Thursday, July 9, 2009

Asian American Chicken-Vegetable Wraps

I am such a lazy cook that I always look for ways to shorten cooking times. You see, I am one of those virtual work warriors that has a home office. Working out of the house isn't that easy. Telecommuting means working during odd hours of the day --- and night.

During one of my sojourns to DELI 4 U, an ethnic Polish deli across the street from our home, I discovered some amazing delectable and affordable food products, even if I don't read or speak Polish. I thought, "Wow, this must be how non-Filipinos feel when they go inside Seafood City!" Sometimes, I'm the only Asian who stalks the aisles of this deli. The owners and staff make me feel at home. I oftentimes ask my husband to buy my favorite Seaweed Salad that is spiked with sesame seeds and sliced chilis. Apparently, the deli's staff knows all about my esoteric, healthy favorites. Don't get me going about their homemade poppysead bread and their fabulous chicken sausages, Italian style. Mamma Mia!

Last week, I bought some of their skinless chicken breasts. They weren't like the ones you get at Costco --- flash-frozen, skinless, and skinny. These chicken breasts were fresh, thick and juicy!

I had defrosted the chicken breasts yesterday. I also promised my husband that I would cook more healthy meals so this was my chance to prepare another simple meat-and-vegetable dish for us. I didn't tell my husband that I was SO tired after working more than 12 hours. So, I looked at the freezer and found a package of stir-fry vegetables from Deli 4 U. It said: Warzywa na patelnie z cukinia i ryzem, Stir-fry vegetables with Courgette and Rice. Brand name: Fritar. Weight: 480 grams. It came with a dry spice packet which I decided not to use for my recipe.

As it turned out, my husband enjoyed his meal. Lucky me, I earned brownie points especially since he is quite a competitive cook and fastidious diner.

Here is the recipe I created. Four large servings as a one-meal dish and most likely good for eight to 10 wraps. Each tortilla is 190 calories each. Add the chicken and vegetables --- and I'm sure we have a filling, healthy meal or snack for under 450 calories per wrap!


The chicken-vegetable dish:

2 tbsps. extra-virgin olive oil (Kirkland brand, from Costco)
1 chicken breast, sliced into 3/4" cubes (from Deli 4 U)
2 tsps. or more of Emeril's Asian Essence
1/2 cup whole fancy Cashew Nuts (Kirkland brand, from Costco)
1 package frozen stir-fry vegetables, about 1 lb. or 480 gms. (from Deli 4 U)
1 tbsp. soy sauce (Sempio Soy Sauce, from a Korean store)
1 tbsp. rice cooking wine (salt added rice cooking wine, from a Korean store)
salt to taste (I use Alessi 100% Mediterranean sea salt, Sale Marino, from Trader Joe's)


A package of El Milagro Harina/Flour Tortillas (10 count). I buy mine at a Mexican grocery.


1. Slice the chicken breasts into cubes and coat with Emeril's Asian Essence spices.

2. Open a package of stir-fry vegetables. Do not use the spice packet that comes with it.

3. In a large alumimum or teflon-type frying pan or saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the oil.

4. Stir-fry the chicken cubes until 3/4's done.

5. Add the cashews to the chicken cubes.

6. Add the package of vegetables. Cook over low heat for about 10 minutes.

7. Add soy sauce and rice wine. Cook for about five more minutes or until the vegetables are heated through and the cashews are medium-soft. Turn up the heat a little bit. Add salt to taste. This is not a runny, saucy entree. This dish has a little bit of sauce that works well with freshly-made rice, pasta, or potatoes.

8. At this point, you can serve this as a dish OR you can continue making the wraps.

Assembling A Wrap:

I use the microwave to heat the wraps.

1. Use kitchen paper or waxed paper (the type you get at Costco). Lay a tortilla on a sheet of waxed paper, then place another sheet of waxed paper over the tortilla.

2. Heat each tortilla for 20 seconds in the microwave.

3. Remove the waxed paper over the tortilla.

4. Add about 1/4 cup (or 4 heaping tablespoons) of the Chicken-Vegetable mixture on top of the tortilla.

5. Wrap the tortilla like a burrito. Wrap the waxed paper over the wrap. You can use a refrigerated chicken-vegetable mixture.

Note: This is an excellent lunch at the office. Just microwave at 50% for about 1 minute, 30 seconds if you had refrigerated the wrap.

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