ALL of the cutting.
2) This is the organized part. But really, if you just take 5 minutes before you begin cooking and set all your ingredients out in your prep area, you will save yourself tons of time from trips to the fridge and pantry!
3) I love kitchen tools, and if you invest in some good ones they will save you time. My chopper is one of my favorite tools, because when I have to chop things small, it takes literally half the time doing it with my chopper. I love my non-stick pans and silicone utensils because when it comes time to doing dishes, I don’t have to let things soak, I can just wash them right away.
This recipe is not only delicious, but kids love to eat it. My girls had some friends over the other day, ages 3-5, and I told them we were having lettuce wraps. They all wanted one and ate the whole thing! They thought it was fun to wrap it up and it is like a burrito. It is also fun to plate one in a fun way like this lettuce wrap butterfly. You will want to add these lettuce wraps to your meal plan rotation, and you can change it up a bit every time you make it. I added red bell pepper, but you could add shredded carrots, or green onion, or green bell pepper. Serve with your favorite dipping sauces for a quick, fun and delicious dinner!
Asian Lettuce Wraps
- Begin by dicing red bell pepper, mushrooms, and water chestnuts (unless you bought pre-diced). Mince garlic. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and black pepper.
- Add sesame oil to a large skillet or wok set over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add ground turkey and cook for 5 minutes, using a spatula to crumble the meat. Add the mushrooms, and red bell pepper and saute, stirring frequently, until the turkey is no longer pink and the mushrooms and red bell pepper have begun to soften.
- Add the sauce mixture and water chestnuts to the pan and stir to coat all ingredients. Cook for 3 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken slightly.
- To serve: Rinse lettuce and pat dry. Divide lettuce leaves among plates. Spoon a small amount of the filling into each lettuce leaf and fold to eat. Enjoy!
I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.Learn More about Natalie