I was ready for something light and fresh.
Our family recently got back from taking a cruise vacation in the eastern Caribbean. It was our first cruise, and I was a bit intimidated as I was bringing the children. Big boat, on water for seven days, with kids. You see where I am going with that. I must admit, however, that it was probably one of the best vacations my family has ever taken. A boat. Wait, it was like a kid friendly Las Vegas, on water, but with super friendly staff. Everyone was smiling. Everyone was there for your service, and yes, there was a vast amount of food.
Being the foodie that I am, I was actually blown away by the amount of food. The moment you walk on the ship, food was every where. I mean every where. Burgers and real chicken tenders for the kids. A Mongolian wok for the adults, a burrito bar that was amazing, fish and chips, sushi at five, a pizza bar, a sandwich bar, and restaurants that were equipped with really great food. I was impressed, but come day six, I was ready to change it up! I will admit, it was pure gluttony, and at times, disappointing to see a lot of food around me going to waste, but I guess that is how it goes, and I had to forget about it.
I was ready to get back home. I missed cooking. I wanted something light, fresh, and quicker than waiting in a line on a cruise. I wanted something that my kids could all partake in, and hence a Greek lettuce wrap. Lettuce cups, noodles, grilled chicken (I knew my kids would eat all of that), and a really killer olive and vegetable mix. Put it all together, and as my wife said when I came home, “Wow, that was the best!”
- 2 roma tomatoes, cored, seeds and pulp removed, diced
- 1/4 red onion, diced small
- 1/2 green bell pepper, ribs cleaned, seeded, then dice
- 1 cucumber, peeled, seeds removed, diced
- 2 tbsp capers, diced
- 1/4 cup of Kalamata olives, chopped
- 3 oz Feta cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 lb angel hair pasta, cooked al dente
- 2 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, butterflied
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Iceberg lettuce, cored, soaked in cold water, drained
Start by marinating your chicken in the lemon juice, garlic powder, and olive oil. Coat everything, and set aside.
Next, make the Greek vegetable mix. Combine the feta cheese, tomatoes, red onion, green bell pepper, cucumber, capers, olives, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well, and place in a bowl in the refrigerator.
Cook your pasta in boiling, salted, water for about 4 minutes. Drain, and set aside in a bowl. During that time, core the head of lettuce by taking a knife at the base, moving in about two inches, and work around in a circle to remove the core. Soak in very cold water for about 5 minutes. Drain well, and carefully begin to remove the shells, or cups if you will.
Grill your chicken for about 7 minutes per side, or well, you know, cook it the way you grill your chicken. Sear them on high heat, rotate after a few minutes, flip, reduce the heat, and cook for about another 5-7 minutes on the other side. Just keep in mind the thickness of how you butterflied the chicken breast.
You are now golden and ready to serve. I go family style on this dish. Vegetable mix in a large bowl, pasta in another, sliced chicken breasts, and lettuce cups in another bowl.
To plate, grab a lettuce cup, place a bit of pasta in the base, top with some of the great vegetables, and place a few pieces of diced chicken. Fold, and get your game on. As my wife said, and as I watch her eat this as a snack, again tonight (must be good), “Wow, that was the best”.
Lettuce wraps are nothing but amazing. A palette for any artist.