1/3/17 ChefElla's Chicken Fajita Lettuce Wraps

During the new year many people make plans to exercise more, eat better, and just get healthier.  While these are great goals, not everyone you cook for may want to make the same changes.  So why not start with a few small changes that everyone can agree on.  For example, in my Chicken Fajita Lettuce Wraps I added beans for good carbohydrates, substituted lettuce for high calorie tortillas, and left all of the great flavors in the rest of the meal.  And if one of your friends or family does not like lettuce they can eat their Fajitas with rice, tortillas, or corn chips.

1.     Wash your hands.

2.     For this recipe you will need measuring cups and spoons, a knife and cutting board, a medium bowl, a small bowl, a mixing spoon, a large sauté pan and the stove.

If you are not allowed to use a knife or the stove by yourself, you can ask an adult for help.

ChefElla’s Chicken Fajita Lettuce Wraps (4-6 servings)

1 lb.                   Chicken Breast or Tenders, Small Dice (Bite sized pieces)

1 ½ Cup             Onion, Red or White, Small Dice (about 1 medium onion)

1 ¼ Cup              Green Pepper, Small Dice (about 1 large green pepper)

1 Can                  Pinto Beans, Drained and Rinsed (16 oz. Can)

1 Can                  Tomato Sauce (15 oz. Can)

1 pkg.                  Taco Seasoning, Low Sodium

2 Tbl.                   Olive Oil

2 Heads              Boston Bibb or Romaine Lettuce

Avocado Cilantro Sour Cream

8 oz.                     Light Sour Cream

1 ea.                      Avocado, Small Dice

¼ Cup                   Cilantro, Minced (1/4 cup of leaves packed)

½ tsp                     Salt, Sea or Kosher

3.     Prepare onions and peppers and put into your medium bowl.  Clean and mince cilantro and put into your small bowl for later.  Cut up the chicken breast.  By cutting your chicken last you can use your cutting board and knife for multiple tasks without needing to change it out or clean it.

4.     Heat your sauté pan on high heat.  Add 1 tablespoon of oil and the onions and peppers to the pan.  Mix well to coat with the oil.  Turn the pan to medium high heat.  Cook for 3-5 minutes stirring occasionally or until the vegetables begin to brown.  Return the vegetables back to the bowl and return the sauté pan to the stove on medium high heat.

5.     Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan and add the chicken pieces.  Mix well to coat with oil and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Mix chicken and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

6.     Add taco seasoning, tomato sauce, cooked vegetables, and pinto beans to the chicken.  Mix well turn the heat to medium and cook for 5-7 minutes stirring occasionally so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.

7.     Turn the fajita mix to low until you are ready to eat.

8.     In your small bowl with the cilantro add your sour cream and salt.  Cut the avocado in half by slowly cutting around the pit.  Remove the pit and slice the avocado half in the pod into thin slices.  Turn the avocado 90 degrees and slice into thin slices again.  Repeat this process with the other half of the avocado.  Scoop the avocado into the sour cream with a spoon.

9.     Using a table fork mix the sour cream and avocado.  Mash the avocado against the side of the bowl so that it mixes into the sour cream as you blend it.

10.  Clean your lettuce by removing the lettuce leaves from the stem.  Carefully wash the leaves and let them dry on a clean dish towel. 

11.  Assemble your fajitas by scooping 2-3 tablespoons of the fajita mixture into a lettuce cup.  Top with avocado sour cream.  Eat it just like a taco.

If not everyone at your house likes lettuce wraps, simply serve the fajita mix over rice, as nachos, or on a tortilla.  This recipe is also great for lunch the next day or as a salad.



Ella’s Helpers

ChefElla’s helpers can help by:

Measuring the ingredients

Mixing the avocado cilantro sour cream

Picking the cilantro leaves

Pulling the lettuce apart

Older helpers can help by:

Dicing vegetables

Cooking the fajita mixture

6/14/16 ChefElla's Tikka Masala Chicken Pizza

It can be fun taking one kind of food and serving it in a new and fun way.  Normally you do not serve Indian food as a pizza, but traditional Naan bread really makes a great pizza crust, and Tikka Masala Chicken makes a flavorful topping.  Add a little Mexican cheese and you have a fun new way to serve dinner.  Of course if you do not want to make your Tikka Masala chicken into a pizza you can just forget the cheese and serve it with rice and a side of Naan.

1.     Wash your hands.

2.     For this recipe you will need measuring cups and spoons, a knife and cutting board, a medium bowl, a large sauté pan, a heat proof spatula or wooden spoon, the stove, and the oven.

If you are not allowed to use the stove or oven by yourself you can ask an adult for help.

ChefElla’s Tikka Masala Chicken Pizza (4 servings)

1 lb.                 Chicken, Breast Meat or Tenders, Medium Diced (bite sized pieces)

2 Tbl.              Vegetable Oil

1 Cup               White Onion, Small Diced (About 1 small onion)

1 Tbl.                Garlic, Fresh, Minced (about 3 cloves)

14 oz.               Tomatoes, Petit Diced Tomatoes (1 Can)

½ Cup              Yogurt, Plain (1 single serve package, do not use greek yogurt)

¼ Cup               Cilantro Leaves, Minced

2-3 Tbl.             Lemon Juice (about ½ of a lemon)

                         -To get the most juice out of the lemon microwave it for 15-20 seconds first.

1 pkg                 Naan Bread (4 small or 2 large pieces)

                          -You can generally find this in the deli or bakery section of your grocery store.

4 oz.                  Cotija or Queso Fresco Cheese, Crumbled (about 1 oz. per pizza)

1 tsp                   Salt, Kosher or Sea

1 tsp                   Coriander, Ground

1 tsp                   Cumin, Ground

2 tsp                   Turmeric, Ground

1 tsp                   Garam Masala

  -if you would prefer to make your own garam masala there are many recipes you   can find online or in an Indian cookbook.

3.     In your medium bowl add chicken pieces, garlic, onion, and vegetable oil and mix well.

4.     Heat your sauté pan on medium high heat.  Add your chicken mixture.  Spread evenly over the bottom of the pan.  Cook for 2-3 minutes to brown the chicken.  Mix the chicken and cook for 2-3 more minutes.

5.     Add salt, coriander, cumin, turmeric, and garam masala.  Mix well.  Add your tomatoes, yogurt, and minced cilantro to the pan and mix well.  Turn the heat to medium low and cook for 5-7 minutes stirring occasionally.  The sauce will thicken but you do not want the Tikka Masala to stick to the bottom of the pan.

6.     Pre-heat your oven to 375F.

7.     Remove the sauce from the heat and mix in your lemon juice.   Let the sauce cool for 5-10 minutes.

8.     Divide your Tikka Masala evenly over your Naan bread.  Top the Naan pizzas with your cheese and bake for 20-25 minutes.  You can bake the pizzas directly on the oven racks, or if you prefer, you can bake them on a cookie sheet.  If you bake your pizza on a cookie sheet it may need a few more minutes in the oven.

9.     Remove the pizzas from the oven and top with a few fresh cilantro leaves.  Slice and serve.

If Tikka Masala pizza does not sound good to you, simply serve the Tikka Masala with a nice basmati or jasmine rice.  You will not need the cheese, but you can serve the Naan warmed on the side.



Ella’s Helpers

ChefElla’s helpers can help by:

Measuring out ingredients

Mixing the chicken, onion, and garlic in the bowl

Assembling the pizzas

Older helpers can help by:

Adding the ingredients to the sauté pan

Cooking the Tikka Masala

Assembling and baking the pizzas