It’s Saturday as I’m writing this, one thirty in the afternoon and it’s the first time I’ve sat down since I woke up this morning. Weekends are for relaxing (aren’t they? Or do I have that wrong?). My weekends are more work than my weekdays lately. I have two days to clean the house, run errands (grocery shopping), spend time with my toddler (who is a full-time job) and work on Love and Duck Fat.
On Sunday I cook as much as I can to make sure we have healthy, home-cooked meals for the week. This Thai beef lettuce wrap recipe is one of our new favorites.
Gluten-Free, Paleo, Real Food, Organic, Grass-fed…however you want to label them; these beef lettuce wraps are a delicious, healthy recipe to add to your weekday meal lineup. I like to make a double batch of the beef filling and use it for dinner one night, and then use the leftovers in an Asian beef salad the next day.
Beef lettuce wraps are light, flavorful and full of crunchy texture. They are easy to make too. I usually keep a few pounds of grass-fed, organic ground beef in my freezer to pull out for meals later in the week. Ground beef is one of those versatile, affordable staples that make a busy schedule just a little easier.
When life is busy (and a little overwhelming) in times like these, you know what I do? More!
Yep. I committed to working out 20 minutes a day on top of everything else so I can manage my stress and get in better shape. I’m almost through my first week, and it’s hard, but I need to do something for myself–even if a toddler is climbing all over me while I’m trying to do yoga.
It’s a lot to handle, and sometimes I think I should just quit Love and Duck Fat for a while—I mean, why am I here? I’m certainly not getting paid (much beyond expenses) for my time, and blogging takes a LOT of my time. There’s recipe creating, cooking, photographic, photo editing, writing, social media promotion, emails to answer, blog maintenance.
I’m not complaining. After all, I started this blog and I’m very proud of it. I’m compelled to keep doing it—and maybe someday it will lead to something that would make the hours worthwhile in a more monetary sense. That would be nice…to be valued enough for what I do to get paid for it so I don’t have to go to that OTHER job where I feel like what I’m doing could be done by anyone.
Love and Duck Fat is all mine, and that’s why I’m taking the few quiet moments of my day (when my son is napping) to sit here and share this Thai beef lettuce wrap recipe with you. I would love to hear what you think about handling a busy schedule, priorities and blogging. You do you do it? Please share in the comments!
Rinse the lettuce leaves and pat dry, keeping them whole by cutting the stalk and peeling away the leaves one by one.
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan and add the chili flakes and ginger. Cook for 1 minute until fragrant but not brown. Add the onion and carrot and cook for 5-6 minutes, until soft. Add the beef and sauté beef until nearly cooked. If using Grass-Fed beef it is usually lower in fat and you may not need to drain the grease.
Add the garlic, water chestnuts, mushrooms, soy sauce, fish sauce to the beef mixture. Cook until mixture is lightly browned.
Cut half the lime and squeeze juice over the beef mixture. Slice the remaining lime and use as garnish. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.
Garnish with scallions and serve with lettuce leaves and optional dipping sauce.
Mix all ingredients together and stir until combined. Garnish with scallions.
Picadillo is a Spanish dish made with ground meat and other ingredients. It’s popular in many Latin American countries, each having their own variation. Living in Miami, I grew up with Cuban picadillo. Cuban picadillo is a mixture of ground beef, onions, garlic, oregano, olives, raisins and a touch of tomato sauce. It’s a hefty meal, usually served with a big portion of black beans and rice, and some sweet plantains, or plantanos maduros.
I love the rich flavor of picadillo. It’s an easy, one-pot dish that feeds a whole family. I don’t love how heavy it is, almost completely lacking in vegetables. Instead, I make a healthier spinach picadillo, packed with spinach, green pepper, celery and peas. It’s loaded with flavor and something every member of the family will love—even the picky little ones. You can serve it with white or brown rice and even substitute the ground beef for turkey.
Feel free to play around with this recipe. It’s very forgiving and you can add or substitute your favorite ingredients. I’ve made it with ground turkey instead of ground beef and it’s just as good. Lately, I make it with grass-fed organic ground beef, which is lower in saturated fat and contains 2-3x the amount of Omega 3, CLA, beta-carotene and lutein than regular beef.
I hope you enjoy this recipe for spinach picadillo as much as we have. It’s one of the few dishes I make again and again and I’m so happy to finally share it with you on Love and Duck Fat!
Heat the oil in a large saucepan on medium-high heat. Add the ground beef. Chop up the beef with a spatula as it cooks, turning often. Add the onion, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, oregano and cayenne pepper. Cook about 8-10 minutes, until the onions are soft but not brown.
Add the olives, olive juice, celery, bay leaf tomato sauce, raisins, white wine and broth to the pan and bring to a simmer, stirring to combine. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 30 minutes.
Uncover and increase heat to medium. Add lime juice and spinach. Cook for another 5-10 minutes uncovered or until mixture reduces to desired consistency. Stir and season to taste. Add peas just before serving. Remove bay leaf and serve with rice and an avocado salad.