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Weekday Dinner Inspirations: Sweet Pork Lettuce Wraps and more

Mon | Raise the bar

We're having a Greek Potato Bar tonight. Bake as many potatoes as you have diners. Saute grape tomatoes in extra-virgin olive oil and season with dried oregano, coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Let cook until tomatoes soften. Top baked potatoes with tomato mixture, plus feta cheese crumbles and chopped kalamatas.

Tues | Wrap it up

There was a time that lettuce wraps were all the rage. That's when low-carb diets had come back with a vengeance. That trend has faded a bit, but that's no reason to forsake the low-carb wrap. Sweet Pork Lettuce Wraps (recipe below) are good for a quick-fix dinner, plus are fun for kids.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

Carve up the bird and serve it with sauteed spinach that's finished with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Make a quick Waldorf Salad of chopped apples and celery, halved red grapes and toasted walnuts. Dress with mayonnaise that has been mixed with more lemon juice.

Thurs | Marriage of convenience

Make Italian Wedding Soup by bringing 8 cups of chicken broth to a boil with a rind of Parmesan (optional). Add 1 pound mini frozen meatballs, 1 cup orzo and 3 cups torn greens (escarole or spinach). Simmer until orzo is tender and meatballs are heated through. Nice crusty bread and a whole lot of comfort.

Fri | Maxi-skirt

Skirt steak has plenty of flavor and, as beef goes these days, is fairly economical. Cook it on the grill and serve with an Argentinian chimichurri sauce that you make in the blender by combining 4 peeled garlic cloves, 1/2 cup olive oil, kosher salt and 1 tablespoon dried oregano. Use some of the sauce to flavor the meat before it goes on the grill. To the rest of the sauce, add 1 bunch parsley, minus stems, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar and a pinch or two crushed red pepper flakes and whirl to blend. Serve with onion rings and a green salad.

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Sweet Pork Lettuce Wraps

2 medium garlic cloves, minced, divided use

1 tablespoon olive oil

3/4 pound ground pork

1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

2 tablespoons brown sugar

3 tablespoons soy sauce, divided use

8 to 10 sturdy Bibb or romaine lettuce leaves

1 carrot, shredded

1 cucumber, peeled and julienned

Chopped peanuts

2 tablespoons sugar

4 tablespoons lime juice

In a skillet over medium-low heat, cook half of the minced garlic in the oil until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Add the pork, five-spice powder, brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce. Raise heat to high and cook until the pork is browned, 8 to 10 minutes.

Scoop the pork mixture into the lettuce leaves. Garnish with the carrot, cucumber and peanuts.

Combine the sugar and lime juice with the remaining garlic and soy sauce to make the dipping sauce.

Serves 4. (Recipe can be easily doubled.)

Source: Time for Dinner: Strategies, Inspiration, and Recipes for Family Meals Every Night of the Week by the editors of Cookie magazine (Chronicle, 2010)

Weekday Dinner Inspirations: Sweet Pork Lettuce Wraps and more 09/21/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 4:30am]
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