Tuesday, July 30, 2013

PF Chang's Veggie Style Lettuce Wraps!

As much as I came to desperately desire (circa 16 years old... can you tell I was a true rebel?!).... HA!, my family rarely ate together for dinner growing up.  Partly because my step-siblings lived with their mom and partly cause' dinner was usually fend-for-yourself after snobbishly vetoing my step-dad Gary's delicious, gourmet meals for my wanted Eggo waffles or Spaghetti-O's.... Oh yes, I know... I'm darned stubborn as all get out! 

Didn't we discuss that yesterday regarding my cravings and stubborn need to satisfy them A-S-A-P!....

Speaking of familia, happy belated birthday to my ma' gorgeous sista!
Visiting my sister in January of 2007! Seriously..... this picture is outrageously outdated!

However, there was an exception to our family meal debacle! Since we are a mixed family of step-siblings, when all 5 of us could manage it, we'd have a fairly usual (I'd say what, monthly?... what do you remember for those family readers?!) at our normal restaurants of Gary's choosin' as he knows his finger-lickin'-GOOD-food, let me tell ya'!... 

We'd regularly end up at either a) The Cheesecase Factory or b) P.F. Chang's

....Table for 7 please!

While at P.F. Chang's, Chicken Lettuce wrap appetizer orders in bulk were always a must, that we easily scarfed down wayyy before our main dish came. 

Sometimes, I felt shorted on my share of the lettuce wrap fillin' that I'd order another to have as my meal.... However, there was a gap of a time before Veggie Lettuce Wraps came on the menu + as many can agree, it can be greasy as all get up... who knows what's in there! EEK!

Do we not all auto-think of this visual... seriously?!


I'm really lovin' this Copycat week idea... as I tap my shoulder and silently say to myself...
Not even gonna lie, our house smelled the I was waiting for a table at PF Chang's, stomach grumblin' and nose-a-sniffin' while I made this De-LICK-licious copycat!.... 

Brilliant Katie... BRILL-IANT!!! ;)

We won't even discuss that fourth second helping of this recipe.....

Holy guacamole did I out-do ma' self this time... even a re-creation of their "Special Sauce" they bring to your table before you order anything (even sans any Lettuce Wraps) that we ask for a triple batch of since it takes about 2 people in my family to devour that deliciousness! 

.....And yes, PF Chang's does have a Vegetarian Lettuce Wrap, but it not only suffers the same greasiness many people (including ma' self) agree upon... but while they did a crazy good job, I have NO idea what is actualllllly in their recipe, so having a copycat version to make healthy at home gives me back that whole (what-is-in-there?!) control probs I feel at a restaurant cause' I made the darned thang... Win, win, more win!

... Even more PLUS, for any Vegan readers, make with Tofu and this is for you as well!!

P.F. Chang's Copycat "Chik'n" Lettuce Wraps + "Special Sauce"
Adapted from Food.com + Iowa Girl Eats
Serves 3-4

In the order for that De-LISH Special Sauce!
-1/2 cup warmed water
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 2 Tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoon rice cooking wine vinegar
- 1-2 Tablespoons organic Ketchup
- 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Tablespoon spicy mustard (optional, but good!)
- 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce (optional, but good!)

Coach's Orders!

1. Heat water until warm/hot, then whisk in the white sugar until dissolve and set aside.

2. Once room temperature, add soy sauce, rice cooking wine vinegar, ketchup, lemon juice, sesame oil, spicy mustard and chile garlic sauce. 

3. Whisk until well combined and then refrigerate to let the flava's combine before drizzling on top o' the fillin' for a special punch!

I know, I know!.... you may be thinkin', it's just a sauce on the side, why even bother?!.... But I'm tellin' ya, skip this step and you'll be missing out! Adds moisture, spice and everything you ever knew was nice ;) 

If you have a family of 10 and/or just don't have the time, no particular need for this, but it's crazily simple and quick if I haven't already convinced ya'!

... And now, ladies and gents!.... for the ultimate (protein, but veggie packed) fillin'!

In the order!

PS: While this may look long, the only thing I didn't already have on hand was green onions and the lettuce!, so don't shy away from what you'll probably find in the back of that pantry o' yours!...

