Hi there! It's Monday! We have eaten our weight in take-out and ice cream and now it's time to bring something hearty and healthful into our lives.
Introducing your new weeknight go-to meal! It's our latest favorite over here and it is going to be in constant rotation during these last, few, precious weeks of summer.
Let's get to it!
First, we are going to make my very favorite teriyaki chicken. I have been trying to perfect my marinade for about a year now and I think I finally have it juuuust right.
The secret might just be in the cinnamon. Weird, right? But trust me, it's a good, good thing.
These wraps blossomed out of a desire to round out one of my favorite dishes. I make teriyaki chicken fairly often, because we love it, but I never know what to serve along with it besides broccoli and rice - boring!
Then, one unspectacular afternoon while watching The Donna Reed show it came to me. What about adding fresh pineapple and lettuce and calling it a salad?
Well, that salad transformed into a wrap because, as my husband recently pointed out, I have a bit of an obsession with wraps right now.
A fresh cucumber salad and a tiny bit of cilantro and dinner is done.
So fresh. So fast. So fabulous. (Do people even say fabulous anymore?)
Dinner is served.
TERIYAKI CHICKEN & PINEAPPLE LETTUCE WRAPS
Cook's Note: This is a great meal for weeknights as you can marinate the chicken first thing in the morning and prepare the other components just thirty minutes before you plan on eating!
FOR THE CHICKEN
1 cup soy sauce, divided
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup pineapple juice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Combine 1/2 cup soy sauce, brown sugar, fresh ginger, minced garlic, and ground cinnamon in a 2-quart saucepan.
Place over medium high heat and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, until the brown sugar has dissolved. Simmer for 2 minutes, then remove from heat.
Stir in remaining soy sauce, pineapple juice, and black pepper.
Allow the marinade to cool to lukewarm. Place chicken breasts in a large, zip-top bag, pour the marinade over the chicken and seal. Refrigerate for at least two hours, or up to six.
During the last thirty minutes of marination, prepare the other components.
FOR THE CUCUMBER SALAD
2 small Persian cucumbers
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
Use a vegetable peeler or mandolin to slice the cucumbers into thin ribbons.
In a small jar, combine vinegar, sesame oil, honey, and salt. Shake until well combined.
Add the cucumbers to the jar and shake once or twice. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
COOKING & ASSEMBLY
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 head butter lettuce, rinsed and dried
1 cup fresh pineapple, diced into 1/4-inch cubes
one small bunch cilantro, optional*
Cook's Note: Seeing as cilantro is one of the most controversial herbs, I tried these wraps with and without and I assure you that it was stellar both ways. So, if you are not a fan of the herb feel free to omit it!
Once the chicken has finished marinading, transfer the breasts to a cutting board and cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
Place a large, nonstick skillet over medium high heat and add the vegetable oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add the chicken. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is evenly cooked and the edges are slightly charred; about 8-12 minutes. Remove from heat.
Select 6-8 large leaves of butter lettuce and lay out on a large platter.
Cook's Note: You can prepare all of the wraps yourself or serve all of the components family style!
Fill each lettuce cup with a spoonful of chicken. Top with fresh pineapple. cucumber salad, and a pinch of cilantro. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve immediately.