Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Travelers Microwave Cuisine - Bacon Chicken Chile Cheese Burrito








     I was stuck in a motel room for over 20 days while getting ready to move back home to Las Vegas.  Most modern motel rooms have a microwave oven.  Since very few chefs focus on sharing recipe ideas for travelers, I figured that I would give it a shot.  The idea was to create a few entrees that required easy to find ingredients and to only use a microwave oven to do the cooking.
     In one of the first travelers recipe articles, I mentioned that many travelers do not like to dine in strange roadside restaurants that they do not know the reputation of.  Getting sick from food poisoning at a roadside restaurant is the last thing that a traveler wants to do, while on vacation.  I was dining in local restaurants for the first week that I was in this motel.  On the fourth day of dining in low quality local restaurants, I contracted severe food poisoning from eating bad chicken tacos.  The symptoms of the food poisoning were rather painful and I was very sick for two days.  I did report the restaurant to the health code authorities.
     After that lousy local restaurant food poisoning incident, I decided to prepare most of my meals in the motel room, rather than to risk getting sick from poorly prepared food.  This proves that dining in restaurants that you do not know the reputation of, can be risky for your health!  I had severe food poisoning seven times during the two years that I worked in Chicago.  The health inspection system is in shambles in both Illinois and Indiana.  There were many restaurants where I refused to even order food, because the dining room was filthy.
     Many times, travelers find themselves staying at a motel in a small town out in the middle of nowhere.  Sometimes there is a good busy restaurant in the area.  More often than not, small town restaurants along the highway are sub par and it is easy to get a meal that does not sit well on the tummy.  There is not unwritten rule that says that traveler has to eat at the only restaurant in town.  The are alternatives.  Buying food to make a meal with at a small town grocery store or convenience store is not a bad idea.  Packing a cooler with some food or packing non perishable food before hitting the road is good too.
     Whole roasted chickens can be found in the deli department at nearly every food market.  Small 4 ounce to 6 ounce cans of Mexican style sauces and canned chile peppers can also be found in nearly every grocery store.  Making sauces with a microwave oven is nearly impossible to do, so pre-made canned sauces are a good choice.  Packaged grated cheese is a major convenience.
     Bacon can be cooked crisp in a microwave oven.  Some bacon can be purchased in disposable microwave safe cooking containers.  A microwave safe cooking container is all that is needed.
   
     Bacon Chicken Chile Cheese Burrito:  
     Place 2 to 3 strips of bacon in a microwave safe container.  
     Cover the container with a loose fitting lid. 
     Cook the bacon, in a microwave oven, till it becomes crisp.
     Remove the crisp bacon from the container and set it on a paper napkin to drain off any excess grease.
     Place a large whole wheat tortilla on a counter top.
     Sprinkle a little bit of mixed grated cheddar cheese and grated Monterey Jack cheese across the middle of the tortilla.
     Place a thin layer of canned roasted poblano pepper strips over the cheese.
     Place a few canned red jalapeno strips over the cheese.
     Sprinkle a little bit more of the grated cheese mixture over the peppers.
     Place the 2 crisp bacon strips over the cheese and peppers.
     Place 3 to 4 ounces of sliced roasted chicken breast over the bacon strips.
     Sprinkle a little bit more of the grated cheese mixture over the chicken.
     Fold one end of the tortilla partially over the ingredients and roll the tortilla into a cylinder shape.
     One end of the burrito should be open and the other end should be sealed.
     Place the burrito on a plate.
     Place the plate and burrito into a microwave oven.
     Heat the burrito in the microwave, till the cheese melts and the burrito becomes hot.
     Remove the burrito plate from the microwave.
     Spoon some canned salsa chipotle on one side of the plate.
     Spoon some canned salsa verde on the other side of the plate.
     Place a few slices of avocado on top of the burrito.
     Sprinkle and cascade some diced tomato over the avocado slices and the burrito.
     Sprinkle some thin sliced green onion over the diced tomato and the sauces.
     Garnish the plate with a tiny pile of alfalfa sprouts and a turned radish.
   
     For a motel room microwave burrito recipe, this turned out nice!  Cooking a meal is a good way to relieve travel related stress.  Taking the time to make the plate look nice can result in smiling about how the meal that was just made is better than any food offered at restaurants along the highway.
     The next morning, if a fellow traveler starts idle chi chat in the motel parking lot and complains about getting a greasy lousy meal at the solitary local restaurant, you can proudly say that you found a place that served much better food than that!  Being your own traveling chef pays off!  ...  Shawna   

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