Homemade Taco Crunch Wraps – Success! (but not before a fail!)

We’ve fallen into a rut of ‘typically expected’ weekly meals – pasta one day, burgers the next, chicken on another day, even a little breakfast for dinner now and then, but tacos – those are always on a Tuesday. This week, I decided to switch that up a bit and try to make one of my favorite things from Moe’s Southwest Grill – they call it a Stack!

They describe a Stack as “Our Take on a Southwest Wrap: soft on the outside, crunchy on the inside, it’s like a quesadilla and a hard taco had a baby”. Image credit, Moe’s Southwest Grill

The way I see it, a Stack, or Crunch Wrap as Taco Bell calls theirs, is basically a hard shell taco that’s split, filled, and wrapped in a giant tortilla. In any case, the crunch on the inside and the warm wrapper on the outside makes for a great, filling meal that’s fun to just pick up and eat. What’s also nice is that you can fill it with anything you like – in this week’s version, I made mine with ground turkey meat instead of beef, and added a standard taco seasoning, shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa and guacamole. I also added a little shredded lettuce, but found that it got too warm and soggy in the grilling process so ended up picking it out as I ate. I think it would be great to experiment with fillings (as you could with any regular taco or burrito situation) – maybe use shredded up rotisserie chicken for a quick version, or ground beef or shredded pork… even just a plain cheese and vegetable one for the non-meat eaters out there. The possibilities are really endless!

My instructions below are simply for the assembly – be creative!

What you need:
– Protein like chicken, ground turkey, ground beef cooked in your favorite taco seasoning
– Shredded cheese
– Toppings like: sour cream, guacamole, salsa, black beans, refried beans, jalapenos, etc.
– Large flour tortillas (like burrito size wrappers)
– Tostadas, I found mine in the Taco section of the supermarket
– Griddle or large fry pan

How To:
1. See the above photo set of the process, but it goes like this…
2. Have all of your filling ingredients ready to go.
3. Don’t make the mistake I made! ++FAIL ALERT CENTER PHOTO++ I thought by assembling on the hot griddle, the wraps would get softer and easier to handle – NOPE! The wraps got crispy very fast and were impossible to fold over since they shrunk a bit as they got hotter, leaving the tostada exposed. Do all of your assembly on a plate, then move to the griddle for the final crisping.
4. Heat up your griddle or pan.
4. Layer in this order: tortilla, tostada in the middle, cheese, meat (or extra cheese), toppings, cheese again, then a final tostada on top.
5. Fold the tortilla up and around the middle until you get it as tightly closed as possible and grill folded side down to seal it all in. Flip when lightly browned and enjoy!

The end result is a warm, slightly chewy/crispy outside and a nice crunch inside – full of your favorite filling. Let me know in the comments what combos you come up with!

Copycat PF Chang’s Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps!

Inspired by a recipe I found online by Damn Delicious, these copycat PF Chang’s Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps were a huge hit with my family! I tweaked the recipe a bit based on what I had on hand and was super-impressed with the results. PS: Don’t let the 1lb of chicken fool you, this recipe will definitely serve 4 hungry people. We ate ours with roasted veggies and they were perfect as a main dish, not to mention the one-pan convenience made for an easy clean-up!

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

These wraps are great if you’re trying to mix it up a bit with your dinner routine. I mean, how can you keep everyone happy with the same rotation of chicken, beef and pork? I added extra ginger to my recipe, that hot sweetness is so satisfying! I also chose to serve in Romaine lettuce for its crunch; alternately, butter lettuce works great if you prefer to wrap up your wraps more than me (I’m an open-faced everything fan). Comment below if you make this, I would love to know what you think!

Copycat Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Serves: 4
Start to finish: about 25 minutes

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground chicken
2 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 tablespoon of minced garlic in a jar)
1 yellow onion, diced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger + 1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 8oz can whole water chestnuts, drained and diced
1-2 heads Romaine Lettuce, washed and dried
How to:
1. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add ground chicken and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the chicken as it cooks.
2. Stir in garlic, onion, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, fresh and ground ginger, and saute until onions have become translucent, about 1-2 minutes.
3. Stir in water chestnuts and cook until until tender, about 1-2 minutes.
4. To serve, spoon several tablespoons of the chicken mixture into the center of a lettuce leaf. Roll up and enjoy!

Roasted Veggies (for those interested): Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Take your favorite FROZEN veggies and fill up a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with your favorite seasoning. I use Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning on everything! Roast 35-40 minutes until veggies get brown, crispy edges.