Yupp... I'm talking to YOU!)

- Cupped lettuce leaves, rinsed (iceberg, romaine, Bibb)
- 5 Quorn Chik'n Cutlets, slightly thawed
- 1/2 onion, minced
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 3 teaspoons grated ginger
- 2 1/2 Tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
- 1 1/2 Tablespoon rice cooking wine vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 Tablespoon peanut butter
- 1/2 Tablespoon water
 - 1/2 Tablespoon Agave nectar
- 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
- 4 scallions/green onions, chopped
- 1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained & chopped
 - 3 Tablespoons peanuts, chopped

Let's start with the "Chik'n"! (.... and for any Vegan readers, substitute with your preferred tofu and voila!)

I used 5 Quorn cutlets to make enough for leftovers (....perhaps I was feelin' a wee bit confident this dish would turn out oober good!) for the next day.... and thank the Heavens I did come lunch next day!!!!! Wipeeee!

                                   Coach's Orders!
                                                                                                                                             1. Preheat large non-stick skillet over medium heat and cook cutlets lightly coated in non-stick olive oil spray and 1 teaspoon sesame oil until browned on both sides (about 5 minutes on each side). 
2. While Chik'n (or tofu) is cookin', prepare the sauce!  In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, rice cooking wine vinegar, peanut butter, sesame oil, water, agave nectar and chili garlic sauce.  

3. Heat up in the microwave for about 30 seconds to soften the peanut butter. 

 4. Whisk all the ingredients together until smooth... Is your mouth watering yet?!

Back to the Chik'n we go!

Mince the onion and let the cutlets cool enough to handle cutting into!

Cut up the Chik'n into as small of bits as you'd like, either chunky or super fine (if you want shredded like Chik'n, use a grater!) and add it all back into the large skillet, heat up to medium high heat!

Add the garlic and ginger, stir up and cook on medium high for about 3-5 minute. Then add THE! sauce... 

After stirring the sauce to cover all the fillin', add in the chopped green onion and water chestnuts and stir to combine! ---->

.... Last, but not least, for that much needed crunch, top and stir in the chopped peanuts!


Break off large lettuce bundles and lightly rinse, then topple on the fillin' to your heart's content!
... Finalllly! While this was ready in about 30-40 minutes and a super cinch, boy was the smell of these  crave-a-licious flava's cookin' away, chow time could NEVER have soon enough!

PLATE UP!.... of course with some special sauce on the side to drizzle as needed!

...... to which came next!

Roll er' up and face plant bite into this crave-a-licious perfection!


Crunch and freshness of the lettuce, moisture and spice from the special sauce, protein packed fillin' full of so many aromas and flavors (OY!)..... + grease-free, organic, healthy and meatless.... let's just say it! 


One bite in.... I was sure I fell asleep and woke up at P.F. Chang's... seriously, is someone playing a trick on me?! 

... and copycat week or not, if my not-so-much-on-the-asian-flavors husband devoured about 4 of these, I think it's a safe bet to give a go and save LOTS o' $$$!

ENJOY me fellow P.F. Chang Lettuce Wrap lovin' (or not) friends!


You can find me on:

Twitter: @IndysVeggieFix
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Monday, July 29, 2013

Welcome to Copycat Week!


Been wantin' to change it up before I got too far into this that there's no turnin' back!... And after thoughtful deliberation + conversations that went something like:

Alex: What about Indy's Veggie MIX?
Me: .... Then I sound like a DJ!
Alex: No, it's a play on words, like mixing up a dish....
Me: No, it sounds like I'm making my next DJ mix for da' club!
Alex: Okkkkayyy?..... So fix?
Me: Yes, like you're cravin' something from before you became a vegetarian or just something in general, and you finally find that craving fix-before-you-go-totally-freaking-NUTS!

..... Long pause.....

Me: Wow... I think I crave things more than all pregnant women combined....
Alex: Yeah, I'm a little scared for when you actually ARE pregnant!

THUS WAS BORN, Indy's Veggie Fix!, with a new URL and template updates throughout the month
to make this baby nice an' perdy for your viewin' pleasure :)

..... Okay, enough chit-chat, onto my latest veggie cravin' fix! ;)
SEE!....How perfect, huh!


