I’ve had a head of live butter lettuce in the fridge for the last week staring me down. Actually I got two heads from a Bountiful Basket a little over a week ago. Last week I used one to make a PF Chang Chicken Lettuce Wrap copy cat recipe. I didn’t want to make the same thing again so soon, nor did I want to go to the store if I didn’t have to. You see every once in a while I try to eat as much of the week out of the pantry and freezer, along with my co-ops of course, as I can. I have to get creative with dinner to do that.
Budgeting tip for the day: This one is pretty obvious I know. Spoiled food is wasted money. It is a rule we try to break as little as possible around here (Yes, crazy weeks happen, mom gets sick, the rule gets broken). Sometimes I don’t get to eat what I’m craving for dinner, but over time I’ve disciplined myself to eat what is there rather than run out and get something fast or easy. My kids are beginning to understand that, too. It goes against our fast food culture, but when your allergies keep you from eating the fast food, it helps to change your perspective on the matter. Honestly, when it comes to fasting seasons, I think our allergies become a blessing in disguise.
Tonight I had to use that lettuce before it went bad. I also had some celery that was threatening to look sad. This is a recipe I’ve made before with lamb and without the celery. I wrapped it in grape leaves and served it with Greek salad while we were studying Greece in our homeschool Geography studies. Today’s variation was tasty, too.
Spiced Beef and Rice Lettuce Cups
3 cups dry brown basmati rice, cooked according to package instructions
1 lb ground beef (ground lamb would be good, too)
2-3 T olive oil
3 cloves garlic minced (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
1/2 medium onion, diced
3 stalks celery thinly sliced
1 cup pine nuts (Left over from Pascha! You could toast them in a dry skillet first, but I always forget this step.)
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
salt to taste
Live butter lettuce, washed and dried
Put rice on to cook.
Heat oil in large pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, celery, and onions. Lightly salt. Saute until almost translucent.
Add ground beef, allspice, and nutmeg. Cook until browned throughout.
Stir in pine nuts and cooked rice. Serve in lettuce cups.