Try Chicken Wraps

If the kids are telling you they’re dying of hunger and you’ve got only 30 minutes before you have to get junior to the soccer game, and you to the PTO meeting, don’t panic. You’ve got time to make chicken wraps, a fast, easy, healthy dinner recipe. Try the Asian chicken wraps accented with hoisin sauce, scallions and shredded cabbage, wrapped in a warm flour tortilla. Or perhaps you’d prefer Italian wraps redolent with garlic and onions, tomatoes and basil. Finally there’s South of the Border wraps. Add brown rice topped with peas and carrots to round out the meal. Serve fresh sliced fruit for dessert. Dinner is less than half hour away.

Get Started

Sauté 4 ounces of chicken breast for each serving. Slice the breast into 1/2 inch slices for quick cooking. If time is really short, use sliced roast deli chicken instead or shred the meat off a cooked rotisserie chicken.

Asian Wraps

Spread the flour tortilla with about one tablespoon of purchased hoisin sauce. Hoisin sauce is a dipping sauce that goes wonderfully with chicken. The flavor is sweet and tangy with a bit of smokiness. Children like it because the flavor isn’t overpowering.

Place about 1/4 cup of shredded cabbage and two thinly sliced scallions in the middle of each tortilla. Top with 2 ounces of the cooked chicken. Roll up burrito style.

Italian

When the chicken has just about finished cooking, add 1/2 thinly sliced onion and one small smashed clove of garlic to the pan for each 4 ounces of chicken. The onion and garlic should be cooked long enough to lose that raw taste.

Spread the flour tortilla with one tablespoon of purchased pizza sauce or tomato sauce. Add 1/4 cup of raw spinach leaves and the chicken. Top with 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Roll up and you’re good to go.

South of the Border

Inspired by the flavors of the Southwest. Chop one green pepper, two tomatoes, and one bunch of scallions for one pound of chicken. Add 1/4 cup of fresh lime juice. Mix in one teaspoon of cumin and 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro. Add from 1/4 teaspoon to one tablespoon of hot red pepper flakes depending on how spicy you like your food. If that’s too much trouble, substitute one cup of prepared salsa.

After the chicken has cooked, add the salsa. Cook a few minutes until the liquid has almost evaporated.

Spread the tortillas with two or three tablespoons of refried beans and top with the chicken-salsa mixture. Sprinkle grated cheddar cheese on top.

If you’d like to make these wraps ahead of time, make them enchilada style. Put the wraps into a baking dish you’ve sprayed with cooking spray. Top with enough enchilada sauce to cover. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the sauce rather than inside the wraps. Freeze or refrigerate. Defrost about 30 minutes before dinner time and pop into a preheated 350 F oven. Bake for 30 minutes until the cheese has melted and is gooey and the sauce is bubbling.

Six Layer Casserole


Six layer casserole stretches one pound of ground meat to feed six to eight people without anybody feeling deprived. Layers of potatoes, onions, carrots, celery and a green veggie are topped with ground meat and seasoned with herbs and spices. The juices of the meat intermingle with the vegetables and potatoes.

6 large potatoes
6 carrots
6 stalks celery
1 bunch of greens (chard, kale or spinach)
2 large onions
1 pound ground meat
vegetable oil
1 can condensed cream of mushroom, celery, chicken or tomato soup
seasonings
liquid

Scrub the vegetables and cut into 1/2 inch slices. Coat the bottom of an oven proof skillet or pot with oil. Layer all the vegetables except the onions into the pot. Sprinkle with onion and garlic powder, dried parsley, thyme and a pinch of rosemary. Go easy on the rosemary since it can overpower the other flavors. Salt and pepper to taste.

Crumble the raw ground meat over the vegetables. Use beef, pork, chicken or turkey or a combo of meats. Cover the meat with onion slices.

Add 1/2 cup of liquid — broth, beer, wine or water to the soup and pour over the casserole.

Place in a preheat 450 degree oven. Wait 15 minutes then lower to 350. Cover.

Bake for one hour until meat is cooked through and vegetables are soft.

Freshly baked biscuits are great for mopping up all the gravy.

Breakfast Biscuits and Gravy for Dinner

What could be better on a cloudy or rainy day than biscuits and gravy with scrambled eggs? Have them for breakfast, lunch or a quick supper. The biscuits are crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. You could make the gravy with just pan drippings and that’s how thrifty cooks do it. For a heartier dish make it with crumbled pork sausage with just a hint of sage, complemented by lots of freshly ground pepper.


