Asian Lettuce Wraps & Lemon Buttercream Cupcakes


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!)

Can’t Get Enough Chicken Wings


Yes, I admit it. If I wasn’t gluten and dairy-free, I would probably eat at happy hour in a bar at least twice a week. I love bar food. I love “snackie” type food. Just because I live a dairy-free and gluten-free life, have a food blog, and love to cook and bake, doesn’t mean that my tastes are refined. (If I could, I would add a snicker and a giggle right here.) As a matter of fact, I also liked the fried chicken, the burritos, the mashed potatoes with chunks of hamburger, and the soggy green beans and corn they served us in grade school. Prior to my healthier gluten-free and dairy-free life, I was even known to eat a corn dog from a gas station every now and then. So sue me, I still have a hankering for all things trashy.

This recipe is a healthier version of chicken wings than what you might sometimes find at happy hour though. Fresh ginger, green onion, garlic…an Asian twist served alongside rice and stir fried broccoli, carrots, and mushrooms. Not quite the trashy gas station corn dog I sometimes crave (a lot) or those amazing mashed potatoes with hamburger gravy, but delicious just the same.

Wings With a Twist 

3 – 1.5 lb Packages of Party Wings

3 Green Onions, sliced

1 Heaping Tbsp. Cilantro, chopped

About an Inch of Fresh Ginger, finely grated

Zest of 1 Lime

2 Whole Limes, juiced

1 Jalapeno, diced, seeds and membrane intact

3 Cloves of Garlic, diced

1/3 Cup Dark Brown Sugar

1 Tbsp. Sriracha Hot Sauce

Couple Small Drizzles of Sesame Oil

1/4 Cup Rice Vinegar

1/4 Cup Gluten-Free Soy Sauce

Place all of the ingredients above, minus the chicken, into a large bowl.

Whisk together until the brown sugar is dissolved. Add the chicken and toss well.

Cover, refrigerate, and marinate for at least 3 hours. Toss a couple of times in between.

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with alluminum foil. Place chicken wings in rows and drizzle with remaining marinade.

Bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes, turning once. Then, broil for about 15 minutes until carmelized, turning once for a total of about 7 or 8 minutes on each side.

I served them with a side of rice and stir fried veggies.