Asian Lettuce Wraps & Lemon Buttercream Cupcakes

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Love, love, love, lettuce wraps.

This recipe makes a double batch. However, there are only two of us, so if you have a large family of 4 or more, the entire recipe will be perfect. We eat about half and I freeze the other half for another dinner or lunch.

Lettuce wraps are also great for an appetizer party. My aunt puts the meat in a crockpot and just places the lettuce cups next to it. Everyone can serve themselves.

Did you know that PF Chang’s has gluten-free lettuce wraps? They have an entire gluten-free menu if you’re interested. Make sure when you order that you double-check that the condiments they bring to the table are also gluten-free.

Asian Lettuce Wraps

*This recipe is adapted from my aunt, Judy Zumeks’ recipe.

14 Boneless, Skinless, Chicken Thighs (sounds like a lot but they are small – you can also use ground turkey or pork)

1 Green Bell Pepper, finely diced (I had green, you can also use red, yellow, or orange)

4 Garlic Cloves, minced

2 Tablespoons Freshly Grated Ginger

1 Jalapeno, seeds removed and diced

4 Green Onions, thinly sliced

1 8oz Can Water Chestnuts, drained and chopped

 8 Tablespoons Sweet Chili Sauce

3 Tablespoons Fish Sauce (make sure it’s gluten-free)

3 Tablespoons Sesame Oil

7 Tablespoons Soy Sauce (I use gluten-free Tamari sauce)

3 Tablespoons Sriracha Sauce

4 Tablespoons Fresh Cilantro, chopped

Olive Oil

Iceberg Lettuce (or any type of lettuce you like, I like the iceberg because it’s firm and crisp)

In two batches, place the chicken thighs in a food processor and pulse until “ground”.  I thought I had ground turkey in the freezer but I did not, so this is what I settled with and I am so happy I did! It’s incredibly easy to “grind” and less expensive than buying organic ground meat. I will never buy ground chicken, turkey, or pork again.

Place the ground meat (both batches) in a bowl and add the bell pepper, garlic, ginger, jalapeno, and green onions.

Stir to combine. Drizzle the olive oil in a large skillet and heat on medium-high. Add the chicken mixture and cook until meat is done. It will turn a pale color, don’t cook it until it is browned, the garlic will burn and the chicken will be tough. Once the chicken is done, add the chili sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce, sriracha, water chestnuts, and cilantro. Stir to combine and simmer for 10 minutes.

This meal was incredibly easy so right after dinner I even had time to make my Lemon Buttercream Cupcakes for dessert. (Of which my husband and I ate 3 each and then were so loaded up on sugar we couldn’t sleep. Two is perfect…three might have been just one too many. But they were so good!)

Lemon Buttercream Cupcakes

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These are wonderful, light and lemony! A perfect dessert after homemade gluten-free, dairy-free chicken potpie. I didn’t take photos of the potpie because I ran out of daylight…however, I do plan to make individual potpies in the future to pop in the freezer. Stay tuned and I promise I’ll try to make them and get them posted in the next couple of weeks.

Lemon Buttercream Cupcakes

1 15oz. Box Betty Crocker Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix

1/2 Cup Dairy Free Butter

2/3 Cup Water

3 Eggs

1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

1 teaspoon Pure Lemon Extract

Rind of 1 Lemon

3/4 Cup Dairy Free Butter

3 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar

1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt

2 teaspoons Pure Lemon Extract

1 teaspoon Pure Almond Extract

Rind of 1 Lemon, Plus More For Tops of Cupcakes

2 Tablespoons Non-Dairy Creamer

Preheat oven to 350 degrees for conventional 325 degrees for convection (I use convection)

For The Cake Batter:

Cream butter in a mixer on medium, scraping down once, until light and fluffy. With the mixer on medium, add the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. Add the cake mix, both extracts, lemon rind, and water. Mix on low for 30 seconds, scrape down bowl. Mix on medium for 2 minutes, scraping bowl at the 1 minute mark.

Line 12 (I only got 11 cupcakes out of the mix) muffin tins with paper and fill each muffin cup 3/4 of the way.

Bake in pre-heated oven for 19 minutes (convection)  or until the middles are just done. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before frosting on wire rack.

For The Buttercream:

Cream butter in a mixer on medium, scraping down sides once, until light and fluffy. Turn off mixer and add the powdered sugar, sea salt, lemon rind, and both extracts. Mix until it comes together, it will be lumpy.

Slowly add the creamer 1 teaspoon at a time while the mixer is on medium. Once all of the creamer has been added, mix for 1 minute

*I like to do a crumb coat (even on cupcakes), then pipe mine or spread more frosting over the top.

Sprinkle with lemon rind to finish.