It has been no secret from various previous posts that my Copycat rendition of the beloved Jimmy John's Vegetarian Sub became a must re-create-from-home-before-we-broke after I so excitedly scarily discovered they now deliver to our house and shellin' out $9 (including delivery tip)....

They have a fresh white bread sub version and a whole wheat/solid bread slice option (... I've tried both, but feel better opting for tha' healthier since I'm not controlling portion control of how much mayo they add... which is usually TOO much even when I ask for light mayo)... It's just a control thing...

OK! I'm admitting to the world.... I.JUST.NEED.CONTROL! ;)

So to break in the new name, I'm honoring all my craving fixes by declaring this as.... 

Meatless Copycat Week!

A week dedicated to re-creating restaurant foods I crave most, but could save money and/or make meatless by making them fresh from home!! Are you up for the challenge?!

Mine will may look more like a scary version this baby since I opted for the whole wheat bread option ------------------->
(**NOTE: Jimmy John's no longer serve sprouts on any sandwich as I neither did due to the various salmonella outbreaks associated with sprouts, as gosh darn good and crunchy as they are, better safe than sorry I say!)

Regardless, while I'm sure I will continue to keep Jimmy John's on speed dial on those crazy hectic days, this is a cinch to whip up and tastes so scarily similar to the #6 Vegetarian (FTW!)

 I did a little dance in the kitchen after my first bite.... then yelled to Alex of course to come try it out.... I wish I was joking!

Copycat Jimmy John's Vegetarian Sub
Serves 2-3 sandwiches

In the line up for the Avocado Spread!

- 1 medium, ripe avocado, pitted
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/4 cup onion
-  2-3 Tablespoons cherry tomatoes
- 2-3 Tablespoons peppers
- 3/4 teaspoon lime juice
- 1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- Dashes of crushed red pepper

Fresh from our garden!
Coach's Orders!

1. Pull out your ol' trusty food processor (the smaller version if you have one) and toss in the rinsed cherry tomatoes, peppers (de-seeded), garlic, and sliced onion. 

2.  Pulse several times, and push larger veggies down in between each pulse so all veggies get finely chopped up!

3. Slice open an avocado and carefullllly jab a sharp knife into the pit and twist a bit and it should prop right out!

4. Slice a spoon between the skin and slide all around until the inside scoops right out, into a small bowl!

5. Mash with a fork a bit, then pop into the food processor that has the veggies!

6. To the veggie and avocado mixture, add the fresh lime juice and about 1/8 teaspoon dry mustard (a wee secret ingredient!) to the food processor.

7. Pulse the food processor until a silky smooth consistency, like a mayo or mustard, but healthy!

Now the toppin's and sandwich makin'!
....which is ultimately up to YOU!, but I went classic style for my copycat!

- Solid sub bread or solid whole wheat bread slices 
(emphasis on solid to hold these spreads & toppins!)
........learned this the hard way the first go round'! Just sayin'
- 2 slices provolone cheese (per sandwich)
- Sliced cucumber
- Sliced tomatoes
- Shredded lettuce
- 1-2 Tablespoons light mayonnaise (per sandwich)
- 1-2 Tablespoons Avocado spread (per sandwich)

Start by lathering a healthy amount of the avocado spread onto a slice of whole wheat bread (I'd suggest a really thick and hearty sliced bread)!

Next, top with the sliced cheese 
Then add the the sliced cucumbers (from our garden, FTW!)

Next, top on the sliced tomatoes
Then heap on a good amount of shredded lettuce

Lather the other bread slice with mayo for the true copy-cat 
I used light mayo, but you could also double up on the avocado spread for a healthier option (or make vegan with sans provolone or a vegan cheese alternative) and still be DE-LISH!

.... And you know it wouldn't be a JJ's Sandwich without a classic pickle, am I right?!

SO good!!!....although you just can't beat JJ's bread when the cravin' is crazy!

Every layer is perfection and evenly laid out to get a little of each fresh ingredients in every chomp o' this sandwich!

Avocado spread makes enough for a second helping (FTW!).... which I may or may not have indulged in....

If you're on a budget and crave that JJ's as often as I do, here's an answer for ya' :)


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