Friday, March 4, 2016

March Madness Twist

Mexican flair meets an Asian dish to equal a healthy meal

Healthy Southwestern Chicken Taco Wraps
Cook's notes: The wraps are an easy party appetizer or make them for a fast, fun, and healthy dinner or lunch. They’re ready in 10 minutes and sure to be a crowd favorite. Soft butter lettuce (you could also use romaine) holds taco-seasoned chicken, juicy tomatoes and corn, crisp bell peppers, and cheese. You can customize the wraps by incorporating ingredients like black beans, guacamole, salsa, sour cream, or your favorite taco fixings. The recipe comes from and serves 4. 
Kitchen tip: To make assembly easier prep all the ingredients ahead. 
  • 2 TB. olive oil
  • 1 LB. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
  • 1-2 TB. taco seasoning mix (look for a low sodium package)
  • Southwest chunky salsa  
  • 1 head butter lettuce or romaine
  • 1 medium tomato, diced small (I used Roma, vine-ripened or cherry tomatoes may be substituted)
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced small
  • 1/2 cup corn (I used frozen, fresh could be substituted)
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (I used a Mexican blend of cheese)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup seasoned low fat tortilla chips, crushed 
  • 1/2 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed, optional
  • 1 cup red onion diced, optional 
  • 1 medium Hass avocado, peeled and diced or make into guacamole, optional
  • salsa and low fat sour cream for garnishing
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook for about 5 minutes, flipping and stirring so all sides cook evenly. After the chicken has cooked through, evenly sprinkle chicken with taco seasoning and a few tablespoons of salsa. Stir to evenly coat. Cooking time will vary based on thickness of chicken breasts and sizes of pieces. Allow chicken to rest in pan off the heat while you prep the remaining ingredients.
  • Peel off the leaves of the butter lettuce from the core and stack them on a plate.
  • Place 2 leaves of butter lettuce on a separate plate (I like to double up the leaves so the wraps are sturdier) and add about 3 tablespoons chicken mixture, 1 tablespoon tomatoes, 1 tablespoon bell peppers, 1 tablespoon corn, 2 tablespoons cheese, a pinch of cilantro, and sprinkle with tortilla chips to taste. Optional items include: black beans, avocado or guacamole, salsa and lite sour cream for garnishing. Repeat until chicken and remaining ingredients are gone. Wraps are best served fresh.

gleaner -someone that cleans up the scraps in a field after a harvest gathering the ripe fruits and vegetables.
Ever wonder what all these residents in Green Valley, AZ do with excess ripe fruits that need to be picked from their trees? A recent discovery for me is I found excess fruit is donated to the local food banks. Gleaners/volunteers will come to your house, pick ripe fruit from overloaded trees and deliver to food banks. The trouble is that in this area there is a shortage of gleaners/volunteers as hundreds of trees get heavier with fruit each day. Volunteers or gleaners have declined over the years due to aging volunteers who are unable or unwilling to climb ladders or do manual labor. 
Its a real shame as I pass by many homes on my walks that are just loaded with fruits ready to pick. BUT I did resist the temptation to pick!

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