Combine 1 3/4 cups flour with one tablespoon baking powder. Work in four tablespoons of cold butter or lard, using your fingers, two forks or a pastry cutter. When the fat has been incorporated into the flour and there aren’t any pieces bigger than a pea, add about 1/2 cup of milk, a little at a time. Exactly how much you add depends on how dry the flour is. You’re aiming for a dough that holds together but isn’t sticky. Use buttermilk instead of whole milk. Another option is to use a few tablespoons of sour cream or yogurt to replace a few tablespoons of the milk. It gives the biscuits a nice tang.

Roll out on a floured surface until the dough is 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick. Cut into rounds. Dip the biscuit cutter into flour every third or fourth biscuit. If you don’t have a biscuit cutter use a drinking or wine glass.

Bake in a preheated 425 degree Fahrenheit oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown.

The gravy is easy. Fry the sausage until it’s done. Add 1 tablespoon of flour for every cup of milk for the gravy. Put the milk and flour into a jar, put the lid on and shake like crazy.

Add a liberal amount of ground pepper to the pan. Let it heat for 20 or 30 seconds then add the gravy mixture.

Stir until the gravy comes to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for two minutes to get rid of the raw flour taste.

Split open the hot biscuits and pour over the gravy.

You can make this with crumbled drained bacon, chopped ham or if you’re in the mood for something spicy, chorizo sausage.

If you have any biscuits left over they make a wonderful fruit shortcake, much better than those spongy cake things. The biscuit soaks up the juices from the fruit. Cut up the fruit and add a few tablespoons of sugar. The sugar brings out the juice. Let set for an hour.

Split the biscuits. Add the fruit on top of the first half of the biscuit. Cover with the second half and add more fruit. Drown in whipped cream.

Devilishly Good Halloween Party Food

Halloween is a great time to host a party.One of the most enjoyable aspects of Halloween is the food. There are hundreds of recipes that have been specifically created for this spooky holiday. The following ideas will help you plan the yummiest menu possible.

Serve a minimum of sweet treats. You don’t want your guests suffering from ‘sugar overload’ during the party. To celebrate the occasion, serve chicken fingers with a blood (any red dipping sauce.) If you prepare them from scratch, it’s not hard to make them resembling the more human variety. Add a sliced almond for the finger nail for a realistic approach.

Another dish to try is to add equal parts red, blue, and yellow food color to spaghetti after it’s been cooked so it turns an ugly brownish color. Serve with a green pesto sauce and call it snakes in the swamp.

Make goofy eyeball meatballs. Shape seasoned ground meat into an oval with a flat top and bottom, bake until done. Cut a round circle out of mozzarella cheese about the size of a half dollar or one inch in diameter. Cut grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes into three slices. Cut black olives in half. Assemble the goofy eyeballs by placing a slice of cheese on the meatball, then a slice of tomato on the cheese and top with a black olive half. Vary the placement of the toppings so the eyeballs are looking in different directions.

If you will be serving punch, why not serve the ghoulish variety? Simply make your favorite punch and add a few ghoul hands. To make these hands, fill non-powdered rubber gloves with cranberry or other red juice. (Don’t overfill, the fingers of the glove should still move easily.)

Close gloves tightly with rubber bands and freeze flat on cookie sheets, which have been lined with paper towels. When ready to serve, open gloves with scissors and add to punch. You may want to break off one or two fingers and add them separately.

A fun punch can be with one quart of lime drink, one quart of lemon lime soda and one cup of lime sherbet. The sherbet should be added right before serving. Stir so the sherbet foams up a bit with the soda. Dust the foam lightly with cocoa powder to resemble dirt.

It’s not a good idea to use dry ice in your punch to make it smoke. Curious hands may try to touch the dry ice resulting in freezer burn. Instead place the dry ice in containers out of reach, such as the back of a table and you’ll still have the atmosphere of the smoky fog without the worry of accidents.

Keep the food simple and familiar but with a twist. Rename favorites in the Halloween theme. Use food coloring in blues, greens, and browns to alter the way a dish looks. Or use familiar food in unfamiliar ways. For example blanch a cauliflower head, break apart and then reassemble (this makes the cauliflower easier to serve) cover the cauliflower with ranch dressing then using ketchup in a squeeze bottle outline each floret with the ketchup so it looks like a brain.

; mso-paper-source:0;} div.WordSection1 {