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Lucky Lettuce Cups

“Me and my mom love to be in the kitchen! I was in Mandarin immersion at my school for three years, and when we had Chinese dumplings, I became interested in Chinese food,” recalls Cecily. “Mom and I experimented with these delicious Chinese-style lettuce cups. I love how the crunchy lettuce, peanuts, and veggies go with the tender rice. I like to have it with a side of grilled pineapple, Greek honey yogurt, and a good old glass of water!” - Cecily Asplund, age 10, Utah

Makes 4 servings


  • 2 tablespoons safflower oil
  • 3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced, plus 2 scallions sliced diagonally, for garnish
  • 1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup zucchini, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 1 cup yellow bell pepper, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 1 cup lightly salted roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup cooked short-grain brown rice
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot chile sauce (optional)
  • 1 head butter lettuce, washed and separated


  1. In a large sauté pan over moderate heat, warm 1 tablespoon oil. Add the chicken and sauté, stirring occasionally, until cooked through and brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Do not wash the pan.
  2. In the same pan over moderate heat, warm the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add the 4 thinly sliced scallions, along with the ginger and garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute. Add the zucchini, red and yellow bell peppers, peanuts, and rice, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Add the brown sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Add the cooked chicken, along with the soy sauce, vinegar, salt, and hot chile sauce, if using.
  3. Mound the rice and vegetable mixture in the middle of a large serving plate and garnish with diagonally sliced scallions. Surround the rice with lettuce cups. To serve, spoon the rice and vegetable mixture into lettuce cups and eat with your fingers, taco-style.

400 calories; 28g protein; 19g carbohydrates; 25 fat (3g saturated fat); 649mg sodium

More information about the Kids' State Dinner:

  • Check out the other winning 2013 Kids' State Dinner Recipes here.
  • Learn more about Kids' State Dinner here.