As many of you already know, David and I are on a pretty major health kick right now...emphasis on portion control and empty calories. What we aren't doing is punishing ourselves with flavorless meals. I've said it before- I don't believe in dieting. I think it makes a person too food obsessed. You limit yourself to such a degree that when you do have a treat you go completely overboard. I believe in learning how to eat meals that are appropriate in size for your body and cooking healthful foods.
That brings us to today's recipe, the pork lettuce wrap. Essentialy it is an asian flavored taco using lettuce instead of a bread. You could cut the calories even more by using a lean chicken (or tofu), but even with ground pork each wrap is 240 calories. I can eat two wraps and a bowl of miso soup for less than 600 calories. The other great thing about the lettuce wrap is you can customize it to any kind of flavor. You could use fajita meat and pico de gallo for mexican wraps, or chicken and a bit of caesar dressing...hamburger meat, tomato, and cheddar for a burger. The kids like building them, but even if they weren't a fan, you could easily give them a tortilla to use instead of lettuce. Now, the average corn tortilla has 70 calories. You might be prone to saying go ahead and use the tortilla. But I figure lettuce has basically no calories. That 140 calories I would have had in tortillas equals a snack of apples and cheese later, or maybe some popcorn, or a glass of wine.
Here's what you need:
ground pork- roughly 4oz. per person
green leaf lettuce
4 carrots, cut into matchsticks
1 Tbs. peanut butter
chinese five spice
mirin or rice wine vinegar
1/4 c sugar
For the pickled carrots:
in a saucepan, combine 1/2 c white vinegar and 1/4 c sugar. Bring to a boil. Add carrot sticks. Cook 1 minute and turn off stove. Pour pickles carrots into container and chill.
For the pork:
Brown pork in a heavy pan. Drain off any fat. Add the chinese five spice, salt, and pepper. When almost finished pour in a bit of mirin to deglaze pan.
For the peanut sauce:
Combine peanut butter, 1/4 tsp soy sauce, and 1/4 c vinegar.
Let everyone make their own. Although you can wrap the lettuce, I found it was easiest to explain to the girls to eat them as they would a taco. Both girls devoured theirs. It also makes a great make-ahead meal since you could brown the meat and keep everything prepped in the fridge...great for a school night.